Finders Seekers – Athens, Greece (July Box Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players: We recommend 1-4

Price: $30 per box

By the gods!

Theme:

Each month, Finders Seekers invites you to accept a mysterious mission from the head seer. These “finds” are located in cities around the world and involve high stakes, cryptic puzzling, and shadowy societies! You’ll need a clever mind and some google-fu in order to piece together the puzzles and complete the find! And when you do, you might even receive a reward! This month, it’s time to head to Athens, Greece! The Society has been contacted to restore an antique amphora depicting the gods of Olympus, and if you can, you might even be able to discern some ancient wisdom passed down by the philosophers themselves!

First Impressions:

I previously went back and forth as to whether I wanted to continue my subscription to Finders Seekers due to some ambiguity and weird logic in initial boxes, but after the great (almost 3 hour,) Petra, Jordan puzzling adventure, I decided to resubscribe to give them one more shot to wow us! When I found out we’d be heading to Athens this go, I was excited for yet another exotic and ancient city to explore!

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Mysterious props and a dense puzzle quest to enjoy!

High Points:

Athens is a great location to explore and as always, Finders Seekers provides great pictures and historical tidbits about the locations provided in order to flesh out the story of the city itself while we hunt! The metapuzzle is identified immediately, though putting the pieces together and figuring out what it could mean slowly evolves until the very last moment, creating a satisfying climax to the adventure. Each prop is high quality, and ties into their respective puzzles excellently. Though Athens is a mite bit easier than some other boxes, the experience doesn’t suffer for it, and the game flow is, on the whole, really quite tight and runs like a well oiled machine. (Until it doesn’t, as detailed below.) I really enjoyed playing around with a few of the props, and particularly liked one more banal item due to how we realized what its use would ultimately be. I held onto it for the majority of the hour and a half we spent puzzling, and discerning its use was a wonderful ah ha moment! The variety of puzzles is amazing, and there was something to cater to both myself and my fiancé! I always have the most fun with boxes that allow us to solve in tandem, playing to different strengths as the game moves along, and this one was very good at challenging us both.

Low Points:

There’s always that one puzzle among the usual 11 for Finders Seekers that frustrates and annoys and Athens is, unfortunately, no exception. While the rest of the puzzles are blessedly fun, the game flow screeched to a stop when we came upon the dreaded church puzzle. We figured out what we had to do immediately, but the process of the thing was not only highly tedious, but demanded a level of measurement no one but the most sadistic would find enjoyable. Process puzzles in general do nothing more than pad the solve time at best, and cause immeasurable frustration at worst, so I always dislike seeing them rear their ugly heads. When heading to the facebook help group for direction, we found that more than half the calls for assistance were for this puzzle. After hammering away at it for a while, we decided that we’d rather just skip this one entirely and go back to having fun. Unfortunately, the linear nature of this hunt forced us to ask for the answer and move on. There is also one point during a later puzzle where a particular item is called by several different names, however, only one is deemed correct by the website, causing frustration as we repeatedly found a new name for it, then typed it in only to be greeted by another pop up telling us we were “wrong.”

Verdict:

Athens, Greece furthers the improving quality of Finders Seekers boxes, and definitely vindicated my decision to renew my subscription! I’m hoping this trend of visiting more ancient and far off cities continues next month, and can’t wait to see what puzzles are in store. Order your next puzzle hunting adventure here! If you sign up through our link, we’ll earn credits towards a free box, and can bring you more content! They also provide a fun free Chicago mini hunt if you’d like to get a feel for their style of puzzles.

8/10 (Great)

Urban Enigmas – Innocence (Review)

Location: Athens, GA

Players: 1-8 (We recommend 4-5)

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

“Prison sucks. I have to escape.”

Theme:

Framed for a jewel heist, you’ve been thrown in prison awaiting a sham trial that will put you away for life. The warden has stepped out for an hour, making this your last chance to escape and possibly clear your name before he returns.

First Impressions:

Innocence has an incredibly interesting mechanic that I’ve not seen before, and makes for a really fantastic experience. As part of our briefing, we were informed that we had two objectives. Our primary objective was to escape our cell and break into the warden’s office, from which we could escape the prison. Our secondary objective, however, would determine the life we’d lead after our breakout. We needed to find a way to clear our names within the warden’s office in order to walk out as free men and women, otherwise, we could still escape, but it would be as fugitives on the run, forever looking over our shoulders.

High Points:

The sets were both convincing, even if they weren’t ostentatious. We began handcuffed and stayed that way for a while, which added to the teamwork element of the game, which I was glad to see, as most games that include handcuffs allow you some way to get out of them almost immediately. The dichotomy between the two rooms was great, as the prison cell was very much like your usual escape room, while the warden’s office changed the game into an investigative experience. I very much enjoyed this two-rooms-in-one approach. The investigation was assisted through a large evidence board that was a lot of fun to interact with.

Low Points:

Puzzles were solid, but were mostly standard code to lock interactions, which in some cases felt a little out of place for what we were solving. The warden’s office looked like an office, but after the higher set production in the prison, it was a little jarring to suddenly be in a white walled office. One particular puzzle was easier to solve using outside local information, we were told, but was solvable through a different path, so it’s a minor complaint. (6/10/17: Update: After speaking with the designer of the room, it turns out we were misinformed regarding the local information part. We solved the puzzle correctly, but that item was designed to be inconclusive, not solvable using outside knowledge.)

Verdict:

Innocence tries an original approach to escape rooms, and combines escape and investigation into one enjoyable package. The room is approachable for beginners, since you can escape the prison and investigate, but still get out within the time if you don’t fully solve the mystery, but has enough puzzling to work through for enthusiasts as well. I highly recommend trying out this room, and look forward to visiting their others! You can book your break out here! And best of luck beating our record!

8/10 (Great)