Unlock! Mythic Adventures
Unlock! Mythic Adventures
- Played January 2021
- 1-6 players
- $30 USD
- Great for families
- What People Say
The ERA team is back at it again with yet another Unlock! box set of games. This time it’s Mythic Adventures, and we gotta say the Asmodee team must put a lot of faith into their game designers because each time they come up with a whole new box set, we keep wondering: ‘’Is this finally going to be the drop-off point where we see a lack of progression in their game development?” After all, it seems reasonable to assume after 7 previous box sets (that’s 21 games in the Unlock! series) we’d eventually see a downturn. And let’s not forget Star Wars wasn’t among our favourite Unlock! box sets. So did the three Mythic Adventure games: In The Clutches Of Hades, Around The World In 80 Minutes, and Professor Noside’s Animal-O-Matic confirm our fears or did we find ourselves still marvelling at the design progression and design of the Unlock! series? Read on to find out…
To keep things simple and straightforward, we decided to once again amalgamate the scores and reviews of the whole box set instead of presenting each individual game within. When notable design or scoring differences between the games come up (e.g. maybe one game had exceptionally better immersion compared to another), we’ll make mention of it here in the written section. Unless that happens, it’s safe to assume our team’s comments apply to all three games. Having said that… let’s dive into some Mythic Adventures!
Let’s start with the game component quality. As you would expect, the games center around a deck of Unlock! cards, an interactive app, and in the case of one game, a map. Did anything particularly stand out? Yes and no. The cards are pretty much the same as always, but it was the use and creativity of the app that once again surprised us. It just keeps getting better with each Unlock! box set. Compared to the very first trio of Unlock! games, it’s crazy how much the app’s technology and usage has improved! The game had us using functions and technology on our phones we didn’t even know existed. Now combine this with the more recent addition of some extra game parts (in this case a map for one game) and we have to say we were pretty impressed. Now before we get ahead of ourselves, critics will rightly point out it’s still just a deck of cards and an app. But we all agreed it was a good demonstration of how in-home escape/puzzle games don’t need a lot of ‘’stuff’’ to be good. They just need to provide the best version of whatever game components are being used, (hence the slightly above average score our members gave it).
From component quality to our reflections on the immersive experience… and here’s where we started to get a bit more diversity in opinion. We all agreed the Mythic Adventure games were slightly better immersive experiences than Unlock’s previous box sets, but how much better seemed up for grabs. Some ERA members loved the stories and themes within each of the three games. Others on our team thought they were good, but felt other areas of the game design were better. Where we were all equally impressed was the use of thematic music and overall ‘style’ of each game. One of the common critiques of earlier Unlock! box sets was how the gameplay always felt the same even though each theme was different. This was definitely NOT the case in Mythic Adventures. In fact, our team couldn’t stop talking about how impressed we were by the ‘cartoony feeling’ of Professor Noside’s Animal-O-Matic. Not only does the artwork and music stay the same as previous games within the Sausage & Squeak series, but you also play the game as if it were a cartoon. Here’s a non-in-game example: You have a hammer, and over there you see a nail that needs to be pulled out of the wall, pretty easy right? Hold on now, because in a cartoon-style game you should’ve known the hammer-head shark you met earlier likes to pull nails as a hobby (get in? hammer-head shark… pulling out nails… it’s cartoony!) The same attention to thematic gameplay is consistent with all three Mythic Adventures and again, it probably isn’t noticed by the average player who doesn’t stop to analyze this type of stuff, but for us it was another example of great immersive game design. Could a few things be tweaked or added to the immersive experience in these games? For sure. We know Asmodee and the Unlock! team don’t want to veer away from what works, but the biggest stumbling block continues to be that it’s still just a deck of cards, a single app, and aside from thematic music and gameplay, there needs to be more that pulls the player into the game. We’re not sure how this could be done without drastically changing Unlock! games, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years of reviewing these games, it’s that Asmodee somehow finds a way to keep enriching the experience, so it’s probably just a matter of time.
From components, to immersion… and now puzzles. Typically ERA members debate, argue, and have the widest range of opinions when it comes to scoring immersion and fun. This time it was the puzzles. Between all three games, there were noticeable differences in style, complexity, and inclusivity… and it showed in how much our members appreciated the puzzles. Some of our members loved the puzzles in Professor Noside… some loved the Clutches Of Hades… and yup you guessed it, some preferred the interaction with the additional map in Around The World. What was good to see however was that regardless of puzzle preference, none of the other members disliked the puzzles in the other games. So where do we start? Professor Noside’s Animal-O-Matic was pretty much as we described earlier. If you like the idea of cartoony designed puzzles you’ll LOVE this game. The challenges and puzzles you encounter (and their required solutions/actions) are an homage to animated classics like Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It’s also the most ‘family friendly’ of the three Mythic Adventures so if you’re already a big fan of the Sausage & Squeak series, you’ll enjoy playing through these puzzles also. Moving along to In The Clutches Of Hades, we could see how the philosophers, theologians, and historians on our team loved these puzzles. At every point you needed to keep thinking like an ancient Greek slave who’s skilled at just one thing… carpentry. And don’t forget this is a time of the Greek Gods and they each want something from you and the rest of humanity. If you’re able to keep all this in mind, the puzzles are pretty enjoyable and entertaining. Some of our members found them pretty challenging if they weren’t able to get into the right mindset, but then again the same was said about Professor Noside’s Animal-O-Matic by a couple ERA members. And yes, you guessed it, same pattern of thought with Around The World In 80 Minutes. Some of our members absolutely loved how these puzzles were the most ‘’escape room-ish’’, and how they seemed to have a good mix of thinking laterally and logically. The extra map also added a new dynamic to the puzzles allowing for a third component to interact with the Unlock cards and app. So is one game’s puzzles better than the others? Yup, we all agreed on that… problem is we can’t agree on WHICH game (lol), but that’s a good thing! It’s a sign that regardless of what type of puzzles you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it in one of these three Mythic Adventures. Although we don’t really want to pit Unlock! games against each other, we couldn’t help but notice Mythic Adventures was a better experience than Unlock! Star Wars Adventures despite the hype surrounding that box set.
Ok so did we have fun? Yes! All across the board it was a resounding YES! In fact with the exception of one member, we even agreed this is the best of all the Unlock! box sets. How the heck does Asmodee keep doing this? For those who know us well, we strive hard to eliminate as much bias as possible (it’s also one of the reasons why we have different ERA members to score their experiences separately). But time after time, Asmodee and the Unlock! team seem to keep upping their ability to make each adventure better than the previous one. Eventually these games have to hit a design peak right? So far it’s been up and up while they just keep churning out solid games. Mythic Adventures is best for 2-4 players with four possibly being too many. Although the games are generally inclusive there’s aren’t any team building or open path puzzles so it’s hard to work on the game ‘together’. Kids will love Professor Noside, academics and fantasy fans will love Clutches Of Hades, and escape room fans will most likely love Around The World. If you fall into one of these categories, then THIS in-home game is what you need.
We want to hear your thoughts on this experience! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!