Tag Archives: puzzles

Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment

Mattel Games

You’ve stumbled upon a mad scientist’s lab and been exposed to his experiment–the one that caused him to turn into a werewolf. Lucky for you, he did create an antidote as well, but it’s not that simple. . . . The antidote is locked away, and you only have an hour to solve the clues around the room and unlock the box, or you’ll be stuck as a werewolf yourself!

The basic idea of this is the same as for an actual escape room . . . only you have everything you need in a single package that you can take home and play for the cost of about 1.5-2 tickets into your average escape room. I was actually quite impressed by this game. The scenario was interesting, and the puzzles were appropriately themed. Moreover, the puzzles managed to be challenging while still manageable. You have a lot of that back and forth of one answer tying into another puzzle, plus the whole going through everything you’ve got just trying things to see what works. There’s even a blacklight! We played with 6 players, which worked well, but you can have up to 8 at a time. And bonus: although it would be kind of pointless for the same people to play over again, since you’ll know the answers, you can save everything in the box, print out new papers, and re-set everything for a new set of players (find instructions and more information here). Highly recommended for those who love escape rooms or puzzle games, or for those who are looking for an inexpensive, easy way to give the whole escape-room thing a try.

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The Hollow (2018 Animated TV Series)

Slap Happy Cartoons with Netflix

Status: Complete (1 Season/10 Episodes)

My rating: 3.5 of 5

Three teenagers find themselves waking up together in a doorless room with no memory of who they are or what their lives were like before that moment. An old typewriter on the floor and names written on pieces of paper in their pockets are their only clues–Adam, Mira, Kai. Accepting that these are their own names and that playing along with whatever “game” or “puzzle” is afoot is their only way to escape, the three begin working together, putting their skills to work in the series of ever-stranger situations they find themselves in. And they’ve got some pretty crazy skills to put to work, too! Which makes them have to wonder, who on earth are they? Because normal people can’t do the things they can do, and they’re freaking themselves out.

The Hollow is a show that I actually watched on recommendation from some family members, and while it’s not exactly what I would normally watch, I did enjoy it. But I feel like I can’t properly review it without totally spoiling it, and it’s one of those shows that you do not want to go into with spoilers. The mystery and watching it unfold is a huge part of the enjoyment of this story. And yes, mystery there is aplenty. The what-on-earth-is-going-on factor is on a level that nearly surpasses that of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and that’s saying something.  It’s such a strange mix of genres and themes that I never really felt like I knew what was going on, right up until the end where everything’s explained. It did kind of feel like some of those kids’ stories where each character has specific skills that are suited to specific tasks and everyone fits just so; I didn’t care for that so much, it’s just not my thing, but it does make more sense once you get the explanations. The characters were good, not great, but good. Normal, if you can consider teenagers with superpowers to be normal. They’re relatable, which given the situation they’re in and how you’re supposed to be getting into that, is what you really want. The art is interesting; an animation style somewhere between an American cartoon and, say, A Cat in Paris, at least in terms of the character design. I think the character designs felt a bit inconsistent between characters, like the styles switched somewhere in between them, but it worked in this context. Overall, for those who enjoy having their head messed with and watching an inexplicable mystery unfold, I would recommend The Hollow.

Created by Vito Viscomi/Directed by Josh Mepham & Greg Sullivan/Starring Adrian Petriw, Ashleigh Ball, & Connor Parnall

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Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy

Written by: Noelle Stevenson & Grace EllisLumberjanes Beware the Kitten Holy

Illustrated by: Brooke Allen/Colored by :Maarta Laiho/Lettered by: Aubrey Aiese

Lumberjanes, vol. 1

My rating: 4.5 of 5

At Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hard-Core Lady Types (“Friendship to the Max!”), the counselors aim to inspire girls to gain new skills and face challenges boldly and resourcefully. But one cabin of girls seems to be experiencing more than their usual share of . . . well, strangeness and adventure this summer. Friends April, Molly, Jo, Mal, and Ripley have encountered sea monsters, hipster yetis, and even weird three-eyed foxes in the night that warn them to “beware the kitten holy.” But these brave, determined girls are more than ready to face whatever comes their way–which is good, because they’ve still got to placate their counselor Jen, and it looks like more trouble’s on the horizon.

This first volume of the Lumberjanes graphic novel, Beware the Kitten Holy, was quite the fun read! I didn’t really know what to expect coming into it, but after the fun I had reading Nimona, I was ready for pretty much anything Noelle Stevenson had to offer. Lumberjanes has much of the same offbeat humor and hipster whimsy that I found in Nimona, but with its own quirks, for sure. This graphic novel is set up as though it were a guide for those attending the camp, with each chapter beginning with a page describing a different badge–all rather stuffy in a funny sort of way. Then the rest of the chapter bursts into the crazy fun adventure in which the girls do something that would lead to their earning said badge–usually not in the ways originally intended by the camp leaders. The stories are fun–exciting, adventuresome, and quirky. There’s a noted penchant for each chapter requiring some particular skill to be used or some puzzle to be solved for the girls to proceed safely–and the way in which the girls are able to pull from their individual gifts to answer these challenges is very reminiscent of tales like The Mysterious Benedict Society, I must say. The characters are amazing; they have strong but believable and interesting characters that totally leapt off the page. Very fun. The art is dynamic and drew me in instantly as well. Surprisingly, although I found this in the young adult section of the bookstore (and I think it would be a blast for young adults to read), the contents of the story almost seem more geared for middle-schoolers. In any case, it’s age appropriate for younger readers, although I think older readers would greatly enjoy Beware the Kitten Holy as well. I’m delighted to see where the story goes from here.

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