A brand-new collection on Kickstarter.
On September 28, 2022, EscapeWelt launched its Kickstarter campaign for its limited edition Force of Elements Puzzle box collection. Returning readers may remember the review of EscapeWelt’s House of the Dragon puzzle that we posted in May this year. I was glad to find that the company also wanted our opinions on their latest collection of puzzles.
Founded in 2020, EscapeWelt is an escape room company based in Leipzig, Germany. As the Covid-19 pandemic made it unsafe to visit quest rooms, co-Founders Egor Volvitch and Ilya Konotopchenko decided to reach their clients in a new and more dynamic way—producing handmade Birchwood puzzles that “reflect real scenarios from the quest rooms”. So far, EscapeWelt has sold upwards of 200,000 individual puzzles all around the world.
The ExcapeWelt team sent me the Quest Pyramid and Fort Knox pro puzzles in their “Flaming Sand” and “Ice Glass” versions, respectively. The puzzles are half of the four-piece collection of limited edition plexiglass puzzle boxes.
What’s in the box
- Quest Pyramid puzzle box (Flaming Sand version)
- EscapeWelt player passport
- Fort Knox Pro puzzle box (Ice Glass version)
The puzzle-solving experience
The puzzles are visually stunning! The light reflecting off the plexiglass gives them an almost glowy look, though more prominently in the lighter-colored Flaming Sand version than in the darker Ice Glass shade.
According to the EscapeWelt team, the focus of this collection of puzzle boxes is more rooted in providing an aesthetic addition to your home, along with the entertainment value they provide. The puzzles certainly make for exciting decoration pieces due to their unique design and colors. They would look quite interesting when placed directly under or above a light source.
Apart from being a tasteful decor, the puzzles are also functional. I really liked that there’s a coin slot in the Fort Knox puzzle that allows you to use it as a piggy bank. Anyone trying to break into your little treasury would have to solve all the riddles to get to whatever you put inside the secret compartment.
I had assumed that translucent puzzle pieces would make it easier to solve, as you would be able to see pieces move and slot into the right place. However, that was definitely not the case. The average listed playtime for both puzzles is around 60 minutes. Admittedly, I spent most of the playtime being fooled by the illusion that I was seeing the right pieces move when I was, in fact, not making much progress. The translucence can even be considered a sneaky additional layer that subtly adds to the puzzles’ gameplay.
Regarding the material of the puzzles, the plexiglass is a lot stronger than the original birchwood, so I’m less scared to handle delicate pieces for fear of accidentally snapping them. It also solves the wear, tear and splintering issue we saw with the previous wood puzzles. Pieces of these two puzzles move a lot more smoothly, with little to no jamming.
Things I’m not a fan of
Something that I’m not a fan of, however, is that the plexiglass adds a significant amount of weight to the puzzles. As they have to be lifted and turned in all directions to solve the puzzle, the added weight might make them a bit difficult for certain people to handle. This is especially true in the case of the Quest Pyramid, as it is bottom-heavy in structure.
Also, the translucency of the puzzle makes any debris or fingerprints on the glass very visible, and the moving parts can make some spots hard to reach while trying to clean the puzzle. This is not an issue where the wood puzzles are concerned.
While the Player Passport is an adorable addition to the set, they do not directly contribute to solving any of the puzzles. The small booklet comprises descriptions of the puzzle boxes that make up the EscapeWelt collection: the Quest Pyramid, Space Box, Orbital Box, Fort Knox and House of The Dragon. It also includes some mind teasers, games and a habit tracker as well.
While it is quite cute, the presentation of the passport resembles a children’s activity book, which may not be as appealing to its target audience, where the youngest users (according to the age rating on the puzzles) are about 14 years of age.
The overall experience of solving both puzzles was pleasant and mentally challenging. The complexity of each puzzle keeps the player involved and focused. The plexiglass structure definitely meets the goals of being a long-lasting and durable piece of entertainment. The bright colors retain some nostalgia of childhood toys while still appealing to a more grown-up aesthetic taste. The puzzles would make for attractive collectible items both individually and as a set. We are looking forward to seeing what the company has in store next.
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All Images Courtesy of the author