Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-2
Price: $22 for 3 months, $36 for 6 months
Talking Plants, Messenger Quails, and Robot Servants, oh my!
From the Blue Fish Games website:
Hello, Puzzler. I’m Mr. Hincks. Are you up for a challenge? Excellent. Subscribe and I’ll send my Mysterious Puzzle Newspaper to your door each month. Grab a pen and maybe a friend, and spend an hour or two puzzling out its secrets. You may just add your name to the Hincks Hall of Fame! Until then! Stephen P. Hincks
It is no secret I really love Team Blue Fish’s fantastic puzzling products. I’ve heartily recommended The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks here and in any Facebook puzzle group that’ll have me. Honestly, it’s an addiction with no cure. Luckily, I can get my monthly fix through The Hincks Gazette!
Each issue of the Hincks Gazette is a puzzle hunt style run of several multi-layered puzzles, hidden within the pages of Mr. Hincks’s Hincksville Newspaper. The paper itself is a humorous read, and the personality of Hincks and his quirky town are fabulously exemplified in all of the stories and blurbs. Puzzle games and Escape Rooms struggle sometimes to perfect comedic themes, but Team Blue Fish’s games have made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions. (A favorite joke of mine appeared in June’s issue, and is a blurb about the weather report. The fact that a side comment about the weather can be so funny is impressive.) The puzzles are phenomenal, some of the best I’ve tackled during the pandemic this year, and flow excellently from one to the next. In many cases, they interact with the puzzle that comes next intuitively, ensuring that the game is well directed without holding the player’s hand. These games are a master class in signposting and cluing, and at no point did I feel like the flow of the game stalled or became obtuse in any way. The difficulty curve of the puzzles was smooth across the board, beginning with identifying the starting point, and weaving through the subtle clues and satisfying solutions until the final password has been solved. Some of the late came conundrums and metas were insanely clever, requiring some truly out of the box thinking, and solving these is always enormously satisfying.
Each Hincks Gazette mostly uses wordplay and code breaking to challenge puzzlers, but each level of the game is incredibly creative, mixing things up to ensure that every interaction remains fresh. I am frequently impressed by new and interesting ways the designers have hidden the codes and messages within the Gazette, and have discovered a puzzle I’ve never seen before three months running. Each issue is a challenging new diversion, and is easily my most satisfying hour, puzzle-wise, every month. When the final password is entered and I put my name on the leaderboard, (which is a great touch, set up like a guestbook,) I am left wanting more in the best possible way! Overall, The Hincks Gazette is a funny, clever, intricate run of satisfying puzzles and silly news. I love it, and cannot wait for more.
In a couple of instances, there are a few times we needed to complete an anagram, but the words are complex or use strange enough combinations of letters that though I knew what to do, I needed a little outside help to determine what the answer was. Not a big deal, there’s a reason we have those tools at our disposal, but just a heads up for folks who really want to solve things themselves.
Also, it only arrives monthly, and the anticipation for next month’s issue is palpable.
So far, I have adored the Hinck’s Gazette. The puzzles are beautifully thought out, multi-layered masterpieces, and provide a brilliant challenge every month! The samples Team Blue Fish sent along were so fantastic, that the day after completing them, I immediately signed up for a six month subscription! Each month’s issue has been even better than the last, and that’s saying something. The puzzles are challenging for enthusiasts, but new puzzlers will still find them approachable, and I wholeheartedly recommend subscribing, especially if you enjoyed The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks. Subscribe to Mr. Hinck’s fun and informative newspaper here!
Full Disclosure: Blue Fish Games provided complementary copies of May and June’s Gazette.