A new collection on Kickstarter.
On September 28, 2022, EscapeWelt launched their Kickstarter campaign for their limited edition Force of the Elements Puzzle box collection. Returning readers may remember the EscapeWelt review house of the dragon puzzle which we published in May of this year. He was pleased to discover that the company also wanted our opinion on their latest puzzle collection.
Founded in 2020, EscapeWelt is an escape room company based in Leipzig, Germany. As the Covid-19 pandemic made visiting quest rooms unsafe, co-founders Egor Volvitch and Ilya Konotopchenko decided to reach their customers in a new and more dynamic way, producing handmade birch wood puzzles that “reflect real scenarios from the quest rooms”. So far EscapeWelt has sold over 200,000 individual puzzles worldwide.
The EscapeWelt team sent me the search pyramid Y Professional Fort Knox puzzles in their “Flaming Sand” and “Ice Glass” versions, respectively. The puzzles are half of the four-piece collection of limited-edition plexiglass puzzle boxes.
What is in the box
- Quest Pyramid Puzzle Box (Flaming Sand Version)
- EscapeWelt Gamer Passport
- Fort Knox Pro Puzzle Box (Ice Glass version)
The experience of solving puzzles
The puzzles are visually stunning! Light reflecting off the plexiglass gives them an almost glowing appearance, although more prominent in the lighter colored Flaming Sand version than in the darker shade of Ice Glass.
According to the team at EscapeWelt, the focus of this puzzle box collection is more on providing an aesthetic addition to your home, along with the entertainment value they provide. Jigsaw puzzles are sure to be exciting decor pieces due to their unique design and colors. They would look quite interesting when placed directly below or above a light source.
Apart from being a tasteful decoration, puzzles are also functional. I really liked that there is a coin slot in the Fort Knox puzzle that allows you to use it as a piggy bank. Anyone trying to get into your little treasure will have to solve all the puzzles to get to whatever you’ve put inside the secret compartment.
I figured the translucent puzzle pieces would make it easier to solve, since you could see the pieces move and fall into the right place. However, that was definitely not the case. The average play time stated for both puzzles is around 60 minutes. Admittedly, I spent most of the game time being lulled into the illusion that I was seeing the correct pieces move when, in fact, I wasn’t making much progress. Translucency can even be considered a sneaky extra layer that subtly adds to the puzzle gameplay.
As for the puzzle material, plexiglass is much stronger than the original birch wood, so I’m less afraid of handling delicate pieces for fear of accidentally breaking them. It also solves the wear, tear, and chipping issue that we saw with previous wooden puzzles. The pieces of these two puzzles move much more smoothly, with little to no sticking.
Things I’m not a fan of
One thing I’m not a fan of, though, is that plexiglass adds a significant amount of weight to puzzles. As they must be lifted and turned in all directions to solve the puzzle, the extra weight can make handling a bit difficult for some people. This is especially true of Quest Pyramid, as it has a very heavy build.
Also, the translucency of the puzzle makes residue or fingerprints on the glass highly visible, and the moving parts can make it difficult to access spots when trying to clean the puzzle. This is not a problem when it comes to wooden puzzles.
While the Player’s Passport is a lovely addition to the set, it doesn’t directly contribute to solving any of the puzzles. The small booklet contains descriptions of the puzzle boxes that make up the EscapeWelt collection: Quest Pyramid, Space Box, Orbital Box, Fort Knox, and House of The Dragon. It also includes some brain teasers, games, and a habit tracker.
While cute enough, the passport presentation resembles a children’s activity book, which may not be as appealing to its intended audience, where younger users (based on the puzzles’ age rating) are around 14 years old.
The overall experience of solving both puzzles was pleasurable and mentally challenging. The complexity of each puzzle keeps the player engaged and focused. The plexiglass structure definitely meets the goals of being a durable and long-lasting piece of entertainment. The bright colors retain a certain nostalgia for childhood toys while still appealing to a more adult aesthetic taste. The puzzles would make attractive collectible items both individually and as a whole. We can’t wait to see what the company has in store next.
All images courtesy of the author