Unlock 2! Mystery Adventures
By Cyril Demaegd
Every now and then, a game will come along that reminds you just how varied board games can be. Recently, we have been lucky enough to get several such games based around the 'Escape Room' concept – and they offer a unique experience I cannot recommend highly enough.
The box contains a tutorial that introduces the basic game rules, including a slightly altered way to resolve 'mechanisms' compared to first box 'Escape Adventures'. Basically the escape room is represented as a deck of cards, some of which are locations with the rest representing the things, people and events that take place within them. Each card is one of 5 types: red and blue cards are combined to find new cards, green cards are machines that you have to figure out how to use, yellow cards have a four digit code to discover and grey cards give you information to help figure out the mystery. Some cards may have hidden numbers on them, requiring you to pay close attention to get all the clues required to solve the puzzle.
Powering this game engine is an accompanying app, available free for Android and iOS, which contains ambient sound, a timer and hints, and this is also where you will enter codes to unlock yellow cards and operate machines to convert a green card into a red one. Overall, it's a powerful and flexible core mechanic, which never fails to impress or surprise me during gameplay.
The adventures require almost no outside knowledge to play (although we did have one moment in one of the scenarios where the game required us to know a word that none of us really knew – my recommendation is to revise your poetry terms), with everything you need to know located somewhere within the game. I have never played a game that so cleverly rewards you for being smart, thinking outside the box or just being observant. You'll need to be logical, observant and calculating in order to succeed, but never lucky; the solution is always there somewhere in front of you, if you can just spot it.
The only real problem is that once you've completed a scenario, it's difficult to play it again. The satisfaction you receive when you figure something out is difficult to replicate if you half remember the solution from a previous play through, and the first time through each scenario is so much more magical and fulfilling than subsequent plays. This is mitigated by the fact that you can resort the cards when you've finished and give the game to someone else, so that they can get to experience the game themselves.
Overall, this is more like buying an experience than a game, and provides a feeling unlike almost any game I've ever played.
If only there was some way,
to give you a hint;
For the puzzle we found hard,
just even a glint;
Of what aspect, thing or word,
You'd useful to have heard.
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