A Print & Play that you don’t need to print to play
On a hiking trip in the forest with your friends, you are suddenly caught by a heavy hail storm. You run for shelter in a nearby, empty wooden cottage. Once inside, you think you can relax, but soon you hear mysterious sounds outside. And who left that note on the table…?
Before going any further I should point out that we have classed this as a print and play, as technically it is, but we played it without printing anything and just used it directly from the PDF file, so if you don’t have a printer, don’t let that stop you from playing.
Anyway, we’ve had a copy of Cottage in the Woods in our ‘to-do’ pile for much longer than we would like so we decided to have a binge weekend where we caught up on a number of games that we had been meaning to play. I think this was number four of seven for that weekend.
I’d never actually heard of Wacky Wheels prior to this game and you’d be forgiven in wondering what their name has to do with escape rooms. Well, they are different than most in that they organise ‘escape road-trips’. From what I understand this is exactly how it sounds, an escape room mixed with a road trip, sounds like a winner to us! When the pandemic hit, they obviously had to rethink their game plan and have since moved online and have a few play at home games ready to go.
Without needing to print anything, we sat down at our laptops, shared the PDF file between us, and then embarked on our journey to the cottage in the woods (from the comfort of a very comfortable couch).
Like I said, this is a print and play but can be played without printing anything. If you do decide to print the document then it will be very heavy on ink, but they’ve also done a print-friendly version if you want to go halfway between printing and not printing.
Although most of your focus will be on the PDF document (or printed pages), there is also an online portal that you need to use to enter your answers and see your ranking.
Speaking of rankings, that is where this game is a bit different to most as you can see your world ranking as you play. This certainly added some extra fun to the game and I’d guess this is something they’ve taken from their road trip games.
One very big thing to know about this game is that it is heavily story led, so if you’re not a fan of reading then this probably isn’t the game for you. Of course if you love games that are bathed in story then this is the game for you. Think of Cottage in the Woods as a story book with puzzles.
Cottage in the Woods is 100% a linear game as solving one puzzle will lead you onto the next. That’s not to say you won’t be flipping back and forth between pages, but you’ve got to solve the puzzles in the order laid out.
The puzzles you’ll encounter are a mixture of wordplay, spatial awareness, logic, decoding and, in a way, searching. It’s worth noting that colour played a big part in some of the puzzles so if you have team members who are colour blind they could struggle a bit.
The game is mostly self contained and everything that you need is in the document, however there may be some outside knowledge or Googling needed for one or two questions.
I think the main thing we didn’t get on with in Cottage in the Woods was the clue system. I see why they made the choice they did, but we found it was rather limited in how helpful it was.
The reason the clue system is limited is because it is linked to your final score. If you take a clue on a question then the total score you can achieve for it is halved, if you get it wrong, then you get no score even if you then get it right.
The problem we found was that there was only one clue per question, and it wasn’t particularly helpful. So if the clue doesn’t help, you can either guess or you have to move on without ever knowing the answer. As we’re completionists it was painful to us to have to finish the game without knowing the answer to a question.
If you’re the competitive type then you’ll love the leaderboard for this game. If you’re a completionist then you may get annoyed by the clue system and ‘one chance’ system. We lost points on one question because we didn’t zoom out far enough. The puzzles are fair, mostly, but Wacky Wheels can’t account for our stupidity.
- Laptop/Desktop computer + Internet
- Printer (optional)
- Notepad/Pen may assist in places
- A way to communicate with teammates (Zoom?)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 1hr 40 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.