Puzzle Pod Junior (Review)

The Puzzle Pod Junior is a fun way to present a gift card or cash to a puzzle lover, and a fun prop for anyone who wants to make an “escape room” at home. Made by 4Thought Products, the Puzzle Pod Junior is a alternate, smaller version of their Puzzle Pod Cryptex.

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The Puzzle Pod Junior can fit gift cards, cash, folded up pieces of paper, or keys.

Quick Facts:

  • Weight: 2.6 ounces
  • Material: ABS Plastic
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up
  • Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lK45vd
  • Buy directly from 4Thougthts Products : http://shop.vino-vault.com/ (20% off for April 2017 with promo code GIFTS)

Setting Up the Puzzle Pod Junior

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The Puzzle Pod Junior in its closed state.

Out of the box, the Puzzle Pod Junior comes closed. You can set the combination by affixing three differently colored plastic stickers onto the three rings – matching the letters that you are interested in with the indentations on rings. Both the plastic stickers and the Puzzle Pod Junior are made out of hard, high-quality plastic. The adhesive is very strong, so once the stickers are in place they seem impossible to remove without damaging the stickers themselves. This has the effects of:

  • You can’t “cheat” by removing the stickers and identifying the right grooves
  • You can’t change the combination. The stickers are stuck in place and you can’t change them to something else.

Opening the Puzzle Pod Junior

William | Escape Room Tips

Our three-letter combination was “BUS”. With the proper 3-letter combination inputted, the tray easily slides out.

To open the Puzzle Pod Junior, you have to align the three wheels with the arrow on the top to spell the 3-letter combination. The correct combination will uncover the correct grooves behind the wheels, which will allow the recipient to slide out the tray.

The rotation mechanism is smooth and feels solid. There are no “clicks” or tactile feedback when you pass each letter (which is standard for word locks), so you’ll have to make sure that your rotations are precise. You’ll want to spin starting with the outer wheel and then work your way in, since any spins to the outer wheel will also rotate the inner wheels.

William | Escape Room Tips

A peek inside the Puzzle Pod Junior. Note the notches behind the wheels on the right, and the notch catches on the left.

The inside of the Puzzle Pod Junior measures approximately 3.25 inches x 4.00 inches. For some sense of depth, I was able to fit three credit cards in there, stacked. For an “at-home” escape room, there’s also room in here to hold keys.

Shortcomings

The largest downside here is that unlike the Puzzle Pod Cryptex (another 4Thought Productions product), the combination cannot be reset, which means that this will have limited reusability after its first use. Additionally, all of the plastic of the Puzzle Pod Junior is opaque, which means that the recipient won’t know what they’re working for until they solve the combination. One of the most fun parts of their Puzzle Pod Cryptex is how the container is transparent, which teases the gift recipient or the puzzle hunter about its contents.

The branding present on the Puzzle Pod Junior is a little bit too showy for my tastes, and distracts a bit from the puzzle itself. The includes the company logo on the center, the name of the product printed on the top (which feels uneven since the text is not balance between the left and the right), and some more large text on the back of the product. These are minor aesthetic concerns, but the product is still solid.

Overall, we think the Puzzle Pod Cryptex is a more fun product, but the Puzzle Pod Junior has certain niche uses that it’s well suited for, particularly for giving gifts to a puzzle-loving friend.

Overall Recommendation

If you’re interested in the product, you can buy it on Amazon for $14.95 or buy it directly from 4Thought Product’s Webstore: http://shop.vino-vault.com/. The Puzzle Pod Junior can be used for a variety of purposes, and we recommend comparing it with the Puzzle Pod Cryptex in order to see which one suits your needs better. We’ve listed the purposes below along with our recommendations:

  • As a puzzle in a permanent escape room – We do not recommend the Puzzle Pod Junior as a puzzle in a permanent escape room – this is a small prop and permanent escape rooms are better off hiding things in much larger set pieces, like cabinet drawers. The Puzzle Pod Junior is much better for the next two uses:
  • As an puzzle in an “at-home” escape room – This is a cute prop for any “at-home” escape room that you plan on creating for your friends or family. This is an alternative to a lock, will accept 3-letter codes, and can hide a folded-up sheet of paper or a key. Keep in mind again that you can’t reset the combination, so you’ll be stuck with whatever 3-letter code you started up with after your “at-home” escape room is completed. Alternatively, check out their Puzzle Pod Cryptex.
  • As a gift to escape room customers that buy gift cards – This is a fun promotional product to throw in for free for any escape room customers that buys a gift card (worth multiple tickets) for a friend.
  • As a gift to a puzzle-loving friend – This is the best use of the Puzzle Pod Junior, this is a fun prop to use to give any puzzle-loving friend a gift card, cash, or any other gift that can fit inside. At $14.95 though, this is better for more high-value gifts, say a $50+ gift card or a $50+ bill. This is a fun way to present a gift and to make your gift recipient work for it.

If you’re interested in the Puzzle Pod Junior, you can check out the listing on Amazon, or purchase it directly from 4Thought Product’s Webstore at http://shop.vino-vault.com/ (20% off for April 2017 with promo code GIFTS).

 

Full Disclosure: We were provided with a free sample of the product in exchange for a review. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. This means that we may get a small commission from any purchases made from the links.

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