Product Review: Funny Pages!

 Funny Pages by Enigma Emporium

Funny Pages -- Comically Perplexing!

(Spoiler free review)

This Mystery Puzzle Game is mind-bogglingly, laughably, mind-twistingly difficult, fun, and amazing!

Now, this isn’t difficult in the way that hand decoding a 17-page hand-written Vigenere cipher is (we all need hobbies), although at times you may wish to do that is difficult in a brilliantly constructed, downright fun, and oft-times comically twisted sort of way!

Now, while this is one of the toughest games I’ve ever played, it was always* fair.  I felt really smart at first, breezing through several puzzles, thinking that this will take no time at all and that I was, of course, a puzzle-genius of the utmost levels….until...until...well, over half the puzzles slapped me in the face and shoved their puzzleyness down my gullet until I choked on my own hubris…(laughing at the jokes during said process) and it was amazing!

I had to spend time on these puzzles...not just take 10 minutes and be done with it time, but some real time with real thoughts and even research on the series of tubes known as the interwebs.  I would sometimes set some puzzles aside, move on to others, come back to some, write notes, make a grid, play with a cheese grater (don’t ask), and occasionally, over the course of the week I played this game, finally mold the answers into shape as my brain-muscles Popeyed their way to the solve!  Now, while I wish I had solved them all...I did not.  But here is where the genius of the game continued...the amazing help system!  Each puzzle has three levels of hints that you can decode like a cryptologist (or for a quicker method use a QR code--which, of course, I did).  There were some puzzles that I only needed one hint for (still felt really smart), and more than a couple-several that I went to numbers two and three, and a few where I ended up requiring the final answer… (yeah...I’m human, don’t mock me! I can hear you!).  

But the premise-- you are half-way through a review and you know nothing of the actual game, yet?  What kind of writer is writing this?  This isn’t how we learned to write in English 101!

The Funny Pages is a fun take on the detective game.  You are solving a cold-case of a missing cartoonist, by helping the editor solve puzzles she believes will lead you to said missing cartoonist.   Through the process of solving this series of puzzles, then a meta-puzzle and...well, no spoilers...but you get the gist, you will solve the mystery of the missing cartoonist.  The bulk of the game is these puzzles.  Each puzzle is on a giant satisfyingly tactile card made out of heavy-gauge paper with a linen finish.  Each card is a single-panel cartoon.  That’s it.  Figure it out...

But how do you even know where to start or what to do?  Puzzle Pages comes with a really great instruction manual that sets up the premise, does a really nice walk-through with several extra puzzles, and then devotes the rest to the hints pages.  This book is so well done that it should be a shining example to future box-game creators!  

The box itself is both functional and shelf-worthy!  It is fun-looking and has plenty of storage space for all your Funny Pages needs!  The contents include everything you need to play the game (with the one exception of the entire world’s knowledge at your fingertips...which a few puzzles need...unless of course you’ve memorized the entire world’s knowledge like some of us may have…well, at least memorized which buttons to use on our Samsung Galaxy, at least...)

This is not a sit down in one session game.  Plan on enjoying it/being frustrated by it/ gaining “A-ha!” moments/smashing your head into your coffee table over the course of many days of contemplation-frustration-amazement!  If you quickly burn through the hints (tempting, though they are), you will deprive yourself not only of the kind of mind-twisting puzzle solving that can feel like rubbing a cheese-grater across your brain...but also the AMAZING sense of Holmesian Hubris when you finally get the puzzles correct!

I found this game charming, funny, perplexing, exciting, frustrating, amazing, and just a joy to play!  This game gets my highest recommendations!

This review brought to you by The Voynich Times...please visit us for all your Mystery Puzzle Game Goodness!

*Well, there was the One puzzle….

Review Disclaimer:  The Voynich Times was provided with a review copy of Funny Pages for the purposes of playing and reviewing the product.  The Enigma Emporium has no input into the editorial content of this review beyond a request not to show images of parts of this game in the review.  All images of the product Funny Pages in this review are copyright to Enigma Emporium and were used with permission solely for the purposes of review.


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