Ravensburger announced the new series Time Guardians a few weeks ago. In this, tricky puzzles are to be combined with 3D puzzle fun. We were able to test the two currently available titles in the series. The test shows how well the games keep their promises.

Escape games and puzzles: do they go together? If Ravensburger has its way, yes. With Time Guardians the publisher presents a new series that wants to combine 3D puzzles and exciting riddles. The two titles available each consist of 216 puzzle pieces. From these you form a steering wheel for time travel and create a time spiral level by level. Both titles offer a similar puzzle challenge. chaos on the moon should be a little easier from the puzzles. We tested both.

Why do we have to time travel?

Villain in the series is Dr. Maxwell Mayhem. He was a Time Guardian himself for many years. However, he felt he wasn't given enough credit and decided to show the world what he was capable of. 

In the first adventure chaos on the moon he prevents the launch of the Apollo XI and "takes" control of the moon. Among other things, he has his face dug into the surface of the moon.

In the slightly more difficult second part A world without chocolate Mayhem prevented the discovery of chocolate around 3.000 years ago. He himself hoards vast amounts of the delicacy in his private safe.

It's up to the Time Guardians to put the course of history back in order.

Preparation for time travel

As usual from other genre representatives, you also have to Time Guardians don't build much. You divide the puzzle pieces into seven piles according to the symbols on their backs and lay out the remaining materials such as time rings, the time travel console, the console user manual and the adventure cards.

After a short briefing, which introduces the topic of the adventure, you can start. Strictly speaking, assembling the time travel steering wheel also counts as part of the setup, even if this is instructed on the first adventure card.

For this and for all levels of the time spiral you simply puzzle together the parts with the given symbol.

Implementation of the time travel

The adventure cards tell you which symbol forms the next level of the time spiral. At the beginning you puzzle two levels and then until the end of the adventure one puzzle piece and one puzzle piece alternate. 

Life is Strange

The time spiral is puzzled level by level on the time travel console. Image: Jonas Dahmen

You work your way through the deck step by step and foil Mayhem's plans at various points in the past. Instructions for solving the puzzles can be found both on the maps and on the current levels of the time spiral. Each level of the time spiral shows four possible realities.

Once you have solved a puzzle, you adjust the steering wheel according to the symbols you have found. Then you put the time ring over the time spiral in such a way that the solution letter creates a continuous connection to the starting point. In addition, the time ring indicates the "correct" reality and shows the number of the card that you can take next.

Step by step you put the past back in order and thwart Mayhem's plans. 

Both titles are recommended for 1-4 people aged 12 and over. The playing time is between 120 and 180 minutes. The puzzles are priced at €35.

Conclusion: puzzles for puzzle fans or puzzles for puzzle fans?

As indicated in the last sentence of the last paragraph, the adventures of the Time Guardians mainly feel like a puzzle. A large part of the (game) time is used for this.

The puzzles are quite nice, but neither challenging nor particularly innovative for people who regularly play escape games. There were no significant differences in the difficulty of the puzzles between the two tested titles.

The possibilities that the puzzle offers for the riddles are used relatively rarely. at A world without chocolate the time spiral is involved a little more often. Mainly, however, this is a puzzle challenge and gives some information about the story.

Life is Strange

If you manage to stop Mayhem, there is a certificate. Image: Jonas Dahmen

The game material is well designed. The puzzle pieces hold together and yet can be put together without using force. It is also possible to set up the new levels of the time spiral without any problems. 

The maps and time rings are of good thickness. However, the cards should tend to crease very easily because of their sharp corners. If you want to pass the game on, this is not quite optimal.

The time travel console does its job well and keeps everything in place. However, it would be worth considering offering the console separately. It makes up a large part of the material and the contents of the box. This way you could sell the cases in a much more space-saving way and you wouldn't have so much double content in each box.

The instructions provide all the information you need to embark on the adventure. Everything that is important beyond that is explained on the corresponding cards. Nothing really complicated here. If there are problems with the riddles, there are hints on the last page which cards are helpful for the solution. 

The stories are well thought out. But there is no real feeling of time travel. The other realities are occasionally relevant to the solving of some mysteries, but don't really unfold and remain rather pale. 

There is no real game or puzzle flow in the sense of classic escape and adventure games. The puzzle part is too high for that and the claim and the scope of the puzzles are far too small. Unfortunately, at one point in A world without chocolate reveal part of a riddle in a subsequent sentence on the riddle card. A little more care in creating the texts would have been good here. Fortunately, the "important" part of the riddle is not given away.

Finally, it must be stated that the Time Guardians are not for die-hard escape fans if they don't also enjoy puzzles. The amount of puzzles here is many times smaller than the time it takes to puzzle the time spiral together. Thanks to the simple puzzles, the two titles in the series offer an easy entry into the world of puzzle games for people who have little or no experience with escape games.

So to answer the question from the beginning of this section: The series Time Guardians offers puzzles for puzzle fans.

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