A moment ago I was floating on a flying carpet over the dunes of the desert: the infinity of the night sky above me and the warm sand below me. Next thing I know, I’m running away from raptors. I have no idea how I got to this strange place. And what are these shadows that move so quickly toward me? I should be safe, but do I even have time to get away? Puzzle after puzzle, and there’s no solution in sight.
It’s the same every time when it comes to a game of the Unlock! Series and Unlock! Exotic Adventures is no exception. On the one hand I don’t want to spoil, on the other hand I almost explode. I actually want to tell you what the Space Cowboys have put together again. But of course that would destroy the basic principle of an escape game. So I try to do without spoilers again in the fourth part of Unlock!
Have fun reading.
The fine print in Unlock! Exotic Adventures
Just like the other parts from the Unlock! series, the box contains three cases with different levels of difficulty. Additionally there is a tutorial for the case that this is your first adventure with this system.
Of course the app is again a central element, just like in Unlock! Mystery Adventures and Unlock! Secret Adventures. If you are new to Unlock!, please note that you need an app to play the game, which is available for iOS and Android in the respective stores.
Besides the actual game cards, the game comes with a weird piece of paper and a diary. That’ s all you need to know about the material. For the forgetful or the newcomers there are the game instructions, but the mechanics of the game doesn’t change at all. So old hands can safely ignore them and get started right away.
Night of the Boogeymen
The easiest adventure is to make the acquaintance of William. The little boy has a real problem, because dream terrors have it in for him. Of course you can help him and try to chase the dream terrors away so that the poor boy can sleep in peace and without nightmares. The easiest adventure is traditionally played by our big daughter. And this is also reflected in the puzzles: They are easier than the other puzzles in Unlock! Exotic Adventures. However, Night of the Boogeymen, compared to the other games of the Unlock! series,is a bit more challenging.
What surprises me was the twist that there is during the adventure. Because the rules of the game change and this doesn’t happen through the app. It happens in the analog part of the game.
Also a novelty with an Unlock! is that for the first time a game material is really needed. So the weird piece of paper you see when you open the box is part of the first adventure. And unfortunately this piece of paper is also used. It won’t be destroyed, but it can’t be restored to its original state. Especially if you want to pass on the game, you should make a copy of it before. Unfortunately the Space Cowboys do not offer a download for this piece of paper.
Scheherazade’s Last Tale
1000 nights have already gone by and the Sultan wants to hear exactly one more tale of Scheherazade. Too bad that the good woman did not make up the tales, but that she had a scribe who wrote these tales for her. Even more stupid is the fact that the scribbler has not yet delivered the last tale.
This is where we come in and are commissioned by Scheherazade to get her last tale. The second adventure from the Unlock! Exotic Adventures moves in classic patterns again. The cards give you clues to puzzles or, by combination, cards that help you to solve the adventure. All puzzles are comprehensibly structured.
However, it doesn’t hurt if you know a little bit about the oriental fairy tale world. Because some well-known fairy tales sometimes put you on the right track. Also the app is integrated fantastically again, even if it causes confusion with some puzzles at first. Especially if you don’t belong to Generation Smartphone like we do.
The Expedition: Challenger
The dinosaurs on the game box and in the overall context of the last adventure already point that out to you: The diary, which is also filled with dinosaurs, belongs to the third Unlock! Exotic Adventure. The good thing compared to the first adventure is that you don’t have to destroy or modify anything in this book, so you don’t need a copy of it if you’re thinking of passing it on.
My first thought about The Expedition: Challenger was of course Jurassic Park. I had prepared myself for a dino zoo quite early. But when we took the box to Unlock! Exotic Adventures and I saw the diary, I had to think more about The Lost World. And that’s exactly the basic theme that accompanies you in the last and most difficult part. While in the second part we have a balanced share between app and puzzles, this turns completely the other way around with the dinos. Here the app is absolutely in the foreground. Of course there are still the cards, but this time the app is more than just a machine you use from time to time or as a code checker.
The level of difficulty is already of a high level. But it is not unfair. Sure, sometimes we were up in the air, but the tips we needed always put us on the right track.
What from Unlock! Exotic Adventures remains
Before I perhaps drift into the spoiler, here is the spoiler-free summary. Night of the Boogeymen is the weakest of the three adventures. Scheherazade’s last tale is solid and was really fun to think about. And for me, the clear winner in this Unlock! Box the Expedition: Challenger.
As I already wrote, Night of the Boogeymen was not such a thrilling adventure for me. For me there are simply two reasons for this. The first reason, which can be fixed quite fast, is simply the game material. I modify the game material and cannot restore the original state afterwards. Only via third party links I can download the necessary file. Because even if I don’t destroy the game material, it is sometimes badly affected and other players who want to play the same adventure after me already know what this piece of paper is all about.
The second serious reason is the structure of the adventure. By an unfavorable connection of cards and puzzles it can happen that you are simply hindered very much in solving your puzzles. In an adventure, which is supposed to be quite simple and which we therefore play primarily with younger players, such a thing leads very fast to frustration and stagnation. From my point of view a linear solving of the individual puzzles would definitely have been beneficial for the adventure. Also some puzzles are not as simple as it seems at first sight.
I simply like the second adventure with its theme. When I look for the last of her tales for Scheherazade, it feels like a story of a thousand and one nights. And I simply enjoy playing with it. In addition, I noticed very positively with this part in particular, that the formerly badly visible numbers on the card locations are now more visible. This makes the game feel more fluid overall. We could ignore the automatic alarm for hidden objects without any problems, because we had found the cards long ago.
The bottom line is that there are also no negative or positive highlights, which remain in your memory even after days. But this does not mean that the adventure is easy. Rather it has the right level of difficulty for my taste.
There are certain topics, I just have a weakness for them. And dinosaurs are just one of them. So I was really looking forward to finally meeting dinosaurs. The setting is the world created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. – Appropriately enough his protagonist is also called Challenger. What a coincidence! – Contrary to the novel, however, the whole exhausting journey to The Lost World is left out. The adventure is limited to the original world where dinosaurs still exist.
Expedition: Challenger has made it to my favorite among the Unlock! Adventures. This is not only because of the dino theme. It’s partly because of the story that is being told. In addition, there is an app that is very well integrated and a game mechanic that changes again, but contributes to the fact that I lose myself even further in the world.
Even though I’m going into raptures, the Expedition: Challenger still has a few quirks. Thus some puzzle solutions are not consistently connected with the game mechanics. This simply pulls me then from my immersion. And in addition there is unfortunately a machine, with which I do not know how it works until today.
What perhaps disturbed me most about the third adventure is that it is over after a maximum of 60 minutes. In our case unfortunately even earlier.
Unlock! Evolution Adventures or something like that
With Unlock! Exotic Adventures, the series moves in just the right direction. The app is being used more and more sensibly and the experience of the story, which has always been a plus point compared to other escape games, comes more and more to the fore. Not for nothing I already declared Unlock! to be my favorite escape game.
Of course not everything that glitters is gold. I rather have the feeling that especially when the Space Cowboys choose literature classics as a basis for their adventures, they play them especially well. With the “own productions” the soul is just missing somehow. Here I always have the feeling that the authors had an idea of mechanics while developing the story, which they then wrapped up with a story.
What is already apparent, however, starting with Scheherazade, is the fact that the machines in the app with which you solve the puzzles often just throw you in at the deep end. This is then almost a puzzle within a puzzle. With many machines you first have to find out what the app or machine wants from you. Even with a technically experienced person like me, this can be frustrating. I can’t estimate yet if this trend will be positive for the Unlock! concept or not. Especially when it comes to machines that have consumables.