Unlocked: Rogue Scientist 1990 • The Escape Game • Online Puzzle Game Review
The Escape Game (Based In The United States)
◣ GAME'S SPECS
💪 Recommended for ages 12 and up, but appropriate for all ages.
⏲️ Time duration not specified by company. But no time limit to game play.
🔢 Recommended for 1 to 4 players by company.
💬 Hints available in dedicated hints section. Clues and answer reveal sequentially by player.
🛒 If you PURCHASE GAME due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout out! ;)
◣ MATTSTER'S TAKE
💪 Difficulty: For Mattster's Team of 1, 2/10 at most. Only 1 puzzle stumped me, but I got through it without any hint.
🔢 Ideal Team Size: For fanatics of escape rooms and puzzle games, due to this's being quite easy, solo team is best.
🤷♂️ Best Fit For: Fans of the company The Escape Game, its Unlocked online game series, or just casual puzzlers.
🙂 Overall Takeaway: A cute 90s throwback experience with the most amount of lovely, lovely science themed puzzles in a web based game I've seen. "Rogue Scientist 1990" features delightful challenges that are a bit too catering to novice players for my experience level, and a story that begs for much more development and expansion--exactly why I can't wait for the sequel to grace us soon. (Perhaps a holiday release as a gift option for the community?)
The year is 1990. A rogue scientist, Dr. Humphreys, has begun pushing his research over the line and performing dangerous genetic experiments. The Agency for International Reconnaissance (AIR) needs your technological expertise to dig up digital clues, connect the dots, and track down Humphreys before he goes too far.
UNLOCK THE FUN ONCE MORE
When The Escape Game releases another installment for their "Unlocked" online puzzle game series, I drop what I'm doing, smile, and say "Yasss, pleaseee!!!"
You know why? Because as far as affordable escape-room-like online games go, TEG absolutely knows their core audience and what they want. More importantly, TEG also knows their craft inside and out. Through numerous past experiments and ventures, it's discovered the exact formula of what works best, and it hasn't deviated from it much since.
So technically, yes, due to this very reason, the final products do tend to end up somewhat similar and predictable, but I can't argue the fact that they are still predictably high quality, predictably fun, and predictably users friendly.
Their previous 3 entries, "Chasing Hahn", "The Silk Road", and "Hanna Unlocked" are all fantastically produced. They look good, play smoothly, and are great complements to a lazy weekend. "Rogue Scientist 1990" certainly continues this tradition, though this time, TEG says, "But make it retro!"
MY AGE IS SHOWING
"Rogue Scientist 1990" takes place, well, in the year 1990, the dark age when inter-web comes alive only after a lengthy, ear-piercing dial-up modem scream (bloody hell), and the Human Genome Project is barely starting up. DNA molecules are all the rage, and Windows 3.1 monopolizes everyone's CRT monitor screens!
That's right, kiddos. Before Windows 10, there is Windows 2000. And before Windows are named after year of release, it is, ironically like now, simply titled after a number. Just 3.1.
And it is exactly Windows 3.1 that inspires this online game's player interface, and boy, does TEG do a good job. Buttons are blocky, icons are low-res, background is of a cloudy sky blue, but oh so pixelated. Oh, how this captures so accurately the terrible computing experience we've had to endure just decades ago! Children of the 80s, rejoice the nostalgia!
The throwback most definitely earns a brownie point with this old geezer; so as far as visuals goes, once again, I am a fan.
SCICENCE IS AWESOME
Plot wise, while I'm most definitely disappointed to see the lack of Hahn's return (perhaps his saga is complete, at least for now, after all), I do understand The Agency For International Reconnaissance has to take care of more criminals than just one pompous art curator. It's time for someone else to take the spotlight.
AIR now has its eyes on a band of scientists, unethically performing questionable experiments on live subjects. Our job is to identify our targets and shut down their bad guys science project from the top up--by arresting their ring leader Raymond Humphreys. The lore behind Humphreys isn't as extensive as Hahn's, but it'll do for now.
Following the hot trail of these academic bad apples expectedly yield a handful of enjoyable puzzles, and due to the setting's taking place at a university, everything's themed after science courses, and man was I in heaven.
I. LOVE. SCIENCE. ❤️
I am not an expert on chemistry, bio, or genetics, per se, but the fact that these mini games reference to the subjects I've studied spanning across about a quarter of my life does stir up swirls of emotions in my heart. No, you do not need any prior knowledge from these subjects to succeed, but your enjoyment may rise significantly if you connect to the puzzles on a personal level--as have I. ✌️
Strictly from a game play stand point, these puzzles are rather easy, simple, and to the point. Follow instructions on the page, do exactly as instructed, recognize key info and pattern, then connect the dots and you'll be on your way.
I see a couple of things recycled from prior installments, notably some same elements from "Hanna". The final part of "Rogue" also features a mini escape room experience, and though it's entertaining, it feels somewhat disjointed: Having the users transition suddenly from working within the confines of a desktop window (literally) to interacting with lab equipment with a direct eye's view feels off. Perhaps this warrants a better segue, but I relish the puzzles all the same.
Beginners will have no problem completing the game, especially when supplemented with the handy hints page. Experts will probably fly through. While a couple of problems stalled me briefly, with a bit of brute-forcing, I've finished the game under 35 to 40 minutes. Therefore, in this regard, I do wish Unlocked could've presented more of a true challenge; though once again, I emphasize, it's a fun, cute game to pass the time. I wish I had this as a kid in the 90s!
Interestingly enough, honestly at no point must these challenges occur in 1990. They could be easily modified to fit today's world as we know it, so why hone in on the 90s, I wonder?
Upon finishing all objectives, we come to find out once more AIR is no good at capturing any of its targets. Hahn's gotten away (initially), and same here with Humphreys! Does AIR train their agents with proper spying techniques at all?!
Before the game completely concludes, it provides a very satisfactory answer to my burning question of "Why the 90s?" In a cliffhanger sequence, it shows that 30 years later, at present time, AIR's got a new hit on Humphreys! DUN DUN DUN!
A sequel will follow up... soon-ish! Say whattt?! And yasss, pleaseee!!!
★ You'll need more than just your browser for an early part of this game. You probably have it around you already.
★ Pull away and look from afar for a certain textbook page...
⤻ Full disclosure: Complimentary game access was generously provided for review purposes.
⤻ All media credited to and provided by contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.
⤻ Speed code for on-site search: TEGRogue