Unlock! Secret Adventures – A Noside Story (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 2-3

Price: $14.99

Give the mouse his own game!

Theme:

After the events of Squeak and Sausage, evil Doctor Noside has returned yet again to menace the city! It’s up to your team to infiltrate his lair and thwart whatever maniacal plot he has dreamed up this time. Bypass his traps and make sure you aren’t caught, or who knows what Noside will do!

First Impressions:

Unlock! is one of the top escape room at home card games, and we’ve mostly enjoyed the last six that were released, but none of them were quite as awesome as Squeak and Sausage, the cartoony prequel to A Noside Story. When I saw that a new set was releasing, I knew I could wait on the other games, but this one was a must have on day one. (I still bought the other two a couple weeks later. I have an addiction.) Hopefully it measured up!

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The lair of Doctor Noside is guarded by an old friend!

High Points:

A Noside story definitely measures up to it’s predecessor, and includes some fantastic easter eggs and callbacks to Squeak and Sausage for veteran players, while still staying 100% accessible to newcomers to the series. The tutorial ensures that even the more complicated card mechanics, such as machine cards, are understandable and intuitive, and penalties are much less random than previous iterations. In fact, we never saw one due to the game’s excellent flow! Puzzles are mostly linear, with branches from time to time, but with two players, we were always engaged with the game. The cartoon-y cards are bright and engaging, and the many locations are fun to explore! The cartoon nature of the adventure is also present within the game’s logic, presenting outlandish solutions that fit within the theme of the adventure. A Noside Story also innovates beyond the usual mechanics of Unlock!, presenting interactions that will surprise even those grizzled veterans of the last couple sets! Machines are more involved, and present complex interactions that add to the immersion greatly.

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James the mouse, the hardest working animal in the Escape Business. 

Low Points:

The cartoony logic can be a double edged sword at times. I was used to this method of thinking, due to my experience with the previous game, but my partner was used to the more “grounded” logic of the other Unlock! games, so the connections were much muddier to her. One particular puzzle took a huge leap of logic, which newer players will not be used to, and while it is amazingly innovative, it could seem illogical to some players. Although the game box says 1-6 players, I cannot see the game being fully engaging with any more than 3. Too many cooks and all that.

Verdict:

A Noside Story is a worthy successor to it’s predecessor, delivering an even tighter, more engaging experience! I highly recommend giving it a try, and definitely getting your hands on a copy of Squeak and Sausage as well! Pick up the game at your friendly local game store, and return to the world of Noside, James the mouse, and the ever distractable guard pug today! We bought ours at the ever excellent Gamer’s Armory in Cary, NC, check out their online store here!

9.5/10 (Excellent)

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