Journal 29 was one of the first widely-known escape room books, and established several conventions that have been widely copied since - its double-page answer/key format, enigmatic style of puzzle, and use of a website to validate solutions have been adopted by all of the Trip1907/Trip1908/Codex Enigmatum/Escapages books, for example.
"Paper Labyrinth" offers somewhat of a refreshing change by deviating from this approach in several respects:
- Firstly, the vast majority of puzzles in the book occupy only a single-side, meaning that there is twice as much puzzle content in the book as in many other titles (where the left-hand side is usually a QR code linking to the answer verification)
- Hints and solutions for all the puzzles are contained within the book itself - there is no internet connection required to validate an answer or receive a key, which makes it much more useful as, well, a book, that can be taken on holiday, on the beach, or when travelling.
- There is a meta puzzle requiring various individual puzzles to be combined
These are all changes which I think make for a much better offering than some of its competitors. Unfortunately, the puzzles themselves - the core reason for anyone buying the book - are not great. Firstly, they are incredibly easy - I don't think I encountered any more than a couple that I couldn't immediately see the solution to. And although there is variety, there's nothing novel here - the puzzles are mostly riddles, anagrams, some trivial ciphers and wordplay. While there's nothing actually *wrong* with them, It's the kind of thing I might expect to find in a kids' book, and there's nothing here to challenge or surprise any keen puzzlers. Which is a shame, because in other respects, this book did a lot of things right - so maybe if you just want something to relax for an hour or so (although, in all honesty, I'd just recommend you download a puzzle set from the Puzzled Pint archive).