UNLOCK! is a game based on the escape room idea where the players work together to figure out a puzzle within a set amount of time. We haven’t included any pictures with this one because they’d essentially be spoilers: the game only functions if you don’t look at any of the cards before play.
The puzzles in this case are adventure narratives and there are three adventures in the box, plus a gentle tutorial game. Each one functions via a deck of cards and the UNLOCK app, which is free to download and, once downloaded, functions without wifi. The app functions as a timer, an interface (for entering codes) and also a source of clues should you get stuck (we did!).
The starting card is a location and it references other cards (by numbers or letters on their backs). Then you have to figure out a way to combine these cards together – literally adding their number values to give you a new card, which will be the next step in the story. Some cards combine with others, some are simply locations, but it’s all pretty straightforward in terms of rules. What’s a bit trickier is figuring out the puzzles! You win by doing so within the allotted time, and lose if you don’t.
It’s a shame that the nature of Unlock! means that once it’s played, it’s played out, as me and my son had a lot of fun with this, despite the fact we were pretty awful at it. It’s not a terribly expensive game but you do need to be aware the playtime is three hours (one per adventure). On the other hand, they will be fun hours – of the tense, against-the-clock kind that provide inadvertent silliness as well as the logical puzzle. Some of the clues are more intuitive than others – some I would say, are a little bit cheeky. Be open to mad links and correlations and you’ll have some fun here!
None - it's a co-operative, collaborative game.
None - you're working against the clock!
The rules are easy, but the brain-burning here is the lateral thinking.
Unfortunately, once you've played the three adventures, you know them and they cease to function. You can of course pass the game on to someone else though!