Thornbright Mansion: Chapter 1 by Envelescape

Review – Thornbright Mansion: Chapter 1 by Envelescape
Website Linkhttps://www.envelescape.ca
Price – ​​$29.99 CAD (~$22.30 USD).

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

Product:

Envelescape’s Thornbright Mansion has players taking on the role of a group of property investigators who become trapped within the mysterious Thornbright Mansion.  Now the mansion’s oddities must be solved in order to get answers and hopefully find escape.

For this review we are looking solely at the first of the three planned chapters for the Thornbright Mansion series since that is the only one that is currently available.  The next two chapters are planned for release later this year, and Envelescape is already working on their next series which will also contain three chapters.

Each chapter of an Envelescape experience comes with a pop-up location and its own standalone set of puzzles.  The chapters can be played individually or as part of a larger narrative.  

Gameplay will require access to an internet enabled device.  The game uses a website for answer submission, story progression, and its hint system.

Thornbright Mansion is marketed for 1-6 players, ages 10+.  Though it claims to take 60-90 minutes, we completed the experience in about 30 as a party of 2.  

Our Thoughts:

Having backed Envelescape on Kickstarter and signing ourselves up for the complete Thornbright Mansion series and Envelescape’s eventual second series, we went in with our fingers crossed for a worthwhile and challenging experience as we tackled the first chapter.

One of Envelescape’s big selling points is their pop-up location and we happily can say that it is a beautifully built component.  Along with the contents of the game’s five secret envelopes, the quality of Thornbright Mansion’s physical elements is great.  It’s obvious that a lot of care went into the design and construction of the pop-up display.  The artwork and clues are easy to work with and clear to see.  We also appreciate that while players should still treat the pop-up with care, it never feels flimsy or fragile.

Our only critique of the physical design elements is that we wish the game had a built in way of propping itself up and holding its two halves together.  This is only a minor inconvenience though, and one we overcame by simply using two binder clips.

The game’s puzzles are woven well into the pop-up display and searching for clues does give hints of what players might experience in an actual escape room.  The puzzles are actual puzzles and will take a little thought.  They do skew toward a lower-difficulty level but are still fun.  

Each puzzle is unique and entering answers into the online answer site is smooth and easy.  We did not need to use the hint system, but it should be easy to access straight from the same online location as the answer site.

As we already stated, this was only the first chapter of the Thornbright Mansion series, so it works as a good introduction to Envelescape’s offerings and to the story yet to unfold.  At its current price point, players get their money’s worth, receiving several puzzles and a wonderful pop-up display.  The game’s shorter length definitely left us wanting more.  We are very interested in seeing where the game goes next, and hope to see chapter two and three in the mail before too long.

Envelescape’s Thornbright Mansion is a fun escape room-like experience that gives players a chance to explore a well-crafted pop-up location.  While the individual chapter is a little on the shorter side, it is still well worth visiting Thornbright Mansion and we look forward to seeing what future rooms hold.  This would be a great game for either players seeking a lower-level difficulty puzzle challenge or a more family friendly puzzle game.  

Official C&C Rating:

Narrative: 3/5 Stars

Puzzles: 3/5 Stars

Overall Fun: 4/5 Stars

Final Averaged Rating: 3.33/5 Stars

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