Posted in Journal 29

Journal 29 – Revelations

Puzzle Book

It’s been a while since I played the first Journal 29 but with a little more time on my hands it was time to delve into part two, Journal 29 – Revelation.

revelatiion-main

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

Before you continue reading, if you’ve not yet played the original Journal 29, this is the place to start. Although it not essential that you do this, it’s always better to approach it in the chronology that they are written. You can find my review of the first book here

The idea behind book two is principally the same, solve the clues to unlock the mystery of the excavation team. With this addition, there is far more of a story element compared to the original. This does mean that the book is a little more cohesive but I found that there was more story than the book really warranted. Small paragraphs to give you an update were fine but I found I skipped much of the lengthy prose as it wasn’t relevant to anything that was being solve. The only caveat to this is the story that unfolds in puzzle pages. Due to the addition of around 20 story pages, the book does suffer from having fewer puzzles than the original. There are around 10 or so less. What the story does do though is tie up the adventure nicely.

So, what about the puzzles themselves? There are some genuinely great puzzles in the book. I found that this one required a little more outside knowledge than the original and if you didn’t have any technology available to you, you would get very stuck, very quickly. Some of the puzzles require access to the Journal 29 website and access to the all important keys also come from their too. Although I found that some of the puzzles in the original were a leap of logic, there was a far greater number here that required you to be able to pick things up without any signposting. The advantage is that Journal 29 has a forum with hints and tips and on the whole, if I had looked at the page blankly for some time, a couple of simple hints would get me back on track but, there were a couple where I wouldn’t have got the answer in a month of Sundays. There was one particular puzzle that required multiple steps to get close and it’s unlikely many people will get this without any help. The puzzles were good but I felt were weaker than the original.

The book is still a lot of fun to play and can be done by multiple people. If you have more than one copy, it’s also something you can collaborate on with others that might not be in the same household as you. If you want an escape room puzzle fix with your normal escape team then this would work really well

Overall *****

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 *****