There are times in my gaming life when I feel like Jessica Fletcher. No, people don't mysteriously die every week in the village hall, but I do seem to keep getting myself into similar situations with unerring regularity. I had to find an Exit from some abandoned cabin, Unlock the front door of a spooky house on the hill, and escape from behind the curtain. More recently, I've been Trapped in a carnival, an art gallery, a bank and the zoo. Now, here I am, flying off on holiday with my son and disaster strikes! The plane is in trouble and it's down to the passengers to get through to the cabin and save the day.
This is the premise of Trapped: Flight 927, the hardest of the three games in the second batch of Trapped. Like the others, it comes in a tall, folder/box and contains numerous paper puzzles, an introductory rulebook, clue book, and a trusty bulldog clip to turn the box into a clipboard for note taking - and we took more notes in this game than in any other Trapped we've played. If you've not read any of our previous four Trapped reviews, the USP of the series is that the components are placed in thematic positions around a room - or two rooms in this scenario - and the players are let loose to first piece together each puzzle and then solve them.
Flight 927's structure is pleasantly thematic: first, the passengers, from those in the cheap-seats to business-class, have to get four codes to reach the cockpit, then solve five puzzles there before opening the final envelope and deciphering its contents in order to be rescued. It all made sense and worked very well, even if a couple of the cockpit puzzles were one-glance-and-done. Actually, it was the first four puzzles we found trickiest, with one making little sense even after reading the clues. Fortunately that was the only subpar puzzle of the set and the rest were logical, engaging, and fun to work through in just over an hour. My 10- year-old son was elated to solve one of the first set on his own and eagerly worked through the three interesting cockpit puzzles once I had set him on the right route. Our favourite puzzle was ascertaining the location of the crashed plane, which reimplemented a deduction game that comes pre-installed on many PCs. The finale was a codebreaker puzzle which, again, made sense, though it was not the best of the ten.
Overall, I'd put Flight 927 at the top of the list of Golden Bear/Fantastic Factory Trapped games, on a par with the Art Heist. In comparison to systems like EXIT, Unlock!, and Deckscape, it still feels like there is some woolliness when it comes to determining whether the answer you have found is correct, but the clue book did a good job of giving us the confirmation we sought. Similarly, there is no 'Ta da!' moment at the end, even if there is good engagement throughout. It felt like this iteration had more components than usual, but most were put to good use and there was nothing destroyed or single-use, meaning you can do more than just recommend it to a friend.
Next, as is the fashion these days, I'll be heading into space on a Mission to Mars; no doubt something will go wrong...!
(Review by David Fox)