Escape Game Adventure Books [Overview]

Puzzling happily ever after.

Location:  at home

Date Played: February 2020

Team size: we recommend 1-family

Duration: 15-60 minutes

Price: about $10

REA Reaction

Escape Game Adventure books were family-friendly puzzle books with bold, beautiful illustrations and a light narrative. Each book represented an adventure through time and space to right a fantastical wrong.

The covers of both the Last Dragon & The Mad Hacker Escape Game Adventure books.

We’re in favor of anything that helps kids find a love of puzzling and using their minds to have fun. The Escape Game Adventure books comfortably fit that description.

They weren’t long or challenging. Their thorough approach to hinting and solution descriptions meant that anyone who wants to understand how a puzzle works can learn. Learning is what these books were all about. They would be a fantastic first step on a young puzzler’s journey.

Series Installments

Who is this for?

  • Kids & families
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Adorable
  • Gorgeous illustrations
  • Kid friendliness
  • Straightforward, but real puzzling

We’re going to publish short reviews of each book in the series. For the sake of simplicity and repetition reduction, we’re covering the basics in this overview.

Setup

Escape Game Adventure books were play-at-home escape games in a book format designed for kids ages 8 to 12.

While the individual Escape Game Adventure books each offered a unique story and puzzle set, they all followed the same structure.

Each book opened with a:

  • 1-page history of escape rooms, that references our data (but doesn’t cite us… we’ll live)
  • 2-page spread with the rules
  • 1-page narrative lead-in

To play, you’ll need:

  • One of the books
  • Something to write with
  • A pair of scissors

Gameplay

The core gameplay of the Escape Game Adventure books revolved around observing, making connections, puzzling, and scissor skills.

Each book was broken down into pages labeled in 3 colors:

  • Puzzles – Green
  • Hints – Red
  • Solutions – Purple
Green puzzle page indicator.

Puzzles – Green

While this escape room was presented in book format, we didn’t flip through the pages in order like we would with a traditional storybook. Each puzzle resolved to a page number, thus taking us to another page in the book.

Closeup of a graphical dogear.

If a puzzle took up more than one page, this was noted in lower corners with a graphical dogear.

At the back of the book there was an answer validation grid mechanism to verify that we were moving to the correct page, but we didn’t use it after the first puzzle. (Kids probably will use it.)

Hints – Red

Each puzzle had between 2-5 hints (usually 4) presented in order. The hints were well-structured and granular. If you need help, the hints will provide good nudges.

Solutions – Purple

The solution pages were graphical and outlined each puzzle step-by-step. Even if you cannot solve the puzzles, the Escape Game Adventure books will not leave you hanging.

Analysis

This analysis refers to the structure of play, which was standard across the Escape Game Adventure book series. Refer to the individual reviews for the analysis of the content of each book.

Dooz beside a time portal.

➕ We loved Dooz, the robot friend that aided us throughout our escape. His speech bubbles added character to the cluing and the hint pages. Dooz reminded me a lot of Babbage from the original Time Run games.

➖ The books opened with a text-heavy description and light history of escape rooms before leaning into the rules. This felt a little too long for the audience and gave us the bad impression that the books would overwhelm us with prose. Fortunately, they weren’t.

➕ The answer validation grid was an elegant mechanism to help kids confirm that they had solved the puzzle correctly and keep them on the right track.

❓ With the solution always a page number in the book, that limited the structures of answers (and would make back-solving easier.) This wasn’t inherently a problem, but may make the solutions start to feel repetitive over time, as the book series expands.

➖ The graphical dogeared page corner indicator that a puzzle continued on the next page was not eye-catching enough. We regularly struggled to notice them.

➕ The hint system was easy to find and clear to follow. The solution pages were separate from the hint system and just as easy to locate. Both hints and solutions were thorough and clear.

➖ The instructions did not mention that we’d need scissors. We definitely needed them.

➕ The Escape Game Adventure books included vocabulary lessons on many of the pages. A “Did You Know?” bubble told the reader some basic information about a thematic word that will likely be unfamiliar to kids.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: pencil, scissors
  • Note that while you do cut pieces out to solve the puzzles, if you save the pieces and don’t write in the books while solving, you could give these to other players.

Buy Them Now

Buy your copies of the Escape Game Adventure books, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: we received media samples for review.

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5 thoughts on “Escape Game Adventure Books [Overview]

    1. This is a great question that I forgot to address.

      We played both books without writing in them at all, and it didn’t take much extra effort, and we did cut out most of the pieces.

      When we inevitably give these away (once social interaction is permissible again), someone else could do them… they’d be even faster to solve without having to cut the items out.

      Could kids do it without writing in the book? Well, it depends on the kid, but I’d imagine that plenty could.

    2. I played (and had a youngster play) both books back in 2018. From my notes back then, photocopies of the “toolbox”, plus of a couple extra pages, were enough to preserve the book. (I also suggested that teachers could laminate the cut pieces to increase the books’ lifespan.)
      It’s very clear, though, that the editors intended this to be a “disposable activity book”.

  1. I’m one of the creators of the Escape Game Adventure books, originally published in France, and I’m glad to read this review! I’ve just asked the US publishing house, Schiffer, to add in the instructions that the players need scissors, so in case of a reprint this problem will be fixed.

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