Escape Room In A Box – Time Drifters: Isabel’s Story [Reaction]

Location: at home

Date Played: January 17, 2022

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2

Duration: about 60 minutes

Price: about $14.99

REA Reaction

Time Drifters: Isabel’s Story was able to deliver a surprising level of complexity and variable gameplay, considering how few objects were seemingly contained in the box. Every item, both in and on the box, was cleverly used in multiple, varied ways, keeping us on our toes. The items were tangible and fun to play with, and worked well as puzzle-solving tools and mechanisms. 

Box art for Time Drifters, Isabel' Story, depicts a woman working on a the exterior of a steam punk-ish time machine.

Many tabletop games lean towards word puzzles presented on paper, yet Time Drifters: Isabel’s Story went hard in the logic puzzle category. This was a welcome change for our team of logic-obsessed puzzlers, but may not be for everyone. While not too challenging for experienced players, this would be a great way to engage puzzle-curious friends and family members. The game contained a subtle yet effective way to lead players from puzzle to puzzle without being overbearing. 

While the puzzles included were fun, and the flow of the game worked, the experience felt short. We were left longing for another handful of puzzles after the first portion of the game. 

Assorted paper and plastic components. There's an interesting looking box with 4 switches on it.

Time Drifters: Isabel’s Story felt incomplete without Time Drifters: Kira’s Story, as the gameplay came to an abrupt halt after solving the final “solo” puzzle. At this juncture, we were presented with multiple additional puzzles with only half of the information. 

I absolutely love that this game came out during these crazy unprecedented times, with the option to go on Amazon or stop by your local Target to pick up half, while someone 3 time zones away could pick up the other half. Although the box notes you can have a friend purchase the other half, this should be more strongly portrayed as only a partial game without both copies. The game can also be easily reset and passed onto another group, with the option to print paper components you may have written on. 

Time Drifters as a whole is a great option for distance puzzling with friends and loved ones you can’t typically puzzle with in person. 

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: pen and paper

Buy your copy of Escape Room In A Box’s Time Drifters: Isabel’s Story, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Mattel provided a sample for review.

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon, Etsy, or Art of Play after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

Escape Room In A Box – Time Drifters: Kira’s Story [Review]

A rift in the game continuum

Location: at home

Date Played: January 17, 2022

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2

Duration: about 60 minutes

Price: about $14.99

REA Reaction

Mattel’s Escape Room In A Box series emerged with a new two-part installment designed during the pandemic. The game was deliberately crafted for two players (or groups) to solve a portion of the experience on their own and then come together to solve a combined third act.

Built around a gearbox prop, Kira’s Story took us through a series of puzzles to repair a time machine. The blend of paper puzzles and tangible props was heightened by the truly strange gearbox prop.

Box art for Time Drifters, Kira's Story, depicts a woman working on a the exterior of a steam punk-ish time machine.

Kira’s Story & Isabel’s Story are sold separately for $15 each. Upon hearing that this game was going to be split in two, I figured that there was a chance that we’d be paying more money for half a product… but that’s not what Mattel did. Previous installments of the Escape Room In A Box series sold for $30. By keeping the pricing comparable to previous products, I think that they have delivered at least as much value, if not more, than in previous releases.

Individually, either one of these games feels like less than one product. Together, they feel like more. It’s a neat trick.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players with a friend in another location… who buys Time Drifters: Isabel’s Story

Why play?

  • It’s a well-designed puzzle game
  • The props are among the coolest that you’ll find in mass market tabletop escape games
  • This two-part game was designed to be enjoyed with another friend from a distance

Story

Time traveling adventurers Kira and Isabel collided with a rip in the space-time continuum and it tore their time machine in two, sending each to a different time and place.

Each of them had to repair their own portion of the machine on their own… and then figure out how to come together.

Kira's Story box open beside the story, rules, and a caution panel.
Continue reading “Escape Room In A Box – Time Drifters: Kira’s Story [Review]”

Create The Escape TV Show [Kids’ Product Review]

Editor’s note: David Spira, co-creator of this website, was involved early on as a production consultant on the pilot episode for Create The Escape. He was not involved in the writing or editing of this review.

Create The Escape is a series on the Peacock network in which professional designers work with kids to plan and build a room for their parents to complete. Each half-hour episode consists of a creation segment and a playthrough segment. The creation segment focuses on set construction and puzzle prototyping, allowing the kids to contribute to the process. The playthrough segment reveals how all of the details come together and then follows the parents as they attempt to escape the room. Some of the kids watch the parents from a Control Room and deliver hints, while the others participate in jump scares and controlled set interactions. If the parents complete the room in under 30 minutes, they win a trophy and a mysterious prize box. Otherwise, the kids win these items.

