The Box from the Future

5.7 Overall
Component Quality
Puzzle Design
Game Experience
Users (0 votes) 0

The Box from the Future

  • Played November 2020

  • 3 hours
  • 1+ players
  • $50
  • Good for families

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You hear your doorbell ring and quickly run to see who could be at your doorstep. You’re greeted by no-one, but when you look down you’re quick to discover a foil covered box with a warning, and prompt to go to a mysterious website before you so much as even think about opening it. What could possibly be waiting for you here? A message from the future! With the help of Dr. Milo and his team who claim they need you to help save humanity, you and your team must use the curated items sent to you to help evade a catastrophic future! Having successfully done that (you’re welcome humanity), we at ERA are now ready to dive into the review for Puzzled Escape Games’ The Box from the Future.

Before actually interacting with The Box from the Future, you and your team must visit the chat portal Dr. Milo and his team of scientists send you to first. As such, you rely heavily on this site in order to progress through the game and also meet the team supporting you through your quest. Though the site is extremely straightforward and a bit barren, the chat operates seamlessly and does a great job of guiding your team through the online supplements to any physical components you’re given. Speaking of physical components! Puzzled Escape Games’ provides your team with a box filled with various objects and puzzles that you use almost immediately and continue to use throughout. Though we felt that some of these materials were so great they were almost souvenir-like, some fell short in comparison and were a bit of a disappointing discovery for us. The bulk of this disappointment in materials came from clues that were printed on paper that had become a bit warped throughout their journey in the box, with one of these pieces being almost unusable. Could this issue easily be solved by laminating these pieces, making them hand-written notes, or slightly improving their graphic design? Without a doubt.

Now, when thinking of an actual box from the actual FUTURE, I’m sure it can get a bit hard to imagine what would await you. Thankfully, Puzzled Escape Games keeps this in mind and tries to make this as much of an immersive experience as possible for the player. Could there be a few improvements here and there? Sure! But we’ll dive into some of the positives first! From the moment between receiving our box and accessing the chat portal, this sense of mystery engrossed members of our team and immediately pulled us into the story. Part of this immediate pull was thanks to the fantastic quality of videos coming from the team of scientists you work with, and also the chat that genuinely made it feel like you were in contact with the team the entire time. Though we wished there could’ve been a little more interactivity with this chat due to the pre-programmed responses, so as not to break the immersion, we still appreciated the consistency between them and the videos that would subsequently follow. The overall format of the game also helped the immersion and was clearly very well thought out by Puzzled Escape Games. Without spoiling too much, you’re told very clearly to treat the game as though it were actually happening – and, the good news is that the game creates a sense of realism through the tangibility and flexibility of its mechanics! There’s really nothing quite like feeling involved in something bigger than yourself from the comfort of your own home (or any space!), so this was a touch we genuinely appreciated. Now for some things we thought could’ve used just a bit of work. Though we understood the overarching theme of urgency to save the future, the story felt a bit underdeveloped and we frequently found ourselves being introduced to new, very important characters and plotlines at over halfway through the game. We couldn’t tell if it was an over-use of scientific jargon that was throwing us off from major plot points, or if just a bit more time could’ve been spent setting up the story, but we found ourselves constantly asking why certain things were happening and for what purpose. We also found that though the humour used throughout the videos were fantastic touches that really helped bring the characters to life, sometimes the humour would outshine the actual story and we found ourselves, again, amused but unfortunately confused. This could’ve also been brought into some of the website design, where we felt that the story could’ve used just a bit more work in order to convince us that this game was taking place “in the real world” through the addition of more realistic pages, detail, better graphic design, etc. Overall though, we still felt thoroughly whisked away on our mission and invested in the bits of story we were able to piece together.

You didn’t think a mission to save humanity would be easy, did you? I’d hope not! The Box from the Future is comprised of a variety of puzzles that are immediately thrust upon you and whose solutions are key aids in your quest to save mankind. What our team members genuinely enjoyed about this process were the wide variety of puzzles, and there were a few that really stuck out to us. Though the challenge level was never too difficult, we found that the difficulty gap between some puzzles was a bit jarring. Some were shockingly easy and others were so complex that we were baffled by how we could’ve possibly solved them without using the hint system. But, oh! It was this exact hint system that casted a shining light over any difficulties we did encounter along the way. Though the website the hints were located on was pretty bare-bones, Puzzled Escape Games did a fantastic job of giving the player small nudges in the right direction without giving too much away, and also never leaving the player at risk of being completely stranded. After all, with humanity at stake, who’d want that? Structurally the puzzles were linear, large, and multi-step. While they were used to unveil large chunks of story, which some will certainly find enjoyable, we found that it often made us forget our objective by the time we reached the end of a puzzle. Could this all be personal preference? Absolutely. In fact, we thought that having these chunks in conjunction with the chat feature made it so that any players who felt a bit lost (like us) could easily re-watch any videos from our scientist teammates to catch up. We also found that the structure made The Box from the Future perfect for groups of 2-3, and even families, as it gave everyone a small amount to do at all times in a way that was especially accessible for new players of escape games.

One thing that must be said about Puzzled Escape Games is that throughout our entire experience we were constantly made aware of their phenomenal sense of humour. This brought an immense amount of enjoyment to our time with The Box from the Future. Whether it was the amusing opening note, their comedic videos, their cheeky hint system, or the inclusion of Dr. Milo’s incredibly cute true persona (we won’t spoil it any further than this), we felt absolutely whisked away by the team and it was clear they put a lot of love and passion into the game. Though the inclusion of some closed captions on their videos would’ve also been a nice touch in accompaniment to some of the other minor improvements we thought would help take the game to the next level, The Box from the Future was undeniably enjoyable and we owe a lot of that to The Puzzle Posse!

So, grab your most trustworthy friends and prepare to save the future of humanity (no pressure) and have lots of fun while doing it. Till then, and as always, happy escaping!

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