The Curious Correspondence Club – Chapter V: Serpents of the Sand (Review)

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Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $19.95 Monthly, $179.00 Yearly

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Theme:

After a harrowing hot air balloon ride, it’s time to travel to the ancient ruin referenced in Chapter 4! How does the ill fated expedition tie into your quest for the magical shards? And will the mysterious cabal that has been chasing you catch up to you again?

First Impressions:

I am always, always, always ready for The Curious Correspondence Club. There is so much amazing puzzling packed into these envelopes, and while I currently wait for the next chapter, my only anxiety is, “when will it come?” and not, “will it still be great?” So far, they’re five for five, and I trust that each and every new adventure is going to top the last!

High Points:

This was certainly the most challenging of the Curious Correspondence Club’s chapters so far! However, it wasn’t challenging in a way that frustrated us, but it did require us to do some big thinking outside of the box! While still a bit more difficult than other chapters, this is still an immensely intuitive game, but putting the clues together does take a bit more work than other experiences. Using the clues provided in game, and the nicely disguised “road map” of sorts, we found that Serpents of the Sand flows incredibly well, and even though nothing about this adventure is overt, the subtle guiding that has been integrated into the experience really does a fantastic job of ensuring that players always have a sign post to find. As always, this is a multilayered experience, with every single prop serving an important purpose, and evolving as puzzles are solved. In the course of these evolutions, there are some amazing reveals, and I am consistently surprised with how even five episodes in, The Curious Correspondence Club is able to keep us guessing with original new puzzles and deviously hidden clues! This subscription is one of the few that is able to ensure that every single puzzle included has an awesome ah ha moment, and does so in a way that absolutely cannot be beat.

Though the puzzles are certainly the star of the show, Serpents of the Sand is also narratively exciting as well, which is rare for a puzzling subscription. Usually the puzzles or the story tend to overwhelm the other, or one is completely absent, (I prefer the puzzles in this case,) but in this case, the brilliantly written introduction, as well as the story bits during the course of the game shed a little light on the overarching mystery, and convey the tale of an ill fated expedition into the ruins. Little details help bolster the story, and I really love the way the puzzles and narrative are tightly woven together to create a really exciting experience. Props are all paper, as usual, but include the great extras, paper craft, and twists we’ve come to expect from this subscription.

Low Points:

There was one particular symbol that showed up as a duplicate on one puzzle, which could lead to some confusion. There was also one interaction that provided a tool to complete, but it didn’t quite do its intended job very well, so we opted for a different household item. Though it wasn’t easy to find something that did the trick, it did break up the immersion a bit as we sought the item out.

Verdict:

Serpents of the Sand is an amazing experience, and continues to deliver the sort of puzzling I look forward to every month. There is, to my mind, no better subscription out there, and even puzzling veterans will find a beautiful challenge within each and every envelope. I cannot recommend subscribing enough, and you can join The Curious Correspondence Club here!

9/10 (Excellent)

Full Disclosure: The Curious Correspondence Club provided a complementary envelope.