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Season 1, Episode 4: On The Run • 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): 3/10 (team of 1).

🔢 Ideal team size: 1, because this episode isn't that difficult. Best to appreciate it leisurely at your own pace.



MUST DO!




OFFICIAL PREMISE

You got so close to the treasure in Episode 3, and now you know where to go to get what you need. But before you get there, there’s a problem to solve, and not even JJ’s safe-cracking accomplice Svetlana can solve it. That’s why she’s sending you the encrypted documents to decipher. Will you make sense of this mystery?


IN A NUTSHELL

Cousin JJ needs your help, per usual, to unlock a safety deposit box, believed to hold critical information needed to locate a secret library within the monumental Spanish castle, Castillo De Coca. Your main objective is to decipher encrypted safety box info from a black market Burgland passport, an accompanying boarding pass from World Wide Air, and a luggage tag.




OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

"Season 1, Episode 4: On The Run • Mobile Escape" continues where Episode 3 left off; cousin JJ has arrived at Castillo De Coca, the site that holds the key to unlock the treasure found in Joro Temple. However, this Spanish castle is HUGE! JJ needs exact directions to guide him to a long lost library within the massive structure. A blueprint would help, perhaps?


Such a blueprint does exist, but it is currently secured in a safety deposit box. And the relevant knowledge to open that safety deposit box lies in a black market passport, boarding pass, and luggage tag.


Before I could even get to any real puzzle-solving work with the passport, however, our first (and hopefully of many) plot twist drops in the form of Svetlana, JJ's trusted safe-cracking expert who just happens to lose her magic in this one fateful mission. (Convenient for me to one-up her at her own game!) Svetlana's text exchange with JJ reveals he is hiding something--exact contents not yet known--from his flesh and blood relative... Hey! That'd be me!


Why won't JJ tell me the whole truth? Should that make me upset? Angry? Well, I am at least confused and doubtful of this man before me. Is he REALLY my cousin? I have yet to verify with DNA testing, after all... With potential family turmoil set up, this is the most exciting episode plot line yet thus far! I sincerely hope for the trend to continue consistently.



Moving on to the passport and associated flying documents: What has struck me immediately is that I only have--I can count them, one, two, and three--a total of 3 props shipped in this envelope. The usual thick stack of materials that pour out, and the prep work I usually do to lay out everything neatly on my tabletop, both are absent in this episode.


It is indeed quite surprising that all the puzzles and clues--and there are actually quite a few--are all tidily packed and hidden away in a cute, little flight package. Furthermore, the quality is fantastic with the modest price tag in mind. Flipping through the make-believe Burgland passport, I see Hans Nilsen's photo (and man, does he look worried), many colorful visa stamps from around the globe, and some very interesting and I-bet-they-are-puzzles-related backgrounds.


The actual challenges are quite easy to solve, most probably the most novice-friendly collection of riddles in Escape Mail's history thus far. And yet, I still got stumped by one particular hard-to-catch detail, which actually made me cherish this experience even more.


The puzzles are executed perfectly: clear end goals, fair clues, and a good amount of steps before reaching a final solution. Though I do not get to actually board a flight, this play-at-home experience still a great ride.


In the most concise sense possible, to sum up, I love everything about "On The Run".


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




STORY

Up until this point, the plot, though not without its thrilling moments, has been mostly straightforward. What's plainly given is taken as the truth; I have not questioned the cousin's true background or intentions behind this sudden familiar reunion. The addition of Svetlana introduces an unsettling force that hopefully brings about waves of surprises onto a plot that I've already come to relish much in the past months.


PRODUCTION

The Burgland passport is undoubtedly my favorite game prop to date, no competition whatsoever. The quality is excellent both to the eyes and to the touch, and the graphic styles are official document level of convincing. Just like an authentic counterpart, it fits easily in my palms; just flipping through its 18 pages brings me much amusement.

There're some great web supporting materials, including a conversation video between JJ and Svetlana, and a virtual banking interface that looks eerily accurate to the iOS interface, just perhaps a few generations late. Both performed smoothly with agreeable visuals, seamlessly elevating the immersion. Hope to see more being utilized in future chapters!


PUZZLES

Even though there are only 3 main pieces of information we need to obtain in this mission, the journey to each final answer requires multiple steps (whether it be physical or mental), and the overall process takes up just the perfect amount of time and effort to justify a rewarding experience--not too short, not too long, but just right.

All final solutions are short phrases or words, combo codes almost, that are composed of either alphabetical or numerical values. As such, the most obvious route for the authors to take would be to churn out "classic" (i.e. overdone and uninspired) gen 1 puzzles, though thankfully, that isn't the case. Some puzzles do borrow common escape game logic and tricks, but the designers mostly avoided cliché choices, and the overall variety is certainly interest-piquing.



FINAL THOUGHTS

Mobile Escape is on top of its Escape Mail game with Episode 4, offering excellence on every front. Curious plot development, quality production, gratifying puzzles suitable for beginners and experts alike--"On The Run" is a home run.


"Season 1, Episode 4: On The Run" is available for purchase HERE. (Subscription & bundle options also available.)



BEST FIT FOR...

Player of any experience level can enjoy Episode 4 just fine. This is a great entry-level intro to puzzling, in fact.

People who are subscribed to previously, but unsure about continuing, Episode 4 makes it crystal clear that you should!

A fun weekend game session with me, myself, and I. The perfect afternoon tea for your noggin.


EXTRA TIPS

★ There are at least 2 instances where you have to pull information from different sources together. Keep that in mind!



Signing off,

ESCAPE MATTSTER 😍

Instagram @EscapeMattster • Facebook.com/EscapeMattster



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: MERun

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