Toys & Games

Mail Order Mystery Review: Escape the Master Loop

When school’s out for summer, I’m always on the hunt for fun activities that will pry my kids away from their screens. Luckily, Mail Order Mystery newest mystery is the perfect solution!

We’ve shown you previous Mail Order Mysteries like Spies, Lies and Serious Bad Guys, The Case of the Missing Bigfoot, The Enchanted Slumber and Treasure Hunt. Their newest mystery is Escape the Master Loop. and it’s just as enthralling an experience as previous ones!

What on earth is a Mail Order Mystery? Basically, it’s an immersive, interactive story for kids told through a series of clues and documents that come in the mail. That doesn’t even begin to cover the magic of the whole experience though. Once a week, a mysterious envelope or package arrives in the mail addressed directly to your child. Each mailing contains an assortment of personalized letters, secret missions, and cryptic messages, along with mysterious objects, puzzles to solve, codes to crack, and clues of all kinds.

You can either choose to have one installment mailed per week, or you can request to have all six envelopes sent at the same time so you can hand them out on your schedule. Weekly deliveries keep the kids looking forward to the mail and engaged over the summer, but personally I loved having the whole series available at one time – the perfect way to bring the mystery along on road trips, camping, or a vacation. I think for this particular mystery, it works well to have all the envelopes available at once so your child can refer back and forth to find all the clues.

A Mail Order Mystery is perfect for encouraging creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork. If you have more than one child, Mail Order Mystery can address the envelopes and letters to siblings so they get to work together and share in the adventure.

Everyone knows there are rules to time travel. Don’t change the past. Don’t leave anything behind. Don’t bring anything back with you. But what happens if you break those rules? You will soon find out.
You are about to receive an urgent message from your future self: you have caused some serious mishaps in the time travel universe. You must work together – by which we mean future you and present you – to fix your mistakes. And don’t let the time police catch on! There are only so many stern warnings they will issue before they confiscate your time pod and leave you stranded in whatever year you happen to be in.

It all starts with a letter to your child — written by your child from a different timeline! This particular kiddo somehow messed up history but managed to send a warning back: fix the timeline! With the help of a fellow time traveler named Parker and the Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, your child will work to repair things back to how they used to be. All the instructions are sent in ciphers to avoid being caught by UNSTUC (United Network of Spacetime Travel Unravel Corrections), the agency that enforces time travel rules.

Build paper airplane prototypes and determine which design is most airworthy to crack the code.

This mystery will take your child from the Cretaceous period 77 million years ago, to the present day, back in time to Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop in 1503, and then forward again to the year 3042. Each new envelope contains clues, maps, puzzles, and assorted ephemera leading the reader from one time to another, collecting time tokens along the way.

What if the Titanic were an airplane instead of a ship? What if the Mona Lisa didn’t look like herself anymore? These kinds of things happen when you accidentally leave a digital camera in da Vinci’s workshop.

Using hidden clues, postcards, and maps, each installment guides your child step-by-step on a puzzle adventure through time. Kids will get to exercise their powers of observation, deduction, and problem-solving. Best of all, they get the thrill of discovery and the satisfaction of solving a mystery spanning millions of years. Don’t worry if your child gets stuck on a puzzle. Just hang tight for the next envelope to find the solution.

The final package contains the last clues needed to complete the final secret message on the Time Travel Tangle Tracker poster, along with some ideas for making your own time capsule!

What I love most about Mail Order Mysteries is how they get the whole family involved. We took turns reading the letters and secret missions out loud, finding the answers together. Escape the Master Loop is an excellent mystery for the whole family and kids age 9 and up.

Mail Order Mystery currently offers five different mysteries: Treasure Hunt! ($109), The Enchanted Slumber ($109), The Case of the Missing Bigfoot ($119), Spies, Lies and Serious Bad Guys ($119), and Escape the Master Loop ($119). Over the years my kids have done all of them, and you can’t go wrong choosing any of these! Connect with Mail Order Mystery on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.

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  • How cool is this? This reminds me of the games my dad used to make for us when we were kids. He would hide clues and put letters in the mail slot and convince us they were from the FBI.