Escape Game Adventure: Trapped in Space [Book Review]

Erreurs dans l’espace

Location:  at home

Date Played: January 18 2021

Team size: we recommend 1-family

Duration: 15-60 minutes

Price: about $10

REA Reaction

Trapped in Space was a sloppy product that had lots of potential.

The Escape Game Adventure series originates in France, and the English version is a translation. Over the past few installments, there have been minor issues such as typos or odd phrasing, but it hasn’t presented any meaningful issues.

In this installment there were two translation/ localization issues that felt like critical failures:

  • A full puzzle that output its solution in French
  • A puzzle that rendered an image that likely won’t be clear to American children due to cultural nuance
Cover art for Escape Game Adventure Trapped in Space shows a damaged spaceship.

To top it all off, many of the puzzles in this Trapped in Space played a little too loosely with cluing for my liking.

I really like the Escape Game Adventure series, but I categorically cannot recommend Trapped in Space in its current form. Play literally any other book in this product line.

Story

We traveled with Dooz to the year 3144 to rescue a team of space explorers whose ship had been disabled after an attack by an alien species.

Illustration of a damaged spaceship seen from within the ship's bridge.

Analysis

The analysis in this section is about the content of Trapped in Space. To see our analysis of the structure, refer to our Escape Game Adventure Books overview.

Trapped in Space’s story was grand, fun, and the kind of storytelling that would have spoken to me as a child.

➕ The art in Trapped in Space was great. It captured the epic space opera vibe brilliantly.

➕ /➖ The puzzles were a mixed bag of fairly common puzzle types. While they all solved fine, there were a number of moments where it felt like the cluing was tenuous at best.

Dooze the robot pointing confidently, saying, "We'll be stronger together! Attack!"

➖ One puzzle was never translated into English. The surrounding text was in English, but the puzzle itself output a French solution. If you’re playing this with your kid… maybe teach them to count to 30 in French first?

➖ Another lesser, but still serious issue, was a puzzle that output a solution in a decidedly French form. In France, 7’s and Z’s are crossed, which is not common in the United States, and will likely make one puzzle needlessly confusing.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: pencil, scissors

Buy your copy of Trapped in Space, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: we received a media sample for review.

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

Escape Game Adventure: Operation Pizza [Book Review]

The Pizza Plot

Location:  at home

Date Played: January 18 2021

Team size: we recommend 1-family

Duration: 15-60 minutes

Price: about $10

REA Reaction

With Operation Pizza, Escape Game Adventure genuinely surprised us. This kids’ puzzle book felt noticeably more advanced when compared to the other installments in the series… and the plot was a bit more grounded.

All of that is to say that this book spoke to me. Escape Game Adventure books generally speak to my inner child… which is cool… that’s the true audience.

Cover art for Escape Game Adventure Operation Pizza shows Dooze in a chef's cap holding a fresh pizza.

This was the most challenging book in this series thus far. That doesn’t make it hard relative to other tabletop puzzle games, but in the kids category, it certainly stood out in terms of complexity. I’d recommend children start with The Mad Hacker or The Last Dragon and work their way up to this one.

Story

We’d traveled to Naples, Italy in 1889 with our robot companion Dooz to save the creator of the margherita pizza from being poisoned by a jealous rival.

I think we can all agree that there are few people in history as important as the originator of the margherita pizza. We had to stop this evil plot.

Dooze standing beside an outdoor dining table.

Analysis

The analysis in this section is about the content of Operation Pizza. To see our analysis of the structure, refer to our Escape Game Adventure Books overview.

➕ The story told in Operation Pizza was quite clever, and a little more understated that the rest of the Escape Game Adventures series. I do mean that as a compliment; it appealed to me, and not just to my inner child.

➕ There was a lot to Operation Pizza. It felt more like an escape room than the previous books in the series. It demanded a general awareness beyond what was specifically in front of us.

Illustration of a locked Italian restaurant.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: pencil, scissors

Buy your copy of Operation Pizza, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: we received a media sample for review.

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

How to Start and Operate an Escape Room Business – Aleksei Kniazev [Book Review]

The quests to build quests

Author:  Aleksei Kniazev

Year:  2020

Page Count: 98

Price: $25 eBook and $39 paperback

REA Reaction

Overall this book was good in concept, but rough in delivery.

How to Start and Operate an Escape Room Business contained a lot of high-level information for someone new to the industry. A person considering starting their own escape room business would do well to read a broad overview such as this. There is a niche for this kind of text to fill.

