Board Game Review: Unlock 3! Secret Adventures

I keep meaning to play more board games. Although I love them, I feel like there are many big, popular games I have not played. This is not one of those games; in fact, this is a game I have never heard of before.

The game basically takes the popular ‘escape room’ format and applies it to a card game- with surprisingly successful results.

There are three games in the box, plus a tutorial level. It’s worth saying first, I think, that there is absolutely no replay value here at all. Absolutely zero. Once you have solved these puzzles, I can’t possibly imagine why you’d go back and do it again while knowing all the answers. With that in mind, I’d recommend borrowing this game (from a library, perhaps) rather than buying it. It seems to be going for just over £20, and I think I’d resent paying that much for it. That said, it is fairly excellent fun, so perhaps worth the splurge.

The stories are Noside Story, Tombstone Express and Adventurers of Oz. All three are quite different in terms of tone and narrative; Noside Story is a fairly wacky mad scientist story, Tombstone Express is a western locomotive mystery and Adventurers of Oz is a puzzling retelling of the Wizard of Oz story.

All three follow the same core mechanics; you use the cards and have to find clues and solve puzzles. The cards themselves are beautiful and very well-designed. Tombstone Express also had a bizarre shooting mini game where you threw bullets at cards, which did not quite work. Adventurers of Oz was by far the most puzzle-heavy, and also the most satisfying.

This was a fun, collaborative game. I played with one other person, but I imagine it would be delightful with a bigger group. You can also play alone, and I think that would be fine, although I feel talking it through and sharing in the satisfaction of solving the puzzles is probably better.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and will be keeping an eye out for the other games in the series.

Rating: 4/5