Review: Conspiracy-19 by DarkPark

Review – Conspiracy-19 by DarkPark

Website Link – ​​https://www.darkpark.com/en/

Price – ​​$67.66 (currently on sale for $51.01 as of 5/15/2022)

Disclaimer: we purchased the game with our own money, this review is not sponsored. All thoughts are our own.

Product:

DarkPark’s Conspiracy-19 is an immersive puzzle box experience which will have players looking into suspicious activities possibly connected to a deadly virus that has been spreading throughout the world.  A man hiding in a Russian bunker is asking for your help in finding the truth.  He can only be of so much help right now, but he has mailed you what he has discovered so far.  Will that be enough for you to figure out what’s really going on and to stop the deadly virus before it’s too late?

Conspiracy-19’s box comes with a wide-range of resources and clues for players to utilize on their quest.  The experience will involve more than just standard paper products and printouts.  Players will also need use of the internet since several of the clues will lead to online websites for answer submissions and further information.

The game is advertised for 1-4 players and to last from one and a half to three hours.  With two players, we took a little less than two hours.  

Our Thoughts:

After playing and loving DarkPark’s Never House, we were interested in circling back around to their earlier products. Enter Conspiracy-19.  Knowing this was DarkPark’s first attempt at an at-home puzzle box experience, we went in hoping for fun but also knowing that this might not be quite at the level of Never House.  Designers and artists learn from their past work, so we knew it wouldn’t be fair to expect a game that was quite as refined as polished as their later product.  We ended up being right, but that doesn’t mean that Conspiracy-19 isn’t worth checking out.

The narrative laid out by the game is pretty easy to follow.  There are some revelations to be found, but overall the story stays straightforward enough to keep from ever feeling messy or unearned.  As connective tissue between the puzzles, the narrative works.  However, the story stays pretty surface level with its large cast of characters, so you’ll only get to know them so well.  The story serves its purpose, but players are more likely to leave remembering the puzzles than the story.

Conspiracy-19 offers four puzzle tracks that merge together toward the larger overarching mystery.  The opening letter does a solid job of pointing players toward which paths they should take and what they should be working toward, but also allows freedom of how and when to approach the puzzles.  With only two players, we had no problem sharing the materials.  Thankfully, with several different puzzle paths, this game should be easy for a higher player count to share as well.

The puzzles for this game provided a good variety of action and each path felt unique.  None of the puzzles felt too difficult, but they did all require a decent level of thought.  The different materials and content were well designed and the creators definitely wanted players to get the most out of what was in the box.  The game pieces had some fun and worthwhile interactions.

Overall, we liked Conspiracy-19 as a creator’s first step into the at-home puzzle box genre, especially knowing how their future games are shaping up.  It’s cool to see the evolution of a producer’s design.  If you have the funds, there is no reason to skip Conspiracy-19.  If your budget is on the more limited side though, we would definitely have to recommend Never House more.  However, your interest in viruses or ghosts may be the deciding factor for you.  Either way, you should have a good time.  

Official C&C Rating:

Narrative: 3/5

Puzzles: 3.5/5

Overall Fun: 3.5/5

Final Averaged Rating: 3.3/5

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