Update 11/22/22: If you enjoy The Escape Game Unlocked, we hope you’ll check out our interview with The Escape Game CEO and Co-Founder Mark Flint on The Reality Escape Pod.
49ers Unlocked is a point-and-click adventure game created by The Escape Game in collaboration with the San Francisco 49ers.
Style of Play: point-and-click adventure game
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, mobile device
Recommended Team Size: 1-4
Play Time: No time limit, and progress saves, so you can log out and resume later. Our reviewers took about 20-40 minutes.
Price: $10 per team
Booking: purchase and play at your leisure
49ers Unlocked was a point-and-click escape game set in the San Francisco 49ers Stadium. The team’s Lombardi trophies had gone missing and Jerry Rice needed us to find them.
This is a web-based game, with video instructions and a graduated hint system. Everything you need to know to solve the puzzles can be found within the game, but outside knowledge of the 49ers will help you solve more quickly.
Hivemind Review Scale
Cara Mandel’s Reaction
I should probably start with a disclaimer: I don’t “sports.” I actually volunteered for this review specifically because of this fact. Would I, a non-sports fan, be able to digest and enjoy a 49ers-themed escape game? The answer is an enthusiastic “sorta!” I enlisted the aid of my pal and football enthusiast, Rob, who thankfully is also a strong escape teammate. There were definitely a few moments of the game that would have likely taken much longer if not for his ability to comprehend terminology and player positions. I probably would have been able to use deductive reasoning and context clues within the game to solve those puzzles, but it sure was helpful having someone who already knew what was what. Beyond my general football knowledge confusion, the game itself was enjoyable and had a few good head scratcher puzzles. Nothing too challenging and should make for a great entry point for sports fans and beginner/ intermediate level players. So if you’re looking for a game to play with your jock friends, this one might be a touchdown. Or something. Go sports!
Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction
It’s actually impressive that with almost 200 games under my belt, playing 49ers Unlocked literally doubled the number of rooms I’ve played with a sports theme. Is there just not a lot of overlap between sports fans and escape enthusiasts? Even if that’s true, it’s not hard to find discussions between escape enthusiasts on the subject of repetitive theming in rooms. How many pirate treasures can we find? How many labs can we retrieve a secret formula from? 49ers Unlocked brings you down a new path: saving Jerry Rice and the San Francisco 49ers from public embarrassment.
49ers Unlocked had the look and feel (and sound effects) of a classic Flash escape room made in the modern era. The puzzles had a good difficulty spread, and were accessible to both escape enthusiasts with minimal sports background knowledge and sports fans with minimal escape experience. Any sports knowledge needed was found in-game in materials that were well themed to go along with the game as a whole. There was also a progressive hint system that included not just a solution but also an explanation of why the solution worked – the first time I’ve seen that, and a definite boon to new players.
Richard Burns’ Reaction
This is a point-and-click puzzle game heavily designed around the San Francisco 49ers players and history. Puzzles were on the easy side and all required information was available in game. In fact, I played it more like a trivia game than a puzzle challenge, trying to solve from memory without using the provided clues. As a 40-something NFL fan, I had fun showing off my 1980s and 1990’s football knowledge to my teenage son who played with me, but the general escape room-focused reader of this blog is not really the target audience for this game.
Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction
It is up to us to find the missing football trophies before the press conference starts for the 49ers, our favorite team.
At its best, they pulled off a specific theme for football fans, while still allowing everything to be solvable for non-sport folks. All the clues you find are downloadable so you can take a closer look at them. The puzzles made you learn about the San Francisco 49ers in a fun way through a variety of media within the smoothly running website.
At its worst, most puzzles were a tad bit too easy, with one exception where one puzzle was oddly much more time consuming than the entire rest of the game. Each puzzle solved lets you find a trophy. But one puzzle lets you find two trophies, which is an inconsistent design decision. Even though the game is only $10, I think it’s a bit too short.
Football fan or not: I recommend playing this as a solo player since there’s not too much content.
David Spira’s Reaction
I had absolutely no idea what to expect from a San Francisco 49ers + The Escape Game collaboration, but I was excited to see The Escape Game adapt a property that could attract new players into escape rooms.
I’m a casual NFL fan, but we wanted to play with someone who had deeper ties to the sport, but wasn’t an escape room player… so we called in my brother who not only is a big football fan, but has designed plenty of jewelry and grillz for NFL players. And we all really enjoyed ourselves.
The game required no outside or football knowledge… but my brother knowing this stuff certainly sped up the process. The one sticking point for us was an annoyance in the interface during a logic puzzle. We had to reset the entire puzzle if we made a single mistake. That could have been more elegant.
Overall, it was a well-executed, fairly typical point-and-click escape room. The three things that made it remarkable were the fact that it was a project with the 49ers, it starred Jerry Rice, and it was steeped in subject matter that is almost never explored in escape rooms… and all of that is more than enough to make it both interesting and special.
Disclosure: The Escape Game provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.