20th April 2022
It's a Wednesday and we're round Simon's for an evening of gaming.
Unlock! The Escape Game are a series of games drawing inspiration from escape room games and as you'll have gathered from the name, Star Wars: Unlock is a Star Wars themed Unlock! game.
Time to escape Star Wars!
Note: Unlock! games come with 3 scenarios and in the case of Star Wars: Unlock!, we played the Secret Mission on Jedha scenario, one of the harder scenarios and which involved being nasty Imperial spies running round a desert.
What's in a game?
Star Wars: Unlock! is a card game with a map, quality wise it's exactly what you would expect of cards and a small paper map, which is to say; perfectly acceptable.
Art-wise, like all Star Wars licensed games I've seen, the quality is consistently high throughout. I don't know whether the art was created specifically for this game or was sourced from what must be a huge archive of art that has been produced and accumulated over the decades but regardless, it's all looks good and has a appropriately Star Wars feel to it
A few icons are used throughout the game, they're pretty clear and self-evident, I can't imagine they would prove an obstacle to players.
How's it play?
On to play
Star Wars: Unlock! is all about discovery and deciphering clues which will eventually lead to the scenario's conclusion. Functionally, the game works a little like a gamebook where players would get to choose which numbered paragraph to read, except in this game it's done with numbered cards instead of paragraphs. There's also a bit more to Star Wars: Unlock! than most gamebooks though, especially in relation to how the app is utilised.
It's tricky to describe how the game plays, especially without some sort of spoiler but basically, the players collectively try to solve the puzzles presented to them.
What follows are descriptions for actions players can take.
There's no way to lose Star Wars: Unlock! per se, when the countdown reaches 0 it instead simply goes into 'negative time'.
After reaching a scenario's conclusion, the app will then rate the player's collective performance from 1-5.
Computer says you get only 1 Star!
Star Wars: Unlock! pulls some clever tricks with how it uses cards and how it combines them with the app to provide some engaging obstacles to overcome.
We're not geniuses by any stretch but nor are thick, so for the most part the scenario was well balanced, we were stumped for a while on a couple of occasions and referred to the app's hint system for a card once. Otherwise the game was more or less straightforward.
The play time is fairly brisk in Star Wars: Unlock! with players facing with some unusual problems to solve while under the pressure of a ticking clock.
The box states that 1-6 people can play but I'm sceptical about this. I just don't think that there's enough to do to occupy 4 people, let alone 6! By the the game's very nature, there tends to be a lot interconnectivity between cards and the clues they represent. This means that it's not particularly conducive for solving challenges to split cards between players and as a result, the cards will tend to be be hogged by some players while others are left twiddling their thumbs.
Playing with 3 people might be OK, 2 players and you're golden.
I'm also not a fan of app-driven games and licensed ones even less so: Eventually that game license will eventually and what happens to the apps distribution then?
Having said that, there's little replay value to the game, once all 3 scenarios are completed successfully, players will have no reason to return to the game.
Putting those (Non game.) criticisms aside, if you like puzzles and problem-solving, then this may well appeal to you and if you also like Star Wars, then doubly so. Especially since it's also a fairly accessible crossover or gateway game the could attract fans who are non-gamers.
I play, I paint.