Puzzling Pursuits – Mission: ElfPossible [Hivemind Review]

Mission: ElfPossible is a Christmas-themed text adventure game created by Puzzling Pursuits.

Elf Enterprises interface set against a snowy forest.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Text adventure

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Families with older kids

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: about 60 minutes… more if you’re playing as a family with kids

Price: $17.95 per group

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

We joined a band of skillful elves to navigate a heavily guarded North Pole and rescue Santa from his evil brother. To complete this mission, we had to select which elf to help us with each new scenario we encountered based on their unique skill sets. After choosing the correct elf, we then solved a puzzle to proceed to the next situation. We entered solutions in a text field and received helpful and/ or chiding responses for incorrect solutions.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Mission: ElfPossible is a holiday text adventure where you are enlisted by Santa’s elves to rescue Santa and save Christmas. Throughout the game you are in communication with his elves, who guide you through your mission. Several puzzles were logic based and pretty challenging, and it took some time to reason out those solutions. One puzzle was frustrating as I had to start over every time I made a mistake. There is oddly no soundtrack, but a playlist is provided that adds a nice background to puzzling. There is even a link to holiday drinks and treats to enhance the experience. (The homemade hot chocolate was delicious!) This game is recommended for experienced players who are looking for a cute Christmas tale, challenging puzzles… and maybe a snack.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Santa was captured! But a handful of elves managed to escape and we had to help them to rescue Santa.

At its best, the game had cute graphics and a nicely made prologue video.

At its worst, there were frustrating riddles requiring outside knowledge in the beginning. This took away the players’ trust from the get go. More often than not, solving the puzzles felt laborious and overcomplicated instead of fun and festive. In addition, there was too much to read for my liking and no sound present throughout the game.

I was frustrated to a point where I had barely enough interest in finishing the game. In my personal opinion, there are more fun and polished holiday-themed escape games out there.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

This polished puzzle game stood out for the ways that it engaged us in its holiday-themed (yet not-warm-and-fuzzy) story. By interspersing well-justified puzzles with decisions about how to proceed through the narrative, the game forced us to think just enough about the situation to remain invested in what was happening. Wrong decisions were rewarded with silly but inconsequential outcomes, which honestly incentivized us to avoid the right answers for as long as possible. The puzzles also furthered the narrative and were well designed and enjoyable, though some were a bit process-heavy for my own tastes. Many required a fair amount of reading to understand their rules. Also, a couple of times we lost track of how to interact with the UI, which sometimes deviated from its chat-botty nature to allow point-and-click interactions.

Families with kids might enjoy this game. The puzzles are definitely harder than if the game were purely targeted to this audience, and some aspects of the storyline and humor would likely go over kids’ heads. That said, my 9-year-old enjoyed playing with us and had a hard-earned sense of accomplishment when we finished.

Ultimately, if you have the brain space for a moderate challenge amidst your holiday chaos, this would be a fun addendum to your itinerary.

Disclosure: Puzzling Pursuits provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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