Unlock! Board Game

Unlock! Board Game Review

If you are particularly fond of escape rooms and escape adventures but cannot visit them often because of a number of reasons, you’re in for a treat with the game we will review today. Unlock! Board Game is a unique and interactive game that lets you experience the full effects of an escape room from the comfort of your home. Although nothing can come close to the panic and excitement of trying to make it out of a physical escape room, the game does well in recreating the same mental challenges. So if you want to jog your brain and sharpen your critical thinking skills, then this is a game you should try.

Players: 1-6

Game Time: 45-75min

Complexity: Low

Age: 10+

Release Year: 2017

Don’t be fooled by the game’s simple exterior. There is a lot of puzzle and riddle-solving that you will be engaged in while playing Unlock! Board games. So you better put your thinking cap on if you want to solve these puzzles and make your way out of these tricky mystery escape rooms.

The card game was published by Space Cowboys and incorporates a visually appealing deck of cards and an integrated application. It can be played solo or by up to six players. But, the best number of people to play this game and win it in time would be one to three players. The average time to finish the game is between 45 to 75 minutes, but there is a timer for people who want to comply with the game’s rules.

Unlock is a relatively straightforward and hassle-free game. It is pretty self-explanatory, and the instructions on the cards are often more than enough to help you progress through the game seamlessly. But, there is an additional rule book that you can go over if you want to make sure you’re playing the game right. Additionally, there is also a ten-card and ten-minute tutorial that you can take to familiarise yourself with the game beforehand if you do not want to read the rulebook.

 Unlock! is an excellent choice for people of all ages and genders that love escape adventures, but it is an absolute favorite for mystery buffs. To learn more about how the game works and what makes it so unique, let’s take a deeper look at Unlock! The board game, but without revealing any spoilers!


The Unlock! board games come in three separate packs. All decks are different from each other, and you can play them all separately. You do not have to go through one deck to be able to solve the second and then the third one. You can start from the first, second, or third deck according to your preference. The three Unlock! decks and their names are as follows:

  1. Tombstone Express: You have one mission and one mission only! You must ensure that the train reaches the Tombstone in time so that the Marshall onboard can deliver a special secret package! But, unlike the other games, you are on borrowed time and must complete the game within the allotted time.
  2. A Noside Story: This game in the Unlock! series comes with an entirely new set of challenges that can help you stop the evil Professor Noside from carrying out his insidious plans! Unlike the other decks in the series with 60 cards, this game has 66 cards.
  3. The Adventurers of Oz: As the infamous children’s tale goes, you close your eyes and fall into a deep slumber, only to wake up in the middle of a tornado by your faithful dog Toto! Since the game may be slightly more technical, players are given 90 minutes instead of the usual 60.

The games have a time limit of sixty minutes, with The Adventures Of Oz being an exception. But, you can simply forego the timer and continue to play the game if you can’t seem to solve the puzzles in time. The timer adds merely an element of urgency to the game that you can skip if you want to. However, we highly recommend playing with the timer on to feel the full impact of the game. You must keep in mind that the difficulty level is different for each of the three games. But, they are all equally fun and enjoyable. If a game is too complicated or easy for you, you can simply move on to the next one.

The impressive part about the Unlock! board game, which truly makes it stand out from other games of a similar nature, is its mobile application. The companion app helps you time your game, provides you with numerous hints, clues, and instructions on moving forward, subtracts time for penalties, and is used to input codes and manipulate machines. The mobile application is central to the game and can be downloaded from your Apple Play Store for iOS devices and Google Play Store for Android devices. Besides helping you move the game forward rapidly, the app also helps to create an immersive experience through background music and sound effects.

But, the application may be a deterrent for some individuals as your device’s battery may run out in the middle of the game, or their smart device may simply be unavailable. In which case, it is not possible to play the game, and you must pause or restart.

Coming to the cards, each deck has 60 cards in it. One of the sides of the card has a number or letter writer on it and is the side facing up. On the backside of the card is a Machine, an Object, a Location, or a Penalty if you’ve entered the wrong answer.

