Their description: If you crave for good puzzles, this book will not disappoint you – a 24-page fully-coloured novel, packed full of aha moments. In this book, you played the role of a detective, searching for a missing friend in a dark mansion. Would you be able to unravel all the mysteries and escape the mansion unscathed?
The Nomis Piy team is probably my favourite creator of escape events in Singapore, and I was excited to see what their first puzzle book would be like. Long story short: I wasn’t disappointed.
I admit, I was initially sceptical when I saw their estimate that the book will take an average of 24 hours (!) for a single player to complete. Several hours later, I understood why.* This book is jam-packed with interesting, creative, non-trivial puzzles, many of which are multilayered.
If you’ve attended Nomis Piy’s events before, you’ll recognise their general style here (which takes some inspiration from puzzle kits that SCRAP (and other companies) offer in Japan). Yet most puzzles in this book are more complex than what you’ll find in escape events, while remaining logical and elegant.
It’s hard to say more without giving spoilers, so I’ll just add that the book makes very good use of its theme, as well as the physical nature of, well, being a book. There are also surprising discoveries in store.
While many puzzles are integrated into the setting but not the narrative per se, the narrative does shine nearer the end of the book. The production values are worth mentioning: this is a glossy, well-made** book, with nice clear illustrations that contribute to the sense of setting while facilitating puzzle-solving.
Don’t let the S$25 price tag put you off — that price is more than justified by the amount of puzzling packed into this story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who enjoys puzzles. (During these days of social distancing, you could even consider buying separate copies, and then getting onto a video call to solve together — the book is helpfully divided into chapters, allowing for several sessions of gameplay.)
Puzzle difficulty: 4/5
Puzzle logic: 5/5
Use of multimedia: 4/5
Storyline integration: 3.5/5
Their suggested number of players: n/a
My suggested number of players: 1 to 4
*Admittedly, I took significantly less than 24 hours to complete this book alone. However, I’m pretty experienced (in escape rooms/games as well as the much tougher genre of puzzle hunts) and my team is usually among the top few for competitive escape game events, so.
**Full disclosure: There is a single minor mistake in the book, which doesn’t affect your ability to get the right answer for that puzzle. At the risk of being a bit spoilery: Some other parts may look like mistakes at first glance, but they’re not…