A creative and fun adventure that’s perfect for history fans
Date played: 4 December 2020
Team: Jamie & Mim
Time to finish: 1hr 47mins
It’s no secret that if an escape room is themed around ancient history, you’ve got my attention straight away.
And the same is true for play-at-home games. When I saw that The Lost Knowledge from The Enigma Fellowship had a blend of cultures from ancient history, I couldn’t say no.
Prof. McEwan, a renowned archaeologist, is missing.
His research group thinks he may be in danger. He was searching for a lost artifact of great significance. The Enigma Fellowship has been engaged to locate him and help solve his quest.
Can you solve the mystery of his location before something untoward happens to him?
If you find him, can you help him overcome challenges of a lifetime and rediscover the lost knowledge?
Theme: Believable story grounded in research
As a history geek, this ticks all my boxes.
The story reminds me a little of the good bits from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (there are no fridges, ropey CG monkeys or lazy alien plot twists in this, don’t worry!).
You’re on the trail of a missing archaeologist who’s uncovered something that changes everything we know about history and ties together multiple ancient civilizations. The kicker for me was that a lot of it is very much grounded in reality and research.
Most themes of this kind have you as a treasure hunter or someone trying to break a curse. While those high-stakes adventures are great, it was really refreshing to have a game where the stakes were more believable.
Enigma Fellowship manage to capture the essence of an escape room through a series of nested gates.
When you open up the package you’re presented with some postcards and email transcripts and two ‘locked’ folders that can only be opened once you’ve found the right codes.
And within those folders are ‘locked’ folders representing you going into an office and finding a locked safe, for example. The componants are simple – largely paper-based – but there’s a fair amount of content.
The online componant to the game gives you added narrative in written and audio,almost like you’re taking part in an interactive novel.
Though I enjoyed the narration and storyline, there was a lot of it. We ocassionally found our attention wandering to the next puzzle while we listened to the story being played out, eager as we were to keep solving.
Puzzles: Creative and diverse puzzle set that also teaches you a thing or two
There’s a solid puzzle mix with a range of difficulty levels. The opening half of the game largely had puzzles we were familiar with, so weren’t overly challenging. But the second half ramps that up and has some pretty clever and unique puzzles that were quite satisfying to solve.
There’s a mix of searching, wordplay, pathfinding, translation and logic puzzles. There are a couple of multi-step puzzles that were most enjoyable – this was when both of us were properly collaborating and were in sync with one another.
The game plays to the strengths of the theme and includes puzzles that are entrenched in the culture and languages of various ancient civilizations. It’s rare when playing a puzzle game that I’m able to say with and degree of certainty “I learned something!”. If you’re a history buff, you’ll get a kick out of solving these.
The puzzles were well signposted on the whole, though ocassionally we we were thrown by the wording of one or two of the puzzles that led us to a few false starts in solving. A bit of common sense applied to the clues sorted us out, though.
Some of the solutions were specific to the cultures talked about in the game e.g. Egyptian names or Aztec gods. This meant that we couldn’t be certain that our answer was correct since they were words we were unfamiliar with and it lots that degree of confirmation when we solved some puzzles.
Hints / experience
We used a a few hints, mostly in the second half. The hint system is graded so we were able to pick up where our brains had initially failed us.
Although we still timed our game (we’re nothing if not competitive!) we played the game in free play mode, which let us play at our leisure.
The game also has a Timed mode, limited to two hours and has a ‘virtual gamesmaster’ – an embedded video with accompanying soundtrack that gives hints at timed intervals. This is something I’ve not come across before with a play-at-home game and could be useful for the most competitive among us.
The game’s ending was satisfying and also hinted at more puzzle games set within the same theme – the way it concluded kept the world open for more adventures in the same vein.
Summary: A fun adventure for history fans
I see this being a great game for fellow history geeks like me. While the historical references were lost on my teammate, I revelled in them. I even called dibs on anything Egyptian-related as soon as it came out of the dossier.
There aresome clever puzzles and a nicely-woven story to this game that’ll entertain and educate you a little too. I’d recommend this game for fans of history and ancient cultures, or those who want a refreshing twist on the treasure hunter puzzle adventure.
The Lost Knowledge
Designed by Anuj Sehgal and Orsi Sehgal
Cost: $22 (convert to GBP)
Duration: 120 minutes
Requirements: Phone or computer with internet access, pen and paper for taking notes.
PLAY THE LOST KNOWLEDGE
If you play the game, let them know that you heard about them from Armchair Escapist!
Disclosure: We were offered a complimentary game for the purposes of writing a fair and honest review. This has not affected our opinion of the game whatsoever. Check out the disclosure policy for more info.
Image from Enigma Fellowship