Of all the unlock games, this is probably one of the best overall packages. All three missions are a top-notch experience.
Designer: Cyril Demaegd
Designer: Dave Neale
Artist: Arnaud Demaegd
Artist: Laurent Bazart
Artist: Mahulda Jelly
Game Type: Escape Room
Game Type: Cooperative Game
Game Type: Storytelling
Game Type: Real-time
Initial Year of Release: 2018
Age Range: 10+
Expected Playtime: 60
Number of Players: 1-6
Theme and What is it?
Unlock! Heroic Adventures is a triple pack escape room in a box game. The three missions each have a totally different theme and difficulty rating.
The first adventure, Insert Coin, takes players into the world of a vintage coin operated video game system. The entire adventure is filled with the nostalgia of feeling like you are really trying to solve the puzzles of a video game.
The second adventure, Sherlock Holmes – The Scarlet Thread of Murder, takes players into their own Holmsian mystery. Players will even have to set up a police suspect board and pin up motives and opportunities to see if they can figure out whodunit.
The final adventure, In Pursuit of the White Rabbit, players will have the opportunity to dive headfirst into the rabbit hole. The entire adventure will bring more Alice in Wonderland references than you would think possible. The ending is more spectacular than anything I have seen since the Tonipal’s Treasure unlock adventure.
Unlock games all have some similarities in their mechanics. First, they are a technology REQUIRED game system. You download the free companion app and use it when entering 4 digit codes to check solution attempts. You also use it if you need hints or when it introduces interactive machines. Some escape rooms in a box provide materials that need manipulated and destroyed in the process. Unlock games use technology for those few moments where the completely resettable box components wouldn’t work out.
Many cards in an unlock game have letters and numbers hidden in their artwork in subtle ways. Searching for these clues is very important as they are critical cards players need to investigate. Many of the cards have red and blue lock and key puzzle pieces where players use tools with other cards (adding their values) to generate a thematic response.
If it is an unlock game, I am in! Always. I have had some better than others but have always found them worthwhile. The Sherlock one in particular was exciting for us to pull out. It turns out that I found out the Insert Coin to be the more memorable one throughout. I didn’t expect much but was thoroughly immersed in the theme of that one. As much as I loved the Sherlock theme and was immersed in the Insert Coin adventure, the White Rabbit adventure has left some of the most memorable puzzle moments and an epic finale.
Each of the adventures has their own feel for the artwork. Insert Coin has 8-bit art style going for a vintage arcade feel. Sherlock has Victorian artwork and a hometown simple feel to the locations and people. The white rabbit adventure gets a little strange at times… Perfect for the style!
For me, all gaming is about the puzzle solving. Unlock games are all about the puzzles. There are artistic puzzles trying to spot all the hidden letters and numbers. There are all sorts of variety within the puzzles to solve. Sherlock ones seem more mystery and deduction heavy. The others are more finding the most thematic way or just standalone escape room style puzzles. I am always happy with the quality of these games. The easy ones are not so trivial that they seem unsatisfying. The hard ones sometimes make us consider using hints but are solvable if you have found all the cards you are supposed to have at that time.
Age Range & Weight
10+ is reasonably fair. A group of kids would have trouble following the rules and solving correctly. But a younger child with a group that includes at least one adult would be fine. The game is usually best with 2-3 players. More is fine provided everyone is equally dominant, so that everyone gets to inspect cards when they are first drawn and has input on the puzzle solving. If this is your first experience with an Unlock game, you need not worry about the difficulty to learn. Each game comes with a play to learn tutorial that only takes a few minutes and keeps you from needing to read rulebooks or feeling lost.
Of all the unlock games, this is probably one of the best overall packages. All three missions are a top-notch experience. This is easily the three pack I would most recommend. The final mission warns you there are cards used at the end. Fair warning, you use them one other time as well. Once you use them once, don’t forget you will still need them again later when you get to the final challenge. We nearly forgot about it and scratched our heads for several minutes until someone noticed.
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