Review – The Emerald Flame by PostCurious
Website Link – https://www.getpostcurious.com
Price – $75
Disclaimer: we purchased the game with our own money, this review is not sponsored. All thoughts are our own.
The Emerald Flame is a multi-part, narrative-driven puzzing experience about a mysterious comet and the tales of alchemy and power surrounding it. Players will face a large variety of puzzle types and will need to figure out the use of multiple components and items packaged along with everything else in the box.
We purchased the prequel pack which came with two puzzles, and the game itself, which stretched over three chapters and an epilogue. The chapters have players searching for several key pieces of information, using multiple puzzle paths and components. Chapters are meant to last several hours each. While the initial two chapters are stand alone, only tied together by story, you need pieces from the first two to assist with the third.
The puzzles are completely contained within the game and each chapter’s packaging. However, players will also need internet access to submit answers and progress in the story. Answers need to be inputted into a chat system that provides feedback and story notes.
We backed The Emerald Flame on Kickstarter at the Master Alchemist level, so we also received some cool goodies such as enamel pins.
Having heard several strong reviews of The Emerald Flame and having enjoyed some of PostCurious’ previous puzzle experiences, we went into this game with high expectations. Thankfully, The Emerald Flame ended up delivering on a lot of our hopes.
First it should be said that the game is very high quality and a real beauty. The aesthetic design of the game is great and the artwork is very well done. We appreciated that all the materials and gaming components felt high end. Something is really added to an experience when a game is so high quality and that really boosts the potential for immersion in the game’s world. We also liked that we ended up with two refill kits, so we will have the opportunity to share the game with others down the line.
The game’s narrative stayed central throughout the experience, guiding the reasoning for the puzzles, informing what kind of information players would need, and providing motivation for the search for solutions. The narrative and theme never felt slapped on just to give an excuse for puzzling, but instead felt intimately tied into the players’ quest for answers. The puzzles and sought-after answers each made sense within the world crafted within The Emerald Flame. Told mostly through letters and chat, along with some supplemental online resources, the narrative is able to give a lot of information while never getting too bogged down in its own lore.
The puzzles found within The Emerald Flame range in difficulty level, however, we would classify most as pretty challenging. Trying to divide and conquer the puzzles individually, we hit several roadblocks. Once we altered our strategy and began working on puzzle paths together, our united efforts proved a lot more fruitful as bounced ideas off one another. Even without combined efforts, each chapter still fell within the game’s advertised expected time of two to three hours. There is a lot to do in each chapter and the puzzles really do require some solid effort, thinking, and action.
Thankfully, the amount packed into each chapter never feels overwhelming. The Emerald Flame has good signposting, so we always knew what information we needed and what gameplay elements would be required for each puzzle path. We never found ourselves trying to solve a puzzle with the wrong elements. Even if some puzzles took more effort and time to solve, we tended to have a general direction that we were working toward.
We will warn less experienced or younger puzzlers that the puzzles contained here can be difficult. Even as people who have tackled a lot of puzzles and escape rooms over the years, we found the game pretty challenging at points. Thankfully, PostCurious does have an easy to use hint system that is well organized and gives incremental hints to slowly reveal information and nudges if you find yourself in need. We checked the hint system a few times to verify we were moving in the right direction or to give us the initial nudge to get us started after not figuring things out for a while. The puzzles are well designed, but sometimes something didn’t click for us personally, so it was nice to have the support system there to help.
Looking at only the official three chapters, we would rank the second chapter as our favorite, followed by three and then one. Each chapter has unique puzzles and a couple cool elements and components that are put to interesting and often fun use.
Overall, we may personally have preferred PostCurious’ Tales of Ord slightly more, but The Emerald Flame is another strong outing by PostCurious and more than worthy of being played in its own right. We look forward to what they produce in the future, and have already backed The Light in the Mist, which is still available for pre-order through PostCurious’ website.
Official C&C Rating:
Overall Enjoyment: 4/5
Total Averaged Rating: 4.2/5