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Season 1, Episode 5: Lost Library • Mobile Escape • Puzzle Mail Subscription Service Review


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OFFICIAL SPEC

🕹️ Stay At Home Games » On Hand Items Required » Puzzle Mail Subscription Service

💪 Difficulty: Not specified.

⏲️ Time duration: Not specified.

🔢 Capacity: Not specified.

💬 Hints: Available via online hints page. Hint appears first as "small hint", then "big hint", then solution.

🛒 If you PURCHASE/SUBSCRIBE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)


MATTSTER'S rec

💪 Difficulty (as perceived by Mattster): 5/10 (team of 1), derived mostly from things I hadn't seen before, and on occasion, when I misunderstood the flow chart's original intention. If factoring that aside, this could range from 3-5/10.

🔢 Ideal team size: 1. Mobile Escape continues to be my non-guilty, one-man-show pleasure. Nice, quiet, alone time.



RECOMMENDED




OFFICIAL PREMISE

You solved a strange black market passport, sent to you - not from JJ but from Svetlana. It revealed the information for a safety deposit box, but now you’re also not entirely sure what to think of JJ. And who is Svetlana, really? Nevertheless, your Cousin JJ has what he now needs to find the exact location of the Lost Library and uncover its secrets. Will you be able to help him crack the codes within?


IN A NUTSHELL

Having located the elusive library inside a huge castle, cousin JJ needs your help to crack open a couple of newly discovered security devices. This episode also heavily features JJ's presence, a welcoming return from Episode 2.




OVERALL IMPRESSIONS


Episode 4, "On The Run", has elevated expectation like no other, and thankfully, Mobile Escape's attention to details continues to impress month after month. Take the overall package for Episode 5, "Lost Library", for example:


It seems the team has really gone all in for the affluent library theme this time, because even the maroon envelope that shipped the materials has gotten an upgrade with a touch of class. Colors of the purple family has long been associated with royalty, so great choice there. Upon touching and closer visual inspection, one even finds a crosshatch-patterned, raised texture embellished on the envelope's surface. Again, fitting.


The bibliotheca theme continues through the clues recovered by cousin JJ, which include pages seemingly torn out from literature, a library catalog (or "check-out") card, and a random pictorial sketch. These objects not only look their part from an authenticity's view, they are also visually remarkable from an aesthetics' perspective. The sketch, in particular, appears incredibly realistic, almost as if it's really drawn with pencil and may smear with a finger's rub--don't worry, it doesn't.


What's new is the inclusion of a flow chart clue card, usually only provided by default for easy and medium level subscribers. As a hard-level player, this is completely foreign, but I thought to give it a shot, since hey, it's already here.



Having established contact with my cousin via a mock live stream from his mobile phone, JJ detected a hidden safe in the titular library, and asked for my remote assistance to crack it open--so the puzzles officially commenced! With the help of the flow chart, I figured out the combination relatively quickly, though not without struggle. Caught me by total surprise, this chapter presented a riddle that I've never encountered before, and what a delight it was to learn something new.


What didn't shock me at all, in contrast, was that there's yet another device waiting inside the safe to be cracked open. And this was where things went slightly awry. Without revealing too much, I'd say my latter half of the experience would've been greatly improved had I, 1) ignored the flow chart card from this point forth, and 2) understood that I needed some outside knowledge to advance.


The flow chart turned out to be more confusing than helpful because I gravely misunderstood what items are needed to solve the next challenge ahead, and I found myself at a gridlock, unable to move on no matter how hard I tried. It wasn't until I finally gave up and consulted the hints page that I realized all the remaining clues are interconnected--every single item left was necessary to reach the conclusion. My advice? Ditch the flow chart from the get-go, it's not really needed.


Another pointer would be, unless you're a well-read scholar, (or at least a die-hard fan of great literature), you'll probably need a little bit of Google assistance to conquer one certain puzzle, so be ready for that. This minor hiccup didn't bother me as much, since it tied in with the overall motif so beautifully, I actually found it to be quite clever--I just wished that I was given a more explicit heads-up since this wasn't Mobile Escape's usual M.O.


In the end, the entire episode took less than 1 hour to complete, and I felt like a wonderful adventure cut short. Echoing a similar sentiment I felt in Episode 3, "Lost Library" is not at all bad, quite lovely, actually; it just is not enough. Perhaps they've overfed us with fantastic puzzles in the initial episodes to skew my expectation, but had there been just a handful more brainteasers, this installment would've earned itself an A+ on its report card.


Below are some more key points you may wanna know...




STORY

Although not much substantial happens in "Lost Library", I did enjoy the way the story unfolded. Across all 5 episodes, it certainly seems like the game makers want to use as many varied methods of telling their tale as possible. While some chapters are less animated than others, this "livestreaming" angle stands out for adding levels of realism and immersion.

Plot-wise, specifically (and purely) speaking, Episode 5 bears great resemblance to the previous Episode 4: in both, you have a safe to open somewhere in the world--just swap out the bank and insert the more poetic setting of Spain.


PRODUCTION

Great care has been taken in the the production of game materials, and every piece has turned out magnificent. Besides the sketch already mentioned, other objects also merit praises: The actually hand-torn book pages feature jagged and uneven edges that I love. The library catalog card show different shades of black and gray to denote dark pen ink, faded stamp ink, and graphite pencil marking. I am just constantly in awe at the quality details Mobile Escape delivers!


PUZZLES

The first half of the game contains 3 puzzles: 2 of which are quite simple. Once you figure out the key to solving, you simply read the answer off the paper. More geared towards beginners, and contributed to the overall short play time.

The other remaining challenge is more complex and technically math-based. For those who prefer to distance themselves from arithmetic, I assure you, this isn't half bad, and it makes sense to involve numbers!

The second half of the episode is constructed as one moderately lengthy meta-puzzle that has you relaying information laid across 4 separate documents, and it's overall well-written, well-executed, well-produced, not terribly hard, and a lot of fun. Do note: this is where outside knowledge comes in handy, so if you find yourself stuck, maybe that's why.




BEST FIT FOR...

Players of beginner or intermediate experience.

Classy bookworms who love a good read should find the theme appealing.

A quiet evening of puzzle solving and hot tea sipping. Books and hot beverages are a pair made in heaven.


EXTRA TIPS

One clue coincidentally uses dark ink on top of a dark background, rendering key info hard to see. Be extra observant!


READY FOR FUN?

"Season 1, Episode 5: Lost Library" is available for purchase HERE. (Subscription & bundle options also available.)

If you PURCHASE/SUBSCRIBE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)



Signing off,

ESCAPE MATTSTER 😀

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FOOTNOTES

⤻ Full disclosure: Complimentary game access was generously provided for review purposes.

⤻ All media credited to and provided by contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.

⤻ Speed code for on-site search: MELibrary

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