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Unlocked – The Return of the Magician

Location: California, room was played Online!
Game Date: 26/12/2020
Team: Amy, Gord, Liz, Jamie and Mairi
Duration: 60 Minutes

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We were kindly invited to play The Return of the Magician by EscapeMattster and we teamed up with Review The Room, Armchair Escapist and The EscapeRoomer to create a British superteam!

Theme:
“After a long hiatus, The Magician has returned to the stage. Join us and book your tickets to find out just exactly why he was named Magician of the Year 3 times in a row! This comeback performance will be exclusively shown only at UNLOCKED Productions Theater. His magic and illusions will free your mind…”

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The room looked good, from the first impressions this was a fairly simply decorated room, but that was very much in keeping with us being backstage, they tend to be quite simple and clean, and this room was no exception. There was nothing in the game at all that was there to disarm or distract the player, everything was purposeful.

The simplicity of the backstage soon gave was to a more developed magical study, where we found all the usual accoutriments that one would expect to find here. It certainly was magical, tricks and treats galore in this space. Again the decoration was done well and the immersive nature of the game came through the camera, this was in part to our host John, who played his role well, in the adapted story for the online version, we were his social media fans, following along with him on a livestream as he went to the theatre (a really nice touch that pulled us into the story, rather than us being bystanders dictating a souless person around a room)

There were plenty of magical moments in the game, even coming across through the screen, the transitions from area to area were done really nicely and they gave the game a sense of majesty, it felt like a very big space we were “playing” in. I won’t ruin any surprises to safe to say I was quite taken with one section of the game in particular, it was just gorgeous!

The Return of the Magician is Unlocked’s original game, and whilst it’s a few years old, it doesn’t show and still stands up in terms of puzzles, fun, immersion and interactivity!

Game Play:
A strictly linear game that has plenty of puzzles. Word, logic, observation, searching, code-breaking, teamwork, physical. There really was a puzzle for everyone in this room and we all got our moment of glory!  The puzzles were all PERFECT in their logic and we felt SO safe and secure in this game, that we were shouting answers out with confidence. There was not a HINT of ambiguity in this room. At the same time though, the puzzles were a joy to solve, with plenty of wonderful Ah-ha moments that just kept coming and coming. The translation to an online game was handled very well, with a fully interactive inventory systems which mirrored what was going on in the game with perfect timing (and items were taken away once we had used them with precision)
This interactivty was well received, and it made sure we could all see & understand every single puzzle we came across.
The signposting in the game was again, perfect. A lesson on how to signpost a game whilst still keeping everything in theme and unobtrusive. It was there for when it was needed and we never had any doubts about which direction to take our game in.
The flow in this game again, was excellent. It’s clear this is a tried and tested game that has been tweaked and honed to make it into the slick game it is today. There was not one sticky or slow moment in the game and the combination of logical puzzles, excellen signposting and free flow made this a very enjoyable and stress free game to play. What a joy!

Clue System:
Clues (we didn’t need any) would have been delivered as nudges by our in room avatar

Game Host:
John and Tony were our gamehosts, with John taking the avatar role and Tony working behind the scenes (or in the grass!) to make the magic happen.
John played his role well, and considering acting is not his first job, he did a magical job! He really pulled us into the story, was clear with what he showed us and took our direction around the room well, with plenty of fun “banter” between him and our group. It certainly felt like we were one big team, not that we were just guiding a body around the room. That’s how it should be, a good game host can make or break an online room and John made it for us!

Connection and Video:
Connection was stable, and we had no loss of video or bad picture at any time. The inventory system has a 360 view too so you can see the whole room at all times.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 45 minutes!

Website: https://www.unlockedoc.com/
Price:
Livestream $60 for first two connections, $15 per additional connection

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