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Unlock! – The island of Doctor Goorse

The island of Doctor Goorse is the third game in Unlock! Escape Adventures and is self rated as a 3/3 difficulty. The game is card based and makes use of an app for inputting codes, using ‘machines’ and getting hints.

The day had started off well. After weeks of hesitation, you finally accepted the invitation of Archibald Goorse, the eccentric billionaire, archaeological rarities collector. You’d been flown to his private island, located a few miles from the Bahamas, in an old twin-engine. Unfortunately, the aircraft had been caught in a storm and you only just had time to bail out with a parachute before seeing the plane crash land in the middle of the jungle. After losing consciousness, you wake up on a windswept beach. Fortunately, despite some bruises, you have nothing broken. Instead, your group is now split in two teams. How are you going to join forces to successfully leave this cursed island?

As suggested by the intro, at the start of this game you are split into two teams with a separate deck of cards each. The other catch is to begin with you are not allowed to communicate, you need to solve puzzles which give you the ability to communicate, and then solve more puzzles to ‘re-unite’ as a team. This does a good job of adding variety to a play at home game! One thing to note from our experience is when you first start being able to communicate let the other team know you are expecting a response, we lost some time from not getting a response as the other team didn’t know they were allowed to.

With this game, I found myself doubting my instincts on matching some of the items together to complete a puzzle as I was trying to avoid penalty cards, but when we did eventually try combining them they did turn out to be the correct solutions. One bit that bugs me about the game is the geography of the island, I struggle to see having so many ancient cultures in small areas next door to each other, nice green greek grass in very close proximity of Egyptian desert and pyramid. If you blissfully ignore the strangeness of the geography (which is relatively easy, cause puzzles need a solving) then the game is very enjoyable. I found the flow of the game went in waves, some points you could solve loads of puzzles very quickly, and then you could spend 10 minutes struggling to solve puzzle (okay, 10 minutes may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my drift!)

The game has some clever elements and some tricky points! With the team split at the beginning, I can see this game being really enjoyable in a group of 4, which is not something I would usually recommend with many play at home games. The games haven’t required destroying and elements which is something I’m a fan of as it means we can lend the games out to our friends and family. We are already lining up buying more of the Unlock! games.

We escaped in 80:40 using 3 hints and including 6 minutes of penalties for incorrect codes. We did find this game noticeable harder than the other two games in the set. Unlock! have impressed us with the versatility of their card based games and how many different things they an do with just cards.

Overall 4/5

Difficulty 4/5

Atmosphere 2/5

Variety 3.5/5

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