Look alive, super sleuths! There’s a ghost haunting Lord Fairmont’s mansion, but there’s something … fishy going on. Or, was that another ingredient I smelled? Either way, gang, it’s up to you to get to the bottom of this one!
*This review is attempting not to spoil anything major for this game. Depending on what you consider a spoiler, proceed with caution*
What Is It?
This is an escape room in a box type game using the new Coded Chronicles system from The Op. Players work together as the 5 members of Mystery Inc. moving around the map and enlisting their abilities (research, eat, use, smell, investigate) to find clues. Just like an episode of the classic whodunit cartoon, they are trying to solve the case and determine if there’s really a ghastly ghost, or who may be under the mask.
Who Is It For?
This game is definitely here to appeal to a large range of gamers, which I love. Any long-time or new fans of Scooby-Doo will adore this instantly because it utilizes the theme spectacularly. With that, I feel that it’s great for kids (we’ll say 8+) and adults alike. I will add though that kids who can read will get more out of the game, as they will be able to narrate some of the passages out of the character books and really get into the story. If you enjoy puzzles/escape room style games, you’re probably going to have a great time with this.
Contents + Quality
In an effort to avoid spoilers as possible, I am only mentioning with specificity the items in the box you can see without opening the envelopes.
The cards and map tiles (which are also cards) are all average quality. The art is the exact style of the classic cartoon; just what you’d expect from an episode of Scooby-Doo. The envelopes are nice quality and the tape came off without leaving a mark, which I am a fan of. The character standees are basically just card quality, and fold out at the bottom instead of going in plastic stands. They are probably my least favorite component, but they’re still okay. The narrative books are glossy paper, and the writing is excellent. They capture the voices of the characters well, engrossing you into the game further. The rules are simple; teach you how to play with no issue. The box is a fine size for what’s in it; it’s one of those with the top attached (that opens like a pizza box). My only issue was the insert because it caused the books to sag in the middle, which gave them a little bit of a curl, which I don’t like, but not the end of the world. All of the hidden components are also fine quality, no complaints there!
- Story/theming is fantastic! Really feels/plays like an episode
- There’s a lot to do with finding clues, solving puzzles, and reading from the narrative books, so it works well with a full group without having anyone feel idle
- No components get destroyed like in some escape room games
- Works for kids, families, and adults all fine – puzzles are not too simple, but also not super brain busting, so it’s a nice medium weight
- There is no app like in other escape room games, nor a game timer, both of which I liked. No timer makes it so you don’t feel rushed, and can really enjoy the exploration and the story. The lack of app makes it so the game is good forever without dependence on technology, and can be shared with others
- Very smooth game flow
- No easy reset instructions included
- I wasn’t a fan of the Scooby Snack tracker being on the back of the rule book, because it made it hard to be able to easily reference a rule if we needed. We ended up just using some other tokens as our snacks
- There are a few typos in the different books here and there, which led to a little confusion, but luckily didn’t affect too much
I’ve played through a lot of the different escape room games out there, as they are one of my favorite genres right now, and this one is top tier! The narrative books really bring you into the story, which I could not get enough of (showing off my Shaggy impersonation was a hit at our table too, haha!). No matter if you have a full group or not, I recommend passing the books around (since no player is a single character, you all play as the whole group) so everyone has an opportunity to read a little from each one. The game is the same every time, so it’s technically a one-time playthrough, but you can share it with others once you play it, or hang on to it and play again months or years later once you forget the answers.
The puzzles are solid, the game plays smoothly as you uncover new rooms and clues, and it’s all around a great system. I highly recommend this if you love Scooby-Doo, or are into these puzzley games!
My Final Ratings:
Overall Game – 8/10
Aesthetics – 7/10
Replayability – 3/10
Difficulty – 5/10
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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