Unlock! Epic Adventures – On Mission in the Far East

Unlock!: Epic Adventures CoverThe clock is against us. Even though we have relaxing 90 minutes, we still have to stay calm. Only if we follow the inner peace our eyes will be opened. Then we will see the things that are hidden. These are the things that matter if we want to continue on our journey. I can already feel my Ying becoming my Yang and vice versa. And now I can not only feel it, but also see it. The bamboo hain looks funny, what was a green wall a moment ago, now becomes a black and white wall? Wait, these are the wrong cards in the deck, who put the card from the first adventure in here? Do we have a mole sitting at this table?

It won’t be long before the 10 is done. With Unlock! Epic Adventures, the seventh part of the adventure series comes to the board game table. Once again the Space Cowboys have packed three different adventure scenarios into one box and challenge us. Of course we want to explain to you without any spoilers how the individual parts prove themselves or not. Which of the three parts left us breathless? You can find out in our review about the escape game Unlock! Epic Adventures.

Unlock this time in Epic

Even in the newest box there are some old familiar things. Beside the three adventures, which increase in difficulty, there is a tutorial. Sure, as professionals we don’t need it anymore of course. We’ll just take a quick look to see if something is different this time, but everything stays the same. So we can put this little deck back into the box. More interesting, however, are the other two items, which are also in the box. Next to a movie poster we find a case file in the box.

So this time, we have to solve the tasks with less materials. The two additional materials can also be assigned very quickly. The movie poster belongs to the first adventure The Seventh Screening and the case file belongs to the last and most difficult adventure Mission #07. So there remains only one adventure without any additional items. This has the melodious name The Dragon’s Seven Tests. So in the seventh Unlock! Box every case has something to do with a Seven, if you look at the name of the adventures.

But what is the epic that gave the Box its name? To be honest, we couldn’t really figure it out. Because all in all the adventures are just normal Unlock! adventures. You combine cards to solve puzzles and from time to time you switch to the app to collect more clues. Maybe the epic is just the time it should take to complete this one. Because in no other Unlock! before there was as much time as in Unlock! Epic Adventures. But what do we care about the basic facts? We want to go into detail and take a closer look at the individual cases.

The Seventh Screening

In the first and usually always the easiest adventure, we go to the cinema. We want to watch a classic movie. And before we know it, we as audience are right in the middle of the action. The Seventh Screening is confusing at first, because this adventure takes a basic mechanic of the game and throws it overboard. That makes the start a little difficult for the experienced gamers and has also made sure that we had problems in the beginning. And so, we promptly had to take a hint, which brought us back on the track. That was embarrassing for us, because it was so obvious, but what the heck. With Unlock! we just don’t feel really guilty when we take a hint, because most of the time we just need a push in the right direction and Unlock! does that really well with its help system.

Okay, with a trained eye we continued through the adventure and so we made slowly but surely progress. And so of course what had to happen happened, faster than we thought, we were already through the adventure. Sure, as usual, the first case of a new Unlock is not the big challenge. Epic Adventures makes no exception. This time the puzzles are very creative, thematically wonderfully integrated and quickly solvable. The app fits again wonderfully into the entire game mechanics.

Meanwhile it is like a nice warm up for our brains to get back into the game. Because I’ll let you in on a little secret: Of course, we played all the adventures through one evening in a row.

The Dragon’s Seven Tests

Still excited from the first adventure, we started the second adventure right away. In this one we are in the Far East. Most likely we are supposed to be in ancient China. There we finally want to make something out of our lives and go to a temple where we will be trained. Of course this will not be so easy, we already know that from various movies. Before our teacher wants to take care of us, we have to prove to him that we are worthy for the teachings of the master. Doctor Strange and Kill Bill send their regards. But the adventure will not be as bloody as Kill Bill or as magical as Doctor Strange.

The second adventure simply did not charm us. Already at the beginning the difficulty increased significantly compared to the first adventure. And so we had to pick up hints quite early. We recognized the puzzles, but couldn’t find the solution. Somehow something was missing, which supported the transition from puzzle to solution. But of course this could have been our mistake and maybe the solution was too obvious at that moment, so that we didn’t see it.