However, in its current state, the issues with the writing style may be too much for many readers to ignore.

The book described financials and a business plan with real, but possibly optimistic, numbers. It assumed a tone of economic certainty that might not exist in a post-COVID-19 environment (although the author did acknowledge this).

This book would be for someone who seeks a conversation with an experienced owner, rather than someone looking for a textbook. You’ll get the most out of this book if you can think critically about someone else’s experiences, and how to apply these back to your own business in 2020 (or whenever you read the book).

Black & gold cover for How to Start and Operation an Escape Room Business

Who is this for?

How to Start and Operate an Escape Room Business was written as an introduction to the business of escape rooms. It contained some solid information and covered a lot of ground for those curious about entering the industry. Real-world lessons were explained by an owner with several years worth of experiences, both good and bad.

Structure

The book followed a somewhat linear path of business development. Topics covered included everything from selecting a location and hiring a team through testing games, advertising, and running the business. Entire books could be written on each of the subjects briefly discussed in this guide. This was a shallow overview of one person’s experience rather than a definitive authority on every aspect. The book was less ‘how exactly to open an escape room business’ and more of a reality check for those thinking about it. In fact, I thought the In Summary questions were a good place to start for curious beginners.

Continue reading “How to Start and Operate an Escape Room Business – Aleksei Kniazev [Book Review]”

The Master Theorem [Review]

Pure Puzzle Play

Location:  at home

Date Played: 2019-2020

Team size: 1 – ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Price: about $29.99

REA Reaction

The Master Theorem was a pure puzzle book presented beautifully.

Whether or not you buy this really comes down to a single question:

“Do I want a puzzle book?”

-You

If the answer is “yes,” then buy it… otherwise don’t.

The Master Theorem book cover.

The Master Theorem simply succeeded at puzzle book. It was pretty, well written, and beautifully presented. My only gripe was that its solid-enough hint system could have been a little bit more nuanced and user-friendly.

Whether you’re a seasoned puzzler or brand new to puzzles, there’s something to enjoy here… the difference will be how much time you spend enjoying it.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level – it will teach you over time if you’re a newbie

Why play?

  • A collection of finely crafted puzzles
  • The layouts and color print quality was beautiful
  • The solution descriptions were especially thorough
  • The writing style

Story

The Master Theorem was narrated by the mysterious character “M.” M’s goal was to grow his global secret society of problem solvers, something that the world desperately needs more of… so M produced a book for an expanded reach.

Continue reading “The Master Theorem [Review]”

Escape Game Adventure: The Mad Hacker [Book Review]

A kid’s guide to drone repair

Location:  at home

Date Played: February 2020

Team size: we recommend 1-family

Duration: 15-60 minutes

Price: about $10

REA Reaction

Like The Last Dragon, The Mad Hacker was a lovely kid-friendly puzzle book with great art and a soft difficulty curve.

Cover art for the Mad Hacker Escape Game Adventure book.

While we preferred the setting of The Last Dragon, we felt that the puzzles of The Mad Hacker had a bit more charm and, in a couple of cases, depth.

For families, The Mad Hacker is a fantastic follow-on to The Last Dragon. If you’re a seasoned escape room player, this one still isn’t really for you, but if you’re going to buy one of the Escape Game Adventure books, it should be The Mad Hacker.

Story

We had been sent to the year 2394 to stop a super computer virus from destroying all of the world’s technology.

Art of a person entering a large, futuristic, building.

Analysis

The analysis in this section is about the content of The Mad Hacker. To see our analysis of the structure, refer to our Escape Game Adventure Books overview.

➕ The puzzles were thematic, varied, and age-appropriate. Of note, they leaned a little more heavily on logic than the puzzles in The Last Dragon.

➕ We enjoyed how one puzzle incorporated an additional step of reasoning before a standard style of process puzzle.

➖ One optical puzzle missed the mark and thus wasn’t really a puzzle at all. You just had to look at it.

Drone Language for Beginners guide, beside a few paper cut items.

➖/➕ With The Mad Hacker our ratio of time spent cutting out pieces to solving puzzles leaned a bit too heavily toward cutting. That said, the game used the cutout pieces well, which we appreciated.

➕ The art was thematic, detailed, and enjoyable.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: pencil, scissors

Buy your copy of The Mad Hacker, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: we received a media sample for review.

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.