Review – Unlock!: Short Adventures – The Secrets of the Octopus 

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Designer Cyril Demaegd

Artist Cyrille Bertin

Publisher Space Cowboys

Category Escape Room Game

Length 30-60min

Release Date 2022

Player Count 1-6 (1-3 recommended)

So you’ve found an ancient treasure chest with voodoo all over it. You’re eager to see what’s inside and unlock the mysteries of a famed pirate, but are you dashing, daring, and swashbuckling enough? Find out in this short Unlock! adventure.

Review

Unlock!: Short Adventures is a new line of Unlock! products that offer shorter adventures contained in a small pack of cards. The packaging requires less material than the original 3-part Unlock! adventures, but due to the smaller box size, there’s also potentially less creative options for puzzle-solving. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how well-themed Secrets of the Octopus is. My wife and I felt like we were sailing around to different locations and trying to make connections to solve the puzzles and unlock the treasure chest. The story isn’t mind-blowing, and any fan of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean will notice many similarities, but it’s interesting enough to pay attention to while you’re solving puzzles. 

The puzzles are very reasonable. Cyril Demaegd did a great job on the design work here. While none were mind-blowing, many were clever and reasonable. There was only 1 that felt like a big stretch, but even then, it was solvable through trial and error. The only downside to that is that you’ll lose minutes for every incorrect guess.

The artwork is fun, though the cards were not very high stock quality. This isn’t a big deal because you won’t be shuffling these and will likely pass this along to a friend after playing since, like most escape rooms, these aren’t super replayable.

Overall, The Secrets of the Octopus was quite enjoyable, and it made me curious about the rest of the Unlock!: Short Adventures line. I think Space Cowboys might be on to something here. And by “something,” I mean fun, family-oriented escape-room-on-your-table and puzzle-solving fun. 

Space Cowboys (Asmodee North America) kindly provided a review copy. 

The Bottom Line

For a very reasonable price, you'll get a fun, 30-60min adventure for your tabletop that you can pass on to friends when you're done!

 

8

Spencer Patterson

I'm a teacher, writer, and board game reviewer. I especially love board games that pull me in like a good book. My wife is my favorite gaming partner.