Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-4
Price: $35 per box
From the Blue Fish Games website:
Inventor Stephen P. Hincks has been tirelessly developing a set of confounding puzzles and he is now ready to present them to you.
Solve his enigmas by pairing mysterious physical materials contained in this cryptic parcel with clues from the online elevator. Use the browser-based elevator to verify solutions and navigate through the floors.
Are you ready to outsmart Mr. Hincks and add your name to the Hincks Hall of Fame?
When The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks hit my doorstep, I was already excited to take a peek inside, as I was interested to see what sort of puzzling props and confounding curios were included to help us ascend the titular elevator. I was pleased to see a colorful and varied assortment of interesting pieces, and couldn’t wait to see how they all fit together during out journey on Mr. Hicks’s Curious Elevator! (And fit together they did, as this is one of those rare boxes where literally everything was important!)
As a little background, I have a love/hate relationship with puzzle hunts. DASH and Puzzled Pint are generally some good ones that I’ve enjoyed, but far too often puzzle hunts are wildly obtuse, poorly designed games that require players to read the minds of the designers. Luckily though, while The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks is definitely a puzzle hunt style game, we absolutely loved it! It takes the best elements of puzzle hunts while leaving out the frustrating bits, which results in an experience that is an absolute joy to work through! The game contains a moderate to high level of difficulty, but at no point did we feel the need to make herculean logical leaps, as the game flow is beautifully implemented, leading players through the linear path using subtle hints and encouraging out of the box thinking. There is a dense amount of puzzles to work through, and they are all incredibly varied, ensuring that each level of the game remains fresh and exciting. For a team of my wife and myself, there was always plenty to do and though the game is fairly linear, most puzzles have enough layers to work through that no one is going to feel left out during the solving. Due to how creative the game is on the whole, it is difficult to select a favorite puzzle, they’re all that well designed!
I love the theme of an eccentric puzzling dandy creating a town of his own that’s absolutely devoted to puzzles, and I may want to be Mr. Hincks when I grow up. While the theme isn’t strictly important to the puzzling if that’s all you’re looking for, it certainly brings a lot of personality to the proceedings, and instills a light hearted, humorous aura. Almost every single puzzle had multiple layers to puzzle through, and there were mountains of ah ha moments around every turn. To say that this game was a satisfying solve is an understatement. Add to that a couple of surprises that we definitely did not see coming, and I can say that Mr. Hincks’s elevator is easily one of our favorite games of the year. I’m very excited to see what comes next, I’m hoping Mr. Hincks has a few more banal methods of transportation to spice up! Perhaps The Peculiar People Mover of Mr. Hincks? I’d play it.
Though the run up to the Meta Puzzle was an exciting ride, the climax of the game fell a little flat for us, due to the somewhat simpler nature of the puzzle itself as well as the requirement of popping back and forth between several screens of the interface itself. Though the website is a nice complement to the experience, it sometimes feels as though it gets in its own way, as there doesn’t seem to be a clear way to close out of some windows, and sometimes, especially at the beginning, it can feel somewhat unintuitive as to what bits of the screen are active. We used a smartphone during the game for easy access, so this may have affected our experience, admittedly.
The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks is an absolute blast! I had an amazing time working through the many conundrums left behind by the eccentric Mr. Hincks, and couldn’t wait for more, leading me to inquire about The Hincks Gazette, the monthly spin off run of puzzles. A review about that one will be forthcoming, but for now, know that I recommend getting your hands on a copy of the 2nd run of The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks as soon as you can! The wonderfully well designed puzzles, great props, and engaging theme make this game a perfect puzzle for players of any experience level. Take a ride on the Curious Elevator here!
Full Disclosure: Blue Fish Games provided a complementary box.