Society of Curiosities – Madok’s Lost Treasure [REVIEW]

society-curiosities-madok-lost-treasure-review

One of the most immersive and satisfying escape games I’ve played.

Played 6 September
2-player team: Jamie & Mim
Completed in 1hr 38mins (for the main adventure)

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I’m a sucker for a treasure hunt.

And Society of Curiosities had already earned a thumbs up from me when I played Mysterious Map Heist. So the prospect of subscribing to their boxed games was a no-brainer for me.

Imagine my delight when their first adventure – Madok’s Lost Treasure (along with the bonus mailings) arrived once they opened the game up to UK players.

Premise

Our ground teams in France have uncovered artifacts during a recent investigation that we hope will lead us to the fabled treasure of Captain Edus Madok. He and his ship, the BonAncre, mysteriously disappeared in the Caribbean in the early 18th century.

If the legends are correct, we hope to find not only treasures to fill the society’s coffers but a curious item that was stolen from Admiral LeBlanc in 1715.

You will receive a dossier via the post that contains more information and resources. We will let you know when it has shipped.

Theme / immersion

Madok’s Lost Treasure has immersion in spades.

The quality of the materials is excellent – from the glossy, modern magazine pages to the really neat cipher coin you get. I’m a big fan of tactile components in a puzzle game and these pieces felt wonderful to handle.

Society of Curiosities has fully embraced the armchair treasure hunter narrative. Through a mixture media you become the ‘guy in the chair’ directing your excavation team elsewhere. Your interaction with the team is done via text message, and we got a few surprises there that made us go “wait, is this real?!”

One point in the game called for urgency as our team sent us more alarming updates. This ramped up the stakes and gave us a feeling of excitement and adrenaline you rarely see in a play-at-home game.

Puzzles / signposting

The mix between historical and modern elements makes for a wonderful blend of puzzle types that can playto the strengths of their media.

The puzzles are a mix of deciphering, internet research (on bespoke websites so you don’t go into a useless rabbit hole), physical manipulation, deduction and wayfinding.

There’s a great sense of discovery and ‘a-ha’ throughout the game. You’ll be reading an article about flags, then it’ll click that some throwaway line earliery in the game is actually a coded message.

We stumbled in one or two places because we were trying to think like players in a game rather than thinking like actual treasure hunters. Some puzzles use ‘outlside knowledge’ but it’s knowledge that you actively seek out as part of the puzzle flow. It makes you feel smart.

If you want to recreate the Indiana Jones “they’re digging in the wrong place” sense of discovery and euphoria, this game is for you.

Hints / overall experience

We used a couple of hints, which knocked a couple of points off our score (damn!)

The hint system is split by each component in the game so you can focus your efforts without fear of spoilers. What’s really nice is that the first ‘hint’ for anything with cursive text is a transcription for easy reading. This helps maintain the theming and also make the gameplay more accessible, which is great.

What I particularly enjoyed was that the mission comes with a soundtrack (and a recommended Spotify playlist of 20’s jazz) as well as a list of ideas for costumes and themed drinks. If you wanted to make it more of a themed event, they’ve given you all you need.

In summary

This opening adventure from Society of Curiosities is one of the most immersive and satisfying escape games I’ve played. A great deal of care has been taken to make sure that you feel like an adventurer every step of the way.

Playing through Madok’s Lost Treasure, you don’t feel like you’re just solving puzzles. You feel like you’re taking part in a huge discovery, and the interactions with your ‘team’ at the Society only strengthen this.

I finished the mission invigorated and hungry for more adventure!

An Enola Holmes Adventure
Designed by 
Yacine Merzouk and Michelle Rundbaken
Cost: 
$19.50 per month, or $49 every three months
Requirements: Access to internet, ability to send and receive text messages

Get $5 off a Society of Curiosities subscription with code ARMCHAIRESCAPIST