Unlock! – Scheherazade’s Last Tale [Review]

Another Night, Another Story.

Location:  at home

Date Played: April 14, 2020

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: about $15

REA Reaction

Scheherazade’s Last Tale felt like a marriage of the story of Scheherazade and Disney’s Aladdin. This story-driven puzzle adventure was a romp through a family-friendly take on Arabian mythology. It was a fun and fresh world for puzzling.

The initial card setup features Scheherazade sitting in a beautiful palace.

This installment of Unlock! shined in creating novel interactions between cards that only worked in this particular game world. Additionally, the Unlock! app elevated the narrative experience, something that this app rarely does well.

The shortcomings in this game were your typical collection of Unlock! criticism: the hidden numbers sucked, we were granted access to far too many cards at once, and a few of these puzzles were far more particular than the clue structure really justified.

Overall, this was a strong game from the Unlock! series and we recommend it.

It is currently only available in the Unlock! Exotic Adventures collection, which fortunately includes The Night of the Boogeymen, our favorite of the Unlock! games. As far as we’re concerned, that collection is already well worth the money.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • An interesting interpretation of the source material
  • Beautiful art
  • A few really clever story-driven puzzles

Story

The sultan had wed 1000 women and executed each of them the next morning. His 1001st wife, Scheherazade, had managed to stay alive by telling the sultan wondrous stories. She needed our help to create a conclusion so satisfying that he would spare her life permanently.

The Scheherazades Last Tale box shows a massive palace in the desert.

Setup

Unlock! is a card-based tabletop escape game series with a unique set of rules and mechanics. I explained the way that they function back in my original review in 2017.

The key difference in Scheherazade’s Last Tale was a heavy focus on travel between different locations through a game mechanic that was established early in this installment.

The Scheherazades Last Tale box open, the story card revealed.

Gameplay

Unlock!’s Scheherazade’s Last Tale was a story-driven, play-at-home escape game with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, making connections, puzzling, and keeping organized.

Closeup of the Scheherazade card. She implores you to "Hurry, my friends, I will wait for you here!"

Analysis

Scheherazade’s Last Tale had a varied and entertaining collection of puzzles. We especially enjoyed the puzzles that required us to really contemplate the art.

➕ Some of our favorite solves in Scheherazade’s Last Tale revolved around in-app interactions. Unlock! used the app to let magic loose into this game, expanding beyond the card-based experience.

➖ In Scheherazade’s Last Tale, we had a lot of cards in play at once. It wasn’t unmanageable, but it came close. With additional gating in the first part of the experience, we could get to the puzzle solving more quickly.

➕ In Scheherazade’s Last Tale, items made sense in the world. We frequently used a card multiple times, and this didn’t feel tricky or forced. It made sense with our story.

➖ While the final interaction was intriguing, it was just a bit too ambiguous to be a truly satisfying conclusion. With slight tweaks to what was effectively multiple choice (in a more fun form), we would have solved this on the first try and felt triumphant. Instead, we meandered around many similar solutions before finding the technically correct one.

➕ We appreciated the art direction. The cards looked great and they all belonged to a cohesive design aesthetic.

Beautiful and guilded blue, white, and gold card backs.

➖ Unlock! hides number in the cards to simulate the searching in an escape room. We’ve had a longstanding dislike of this, but have adapted to work with it. In one instance in Scheherazade’s Last Tale, Unlock! pushed this mechanic a little too far.

➕/➖ One sequence punished us for searching. In a game where searching is required, this felt unfair. That said, it resolved to an amusing moment. It co-opted the gameplay for a brief enough time to be funny rather than frustrating. We’d recommend moving this sequence later in the game, however, so that it doesn’t deter players from the exploring that Scheherazade’s Last Tale required. It would be too easy to learn a bad lesson from this interaction and have your game go up in smoke.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: a smartphone with the Unlock! app

Buy your copy of Unlock!’s Scheherazade’s Last Tale, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Unlock! provided a sample for review.

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6 thoughts on “Unlock! – Scheherazade’s Last Tale [Review]

    1. I agree. It was so stupid especially considering the rest of the game was really amazing. I’ve collected almost all the Unlock games now and am working on the final set (werewolf, chinese dragon, spy), and eager to see your reviews for the others! 🙂

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