Society of Curiosities – Mysterious Map Heist [REVIEW]

Mysterious map heist review image

An adventure-filled puzzle hunt with great personality

Played 12 Jun 2020
2-player team
Completed in 30 mins

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One of the drawbacks to playing at-home escape games is that immersion tends to go out the window. It’s hard to be a team of spies defusing a nuclear bomb when you’re in your jammies and you’ve not washed in days.

So this free adventure from Society of Curiosities piqued my interest. The whole premise requires you to be ‘the guy in the chair’ helping the team on the ground with puzzle solving and research.

And as a prequel to their subscription box, it was a nice teaser for their other offerings.

Premise

Dear Society Member,

An item that might be of interest has come into our possession. Our curators have dated the source book to the early 18th century, most likely French given the paper and bindings.

We need you to crack the cipher so we can decrypt the entire journal. Coded messages are of the utmost intrigue to our society as I’m sure you know.

Theme/immersion

+ Interaction with the text bot felt natural – aside from the fact that every text message started with variations of “Hi! Pip here”, I could believe that I was speaking to a real person.

+ The immersion in this game was well done. Sifting through multiple websites to find clues and have our ‘team on the ground’ interact with physical objects on our behalf made us feel like historical detectives.

+ The various bits of digital ephemera are accessible – all written documents have transcripts beneath them, and high-resolution versions of images are available to pore over.

+ One part of the game had a real-time mechanic, which helped ramp up the tension a little as had to wait to get a certain object.

Puzzles and signposting

+ The puzzles in this weren’t all that challenging, but they were fun to play. There were some ciphers, some deduction and a bit of virtual searching.

+ Signposting was done well – on the whole you had the right tools at your disposal and could solve the puzzles without needing any prior knowledge.

– The opening puzzle might be bit of a steep learning curve if they’re not already familiar with well-known decoding mechanisms.

Free Adventure - Society of Curiosities

Hints and overall experience

+ The game uses a graded hint system that gives you plenty of opportunity to figure things out yourself before getting the solution

+ The debrief at the end went through the game step by step (in character) to make sure all players knew how each puzzle was solved.

~ One of the websites required a login that we assumed was the same as our login for the game. Only after getting a little further in the game did we realise we needed something else.

~ It’s one of the more relaxed puzzle games we’ve played in a while, partly owing to it’s soundtrack. This wasn’t a race against the clock to find the gold before the bad guys did. It was a welcome change of pace.

In summary

Mysterious Map Heist was a fun and well-crafted interactive puzzle hunt that served as an excellent taster for Society of Curiosities’ subscription box. Highly recommended!

Mysterious Map Heist
Designed by
Michelle Rundbaken and Yacine Merzouk
Cost: FREE
Players: 1-4
Age: 12+
Duration: 30-90 mins
Requirements: Access to Internet, mobile phone you can use to send/get text messages

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