I’ll take a laaarrrge shirt, matey.
Location: at home
Date Played: December 25, 2021
Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2
Duration: 60-90 minutes
Price: $45-$50 for a single shirt, $80-$90 for a couples pack
We were big fans of the first Solve Our Shirts game, Escape from the Maze of the Minotaur… so we had XXL expectations coming into their latest game, Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove.
I can safely report that Solve Our Shirts managed to take what was great about their first game and improve upon it… and they managed to do this without treading the same ground. It’s remarkable how many surprises can be hidden in a damn t-shirt. It feels like magic.
Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove wasn’t a perfect game. The first puzzle was a bit of a steep on-ramp and I really wish that there was one clear puzzle on the front of the shirt that a friend could solve while we’re sitting in a restaurant, so that when they ask about the shirt, you can explain that “it’s a puzzle shirt, and here’s a simple one for you.”
I’ll also add that I think that the aesthetics of this Solve Our Shirts’ shirt are greatly improved… and while I probably won’t wear it out… because I’m a New Yorker at heart and sea green is waaaayyyyy too far from black for my comfort… I’m flirting with the idea of wearing this one, just to see what it feels like to wear this color. Your mileage may vary.
Overall, Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove is a stellar tabletop escape game product. CU Adventures comfortably ranks among the top creators in the field. If you’re even passingly interested in play-at-home puzzle games, this is one to buy.
I cannot wait to see what they think of next.
This review only covers details specific to this individual game from Solve Our Shirts.
For a detailed explanation of the concept and mechanics, and a general analysis of the entire product line, check out our Solve Our Shirts Overview.
Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove differs from the overview in three key ways:
- There are no women’s cut shirts.
- This product doesn’t have the easy mode pamphlet.
- There isn’t a deluxe option.
A bottle had washed ashore with a treasure map… and if we were serious about finding that treasure, we were going to have to learn the ways of pirates… perhaps even become one.
The analysis in this section is about the content of Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove. To see our analysis of the structure, refer to our Solve Our Shirts overview.
➕ From the shirt (Bella Canvas) to the companion materials to the web interface, Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove felt premium. The materials were high quality, including the unexpected bonus items that worked right into the story.
➕ Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove took us on a delightful adventure. The theme was amusing and engaging. It came together well with the shirt as the centerpiece.
➕ The puzzles were challenging, but fair. Most puzzles were just a bit more complex than they initially seemed, which led to immensely satisfying solves.
➖ Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove starts right off in the deep end, puzzle-wise. A more gentle on-ramp would help players get into the flow of the game more quickly.
❓ The puzzles relied heavily on searching and keen observation. Although there was always more to any puzzle, if you don’t want to dig into visual details, this won’t be your game.
➖ While we generally didn’t mind searching because it helped us take in the details of the artwork, in one instance, we flagged this detailed pattern-matching as a bit onerous.
➕ We appreciated the small quality-of-life details like accompanying text for audio clues.
➕/➖ The initial pre-game instructions were clear, and set expectations properly for a fun experience with the product. We only wished for a little more clarity from one late-game clue, where after the aha, we were left a bit wishy-washy as to how exactly to proceed.
➕ CU Adventures explored uncharted waters with their final reveal… and it delivered.
➖ If you wear a small shirt, this design takes up all the shirt’s real estate.
➕/➖ Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove is a loud shirt that begs questions. We commend CU Adventures on a product that markets itself. They eliminated the huge block of text (a gripe we had with the design of Escape from the Maze of the Minotaur), which makes the product more wearable. It’s smart that they streamlined the product line this time with only 1 shirt cut (no dedicated women’s cut) and only 1 color. That said, we’d still love to see a little puzzle that can be solved without any companion materials by someone observing the shirt on a friend.
➕ The bottle label was perfect.
➕ As usual for this company, their hint system was great.
Buy your copy of CU Adventures’ Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: CU Adventures provided a sample for review.
If you enjoy Solve of Shirts, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creators Anne & Chris Lukeman on The Reality Escape Pod.