Challenging as always!
After a sneaky attack from an unknown assailant, Mr Q is trapped in a coma. With time running short it’s up to Mrs Q and Lord Hammerschmidt to dive into Mr Q’s mind and find a way to wake him up. But they can’t do it without your help!
clueQuest’s first Print+Cut+Escape game, Stolen IQ, was one of the first play at home games we played (if you discount the likes of Exit the Game and Unlock) and the clever puzzles were just what we were looking for to take our minds off the state of the world back in April. Now, as we creep up to nine months since the first stay at home orders were issued in the UK, companies continue to delight the escape room community with new play at home experiences, and we are loving it.
Prison of Memories is a new instalment in the Print+Cut+Escape series, and like the games that preceded it, players can expect exactly that – printing, cutting, and escaping. With that fully in mind, we did all of our cutting earlier in the evening before gathering with our extended team from the before times for a bit of video socialising with puzzles, and set about tackling Part 1.
If I am remembering correctly, the narrative of Prison of Memories picks up where Humanity 2.0 (Episode 3 of the previous series) left off, but there is actually nothing preventing you from playing the games in any order and starting with Prison of Memories Part 1, if you so desire. If you have played any of the other games in the series, you will be familiar with the mechanics of the game, and players can expect a return of the clueQuest styled artwork and online interface that became familiar throughout the other play at home experiences from the company. But clueQuest have obviously been looking at their earlier games and taking opportunities to make improvements to gameplay where they can.
Firstly, including the Title page and the Index Page, the PDF for Prison of Memories contains a whopping 24 pages. But this time around, the Index indicates what will need to be cut. Due to the way things interact, you’ll probably still want to print most of the pages even if they aren’t going to be cut, but this little hint may help those that are short on office supplies/trying to save the environment one piece of paper at a time. Secondly, the games in the series have always been split into chapters, but now, the online interface offers guidance (complete with images) as to which pieces go together for the puzzles within those chapters, cutting out the additional step to the puzzles of where to start. This is also particularly helpful in the event that the cut pieces weren’t kept as organised as they ideally needed to be. Finally, the timer now pauses between chapters to allow players to take a quick break without having this reflected in the puzzle solving time. Granted, we did first notice this change in timeQuest, and it may now apply to the other games from clueQuest, but it’s a welcome addition, just in case players aren’t up to playing in one sitting.
Improvements to the user experience aside, Prison of Memories Part 1 doesn’t deviate from the structure introduced in the first Print+Cut+Escape. The game still has a narrative behind it, driven forward by the videos that are unlocked at various stages. The game is also ideal for both large and small teams thanks to the structure. Yes, it is relatively linear which keeps the volume of content from being overwhelming for anyone tackling the game in a smaller team (or solo), but within each section, there are opportunities for larger teams to tackle individual puzzles before coming back together to progress to the next stage.
I still believe that Alpha Brain System is the most difficult of the games from clueQuest, but one word to sum up the puzzles in Prison of Memory would be “Challenging.” Each of the puzzles was multifaceted, and solutions were never quite as straightforward as they first appeared. But fortunately, they aren’t challenging because they’re unfair, but rather because the puzzles will challenge you to think not just logically, but laterally as well. The introduction of the breakdown of exactly what you need for each puzzle also removes one level of challenge that was present in the earlier games, but this also alleviates an element of frustration or confusion for some players..
In terms of mechanics, the puzzles are sign posted well enough, and a keen eye for detail will go a long way to making the puzzles click. And when they did click, we were rewarded with a nice sense of achievement. Prison of Memories also managed to expand on an element that we noticed in Humanity 2.0 – namely the integration of the online interface into the final puzzle to take us out of the printed materials and make the game truly a multimedia experience.
As Prison of Memories relies on the same online interface as the other Print+Cut+Escape games from clueQuest, it should come as no surprise that clue delivery hasn’t deviated from the initial system first laid out in Stolen IQ. Clues are always available at the touch of a button, and will be delivered in a gradual fashion for the individual puzzles. And if you’re really stumped, you can always get the solution.
We’ve enjoyed all of the Print+Cut+Escape games from clueQuest, and Prison of Memories – Part 1 was no exception, with its clever puzzles and high production value. Now, to patiently wait for Part 2…
- Device with Internet Access
- Printer with 24 sheets of paper (or select Print&Post for £25.00 in the UK)
- Video/audio conference call software of your choice (remote teams only)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 1hr 35 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.