An envelope arrives…
It’s black, with the silhouette of a man on the front, and some strange alphanumeric key on the back. Opening it, you find five postcards. No note, no instructions, no guide, no hints. Everything you need to solve the puzzle is in your hands – can you figure it out?
Wish You Were Here is a puzzle game for one to several players that should take a couple hours. We enjoyed it with two.
The premise – you’re a private investigator and you’ve received this somewhat unusual envelope through the letter slot. Upon opening it you find five postcards. One card offers a greeting, “Hello detective, You’ll not know my name but I know you…” From that message through the rest of the cards you’ll use everything you can think of to unlock the puzzle – from ciphers, code breakers, and translators to research, charts, and trivia. There are no instructions. Everything may be a hint.
And that is as much gameplay as I can give you – anything else might be a hint or spoiler. It’s entirely up to your deductive skills to figure out who sent the message, why, and what their intention might be. Good luck.
I LOVE a good puzzle, and this one is a head-scratcher right out of the envelope. There’s no rulebook or starting place, just the five postcards and an envelope. I’m an escape room and puzzle game regular, so a few things did grab my attention immediately. And that felt intentional – that there were a few easy puzzles seeded to kick off the game.
The game uses a combination of ciphers and codes as well as some trivia, riddles, wordplay, and internet research. I appreciate that more puzzles are including research as a part of the ‘solve’ – it adds to detective/hacker like feel of working through the puzzles.
The puzzles themselves range from obvious starting points to a little twisty. At no point did I feel stuck, and I didn’t consider them deviously difficult. There are a couple that might require some lateral thought and, like the best of this genre, when you do figure it out you’re going to feel quite clever. I know at least once I was struck by how much thought must have gone into a couple of them.
I particularly like that you don’t have to destroy the components to play. In addition to just having the ability to pass this along like a really good book, it’s nice that environmental footprint of this game is low – no plastic, no garbage, no one-shot play. The footprint in general is low – you could easily bring this to a cafe or picnic to play.
Additionally if you get really stuck there’s a website that provides hints. You can ask for help for each of the individual postcards AND each section so as not to have the entire scenario or puzzle spoiled.
If I would have liked to see one thing added it would have to be a backstory. The detective angle I pulled from the original kickstarter – if you simply receive this as a gift (or to review) there’s nothing to provide that, and I missed having that immersion at the start. That being said, I think the Kickstarter page offers too many hints and I’m glad we went in entirely blind (or this might have only taken us 20 mins.) Also, cryptologists will have a large advantage.
Your time may vary. It took myself and my partner about an hour and a half over after-dinner coffee. I’ve heard from folks on twitter doing it in short spurts, solving a puzzle or two when they have time – a fun way to get in a little brain burn and prolong the mystery. It’s designed such that one person could easily play solo or five could work at it without getting in each other’s way.
I found Wish You Were Here to be a fun puzzler and a great evening wind down. It is taxing enough to get your brain chugging but not so much that you’ll spend hours and hours working bits out. No tearing, cutting, or writing means you’ll end with something you can pass on to a friend. There’s a little bit of most puzzle types, and room for several solvers to work together. The Enigma Emporium website provides clues without ruining the experience. This is one I’ll definitely be passing along to another amateur sleuth.
Final Score: 4 Stars – Little brain burner with some twisty puzzles. Fun format with a small footprint. Definitely recommend for fans of Tale of Ord or Unlock.
• No intro offers little in the way of immersion.
• Kickstarter page hints could make this too simple.