Posted in Escape Game

Journal 29

NOT AN ESCAPE ROOM

When I started to use this one, it soon became apparent that, although this isn’t an escape room it certainly appeals to the Escape Room crowd. Advertised as an “Interactive Book Game”, the idea it to solve the contents of the book in order to gain the keys needed to solve puzzles further into its pages.

According to its official release:

Journal 29 is a unique book game where you can solve riddles and puzzles and submit your answers online to get the keys and move forward.
To solve the riddles, you need to think out of the box.

You can write, draw, search, fold pages, combine different methods and try to get those riddles right.
Journal 29 is a 148 page book providing over 63 riddles you can solve.

As an Escape Room enthusiast you can imagine it peaked my interest so, I decided to grab myself a copy and see what it was all about

The Story

A top secret excavation did not bring any result for 28 weeks.
It was on the 29th week that something unexpected happened.
The team disappeared and the only thing that was left behind was their Journal.
You must solve the riddles in order to solve the mystery.

Gameplay

Gameplay is probably the wrong title for this section but the book does play a little like a game. It requires you to use some out of the box thinking in order to solve each puzzle. Then, once you have the answer you visit the web address provided with the puzzle and enter the answer. Get it correct and you receive a key. This key may come in useful later in the book. Sometimes it is a very straightforward solution and sometimes the logical leap expected of you by the author leaves you thinking “WTF?!”

If you do find yourself stuck, there is a forum online that allows you to gain hints to solve the puzzles and people have handily written step by step solutions to puzzles too. There are no hints or answers in the book itself. So, if you find yourself in a location with no internet connection and an unfathomable problem, it’s going to niggle away at you until you can get help. For a book, the puzzles actually vary in style and there are some really nice surprising way in which you need to use the Journal 29 website and elements of the book that you thought were there purely for decoration. Just like an escape room, a snazzy piece of design or decoration can turn out to be something very vital further down the line.

You will become addicted, you will want to throw it out a 30 Storey window or hope it’s taken away in a burglary at times, but for those who love puzzles and won’t get the chance to play an escape room for a while. This will certainly scratch an itch. If you are the kind of person who likes to keep your books pristine, steers very clear. Mine looks like it’s been through several world wars.

The book explains that you will only need a small handful of things to complete it

On the whole, what you needed was correct. I guess I was a little annoyed to find that the what you need section wasn’t entirely accurate, specifically for one puzzle. Knowing what I needed I didn’t have to hand at the time, I had no choice but to find out the answer. There was no way of solving it otherwise.

In addition to much of the content in the book, it does require you to find out a lot of things from Google. As Escape Room fans, we are used to the answers being readily available. Here, you will need to do a little research.

Finally, the story. I like how the author has tried to create a backstory to engage the player. The truth is, the story is pretty meaningless and although some of the puzzle designs fit in with some kind of experimental theme they really aren’t vital. It works as a puzzle book without the need for the contrived and unexplained backstory.

Verdict

On the whole this is a lot of fun. It’s well thought out and proves a challenge to many. The only downside is the puzzles are hide really do require a massive logical leap, the kind we would often complain about if it was found in an Escape Room. Regardless of this, it’s a sold game to keep you entertained.

Overall *****

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