Print and Play Perfection!
It’s the 1930s and your professor has gone missing! Follow his research, discover the mystery of The Lost Temple and save the world! Explore maps, read through journals, decode cyphers, and examine photographs to solve the challenges of an escape room from the comfort of home.
We’ve now completed a number of Print & Play games and generally, a lot of them seem to be similar, not in terms of puzzles, but more in terms of how they operate. When we learned about ‘The Lost Temple’ by CU Adventures based in Illinois, USA, we expected it to be like all the rest, but it wasn’t; it was so much better.
As you would expect, you need a printer to complete this game and without one, you will certainly struggle. CU Adventures have tried to be as considerate as possible and do offer an option where you can pay a little more to have them print it and send it to you. If that’s not enough they even have a deluxe version which includes handcrafted puzzles for you to use. For the purpose of this review, we used the standard print & play option, printing everything we needed at home. And if none of those options work for you, they even have an emergency printer-free version available. It does make some of the game significantly easier, so you won’t get the full experience, but it does mean you can still enjoy the game if you are sans-printer.
The recommended number of players for this game is 2-4, and we played it as a team of two from two separate devices (in the same location). If we wanted to play this game remotely then Zoom would have worked well provided each location had a copy of the printing, just so they can get fully involved.
When you log in, you will have one person who logs in as the game leader, and they are the only person that can actually enter solutions to puzzles; the rest of the team log in as companions. Companions have full access to everything except for entering the solutions, so it enables you to divide-and-conquer. The game should take 1-2 hours, and will save your progress if you’ve had enough puzzling for the day and need to take a break or two and return at a later time.
At its heart, this is fundamentally a print & play game, but where this game stands out is its digital interface. We’ve seen some good games, and we’ve seen some bad, but this was in a world of its own. The printed aspects of the game are needed to help you solve the puzzles and you enter solutions on the digital interface, but the digital interface is more than just a place to enter these codes.
The platform is set up into distinct areas and each area you explore has its own soundtrack and theming that sucked you into their world. It’s hard to talk about immersion in a print & play game, but this game was oozing with immersion. In addition to the atmospheric soundtrack, each time you investigated something new and there was text on the page, a voice would read you what was there (you could stop it if you didn’t want it), like a character reading their memoirs.
This game contained an online inventory so you could collect items and see what still needed to be solved. Once you solved a puzzle it was then moved to a virtual discard pile. Another nice touch was that each of the locks you needed to unlock was shown in this inventory and if you wanted to get back to them, you could just click on the lock and be transported to it.
There was a pretty non-linear structure so you could look around at everything and then work out what you wanted to work on. As you may expect, there was a fair amount of deciphering, but there was plenty of outside-the-box thinking with the documents you had printed.
I don’t really have much to say about the puzzles, they were really very good and well put together. We managed to get through the entire game without using any clues, which is often a sign a game is either really easy or the puzzles are perfect, this was the latter.
You don’t need to be a black-belt in origami with the printed aspects of this game, and the cutting that was there wasn’t actually too labour intensive. You need to make sure you don’t look at any of the pages before you play as that ruins the surprise, so don’t be tempted to do all the cutting before you start – it will also just confuse things.
In The Lost Temple, you can only get clues on pages where there is actually something to solve, so if you’re just looking at a page that adds to the story but doesn’t have a puzzle, then you can’t get a hint. When you do want a hint, there is a very clear hint box and there is no way you can accidentally click on it, as it asks you ‘are you sure you want a hint?’.
We didn’t actually need any clues so we don’t fully know how it would look, although we did experiment by clicking on it at one point. From this experiment, it looks like it would give you gradual nudges in the direction before likely (we guess) giving you the solution so you could move on.
This game instantly goes in as one of our favourite print and play games. The interface was the real star of the show, but it was backed up by a great story and strong puzzles. We have no problems recommending this game to anyone, and chances are we will recommend it to everyone (especially when the price starts at only $10!)
- Computer with Internet
- Glue/Sticky Tape (optional)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 01:57:00
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.