Sod the owls, this is how you deliver a message!
An envelope arrives at your door. You’ve been accepted to Wizard School. But you have one more exam to pass before being admitted. Will you be the next Sorcerer’s Apprentice?
I was 11 when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or as I knew it, HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone) was first published, so needless to say, I was rather disappointed when I did not receive my invitation to Hogwarts. I maintain that the owl just didn’t want to fly over the Atlantic.
But, it’s never too late, and over 20 years later, I am not ashamed to admit that I was delighted when an envelope addressed to Liz and Gord, The Cupboard Under the Stairs, was dropped through the letterbox one morning. No, it wasn’t quite an acceptance to Hogwarts, but we were more than happy to take up the challenge of the entrance exam to Mystery Mail’s Wizard School.
“What is Mystery Mail?” you might ask. I am glad you did! Mystery Mail is a puzzle greeting card, and at the time of publication of this review, there are a total of three games available to be sent, for the grand total of £9.99 (UK postage included). So if you’re not feeling this one, then perhaps A Very Merry Christmas or Catch Me if You Can might be a better option to delight the puzzle lovers in your life.
Of course, it’s not just the game contained within the envelope that your recipient will receive. The premise behind Mystery Mail is that once the puzzles have been solved, the recipient will be able to unlock a personalised message from the sender, be it in video, photo, or just plain text format.
Part of what made the experience of receiving the Mystery Mail so exciting was the quality. The envelope was a nice, heavy paper, and wonderfully decorated, and the card itself is equally beautiful. Although everything you need to solve the puzzles and reveal the mystery is contained within the card, the recipient will also need access to the internet. The experience itself begins with an equally well produced intro video to set the scene.
The puzzles within the card could be tackled in any order, and could be played either solo or as a group. The way things are laid out, it is definitely easier to play solo, but we didn’t, so don’t feel you have to. (Instead, Gord saddled me with a maths/logic puzzle while he went on to enjoy most of the rest of them on his own). Once we had worked out the answers to our exam questions, it was time to input them online, and uncover the identity of our sender…
I’m not sure where to put this, but School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was delightful. It managed to capture a warm, fuzzy, and almost nostalgic feeling. I can’t help but think that if you’ve decided to plan a trip to a magical-feeling themepark (once we’re all allowed out in public again of course), there would be no better way to reveal the surprise than School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The puzzles incorporated a variety of different styles, from logic and observation, to maths and wordplay, with some pattern recognition thrown in for good measure. There was even a bit of actual magic to practice – after all, it is an exam for Wizard School.
If you’ve opted for School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as your Mystery Mail, this game has a lovely feature that will allow the sender to tailor the difficulty for the recipient according to age. There is a version suitable for children aged 8-11, another for those aged 12-15, and finally a version suitable for those aged 16+. I can’t say for certain, and although we can be a bit childish, I’m guessing that we received the version suitable for adults. But whichever version we received, the tasks on our Wizard’s Entrance Exam were quite simply, a bit of fun, and we thoroughly enjoyed solving each one.
Mystery Mail would be a pretty poor way to send someone a message if they were unable to solve the puzzles, and therefore access the message, so, fortunately, the game does come with a clue system to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Clues are provided in a clearly laid out format according to each puzzle as a series of gradual nudges, followed by the solution. It’s a simple, but effective method, and should be just enough to get the recipients back on track to unlocking their message.
Of the three puzzle cards currently on offer from Mystery Mail, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was our favourite and stood out as something special. This card is a completely magical way to tell someone something special (even if it’s just that you miss them.)
- Device with an internet connection
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 16 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.