“Journal 29” is a series of three interactive book games by Dimitris Chassapakis, which were consequently re-released together in one premium hardcover edition. Each of the three books contains about 100 pages, full of creative puzzles and cryptic imagery. The puzzles are in the spirit of real-life Escape Rooms, mostly visual and loosely connected with an underlying story about alien encounters.
What made me immediate impression is the effort put into making the book resemble an actual journal. The illustrations look like they are scribbled with a pencil, the pages are yellow and have smudges all over them, the font is handwritten. There are QR codes printed on every other page that give quick access to online solution checkers, and their design fits well the Sci-Fi/mystery theme of the book.
In order to navigate the journal, the reader needs to use the official website journal29.com, so internet access is required. Each puzzle has its own unique URL, where the reader can input their guesses. If a correct answer is given, a KEY is provided which can be used for solving further puzzles. Currently, the keys need to be written down and stored manually. A nice potential feature would be if users could create accounts on the Journal29 website and have their keys stored there automatically.
While I appreciate the high quality art, the most important components of the book are naturally the puzzles. There is a great variety of them, providing a mix of both old and new ideas. The reader will encounter various cyphers, optical illusions, and classic puzzles with unique twists. In addition, a large assortment of new creative puzzles is devised.
As of writing this post, I have just finished the first book in the series. I find the puzzles so far to be very well-designed and logical, with varying levels of difficulty. Some ideas were naturally familiar to me, but there were also a lot of new, unexpected “A-Ha” moments. I particularly loved the way some of the puzzles required me to explore the book and interact with it in clever ways, like solving a mechanical puzzle.
My only criticism is that on 1 or 2 occasions I had to use Google search. Of course, this is necessary when a message in Braille or Morse code needs to be deciphered. However, I prefer that it is avoided for researching clues that are not considered common knowledge.
Above, three of the puzzles from Journal29 are presented. While many of the puzzles in the book are dependent on each other, these three can be solved separately. You can verify your answers using the official solution checkers provided below each puzzle. If you encounter difficulties, you can take a look at our hints.
This is a message written in Braille.
The code for each sector is formed by 3 pairs of digits. The first digit in each pair designates the number of skeleton parts in the corresponding group. The second digit encodes the type of those skeleton parts.
There are 3 differences between the two pictures. Find them and examine their coordinates in the grid.
Once I put my hands on the hardcover edition of Journal29, it quickly became one of my favorite puzzle books. I get back to it regularly, don’t rush it, and simply enjoy my time with it. I always pay much attention to details and I can see the author Dimitris does as well. In addition to designing 160 clever puzzles, he has also supplemented them with beautiful art, developed an accompanying website, and supports a forum where he personally helps readers. He has even built an Amazon Alexa skill that can provide hints for the puzzles if you ever get stuck. I can only appreciate all of that.
- 160 creative puzzles that take weeks to solve
- remarkable artwork and presentation
- accompanying website with solution checkers and forum
- the hardcover edition looks and feels premium