Gruzzle – The Garden (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $30.00 month to month, $87.00 for 6 months, $172 for a year’s subscription

A new type of garden party!

Theme:

From the Gruzzle website:

Renowned environmentalist, Dr. Billy Onair, has unearthed some seeds from what was thought to be an extinct plant – the oatblossom bush. He has decided to award these precious seeds to the winner of a contest being held on his estate.

The Grasswell Society has entered the contest and wants Gruzzle to help them examine the hothouse, explore the maze, scrutinize the gazebo, and explore the conservatory.

Sign up with Gruzzle HQ to receive this puzzle in your mailbox. Don’t delay – otherwise this rare and valuable resource will be doomed to extinction!

High Points:

I really enjoy a good Gruzzle, and The Garden does an amazing job with presenting a puzzling challenge that begins with a few easy wins to get players warmed up, and gently ramps up the difficulty into more mind bending conundrums! I was impressed with how this box slowly transitioned from, “Huh, a bit easier this time, I might blow through this one,” to, “Phew, that one is solved, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it!” We usually clock in solves at an average of 90 minutes, and this box took a good 120+ minutes for us, so I can absolutely say that the box was filled to the brim with puzzles! The design of The Garden is up to the usual Gruzzle standard, with layered puzzles and extremely intuitive clues that give players just enough of a nudge to ensure they find their way intuitively, while still preserving the challenge. Honestly, this box is so brilliantly designed, I truly have difficulty determining which is my favorite puzzle, there’s just so many to choose from! The whole challenge is really intricate, and I love how Gruzzle always ensures that every prop they include within their boxes is well used. While the experience is mostly linear, stages of the game allow for multiple puzzles at times, and these tend to appear when there’s something really challenging to solve, which allowed us to pop back and forth between puzzles until we had everything solved. The story is fantastic, and I like how it is told in stages, and although there is a lot there, it never feels like the reading is too much or breaks the puzzling flow. While there is a fair amount of decoding, it is succinct, and doesn’t tread into tedium. There is also a certain item that can be ubiquitous in puzzling circles, but it is employed sparingly, and is always well clued when it appears. I also enjoyed a certain easter egg that involved this prop. Overall, The Garden is a masterful piece of puzzling that made for an excellent couple hours of solving!

the-garden.jpg

Low Points:

One puzzle we found to be a little bit much, visually. Though the initial stage of revealing the code is a lot of fun, the latter stage of decoding involves some pretty small symbols, and though the process isn’t overlong or arduous, the small symbols can really tickle the eyes, especially for players with dyslexia.

Verdict:

The Garden was an excellent new entry into the Gruzzle archives! The density of puzzles and the elaborate layering that we’ve come to know Gruzzle for is beautifully employed, and the Garden was a blast from start to finish. I highly recommend this one, as its bevy of puzzles, fantastic design, and smooth difficulty curve should be a great fit for players new and experienced alike! Take a trip to The Gardens here! You can use the promo code FIRSTTIME to get $5 off your subscription!

9/10 (Excellent)

Full Disclosure: Gruzzle provided a complementary box.