Back in November, I got the chance to review one of the first three puzzles from Ravensburger’s new Escape Puzzle Kids line. For anyone not familiar, these puzzles are one part standard puzzle and one part escape room with a scenario and a series of clues hidden in the completed puzzle. Recently, Ravensburger sent me the other two puzzles from the line for reviewing. I really enjoy puzzles as an anxiety reducing non-screen activity, and our fifth grader, A, is particularly talented at spatial reasoning. He’s helped me piece together some puzzles from the original Escape Puzzle line so we’ve been excited to check out a line more geared towards his age group. For this review we are covering Amusement Park Plight and Museum Mysteries. Each is aimed at ages 9+ and has a MSRP of $16.99.
Escape Puzzle Kids Contents
Both Escape Puzzle Kids puzzles contain the following:
- 368 Puzzle Pieces
- Scenario Booklet
- Solution Envelope
One of the reasons we keep coming back to Ravensburger puzzles is the quality. The pieces are solid and click together beautifully. We have seen videos and tried out the ability to lift a completed puzzle by the edges, swing it out and let it drop back to the table in one piece. We can confirm that it is absolutely possible to do this too. The artwork is always really well done too. Amusement Park Plight has a bit of that creepy carnival feel to it with some really nice details that feel slightly Goosebumps to me. The different displays and dinosaur skeletons in Museum Mysteries are really nice too and probably my favorite from the line.
Each puzzle comes with a Scenario Booklet that gives a little background story as well as a QR Code you can scan for hints on the different puzzles. In Amusement Park Plight, you and your friends have been trapped in a magical abandoned amusement park and have to fix the train track to escape. In Museum Mysteries, you are part of a special overnight field trip and something has broken a display. You’ll have to find out what it was to prove it wasn’t you. Each puzzle also comes with a sealed Solution Envelope to confirm if you’ve correctly solved the puzzle or not.
One thing to note about this puzzle line is it doesn’t quite work like regular puzzles. At the end of the puzzle, you will pull 6 pieces out of the border to create a new image, which means these pieces can fit in more than one spot. If you like to start puzzles by putting together the border first like we do, you’re going to have to pay extra attention to the image on the edge pieces to make sure the picture matches up. The final image also has differences from the pictured puzzle. While the original Escape Puzzle shows more variations for fun, differences in the line for kids are direct hints that you are looking at a puzzle clue so pay attention to those differences. I will not put pictures of the completed puzzles in order to avoid spoilers.
Amusement Park Plight
This puzzle was rated a 4/5 assembly difficulty. We helped A get started on the border, but we did find a few mix ups in the border pieces that were sorted out when more of the puzzle was put together. There were a few solid anchor points to start piecing together like the Crazy Cups booth, the balloons, the corn stand, and the merry-go-round that helped sort out where to start. It took about 5 to 6 build hours to complete, which was right in line with the previous one that we did.
This puzzle was also rated a 4/5 for assembly difficulty, but A pretty much did all 5-6 build hours on his own this time. The color scheme does make certain areas blend together, but focusing on the dinosaur skeletons, the skylights, or the stained glass sections do give much more in the way of anchor points. I knew A could do this one on his own but he often enjoys doing puzzles with someone, so seeing how he handled assembly on his own was really nice.
Once the puzzles are done, the next challenge comes in with solving the puzzles. The different puzzles tend to come up with numerical solutions. To get the numbers you may need to count objects or unique features. Some hint at how to arrange featured numbers to make an answer. Others require adding or subtracting things to come up with the solution. You then examine the border for a piece with that number on it and pull it from the puzzle. The six pieces you find will combine to create an image that acts as the solution to the scenario dilemma.
Amusement Park Plight
The clues were rated 4/5 on difficulty and compared to the others in the line, this was definitely the most challenging set so far. A was able to sort out three of them completely on his own. Two of them he needed a hint on to sort it out via the QR Code, and the last one he needed much more help sorting out. Overall, I do think he’s starting to get a feel for what a typical puzzle looks like, which does make it easier.
The clues on this one were rated 3/5. A solved this one in a really curious way. Two he did on his own and one needed a hint. For the remaining three, he figured out which border pieces had to fit and then tried to sort of reverse engineer the clue backwards. He sorted out two puzzles this way on his own but still needed additional help on one. It’s sort of fascinating to watch how his brain goes about solving these things, to be honest.
Overall, I really love this line and I am absolutely on the lookout for when Ravensburger releases more of the Escape Puzzle or the Escape Puzzle Kid lines. I’m a huge fan of puzzles for kids as a screen-free option and I do like that they’re an activity that a family can do together. With a total build time of 5-6 hours, one of these could probably be completed by a few people together over an afternoon or an evening. Sometimes I have nice little chats with A while we piece together puzzles together so I really like that they set up this opportunity for us. The escape room nature of these add an extra layer of fun and it’s exciting to catch the differences as you put things together and start to figure out where the clues might be.
Puzzles have been high in pandemic demand and are sometimes harder to get, but right now both of these are available via Amazon without a mark-up at $16.99 each.