Developed by Hatch Escapes, Mother of Frankenstein is a puzzle-took to her grave. To make sure her son is ready to hear the truth, Shelly designed puzzles out of handwritten documents, jigsaw puzzles, and artifacts that not only test your puzzle-solving prowess, but also tell Shelly’s heart breaking story.
Leading up to the Kickstarter, I was invited to check out volume one of “The Shelley Volumes.” I love puzzle games and I am a big fan of horror stories, so having a chance to play was super exciting for me. Keep in mind that my version is a preview copy and so might not represent the final quality of the Kickstarted version. Mine also did not come in the hollowed out books with the antique combination locks so I cannot speak to their quality. What I can talk about (in a non-spoiler way) is the puzzles.
My box came with three sets of puzzles that all helped solve a larger puzzle. Each set contained several letters that illustrate the life of Mary Shelly, at the time called Mary Godwin, in her youth and her burgeoning affair with Percy Bysse Shelly, a poet who would later end up marrying Mary. As Percy was already married, he and Mary wrote to each other in secret and the letters demonstrate their passion for one another while concealing clues to solve riddles.
I have to admit that I found each set of letter-puzzles quite challenging to figure out. The puzzles don’t expressly tell you how to solve them, but the envelopes that contain the letters give you a head start. I poured over the first set I came to (poetry) for an hour or so, before finally resorting to getting help from a clue. The solution to the poetry letters was not entirely clear even once I had a grasp for it as some of the answers were more hidden than others despite being part of the same puzzle structure. Its a bit hard to explain without ruining a puzzle, so I will just say that you shouldn’t be discouraged if you need a little help to get started with Mother of Frankenstein.
When I got to the jigsaw puzzle aspect of the game, the letters had warned me to not worry that some of the pieces were missing. It was necessary as a portion of the puzzle is all similar in design and color, making it easy to get lost trying to put it together. There is one big clue in the box to help you put the puzzle together and I found it a huge help, but, if you pay close attention to the design on the puzzle, there are clues within the art that will also give you guidance. The one issue I did have was that some of the pieces seemed to fit when they shouldn’t have and, because the design was so similar in places, I had a hard time spotting these problem fittings until I got closer to finishing the puzzle.
While I had my issues with the jigsaw and the accessibility of the letter puzzles, I have to say that the story that is being told by the Mother of Frankenstein is very intriguing. The experience as a whole can be slightly frustrating , but rewarding once you manage to crack the code. If gives you the feeling of an escape room from the comfort of your own couch.
Mother of Frankenstein is on live Kickstarter here until October 24 2020. If you are a fan of challenging puzzles, mysteries, and Frankenstein, you should definitely check it out.