The Curious Correspondence Club – Chapter IV: The Moonlight Escapade (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $19.95 Monthly, $179.00 Yearly

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Theme:

After escaping in a hot air balloon from our mysterious pursuers in Chapter III, we traveled with the Tinker to a campsite that we suspected held another of the strange items we’ve been tracking across the world. Unfortunately, that campsite is inhabited by the same organization that’s been chasing us this whole time! It’ll take some sneakiness, quick thinking, and most importantly, clever gadgetry in order to come away successful!

First Impressions:

Super special thanks to the folks at The Curious Correspondence Club for sending along another copy of Chapter IV when our original was lost in the mail. They were quick to respond and mail this one out when I notified them, and their customer service was brilliant! This ended up being a Tarantino-esque prequel for us, since we received Chapter V first and couldn’t not solve it immediately, but nothing was lost in the experience, in fact, it was a lot of fun to find out what bridged the gap between Chapters III and V.

High Points:

The Curious Correspondence Club (henceforth CCC due to laziness,) creates some of the most amazingly original experiences out there for the absolute best price! Even though more expensive experiences may have fancier props, the sheer originality of The CCC cannot be beat! In fact, putting together the paper craft items included in every envelope is one of the most entertaining parts, especially when these items are so intuitive and well crafted. Chapter IV includes some of the best items thus far, and figuring out how they work is so amazingly satisfying. Not one piece of this grand puzzle is left unused, and every single thing is important. It is so fantastic how tight the game play is, while still ensuring a dense, multilayered puzzling experience. The adventure is mostly linear, though everything is given to players at the start, so connections can begin to be made, even before you have fully overcome the previous conundrums, which ensures that you’re never one hundred percent bottlenecked into one place. So many of the items included are also multi functional, popping up again later on, and it is brilliant to watch as one thing becomes another, making the game a tactile delight!

The story is fantastically written, and while the brunt of it is delivered via the opening text and excellent closing video, bits of narrative are always hidden within the game itself, ensuring that everything is woven together well, rather than shifting back and forth between story and puzzle. The world building and characterization employed within The CCC’s games is second to none at this price point, and I can say that without reservation. My favorite thing about these games is that there is never a point at which I think, yes, I’ve seen this sort of thing before. Each and every puzzle is a revelation, and presents an original puzzling experience that I’ve never seen before. I can always rely on them to deliver something wholly new with each Chapter! And the amazing thing is that they seem to top themselves every single time. Though we thought this Chapter was probably the easiest so far, it was still an excellent challenge and required a lot of outside the box thinking to complete!

Low Points:

It is generally very difficult to find any fault with The Curious Correspondence Club, and Chapter IV is no exception! Our experience was, as always, brilliant, but there were a few points at which we think the instructions could be tightened up ever so slightly to ensure that no vagueness remains. Otherwise, this episode was a flawless romp!

Verdict:

Chapter IV of The Curious Correspondence Club was impressive, and it’s always so exciting to see what sorts of paper craft props and immensely original puzzling will be included with each installment! One of the few subscriptions that can combine a well told story with immersive puzzling without sacrificing the quality of either, this subscription remains one of my most anticipated every single month! I highly recommend subscribing, and you can join The Curious Correspondence Club here!

9.5/10 (Excellent)

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

The Curious Correspondence Club – Chapter III: The Tinker’s Trinket (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $19.95 Monthly, $179.00 Yearly

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Theme:

From the Curious Correspondence Club website:

Navigate the treasures that litter the walls of the Tinker’s Workshop and perhaps become the first to discover a long lost secret?

First Impressions:

As I’m writing this, I not only am reflecting on the amazing experience The Curious Correspondence Club has provided thus far, but am full of anticipation for Chapter IV. Spoiler alert, this game was brilliant, possibly their best thus far!

High Points:

I know I’ve said it twice before, but The Curious Correspondence Club continually blows my mind with how incredibly dense their experiences are, as well as how much they can do with props that are mostly paper based. These small envelopes provide such amazing challenges, and are well worth the cost of admission, as they tend to take us a good 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete. I love how many of the main props involved are used multiple times, shifting and containing new secrets as we move along the puzzling path. It not only allows for more economical packaging, but ensures that every item is absolutely filled to the brim with mystery! There was loads of tactile puzzling within this envelope, and every time we put together a new item in order to begin decoding, these interestingly designed props worked flawlessly. The manipulation of these paper based mechanisms was always smooth, and it is brilliant to see how amazingly well thought out these moments are. The game flow works fantastically, and runs along a mostly linear path, yet still provides enough to do for a small group that no one is going to feel left out at any point. There are a few great meta puzzles involved as well, and the connections between each are intuitive, but not spelled out completely, allowing for some supremely excellent ah ha moments once everything clicks into place. One in particular involved a somewhat innocuous puzzle, which we completed, but had no idea what to do with next, but when we finally discovered it’s significance, we were incredibly proud of our deduction.

