Escape game in a box
With everyone being encouraged to stay at home as much as they can, we thought it was time to catch up with our reviews of games that can be played from home. Having played a large number of the Unlock games, we thought we would revisit in order to help you decide which ones you might enjoy playing next.
SEP 30 1961 / TOP SECRET
The Department is concerned by the lack of recent reports from Dr. Hoffmann. This genius chemist is involved in the MK project. In his last report, he claimed that his “truth serum” was close to the required reliability. We want Hoffmann and his formula.
The team will be taken to the subway station (CLASSIFIED) and will infiltrate the lab, which opens with the code (CLASSIFIED). You make your way through the maze of New York subway tunnels. In the middle of the tracks, you find a trap door in the ground. It’s open and light shows through it.
Unlike most of the other Unlock games we’ve played so far, this one is the most like an escape room. Whereas some of the games have characters within them, this one is about you exploring the environment you’ve found yourselves in. The game flows reasonably well but there is a couple of occasions where the links between what you’ve done and where to go next aren’t always obvious. Using the hints on the app gives you a steer in the right direction and you find your are back on track pretty quickly. More so in this game than others, we found that some of the cards were red herrings. Although they contained the usual design they weren’t needed in the game in the same way. It didn’t hold you up as such but did leave us pondering if we’d made a mistake and somehow bypassed it. On the whole, the game plays well and is a good example of what Unlock can do well. Here, the app not only provides your timer, hints, codes and machines, it also uses audio puzzles as part of the experience.
The game’s illustrations work perfectly will the story line and the way the game plays. The usual hidden numbers are well disguised and provides a bit of a challenge. The design also helps with the games flow. There could have been a couple more sign posting clues in a couple of the cards but on the whole the design works well with the game overall.
It’s probably our favourite unlock game to date. It works really well as an experience but also feels the most like an escape room experience. With the addition of a different type of puzzle beyond the usual, it adds another dimension to the unlock game series.