An escape book
The Escape book claims to be the “First book based on the puzzles of Escape Rooms”. I’m not sure on the accuracy of their claims but having been published in 2018, it’s probably not far off. The book was originally written in Spanish before being translated into English a year later.
You’re an investigative journalist – and you’ve learned too much. Your mission is to escape the labyrinth where you have been trapped and expose the corrupt, high-flying businessman, Castian Warnes. This is no easy feat, but your life depends on it.
The book itself is entirely story driven. The best way to describe it is if Saw was an escape room movie but it didn’t have the gore. That’s the kind of idea Ivan Tapia was going for. Instead of Jigsaw being the mastermind, it’s replaced with Castian Warnes, a voyeuristic businessman who watches as the protagonist, Candela Fuertes, makes her way through the labyrinth of puzzles. There are 17 puzzles in total, each of which give you the answer to the next page you need to turn to. Puzzles on the whole range for quick and simple to much more complex. None are out of reach of an experienced player but some may need a little help to get to the answer. Luckily, the book has a series of hints for each puzzle at the back of the book. Gameplay on the whole is good but to get through to the next puzzle you have to read a huge amount of story. There are times where you have to read six or seven pages of story in order to reach your next puzzle. It really is story overload and, at times, leaves you wondering why there is so much detail. All of the story in the book is superfluous to the puzzle solving too. It gives you some background as to the characters and gives the story purpose but it feels it’s a story first and a puzzle book second.
The book has a very clear colour palette of black, white and yellow and this is maintained throughout the book. The puzzles are clear and well designed although they are very blocky in nature. This means that they look more functional than realistic. It doesn’t mean they are any less of a puzzle just that the design means it is less like an escape room.
There is plenty to keep an enthusiast busy for a couple of hours if you aren’t bothered about getting bogged down in the story. One worthy of being in lockdown or musing over on a beach somewhere.