And again we are hanging over the third puzzle. But first we were told, only the first adventure from the new Unlock! Heroic Adventures Box and now, three hours later, my head is exploding and actually I want to go to bed. But I can’t yet, because the clock is ticking against zero again and I want to solve the adventure today. So sleep will have to wait, it won’t be so bad tomorrow morning when the alarm clock rings again. Or will it?
With Unlock! Heroic Adventures is now the fifth box from the Unlock! series has been released by Asmodee. Again the Space Cowboys send us on three adventures, which couldn’t be more different. Whether they will surprise us, as in the previous Unlock! Exotic Adventures, we want to find out in this review about the escape game. Of course everything is absolutely spoiler-free.
Play with me!
So, at some point, the latest Unlock! Heroic Adventures was in our living room. Probably especially placed by my wife, so that the game constantly seeps into my subconscious. And so one evening what had to happen happened. The game landed on our board game table. Even though I was totally exhausted by the escape game tiredness, I couldn’t resist it. Because Unlock! is just different. While the other escape games on the market aren’t really evolving, Unlock! manages to lure me back with curiosity every time.
Every time I ask myself, what have the designers come up with now? And it’s not about the puzzles. It’s about the whole package. Which story have they created again and how do they link this to the app? Is there something again that I have not seen before? And here I can spoiler without any problems. Yes, also Unlock! Heroic Adventures manages to amaze again. It leaves you surprised at the gaming table. I just wonder, how will the Space Cowboys keep this up, will they be able to put another one on top in the next part?
But before I think about it, I take a look at the latest Unlock! retrospectively.
Unlock! Heroic Adventures stays true to itself
The proven basic principle remains unchanged in the current version. You still have three adventures and a tutorial in the game box. Each adventure consists of a deck of 60 cards and with the help of the free app you have to solve the adventure within a certain time frame. The countdown is just a gimmick and you can play longer. The adventures are divided into three different levels of difficulty.
Cards are revealed and each number you can see will lead you to more cards to pick from the deck. Different items can be combined to guide you to other locations and items. Codes can be entered into the app, and the app uses machines to further immerse you into the game. Of course, once you’ve completed an adventure, it’s no use playing it again as you already know the result.
So you see, everything remains the same. But that’s nothing new. The new is in the details and that’s why I love playing Unlock!
The easiest adventure takes you into the world of video games. Or it takes you back to the time of video games, when anti-aliasing and photorealistic worlds were still science fiction. In a really well realized adventure that blurs the boundaries between analog and digital, I quickly felt reminded of my youth.
Because this time you are the hero and try to win the game on an old slot machine. And finally a technical innovation of the app comes along, which I had expected much earlier. But now I am glad that it has found its way into the Unlock! series. Everything was just right at the first adventure. A little tip: When you play it, make sure that the sound of your tablet or mobile phone is on.
Everybody who grew up with C64, Amiga, NES or 386s just has to smile at this adventure, so do I. However, this does not apply to our teenager, he simply could not do anything with the homage to this time.
The level of difficulty is not very high, but it leaves even the practised Unlock! Players will brood a little bit more every now and then.
Finally Sherlock Holmes, the godfather of all escape games, gets his appearance in a Unlock! part. Of course it is all about solving a case. With good old detective work it means to find and convict suspects. The typical Unlock! elements in this adventure is actually finding the clues. Be it that you have to take a closer look or combine one or the other item to get ahead. Of course this was no problem for us as experienced Detective players. *cough*
What I also found very nice about Sherlock is that the designers now have a very fine feeling for how they use the app. Was it still absolutely important and a central component of Insert Coin. In Sherlock it was only a discreet component. Of course it was still very important and without it we couldn’t solve the case. But the way the app was used, it just felt natural and appropriate for the time the case was playing.
However, there was a situation in Sherlock where we just couldn’t get any further. It even led so far that we had to pause the game to use the internet. Sure, something like that is actually annoying, but in this case it was once again up to the users. If we had just followed what the game told us, we wouldn’t have had to look. But what you can blame the designers for is that in this case the help system within the app didn’t really help.
In Pursuit of the White Rabbit
The last adventure takes up a well-known story again and packs the typical Unlock! elements into the adventure. Alice in Wonderland is the story you will relive. Who now remember the magic of OZ from Unlock! Secret Adventures, you’re not wrong at all. The game feeling is quite similar. However, Wonderland is a bit more twisted than OZ. And that’s what you get throughout the adventure when you meet all the iconic characters with Alice. Similar to Dorothy, it helps if you know the story, of course.
Of course the app also brings new features to the Unlock! System. But here is a little warning. You shouldn’t necessarily start with this adventure. Because a new mechanism is used, which is introduced in the first adventure Insert Coin.
What I also like very much is that besides the app another medium is used very much in contrast to the other adventures. Unfortunately this again leads to more confusion. So a puzzle is presented to you, which at this point is completely uninteresting at first.
Also game materials are damaged in the course of the game in a certain way. In this case then also negative criticism must be applied. Since Unlock! follows the principle that the game materials remain as they are, it would have been good if the designers had included a symbolism that shows you which materials can be used for this. We were about to damage the wrong things. Trust your intuition here and don’t let yourself be led astray.
