Weekend Solver

Did you check the date on the phone when you woke up this morning? Perhaps it was that deeply seeded tingle inside your bones… Or maybe your subconscious has been silently ticking away, keeping a hidden tally… the weekend never comes as surprise and it’s finally worked its way back around again.

I don’t know about you, but for me getting a good dose of puzzle solving in during the week is a bit of a strain. I can usually find a smidgen of time here and there to plug away at an app on my phone, but nothing offers the full sit down and solve opportunities that the weekend does. It’s the time that I get to sharpen the pencils, turn on the consoles, crack the knuckles, and put on the ol’ solving hat to get down to some solutions. This weekend is shaping up to be absolutely packed.

MIT Mystery Hunt - 2018.

Friday at high noon marks the kick off of the annual MIT Mystery Hunt, the world’s largest and most renowned puzzle hunt. The event runs until Monday and has the reputation of being one of the most difficult puzzle hunts around. My wife Sarah and I have signed up to participate as an online only group, we’ll be rocking as Team PuzzlePile.

We’re not harboring any ideas or delusions of grandeur for the Cambridge-based puzzle hunt, I’ve seen some of the puzzles from past events and our goal is to successfully solve some of them. That’s clearly a really hazy set of goals right there, but I’d say it’s just not to walk away from everything as not having solved anything. Some of these puzzles require some crazy insights, so we’ll be happy for our participation ribbon.

Sarah and I will be running at full steam all day Friday and then bouncing on and off as work schedules allow. If anyone wants to be added on the team or anything like that, feel free to join in on the fun. We might be able to setup a thread on Reddit or Facebook where we could coordinate.

Rusty Lake Paradise just released on Thursday, its the third and latest premium game from the Rusty Lake series. Its an escape room franchise from the developer also known as Rusty Lake, it can get a bit confusing sometimes with the names. This part of the story focuses on a tiny island of Paradise in the Rusty Lake area, where players must perform ancient rituals to stop plagues from decimating the family that inhabits the island.

As the MIT Mystery Hunt keeps rolling on, we’ll be making time to sit down and get a good chunk of this played through. One of us will have the app open on one of our phones and have it streaming through our Apple TV to the television screen so we both aren’t huddled around staring at one another’s palms like a bunch of fortune tellers. Having it up on such a larger screen really adds to atmosphere of the game as it tends to lean heavily toward the spooky and wyrd.

Sarah and I have really enjoyed the series, though it can stray pretty far into the surreal and occult at times. The story of Rusty Lake is almost a puzzle in itself, as all of the titles offer pieces of the overall picture, making it a sort of meta-puzzle to solve. All-in-all the franchise, which includes the free Escape Cube titles, offers some of the best puzzle solving escape rooms that are available for mobile devices.

We’re definitely expecting to have a blast working through this one sometime on Friday or Saturday.

The Last Guardian has been out for over a year and I’ve been drooling at the mouth ever since its launch to get my hands on it. I’m sure it’s been terribly difficult to live and work with me, having to navigate around those saliva trails must’ve been most treacherous. But at long last Santa Claus felt I had done my due diligence throughout the past year and blessed me with a copy.

In this PS4 exclusive, players take on the role of a young boy that awakens in a large room with the man-eating mythical beast Trico. Players try to escape from what is discovered to be not just a room, but a gigantic city, to return to the unnamed boy’s home village. Throughout the game, players encounter environmental platforming puzzles and are challenged to solve them by using Trico, which in turn drives home an emotional connection between the boy and beast.

I’ve been extremely excited to get into The Last Guardian and I’ll probably be burning the midnight oil on this for Saturday evening while Sarah is at work.

Sunday morning I’ll be busting out some puzzles with my daughter Noel, she’s so far the only one of my kids that has taken to puzzles. For Christmas, Santa brought her Color Cube Sudoku from Thinkfun and Brainwright’s most recent version of On The Dot. We’ve done a little bit of poking around with the two puzzle games before now, but it’s time to get a good dive into them.

I reviewed On The Dot in 2013, its received a whole new packaging since then but everything else appears to be the same after a quick look and read through of the rules. It should be a puzzle solving blast, although I was kinda cold toward the whole fastest solver portion.

But after that it’ll be back to MIT Mystery Hunt and all of the craziness that comes with the puzzle event.
That’s a pretty stacked weekend of puzzle solving for my family and me, but what do you have going on? Let everyone know what you’ll be solving this weekend down in the discussion section!

About Bran McMillin

Bran McMillin is the founder and senior editor for the puzzle news site Puzzle Pile. From 2007 - 2010, he served as editor for the magazine Panopticon: Puzzles & Games. He is the inventor of the Itachi and Hairetsu puzzle forms and has created hundreds of puzzles. Disclosure: Bran is a member of the National Puzzlers' League.


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