Worth getting your printer out for
P.I. Larry Maxwell returns in his latest case! Professor Foxworth has been taken from his office in the heart of New York. Follow the clues, secure the research and find the professor before it is too late. Can you save Professor Foxworth in this ‘print and play’ game?
Paradox Parlours are one of those companies who seem to go under the radar, both for their real life games and more recently, their online games. If you happen to be near Guildford or Dorking then make sure you pop by to see them, you won’t regret it!
We played the first online game by Paradox Parlours, ‘The Disappearing Diamond’, over a year ago and we’ve been keeping a close eye on them to see when they released their next online offering. That time finally came, and ‘The Kidnapped Professor’ is what they came up with, a continuation of their Maxwell Mysteries series.
The Kidnapped Professor is a print and play which I know will instantly put off a number of people, but if you can see past this, then it’s definitely a game that is worth playing. It’s also worth noting that if you don’t have access to a printer, Paradox Parlours do offer a printed version so you can just have that sent to you (no excuses).
Liz and I were away in Dartmoor so took this game to play, but for some reason we got distracted and didn’t actually get around to playing it until after Christmas – but it was definitely worth the wait. So on a rainy day, we finally sat down to see if Paradox Parlours could recreate the delight we experienced in playing their first online game *spoiler alert: they did.
Print and Play games are very much a love/hate type of game so I wouldn’t be surprised that you’ve already made up your mind while reading this. Hear me out though; while this is a print and play game but it is very much not heavy with cutting like some other games are. The pages can also be printed double-sided so that will help save a few trees.
Once you purchase the game you are sent a link to a website where you are able to download your copy of The Professor’s Journal (the printed documents). The only issue we found in their last game (which is now fixed) was that you had to print documents as you went along, with The Kidnapped Professor you do all the printing up front. The benefit of this is that if you want to play it remotely with friends, you can print everything in one go and then just get on with the gaming (only nine pages need to be printed).
We played on one device but we did test if it worked with both of us being logged in from different devices, and it did. All we found was that if one of us solved something then the other device still had to enter the solution to progress. If you hit refresh on the other device to make it catch up, you’ll be booted out to the landing page and need to find your way back. But this setup does mean that the team could tackle different puzzles and even different sections simultaneously – although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that, and it might be best to screen share using the online calling platform of your choice if playing remotely.
Although this is print and play, a good portion of the game takes place within the online portal. The portal has the feel and quality that we’ve come to expect from Paradox Parlours, with everything feeling like it was straight out of a film-noir crime film, including some lovely voice-overs from suitably gangster sounding voices.
It looks like everything is on show in each room that you enter, but as you solve puzzles you’ll find that more items are revealed and there are more things you can interact with. Make sure you have speakers turned on (although I’m pretty sure all the audio recordings also had transcripts just to make it more accessible).
Because all the printing is available from the start, one of the first puzzles you’ll encounter is working out what you need, and when. But the printable parts are designed to be the Professor’s journal so it would make sense, at least in terms of story, that the entire journal would be open to you from the start.
We found that the game played out in a linear fashion, where solving one puzzle would then lead us on to the next. Don’t worry too much about seeing the printed documents before you need them, they won’t make sense until you actually come to solve them.
It took us a little while to get started with this game as we needed some time to understand how the online portal and journal worked together. Once we solved the first puzzle we found everything else clicked into place nicely and we somehow managed to get through the entire game without needing the clue system (most unexpected).
The puzzles in this game were clever and fair, revolving around observation, wordplay, maths, logic, audio, pattern recognition, decoding, and communication. It was nice to have such a range of puzzle types as it gave us both a chance to shine and feel like we contributed to our success.
Don’t be fooled by the paper and the early puzzles. Once you get to the final puzzle of the game you’re in for a bit of a curve-ball. The final puzzle will really test your communication skills and patience. It brought back memories of a puzzle we encountered early on in the online escape room revolution, I just can’t decide if they were good or bad memories. One thing is for sure though, this puzzle is challenging until you work out exactly what you need to do.
As I said, we didn’t actually need any clues as we found this game to be logical and fair with its puzzles. So I’m going to go on the assumption that they will have kept the same clue system from the first game (it would make sense as it worked well). That clue system meant that clues would always be available from the NYPD Help Desk and are accessible by clicking on ‘New Hint’ at the bottom of the screen.
If you needed a hint, once you click on that button a little telegram type of message would pop up onto the screen. Clues are granular so the first clue would be like a gentle nudge in the right direction and then they would get gradually more obvious before eventually revealing the solution – just to ensure you can finish the game. I’d assume, that like with their first game, you would be warned that the next click would reveal the solution – just in case you were to click one-too-many times.
We really enjoyed the first Maxwell Mysteries game, but we enjoyed this one even more. The puzzles clicked with us, the printing and cutting wasn’t a chore, and the story and general quality of the game made it an instant ‘must play’ for us.
- Printer and 9 pieces of paper
- Computer with an Internet connection
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 01:43:00