Escapages Vice Versa Review | Two strangers are meeting, heading for the same destination. One is a murderer; the other a victim. But who is who?
In this unique and ground-breaking book, 46 puzzles have been placed alongside a gripping narrative. The only way to solve the puzzles is to have a companion work through the puzzles, using the other edition of this book. Whether sitting next to each other, or on the other side of the world, you will need to work together to discover the truth.
Fun Factor: 5/5
Overall: 3.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
An Escape Game… In a book?
YES! Aptly named company EscaPAGES creates escape room style puzzle content in BOOK format.
We’d previously got our hands on Journal 29 and were enjoying playing these puzzles as a great way to pass time on long train journeys (well, before COVID anyway…) or as a rainy afternoon activity. Journal 29 completed, we now wanted to find a new puzzle book adventure to enjoy during lockdown!
Escapages have a whole host of puzzle books on offer, but we decided to opt for a concept that stood out to us the most: a set of two books which contain clues and keys to ‘unlock’ the overall answer to each puzzle. This seemed perfect to us as here at Escaping the Closet we come as a pair!
There are two different adventures of this two-player ilk: Escape the Compound and Vice Versa. Although Escape the Compound sounds brilliant (each puzzle’s answer forms a compound word, from the clues provided in each version of the book), one of the editions is easier than the other, making it accessible for parents to play with children, or an avid puzzler with a newbie. As both avid puzzling fans, we figured we would not be able to decide who got the easier copy, so this helped swing it for us to opt to try Vice Versa!
Heads, or Tails?
As a cooperative puzzle escape book, you need to buy both editions of Vice Versa. Escapages distinguish between these by calling them Heads Edition and Tails Edition. In other words, if you have the Heads Edition, in order to successfully solve any of the puzzles, you will need a partner playing with the companion: Tails Edition.
We (fittingly) flipped a coin to work out who would get which edition and got stuck straight into Vice Versa. The beauty of puzzle books like this is that they can be played at any time. There’s no need to set aside a full hour for escaping, even if you’ve only got a spare 15 mins, you could probably fit in a puzzle or two!
There are 46 puzzles to complete in Vice Versa, meaning you can chip away at it however you fancy… One puzzle a day, a marathon puzzle sesh, or anything in between! We found a happy medium of fitting in a stint of about 5-10 puzzles each time we picked up the books, so we could thoroughly immerse ourselves back into the story and feel like we’d had our puzzling fix!
How does Vice Versa Work?
Well, in the words of Escapages themselves:
‘Sometimes you’ll have half a puzzle, and they’ll have the other half. You’ll have a code, and they’ll have the key to that code. Using your wits and the occasional internet search, you will work to uncover the buried third story, hidden within puzzles, codes and ciphers.’
In essence, it’s really important to communicate clearly between the both of you, to see how your unique parts of the puzzle align to give you a solution. No sneaky glances at the other person’s book!
More than just pieces of the puzzle
But, Vice Versa is more than just a puzzle book- within the pages a gripping narrative has been created, making this a story-driven puzzle book, providing that nod to a more escape room feel than a standard puzzle book. In Vice Versa, each edition tells the story of two people whose lives are linked in a curious way- both are on a journey towards one another, but one is a killer and the other a victim. But which is which? The parallel storyline provides twists and turns leaving you guessing right to the end, who is the murderer and who is innocent.
You have co-operative puzzles set alongside an immersive storyline. But that’s not all; each section of the story provides subtle hints linked to its associated puzzle – everything is relevant!
Sometimes we found it could be really helpful to take a step back and look at everything related to the puzzle on a macro level… What links are there between each of our sections of the story, and between the story and the puzzle? We found that key words in the text could literally be the key to unlocking how to approach the puzzle. Remember those parallels between the two storylines? While they throw each character’s intentions and motives into question, make sure you pay attention to them!
The A-ha Moment!
When you have pulled together all the relevant pieces for a puzzle, you can check whether you are right! Each puzzle is fully supported with a QR code linking to the Escapages website, so you can check as you go. Getting a solution correct unlocks for you a ‘key’ word. This is a word shared across both books, and make sure you hang on to all of these solutions!
But it’s not over once you’ve solved all 46 puzzles (is it ever really over?!) Oh no, you are in for a TREAT, because there is still one final piece to unlock- a third, shared story! Could this be to do with those key words we told you to keep a hold of? Maybe, just maybe… 😉 (Yes, yes it is).
Do these two individuals know one another? Who is the killer? What is their motive? You’ll have to pick up a copy of Vice Versa with your best puzzling companion to find out! (And hope to not turn out to be the killer…although thinking about it, it doesn’t seem so great to be the victim either…. Maybe it’s best to just flip a coin for it!)
You can buy Vice Versa from Amazon for approximately £7 per book (don’t forget you need both Heads and Tails editions!), or go to Escapages’ website to find out more about the other great puzzle books they have on offer!
Ash & Al make up Escaping the Closet and are writers covering escape rooms in the UK and play at home immersive experiences.