For anyone who has been lucky enough to spend the majority of the pandemic working from home, the idea of escaping the room (or couch) that has become a temporary office is probably related. Enter this series of “escape chambers” built into Google Docs, which allow you to do just that, inside web software you’ve probably become all too familiar with. “Part 3” of the game was finally released today, but you never quite have to use Google Docs.
“Escape: A Game” by Anthony Smith is designed as a choose your own adventure game in a series of interconnected Google Docs. You “wake up”
As cool as all this is, Google Docs is not the best place to play a game. If you click on links in Documents, it may take several clicks to take you somewhere else, and the new tabs will add quickly. I could tell that my laptop was straining under the number of tabs I had opened for cross-reference to clues and calling the game phone. What is a nice advantage of playing in a word processor is the ability to get help solving puzzles. Both “Part 1” and “Part 2” contain pages that do duplication as guest books for people to leave their names, and help each other solve puzzles. You must request access to edit the page for “Part 1”, but even without live edits it is still useful for tips.
The actual story early in “Escape” is sleek, but it leaves plenty of room to fill in the weirder edges with your own connections. For example, for the entire time I played, I could not shake the similarities between the game’s smoky cabin, and Control‘s “Oceanview Motel”. That Control level contained a room-style puzzle and served as a limited room in the game you came back to several times. “Escape” lacks the cool visual aesthetics Control, but there is some common heritage in their weird.
I spent about an hour working through the first part of “Escape” and ended it with over 50 open tabs and a pretty weird YouTube story. I learned some facts about dentistry, became frustrated with myself for not remembering all the 151 original Pokémon, and became increasingly concerned that all of this was a trick to make me better understand how links work in Docs. All in all, it’s not a bad way to spend some time online
“Escape: A Game” can be played for free in Google Docs. “Part 1”, “Part 2” and “Part 3” are now available for your puzzle solution.