The Tonipal’s Treasure
Unlock! Mystery Adventures
Written by: The Bat
We opened the box to find an instruction book and a deck of cards. The booklet told us that we could use the tutorial on the app to learn the game before even reading the book. So we click on the tutorial…..and end up going back to the book to help understand the tutorial.
The tutorial was a mini version of the game. While the tutorial cards were clearly marked, it did seem a bit clunky from the start. You have to match different colors of cards, solve machines on the app, and enter codes on the app to get more numbers to move on. While we did understand how it worked after playing it, we definitely ended up using the booklet to remember the card meanings during the game.
So now we think we can play the game….but decide to take a quick break to grab some snacks. Can’t normally take those into an escape room! Maybe this play at home thing has its advantages…
Snacks in hand, we open the app section for our specific game, a pirate-themed choice called “The Tonipal’s Treasure.” The first card tells us that we have to find the treasure before another pirate. Seems like fun. We start out in pirate jail, which seems pretty typical for a pirate game. So we dive in…
The app is supposed to have sound effects that play at certain times. However, as they are programmed to only play if your phone’s ringer is on, they don’t always work. This is nowhere listed in the instructions, and people have been commenting online about this complaint since 2017. This was one of the first glitches we hit, and while you can burn all your hints to get the clue in writing instead, better programming or instructions would have solved the problem.
Dragon: It really sucks because one of the huge selling points for me was this might be deaf/hard of hearing friendly. Having to waste not only a hint but a second hint, which the app has an “are you really sure” type of prompt gives the opposite feeling.
Props & Decor:
As we were not in a physical escape room, the props and decor were limited to what came in the box. That is a deck of cards and the app. The cards were well-drawn, but not much different from any thematic card game.
The app gives a cute background related to your game once you click on it.
Other than the app and the cards, there are no props to mention. That may just be a side effect of the play-at-home games, however. We will know when we try our others….but for now, I move on.
This is where we had the major problem with this game. While we did pick one of the hardest games this company released, it seemed like almost none of the puzzles were logical connections to us. They did not make sense without a hint on almost every single one, and it got worse as the game went on. There was one where we even asked for the answer, and then when we put it in, it led to a card that told us we were wrong!
A quick google search and it turned out we weren’t the only ones confused by this.
The item combination was only sometimes rational, like a chest and a key. Sometimes it just had to be done by adding up the numbers and guessing. Most of the puzzles just made no sense at all, even after the hints had helped us solve them. We could see where the authors had been trying to go, sometimes. But there was no “ooooh….yea….I should have known…” moment. .
Again, this game did keep the cards to the theme, and, without spoilers, it seems like the end of the game would have had a nice little pirate twist. But other than that, there is not much in a deck of cards and an app that made us feel like we were on a pirate ship or a pirate island or any of the settings described.
I ate goldfish while we played, which may have been sea-themed? Does that count?
This is the first time I have ever gotten so frustrated with an escape game of any kind that I just gave up. The timer did not stop us. We could have kept playing until the end. But after tech glitches followed by a bad puzzle followed by a dead end, we ended up just searching for the cards we guessed we would need, and finally just giving up.
While this is one of the games you don’t wreck to play, and we can try again, I haven’t decided yet if I even want to.
Bit of advice: There is a lot of time spent searching for particular cards. While there is a reason that you are not supposed to spread the cards out on the table, there is a lot of time wasted searching through the deck. Use the pause button on the app timer during these times, and you won’t have that waste