WBG Score: 9
Player Count: 1-8
Published by: Puzzle Post
Designed by: Bobbie and Will
Getting an envelope in the post can be a mixed bag. It could be anything from a bill, a tax rebate or even a birthday card gleefully telling you that you're old, losing your hair and grumpy. Birthday cards from my mum get harsher each year! Luckily Puzzle Post have arrived to bring a lot more fun to your mail,
This is a spoiler free review.
Getting started is simple, open the envelope, take out the contents and separate each piece (you’ll get two copies of everything) and read the setup story. Keep an internet ready device with you, preferably a tablet but you could use anything and get solving.
This ain’t no snail mail
The first thing you’ll notice as you pepper your table with the contents of the envelope is the thing I love most about these games. Every puzzle is presented as an everyday item. Across these three games you’ll have business cards, menus, book excerpts, tickets and even food jar labels. They’re ordinary objects but weirdly enough that’s a brilliant twist for puzzle games at the moment. Another twist is that these are normal stories in each game. By that I mean stories of blackmail, scandal and corporate drama rather than ancient artefacts and mad scientists like you may find in your Unlock or Exit style games. Think more Eastenders rather than Indiana Jones. These are a lot more fun than Eastenders though so please don’t let that put you off. The normality of all the components adds such a thematic element to each of the games and throws you right into the story. Everything ties together really nicely.
The puzzles you're faced with in each envelope are a lot of fun and of course very different. I mean aside from that January when I tried to convince myself I was on a diet, I’ve never stared that intensely at a food label. It’s a ton of fun looking at things like restaurant menus and trying to find where they’ve cleverly hidden the puzzle. Of course this means I’m now a nightmare choosing food in a restaurant because I'm trying to solve the menus, but I’ll take that any day if it means I get to have this much fun. Pondering ordinary objects aside, one of the things I’ve noticed between all three of these envelopes is that you won’t necessarily find the same type of puzzle repeated. It’s hard to explain exactly what I mean without spoiling anything but for now I’ll just say that just because you’ve used one type of resource in one game, it doesn’t mean it’ll be used in another one. I love that they’ve done that. It keeps each one of these fresh. You won’t find yourself opening this envelope and looking for where the word jumble puzzle is for example (that’s not a spoiler). I’ve seen that happen in puzzle games before and it’s a massive disappointment when that happens. The last thing I want is to predict every puzzle's solution the second you look at it just because I’ve had previous experience.
Normally I play these games with at least my eldest teenager and possibly my other daughter and for the majority of puzzles games that’s a good number. I find that with too many people it tends to get a bit crowded and it could be easy to find people left to the side as the components get passed around for people to investigate. The wonderful folks at Puzzle Post have obviously seen this and decided to solve it by making second copies of each of the components. It’s such a simple solution. Now I know that in most cases it wouldn’t be possible or even cost effective to do this, but in the case of these envelopes it’s something I appreciate massively. For the three of us it’s nice to have the option to either work together on one puzzle or share a couple between us. If you're in a bigger group it’s an elegant solution and as someone who has played an eight player game of Sherlock Holmes: consulting detective and felt very left out (not a fault of anyone there) it’s a very welcome one.
Post that will make you think.
These certainly present a good challenge and seem to have a good mix of difficulty in each envelope. There have been a couple in each that we’ve gotten fairly quickly that have given us that little spark of joy and confidence that it’s nice to have early on. Some have required a bit more thinking but this makes it all the more satisfying when the penny drops, you feel that twinge of excitement and you feel a little bit smug with yourself with solving it and well you should. Then you get the odd one or two that you maybe need that extra hint or two for. This of course is just how we found them but overall I’d say that each of these will present a good challenge for the majority of people.
Having played three of these now I can safely say that these are some of the best things that will drop through your letterbox. They present a uniqueness that sets them apart from other games in this genre. Once you’ve played one there’s definitely a familiarity between each one that eases you in, but each one is different enough that you will have a different, fun experience with each one. It’s the type of post we all need to receive.