clueQuest and chill?
Mr. and Mrs. Q’s helpful and reliable reconnaissance droid, MM7, is starting to ask questions all robots inevitably ask, “What is Love?” and “How do you know you’re loved?” You’ll be tasked to help MM7 decipher the complex and puzzling ways of love in our world in order to help focus him on our daily mission to save the world from the villainous network of the Evil Professor.
Love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and for most of the world, this year’s V-Day will see couples celebrating their love a bit differently than in years past – after all, you can’t get away with just taking your significant other out for dinner and a movie when we’re all in lockdown.
Earlier this week we put together a list of recommendations for a lockdown V-Day, and clueQuest’s love-themed addition to their Print+Cut+Escape line, Mechanics of the Heart, was top of the list, despite the fact that we hadn’t had a chance to play it yet. As it turns out, our confidence in the clueQuest quality was not misplaced, and now that we have played it, I have no hesitations recommending Mechanics of the Heart, either as a Valentine’s Day activity or just because you want to know what love is.
If you’ve played any of the other Print+Cut+Escape games from clueQuest (or read any of our reviews of them), gameplay in Mechanics of the Heart plays out in pretty much an identical fashion to the previous games from the company, so I apologise in advance for any repetitiveness. First and foremost, this is a print and play game, and while there are pages that you won’t need to print, there are some that must be printed to get the most benefit from them. But, Mechanics of the Heart does have the fewest number of printed pages of any of the play at home games from clueQuest. Accompanying the familiarly styled artwork in the printed pages is the familiar online interface to input answers and progress the game, plus some lovely little videos to progress the narrative as we help MM7 to understand the complexities of human emotion, and most importantly, to know what love is.
But there are some notable, and wonderful differences in Mechanics of the Heart. The game feels as though it was specifically designed to be played as a twosome; whether you choose the game for Valentine’s Day with your love, Galentines Day with a friend, or any other event in between, is entirely up to you, but the fact remains that there are aspects of the game that are made better by having one other to share it with. This is made especially true by the personalised messages that can be hidden throughout the game. It was a delightful surprise to have some of my favourite past times of eating pizza together in our pants or drinking tea and falling asleep before 8 pm worked into an escape game.
Mechanics of the Heart plays out in a relatively linear manner, with distinct sections that must be completed in a particular order, and that become increasingly more challenging as the game progresses. But within each section, there are a few opportunities to tackle challenges in any order – perfect for couples that like to occasionally do things apart, while still being together, or those that want to approach each puzzle in tandem.
Like most of the puzzles in previous Print+Cut+Escape games from clueQuest, the vast majority of the puzzles in Mechanics of the Heart will rely on your powers of observation, but with some extras thrown in, of course, like spatial relations, pattern recognition, a bit of logic, and even some listening (very important in any relationship). One notable difference between previous games in the series and this game, however, is the inclusion of puzzles that are made to be solved as a couple, adding the extra challenge of communication to some of the puzzles (and making them even more enjoyable because of it).
When compared to puzzles from previous clueQuest Print+Cut+Escape games, apart from perhaps Halloween Survival Training, the puzzles did feel a bit simpler, and perhaps a bit more accessible to couples that aren’t used to puzzling together. However, simpler isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Early on in the Print+Cut+Escape series, part of the difficulty was trying to figure out which components were important to which puzzle within each section, but recently there has been some added instruction laying out what pieces will be needed when, and Mechanics of the Heart continues to use this, thus eliminating one level of complication. That, plus excellent signposting within the puzzles themselves ensures that the game is fair and full of a few fantastic “Ah-Ha!” moments. (One word of advice, I do highly recommend you actually read the introduction before clicking the button to begin. We probably would have been stuck for quite some time on one puzzle had I not.)
We did need to take a few clues and solutions for puzzles, but it was normally because of one minor error on our part within those puzzles, which we kept repeating and not because of poor puzzle design. But that does mean that we actually got to take a look at the clue system for you!
Nothing is more frustrating than being stuck on a puzzle, so of course, clues are available to help ensure that Mechanics of the Heart is as stress-free as possible. Clues adhere to the standard of gradual nudges that get increasingly more specific, culminating in the solution, hidden behind a button to ensure you don’t get any spoilers. As we found the puzzles to be quite intuitive, we often found that the clues told us what we already knew, but if you’re at a total loss, they should be just enough to allow you to put two and two together.
I think we could all use a little more love in these trying times, and whether you choose to play Mechanics of the Heart on Valentines Day, or not, the message is the same, and a perfect way to share the love with those you care about.
- Device with Internet Access
- Printer with 19 sheets of paper (or select Print&Post for £25.00/£28.00 with giftwrap in the UK)
- Video/audio conference call software of your choice (remote teams only)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 1hr 5 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.