The ongoing story line of The Curious Correspondence Club continues to wow, and I love how the twists and turns take us to an entirely new place each month. This month’s jaunt to a quiet old tinker’s shop is an interesting tonal shift from Chapter II, but a not unwelcome one. The cozy confines of the shop are a interesting shift from the more macro natures of the first couple chapters, and during the solving of this mystery, the whole experience feels more micro, as if we were working on the delicate gears of the included (paper) pocket watch itself. The puzzling, story, and nature of this game fits the theme so beautifully, and it is clear that the designers are masters of the genre, weaving all the disparate threads of the puzzle experience into a truly amazing adventure.

Low Points:

One particular point in the game includes a very intuitive moment, but we were second guessing ourselves due to the difficulty we had in performing the tactile interaction that we were sure came next. Though it definitely helped to keep us from performing the action too soon, making this action easier to perform would definitely prevent confusion. Some of the decoding is a bit misleading due to how the spacing works. This isn’t actively called out, so when working on this mystery, if you feel like you have the right method of decoding, keep at it, and it will probably become clear.

Verdict:

The Curious Correspondence Club continues to impress, with a Chapter III that blew our expectations out of the water! This is definitely one of the top puzzle subscriptions available right now, and I only wish I had the next chapter right now, as the original puzzling and mysterious story cannot be beat! Though these are more challenging experiences that I think enthusiasts will enjoy the most, a well implemented hint system will ensure that more casual puzzlers are not frustrated. I highly recommend subscribing, and you can join The Curious Correspondence Club here!

9/10 (Excellent)

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

The Curious Correspondence Club – Chapter II: The Warehouse on the Wharf (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $19.95 Monthly, $179.00 Yearly

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Theme:

From the Curious Correspondence Club website:

A chill in the air and blanket of fog carried by it, you find yourself met by a rusty shipping yard. With only a handful of information and a dockmaster intently focused on your capture, you must uncover the secrets of the docks using evidence left by a faceless ally.

Can you crack the code, and uncover the secret hidden amongst the crates?

First Impressions:

After the astoundingly enjoyable Chapter I of The Curious Correspondence Club, I was thrilled to receive Chapter II: The Warehouse on the Wharf. After a couple excruciating days of waiting for a night we had clear, my wife and I cracked the envelope open, and got to puzzling!

High Points:

The Curious Correspondence Club continues to wow us with their presentation. Though the envelope their mysterious items arrive in is small, there is so much to work through every single month! The absolutely mind boggling density of their games makes the experience well worth the price of admission, but beyond that, we also love the meta story that winds through each game, and are consistently thrilled to see what new secrets we are being tasked to uncover. As the meta story continues to twist and turn, we are curious as to what all our efforts will eventually unearth. This second installment ups the ante from the introductory game excellently, with a much more challenging run of puzzles, but still manages to remain intuitive and well designed, ensuring that though puzzlers won’t have an easy time unraveling all the enigmas, they will have a great time doing so! Almost every single puzzle we came across during this chapter paid off with some excellent ah ha moments, and once we’d reached the final epilogue video, we were pretty proud of what we had accomplished. Every puzzle was immensely creative, and I was astounded to find that at no point during the experience did we feel like something was familiar or old hat. My favorite puzzle was the culmination of a couple different actions, and solving it was a beautifully tactile experience that I adored.

The props themselves were sturdy, well made items, and for such a small envelope, boy were there loads of items inside! The experience is beautifully polished, and every piece of the game not only is intricately woven into the game and its puzzles, but all of them are multi-functional, layered props that reveal new secrets at every turn! There is so much to love within each chapter of this experience so far, and the experience of the designers is heavily evident in every facet of this absolute jewel of a game. The Curious Correspondence Club is quickly becoming one of my most anticipated games every month! The story is appropriately mysterious and entertaining, the puzzles are amazingly original, the videos are well produced, and at this price point, there is so much value for money in each experience we’ve received so far. I cannot recommend this game enough.

Low Points:

One particular interaction can get pretty tedious, and the seek and find nature of it really slowed the game down in a way that did not serve the experience well. There were a few points at which the cluing could be tightened up a bit, as there were a few things that could either serve as unintended red herrings or force too much guess and check puzzling.

Verdict:

Chapter II: Warehouse on the Wharf does a great job of upping the challenge, and provides a wonderfully tactile puzzling experience in a deceptively small envelope. The game was definitely more difficult than your usual puzzling subscription, so I think enthusiasts who are looking for something a bit more difficult will absolutely love The Curious Correspondence Club, but with the tiered hint system and the patience to think things through, new players will find a lot to enjoy within these envelopes as well! I highly recommend subscribing, and you can join The Curious Correspondence Club here!

8.5/10 (Great)

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