Review: Chasing the Tree of Life – Puzzle box by EscapeThePuzzleBox
Price – $24.04
Disclaimer: we were provided with a free copy of the game in exchange for providing a video of us solving the puzzles. We split the shipping with EscapeThePuzzleBox since the game ships from overseas. There is also a print and play option available on Etsy!
The Puzzle Box, themed “Chasing the Tree of LIfe,” is both a series of puzzles and a unique way of presenting a gift. Along with the puzzles that need to be solved, the purchaser is also provided with a box (22.2cmX15cmX8.8cm), a three digit padlock, and a chain. The idea is for the buyer to put a gift side the box before locking it, so the recipient will need to solve the puzzles to get their reward. The chain is already sized for the box, so purchasers should have no issue locking away the present.
The puzzles themselves are Mayan themed. They pull slightly from the Mayan history and culture. Players will work to decipher the Mayan alphabet in order to discover more about the tree of life and their missing father.
We liked the idea of puzzling with a purpose. Adding an extra layer to the gift-opening process is a great idea. The puzzles come on several sheets of paper that will have players flipping back and forth as they figure out how different pieces of information are meant to come together.
We really have to applaud EscapethePuzzleBox for putting together an experience that hits just right for its intention. While times will depend on players, we found that “Chasing the Tree of LIfe” should take between 30-60 minutes. We finished closer to the thirty minute mark. This is a good length that gives value to the experience without overstaying its welcome when the player may really want to get their gift.
The puzzle difficulty also fits the game’s intent well. The puzzles are marketed as being for 14+, and that seemed right to us. There is an online help system, but we never needed it. The goals were clearly laid out and the puzzles themselves provided a decent challenge without ever becoming too hard. Again, this hits a happy medium between feeling substantial enough while also not being over long/hard on the path towards present-y goodness.
This won’t be a super long and involved puzzling experience, but it’s fantastic for adding a little something special to the gift-giving process. It’s better when you feel you’ve something, so make your friends earn their gifts!
We should note that since someone has to seal and lock away the gift, that means that person will be aware of the solution to the final lock and unable to participate in the puzzle solving fully. In our case, Confetti applied the lock. She was still able to think through puzzles with Chaos, but she did have to hold back on potential information. This is important to know for those who like to do puzzles together, and so those gifting don’t send the puzzle box straight to the recipients themselves.
Official C&C Rating:
Overall Fun: 4/5
Total Averaged Score: 3.46/5