At Home Game,  Subscription Game

Scarlet Envelope: Wild Mansion of Mr. Ferri


Game Description

“Mr. Ferri, a rich gentleman with an intense love for animals, has suddenly passed away. The word on the street is that he was killed…by his own lion! But was he really? You’re hired to investigate the creepy mansion and to find the will hidden by the gentleman. Solve puzzles and uncover the truth behind the paranormal activities connected with the mysterious death of Mr. Ferri.””

Personal Experience

Oh how time flies, I thought it had been about a year since I last dipped into the Scarlet Envelope series with their excellent fourth entry Breakfast for a Serial Killer. But when I opened my puzzle game notebook and thumbed through, I was shocked that it had somehow been nearly two years since my last playthrough. Pandemic Time, it’s wild.

After opening the envelope and diving in, I was worried that my puzzle-solving skills may have gotten a bit rusty as this was one of the more difficult games I’ve played through. (I checked around and was relieved to find out that I wasn’t alone in this!) Difficult as it was, it was still quite an enjoyable game to play, and the three hours it took me to complete it flew by very quickly.


Wild Mansion has a really fun setup: an eccentric haunted house owner with a penchant for exotic animals has seemingly been killed by his beloved lion and the hunt is on for his will, but—given his puckish nature—it’s possible that the whole thing is an elaborate ruse. It’s a pretty novel scenario, while there’s definitely strong The Westing Game or Knives Out vibes present, you’re not trying to solve a murder. Mr. Ferri either faked his death or had a very unfortunate (yet very predictable) accident with his exotic pet. Either way, the five family members you’ll be learning about and investigating aren’t suspects, which is a neat twist on the genre. The game leaves a lot of the characters’ personalities and world building up to inference, but it works well for the format. Once solved, the mystery leads to a satisfying conclusion.

Scarlet Envelope’s chapters jump around in time and space quite a bit, this time around the setting is 1990. (So, naturally, one of the puzzles involves a fax.) I would have liked to see the game lean a little more into the era, as things like a website referenced in an in-game prop and the hairstyles and fashion styles being pulled from late 2010s stock photograph took me out of it a bit. But these are minor nitpicks in an otherwise well done narrative.

In the positives column, despite the game coming out mid-pandemic and involving a man being eaten by his large cat, there were a complete lack of Tiger King references. I always appreciate creators avoiding the easy topical reference, it rarely ages well.

Puzzle Play

The puzzle play in Wild Mansion is very good, being both very challenging and very entertaining. It’s definitely one of the more difficult at home games I’ve played—though, it was a fair challenge. Everything is solvable within the confines of the game, but the sign posting is minimal, as determining what the puzzles are and what pieces go together are itself a puzzle. Even the small puzzle that unlocks the hint site—a brilliant and twisted idea unique to Scarlet Envelope— is harder than the previous chapters. Thankfully not too much harder, as I needed to use a few hints to keep me pointed in the right direction, but the nudges felt enlightening as opposed to frustrating.

The game starts off with one of my favorite kinds of puzzle, a big ole logic problem. I’ve loved them ever since I was a kid solving those Penny Press / Dell printed logic puzzle magazines they sold at the store. I used Johannes Singler’s very excellent LogicalSolver site to make up a grid and dove right in. I went through the clues and finished filling the grid and found myself stuck. Unfortunately, for me, I made a fallacy early on in the solve, and didn’t realize it. So I had to start over and do it again. Not a big problem, and totally on me, but it’s definitely one of the big reasons for the three hour runtime on this game.

The logic problem is definitely the big event of this installment, but the other puzzles were all very well done and very unique from each other. One puzzle featured a really well-crafted trick that felt appropriately magical. None of the puzzles required distinguishing colors, which is always a nice bonus for me.

Starter or Experienced?

Scarlet Envelope is somewhat unique in that they offer two levels of difficulty for their experiences: Starter and Experienced.

With this being their most difficult experience to date, I was curious what the differences were between the Experienced difficulty level I played through and the Starter difficulty level. I reached out to Scarlet Envelope to see if they would give me some examples, and they were happy to do so. First, their official answer about difficult levels:

Choose Experienced if you’ve played escape room games in boxes, puzzle books, and many escape rooms before. Note that Experienced games have an extra puzzle to solve to unlock HINTS. (Hints are immediately available for Regular.) Choose the Starter level if you don’t have much experience with puzzle games and escape rooms, and you will enjoy a little guidance + less hardcore versions of complicated puzzles.”

They mentioned that they are going to be updating the name of the Starter level to “Regular” as even the easier versions of the game are still a challenge. Also, the two difficult tracks will start to dovetail as the series moves on, as everyone who plays will be gaining experience and familiarity as they make their way through the thirteen eventual chapters.

They also detailed some of the specific differences in the game itself. I won’t spoil them here, but it basically boiled down to more obvious sign-posting for the puzzles, clues that were a little more straightforward, and a step or two removed in the process to reach a puzzle’s solution.

Overall, the Starter difficulty isn’t quite as easy as I assumed it would be when I selected my difficulty level for my subscription. I enjoy the extra challenge of the Experienced level, but the Starter/Regular level is likely an ideal Goldilocks difficulty for people that are looking for a good challenge, but are playing by themselves or would like a little more guidance on what they’re supposed to be doing and when.


The Scarlet Envelope series continues to surprise and entertain with their genre-hopping setup. This one is difficult, but I appreciated the challenge. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique experience every time they open an envelope or to anyone looking to support queer creators during Pride Month. You’ll, of course, not want to start with Chapter V, but rather Chapter I: Scarlet Envelope: Newspaper: Intro to Mysteries.


Type of Game: At Home Puzzle Game
Date Played: 2023-06-20
Price: $30 CAD (~$23 USD)
Company: Scarlet Envelope
Team Size: 1
Colorblind-friendly: Yes
Outcome: Win

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *