You can escape from this room, but you will never escape from Google Docs

For anyone who was lucky enough to spend most of the pandemic at home, the idea of ​​escaping from the room (or couch) that has become a temporary office is probably a related idea. Enter this series of “escape rooms” built into Google Docs, which allow you to do so within the web software you may have become too familiar with. “Part 3” of the game was finally released today, but you will never completely escape using Google Docs.

“Escape: A Game” by Anthony Smith is styled as a choose-your-own-adventure game set in a series of interconnected Google Docs. You “wake up” from a mysterious dream in a cabin full of smoke and you have to get the job done. “Part 2”, if you do the same in a hotel corridor, and ‘Part 3’ which has just been released, I will not spoil for myself or anyone reading it. We’ve seen other escape room games in Google’s software before, but ‘Escape’ has a strange, creepy charm that is hard to deny.

The first of many choices in “Escape: A Game”.

Just as cool as it all is, Google Docs is not the best place to play a game. By clicking on links in Docs, you may need multiple clicks to actually take you somewhere else, and the new tabs will pick up quickly. I could see that my laptop was among the number of tabs I had opened for cross-references and to turn on the in-game phone. What is a great benefit of playing in a collaborative word processor is the ability to get help solving puzzles. Both ‘Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ contain pages that set up duplicate duties as guest books, allowing people to leave their names behind and help each other solve puzzles. You should 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 slim, but it leaves enough room to fill in the strange edges with your own connections. For example, for the entire time I played, I could not shake the similarities between the smoky cabin in the game, and Controlsee “Oceanview Motel”. That Control level contains a puzzle in the escape room style and functions as a liminal space in the game to which you have returned several times. “Escape” lacks the cool visual aesthetics of Control, but there is some shared heritage in their strangeness.

I worked on the first part of ‘Escape’ for about an hour and ended it with over 50 open tabs and a pretty weird YouTube history. I learned some facts about dentistry, was frustrated with myself for not remembering all 151 original Pokémon, and became increasingly concerned that it was a trick to make me understand how links work in Docs. All in all it is not a bad way to spend time

“Escape: A Game” can be played for free in Google Docs. “Part 1”, “Part 2” and “Part 3” are now available for your pleasure solution.