Extraordinary Investigations: The Morgan File review
|Solve puzzles, crack codes, and follow the clues to reveal the plot of a conspiracy thriller in an exciting cross between an escape room and a novel, where you play the role of the detective. Join the Extraordinary Investigations Unit and take on your first case, the mysterious disappearance of researcher Louis Morgan, last seen on the trail of a secret cache of Nazi gold. From the dying days of World War II to the modern day, this interactive puzzle novel sees you uncover a twisted tale of espionage, deceit, and murder – a missing investigator, a lost treasure, a sinister conspiracy.|
|No time limit|
|Difficulty level not stated|
|Play at home (based in UK)|
|Played by Jenny|
|Completed in around 2 days overall|
This challenge will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as someone really interested in history and in particular World War 2, I found the story very interesting and in turn loved it. Your mission is to find Louis Morgan through five different evidence files by using the book which has Morgan’s note, and also the internet to discover more insightful facts.
There’s two ways to play this. You can just answer the questions asked, similar to how you’d solve escape room puzzles, or on top of this you can delve deep into the history and learn more about World War 2. I chose the latter. This game requires real life detective skills, where you use the book as a starting point with the internet as a tool to decipher the clues. Each evidence file increases in tasks to do, difficulty and knowledge to take in, so like me you may want to do each file at different sittings.
Throughout the journey, every task and internet search is linked to the story which unveils more and more strange happenings. I found myself so engrossed in the history from start to finish. The only bit that let it down for me was the ending was a bit of an anticlimax, considering how long I’d spent on the game. That being said, I still appreciated the efforts made in the story.
As stated above, this book involves a lot of reading and research. To play, you sign up to the simplistic website that’s provided in the book. You then need to research the answer to various questions. This book is not easy. The first two evidence files I found to be tough but managed to work my way through. However once I reached evidence three, my fun started to slow.
Some of the puzzles, even with the aid of the three level hints in the back of the book, I couldn’t answer. I grew frustrated as you can’t continue without answering the questions. The website you type your answers into just kept stating ‘that is not right, use the hints in the back of the book’. I found myself screaming at it saying I tried that and still no clue. In the end to move on, I phoned a friend who saw the answer. The challenge involved maths, which is clearly not my forte.
The difficulty level grew for evidence four with tough maths problems and intense research. I didn’t get one of the tasks, even when I eventually worked out what to do. I noticed a bird and ended up Googling every bird in South America to be able to move on. I know most people would have quit here. I got to the stage of quitting with the last evidence file, I just couldn’t get it for love nor money. I feel this is where the book is so flawed as there’s no solution section.
In the end, after a month off, I decided to revisit the challenge. I wanted to give up again, but as I was so close I decided to email the creator of the book and ask if he could give me both the answer and how I should have solved it. To be honest it did then make sense, but I’m sure no player would go to these lengths. I did enjoy the first two files which is why I’ve kept my score as it is.
For me this is a tough category to score as I loved the story and really enjoyed being immersed in history. Unfortunately the lack of guidance in the game, i.e. no clear solution on puzzles when I got stuck, spoilt it for me. I think the creator should add a solutions section or a way to ask for more hints so the gameplay isn’t ruined if you get stuck. I think he’d rather people completed the book than to have them give up half way through.
The creator has since told us “we’ve now added a page to the book containing the solutions (lightly encrypted to avoid any inadvertent spoilers). This means nobody will get completely stuck.”
The book in itself is cheap, and I’m sure you’ll get your money’s worth during the time it takes to complete it. I loved the story and the history, but the book is very tough and the clues/hints provided didn’t help me to solve the puzzles I got stuck on. This factor lowers the value for me.
Theming - 9/10
Puzzles - 4/10
Enjoyment - 5/10
Value - 5/10