“Tachyon is an Interactive Puzzle Book. Solve a puzzle in the book, submit the answer online, and receive a codeword which you’ll need to solve future puzzles. Work through the book, solving the puzzles, and unfolding the story behind Tachyon. Puzzles will test you in a variety of ways. Numbers, language, pattern recognition and manipulation of the book – fold, search, tear, draw, and more. No two puzzles are solved the same way. Over 50 puzzles await you on your journey through space and time. Can you solve them all and unlock the secrets of the Tachyon?”
As I mentioned in my Floor 13 review, this book was recommended to me by my bestie after we finished that game and wanted more at-home puzzle games. So, I grabbed a copy and started on it shortly after I finished my last game of Exit: The Game and started the New Year off with the first puzzle and burned through the games 50+ puzzles in about a week.
What I really liked about the book was the short nature of each puzzle, it really leant itself to quick little puzzle breaks during my day. I had a such a good time with it, that I ordered Journal 29 the very day I finished it, looking for a similar experience.
Tachyon does have a sort of story running the background: you’re investigating a journal belonging to the narrator’s father, who claims to have invented a machine that will enable time-travel. This doesn’t really affect most of the game, aside from providing some flavor for the puzzles, but, without spoiling anything, it pays off surprisingly well by the end.
The book is laid out uniformly, with every 2-page spread containing a puzzle and a QR code which takes you to the solution page. The solution to each puzzle resolves to a word, which you then enter in on the solution site, which tells you if you’re right or wrong. If you’re right, you’ll get a code word, which you can then use to solve later puzzles.
The puzzles were cleverly written and ranged in difficulty from “Oh, I get that immediately” to ones that truly stumped me. For the latter puzzles, there is no official hint system in place, just a well-moderated forum linked to from the book’s website that offers fan-generated hints. Since they weren’t curated, sometimes the hints were gentle nudges, other times the first hint would essentially spell out the puzzle. I would have liked to have seen an official graduated hint system in place. If they do a second book, I hope they consider it.
Everything from the layout of the book, to the QR code, to the codeword system is copied shamelessly from Journal 29, which pioneered the format. That said, having played both, I believe this is stronger of the two books. The puzzles in Journal 29 were a little more esoteric and the answers more ambiguous. Whereas, in Tachyon, when I solved a puzzle I knew exactly what the website was expecting the answer to be.
If you’re looking for a nice, single-player puzzle game, especially one that doesn’t require a large upfront time commitment, I would definitely recommend picking up this game. With its sub-$20 price point, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.