Perfect for family games night!
Receive three cases – each one an exciting mystery to solve and a fun story to unravel. And this time, it’s an adventure for the whole family!
Delve into the world of The Detective Society, interact with the characters, solve the puzzles and see if you can crack the case!
We’ve been a bit lazy with play at home games lately so it was nice to have a weekend away where we could sit down and give some of our ever-growing collection a go. We were having a lovely and relaxing break at Center Parcs and had taken a few games with us. First up was Emerald Flame which was a very very heavy puzzling session, so we really want to play something a bit lighter. Fortunately, we had packed The Detective Society: Family Adventures.
The name is a bit of a give away here, but this game is designed for families and perhaps more inexperienced puzzlers. It’s great to see companies targeting this sector of the market and doing it so well. We’ve been wanting to introduce our niece into escape rooms but up until this point hadn’t found anything that would suit the bill, but I think we now have.
We tried to play this collection of games at Center Parcs but with the quality of wifi there we got nowhere and had issues even loading the video introduction to the first. So instead we played this as soon as we got home and back to civilised wifi speeds.
Although this is technically three individual games, we’re grouping it into one review as all of the fundamentals are the same, the only differences are the story and puzzles. The three games contained in this pack are;
The Missing Potion
“Professor Errol has lost his invisibility potion and needs your help to get it back before everything starts to disappear!”
Time Travel Trouble
“A time travelling clock has been stolen from a museum, and four of its artefacts have vanished from history. Can you work out who is responsible?“
The Smashed Piñata
“Gavin has had his birthday piñata smashed and you need to find out who did it! But the biggest mystery you need to solve is why…”
As you can probably guess from the titles and descriptions, these are games aimed at all ages and there’s nothing here that is likely to give any younger players any nightmares.
With paper and pencil handy, we finally sat down to play these games. We decided to play one after another but if you were playing as a family you could easily make three nights out of this and spread out the fun.
Each game came in its own self contained box (within the main box) which made it easy to avoid cross contamination between games. Although the game is self-contained, you do need to access the internet in order to be able to play it – we tried with weak internet and really struggled to get it to play any of the videos. We also found that it worked better using Chrome rather than Safari.
When we say everything you need is in the box, or on the website, we mean it. There is no external knowledge needed here, so if you’re not sure of an answer for a puzzle, take a little more time as you do have everything you need.
All of the games are narrative driven and have a good amount of interactivity included. The chatbots and videos drive the story forward and also offer a nice way to hold your hand and point you in the right direction of what you’re looking for, and why.
The Detective Society always comes across as one of those companies who are proud of what they do, and it shows. This is a lovely game that has great production value, both in the physical media and also the digital form. We found that if you were delicate enough with the game, and resisted temptation to draw on it, then it could be passed on (if you wanted to). We used Photoshop for one puzzle to save us writing on something, but we’re weird like that.
None of the games in this pack are overly challenging, but I don’t think they’re supposed to be. As ‘family adventures’ the difficulty level is arguably perfect and I could see this being a great introduction to escape room/puzzle adventures for people who aren’t quite sure how this type of game works. With each mission being very linear there is no chance of getting lost or swamped by information.
The key differences with the games in this set, other than the stories, was the puzzles. So I’ll try and give a little detail about the puzzles in each game separately. We played them in the order on the box but really you could play them in any order.
The Mission Potion
Probably the easiest of the games in the box, but a nice introduction to the types of puzzles you would expect to come across in this type of game; observation, pattern recognition, logic, wordplay, audio, maths and colours. Don’t be put off by maths; it was very simple and shouldn’t challenge anyone too much. I also mentioned colours, but these were done in a very clear way that colour blind people should still be ok (depending on the type of colour blindness).
This game revolved around Professor Errol – in case you didn’t know, there’s a chap named Errol who is rather well known in the escape room world, so I think it’s a safe assumption to say that was a nod to him. That’s not a puzzle, just a little bit of interesting* information (*probably not interesting).
Completion Time: 15 minutes.
Time Travel Trouble
We found this the most challenging of the games, well when I say challenging I mean it took us the longest of all the games. I’m not sure if it took us longer because it was challenging or because there was more content though.
This game again had a good mixture of puzzles; maths (basic), wordplay, decoding, observation, directions, and some searching (digital searching, not so much physical). Thanks to decent signposting in the box, it was easy to know where to start and where to go next so there was definitely no content overload here.
Time Travel Trouble was a bit sneakier than the others, we thought we had finished and sat back, smugly drinking our tea, only to find out we hadn’t finished and there was a little bit more we needed to do – whoops.
Completion Time: 25 minutes.
The Smashed Pinata
In terms of difficulty/time spent playing, The Smashed Pinata fell right in the middle for us, but I think it may have been my preferred game in the pack. I’m not sure why, I just thought the story had the right level of whimsy and the puzzles were enjoyable. The puzzles, again varied, consisted of; logic, observation, colours, audio, riddles and directions.
I could be misremembering, but this game felt like it had the most varied puzzle types out of the three, and that could be why it was my favourite. Although saying that, there was one puzzle which was very simple and we managed to massively over complicate it and make it into our own stupidly complicated puzzle – which obviously didn’t work! Always Keep it Simple!
Completion Time: 22 minutes.
I love it when a clue system feels like an integrated part of a game, and with these games it did. You progress through the game by interacting with another ‘agent’, well it’s a chatbot really, but you know, immersion. The agent would guide you through your mission and indicate what you needed to do next, and once you gave them the correct solution, the story would advance.
If you put in an incorrect response, or needed help, the agent would gently direct you to where you needed to be and offer more assistance to try and guide you to the right answer. Although we didn’t need to request any help, we did test it out later and found that it worked well.
If you’re looking for a gentle introduction to get your family interested in play at home escape rooms, then look no further. The Detective Society: Family Adventures, is the perfect game for family games night and I really do hope they produce more games like this.
We mentioned earlier about ‘Errol’ being a name in the escape room industry, well it’s also worth pointing out that Jamie from Armchair Escapist was a consultant on these games. We’re big fans of Jamie’s and love his work and it’s great to see him getting the recognition he deserves.
- Desktop or laptop computer
- Internet connection
- Notepad for taking notes
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 62 minutes (for all three)
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.