A museum ticket marked with a curious symbol leads you to the M. B. Franklin Museum of Natural History to investigate six keys, six exhibits, and one strange lock.
You must explore each exhibit and solve the clues to pair the right keys with the right locks. Completing this puzzle will reveal the location of an ancient treasure within the museum.
Will you be able to unlock the secrets?
We’ve had the Curious Correspondence Club games at home for a while now and with life getting in the way quite regularly it took us a while to get around to actually playing them. I must admit, we didn’t actually know much about them other than they came in a very standard and non-descript looking envelope.
The Curious Correspondence Club are Canadian based but their products are available in the UK (and probably other places too). They offer a subscription based service where you can pay monthly or yearly to get games delivered regularly, or if you’re not sure you want that level of commitment you can just buy standalone chapters or an entire ‘season’ box-set. We started off with the first three standalone chapters.
My first piece of advice when you receive your envelope(s), is to open it from the label and don’t use a letter opener – we nearly made this mistake and it would have ruined the beauty of this game. With our opening mishap narrowly avoided, we sat down at the table and were ready to enter the world of The Custodian’s Keys.
Before talking about puzzles or anything else with the Curious Correspondence Club, the first thing that must be mentioned is the quality of the materials. From the envelope to the individual items contained within, everything felt genuine and like an inordinate amount of time had been spent making sure everything was right.
This is a play at home escape room experience but it is also very heavy on the narrative. If you’re not a fan of reading a lot of story then this may not be the game for you, however if you want all the details and want to experience some epic story-telling, then keep reading! If you want even more immersion, then they’ve also put together a Spotify playlist that you can listen to while you play.
As you would expect with a game called ‘The Custodian’s Keys’ this game did involve a set of keys – ok they were cardboard keys, but that still counts. The team at Curious Correspondence Club came up with a clever way to enter your puzzle solutions using these keys, however for us we found that it was a bit fiddly, especially as there was more than one way to interpret how to use them – this led to a lot of frustration and eventually having to check the clue system to make sure we were doing it correctly.
Using the keys correctly was the puzzle that caused us the most frustration but there were a few other areas that caused us grief. I’m not sure if this game just didn’t click with us, or if the puzzles were a little rough around the edges but it would have been nice to see a bit more signposting and clarifications on a number of the puzzles.
Everything needed to complete this game is in the envelope although you do need to use the internet occasionally (mostly for the clue system). As everything you need is in the envelope and available to you from the start, it can feel a bit like information overload – however it seems that the puzzles can be tackled in pretty much any order so if something doesn’t make sense then you can move on to something else – although we found it helped to keep them in order (for our own sanity).
The clue system was accessed by going to a website that you were given upon opening the envelope. This link is also where you need to go once you think you know the solution to the game – so make sure you load it up. If you go to this page in need of clues, you can click on ‘I need help!’ where you will then be taken through to a gradual hint system.
The hint system is broken down by item where you can reveal a couple of nudges and then finally the solution. It wasn’t perfect, but it was enough to get us through the game.
I can’t put my finger on it but this game felt like it was flawed in some way. Perhaps the puzzles weren’t for us, but the system with the keys didn’t seem to work as intended and the puzzles left us feeling frustrated and definitely not wanting more.
Saying that, this game is full of story and the attention to detail on the items themselves was second-to-none. If it clicks for you, then this is an envelope that oozes quality. The video at the end gave a nice sense of closure and once again shows that story-telling is at the heart of everything the Curious Correspondence Club does.
- Internet connection
- Pen and paper for notes (optional)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 46mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.