No Ordinary Threads
Location: at home
Date Played: April 2023
Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-4
Duration: 8 to 10 hours
Price: about $86 on Kickstarter; MSRP post-Kickstarter $92
We have come to expect great things from a game by PostCurious (see our previous reviews) and Threads of Fate did not disappoint. For the inexperienced, Threads of Fate would be a good entry point into the PostCurious universe. As a remaster of their debut game The Tale of Ord, players get to experience a difficult-to-find game with the benefits of the experience the designer has gained since its original release.
I missed the original run of The Tale of Ord in 2018, so I am not able to comment on all of the updates that Threads of Fate brings to the original game. I can say, however, that this game was grand in scope and gorgeous in its execution. The illustrations, the tangible artifacts, and even the lettering were attractive and refined. I’ve had one specific object on my computer desk since completing the game and it’s such an intriguing piece that I find myself looking at it and picking it up often.
The most challenging part of this grand scope was information management. We often found ourselves digging into older envelopes for previously used props and communications. Sometimes this felt elegant and magical, and sometimes it felt like it was testing our filing and retrieval skills. Browser tab management felt similar. Only one page ever told us to make sure we saved it for later use, and we would have appreciated other pages making it obvious when it was okay to close them out for good.
Threads of Fate was a challenge from start to finish and felt like a lesson in following the difficulty curve. It started out with an on-ramp of challenging but manageable puzzles, exposed us to some very complex and more difficult puzzles in the midgame, and ended with a sort of a meta that resulted in a sprint to the finish. It’s fair to say that this game was generally more difficult than Emerald Flame but not extremely so. We were entertained and engrossed from start to finish: by the puzzles, the art, the craftsmanship, and the story.
Threads of Fate is up on Kickstarter for a little while longer, as of this publication. If you missed out on The Tale of Ord when it debuted in 2018, it’s worth checking out and supporting. A note to those who have played the original version: based on conversations with the designer and a disclaimer on the Kickstarter campaign page, this remaster will not feel like a new game.
Who is this for?
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Fans of Norse mythology
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Organized solvers
- Challenging but rewarding puzzles
- An intriguing story
- Layered reveals and solutions
- Precision and attention to detail
We took on the role of a private investigator tasked with locating two missing professors. The straightforward task took a turn when we followed the trail toward mysterious relics and supernatural forces.
Threads of Fate was played in four chapters, each presented as an envelope of information being mailed to us – though in a change from the original format, the entire game comes complete in one box rather than monthly mailings. The information and puzzles within took between 2-4 hours per envelope for my team of two. This will vary based on team size and player experience.
Threads of Fate made frequent use of outside knowledge; internet use was a requirement. A larger, shareable screen worked better than working on individual phones, though a phone would have sufficed. We benefited from using a tablet which allowed us to take quick notes and mark up images as necessary.
The hint system for Threads of Fate was delivered through a website, making a device doubly necessary. All the games by PostCurious have used a simple, intuitive, and helpful progressive hint system. This one in particular was designed to make sure we had all of the necessary components and that we were on the right track before moving into the hints themselves. Had we been seriously stuck, the final hints for each puzzle were the solutions and there was a warning before they were revealed. In this game the hint page also doubled as a roadmap, listing each puzzle that had to be solved and including an answer verification system. All of these optional accommodations made the entire game more accessible to anyone needing or wanting a nudge.
PostCurious’ Threads of Fate was a play-at-home puzzle game with a higher level of difficulty than most games on the market. That being said, there were a variety of difficulty levels throughout the game, making this accessible to groups of mixed experience. Gameplay was based around making connections between the many props and pieces of information and then puzzling out the links between them.
➕ This game was, unsurprisingly, beautiful to look at. Games from PostCurious can be depended on to have detailed artwork and attractive tangibles, and Threads of Fate met our expectations.
➖ Puzzles didn’t always make it clear exactly what type of answer we were looking for and how and when to use that answer.
➕ The progressive hint system let us choose exactly how much assistance we needed.
➖ One object interaction just never worked for us. All of our brightest ideas just left us feeling wilted.
➕ There was a huge variety in puzzle types, allowing solvers with different skillsets to have their strengths on display.
➕ An incredible amount of information was layered into some of the objects and we were continually impressed with the reveals.
➖ There were occasional moments of information overload while flipping back and forth between browser tabs, game objects, and our notes. Organization is key.
➕ There was a narrative choice to be made while playing Threads of Fate and both options felt viable.
➕ The story and main characters were well-established and believable, and a lot of work went into creating the alternate reality in which the game is played.
❓ This was a difficult game. Not impossible, not inscrutable – just difficult and fair. It was a challenge to work through, even for experienced puzzlers.
➕ The pacing of the final chapter was perfectly balanced and we ended on a very satisfying chain of solves. We moved through it at such a clip that it felt as though we were racing against a timer that didn’t exist, and this made finishing feel thrilling.
Tips For Players
- Space Requirements: A large table. No single puzzle uses a very large amount of space, but there are a lot of components you will want available to you as you play.
- Required Gear: Pens and pencils, paper for taking notes, any internet-enabled device with a preference towards large screens – a tablet or laptop computer.
Buy your copy of PostCurious’ Threads of Fate, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: PostCurious provided a sample for review.