By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
If you’re looking for something creepy and thematic for this upcoming Halloween, the comic series Locke & Key is a great place to start. It’s a shame the game isn’t as good, though.
Locke & Key: The Game is a card game for three to six players designed by Matt Hyra and published in 2012 by Cryptozoic Entertainment. The game is based on the graphic novel series written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez.
The game is a very basic trick-taking card game. Players work together to overcome challenges and score cards, with the winner being decided at the end of the game. Gameplay is modified by a variety of key cards that can be used to modify other cards or gameplay mechanics. In all, it’s a quick and fun game.
However, it is not a Locke & Key game.
While discussing Gloom in last week’s column, I brought up how vital the atmosphere is to the gameplay of some games. Locke & Key: The Game should be dark and thematic, but instead ithas no atmosphere whatsoever. The graphic novel is dark and cerebral with a healthy dose of H.P. Lovecraft gravitas thrown in, whereas the only hint of this in the game is in Rodriguez’s beautiful artwork. The one benefit of playing this game is in the curiosity it generates in players towards the comic.
I would give this game a pass. It has a decent enough gameplay, but it strays too far from its thematic elements to be worth seeking out for your Halloween-themed game night. Instead turn out the lights and pick up a copy of the Locke & Key trade paperback.