No lost time here, just good times
The Earlybirds are the youngest ever members of the Supervillain Organization of the World, and now they’ve got their hands on time travel technology! When they make their move, then the timeQuest team are going to need all the help they can get in stopping these juvenile villains, and saving the universe from a catastrophic time paradox!
I should probably start this review by pointing out that this is a game designed for kids**, yet Liz and I played it as a team of two; two fully grown adults – we have no shame. So because this is a kids game we’re reviewing it as if it was its own little sub-category.
We’ve played all three of the clueQuest Print + Cut + Escape games; Stolen, Alpha Brain System, and Humanity 2.0 so we were fully hoping that the same attention to detail that we saw in those games would be present in this one, and it was.
You have two options when purchasing this game, either print at home, or print and post (where clueQuest sends it to you printed and ready to go). We used the print at home option and gave our printer a good workout.
Although this is a print and play game, you do also need a computer with an internet connection as there is an online portal that you’ll need to enter to be able to enter your findings. This online portal is more than just a data entry screen though and this is where the story comes to life.
According to clueQuest this game is designed for ‘younger secret agents’, aged 8 – 13 but really this is a game that would be perfect to play together as a family. As I mentioned, we played this with just the two of us (ages to remain secret) and even then it still kept us occupied for nearly thirty minutes.
clueQuest know what they’re doing, and they know they do it well. It was no surprise to us when we saw the same high quality designs and slick videos. Cleverly, clueQuest know that printing isn’t cheap so they have made their print at home version black and white – this not only makes it cheaper to print but also gives an added bonus that the kids can use it for colouring – two for one! If you choose to have clueQuest send it to you then you’ll receive it in full and glorious colour.
The game is split into three chapters which gives natural stopping points should you need to take a break, and the timer is paused when each video plays and only resumes when you wish to proceed.
As it is a print + cut + play game you will need to cut up some of the paper so you can solve the puzzles. If you’re not confident in the ability of your little people to cut the paper without cutting themselves, then it could be worthwhile having an adult to assist. Saying that, all the cutting involved was straightforward and mostly involved straight lines.
The Earlybirds has a story that I’d imagine most kids can relate to: the desire to eliminate the dreaded ‘bed-time’. The story drives this game forward and the puzzles are intertwined with well made videos that make it a joy to play.
Don’t go into this game expecting puzzle difficulty like their adult games as you would be disappointed. For us, it felt like clueQuest had pitched the difficulty level perfectly for the age group they are targeting. Having played their other games I felt like we had an advantage as we knew how they thought and it didn’t take us long to work out how to use our freshly cut out pieces.
The puzzles involved observation, decoding and some critical thinking but all should be completable by kids. I would imagine that one or two puzzles may require a bit of assistance by adults but then again there’s no guarantee that the adults would get them either.
We did the usual thing of overcomplicating some of the puzzles, but once we worked out what to do then it became clear and some of them were really rather clever.
If your little people get stuck during the game there are three nudges they can take on each puzzle which should get them back on track. If they still just aren’t getting it then they can reveal the solution which will get them moving again.
When you start the game you will notice that there is a timer at the top of the screen to help you keep track of how well you’re doing (perhaps a competition with friends?). Rather kindly by clueQuest, when you viewed videos the timer stopped and didn’t count as your time. When you complete your mission and restore the timeline, you get a nice screen that shows you how long you took. #BraggingRights
If you have kids who want to try out escape rooms (from home), then this is 100% the one you should try. It’s beautifully assembled, with fun puzzles and offers a mental challenge and has delightful physical interactions. Why didn’t this type of thing exist when I was a kid?!
At 24 pages it is rather heavy on the printer and the ink, but being in black and white helps make it a little easier to bear.
**Since publication, timeQuest has been reworked to provide a similar level of challenge and difficulty as the earlier Print+Cut+Escape series. The game should still be a good choice for children aged 8+, but also now an excellent choice for families, or just the young at heart who still want to banish bedtime.
- Device with Internet Access
- Printer with 24 sheets of paper (or select Print&Post for £25.00 in the UK)
- Tape/glue (optional)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players (both adults)
Time Taken: 28 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.