Northampton, Aug 2017
This game needs a warning: wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Or perhaps a stronger version: expect to come out absolutely filthy.
As you might guess from that, Molten Creek Mine goes all-in on the decor. The story is that you’re a team of miners trapped by a rockfall, with an hour’s worth of air remaining. Fortunately it’s quite a large and spacious area you’re trapped in; we won’t enquire too closely into exactly why you might be able to circumvent the collapsed tunnel via a series of locks for which clues can be found around the chamber.
Molten Creek has a feature that was simultaneously the coolest part of the game and also its most frustrating element. It fit the theme beautifully, but also left us fruitlessly wasting time looking where there was nothing to find. It was flakey in how it functioned, but I think the biggest issue was simply that we accessed it too early, and didn’t know when we should have switched to something else and come back to it afterwards. Aggravating that was the fact that what we should have been looking at was one of the game’s most subtle puzzles, difficult even to identify as a puzzle. The result was that we spent a while flailing and getting frustrated with something that had started as a highlight of the game.
Once we finally got past that with the help of a hint to get us looking in the right direction, the game progressed more smoothly. The puzzles seemed rather pasted onto the theme, and most of them would have worked just as well or better in the venue’s other game. Experienced teams will complete them with little difficulty – the clear majority of our time was spent on two tasks both of which were difficult because of the searching required.
On the whole I liked the puzzles in the venue’s other game more. But I’d still tend to point teams to Molten Creek, if picking just one: it looks fantastic, and the quality of the set will make it a more memorable game for most teams, as long as they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty.