Escape Room in a Box: The Walking Dead [Hivemind Review]

Escape Room in a Box: The Walking Dead is a tabletop escape game created by Mattel.

Escape Room in a Box The Walking Dead box art depicts a cracked door with many zombie hands reaching through it.


Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: pen and paper

Note: You’ll need a computer and printer to reset the game for another user.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 90 minutes. The timer is only relevant if you want it to be.

Price: about $30


This is a tabletop escape game in the same vein as previous Escape Room in a Box installments. You solve mostly paper puzzles, open real (plastic) locks, and repeat until there are no more puzzles. It is more about the puzzles than the story.

Open box, an assortmnt of locks, paper puzzles, and plastic props.

Puzzled Escape Games – The Box From The Future [Review]

Mucking about with spacetime.

Location:  at home

Date Played: October 24, 2020

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 2 hours

Price: $50

REA Reaction

I wanted to like The Box From The Future more than I did. I loved the concept, and truly enjoyed the videos that carried the game’s narrative. As an overall experience, however, it felt weak and disjointed.

Assorted components including, a dry erase marker, a thumb drive, a world map, and a DVD labeled "Future Man"

The puzzles were largely a collection of generic puzzles, the kind I see in my Facebook feed and rarely stop to solve. There were exceptions, like a sequence near the end that honestly could have been expanded into a far more interesting and cost-effective game.

The physical components in The Box From The Future mostly seemed unnecessary. That was a fundamental flaw, considering that there are stronger games at a fraction of the price, and that competitors in this price range do some really special things.

Creatively, I respect what Puzzled Escape Games was striving for. I just wish that it had been edited and focused on the interactions that made it special.

Who is this for?

  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The video interludes were adorable and clever
  • One of the late game puzzles felt like an entire game could have been built around it


A box wrapped in hot foil had hurdled through the space-time continuum and landed on our doorstep PO box. As we opened it we found a message from a man claiming he was from a catastrophic future. He needed us to make changes to our present to prevent what would come.

We were tired of our cataclysmic present, so it felt like a worthy endeavor.

A foil-covered box with an orange warning that reads: "Open with extreme caution. Contents insid can cause cataclysmic events in the future. Mishandlign will doom mankind."
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Roy Leban’s The Void Puzzle Crate [Reaction]

The Void is a large puzzle crate. It is available to be rented for a day, delivered to anyone in the Seattle, Washington area.

We had an opportunity to play The Void remotely. Creator Roy Leban (Librarian’s Almanaq & Conjurer’s Almanaq) guided us through the experience over camera. With the exception of one puzzle, that worked remarkably well, especially considering the tangible nature of puzzle elements within the crate.

A large wooden crate with words, letters, and symbols laser etched on all of its faces. The crate is held shut by a 4 digit letter lock.

The incredible elegance of the puzzles and their solutions really stood out to us. We always knew what the puzzles were. They flowed smoothly – even when they were challenging – and came to definitive conclusions. Moreover, the puzzles transformed over the course of the experience; this felt like magic.

There wasn’t much story and there was little spectacle in The Void, but the light narrative that was there felt… of the current era. This was simply a joyous puzzling experience.

Note, although we played The Void remotely, it is not being sold as a remote-play experience. The Void is only available via delivery in the Seattle area.

A Moment of Self-Indulgent Personal Reflection

If you visit The Void’s webpage, you’ll find our enthusiastic quote recommending this game:

“When puzzles are designed as elegantly as these are, it’s easy to miss their brilliance. Each puzzle in The Void solves smoothly and concludes definitively. It’s a magic that’s easily taken for granted.”

That quote is sitting under recommendations from two amazing escape room and puzzle hunt designers Summer Herrick (Locurio) and Brent Holman (Palace Games, Shinteki, and ClueKeeper), as well as Ken Jennings of Jeopardy fame and Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic The Gathering… a game that has been a powerful presence in my life since 1996. That last one is a bit of a trip for me.

Exit: The Game – House of Riddles [Hivemind Review]

House of Riddles is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

The assorted items from House of Riddles laid on the floor.


Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

A mobile device isn’t strictly necessary, but there is an optional companion app.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: about 60 minutes

Price: ~$15


This game uses the standard format for novice Exit: The Game games. You have access to a puzzle book, clue cards, various “strange items”, and a decoder wheel for entering the solutions to puzzles. In the novice games like this one, the puzzle book walks you through one puzzle at a time. As in all Exit games, you must embrace destroying various parts of the game to solve some of the puzzles.

Room Escape Artist has reviewed many games in the Exit: The Game series. Our first review in the series explains the core mechanics and structure of play in greater detail.

Bluefish Games – The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hincks [Review]

Step up

Location:  at home

Date Played: October 5, 2020

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2

Duration: 1.5 – 2.5 hours

Price: $17

REA Reaction

If you liked The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks, then I suspect that you’ll love The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hinks.

The timeline and order of things here is a little funky, and it took playing to resolve our confusion:

  • Stairs is a narrative prequel to Elevator
  • Stairs is a functional sequel to Elevator
  • You should play Elevator first because Stairs is noticeably more challenging

For all of the tabletop puzzle game companies producing new products, there are next to no games that build upon one another in difficulty or complexity. Every game is its own standalone thing; some just have the same rules. Stairs, however, built upon the style, if not the ideas, in Elevator, with more complex puzzles, not longer or bigger puzzles, and it worked.

Assorted componnts include a n 8 bit "Dino Hop" strategy guide, unusual playing cards, a pizza menu, and some unusual flattened cardboard boxes.

We really enjoyed this series, and recommend it for the more puzzle-minded tabletop players. It looks good, but this isn’t a game that you buy for beautiful props to display; you get it to solve it. Play The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks first, and if that’s your type of game, The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hincks will feel like a step or two up.

Who is this for?

Why play?

  • Elegant puzzle design
  • A strong self-service hint system


Before Mr. Hinks built a puzzle elevator, he created a shorter, more challenging set of puzzle stairs. We had been invited to climb them.

Yellow "Curious Stairs of Mr Hinks" box sitting inside the "Curious Elevator's" box/
Continue reading “Bluefish Games – The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hincks [Review]”