Base price: $49.
Play time: 2 – 4 hours.
Check it out on Kickstarter!
Logged plays: 1
Full disclosure: A preview copy of The Medusa Report was provided by Diorama. Some art, gameplay, or other aspects of the game may change between this preview and the fulfillment of the Kickstarter, should it fund, as this is a preview of a currently unreleased game.
Alright, we’re back with more previews! I’ve been slowing down on previews lately given all the impending life that’s happening, so I basically drew a hard line where I’m not taking on more previews for a couple months. This will likely lead to a slowdown of previews being published, but these are all previews that I agreed to before that date. Just to keep y’all in the loop. In the meantime, though, this week we’re covering more puzzle games! We’ve got a sequel to The Vandermist Dossier, which I quite enjoyed, called The Medusa Report! Let’s check it out.
In The Medusa Report, you’re getting brought back. Helena is hot on her sister’s trail after the events of The Vandermist Dossier, but she needs your sleuthing help if she’s ever hoping to catch up with her sibling and learn the truth about their father. It’s a tenuous lead, at best, but it’s a lead, and that’s got to count for something. But Abigail’s not going to make finding her something that just anyone can do, especially since you’re not the only person looking. You’ll have to solve puzzles, examine maps, and learn the truth about who (or what) the mysterious Medusa is if you want to know where she is. Can you crack the secrets of The Medusa Report?
Overall: 8 / 10
Overall, I thought The Medusa Report was a very worthwhile follow-up to The Vandermist Dossier! I appreciate that it carries the story forward while providing a lot of fun puzzles set against the backdrop of a sister trying to find her sister. The Cold War time period makes for a compelling setting, given how much high-stakes spycraft there was during that era, and the game makes it clear that there are stakes and consequences, which is nice. The Medusa Report is easy to get invested in, as a result, but part of that is also that Diorama does a great job making the game feel authentic. The components have a nice weight or feel authentic to the time (sometimes even worn, used, or creased!), and that helps me stay engaged. They’re also used (and occasionally re-used) in clever ways in The Medusa Report, so that’s also always nice.
I do like the puzzles a lot in The Medusa Report, quite a bit. There are some pretty excellent ones, and I feel like the difficulty of the entire box never spikes too high for my personal preferences. The one thing that I think the game is missing is a bit of structure around the puzzles themselves. It can be a bit difficult once you dump everything out to know exactly where you’re going and what’s next. A bit more cohesive narrative through-line would help, though it might make the game feel more linear. Frankly, the game is linear, so it mostly wouldn’t hurt things too much. There’s a bit of a light touch here that makes the game feel less linear than it is. Mostly chalking that up to good design and strong work with the setting and theme. I usually recommend if players get stuck that they use the additionally excellent hint system to get through the game, and I was pleased to see that the hint system is just as robust for the second game.
The Medusa Report went over pretty well for my group! There were some puzzles we had to try out a few times, some we got immediately, and some we really only understood after reading the hints for everything. Regardless, though, we remained invested and thoroughly enjoyed the next adventure in the series. I particularly like that there are even more bonus puzzles available if you want to connect The Medusa Report and The Vandermist Dossier, though for the life of me I’m not sure where The Vandermist Dossier is, right now. Packing up and all that. It’s not entirely required to play the original to know what’s going on, here (a pretty useful transcript at the beginning of the game sets the scene pretty well), though I did find it helpful, at least. If you’re looking for another fun escape room experience, you enjoy puzzle solving and Cold War-era spycraft, or you’re a fan of The Vandermist Dossier, you’ll likely enjoy The Medusa Report, as well! I certainly did.
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