Review of The Cupid Crisis, A Holiday Hijinks Escape Room Game

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and if you are like me I know you are looking for a Valentine’s Day themed board game to play on February 14th.

The Cupid Crisis is an 18 card escape room in a box style puzzle game that is perfect for playing on Valentine’s Day or really any date night. It’s also a solid single player experience, if you do find yourself alone for the evening.

Disclosure: Thanks to Marc from Grand Gamers Guild for dropping off some Holiday Hijinks games for us to check out last year. Since then they have become a sponsor of The Tabletop Bellhop Gaming Podcast. Use our code BELLHOP when shopping with them to save 10% off. Links in this post may be affiliate links. Using these costs you nothing but may earn us a small commission on eligible items.

What is The Cupid Crisis and the Holiday Hijinks series of games?

The cover for The Cupid Crisis a Valentine's themed escape room game.

Like all of the Holiday Hijinks games this small box, eighteen card, escape room style game was designed by Jonathan Chaffer, it was published by Grand Gamers Guild, in 2022 and is available to purchase as a physical game or in print and play format.

The Cupid Crisis is a sixty-minute mystery for one or more sleuths of any age, though it does feature the highest possible difficulty with a rating of three out of three. Despite the Valentine’s Day theme, the game works great with only one player or with more than two.

Each Holiday Hijinks game is a stand alone game and despite being the fourth game in the series this is not the fourth Hijinks game we’ve played. Be sure to check out our previous reviews of The Kringle Caper, The Independence Incident, The Birthday Burglary, The Turkey Trial, The Pumpkin Problem, and The Groundhog Gambit.

All of the Holiday Hijinks games share some features. They are all low priced small card packs, with each game containing only eighteen cards. You use these cards in conjunction with a browser based, device-independent, web app. Each game is themed around a different North American holiday. 

The Cupid Crisis is based on Valentine’s Day, and the storyline has you arriving at a restaurant to meet your date when things go horribly wrong. While the story is written from a single player perspective, you could play this game with any number of players. The puzzles in The Cupid Crisis are very modular and you are presented with more than one to work on at once, which is perfect for splitting up the work between two or more players. 

What you see when you first open up The Cupid Crisis a puzzle game with a Valentine's Day theme

Due to the escape room nature of this game, I didn’t do an unboxing video as I wouldn’t want to spoil any of the puzzles. However, I can say that the component quality in The Cupid Crisis is great, the card design is clear and functional, and the puzzles come in a wide variety of types.

Many of the puzzles in this Valentine’s themed game expect you to write on the cards. While you can do that we suggest that you instead use some card sleeves and wet erase markers or tracing paper while playing. That way you can pass the resealable pack on to another group when you are done. 

How to play The Cupid Crisis

About to start The Cupid Crisis

To play The Cupid Crisis you open up the card pack and follow the instructions inside. This will have you put the deck of cards aside without looking at them and opening up the web app on your phone, PC, laptop, TV, etc.

There you will hit play next to the entry for The Cupid Crisis. The app will give you a brief introduction and have you flip over the starting card.

This card presents you with the first puzzle, and in an odd twist for the series, an answer for that puzzle. This answer is entered into the app, which then continues the story, and has you draw a bunch more cards. Each magnifying glass you find on these cards represents a different puzzle and you will be entering the answers to these puzzles into the app which will lead to drawing more cards with more puzzles on them.

Information provided in The Cupid Crisis web app.

If you ever get stuck on a puzzle, the web app includes some standard puzzle solving information like the NATO alphabet, flag codes, and specific to this game; famous love stories.

There is also a graduated hint system that gives hints one step at a time, leading up to the final solution to each puzzle while making sure not to spoil anything along the way. Personally, my wife and I ended up using quite a few hints to get through The Cupid Crisis.

Eventually, you will get to the final puzzle, enter the answer, and receive a score out of five. You also get the option to send your play info to Grand Gamers Guild so they can use it to help balance and rate future games in the series. 

The Cupid Crisis was fun for two, but would also work well with more.

One of the puzzles in The Cupid Crisis

The Cupid Crisis was the fifth Holiday Hijinks game that we’ve played and the first that Deanna and I tried on our own. With the Valentine’s Day theme, we thought it would be appropriate to try this one with just the two of us, without the kids.

This escape room game worked particularly well with two players, which is what I was hoping for. Right from the start you are presented with multiple puzzles to work on, and each of those leads to a new puzzle in a branching path. Each individual puzzle can be solved by one person, but it’s nice to have someone else there to help. Some puzzles we were able to solve on our own, others we swapped back and forth, and a couple took both of us puzzling through together. The puzzle balance felt just right.

The Cupid Crisis has the highest difficulty of all of the Holiday Hijinx Games we had played at this point and I could see why (The Groundhog Gambit which we played more recently was even harder). We used more hints here than ever before and got totally and completely stuck on the final puzzle.

The Back of the number 14 card in The Cupid Crisis a puzzle game great for playing on Valentine's Day

Early in the game, there was one puzzle that we needed two hints for, one to make sure we had everything we needed and a second that gave us a clue as to what to do with the stuff. While I’m sure one of us would have figured this out at some point, our play time would have been much longer. For the final puzzle though we used three hints before figuring out what the game wanted us to do. We spent at least twenty minutes of our one hour play time just on that one puzzle. 

Besides that final puzzle that we got stumped on, the puzzles we solved, both on our own and together, did make us feel smart, and we found the overall experience to be solid. I will say, with more eyes and brains at the table we may not have gotten stuck. While there were a few times there I think we could have used more players, The Cupid Crisis ended up being a fun date night game for us. 

The Cupid Crisis manages to give a physical escape room feel. You will find yourselves wandering around the cards, trying various puzzles, and looking to each other for help when needed. If you are like us you may even end up having to call on the staff (the app) for a hint when stuck. 

The Cupid Crisis was a great date night game for my wife and I

If you are looking for a fun way to spend an hour or so with your significant other or your family on or around Valentine’s Day, The Cupid Crisis is a good choice. While we played this one at home, I could also see playing this out at a coffee shop, winery, craft brewery or perhaps even a restaurant. Just be sure to bring some paper to take notes and some card sleeves and markers with you. 

You can pick up a copy of The Cupid Crisis from Grand Gamers Guild, either as a stand alone game, as a print and play, or as part of a bundle. While shopping be sure to use our exclusive discount code BELLHOP to save 10% off.

There you have our thoughts on The Cupid Crisis, the fifth game in the holiday hijinks series of games from our new sponsor: Grand Gamers Guild. What I love most about these games is how much punch they pack for being only eighteen cards and also how different each game feels.

Is there a series of games that keeps impressing you the more content that is released for it? Something that every time you try out the newest one you are like, damn they must be out of ideas by now? We would love to hear about it in the comments.

The Cupid Crisis, Holiday Hijinks #4
  • POCKET-SIZED ESCAPE ROOMS: A whole escape room packed into a light, easy to carry holder, making it ideal as a travel game, holiday game or as a fun gift!
  • MINI MYSTERIES FOR ALL ABILITIES: With a range of difficulties, Holiday Hijinks is a family game for kids and adults to enjoy no matter their mystery game know-how.
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