Not at all ‘Grim’
Once upon a time, a mystery like no other was waiting to be told…
Can you find the truth behind the Brothers Grimm?
Famously known in every corner of the world, the Brothers Grimm were wonderful folklorists, all-around fantastic scholars, and gatherers of fairy tales of all kinds. They collected the curious from every continent. From ocean depths, to enchanted forests. From innocuous little villages hidden in the mountains to terrible towers so tall they eclipsed the moon, the Brothers Grimm have a tale to tell on every account.
Their stories are retold a thousand times, celebrated across the globe. Now, a journal filled with notes of the brothers has been found. Archivists and translators are all clamoring to be the first to publish their missive. Somehow, the journal has found its way into your hands and this is your chance to decipher the incredible pages of stories and drawings within. If you won’t do it, someone else will and receive all the credit!
Just over two years ago, Gord and I embarked on our first full weekend-long escape binge. The chosen location for this was The Panic Room Gravesend since we were able to squeeze in 11 games, and still have several leftover for a second trip another day (we didn’t want to overdo it our first time out). Of course, anything like that would be out of the question at this moment in time, but The Panic Room’s play at home options are just as plentiful as their live games, with a plethora of digital, print and play, and puzzle book options to choose from. I think it’s safe to say that there’s bound to be something that will appeal everyone from The Panic Room Online.
Our first encounter with the puzzle books from The Panic Room was The Exorcism of Isabelle, although we played that prior to its release in book format as a print and play PDF, and we were pleased by the puzzles, and impressed by the potential for the format, so we were looking forward to The Book of Grimm. One thing all of the Panic Room Play at Home experiences seem to have in common is an introduction video to set the mood, and with the conclusion of the video we loaded the (optional) atmospheric soundtrack and set about learning the secrets of The Book of Grimm.
The puzzle book is presented as a spiral-bound notebook in full, glossy, colour on quality paper, however, The Book of Grimm is one of the few puzzle books that can also be purchased as a print and play PDF if you prefer. While the gameplay is unchanged whether you opt to print yourself or choose the puzzle book (we think), having the physical book lends some weight to the back story of this being the brother’s journal. Unsurprisingly, the Book of Grimm is filled with familiar characters and fairytale stories – we are, after all, talking about this being the Grimm Brothers’ journal. But never fear, even if you have no experience at all with the writings (or cinematic adaptations) of the Brothers Grimm, the puzzles and translation of the journal are possible without any outside knowledge. Which is probably just as well, since the Grimm fairytales in their original form are actually rather grim, and this is a family-friendly activity.
More often than not, we’ve found play at home experiences, be they digital, boxed, print and play, books, or anything in between, the vast majority have a relatively linear structure. There are some notable exceptions to this of course, and The Book of Grimm is one. The game structure is completely open, with puzzles that could be solved in any order. Of course, the structure presents its own challenges, and it’s quite easy to feel overwhelmed when you first crack open the covers.
Quite easily one of the most difficult tasks within The Book of Grimm is simply knowing where to start. The online answer entry portal does offer some guidance at least, by giving some indication as to what you might be looking for, and also changing colour when the correct answer is inputted. But once you’ve found a starting point, the variety of puzzles within the pages will keep your puzzle brains going for quite some time, and will test many of your senses. Pattern recognition, translation, spatial relations, and a bit of logical and lateral thinking will serve you well as you make your way through The Book of Grimm. Observation is key, and while there is plenty of excellent signposting throughout the pages, some things may have you scratching your head for quite some time.
The puzzles we discovered in The Book of Grimm were a bit of a mixed bag. Some were a total delight to solve: tricky, but clever in their execution, with multiple layers of complexity. Others were an exercise in frustration. One, in particular, I still can’t figure out, despite the signposting, knowing the basic concept of what needed to be done, leaving it and returning to it with a clear head multiple times, handing it off to Gord to solve instead, and even taking the hint for the final solution and attempting to reverse engineer it. But I guess that’s what the clue system is for!
A play at home game isn’t really complete without a way to get a bit of help if you need it, and The Book of Grimm is no exception. The clue system mirrors that of The Exorcism of Isabelle, Frankenstein, and I’m sure every other Print and Play or Puzzle Book experience from The Panic Room, by offering a separate webpage with a clear list of the puzzles and a series of gradual clues for each one, which are hidden until clicked upon. Hopefully, this would be enough to get wayward players back on track, but thankfully, the help page also offers the solutions in the event you are unable to make any progress, even with the hints.
Escapers looking for a tangible play at home game that won’t break the bank and isn’t an Exit box would do well to look at the range of Puzzle Books from The Panic Room. The Book of Grimm had some solid puzzles and kept us entertained for well over an hour, while providing a nice dose of nostalgia for some favourite childhood stories.
- Device with an internet connection
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 1hr 16mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.