◣ GAME FACTS
🎮 Game: Hanna Unlocked
💪 Difficulty: N/A
⏲️ Time: N/A
🧑 Capacity: N/A
🏢 Company: The Escape Game • At Home
🏘️ Location: Various In United States
📝 In Association With Amazon Prime Video
◣ FORMAT SPECS
🕹️ Format: Online Puzzle Game
💻 Platform: Web Browser, Phone
🔊 Media Used: Text, Images, Videos, Animations
• • • • •
► OOOH. ME LIKEY. ◄
THERE HASN'T BEEN AN "UNLOCKED" GAME I DON'T LIKE.
THIS JOINS "RECOMMENDED" RANK!
◣ THE PREMISE
John Carmichael, "Hello, agent. Welcome to Utrax. You've just been recruited to a very important mission. I'm John Carmichael, and you'll be reporting to me throughout the course of this operation. This next part is critical, so listen up. You have three main objectives. One: Report what happened at the Utrax facility when Heller and the girl paid their visit. It's a mess. It's your job to make sense of the events. Two: Marissa Wiegler could have been involved in the escape. Some things aren't adding up. Find out if she played a part in all this. Three: Track down Hanna and Trainee 249, we're done being two steps behind. Get us caught up... "
• • • • •
◣ THE FEATURE
The Escape Game Unlocked series received a bonus chapter, but this one has nothing to do with Vincent Hahn. But rather, Hahn-na. Err, Hanna. From Amazon Prime Video.
A TREAT FOR HANNA FANS
Ok, so, let's first address the obvious--"Hanna Unlocked" is a commercial disguised as a game. Or is it a game disguised as a commercial? Either way, you're gonna meet Hanna.
Having only seen the 2011 motion picture by the same title starring Saoirse Ronan, I had absolutely no idea that Hollywood has rebooted the same story universe, albeit now adapted to the small screen, let alone its having already run an entire season prior.
As a casual non-fan who's had no prior knowledge of the TV program whatsoever, it's great to know you can, for the most part, complete and enjoy the game just fine. Awesome.
Meanwhile, I would imagine, this must be quite a treat for its intended fan base, for them to see their action heroine permeate even further into their lives, this time as an online escape game that they can actively participate in, vs a TV show to be only passively consumed.
On either end of the spectrum, one common fact remains--this is FREE due to Amazon's sponsorship! The high quality contents of what you expect from the Unlocked series, but for the price tag of nothing. So really, what's not to like?
A TASTE OF SEASON 2
As mentioned, I had no idea what the narrative was going in, and they did a good job catching you up with brief show recaps, trailers, and various video clips. In addition, I didn't truly have to commit any attention to the plot during the game, either.
In a nutshell, you're tasked to investigate 3 things: the event at the Utrax facility, Wiegler's level of involvement, and the whereabouts of two missing girls. No need to jog any notes down, however, because all that would be conveniently outlined for you as you progress game play in a linear fashion. Works for me!
I didn't find the story particularly compelling, partially due to my having such limited investment in the series, but that's still perfectly okay--because nothing is really supposed to happen in this promo game anyway. If a stronger plot is what you crave, then that's what season 2 of the show is for. (Ah-ha! Marketing success right there!)
THE FAMILIAR SPY INTERFACE
The game aspect, however, I really enjoyed (with one minor exception). First off, the agent interface takes on the familiar format of other Unlocked games, pleasing to the eyes, easy to navigate, and intuitive enough for any new player to just pick up and go.
One thing The Escape Game is renowned for is its attention to details, and every little part of the said game interface (aka the Utrax's classified program) shows the designers' deliberate effort to stay true to this goal. The font, the icons, the jargon, the format--they did everything they possibly could to immerse its players in the Hanna universe.
GREAT PUZZLES WITH ONE BAD APPLE
The actual puzzle portion is arbitrarily divided into 5 levels, more or less plot point driven, with each requiring the audience to solve a certain set of challenges before being allowed to advance to the next... which was why it was slightly provoking that the weakest and my least favorite puzzle took the lead in step number 1.
Oh, step number 1, how you started off the game on the wrong foot. It's purely my conjecture that the game developers had to include some sort of Hanna video footage somehow somewhere as part of the contract, because the resulting "puzzle" basically forced me to learn some characters names, watched some actual show clips, and subsequently organize items in chronological order utilizing such info.
First off, filing anything in order is not my idea for a good time. It's a tedious task, within an escape game or otherwise. And to require players, who may or may not have knowledge (or even interest) for the show to organize NINE events correctly into a time line is just way too many. Even had I been a Hanna fanatic, it would've been still a reach for me find it favorable.
Hence, I flat out refused the challenge, used the included handy dandy hints/solutions guide, and skipped the first level altogether. So huge props to TEG for setting up such an option!
Thankfully, however, everything that followed step 1 was thoroughly pleasurable, and as if they could read my irritated mind at the moment, the puzzle immediately following was just pure joy. An audio based riddle that was written so organically and so ingeniously into the scene, executed so smoothly with an irl element, and well acted out by the cast, it was perfection! It was fun to do, just hard enough to challenge, and so rewarding when solved.
And that was just one excellent example of what the rest of the game offered. Planting bugs, cracking safe, doing a bit of detective work via actual Google search, and later, what was essentially a standalone police station mini escape room, it was one wave after another of solid, in theme puzzles that undid any damage incurred by first few moments of frustration.
Furthermore, ladies (and gentlemen), a dashingly handsome Dermot Mulroney will congratulate you (well, kinda) for hitting each milestone, so really, all can be forgiven! A final cherry on top was the game completion certificate you receive upon beating all levels, in the form of a Utrax personnel ID card. Just look at how snazzy I look!
GET UNLOCKED TODAY
To be frank, dressed in a Hanna facade or not, a well produced online puzzle game (with top notched graphic visuals, even!) from the seasoned producers of The Escape Game is always worth the time. And I have a hunch that you'd agree as well.
Having finished "Hanna Unlocked", I am crossing my fingers for TEG to release the sure to be fantastic chapter 3 of "The Heist" saga some time soon; or if I'm really lucky, another free cross-promotion but featuring a TV program that I'm already familiar and/or obsessed with?
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