Indiana Jones: Cryptic - A Puzzles and Pathways Adventure (Spoiler Free Review) | Casual Game Revolution

Indiana Jones: Cryptic - A Puzzles and Pathways Adventure (Spoiler Free Review)

Indiana Jones Cryptic

Journey through Indiana’s first three adventures, in this blend of puzzle and dexterity game that puts you in the boots of the great adventurer himself!

Published by Funko Games, Indiana Jones: Cryptic is divided into three adventures, each designed to last about 60-90 minutes.


The game is divided into three adventures, with each adventure covering one of the first three Indiana Jones movies. The game also comes with a journal.

When you start an adventure, you open that adventure’s envelope and set all the components aside. You then start reading that adventure’s section in the journal. The journal gives you a little bit of story and then will set up the puzzles for you. When you reach a puzzle, the journal will tell you what, if any, components you will need from the adventure’s envelope. Sometimes there will be sections of the puzzle inside the journal. It will also tell you how many coins the puzzle is worth. You set the correct number of coin tokens into the coin pool.

Each puzzle will have an answer that is one or two words long. The journal might show you a selection of words and you need to solve the puzzle to determine which is the correct one. Or there might be a series of red boxes, indicating how many letters long the word is, and you have to solve the puzzle to get the letters and put them together to form a word.

When you believe you have solved the puzzle, you can look up the word you believe to be the answer in the back of the journal. If you are incorrect, you typically lose a coin from the coin pool, and if you are correct you claim any coins still in the coin pool and add them to your score pile. The journal will also list a hint word and an answer word. You can look up the hint word in the back of the journal (which will typically lose you a coin from the pool) or if you give up you can look up the answer word, which will give you the correct answer (in which case you lose all coins from the pool). Once you have solved a puzzle, you continue in the journal.

There are also pathway challenges in the game. These also will add coins to the coin pool. When you reach one of these, you take the indicated pathway card, which will show an image of a room and a starting point. You lay the clear sheet over this card and use the dry-erase marker to mark where the start is. You then move the clear sheet so that it is at least one marker’s length away from the card. You use the black marker to draw a path from the white dot through the room, trying to avoid obstacles shown in the picture such as walls or traps. Typically, you are attempting to reach a particular goal point on the card and mark an X there. After you have finished drawing your path, you flip over the card and place the sheet over it. This other side makes it easy to see if your path hits any obstacles. The journal will then tell you how many coins you have to discard from the pool based on what obstacles your path hit and if you managed to successfully reach the goal. You then get to take any remaining coins from the pool.

Some pathway challenges also have unique tools attached to them, that you can either use in addition to marking your path or you must exclusively use. These tools are cutout cardboard with red lines along some of their edges. When using a tool on the pathway, you lay it on the clear sheet, and while you can adjust the tool, you can only draw along the red edges.

Once you have played through all the pages in the journal associated with the adventure you are on, you count up how many coins are in your score pile, and then check the journal to determine your final score based on your number of coins.

Indiana Jones: Cryptic Components


Indiana Jones: Cryptic’s mix of puzzles and the dexterity challenge of the pathways is a unique combination, and one that makes sense with the theme. In general, the game serves its theme well, and it’s a fun idea to be able to play through three separate adventures, and provides a nice way to break up the game.

The difficulty level feels about right, starting quite easy to help players get into the game, and slowly escalating. The journal provides some nice bits of story, while also serving as a way to help keep players on track and make it clear what they’ll need for each puzzle. The plastic sheet included for the pathway section also offers a great note-taking option when trying to solve something, and it was nice not to have to scrounge around for paper and pencils for once.

It does feel like this should be played with two players at the most. A lot of the puzzles are inside the journal itself, so it’s not going to be easy for all players to contribute to solving these puzzles. You’re also only ever working on one puzzle at a time. A few of the puzzles do get big and there’s definitely space for multiple people to tackle those, but the pathways are also a pretty solo endeavor. You can say if you think a player has gone off the path, and you can take turns with who solves them, but if there’s too many players, you’re going to end up sitting out a lot during this period of gameplay (and it occurs often). There’s nothing wrong with a game working best with smaller groups, it’s just important to know this going into it.

The hint system isn’t all that great. It often felt like it was either flat-out telling you how to solve the puzzle or was only giving a hint to one step of the puzzle, which you might have already figured out but not helping with the second step. There’s no progression for the hints, either, and each puzzle only has one. If you look up the answer it doesn’t actually tell you how that answer was reached, so you’re still left frustrated. Additionally, the rulebook doesn’t do a great job of explaining how the tools work on the pathway sections, and an illustrated example would have really helped here.

Indiana Jones: Cryptic definitely has some fun puzzles, and we enjoyed the pathway sections of the game. It was a fun way to break up the puzzles and were challenging in their own right. We are fans of the movies, which does help here, since a lot of the big puzzle moments are based on sections of the films. It makes for a fun evening, and while it may not be the most mind-blowing puzzle game out there, we enjoyed the experience and the fun story.

Pros: Very thematic, broken up into nice chunks, great for 1-2 players, pathway mechanism adds variety to the gameplay and isn’t something you see often in puzzle games

Cons: Should not be played with a large group, hint system is lackluster, tools mechanism is not explained well

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.