SEASON 1, EPISODE 2: MISSING PERSON • MOBILE ESCAPE • Mail Subscription Online Puzzle Game Review
► SECTION I • QUICK GLANCE ◄
◣ GAME FACTS
💪 Difficulty: Hard (Easy & Regular Also Available)
⏲️ Time: N/A
🧑 Capacity: N/A
🏢 Company: Mobile Escape
🏘️ Location: Based in Canada
◣ FORMAT SPECS
🕹️ Format: Mail Subscription Online Puzzle Game
✂️ Tools: Pencil, Eraser, Scissors
💻 Platform: Web Browser, QR Scanner (Smart Phone)
📰 Media Used: Various Media From Mail, Text, Images, Video
◣ "TL;DR!" SNIPPETS
📝 "...Mobile Escape seems to have done it! They've found a way to drastically change both the setting and game play format [when transitioning from Episode 1 to 2.]"
📝 "Due to [JJ's] being stuck in the submarine for the entire episode, story wise, not much else happens, (or more accurately, not much can happen in one stationary location)..."
📝 "[G]ame play is...markedly different... one MUST obtain crucial information online... [because] your cousin JJ and you are working in sync while being geographically apart..."
📝 "The puzzle steps induce enough struggles even for seasoned players; some actually prompting gridlock moments that had me surrendering to defeat..."
📝 "Running at about an hour game time, this quest's duration and difficulty both feel right near optimal level; and truly, what great values in a very affordable package."
💪 "Is it Hard?" (Team of 1) Yeah, some puzzles really trumped me this round. A 5 or 6/10!
🔢 "How Many?" Due to above confession of a solo defeat, group of 2-3 is recommended.
🤷♂️ "For Who?" Those who purchased Episode 1 should subscribe; so far, it's been good!
• • • • •
...OOOH. ME LIKEY.
WILL MY COUSIN STAY OUT OF TROUBLE NOW, PLEASE?
THIS JOINS "RECOMMENDED" RANK!
► SECTION II • IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS ◄
◣ THE PREMISE
After a harrowing cliffhanger in Episode 1, we’re back with cousin JJ in Episode 2. You find that he has been taken hostage by the Hunters but is alive and communicating with you. He’s even sent you an emergency protocol package with which to rescue him. Do you have what it takes to release your cousin from captivity?
• • • • •
◣ THE REVIEW
Last we saw JJ, he told me that he and I are heirs to treasures beyond my wildest imagination. But what I got instead is the witnessing of his untimely kidnapping and the liability of rescuing his life from the said abduction. Ummm... false advertising much, JJ?!
A TOTAL CHANGE OF SCENERY
As I might've mentioned in my previous review for Episode 1, Mobile Escape's subscription service aims to bring a little something different for its customers every month, a feat potentially challenging to pull off, if the overall plot was to still remain coherent.
But my gosh, Mobile Escape seems to have done it! They've found a way to drastically change both the setting and game play format whilst featuring an Easter egg cameo from their mobile escape room called "Sunken Submarine". (Yup, nothing escapes me, wink.)
Nice job, guys. Give yourselves a pat on the back.
JJ, what has become of your life? I've only met you, and you're already depending on me for survival.
THE STORY SO FAR
"Missing Person" continues some time after where Episode 1 left off. Right before being violently shoved into a mysterious vehicle by his captors, JJ managed to activate an emergency protocol the very last second, resulting in your receipt of a special package that somehow grants you remote communication access to wherever your poor coz's been forcefully transported to.
A little bit of make-belief technology there, but if you allow yourself to suspend disbelief for a brief moment, this is actually quite the intriguing and reasonable plot development. Next logical step, of course, is to rescue your relative in trouble.
As it turns out, JJ has been imprisoned in an unknown submarine, currently docked above sea level somewhere in the world, (a believable and suitable villain's hideout, I approve). With his handy hacker skills sets (just who is exactly this JJ?! What is his job?!), and your assistance off site, together you two can override the marine vehicle's security system, granting your cousin's sweet sweet freedom.
Due to his being stuck in the submarine for the entire episode, story wise, not much else happens, (or more accurately, not much can happen in one stationary location), so I would rate the narrative somewhere in the average range, though I am 99% sure this is only the calm before the storm. Things are sure to heat up in future installments, hopefully!
HEAVY USE OF ONLINE ELEMENTS
Aside from the shift from treasure hunt theme to submarine rescue mission, game play is also markedly different when transitioning from Episode 1 "Family Secrets" to Episode 2 "Missing Person". While I was largely able to complete all my objectives via mail contents offline for "Secrets", one MUST obtain crucial information online in "Person".
This appropriately reflects the idea that your cousin JJ and you are working in sync while being geographically apart, and only when combining elements from both parties can you find proper resolution to each challenge. Taking this into consideration, I've come to appreciate this (possibly) deliberate choice of puzzle presentation.
Practically speaking, this means Episode 2 will resemble most other online and by-mail puzzle games on the market, in which you will lay out all your physical items from the mail on the table, get your online portion clue for a particular problem, and correspondingly pick out the matching key item on hand to solve your puzzle.
Once you get the proper rhythm, it becomes almost too easy to determine which object is next in line to be used, something that was a bit more challenging to figure out in the pilot episode. (Note: previous statement is only applicable when playing on Hard difficulty without a guiding flow chart.) This is neither a pro or a con necessarily, simply an observation.
Also worth a mention: Both the style of the puzzles and the mode of solution input felt very "escape room-y", if you will, which could be dominantly due to repeated code entering. It feels similar to unlocking padlocks and safes with combo codes.
SOME OF THIS EPISODE'S features
For what it's worth, the designers know you'll be constantly jumping back and forth from their website, so they did make sure the web portion of the game looks fantastic, as one would already expect from the Mobile Escape brand. Never a disappointment in this department.
The puzzle steps induce enough struggles even for seasoned players; some actually prompting gridlock moments that had me surrendering to defeat and resorting to using the hints page, which I always resist until absolutely necessary. Times like these feel both humbling and satisfying, but ultimately I find solace in knowing that there's always something I haven't seen before out there, despite having reviewed numerous puzzle games to date.
One particular check point requires very obvious outside knowledge, and for those who's well traveled and familiar with certain long established international nomenclature, it'll click instantly. Even then, nonetheless, a proper Google search is most probably warranted. In contrast, other players like my partner are left in the dark without proper background clues included by default, so I think a bit of tweaking there would be substantially beneficial!
◣ FINAL THOUGHTS
Overall, I found "Missing Person" to be more entertaining than the first episode, due to the puzzles' having a heavier escape room challenges influence, and also a lighter inclusion of cipher based riddles. (I am not the biggest fan of code translations, sorry folks!)
Running at about an hour game time, this quest's duration and difficulty both feel right near optimal level; and truly, what great values in a very affordable package. With JJ's becoming a free bird once more, I can't wait to see what kind of antics he'll bring forth in my mail box next!
(I am, secretly and morbidly, hoping for a faked death and bogus funeral at some point! I do not know the why and the how, but I do know that'd make for some crazy drama and one hell of a plot twist. Writers, let's make it happen!)
• • • • •
◣ PARTING TIPS
★ Whenever all else fails, always look to see if unscrambling letters would yield a solution.
★ If a triplet of letters means nothing to you, try a quick Google search. (It's fair game.)
★ Pay close attention to art patterns and details! They may not just be decorative!
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⤻ Though game access was complimentary, this article was written basing on unbiased and genuine opinions.
⤻ All media credited to and used with permission from contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.
⤻ Season 1, Episode 2: Missing Person • "MEMissing"