Unlock! Escape Adventures: The Formula

6.9 Overall
Component Quality
Puzzle Quality
Immersion
Game Experience
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Unlock! Escape Adventures: The Formula

  • Played June 2017

  • 60 minutes
  • 1-6 players
  • $14.99

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When it comes to successful board games from 2016, everyone knows T.I.M.E. Stories by Space Cowboys was one of, if not the most, successful. Not only did most people enjoy the game, additional expansions couldn’t be created fast enough to satisfy everyone’s desire to complete a new mission… Imagine then if you will the excitement level of the ERA team once we learned Space Cowboys was coming out with a new bunch of in-home escape games called Unlock! Escape Adventures… There was MUCH rejoicing! The first scenario we played was The Formula.

Let’s take a look then… The component quality is fairly standard for all of the scenarios within the Unlock! series. With these games you receive a small box decorated with interesting art work and the scenario title. Inside, you’ll receive a rulebook and two decks of cards. The smaller deck is a tutorial game that helps players understand the mechanics of the full game. The second, larger, deck is the full scenario (in this case The Formula). In both cases the cards function as your ‘choices’ within the adventure, so unless you want to spoil your game DO NOT PEEK at these cards under any circumstances! The cards are roughly 50% larger than a standard deck of cards and are fairly good quality. There’s not much more than this to speak of so let’s look at the quality of the puzzles, tasks, and riddles within the game.

The Formula was our first scenario in the Unlock! series which meant it had the most potential to both disappoint and impress. Sure enough, there was a mixture of both. Our chief complaint about the puzzles was there was a game mechanic you needed to know (inserting codes into the app mid-game) in order to access further cards. This wasn’t introduced in the tutorial so we stumbled quite a bit at one point wondering what we were missing. After watching several other groups make the same mistake, we realized it wasn’t just us. On the other hand, the puzzles were quite enjoyable for the most part. We felt the puzzles fit the scenario and they further allowed for more than one person to contribute. Ideally we’d like to see an in-home escape game finally incorporate some real teamwork (moments in time where a solution requires more than one participant), but The Formula does include cooperative play which is nice.

The immersive feel of the game is very dependent on your fellow players and how inclusive your group is. A group that has one or two dominant players will sure have mixed reactions on the immersion level of this game (like most cooperative board games). Be cautioned then, it’s probably best to leave those “lone wolf” personality types out of this adventure unless you want to end up sitting back and watching the fun go by. However, for those involved in the puzzle solving and story, it’s a fun scenario to play through. The story is fairly simple, but there’s enough throughout the game to keep players curious and interested in what’s coming up next. The app also provides some nice ambient sound and music which further helps create a good atmosphere.

And finally, the overall game experience… It was a decent game but as always it carries caveats. The game can be dominated by certain personality types which would spoil the fun for others. Again, avoid playing this game with those family members, friends, or co-workers who just don’t understand the value of sharing and working as a team. The Formula can be completed by one person so for those who do get left out of the fun, don’t worry this is a game a ‘lone wolf’ can also enjoy! We’d suggest ignoring the suggested 1-6 players, and limit yourself to no more than three players for the sake of ensuring everyone is involved. The great thing about this game is that it’s pretty good for most ages from 10+ as the box suggests, and doesn’t require any previous board game or escape room experience. The app is a nice addition that provides some ambient atmosphere, and there’s a neat little game mechanic you’ll discover at some point which we don’t want to spoil… All in all a very decent game and worth the purchase at its listed retail price of less than $20 USD. If you’re looking for a good one-time game play we’d suggest picking up The Formula and seeing for yourself why Space Cowboys has hit the mark once again with their games!

We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

Final Verdict:

6.9/10

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