50 clues (2019) review
50 clues is a game of investigation by Jeppe Norsker, using as a model the great mode of the moment: the escape game. The name of this collection, 50 clues, poses the genre since Clue in English relates to Cluedo (remember this game of inquiry that rocked your childhood and Colonel Mustard). In order to reveal the different events occurring in 50 clues, the players use an application. Not really an application, but a website ( https://50clues.com/index.php/en ) on which to connect the scenario to be able to investigate. It’s essential, but that does not take precedence over the game.
The rules of 50 clues are simple and is played on two playing cards. We begin an investigation with a card indicating the objective of the current plot. Each scenario box contains 54 numbered cards on their backs. Different interactions can be found in the deck of cards to reveal them. There are three ways to reveal new cards based on the progress of the scenario.
1. Some cards indicate a number (sometimes a bit difficult to see); you can then look for the corresponding card in the deck to put it into play.
2. Otherwise numbers may appear on a black or red background. The figures on a black background must be entered in the game application. It will then announce what happens in terms of game, an upheaval in the narrative arc, making the most often cases to bring new cards into play.
3. The numbers on a red background must be associated with another number on a red background. This combination of numbers will also trigger a progression of the investigation and the referral to a new card, and thus a new puzzle.
The game is structured in a succession of riddles to solve, with variable difficulties. While some seem really obvious, many others are really complicated and will require a lot of thought to overcome. Compared to other games enigma games of the genre, 50 clues brings a narrative side not uninteresting, in the sense that it tells a story, with the meeting of certain characters and sometimes provides slight interaction with them. An interaction that feels cold and is usually limited to associating a person with an object just to draw a new card with a few bits of dialogues on it.
On the level of difficulty, in case of really hard puzzles or being stuck, a help button is available in the application. Using it will give a simple clue at first. If you are still stuck, you can use it for a second and third last time, each time recovering a clue of more and more importance. Using this hint button will lower your rating. By interacting with the application, each resolute puzzle will give you a rating, in the form of a percentage, as soon as it is resolved. The use of the clues will simply decrease this rating; the resolution time will be the second factor of this score.
Rest assured, this system is not penalizing, it is quite possible to solve a complete investigation by taking all your time and abusing clues. The result will be the same, but in a fashion less glorious.
I will not go into the story itself, just tell you about the starting plot of the trilogy. You are Maria, a mother locked in a psychiatric hospital, who must find her son before Leopold. This former Tsar goes from body to body in order to survive through time, while plotting black plans of the destruction of the world. Well, as much to say it, the starting scenario is not very original and can sometimes even touch simplistic.
Let's go to the illustrations, from the author of the game. They are of a rather sober style. The tones are very greyish with few colors. Only red appears from time to time, giving everything a very dark, adult and sometimes even violent feel. The game not for those younger than 16 as some scenes can really be disturbing
The game comes in a trilogy of three boxes, telling the difficult start for our heroine Maria, and going to preparation for the final confrontation. Each scenario consists of a pack of 54 cards, and has a very variable life span depending on the players; it is easy to spend a good hour and a half for the shortest scenario. It is easy to " save " a game, since it is enough to put aside the cards in your possession and pick them up as soon as you want to continue the story. On the other hand, it is necessary to keep your session of game open game on the game site, under penalty of having to identify your game box again because each box has a game code, usable 30 times. So even if you can finish the game after several plays, pass it to friends, it is better not to have fun “burning” through these connections because I feel that the game then becomes obsolete.
Technical note 7/10
A game with a very uniform graphic style, sober, almost dull, lending the game a dark and adult atmosphere. The enigmas are linked with levels of difficulty that alternate, not giving the feeling of blockage that can sometimes be felt on other escape game. The rules are very simple and the cards are large for good readability. Scenically, everything is held with a mix of detective story, fantasy at the limit of horror.
My score BGG 7/10
(Good surprise for a type of game that I do not usually play)
I was surprised and taken by the game and want to go further in the adventure. By cons, the game aid is double-edged (especially for me); you can sometimes abuse it to go too fast and finish the game faster than you should. Its use may not have enough consequences. The limit of use of the application really annoys me, I do not like the idea that a game can become unusable.
Combined rating of 7/10
And now, it's up to you to play ...
Arnaul's Video review in french