One of my favorite puzzle lines from Ravensburger is their Escape Puzzle line. It has everything puzzlers already love from Ravensburger: quality detailed art and thick puzzle pieces that snap together so beautifully there are actual videos online of people being able to pull up their completed puzzles off the table while the puzzle remains intact. However, there’s an extra twist to these puzzles: each puzzle has a series of mini-puzzles built into the final design. These mini-puzzles can include symbols, numbers, and patterns that will lead you to solution numbers. The solutions will then match up with pieces from the puzzle border. Take these pieces and they can be arranged into a solution for the scenario the backstory gives you. If that’s not enough, each puzzle has little difference from the image on the box. Some of these are to hide the puzzle clues from you, and others are just for fun. It does add an extra layer of challenge to piecing together your puzzle when you realize you are building a section you can’t quite use the box image to place. I have previously reviewed The Forbidden Basement from this line. This newest wave of Escape Line puzzles is smaller in size count but still full of lots of mini-puzzles, and Ravensburger recently sent us two of these titles: The Laboratory and The Toy Factory.
Escape Puzzle: The Laboratory, 368 Pieces
In order to not spoil the surprises in the puzzle, I won’t show a picture of the completed puzzle. I will note that the contents include a Bag of Puzzle Pieces, a Sealed Envelope with the solution, and a Booklet with the scenario as well as a QR Code that lets you look up some clues and solutions for each of the mini-puzzles.
The Laboratory is rated a 2/5 for main puzzle difficulty and 4/5 for the mini-puzzle difficulty and is designed for ages 12+. In the scenario, you are a scientist working on a vaccine for a deadly disease and have accidentally been injected with the virus. You must quickly create the vaccine to save yourself.
My 10-year-old (he’s really good at puzzles for his age) and I had a great time putting this one together. The 759 piece puzzles that are already part of this line took us about 12 total hours combined. This one ended up being closer to 4. After assembling the border, it took a few moments to find some other solid areas to work on as the beakers and metal walls/tables can blend together pretty easily, but by focusing on the bookcase and the periodic table area first, we found our way into building the rest of this puzzle. At about 4 hours combined, this was enough puzzle to be a solid afternoon or evening but not so long that we found ourselves constantly needing to find a way to safely store it to work on it later. There were 6 puzzles within the completed image. The adults in our house figured out three of them on our own. Two, we needed some of the hints for, and the final one was way over our heads. Kiddo was able to get an idea of what one of them was on his own. I’m not sure how many 12-year-olds would catch onto the mini-puzzles on their own, but it’s fun to try and the online solutions to offer a series of hints if you want to not have the whole solution given to you at once.
The Laboratory has an MSRP of $18.49 and releases June 14th. It can be pre-order via Amazon.
Escape Puzzle: The Toy Factory, 368 Pieces
Just as before, I am not giving an image of the final puzzle here to avoid spoilers, but this puzzle also contains a Bag of Puzzle Pieces, a Sealed Envelope with a solution, and a Booklet with the scenario and QR Code for hints for the mini-puzzles.
The Toy Factory is rated a 2/5 for main puzzle difficulty and a 5/5 for the mini-puzzle difficulty and is designed for ages 12+. In this scenario, you have fulfilled a lifelong dream of buying a toy factory. The only problem is, the toys come to life in a horrific manner and you must get the toy shredder to work to stop these monstrosities.
This might have been my favorite puzzle from the Escape Puzzle line yet to put together. The number of little Easter egg surprises between the box picture and the puzzle version is really high. If you know someone who loves horror movies, especially the type with creepy possessed toys, they are going to love working on this one. The variety of toys and such gave numerous distinctive areas to work on once the border was complete, so I felt like this one came together really fast. I put the combined build time for this one closer to 3.5 hours and that was while I was battling a nasty headache. Again, this is perfect for an evening or an afternoon activity. As for the mini-puzzles, the 5 is very much deserved. I found like 1.5 of them (some were really, really subtle), and my husband found all 6 but sorting out how to align the clues to get the solution number evaded even him and we did end up needing to rely heavily on the online clues. Even then, there were struggles on sorting out when we needed to add or subtract versus multiplying or dividing. If you know someone who really needs a solid challenge on something clue-based, this is the puzzle to grab for them.
The Toy Factory has an MSRP of $18.49 and releases June 14th. It can be pre-ordered via Amazon.
Overall verdict, I love this puzzle line and I love an option that’s easier to complete with our older kid over a summer afternoon. The idea that the puzzle has little differences makes it a little extra fun and I have enjoyed trying to see how many of the clues we can pick out for the mini-puzzles. Whenever I hear Ravensburger is releasing new puzzle lines, the first thing I find myself looking for is Escape Puzzle titles. If you know someone who likes puzzles but maybe wants a new challenge, I would certainly encourage them to check these out.