Friday, May 8, 2020

Freeform Friday presents Escape Game Adventures - Mélanie Vives and Rémi Prieur

Escape games are all the rage right now.  
Well, not right now in the middle of the Great Quarantine of 2020, 
but right now in a slightly broader sense.  

I've have always loved escape games and the way you have to bend your mind around them, 
so when I was offered these  two books to keep my Littles busy 
I snapped them up in a red hot second. 
Yes, please, and thank you very much. 
My kids are driving me bat guano crazy.

These two books, Escape Game Adventures: The Mad Hacker and Escape Game Adventures: The Last Dragon, are escape game adventure books designed for middle grade readers, ages 8-12.

Just what, exactly, does an Escape Game Adventure book entail?  
Well, I'm glad you asked because I'm going to tell you.

In each book, you, the reader, are a member of a secret time travel agency that specializes in high-risk missions through time.  You and your trusty robot sidekick are given a specific task to perform.  Using your brains, a few useful tools, and some subtle hints, you must follow the clues to different pages within the book as you solve puzzles, decipher secret messages, find hidden objects, and generally use your noodle to complete your objective.  If you need help on your mission, never fear! Hints, solutions, and some special tools to help you are carefully sectioned and tucked away towards the back of the book.

In The Last Dragon we were charged with finding the last dragon egg before the bad king could turn it in to an omelet.  I helped my 10 and 8 year old work through it together and they seemed to have a lot of fun solving the different kinds of problems that required code-breaking, basic color mixing, logical reasoning, and pattern recognition.  Watching them solve puzzles and have little ah-HA moments was fun for me to watch.  We did run into a little hitch on the last clue that even I was a little confused by, but we used one of the hints and finished in high spirits with my youngest declaring, "That was SO fun!  Can I do the next one by myself?!"  Since her sister was dying to get back to reading Superfudge, I decided it might be a good to see what my youngest could do on her own.

The Littlest opened up The Mad Hacker and was tasked with traveling to the future to stop an evil hacker from infecting the world's computers with a terrible virus.  Over the course of the adventure, she learned a little about matching fingerprints, deciphered drone code, examined optical illusions, followed coded directions through a maze, and worked her way through some puzzles that required her to use a set of clues and process of elimination.  Again, we ran into a hitch on the last clue (these seem to be the hardest).  She finished...but not without a lot of my help and a more than a few nudges in the right direction.

Now, I know what you are thinking:   Will my child need adult supervision or can I just throw this book at them, 
lock myself in the pantry, 
and quietly devour 
a box of Oreos?! 

I'm afraid there is no easy answer.  Whether your child needs help or can work through the adventure on their own really depends on their age, how their mind works, and their familiarity with this type of game.  Just because I didn't get to eat any Oreos (this time) doesn't mean you won't get to enjoy a little "Me Time" in the pantry.  If your children are like mine and this is their first experience with escape games, then I would recommend that you either sit down and 'play' the game with them, or shoot for a slightly higher age range (perhaps, 10-14).  However, if you have a kid ages 8-12 who loves escape games, logic puzzles, secret codes, and excels at critical thinking, then these books could be perfect for them.

What I can tell you is that, as a parent, I thought that these books were a cute and creative way to deliver out-of-the-box, intelligence-building, imaginative fun.  I loved the concept, story, illustrations, and how each puzzle required the brain to bend a different way.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

If you've already had a chance to try Escape Game Adventures and are looking for some new material, I have good news.  The fun isn't over.  

Escape Game Adventures: Operation Pizza
Escape Game Adventures: Trapped in Space
will be available in September 2020

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