BIG POTATO GAMES
If you have been following me for a while, you’ll probably know that I dig a puzzle or two. So, when I got the chance to review Night At The Movies by Big Potato Games, I was very excited!
You can read my full review of Night at the Movies here, but Cliffnotes version is that Shadow Meeple (aka the husband formally known as Bearded Moon – yes, I have reluctantly allowed him to choose his own moniker!) and I really enjoyed it!
The combination of jigsaw puzzle and social gaming experience scratched both our itches at once. It also helped that he is a huge movie buff. So he was eager to test his recognition skills from the moment we popped the lid.
And so when I found out that there was a second puzzame (?) guzzle (?) in the series, it was a no-brainer for me. Discovering Day At The Festival was based on 101 bands was like Big Potato Games had read my secret thoughts.
Second only to gaming and writing, music makes my soul sing. And with over half a million songs in my personal collection, the soundtrack to my life is as colourful as this jigsaw game promised to be. Without knowing it, Big Potato had granted my wish for a musical themed version of their super puzzling experience.
Lady in Red!
So, back to part one of the puzzle. Just like Night At The Movies, Day At The Festival comprises 1,000 pieces which together form a picture that includes 101 band/artists. After completing part one, the real riddle unravelling begins. And I don’t know about you, but I think that deserves a moment of reverential silence from the audience.
To give you an idea of the calibre of crypticity in Day At The Festival, you’ll see a duo of sheep somewhere in the montage. Want to have a guess as to which band this is? Good try, but not Rammstein. Nope, not Lamb of God either. In fact, that little niggly nugget of randomness is actually “U2” (two ewes, get it?!). And that, my friends, is the superior standard of sneakiness in Day At The Festival!
And, just like Night At The Movies, this jigsaw is high on the quality stakes. The pieces are thick, glossy, and irregular shaped. Once again, the lack of plastic wrapping on both the outside of the box, as well as inside, is commendable. It really does make me red-faced and ragey when, if simple changes like this can be done by Big Potato Games, why others aren’t also taking the environmental initiative. Yes, it is made in China, so the game miles aren’t great. But the attention to detail in its presentation is lovely – from the illustrations on the inside of the box, to the Big Potato sticker, and the little health warning on the side (“building this puzzle may encourage you to go out into a nearby field and have a boogie”), this is a complete package.
Big Yellow Taxi!
The colour palette in Day At The Festival deserves a special mention. Making direct comparisons when reviewing a series of games or puzzles can be unfair. Mainly because each one should be considered on its own merits. But helping you decide whether a particular game (or variant) works for you or not, is a massive part of responsible reviewing.
So, I am going to put it out there, centre stage. For us, the major difference between Night At The Movies and Day AT The Festival (apart from the subject matter of course) is the vibrancy of the colours.
Whereas Movies uses a muted, soft meld of shades, Festival is literally that; a bright, technicolour celebration that spreads out across the table. Yellows, oranges, and reds are fire hot, making the final puzzle really pop!
And this is notable for two reasons. The artists themselves are different. For a publisher to respect the individual styles in a single series of puzzle games, is excellent. And, the design is a huge part of what makes jigsaws so enjoyable; having a beautiful, unique piece of art unfolding before your very eyes.
Furthermore, it makes the solving experience different in each case. The subtle shades in Movies made it feel like a more grown up, after dinner movie night experience. It also made seeing some of the details quite tricky, particularly if you went all in with added mood lighting! In comparison, Festival feels more like a full on party with a concert like atmosphere; without doubt, it is bringing the visual noise any time of day or night!
Tangled Up In Blue!
Although we whizzed through the jigsaw faster this time (possibly because of the brighter shades of pale!), some of the visual riddles once again flummoxed us. The first 75 were pretty straightforward (which may well have been down to completing Movies first rather than any sudden increase in brain power).
But the remaining 25% had us tapping the table and jiggling our feet in frustrated fun. My super mother-in-law joined in, and recognised a few headliners with whom she used to boogie down at the disco. Likewise, I spotted a number of artists that Shadow Meeple couldn’t place (mainly due to my misspent youth hanging around in HMV!).
Over a series of nights, we caught almost all the performers and listed them down on the handy chart. If it had been a real music festival, the variety of eras and styles would have blown Glastonbury well and truly out of the park!
For those few that we just couldn’t place, however, we were able to avail ourselves of the solution via the QR code printed on the box side and chart (reducing the need to print a solution – bonus green points for BPG!).
Overall, we really loved Day At The Festival; the theme was spot on for me, and Shadow Meeple loved the bright colours. The mix of jigsaw and riddle is a winning combination in our house, and we are hopeful that the series is expanded in the future. My imagination has already dreamt of a book title version set in a library, as well as a meta gaming convention version – an ear knitting a jumper could make for a good cryptic Knizia!
Ultimately, we would happily solve Day At The Festival again, and that has to be the gold standard for any jigsaw. And in truth, the only thing standing in our way is the need to resist the temptation to hang it on the wall for all to admire
[please note that a copy of this puzzle was kindly provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review but any opinions expressed are my own]