Create The Escape title card depicts the cast and a couple of child game designers viewed through a keyhole.
Continue reading “Create The Escape TV Show [Kids’ Product Review]”

Announcing The Book of Dreams on Indiegogo

We are excited about The Book of Dreams, a puzzle anthology, created as a collaboration by 12 world-renowned puzzle-related companies.

100% of the profit is going to Doctors Without Borders.

The Indiegogo campaign is live now.

We don’t typically announce or promote crowdfunding campaigns without playing and reviewing a nearly finished prototype. However, today we are making an exception. We believe in this group of creators, and want to support this cause. We hope you feel the same way.

The Book of Dreams, a Puzzle Anthology cover art with ornate gold lettering over an illustrated sky background.
Continue reading “Announcing The Book of Dreams on Indiegogo”

Fun Dip Mystery Flavor [Review]

Fun Dip blue it.

Location:  at home

Date Played: Feb 7, 2022

Team size: 22 packets of Fun Dip is a lot of Fun Dip if you’re over the age of 12

REA Reaction

Come on a journey with me…

Last week, our Patreon community turned on the Mystery Flavor Signal… and within seconds I had a box on its way to my home. Amazon delivered that thing in less than 24 hours… and here I am unwrapping a box of 22 Mystery Flavor Fun Dip packets. I’d never handled a box of Fun Dip. It was just one of those candies that showed up in birthday party goodie bags as a kid. It was a product that I never engaged with past the age where commerce was relevant.

An assortment of Mystery Flavor Fun Dip packets in a pile.

So, I’m cutting open this packet with scissors (because I’m an adult), picking up the Fun Dip stick thing… and memories are flooding into my brain… the stupid summer camp that I went to as a kid. I silently hated that place and felt bad about it because I knew it wasn’t cheap. It was a rough place to spend your summer if you weren’t athletic.

I’m looking at that Fun Dip stick and remember, “oh yeah, you have to lick it first… you know… prime the pump…” So I lick it, and then I look at my Mystery Flavor sugar mixture and it’s electric blue, the kind of color that exists nowhere in nature. Cool. Dipping it in, I reflect on the kids at camp comparing Fun Dip and Pixie Sticks to drugs. I didn’t have any understanding of drugs then, neither did they… and I still don’t… funny… maybe the person you are at 10 is the person you grow up to be?

Gazing upon the wet stick covered in electric blue sugar I lift it to my lips and lick. “What could it taste like?” I wonder as it lands on my tongue. Red flavor. It tastes like Red… I had maybe three friends at camp (Hi Jason! He reads this site everyday. Thanks, buddy) and we played Magic the Gathering together. A lot. I had a Red deck… still have that deck… it’s worth over $2,000 today. I wonder if those kids at camp suck as much as adults as they did as kids?

I dip the stick another time and remember that I never really liked Fun Dip. I was more of a Nerds kid.

A lik-a-stix beside a pile of blue Fun Dip on a plate. In the distance is a pair of scissors and the cut top to a Fun Dip packet.

Who is this for?

  • Elementary schoolers
  • Anyone looking to spend $10 to recapture a glimmer of their youth

Why play?

  • Fun Dip is your jam
  • The packaging has cute to/ from lines to turn the packets into Valentine’s Day cards
  • You’re due for an existential crisis

Gameplay

Lick the stick to wet it, dip it in the sugar concoction, and lick. Repeat until either the package is complete, you realize that you don’t like Fun Dip, you enter diabetic shock, or you flash back to a traumatic childhood event and disassociate. I cannot prescribe your Fun Dip journey for you.

After completing your Fun Dip journey, there’s a form you can fill out to enter a prize drawing!

Box of Mystery Flavor Fun Dip, covered in purple and pink hearts.

Analysis

Mystery Flavor or not, it’s Fun Dip. Its goodness is entirely dependent upon your feelings about Fun Dip.

➖ The flavor is virtually indistinguishable from any other Fun Dip. What do they expect me to guess in their contest? “Tastes like Fun Dip?”

Spoiler: What did it taste like?

It tasted like Red flavor to me. Lisa said it tasted like cough medicine… which is how you say, “it tastes like Red flavor” if you hate Red flavor.

[collapse]

➕ The Valentine’s Day card packaging was cute.

➕/➖ The contest terms and conditions were pretty good and only slightly clunky.

➖/❓ $%&* 22 packets of Fun Dip is a lot. I probably shouldn’t complain in this economy, but I cannot fathom what I’m going to do with the other 20 packets.

Tips For Playing

  • Mystery Flavor Fun Dip are available on Amazon
  • Do this with friends; 22 packets of Fun Dip is an inconceivable volume for an adult

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon, Etsy, or Art of Play after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.