For the past three days, paranormal activities have increased: apparitions, flying objects, possessed children… After investigation, it has been uncovered that a group of youngsters who came to have fun in the abandoned house on top of the hill read an excerpt from The Book of the Dead, thus unleashing these phenomena. The mayor relies on your group of experts to get into this house, find the book, and put a stop to the curse!
Completion Time: 27 minutes
Date Played: 7th November 2020
Party Size: 2
Ahhh, lockdown 2.0… It’s back and it’s gloomier than ever. So I find myself once again at my board game shelf, rummaging around for fun things to do with Player 2 at home. Enter “The House on the Hill!”
Oops – this one has actually been on my list for MONTHS. I’d put it aside as a perfect Halloween game to play. Halloween came and went. So better to play this one late than never! Even if we did choose to play this on a sunny Saturday morning instead of a candlelit Halloween evening it’s designed for.
If you’re new to my site and haven’t read my previous reviews for The Tonipal’s Treasure, The Nautilus Traps, or The Island or Doctor Goorse, then I’ll explain how Unlock! games work from the top! The whole escape room lasts around 1 hour (though you are allowed to overrun on your countdown) and the game is self contained within one deck of cards and guided by the Unlock! companion app.
You start in a room. Every time you see a number on the card, you can find this card in the deck and add it to your playing area. Some cards must be combined, for example a match and an unlit candle. You’d combine these by adding the number of the cards together, and you can then draw the card of that value. Throughout the game you’ll also come across ‘Machine’ cards and ‘Code’ cards (that might not be the official names, I’ve lost my instruction manual). For these cards, you must use the application to input a code or perform an action before you can proceed.
Simple? Ehh, maybe. But you get the hang of it pretty quickly! The House on the Hill is an EXCELLENT first game to start with if you’ve never played an Unlock! game before. It’s definitely one of the easiest I’ve played, and also the most logical and straightforward. You should also play it because it’s quite good too! I LOVE games with a spooky vibe and it doesn’t get any spookier than wandering around a haunted house looking for the Book of the Dead.
The story in this game sets you on an adventure avoiding ghosts, uncovering hidden secrets and attempting to close the Book of the Dead for once and for all. I said it’s one of their easier games, but it won’t be that easy! You’ll have to keep all your wits about you as you explore the house on the hill.
Compared to other Unlock! games, I enjoyed this one a lot. Mainly because it made very good use of hidden things. There’s a mechanic in these games whereby if you discover a hidden number on a card, you may turn it over. There are a lot of them in this, causing added delight! The puzzles too aren’t too challenging, but are engaging enough they really give you pause for thought.
Overall, just what the doctor ordered to blow away those lockdown blues! Give this one a go for a fun night in (or morning, if you’re me, haha)!
The House on the Hill can be purchased for approximately £15 on Amazon or in quite a few independent retailers – check your local escape rooms!
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.