Berlin, Nov 2017
This was a temporary pop-up game and is now closed.
House of Tales’ popup game imagines a world in which Christopher Columbus gave up his ambitions to sail the seas, and instead became a carpenter specialising in boxes. (Okay, there’s a story about it being the storage hold on his sea voyages or something, but as with the other House of Tales’ introduction stories, it was a little longer than it needed to be and perhaps we drifted off a little… Pun intended.)
The game is a sequence of boxes, each with a puzzle of some variety. It’s a simple mechanism but executed well. The puzzles are original enough to keep us interested, and well crafted. The boxes are beautifully made (both interior and exterior) and suprised us a couple of times with their mechanisms.
On occasion we found we weren’t really sure where to turn next. I often complain when a games master points me to the starting puzzle in a game, as I’d really prefer that the game have enough hints in its design to guide me there. In this case, we didn’t really get a good start (through lack of direction and the game boxes not really giving much away), so we were half-heartedly trying to progress each of the boxes until we found one we could do something with.
One other minor burn: We were given a specific instruction at the beginning of the game, to leave a certain item of decoration alone. Sadly, one particular prop fell right into the class of decoration we’d been told to leave alone, and it contained something we needed. A hint led us back to it, but it felt like an oversight.
Those complaints are minor, though. For its limitations (all the puzzles are contained in boxes, all the boxes are visible and laid out at the beginning of the game) we still had fun. The hint mechanism for the game was interesting, as it featured an extra puzzle game that could award us more time (although towards the end of the game we were told that we couldn’t use it again, which seems like an odd time to whisk it away!)
Overall, do play. Especially if you’re looking for a game with no scrambling around or heavy searching.