Dale Yu: Review of Indiana Jones Cryptic (A Puzzles and Pathways Adventure)

Indiana Jones Cryptic (A Puzzles and Pathways Adventure)

  • Designer: Prospero Hall
  • Publisher: Funko Games
  • Players: 1+
  • Age: 10+
  • Time: 60-90 mins per chapter, 3 chapters in box
  • Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3I3DaDp

Says the publisher: “Face booby traps, menacing villains, and supernatural threats in this puzzle-filled, action-packed “escape room” game. Using Dr. Jones’ journal as your guide, you’ll decipher ancient texts, uncover valuable clues, and defeat unknown evils with logic, deduction, and creative thinking. Plus, you’ll navigate trap-filled temples and mysterious jungles by drawing your route through perilous maps. Choose wisely, and you’ll find fortune and glory in this unforgettable adventure!”

As the front of the rules proudly proclaims “THIS IS NOT A NORMAL GAME!”.  It is a game of puzzles and pathways.  The story is outlined in a journal, and you’ll read through this interactive story as you play the game.  You will encounter two types of challenges…

The puzzles are very similar to what you’ll find in other “escape room” games.  For each puzzle, the journal will tell you how many coins to set aside as you try to solve it.  If you successfully complete the puzzle, you take the coins.  Coins can be lost from this pool if you require hints.  The puzzles come in two broad varieties – A] a set of red boxes, each standing for a letter in the answer and B]  a multiple choice set of red words where you have to figure out which choice is correct.

The pathways “represent an action-packed moment of recovering an artifact, fighting enemies, or a death defying escape”.  Again you set aside some coins as directed by the journal, but then you take the clear pathway screen and a dry erase marker and the appropriate pathway card.  Line up the screen over the card and mark the location of the white Starting dot. Then, move the screen off the card (at least one marker’s length away) and then you have to draw a path on the screen – avoiding hazards and reaching goals by drawing an X on your line that you hope matches the green area denoting said goal on the card.  There are also some Action Tools which can be used; when you feel like you need to use them, you must trace the entire red edge of the tool with the red dry erase marker – these tools may let you jump over things on the card or to make a branch to hit things off your path (i.e. like you’re flicking your whip at something).  Whenever you’re done, you then flip the pathway card over and place the screen on top of it; checking to see if you’ve avoided the hazards and reached the goal(s).  You get coins from the pathway’s pool depending on how good you did.

When you get to the end of the chapter, you can check your success by counting how many coins you have collected!

My thoughts on the game

So, I must say that this is an interesting take on the escape room genre as I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one that incorporates the Doodle Jump like drawing aspect; it adds a fun visual/spatial challenge in addition to the usual puzzles.  The only drawback for me is that we played the game in a group, and realistically only one of us was able to do each of the pathways.  However, we certainly had a good time playing it, and I suppose there was a lot of fun cheering/jeering on the teammates as we revealed their successes/failures!

There is a bit more reading in this game than many other escape rooms, but the story in the Journal is interesting, and we simply took turns reading the bits aloud.  In a non-spoilery sense, I can tell you that the story is pretty true to the movies, and I really liked the fact that the stories/puzzles pulled in elements from those movies.

Interestingly, the license for the game appears to only include the titular character “Indiana Jones”.  The names of the movies themselves are not included in the game, though there are some suspiciously similar titles written on the three envelopes.  Also, there is a very familiar silhouette of the main character on the box, but you will not find the image of the actor anywhere in the box or on the cover.

The puzzles are of varying difficulty (appropriately so), though none stumped our group.  The journal is a nice way of allowing for both hints and solutions to be dealt with.  The entries in the back of the book are in alphabetical order, so you can usually scroll to the section you need without reading too much information that you don’t want to see…. And while I didn’t really comb that section to see how the keywords were laid out, we didn’t seem to have any clues that were too close to the solutions.

Component-wise, everything was great with one important glaring caveat.  Each of the three chapters comes in its own envelope, and all the things you need are included within.  There are props that are unique and specific for certain puzzles, and you’ll have everything you need at the right time with the way things are packaged. 

[MINI-SPOILER – skip this paragraph and the next two pictures if you don’t want to read it ] That being said – I think it is fair to warn everyone that they should check the orientation of their box insert if and when you think you need to use it for a puzzle…  There will be visual clues to make sure that you have it oriented the right way (see the picture below) – and it should make sense if you need to know. 

OK, just to make sure that people don’t accidentally read a spoiler that they don’t want, I’m adding this extra sentence in here to separate the spoilery parts from the rest of the review, and it seems like a good time to talk about how good monkey brains are for dinner, especially when served in their original containers.  I would highly recommend it, and would also recommend serving it with snakes.

[room to separate your eyes from the mini spoiler above]

We were able to solve each chapter in under an hour – there were three of us, and we worked together on all the puzzles and took turns doing the pathways as they came up.  The coin system is a nice way to measure your progress, but realistically, like with most escape room games, getting through the game to the end is the main goal.  I think we made it through the whole box losing only a few coins on the puzzles, but definitely lost a fair share of rewards on the pathway drawings.

Overall, Indiana Jones Cryptic was a very enjoyable evening, and I have repackaged it to pass along to other members of our local game group.  Nothing is destroyed in the playing of the game, so it can easily be passed on and shared with other puzzle game aficionados or 1980s movie buffs.  

Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3I3DaDp

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it. Dale 
  • Neutral. John P
  • Not for me…

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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1 Response to Dale Yu: Review of Indiana Jones Cryptic (A Puzzles and Pathways Adventure)

  1. Mike says:

    Hey guys! Where are SDJ predictions?

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