ESC WELT Bundle Review See French Review HERE!
Publisher: Escape Welt (aka ESC WELT)
Year Published: 2022
Puzzle and Riddles foreword
Before being a board gamer I’m a gamer at heart. I simply love to play, is it with boardgames, videogames, balls or even words. In a similar fashion that I don’t know who’s most qualified to rate a book about boardgames, either a literature critique or a boardgame one, I’m not certain how qualified I’m to rate a Riddle. Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve done my fair share of escape games, city riddles as well as wooden riddles to know something about it and those are not the first riddles I’ve encountered ☺.
This being said, I researched a bit on the internet and found out: that except for some niche reviewers that were only doing all sorts of puzzles and riddles, boardgame reviews were the closest thing one could find. Therefore, I guess that to enlarge your audience we are the next best thing too after riddle passionates.
Games as such
I had the opportunity to try the Pyramid, Fort Knox and Space Box puzzles.
And now comes the hard part, how should I explain to you how they work without spoilers …
Well, let’s try it like that. ESC WELT puzzles are hand assembled wooden puzzles of various designs and difficulties. To win the hidden treasure, you’ll need to pay attention to every engraved details on the wood and everything that is revealed by your actions. You won’t start with much help and figuring out what is useful and what you should keep in mind for later is already half the work.
The puzzle are coming in step that are thoroughly detailed on their website so if you are stuck you may have a look at the one step you think is next and/or the one you already completed without spoiling you all the steps ahead.
Most steps are made of the discovery and reflection phase, where you look for symbols and try to figure out what wooden parts can already move. This is usually followed by an entering-code-phase. By moving stuff around you will enter a code you think as to do with these symbols. Entering the code correctly will earn you the possibility to move more wood around, most of the time taking away a key from the puzzle and unlocking access to visual riddles ready to start the next step.
The hand crafting and level of details necessary for such craftsmanship from conception to assembly can never remain un-noticed. Although I do not agree with ESC WELT that there creations are beautiful enough to be diplayed as art pieces. On the other hand, my wife is planning on watercolor painting one of them, because while solving it, she felt it would be fun to do. If she finds the time I’ll let you know.
What is true on the other hand is that the puzzles are somehow easy to remember and could the hidden cavities big enough to store small objects, like USB keys or keys alike, so it could keep some child/parent from quickly peeking at what is on your drive.
The Material as such is polished plywood, so there are no sharp edges or wood that would hurt your finger. This plywood is then most likely laser engraved before assembly.
There are of course pros and cons to those type of puzzles. One of the reasons Boardgame enthusiasts are the perfect extension of community for these puzzles is that we are already accounted to buying overpriced cardboard, wood and plastic. We know we are as much paying for the R&D time as for the final product. Well, hand assembled wooden puzzles share that with boardgames and most hobbies around there, they are quite expensive.
But you got a good quality product in your hand afterword and I may not have highlighted how the post-selling part of the company is fantastic, I don’t know how fast they react if you order a product that arrives broken. What I mean is that the solutions provided on their website are so detailed and yet broken in so small pieces that you will never stay stuck on that piece-of-wood-that-I-think-should-move-now-because-I-entered-the-right-code. You won’t break it either, because for starters it holds quite fine and is assembled precisely but should you need to force a bit on a wooden piece you have the possibility to verify it’s the right move before doing so. I did need to push a bit at one-step of the pyramid, I checked to be sure it was the right move before applying what some might name “a bit of force”.
The puzzles are made to have different difficulties, I haven’t tried the lowest difficulties but the highest ones got me thinking enough without ever being impossible. And I felt the differences between 4 and 5 difficulty starts, so I’d dare to say that they are well rated. 5 stars took me a little less than 3 hours, 4 stars a little over 1 hour, with one check because a piece was not moving that confirmed the order I was doing the action in was right.
When it comes to replayability, I’m one that can’t watch a movie twice in the decade because I remember the plot twist too well. Making some boardgame comparison, if you feel like it is even remotely possible to play the same Unlock! Scenario twice, you are enjoying way more replayability than I do and should disregard the following sentence. So I’d say those puzzles are not something I would replay. On the other hand, I intend to offer them to loved once with something inside, like a gift card, a hand written note or something I would personalize further and if they do the same the game can be replayed over and over again and I’m certain it will still hold.
Note: Reviewer’s original language is not english, we did our best job on translation and apologize for any errors in translation.
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QuelqunQui (literally Someone who in French) is an eclectic who can’t stop doing more than one thing at a time.. Quelqunqui is a harpsichordist and gamer at heart that doesn’t abide by rules he doesn’t believe in. When not playing he’s traveling the world for the Belgian Air force.
See QuelqunQui‘s reviews HERE.