In every envelope, you’re going to find a variety of items, each with varying degrees of information, but each one useful. This way, everyone has something to hold, examine, (fold?!) etc, and pass to the next person.
For episodes that are more minimalistic, we’re ensured that the user is prompted to actually take apart multi-page documents in order for the singular spreads to be interacted with by multiple players.
Was that a spoiler? Kinda. But I think its important you know that we’re thinking of your group of 2-4 players while we design.
2. PUZZLES, CLUES AND CODES
There’s no shortage of these in Escape Mail!
In fact, we would argue that what Escape Mail may lack in terms of physicality, we make up for in a wide array of codes.
We have scoured the depths of our knowledge [and then some!] to come up with clever ways of working the widest variety of puzzle types into a single narrative.
Staying true to our escape room roots, we also ask Escape Mailers to cut, fold, and do all sorta of curious things TO their package. That’s because physicality is in our blood.
Sitting and thinking is fun, but we love getting up and moving around. That’s why in Episode 3 we ask you to build a paper room, and in episodes 10, 11 and 12 we ask you to… well… we’ll leave out the mind-blowing spoilers for now.
But the point is, the puzzle solving aspect of an escape room is alive and well - and perhaps even enhanced - in Escape Mail.
3. FOLLOWING A STORYLINE
Without a doubt, Escape Mail features one of the great escape room storylines you’ll find.
We challenge you to find another 12-episode escape room game that follows a single character through as many twists and turns and - oh no! - moments.
The beloved character in Season 1 is none other than JJ Fitzpatrick, your mysterious cousin.
Suspicious? Watch out! You might just end up trusting this lovable “Cuz”.
Remember our friend Matt? Well he went on to write: “I know I've enjoyed how each puzzle is a little different but they are all a part of the same story. It's helped keep us committed to finishing the story! I really enjoy the way you commit to creating a fun narrative for us to follow.”
Our commitment was born in the dawn of COVID when we knew people would want a storyline to look forward to and follow along with.
We’re sure you’ll enjoy the Season 1 storyline!
4. AN OBJECTIVE
Here’s where we start to really differentiate from escape rooms. In most rooms, there’s a door that is locked and requires some genius - that’s you! - to open.
Of course there are many other things that must be done first, including (usually) many other things that need opening.
As escape room builders, we love this. We’re used to creating hidden compartments and contraptions. Since we can’t mail those in an envelope, however, we’ve gone ahead and worked many of our favourites into the escape room narrative.
For example, in one episode you’re helping JJ open an early-20th-century safe which weighs about 300 lbs in real life, as well as a Da Vinci-style cryptex.
In another episode, you help characters open a briefcase and a secret door leading to an underground lair.
We communicate much of these escape room realities to you through the online portals that we’ve built which accompany most episodes. The play-by-play videos with JJ (and Svetlana!) not only help flesh out the storyline, but they also keep the escape room aspects alive.
In some ways, Escape Mail actually opens the doors to more possibilities than the confines of an escape room!
In Episode 11 for example, we take you outdoors! No walls. No ceiling. No… doors! Just a VERY fun story with contraptions and contrivances along the way.
5. A TIME LIMIT
Simply put… there isn’t one in Escape Mail.
Well, I suppose we could have suggested a time limit, but we just didn’t think you’d be all that excited about it… plus, some of our puzzles are HARD and we mean HARD.
It’s not uncommon for players to set the game down, take a break, and come back to it later. Solving some episodes later in the season can take 2-3 hours!
So you might say this is the area where we are least like an escape room, which would be fair to say!
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!
Now you know how Escape Mail compares to an actual escape room. We still love escape rooms, and we always will, but for the right time and place, Escape Mail can be even better.
But don’t take our word for it! Check out some reviews here.