Uhh like now

Nevertheless, somehow we didn’t really make much progress with our exams. And that wasn’t on us, this time it was the mechanism of the game. In The Dragon’s Seven Tests, the focus shifts very much to the app because another element is introduced. Unfortunately, this causes us to simply not know where to look. Had we missed something on a card that we had to resolve in the app? Or was it a classic puzzle without which we had to use the app? This simply slowed down the second adventure, because we never knew if there was something or not. In the end this behaviour even turned around. In the end we were even so conditioned that we thought things were important that weren’t.

Here we would like to point out once again that we liked the idea, but the technical implementation did not work out very well. Especially the implementation made sure that this time the app didn’t really fit into the adventure. So a big advantage of the Unlock! system was now a big disadvantage. But that’s just part of it. It would be a pity if the Space Cowboys didn’t try new ideas. And who knows, maybe we’ll praise that element, which seemed very strange to us now, in one of the upcoming boxes, because it’s simply better used there.

Mission #07

At last we’re allowed to play agents and save the world. But before we can save it, we must first find the mole. Someone must have given our enemy the information. Of course, there are a lot of suspects and with time we can either catch them or not. The last adventure is the hardest, as always. But that’s not how it felt. The hunt for the mole in the first half is as exciting as the second part of the agent adventure.

On Mission #07 the Space Cowboys of course change the rules a little bit and add a new mechanism. However, compared to the other adventures from the box, the rule change seems to fit perfectly. It fits so perfectly that we didn’t even notice the higher level of difficulty. All puzzles and their solutions made sense. Only once we had to take a hint. Here we simply had the problem that we knew again what the puzzle looked like, but we couldn’t find the solution. And then there was another step towards a proven EXIT mechanism, which fitted perfectly into the overall experience.

The adventure immediately made it into my top 3 and with 21 adventures now, that’s something to be proud of. Nevertheless the adventure was not perfect at all and especially one machine in the app was annoying. We also wonder if younger players can solve this task, because they don’t necessarily have the technical knowledge.

I want more Unlock! Epic Adventures

Even though I didn’t really like the second adventure, but this was more because of the interaction of the components, I really liked the latest installment. Maybe it was because Unlock! Timeless Adventures seemed a bit uncreative. The fact that the Space Cowboys avoided classical literature is good for the game. This way Unlock! can really show its strength of mixing app and story.

A negative point for me is the specification of possible players. The box says that I can play it alone or with up to three other players. However, this only applies to the adventures two and three, which is written in the manual but not outside on the box. I can also play adventure one alone, but an important game mechanism is lost. Players who played the very first Unlock! will remember this.

Sure, many elements look familiar and have been seen here and there, but here it just fits together. I also wonder how they still manage to include at least two or three elements in each box and therefore I am looking forward to the new box again. I want to have the same experience in this box as I had now.

But there is one thing I have to say goodbye to Unlock! It has nothing to do with the original Escape game anymore, which it might have been before. With Unlock! Epic Adventures, Unlock! is more of a story puzzle game and that’s a good thing. Because this way Unlock! doesn’t have to come up with a thin story every time to somehow embarrass us to escape somewhere somehow.

But now we have to wait again, until Unlock! Mythic Adventures will be released. As the cover of the box already indicates, we will have another classical story and travel around the world in 80 days. But we’ll also go to Greece to explore the mythology there. And the last adventure will be a reunion with Noside. But it will take some time, because it is announced for November 2020.

Jasmins Opinion:

What I liked most about the current box were the small changes to the mechanics, which make every adventure something special. We were ripped out of our routine and had to think in new ways. That worked very well in both the first and the third adventure. The Seventh Screening and Mission #07 were the most exciting ones, especially Mission #07, which was very easy for us and was over much too fast. Here we used mechanics that are especially easy for an old role-playing fan. It seemed so natural that we didn’t need much time to get used to it.

The Seventh Screening also knew how to surprise us, but it took us some time to get used to it. The puzzles were cool and thematically well integrated. The Zen theme of the second adventure was not clear enough for me personally. Here we often didn’t know how things should actually go on. That was not so much due to the level of difficulty of the puzzles, but we missed the guidance a little bit. Altogether the Epic Adventures are however a very successful box with two very good adventures and a third one, which is rather weaker for me.

This is not the only article about Unlock! Adventures on our blog:

Unlock!: Epic Adventures (2019)
1 - 6
60 - 90 Min
BGG rating:
Space Cowboys

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