Star Wars Unlock!: Escape From Hoth

Echo Base, an important Rebel stronghold, has managed to remain hidden on the ice planet Hoth for some time. The hostile climate provides excellent cover and protection from the Empire- but you must always remain vigilant! You head out on a routine patrol with your trusty tauntaun mount, a hearty creature native to Hoth. After an uneventful morning, you take a brief break to rest your tauntaun while you contact Echo Base with an update. However, due to heavy atmospheric disturbance, you can‘t reach them. Your mission: Continue your patrol, explore the ice planet, and contact Echo Base!

Rating: Exciting!
Completion Time: 36:07
Date Played: 17th January 2021
Party Size: 2
Recommended For: Star Wars Fans, people who love an adventure

Ever since Christmas, where I bought Player 2 the Star Wars Unlock! set I’ve been nagging him. “Hey, wanna play this? Wanna play now?” until FINALLY, it was time. Snacks at the ready, Star Wars soundtrack playing in the background, we took an adventure into the ice planet Hoth.

Now, full disclaimer, I’m not really a Star Wars fan. But I AM an escape room fan *glances around at this blog*, clearly. Unlock! manages to perfectly straddle the two ‘genres’ by positioning itself as a Star Wars adventure with more than a few puzzles to solve along the way. Sure, there’s some cool lore for the Star Wars enthusiast to be excited about, and something for the puzzler in all of us to enjoy. Even if you don’t know what a Tauntaun is, you’ll pick it up along the way!

The story in Escape From Hoth is quite self explanatory if the title is anything to go by. You play one of the ‘good guys’ (I think they’re called rebels but I’m sure it’s more complicated than that), out on a routine trip with your horned woolly camel (oh sorry wait, it’s a tauntaun). Suddenly the weather worsens and your comms go down – what’s more you’ve spotted some imperial (bad guy) droids and you urgently need to relay your message before there’s an attack.

As with all Unlock! games what unfolds is essentially a card based game where you must search the area, solve puzzles and fix broken machines in order to draw new numbered cards from the deck. Each card does a certain thing, for example a blue and a red card go together (for example, a gun and a tauntaun WAIT NO DON’T DO THAT!!). The numbers are added together and if it’s a correct combo, you draw that new card. Yellow refers to a code, and green refers to a machine. The latter two require the use of a mobile app where you can pop codes in and interact with your environment.

One thing about Unlock! games is that unlike a real escape room you don’t have the luxury of trying everything. For the majority of the game our character carried a gun and yep, you bet we tried (or at least considered – there’s a penalty you know!) firing it at everything. It encourages players to think really hard about what they’re doing and why. I enjoy this aspect a lot, even if I am the typical button masher in the group.

The coolest thing about Escape From Hoth was just that, the interactivity. At one point, you use your phone as binoculars looking around the landscape trying to spot things. In another moment, your phone becomes a control panel and you must flick switches, move dials and attach wires. It’s really quite fun, and in some ways a technological step-up from the other Unlock! games I’ve played so far.

Another really cool addition was the hints system. At the start of the game you can select three power-ups that will help you succeed. Essentially, they’re clue cards, and they each say things like “when you reach a certain location, draw X card” and so on. Of course, if you find yourself really stuck there is a walkthrough in the box itself. You’ll never be too far away from the next step.

That said, what Escape From Hoth excelled at in technology and cool new features, I did find it slightly lacking in puzzles. True, it’s the easiest of the three Star Wars Unlock! games in the box! I’ve no doubt the other two will be a lot harder, but this was definitely our fastest escape time. If not for snack breaks, taking photos, and pausing to grab another beer from the fridge, I reckon we’d have finished the whole thing in under 30 minutes. Maybe even 20.

Although if that sounds like a negative, please don’t take it that way! It just meant it was the perfect light game for a sunny Sunday afternoon. I’ve been having a lot of puzzle/escape room fatigue lately (wait what?! yes! I’m sorry!), but something short and sweet and embedded in a fun fantasy world was just the ticket. You could pair this game with one of the films, or just play it whilst hanging out with friends and family.

Star Wars Unlock! can be purchased from most major online retailers for around £35 GBP

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