The color of the card, which is usually found in the header, determines the card’s function. There are five different colors available, red, blue, green, grey, and yellow. Cards that are either blue or red have a puzzle piece drawn on their top right corner and are Objects. These object cards will interact with other similar cards during the course of the game. The green cards are machines that must be entered into the application and manipulated to move on to the next step in the game. The grey cards are either a penalty card, a clue providing card for a riddle, a Location, or an area where you can find the succeeding cards or the consequence of two object cards interacting. The final colored cards, the yellow cards, are code cards and have a small lock drawn on their top right corner. These cards provide you with a four-digit code that you must enter into the app to move forward in the game.

You usually start with one main tutorial card with instructions on one side and an image of the location on the other side. You follow the instructions on the card and use clues on the following cards to go through the game. You have to complete actions, combine cards to figure out the number for the next card, look carefully through the cards you have for clues, and input various codes and numbers into the application to progress through the game. Some of the cards have numbers crossed out on the top. When you pick up a card with such instructions, you must discard the cards carrying the crossed-out numbers.

To make the game more interesting, some of the numbers on the cards are hidden, and you must look carefully through the cards and clues to locate them and move on to the next step. This further adds to the game’s classic “escape room” experience and makes it more elusive.

The puzzles, riddles, clues, and challenges lead to one final code that you must enter into the app. Once you enter this code, you will have won the game, and the app will show you your final score. This score is calculated by the time you took to complete the challenges and how many hints you needed during the game.

Unlock! Board Game Review


The best part of the game, by far, is its design. Since the game relies on many visual clues, the producers have gone out of their way to ensure that the images are clear, easy to decipher, and visually appealing. The attention to detail and the high-quality digital art really catch the eye in this game. Additionally, the layout, user interface, and features of the application are pretty well thought out. The application is easy to install and easy to launch. It is not a paid application, so you do not have to worry about spending additional money on the game.

The application has numerous visual effects and bright colors that bring it to life. Additionally, the application has thematic background music to engage your sense of hearing and create an enchanting environment around you as you play the game.

Repeat Play

As you may have already guessed, once you solve all the game puzzles and get through to the end of the game, there is no point in repeating the puzzle. Once you solve the final puzzle, the mystery vanishes. But, some people still prefer to play the exotic adventures game again as they may have forgotten some of the clues. However, you can only do this a couple of times before getting bored of the monotony and repetitiveness of the game. After all, there is nothing more to discover, nor are there any new strategies that you can apply to change the game. Once you are done with the Unlock! board game, you can pass on the baton to your other friends fond of mysteries and escape room games.

Game Experience

Unlock! Is a fun game to play for all ages, so anyone above ten years of age can enjoy this game to the fullest. The three games have varying levels of difficulty. A Noside Story is the least difficult of the three, followed by Tombstone Express and The Adventures Of Oz in order of increasing difficulty. To ensure you enjoy the game thoroughly and get the hang of it quickly, we suggest starting with the least difficult of the three games, A Noside Story.

 As mentioned before, the game is relatively straightforward, and you pick up clues along the way. But, for us, the application was the most exciting feature of this board game. It can provide helpful hints and keeps you on track with the mystery adventures game so you can accurately measure progress. Additionally, your chances of cheating are considerably reduced as you are penalized for every wrong answer you put in. So you put be particularly careful of what answer you put in, as guessing will only bring your score down.

The element of the hidden number makes the game more interesting, and it also increases its difficulty level significantly. But, this added complexity does not create an enjoyable experience for some people as it does not engage your creative thinking and relies solely on your ability to distinguish objects.

All in all, the Unlock! board game series is a riveting game that keeps you engaged and on your toes till the very end. So if you’re bored and want something challenging, thrilling and fun that will pique your curiosity, then this is the heroic adventures game you should play.

Final Thoughts

As far as board games are concerned, Unlock! is one of the most popular adventure games out on the market. Its appealing visuals, fun application, and thematic background music create a surreal escape room experience. Although you can only play and thoroughly enjoy this game only once before passing it on, the experience is well worth the money. By the end of the game, you will genuinely feel like sherlock holmes because of your superior problem-solving abilities!