Blue Fish Games – The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hincks (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $17 per box or bundle with The Curious Elevator for $51

It’s no Peculiar People Mover, but it’ll do nicely.

Theme:

From the Blue Fish Games website:

If The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks was a book, The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hincks would be its prequel novella. Which should I play first? Both are stand-alone games that don’t need to be played in a certain order. That being said, Play the elevator first! The Elevator introduces you to the world of Hincks and ramps up the challenge level slowly, The Stairs throws you into the deep end right away!

First Impressions:

Team Blue Fish seems to have a finger on the pulse of what sort of puzzles I like, as evidenced by their other fantastic products, The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks and The Hincks Gazette. When The Curious Stairs was announced, I knew I had to play it as soon as possible! The second it arrived, I wanted to tear into it, seeking out its puzzling secrets, but had to wait a couple of interminably long days in order to finally crack it open. It was well worth the wait.

High Points:

The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hincks makes its home in a deceptively small box. Upon cracking it open, however, I found there were a lot more props than I had originally expected to see. Though there are only four stages of the game, each stage is filled to the brim with puzzling! I say stages because each one is a multi step (ha!) process that engages several props that all tie into mini puzzle hunts of their own. The process of solving each of these puzzles is part of the fun, as there isn’t any direct hint as to what needs to be done on the surface, but with some outside the box thinking and a generous application of logic, the solutions reveal themselves in an intuitive and immensely satisfying way! Each prop is used to its fullest, and I love how the many layers of puzzling build atop one another until the final code word or phrase reveals itself. Blue Fish Games are masters of creating intricate webs of puzzling, and I think the amazingly well constructed design is what I love most about their products. Though many of the previous Hincks products present mainly word games and puzzles, (which isn’t a bad thing, in my estimation,) this particular game is an evolution that goes beyond the usual paradigm to present an astounding run of varied puzzles. One in particular is a puzzle that involves moving around a map using a prescribed set of rules, something I’ve tended to dislike in the past, but Blue Fish Games has somehow managed to take this puzzle style, streamline it, and make it one of my favorite puzzles they’ve created to date!

The experience is strictly linear, but flows beautifully, with just enough built in clues to ensure players are never stuck for too long in any one section. The intuitive nature of the game is slyly hidden, and doesn’t feel as though it is holding your hand, simply guiding you though a fantastic wonderland of puzzling. The game itself took us a little over an hour and a half, which is about the same run time as The Curious Elevator, so there’s definitely a good amount of play time wrapped up in this small box, and for $17, it’s an absolute steal. I am consistently astounded at how beautifully crafted each experience Blue Fish Games produces is, and how tightly designed their puzzles are, and can say without hesitation that whatever new experience they develop next, I am here for it. Here’s hoping it’s the Peculiar People Mover. Or maybe a in depth, puzzling adventure starring The Curious Corn Chip of Mr. Hincks…

Low Points:

The final puzzle is great, but can be a bit more confusing than I think was originally intended due to there being a bit of extraneous information included that can lead down a couple of unintentional red herring rabbit holes. The puzzle is challenging in its own right, so tightening up this particular section won’t make it too easy, but rather remove the only bit of frustration we came across with this game.

Verdict:

As always, Blue Fish Games has come up with another brilliant puzzling masterpiece! Though The Curious Stairs is a much more challenging experience, the conundrums included are always fair, clever, and amazingly satisfying to solve. While there are fewer individual puzzle stages, they are even more layered and intricate than those included with The Curious Elevator, making this a great follow up to that game. I absolutely recommend giving this one a shot, especially if you’re an existing fan of the Hincksiverse. Start your climb up the Curious Staircase here!

9.5/10 (Excellent)

Full Disclosure: Blue Fish Games provided a complementary box.

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