Review – The Crate Gotham Challenge by The Great Gotham Challenge
Website Link – https://info.ggc.nyc
Price – $86.50 for a team of 4 (1 crate included)
Disclaimer: we purchased the game with our own money, this review is not sponsored. All thoughts are our own.
The Great Gotham Challenge is a company that puts out large scale immersive events which have teams racing against one another through a series of puzzles. Their challenges look to test the mind, bond teams, and teach about both culture and history.
The Crate Gotham Challenge was their end of 2022 holiday challenge. While this actual challenge is over, we hope this review will give readers a taste of what The Great Gotham Challenge offers and helps them decide whether they would like to sign up for a future challenge.
After selecting our date and paying for the experience, we were mailed a box that held components we would need to complete the challenge. We were specifically told not to open the box until we got the go ahead from the hosts. The “Starting Line” event took place over Zoom, where the rules were covered and the race began.
From there we had to use a mix of physical and virtual clues to solve puzzles and enter their answers into a web-based answer site. The event then ended with a wrap party several hours later.
While the challenge was marketed as being appropriate for ages 13+ and requiring 3-4 hours to complete, teams have beyond the original time frame to complete the challenge. However, any team that finishes within the first 24 hours does get their name officially submitted on the ranking list.
* Our overall time spent on the experience was around three hours (maybe a tad more), but our submission time was longer due to us starting the experience and then finishing it the next day since we had a New Year’s party to attend. Picking the experience back up was easy and there was no issue or penalty for the break, beyond a slower submission time.
The Crate Gotham Challenge is our second experience through The Great Gotham Challenge (our first being Post Haste during Dec. 2020). We really enjoyed our first adventure and highly anticipated this one as well.
The level of effort that The Great Gotham Challenge team puts into their work is obvious from the puzzles to the components to their efforts to immerse players into the experience. We appreciate their attempts to make this puzzle box feel like an event by making it a race (though a low-pressured one) and holding starting/finishing line calls that remind players that this is a shared experience.
Instead of a traditional puzzle experience narrative (art heist, haunted house, etc.), The Great Gotham Challenge uses their time to try and educate audiences while still providing clues. Interwoven with each progressive puzzle is some historical and cultural background. With The Crate Gotham Challenge, we learned a lot about a number of winter time holidays and celebrations, their backgrounds and the formations of their traditions. It’s a lot of information to process while also sifting through it for potential clues, but it is a neat concept that hopefully helps participants feel a bit more mentally nourished.
The puzzles and their required components are top notch. The types of puzzles varied greatly and we got to utilize a few cool elements along the way (sound, flame, liquids, etc). The event wanted to hit players with wow-moments a few times and they delivered quite a bit.
As for the actual puzzles themselves, they range in difficulty, but they can get pretty challenging. Most of them we could figure out with some thought, but some took us a while to work out and we did use some hints. The hint system is accessible from the answer page, but there is a time penalty for using hints in order to make the race more fair. However, the time penalty does shrink the longer a team spends on a puzzle. The hint system is progressive but will only charge teams for the level of hint they needed.
A couple of the answers or steps to get to answers felt a little stretched or based in logic we don’t think we would have ever considered ourselves, but that could just be our faulty thinking or maybe it would not have been an issue if we had a couple more people to add different perspectives. There were also a few elements such as a puzzle that needed AR, which are not our favorite no matter which company is using them (we tend to struggle with them), however, those weren’t enough to take away from the overall enjoyment of the experience.
We also appreciated that the design team tried to implement a bunch of components that may be useful after the game or at the very least might become cool souvenirs.
The Crate Gotham Challenge is definitely an experience built for those who not only want puzzles but also want the puzzle solving to feel like an event. We would recommend trying out one of their experiences if you get the opportunity. We know we will be going on another Great Gotham Challenge curated adventure at some point in the future (we just need them to announce their future dates first).
Official C&C Rating:
Overall Fun: 4/5
Total Averaged Rating: 4/5