Room-in-a-box, Jan 2020
Like its sister game House of Riddles, this comes with a low difficulty rating and a linear, one-puzzle-at-a-time structure. Also like House of Riddles, it mixes pages of story into the clue booklet. Perhaps Exit was concerned that they weren’t providing options for less confident puzzle solvers, and released these two games to bulk out the easier end of their range.
I was a little put off by a puzzle that seemed to involve a great deal of process, where finding the answer seemed more a matter of laboriously following the lengthy instructions than any flash of insight; in fact, the extra challenge introduced by trying to do it without damaging the components became the most interesting thing about it.
Our game ended unexpectedly, turning over a solution card to find a victory message instead of another set of clues – but that turned out to be a mistake, where we’d somehow ended up with the wrong card, and once fixed there turned out to be another two puzzles.
Both of those were very good puzzles and considerably improved my view of the game. However, both relied greatly on destroying the components, and will be a lot less enjoyable if you’re trying to keep the game intact as you play.
Haunted Roller Coaster is obviously intended as an easy, beginner’s game. If that’s what you’re after, and you’re happy to play it as intended cutting up cards as you go, then it’s excellent – approachable, imaginative, and fun, spooky in the lighthearted style of a fairground ghost train. If you want something more challenging then you’ll be better off with a different game; and if you’d rather play non-destructively, you may find that undermines many of the best puzzles.