Posted in Unlock

Unlock! – The Island of Doctor Goorse

Escape game in a box

Billed as the hardest of the three games in the Escape Adventures set. We find ourselves separated on a remote island with no way to communicate.

THE STORY

The day had started off well. After weeks of hesitation, you finally accepted the invitation of Archibald Goorse, the eccentric billionaire, archaeological rarities collector. You’d been flown to his private island, located a few miles from the Bahamas, in an old twin-engine. Unfortunately, the aircraft had been caught in a storm and you only just had time to bail out with a parachute before seeing the plane crash land in the middle of the jungle. After losing consciousness, you wake up on a windswept beach. Fortunately, despite some bruises, you have nothing broken. Instead, your group is now split in two teams. How are you going to join forces to successfully leave this cursed island?

THE GAMEPLAY

Billed as the hardest game in the set, there is good reason. First off, it’s created so that the first half of the game your team split in two and must solve puzzles in order to be brought together. This means it is the first Unlock game we’ve played where you really cannot play it as one person. In fact, playing it solo would really defeat the object of having to work apart to come together. The second reason it comes across as difficult is because it feels like the designer of the game has tried to be deliberately vague in places to make you really think. What this actually does is makes you sit and stare at the cards for some time without really getting to grips with what is going on. In fact, this also means that the whole story is really lost in translation. The game is linear and, as with us, you seem to be able to accidentally jump ahead of yourself and end up missing something vital. It does also mean this game comes across as frustrating. Other harder level games in the series are hard because they make you think. This one make you go “eh?!”.

It seems strange to be writing something negative about an Unlock game but for us this one missed the mark. Some of the puzzles are a little tedious and the end really does make you lose the will to live!

DESIGN

The game looks great but it’s clear the designer has been encouraged to make things a little tricky, particularly with the end. The translation for the instructions doesn’t help granted but it’s a partly down to the illustration that makes it so difficult. We felt it was a little bit about going “back to the drawing board” with this one.

OVERALL

It’s safe to say we didn’t particularly enjoy this one. The gameplay was difficult for the sake of it rather than because it needed it and therefore we lost interest. The concept of being split and unable to communicate with the other half of your team is interesting but not enough to save this game.

Theme *****

Design *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****

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