Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-3
1, 2, Boogey’s coming for you
Little William has been plagued with nightmares; visions of terrible boogeymen haunt his dreams every night, keeping him awake! It’s your job to help William get a good night’s sleep by exorcising these hideous monsters from his bedroom. But be quick, because the monsters are keen on devouring his dreams and replacing them with horrific nightmares! Beat the boogeymen and don’t wake William!
The easiest of the newest set of Unlock! adventures tends to be the cutest, and is many times one of the stand out games every time a new set of three releases. Night of the Boogeymen was certainly a very interesting theme, and the box cover seemed appropriately equal parts cute and spooky, so I was definitely interested to see how the game play held up.
The art style throughout the game is really fantastic, the designs for the boogeymen are mildly threatening while keeping up a spooky vibe without veering off into family unfriendliness. Which is good, as this set is definitely the most family focused entry since the return of Dr. NoSide. The puzzles and game set up do a great job of instilling a sense of derealization to the game, causing the familiar feeling of the bedroom to become surreal and somewhat eerie. The puzzles line up well with this theme, using a dreamlike logic to tie everything together. The boogeyman mechanic is interesting, presenting a series of mini-boss like stages to the game, and while an attached mechanic is somewhat ill advised, (more on that below,) the splitting up of the game into stages of boogeyman battles is a fun one. Rather than presenting multiple rooms, the game takes you through parts of the room that each boogeyman inhabits, and it’s fun to see how they affect each area. The game is mostly non-linear to a point, however, so it still can keep a larger group puzzling, though I wouldn’t approach with any more than four players, per usual for this type of game.
The boogiest of men!
Puzzles sometimes become entirely too dreamlike in places, requiring logical leaps that don’t quite make full sense, but work anyway. Several moments of old school adventure game logic carried a couple of the interactions, leading us to need to smush whatever we could together until we finally arrived at a correct conclusion. Though the puzzles were mostly good and present a serviceable game, they aren’t amazingly memorable. None really stood out to me as excellently creative or beyond the usual for Unlock! games. Overall, they were just fine. There are a couple of gotcha moments as well, which present reasonable answers just to pop you with a negative penalty just because. Generally, negative feedback shouldn’t come from doing something reasonable, or something that the game urges you to do, but Night of the Boogeymen absolutely does. Worse, one of the results is a card that outright tells you they’re wasting your time. None of this really drove the experience forward, and once we’d dealt with the issue, nothing was added to the adventure or storyline, it was just a speedbump for speedbump’s sake.
On that note, a new mechanic for this box is called “Constraints.” Negative effects that come into play when a boogeyman is revealed. These are mostly arbitrary conditions that I recommend completely ignoring, as they don’t really add anything to the game. There is a small story related reason for their inclusion, (thus their categorization as mostly arbitrary,) but they certainly didn’t add any fun to the game, so we quickly cast them aside in favor of just playing normally. Obviously, if you get to them and find them interesting, go ahead and use them, but this is one of those times when throwing out a rule made the game much more fun for us, which I generally encourage, having a background in Tabletop RPGs.
Highly recommend completely ignoring these cards unless you think they’ll be fun.
Night of the Boogeymen is a serviceable Unlock! adventure, and certainly one of the most family friendly, but looking back on it, the game is just OK. Good enough for an hour’s fun, but ultimately not very memorable, with some mechanics that serve to frustrate rather than entertain. I’d give it a shot if you’ve already played the other Unlock! boxes, but until then, there are much better adventures to be had. We bought ours at the ever excellent Atomic Empire in Durham, NC, check out their online store here!