Since Alice is the hardest of the three new adventures, you should be skilled at playing the Unlock! system, because some things have to be taken literally or I have to forget the rules from time to time. As compensation there is more time.
A Unlock! Heroic Adventures gaming experience – two opinions
I’m still very impressed with the Unlock! System. It is the best system on the market for me right now. Besides the always funny stories, I am always interested in the question what the Space Cowboys have come up with. And also Unlock! Heroic Adventures has not disappointed me in this. In fact, the fifth version of the game makes the jump to the top and is for me one of the best Unlock! series offers. Playfully challenging and if I don’t get ahead it’s mostly up to the player, because the game really tells you everything.
However, not all that glitters is gold. So the help system still fails in regular cases and cannot always lead me on the right way. On the positive side, however, there are now walkthroughs for all Unlock! adventures that have been published so far.
I am also not yet satisfied with the communication before the game. The gaming experience is very much determined by the app. Unfortunately, there is no clear indication on the packaging or in the manual as to what the minimum technical requirements of your tablet or smartphone must be in order for you to be able to really use the full scope of the game.
For me personally the best adventure is Insert Coin. I can easily overlook the fact that I don’t really have an ending. But the whole implementation and the atmosphere during the game just grabbed me.
For me, the weakest adventure is Sherlock. After several detective games it just doesn’t feel like a detective game to me. Maybe it’s because there was just this one case. Maybe it would be different with a pure Sherlock Unlock! Box. On top of that, I wasn’t really in the flow with Sherlock. Again and again the flow of the game stopped and the red thread was missing.
Alice was mid-table to me. It was okay to play the adventure, but afterwards it didn’t offer big highlights. Also OZ from Unlock! Secret Adventures did not inspire me very much and so it was here too. Whereby Alice was better from my point of view. It felt more fluid while playing. The chaotic layout in which the adventure is embedded is on the one hand its biggest plus point, but also its biggest weak point.
In any case, I’m already looking forward to the new Unlock! Timeless Adventures. I hope that this will raise the bar in the field of escape games once again. Whereby I personally want to take the Unlock! series as escape games or as representatives of the genre.
I look forward to the latest Unlock! Box every time. Of all the escape and puzzle series in small boxes that are on the market at the moment, Unlock! is my favourite by now. This is on the one hand because of the varied topics and on the other hand because there is always a story told. Also the App has become a constant element of the game. You can look forward to new and innovative uses for each box. So the expectations are high with every new box, but this time I wasn’t disappointed either. As a complete package the Unlock! Heroic Adventures are at the top for me and I am curious if the Timeless Adventures can top this performance.
We play the three adventures in a box always in ascending difficulty level. This has proved to be a good idea, because we always feel a bit rusty when we are waiting for a new box. The introductory adventure Insert Coin entices with a retro theme, which I have outgrown by now. I did remember the time, but I didn’t feel as nostalgic as Jan. What’s really cool is the atmospheric and fitting musical background by the app. And also in terms of graphic presentation the adventure is very much to the point. The integration of the app is very successful, but a larger device like a tablet is very advantageous.
However, we have noticed once again that Unlock! is best played by two of us. Otherwise, too many eyes want to examine the cards very carefully to find the right solution. The puzzles were all conclusive in themselves, who remembers these video games has a clear advantage. That was certainly the reason why our daughter quickly withdrew after initial euphoria. She simply couldn’t get on with the retro theme. I’m sure she would have preferred a Noside adventure here. I have to say that the outcome of Insert Coin, although well done, left me a little unsatisfied. Overall, Insert Coin is a nice part for me, but personally I liked the other two adventures more.
At last! An adventure with Sherlock Holmes. It was only a matter of time before the most famous detective in the world got his own adventure. From the title to the tasks you have to complete, the adventure follows the classic stories of Sherlock Holmes. You must display all the virtues and talents that have made Mr Holmes so famous. Good perception, keen observation and logical combination are required to find the suspects and track down the criminal and his motive.
I especially liked the atmosphere in this adventure. The Victorian London is very well captured and is enhanced by the appropriate background music. The app does its best to be helpful and useful, but not too intrusive. I liked the complete package of varied classic detective puzzles and atmosphere best here. The criticism of the help system, which Jan already explained, is rather a general problem and cannot be blamed on an individual case.
In Pursuit of the White Rabbit
Alice in Wonderland is strongly reminded of the OZ adventure, not only through the illustrations. We were drawn into Alice’s adventure from the beginning, just as the protagonist is pulled down the rabbit hole. The puzzles caused us the least headaches here, although they weren’t easy. We simply came here mostly quite fast on the right idea. That’s partly because we already knew the book and thus a big part of the story.As with OZ, you have an advantage over players who don’t. There may be very few of them, but it can happen.
So I fully agree with the classification as a difficult adventure. A little crazy, but never unfair were the puzzles and I also found the new use of game material to be very successful. Altogether however OZ pleased me a bit better. As a big Sherlock Holmes fan the Alice adventure is simply behind the master detective. But that is a matter of taste.