Review – Chapter 1: The Custodian’s Keys by the Curious Correspondence Club
Website Link – https://www.curiouscorrespondence.com
Price – $21.95 for a single chapter ($19.95 for a monthly subscription or $199 for the complete for first season)
Disclaimer: we purchased the game with our own money, this review is not sponsored. All thoughts are our own.
Confetti purchased Chaos the entire Season One Boxset of The Curious Correspondence Club as a birthday gift. There is a lot there, so we decided to dip our toes in with the first chapter. This review will solely be focused on “Chapter 1: The Custodian’s Keys.” We plan to eventually come back with more thoughts when we hit the halfway point (through case 6) and again when we complete the entire season (through case 12).
The Curious Correspondence Club aims to provide players with an ongoing, episodic puzzling adventure. Each chapter of their larger quest hopes to recreate the escape room experience for players, mixing puzzles and physical clues.
The contents of each chapter’s packaging contains paper clues and papercraft. These components will be used to solve the mystery. Players will also be given a website for answer entry and hints, if needed.
The premise of the first chapter has players looking to unravel the secrets of a museum, deciphering the clues left behind in exhibits, and trying to figure out what is going on with the mysterious custodian they meet.
The club sells their games through a subscription service, as single chapters, or as bundles (like whatConfetti bought for Chaos).
Having already gone all in on season one, the first twelve chapters, of The Curious Correspondence Club, we definitely hoped that the game would deliver. The packaging of the larger set and the individual chapters gave us confidence that we were entering into an experience put together with care and quality.
The story of “The Custodian’s Keys” sandwiches the actual puzzles of the game. Players will be given the narrative premise behind their adventure to begin and then get the wrap up once they’ve successfully put the clues together. The story is intriguing and easy to follow, but also clearly the beginning of a larger tale. If this was the only chapter a group ever got to play, they would still get a complete adventure, but it would be hard not to want to know where the story goes next.
As we’ve stated in previous reviews, we appreciate when games put in little touches to help appropriately set the mood for experiences. This game came with a Spotify playlist to help immerse players in the adventure. Big thumbs up for touches like that. (However, please make sure you actually play their soundscape and don’t accidentally hit your own liked-song list. We were confused for a song or two, when the vibe was very indie-feel good-pop before finally realizing our mistake and switching to the provided playlist, getting the appropriately mysterious, and spooky soundtrack instead.)
The game’s puzzles are well designed and definitely challenging. The company claims that the puzzles are appropriate for ages 12+ to solve individually. We question that claim. While we think the puzzles’ content and accessibility are appropriate for that age group, we also believe the actual puzzle solving might still be a bit too challenging for younger teens by themselves.
The puzzles are very doable and solvable, but clues and guideposts are well embedded into the fabric of the components, truly leaving players to figure out a lot of steps for themselves. We enjoy a good challenge, but even we had to take a step back and really think things over a few times. Our journey required a lot of trial and error, patience, and solid thinking. Even when we knew what we should be doing, sometimes we had to figure out exactly how the game meant for us to do it. For the first chapter at least, The Curious Correspondence Club, feels best suited for at least somewhat experienced players or those who are looking for a challenge.
Upon reflection, the puzzles make perfect sense and the solutions feel obvious in hindsight, but they still took work on our end to be solved. We did check out the hint system once to verify a thought and then gave it a more complete once over after we completed the case. The hint system is serviceable and will give you the answer if that’s what you need, but the incremental steps along the way didn’t seem the best laid out or explained. This is one area we hope to see growth in.
Wrapping up the first chapter, we are very curious where the story will go and what kind of further puzzles the club will provide us. The first chapter was a very solid experience, and if this is this product’s starting point, we’re excited to see where they go from here. There is definitely potential for growth and refinement, but already, The Curious Correspondence Club is proving to be a worthwhile venture. Even if we hadn’t already invested in the full first season, we would still probably be looking forward to seeing what the company offered next and giving the second chapter a try.
The Official C&C Rating:
Overall Fun: 3.5/5
Final Averaged Rating: 3.7/5