Discover more puzzles
Location: at home
Date Played: October 1, 2023
Team size: Solo or collaboratively; we recommend 1-3
Duration: Each game takes about 90 minutes
Price: about $38 for the set of 3 games
In the second installment of Mysterious Package Company, we continued our mission, puzzling through unique locations in search of mysterious artifacts. The Discovery Collection contained 3 standalone experiences, bundled neatly in a small package. Having played the first 3 chapters in The Initiation Collection, I was excited to see where the adventure would take us.
The games were similar in style to those in the first collection, with a lengthy story introduction and paper props that were fun to bend, fold, and otherwise manipulate into creative – and sometimes 3D – puzzles. In this collection, we explored a desert campsite, an archeological dig, and a mysterious mansion (described in more detail below). As in prior games, the starting point for each chapter was always a challenge; in fact, there was little overt direction throughout the game, leaving it to the players to discover nudges toward the next thing to do. These games could be frustrating for new players who prefer more direction. However, there was an online hint system that provided as much (or as little) direction as needed.
Once again, a high-quality, descriptive video capped off each chapter, boldly presenting the discovery we’d been looking for. I was confused by these vague summaries after the first collection, and the videos in The Discovery Collection did little to expound on the mysterious artifacts and their overall purpose. At this point, having played half of the chapters, I can say that each game is a satisfying experience, even if the overarching story is still less than compelling.
If you’ve enjoyed the The Initiation Collection and want more, you won’t be disappointed in The Discovery Collection. These games continue to demonstrate creativity with various paper components and puzzle types, and I am excited to find out what they will have in the next collection.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Fans of mysterious packages
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Creative, unusual puzzles with 3D components
- You’ve played The Initiation Collection and want more!
The story continues… in Chapter I, we learned about mysterious artifacts that were hidden in secret locations; only through curiosity, observation and puzzling, would we be able to find and return them to their rightful owner. These 3 chapters continued this mission, taking us to 3 new locations.
The Discover Collection bundled together chapters 4, 5 & 6 of Curious Correspondence, Season One. Each chapter was a standalone experience contained in a single envelope.
These chapters were meant to be played sequentially, after completing The Initiation Collection. Even so, each chapter was a complete game that could be played independently of the other chapters.
Chapter IV: The Midnight Escapade, had us sneaking into a desert campsite in the middle of the night looking for clues to the next artifact’s whereabouts. While the puzzles in this chapter were unique and definitely challenged our ability to think creatively and from different perspectives, there was one particularly stubborn puzzle that didn’t work easily, no matter how hard we tried to shift things around. While this location was not as compelling as the other two games, the components were interesting and memorable.
Chapter V: Serpents of the Sand took place immediately after the prior chapter, as we raced away from the campsite to discover the excavation site of an ancient temple. The props in this chapter were more simplistic, and it was not immediately obvious how to use them to get started. After a few tries, we found our way and the game flowed smoothly. We enjoyed the setting, which contained unusual nuances that brought the story to life.
In Chapter VI: Milton Manor, we explored a secluded estate that appeared quite abandoned, though a mysterious bookshelf seemed to be the key to discovering its secrets. Puzzling our way through the mansion was satisfying, with a certain rhythm that propelled us through the game as we explored each room. The artwork in this chapter stood out from the others, adding a higher level of detail and artistic feel.
Mysterious Package Company’s The Discovery Collection was a unique play-at-home escape game with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay centered around reading the scenario, searching materials, making connections, and solving puzzles. Each chapter contained at least 1 tactile puzzle that elevated the experience.
➕ Once again, atmospheric videos played once we had entered the final answer in the online portal, effectively wrapping up each chapter. Though only a few minutes long, these videos enhanced the overall experience by adding closure with a bit of dramatic effect.
➕ Most of the puzzles worked well in this set; we were impressed by the creativity and the results achieved with only a few pieces of paper and some how-to diagrams. Some puzzles clicked immediately, while others took more than a few tries to get right. There were a few puzzles that were a bit ambitious and didn’t work as smoothly as intended, but we were able to either manipulate the components enough to solve, or, as in one case, back into the solution.
➖ While most puzzles solved cleanly, we struggled with at least 1 puzzle in each game. In one game, we were confused by a set of instructions that resulted in making a wrong choice that could not be undone. The puzzle was still solvable, just not exactly as intended. In another, we tried several times to get a correct solution, but there were too many variables that had to be just right to get the desired answer.
➕ We appreciated the thoughtful use of minimal packaging; this was a lot of game in a small package.
➖ After playing half of Season One, I’ve noticed that while the introductory stories are imaginative and detailed, and do a nice job of setting the stage for the game, they don’t really say anything significant from a narrative perspective. There is no character development or story arc that would give depth to the experience.
➖ The endings for these games were similar to the first 3, with no more detail around the purpose of our discoveries. I’d expect this to be similar in the remaining games. While this still feels like a gap, there is enough puzzling and aha moments, combined with the capstone videos, to make a satisfying experience, even without the detailed explanation.
❓Although the story is light, with a gap of several months between playing collections, I would have appreciated a brief refresher on the overarching story, characters, and overall objective at the start of the second collection.
❓The game was described as an analog experience, and for the majority of gameplay, this was true. However, an internet connection was required to access the hint system as well as to enter the final solution and view the conclusion for each chapter.
Tips For Players
- Space Requirements: a standard tabletop
- Required Gear: internet connection to get hints and enter the final solution for each game
- Season One of Curious Correspondence contains 12 chapters that can be purchased in bundles of 3 chapters each or all at once. The only chapter that can be bought separately is the first one, The Custodian’s Keys. There is a Season Two that is available for purchase as well.
Buy your copy of Mysterious Package Company’s The Discovery Collection, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Mysterious Package Company provided a complimentary game.