Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book - Paper Escapes

Pictures from the publisher's website

Jesse Cruz
# of Players:
60 min (although players aren't expected to time themselves)

Game Design & Mechanics
  • This "book" is in fact more like a fancier version of those "puzzle books" you can buy in drugstores. It's clearly meant to be written directly into and eventually discarded. (And this being escape-themed, you won't be surprised that you might need to mess with the book in other ways.)
  • There 10 puzzles listed in sequence. The answer to every puzzles is always a series a digits.
  • As I already stated, the book doesn't ask you to time yourself (it's meant to be a casual experience), but if you get stuck on a puzzle for more than 5 minutes, you're invited to turn the page over and read the hint written on the next one.
  • If you're still stuck after that, there's is a URL (and a QR code printed there for convenience) which send you to page listing the full answer.
  • The last puzzle uses the codes you previously obtained, and the final code you get is supposed to be entered on the publisher's website, where a terse congratulations message awaits.
  • In general, the puzzles are decent, and each one if fairly unique. They're the kind of stuff you can find in Escape Rooms, and even more so in the Escape-Room-in-a-Box games I've previously reviewed.
  • Let's start with the most crucial point: the "Escape Room" angle is a farce. I've seen such puzzle books (made of various puzzles that connect together) for years. This book has no storyline (not even a theme), nothing to "search" through, and nothing to "unlock" except for that one final code.
  • I see absolutely no point in giving this book a high quality finish (and the price point that goes with it). Why put so much production value in a book meant to be written into (and worse)? At the beginning of this review I mentioned puzzle books in drugstores, and I think that should've been the proper model for a book like this: cheap paper stock, cheap cover, cheap price tag, and then you sell it alongside crossword puzzles and sudoku books.
  • It's also way too big for its own good. I could easily see the book pages being half as small, and gameplay wouldn't really be affected.
  • The internet angle is a bit of a waste, too. Why not put the solutions at the end of the book? The main benefit of books is that you can bring them anywhere, even out in camping. You can still do that with this book... but only if you're willing to wait for the answers.

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