Finders Seekers: Hawaii

7.1 Overall
Component Quality
Puzzle Design
Game Experience
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Finders Seekers: Hawaii

  • Played June 2020

  • 90 minutes
  • 1-6 players
  • Varying subscription rates
  • Family-friendly

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As members of the Finders Seekers society we’ve been called back to help solve another mystery… this time in Hawaii! Hawaii?!! That’s it, game (and review) done, we’ll take that trip and announce our retirement thank you very much… Wait, what? We have to finish the review and we’re not really travelling to Hawaii you say? Sigh… oh well… Looks like we may have jumped the gun. In this review we’ll examine another in-home offering from our friends at Finders Seekers and see if their Hawaii box matched the incredible experiences we’ve had with other games in this series.

As we’ve come to expect from Finders Seekers, the component quality of their games is impressive. There’s a variety of unique and interesting items within the game box, and as is usually the case, some items can even be used in your day-to-day life after the game is done. In each of our previous reviews from the Finders Seekers series, we’ve always noted the component variety and quality is better than the average in-home escape game, and the Hawaii box continues that standard. The team at Finders Seekers has really paved the way for a new ‘norm’ within the marketplace of in-home escape games, so they should definitely hold their heads high. The only critique we’d have is the amount of paper based puzzles that come in the box. Don’t get us wrong, the puzzles are generally good, and we’ve come to enjoy the way they implement their puzzles in the series. We’re just waiting for that big breakthrough design when the series moves away from mostly paper based puzzles and starts to fully integrate their unique items, with their online interface they use, and have each Finders Seekers box do something different than their previous boxes. You could even say they have the daunting task of having to compete with their own games because there isn’t a lot of competition when it comes to quality and variety in the marketplace yet. Some game designers are slowly catching up, but for now the Hawaii box (and all the Finders Seekers games) are among the better games you’ll find when it comes to component quality.

Whereas our team completely agreed on the impressive component quality of this game, it’s safe to say the puzzles divided our impressions… and for good reason! On the one hand, the puzzles as a whole were really well done, clever as always, and had just the right amount of challenge for a shorter game (in comparison to other games in the series). On the other hand, there was one puzzle (two if you ask some of our members) we felt really missed the mark. We won’t spoil it, but it seems that the intended effect of one of the puzzles didn’t work out quite as planned, and we struggled quite a bit. At first we thought it might’ve just been one of this times we couldn’t figure it out (it happens)… but when we looked it up online we found the frustration we experienced was shared by many (maybe even most?) of the people who also played through the Hawaii box. The online Facebook forum for the Hawaii box had quite a number of people who were just like us, when even after being told how to solve the puzzle, still couldn’t get it to work properly… Ok we’ve talked about that one puzzle so let’s move on and focus on the whole. The puzzle path was mostly linear and well suited for a team of 2-4 people (four might be too many unless everyone understands the need to share and not grab the puzzles for their own observation). Although there weren’t any team building puzzles, they were mostly inclusive so if you keep to a smaller group size, everyone should be able to get involved. Like all of their other location boxes, there’s approximately 10 puzzles in this game. Consistent theme usage was present in every puzzles, and again for the most part we found the challenge and enjoyment level (minus that one puzzle) pretty good. Even though each of our members had a slightly different impression of the puzzles (depending on their level of frustration), it seemed to balance out to a decently average score in the end. It’s fair to say that if you’ve played and enjoyed previous Finders Seekers games, you’ll enjoy Hawaii as well because it feels pretty much like the others, only with a Hawaiian theme.

The immersive aspects of Hawaii provided some ‘bounce back’ for our team and once again unified our impressions of the game. We’ve always enjoyed each theme and educational component of the Finders Seekers series. Hawaii did a great job in teaching us more about the culture, history, and people which added some great context to the game. If you want to know a bit more about Hawaii while playing a fun game this is definitely one way to do it. The story was also interesting, but unfortunately wasn’t developed ‘in game’ which continues to be a missed opportunity for most of the Finders Seekers games. (Side note: Chicago and Tokyo location boxes did a good job of developing their stories within the game, but we haven’t seen any of the other location boxes follow up on that model which is a shame). None the less, we’d still say Hawaii did a better than average job at immersing us into an adventure which we enjoyed. If you’re wanting even more immersion from this game we’d recommend playing some Hawaiian music in the background and making yourself a nice Mai Tai (or virgin Mai Tai for the kids). We’d strongly suggest NOT making your own indoor beach and wave pool however (that part didn’t work out so well for us).

Ok so did we enjoy Hawaii? Yes… but the enjoyment level was different for each of our members and ranged from average to well above average. Again it came down to how flustered each person got with that one (or two) puzzle(s). Nonetheless, we DID enjoy this game, and we recommend it. How did we like it in comparison to the other Finders Seekers games we’ve played you ask? Well, for some of us it’s in the upper half, and as you can imagine for some it’s in the lower half… but we ALL agree it was well worth the play, and we’ve already recommended it to others who purchased a subscription. The game is at its best with 2-4 players, and we’d suggest players be 12+yrs (younger players might enjoy the game but probably won’t be able to participate as much). The game will probably take most people between 1-2 hours depending on the number of players and amount of experience people have with escape room style puzzles. So there you have it, it’s another good game in the Finders Seekers series… go out and give it a try!

We want to hear your thoughts on this game! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

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