Escape Game Adventure: The Mad Hacker

8 Overall
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Puzzle Design
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Escape Game Adventure: The Mad Hacker

  • Played April 2020

  • 60 / 45 / 30 minutes (depending on difficulty)
  • 1-4 players
  • Approx. $10 usd
  • Specifically designed for 9-12 years

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From authors Melanie Vives & Remi Prieur comes an interesting children’s puzzle book series called Escape Game Adventure (produced by Schiffer Publishing). With Covid-19 lockdowns taking place all across the world, we were asked by the Escape Game Adventure team to try an EscRoomAddict first… an in-home game review by our ERA kids! These books are designed to be played by 9-12 year olds, but in our case we asked some of our wiley veteran 13 year old escape room enthusiasts to have a look. Don’t mistake their age for inexperience however, as these ERA kids have played a combined total of more than 60+ escape rooms! The Mad Hacker is the first book in the Escape Game Adventure series, and made a big impression on our kids. But what did they have to say about the experience? Let’s read on…

We liked the art on the cover of the book. It was cute, comical and fun, just like in The Last Dragon (the second book in the Escape Game Adventure series). We thought it made the book look kinda like a magazine. When we opened the first page we saw there was a lot of writing which we didn’t like too much, but it wasn’t too bad. They talked about escape rooms, what they are, and where they came from (interjection from our adult members: it seems there’s still a misunderstanding on the true origins of escape rooms, as most people within the industry are only aware of part of the origin of modern day, commercialized escape rooms… enough about that, back to the review!) Each puzzle in the game has some educational parts to it, so we kinda liked learning about new things while playing the game. The game gives some expected finish times based on the level of difficulty you want (i.e. giving yourself less time if you want to be rated an ‘’expert’’). We also had to cut out some ‘tools’ from the back of the book before the game started which we didn’t like because we didn’t want to lose anything when giving the book to the next player. The pages of the book are thin glossy paper which helps the quality of the pages throughout, but it’s still just paper so we wish the tools were provided on a separate piece of heavier stock paper (we felt this even more than with the The Last Dragon). We still liked the artwork a lot because it makes it seem like a really well designed book for kids (kudos to the work done by El Gunto).

There are eight puzzles in the game, and we could see how the electronics and computer theme was in each puzzle. We really liked most of the puzzles but they were a little more challenging than the puzzles in The Last Dragon. There was one puzzle where we had to flip between pages, and we would’ve liked it more if there was a bigger page to help complete the puzzle. We enjoyed the variety of puzzles in this book, even though they were more challenging. The hints are pretty cool in the back of the book, and if you’re still stuck after the hints the book has a part where it will tell you the answer.

The story in The Mad Hacker is a bit more likely to attract older kids than younger kids because of the theme. We liked feeling anxious because of the timer, and we wanted to complete the game faster to get a higher ranking. We really liked the theme of this story, and feel it’s more interesting for kids that enjoy electronics and computers. We also feel like this theme may not be as enjoyable for younger kids like The Last Dragon would. We would like to see this game have some music or sound effects like the Unlock games do (maybe with a downloadable app that has some extra puzzles and/or music). But overall we really liked the immersion.

We each liked this game a lot, but we were split on which book we liked more (this one vs. The Last Dragon). Both are a lot of fun, and we didn’t need a lot of help from adults. We would recommend this game for other kids especially if they like escape room puzzles and figuring out puzzles in stories. Because these two books have different themes (fantasy vs. computer and electronics), most kids and teens will enjoy each book differently.

We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

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