Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-4
Price: $30 per box
Houston, we have a puzzle.
From The Conundrum Box website:
BLAST OFF TO FUN!
The year is 2250 and you are stranded on a distant moon. You have limited time to reactivate an ancient alien ship and set a course to space before an impending meteor strike pulverizes the planet. Strap in and prepare to lift off on an intergalactic adventure! Puzzles revolve around spaceships, aliens, and exploration. A real choose-your-own-path type game with hard and easy mode. Suitable for all ages, the difficulty is set for new to intermediate players.
I was excited to see that the newest Conundrum Box had a scoring system! I enjoyed the implementation of scoring systems from previous boxes, and really like that, for the most part, the time pressure isn’t the main part of the scoring. This also integrated into the story, which added to the fun! Of course, it was optional, so even better for puzzlers who just want to take it easy.
I really loved the theme and story of this box, and thought that it elevated the puzzling well, without overwhelming it or drawing things out with too much reading. I loved the companion you’re partnered up with, and really enjoyed how this box sort of expanded beyond more historically based themes. While I don’t dislike those, I always love when a subscription tries out themes beyond their norm. (And the fact that, this year, I’ve pretty much only read books belonging to the Urban Fantasy and Horror genres helps.) The story is bolstered by the colorful, fun designs, and there are a few fantastic props that are simultaneously mysterious and functional. As previously mentioned, the scoring and, at some points, timing system works very well, and those points that are expressly timed are well implemented into puzzles that aren’t overly difficult to get the hang of, so it doesn’t feel needlessly punitive. In fact, with the timing bits and scoring parts tied so well into the story, I felt motivated by the system more than any other system like this for a subscription box!
The Artemis Rescue is absolutely packed to the brim with puzzles, with loads of different items to play around with, many of which are intuitively implemented on multiple occasions. While the game is overall very linear, there don’t seem to be any particular choke points, and the hints are layered in such a way that you never feel like you’re getting too much or too little to help bolster you forward when you need it. In fact, the linearity helps the story shine a bit more, and I always love it when things work out that way. Some of the puzzles in this box get really creative, and honestly, I think the Artemis Rescue might contain some of the best puzzles I’ve seen from The Conundrum Box yet! There were quite a few points where I was dazzled by the ah ha moments, and I especially loved how there are a few points where puzzles come together for a meta-puzzle surprise! The finale was exciting narratively and puzzle wise, and it absolutely capped things off on a high note.
I find that for most Conundrum Boxes with “movement” or “mapping out” puzzles, I’m just going to have to come to terms with the fact that I do not like these puzzles on the whole. They feel too process-y, and aren’t generally fun for us to figure out. Luckily, this box comes with a normal and hard version of the puzzle, so it was somewhat more palatable to us. The hard version, (which I tried out for review purposes,) was definitely not our cup of tea, with a very, very complicated set of rules for movement that we instantly noped out on. The normal version is much simpler, and though I am not 100% sure how I came to the correct answer, I did. A lot of the “choose your own adventure-ness” of the box is based off plotting this course correctly, so if you don’t like this type of puzzle, it may tank your experience. There was a LOT of translating in this box, especially to start, but overall, it wasn’t too bad, and I did like the cluing for this puzzle. One particular puzzle was very simplistic, to the point I kept second guessing if there was more to it. (As an enthusiast, the answer is almost always, “no, you’re overthinking.” So I don’t hold this against the box, just mention it for veteran players who will 100% overthink.)
The Artemis Rescue is easily one of my favorite Conundrum Boxes to date, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a couple hours of puzzling! While new players will love the level of challenge, I think there is still more than enough meaty puzzling for enthusiasts to enjoy as well. Subscribe to The Conundrum Box here! You can get $5 off your first box with our Promo Code ERA5OFF!
Full Disclosure: The Conundrum Box provided a complementary review copy.