Present-ish, in February 2022, were: The Ant, Aunty Ant, Teenage Avenger
Now we’re talking, puzzles AND chocolate? Sign me up! If you’ve ever wished that your Crunchie had more intellectual bite, your Twix was more taxing and your Mars Bar had more Morse, then this is definitely the product for you! A range of chocolate bars, wrapped in different cryptic mini-stories for each flavour, the Chocolateral Puzzles will engage your brain and your tastebuds.
It isn’t really correct for me to describe these as a “Home Play Game”. They are something completely apart from the online digital, or game-in-a-box, or print-and-play offerings that have flourished during the pandemic. More like quick little puzzle fixes, that you can pick up and put down, and can easily be solved alone or as a talking point (if you are willing to share!) You don’t need to set aside an hour (unless you buy ALL the chocolate) but equally this isn’t a one-minute Captain Obvious deal. Proper solving is required.
We play/taste-tested three of the bars (all in the name of research, you understand) – Berried Treasure, Excalibar’s Sword and Caramel Caper. The connection between the story and the flavours (Raspberry Dark Chocolate, Eton Mess White Chocolate and Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate respectively) varies quite a lot, so the flavour doesn’t really define the theme of the puzzles or vice versa. So that gives Enigmailed freedom to come up with some cutely wacky crime stories.
Each bar has five basic questions to answer to solve the mystery (who, where, what, when, how) and the necessary information is all neatly slotted within the main story and the surrounding packaging. Obviously constrained by the format, the tasks are mostly code and cipher based (exactly my cup of tea) but they have done a good job in keeping variety as I don’t think any of the same methods were used across any of our three bars. One puzzle the pair of us are still working on (!) – another I found very difficult to spot even after a clue (on Caramel Caper) and I still can’t decide if it is my eyes at fault or the colour scheme. There is a QR code on the pack for extra hints if you get really stuck.
There is lovely humour running through the puzzles and answers, and it is quite easy to get invested in the brief storylines. Taste-wise, this Cornish-made chocolate is fab – well, I didn’t get to try the Eton Mess one. Aunty Ant didn’t get near my favourite (the Raspberry) either, so it was fair. I was going to put that the bars are large enough to need several sittings to eat (I still have some caramel left) but I feel Aunty Ant might disagree! It is all fine though, because brain power clearly burns lots of energy, so these are basically calorie-neutral*.
These bars, especially with postage, do work out as considerably more expensive than your standard Kit-Kat. But the casual snack market is not the target here. These are the kind of sweet gift you might give a puzzle lover as a stocking filler, a Secret Santa or as a special pick-me-up. Compared to some of the novelty chocolate offerings (particularly around Christmas) they are a class above and perfect as an alternative Easter gift for those who prefer cracking codes to cracking eggs. Subtle hint to any of my beloved family reading this – the dark chocolate orange one looks nice too.
*This may not be actually true.
- Storylines: Quirky, gentle crime (on the three we tested anyway) with a pinch of surreal comedy.
- Theming and Set: Packaging, in this case, looks classy and is quite robust.
- Googling: Not needed, but QR reader can be used for hints and to check answers.
- Puzzles: Codes and ciphers and observation.
- Physicality: Only to burn off the excess sugar afterwards.
- Scare factor: “Scream! OMG! Where did that bar of chocolate disappear to?”.
- Age suitability: Definitely not for kids. Nope. No way. Not my kids anyway. These are MINE.
- Requires: Self-control. Pen and paper, and a mirror, are also useful. A handy little decoder is provided where needed.
There are currently 9 different flavours/puzzles in the Enigmailed shop (the fantastic-sounding Toffear Apple Halloween variety isn’t available at the moment). As well as those mentioned above, there are Plain Milk, Dark Mint, Honeycomb Milk, Banoffee Milk and Lemon Meringue White Chocolate. If we’re pitching for suggestions, I’d quite like a cinnamon crunch one, or a dark chocolate with lime, please and thank you.