The day had started off well. After weeks of hesitation, you finally accepted the invitation of Archibald Goorse, the eccentric billionaire, archaeological rarities collector. You’d been flown to his private island, located a few miles from the Bahamas, in an old twin-engine.
Completion Time: 65 minutes
Date Played: 23rd of May 2020
Party Size: 2
The Island of Doctor Goorse is one of many in the Unlock! series. It’s also probably one of the more well known play at home escape rooms out there as they’ve been around for some time. Throughout this lockdown I’ve pestered my friends with questions of which I should try next and you bet Unlock! has come up again and again, so we couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
This game takes you to the mysterious island in the Bahamas that strangely has both a Greek and Mayan temple on it, despite the fact there’s no logical overlap in those historical cultures. I’m not even mad though! It was funny. Your plane crashes, marooning two separate teams in two different areas of the island. You must work together to reunite and find your way to safety.
We played it with just two people, which (given you have to split into two teams) was a little tricky at the start – we weren’t exactly sure what we could and couldn’t say to each other, or who had to make the next move. But the game play was massively rewarding with “Aha!” moments throughout and a huge feeling of satisfaction when we finally did reunite towards the end.
To those who haven’t played any by Unlock! yet, the flow of all their games (as far as I’m aware) is by drawing cards from a deck. You use red and blue cards to connect items and make a puzzle (for example, plugging a plug in will power up a TV). So lots of common sense. These come to a head when you reach points in the game where a code has to be entered to proceed. In this one, some parts all players can be doing things at the same time, in other parts there’s a roadblock until one thing is done and the whole game opens up.
A couple of very obvious bits cost us a lot of penalties and we definitely used more hints than we needed – resulting in a not-so-great score of 65 minutes (we actually took around 50 to finish the game but… penalties!), but since we did this over dinner with a bottle of wine, it’s safe to say we weren’t trying to be competitive with this one. It was simply a joy to play!
We’ve rated it 4 stars!
The Island of Doctor Goorse can be purchased on Amazon, or at your local games shop for approximately £12.99.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.