Unlock! Secret Adventures: A Noside Story

7.1 Overall
Component Quality
Puzzle Design
Game Experience
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Unlock! Secret Adventures: A Noside Story

  • Played July 2018

  • 60 minutes
  • 1-6 players
  • $14.99

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Evil Dr. Noside is back to terrorize the town in this quirky follow up to the fun and engaging Squeak and Sausage from Unlock. Your job is to enter Dr. Noside’s lair and stop his evil plans while avoiding secret booby traps and solving unique puzzles in sometimes unexpected ways.

The game components were of good quality, with great cartoonish images on the cards that blended well with the story. There were no unique components, just the card deck. The app that accompanied the game worked as expected and provided appropriately themed music and interaction.

The immersion aspect was good. The images, music and puzzles all linked back to the theme of being in Dr. Noside’s lair and provided that extra level of quirkiness to keep things interesting, fun, and even humorous at times. Sometimes it felt like there were too many cards on the table, making it tedious to search for clues. However, the story remained fairly logical and linear. It wasn’t difficult to understand where you were supposed to be or what you were supposed to be doing.

Many of the puzzles were fun and truly creative, requiring some very outlandish and cartoony solutions. There were a few puzzles with some odd leaps of logic, but perhaps we’re just not in tune with “cartoon logic”. Also, because of the strange and cartoonish nature of the game there were some interesting ways to combine items and solve puzzles. However, if you try the wrong thing you get a penalty which isn’t like a traditional escape game. Given that many of the solutions require you to do strange things, you shouldn’t be penalized for trying something weird. We don’t want to play a guessing game with the thought process of the game designer, we want the freedom to explore and try things. There were also some parts that required some intense searching for clues which might become tedious for novice players. Another sticking point were the hint options. They were either too vague or just gave you the answer. We wish there was more progression to “help” us solve the puzzle on our own. Overall though the puzzles were generally fun and creative.

Regardless of the few complaints we had, the game is actually super fun. It’s mostly straightforward but with some built-in difficulty. If you’ve played and enjoyed other, more difficult Unlock! games before, you’ll still feel challenged and have a good time. If you’ve never played an escape game before, you’ll also have a good time. One last point; this game states that it is for 1-6 players but we felt that any more than three or four would be too confusing. We think 2-3 is ideal so that everyone can feel engaged.

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