Kalinasu – Adventure Escape Game from Key Enigma
Key Enigma is a puzzle game company that has had a fair bit of success in recent years. Their most recent release, Kalinasu, just arrived here at the Gaming Basement. It is their fifth release – proof that they’ve been around for awhile and have a good track record of making good puzzle games.
Kalinasu is an Escape box that mixes puzzles, narrative, and technology to immerse you in a challenging experience so carefully designed that it may be impossible for you to distinguish reality from fiction. (To avoid spoilers, most of the images used in the rest of the review are either from the starting materials or from the KS campaign).
Per the publisher: ”A box full of mysteries will come to your hands. With materials, codes and clues hidden inside, you will have to use your wits and combine the objects to find the lost treasure. This time you will have to bring out the adventurer in you and travel all over the world testing your skills of exploration, research and search for enigmas. A coin from a legendary treasure has just appeared, proving that it is not a myth and only you can find it. There were a lot of temples dedicated to worship the sun, but there was a special one from the Kalinasu civilization that worshiped the moon and housed a treasure full of coins made with a special metal that fell from the sky during the full moon. This is known as “The Treasure of Moon Gold”, and a single piece of it would be worth millions.”
There are four different envelopes in the box (as well as some starting instructions) – and each of the envelopes serves as a stand-alone adventure; each taking us between 60 and 90 minutes to work through. So, you get a LOT of puzzling value in the box here; somewhere between 3 and 6 hours most likely.
The contents of each envelope are quite varied; and the quality of the props are quite nice. There are plenty of physical objects in each to help you solve the puzzles.
This game will require you to have a working Internet connection, as much of the story takes place via a website. You must make an account on their site and then use the activation code given to you in the start booklet.
The website is well organized and helps you get through the game nicely. We played the game on a laptop, but it appears that you’ll be able to navigate the site on your phone as well if you choose to use that method of accessing the Internet.
The website uses a number of different techniques to immerse you in the story and the puzzle solving. There are videos, chats, and other tricks to make the story come to life. The rules also let you know that pretty much anything on the Internet could be fair game…
The narrative happens on the website through chats, videos, and I think that it is well written. As you learn more about the story, the puzzles make more sense. You will need to use all of your puzzle solving skills to get through the puzzles – the physical contents of each envelope will be crucial at times, as will your Internet skills and maybe a bit of Google-fu…
If you get stuck, there is a really well designed hint system. We found that we needed maybe one or two clues per envelope; though none of the puzzles seemed unfair. If you need help, you just ask for it on your ongoing chat, and an appropriate clue will be given.
Overall, the puzzle difficulty was on the higher end for these at-home escape room boxes, and it was a nice challenge to work through the four envelopes. We definitely felt like this was a good value for our puzzling dollar. Like most of these puzzle games, you’ll only be able to play it once – as there is only one solution to the mystery!
Another advantage of Kalinasu is that you can pass it on. The online portion of the game can be reset when you are done; and the physical components should not be irrevocably destroyed in the playing. And, even if something happens, you should be able to print out replacements for the materials. The instructions also come in four languages, so you have plenty of options on who to pass the game on to!
For the at-home puzzling experience, Kalinasu was amongst the best that we’ve done this year, and we would highly recommend it. Currently, it is for sale on their website – https://keyenigma.com/products/kalinasu-escape-room-in-a-box
Opinionated Gamers Rating: I like it.
If you want to see how the website works – here is a demo for one of their other games – Hack Forward
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor