If you’re a fan of both jigsaw puzzles and escape rooms, Ravensburger’s new line of puzzles will appeal to you. Ravensburger has been in the business of making quality puzzles for decades, but this new line has an added twist: an embedded escape room. The series includes puzzles with several different themes, and there’s likely something for everyone’s taste: Space Observatory, The Witch’s Kitchen, and Angkor Wat Temple (though Amazon also shows Vampire’s Castle and Submarine).
I was able to try out the Space Observatory, first putting the puzzle together, and then solving the escape room challenges hidden within the completed picture. Here was our challenge:
Imagine that a huge fireball is racing towards the Earth! Only you can save our planet, by assembling and firing a powerful laser hidden within this space observatory.
The puzzle itself took quite a while to put together, with two people working on it for many hours. This puzzle was more difficult than it looked to us at first, which can be part of the fun or part of the frustration, depending on your point of view. The press release suggests that the puzzle and escape room challenges should take about 10-12 hours, and I think that’s probably a correct assessment for one person, considering about how long it took the two of us. If you had more than two people working on it, especially for the puzzle assembly, it would obviously go faster.
The box includes 759 pieces, a story booklet (in six languages) that sets the scene and gives background for the inherent mystery (along with including a QR code that will give you some hints to solving the escape room portion), and a sealed envelope with the solution to the escape room.
Many people who do jigsaw puzzles will tell you that they refer to the box top frequently as a visual reference for assembling their puzzle. But if Ravensburger were to put the image for the completed escape puzzle right on the box, there would be no mystery, no point in putting together the puzzle. So they’ve been sneaky; the image on the front of the box is similar to the finished puzzle. It is a mere suggestion of what you need to put together. It can orient you to some of what you’re seeing on the puzzle pieces, making sense of some of the colors and shapes, but it does not represent the final image. There are many significant differences (but I won’t tell you which ones). To create the final puzzle image, it’s up to you, dear reader/puzzle assembler person. There is enough overlap between the box image and the final puzzle that it is a helpful reference. But don’t depend solely on it. Use your powers of observation.
How was this product in terms of a jigsaw puzzle? I thought it was quite fun, with all of its telescopes, stuffed bookshelves, and other nerdy artifacts. But there were areas of the puzzle that were quite difficult. Some pieces you had to put together only by shape, and other areas the shape was so similar that you had to make some sense of the subtle differences in color and shade for what was on each piece. Some puzzle areas were especially difficult for us because the pieces were really dark, and we seemed to either have glare or shadow in our kitchen at all times. But we managed it. Knowing the final dimensions of the puzzle was particularly helpful. All in all, I give it a thumbs up.
After finally completing the puzzle assembly, then came the fun escape room portion! Neither Rory nor I had ever been in an escape room or done any similar escape room activity. Having done a gazillion logic puzzles in my life, though, that didn’t seem to be a hindrance. The six included puzzles to solve (that coalesced into one final solution) all made sense. We did flail around a bit for a couple of them, though. We solved four out of the six completely on our own, and we solved the majority of the other two on our own, helped along by the QR code-based graduated hints. The “story” ending/combined solution made sense, but it wasn’t what we were expecting. Still, it was a fun time and a neat product. I would totally 10/10 put the puzzle together again, especially if someone else was doing it and wanted puzzle-building help, but then I’d leave it to them to solve the escape room portions.
For obvious reasons, I’m not sharing photos of the puzzle build, but please do take my word for the fact that Ravensburger has done a nice job with this new set of puzzles. They’re time-consuming, but no one starts a large-ish jigsaw puzzle in a hurry.
For just under $20, any of Ravensburger’s new Escape Puzzle line is a great deal, though I really enjoyed the Space Observatory one. Though the escape room challenge portion may not have a lot of replayability for each person, you can always bring these puzzles out when you’ve got
fresh meat new people visiting. Plus the puzzle itself is a good challenge.
This kind of puzzle would be a lot of fun for family reunions or weekend gatherings, or to just keep working on throughout your work week (assuming you have a protected spot, away from cats and little ones). I think it stands on its own as a fun puzzle to assemble, and the escape room component is really interesting. Plus, having additional puzzles to solve gives you a perfect excuse to leave the puzzle assembled for a while. I highly recommend this to any puzzle enthusiast.
Note: I received a sample for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links.