Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-4
Price: $25 per box, 7 boxes in the first “season”
Shredding the Mystery.
Your close childhood friend recently married a beautiful and rich heiress, but during their honeymoon she was mysteriously murdered! As the chief suspect of the crime, your friend has gone on the run and has been missing for some time. While the manhunt rages on, you receive a series of enigmatic deliveries, which turn out to be from him! Use the clues and tidbits inside to unravel the mystery and hopefully clear your friend’s name! This time, the story travels to South America to investigate the horrible explosion at the Copperhead Mines referenced in Box 1, and it’s sure to be an exciting adventure!
Previously, Box 1 was an interesting introduction to the series, but felt overly wordy and provided very few puzzles of wildly differing difficulty levels. Though the experience did an excellent job with the expository world-building, the puzzle solving was not as polished, delivering a competent, yet jarringly uneven experience. With the introduction out of the way, however, I was excited to see what happened when the adventure proper began.
The puzzles included with Box 2 were an enormous upgrade from Box 1, serving up a manageable challenge through a larger variety of enigmas. While there is still a fair amount of reading involved, it all ties together within the story, and most of it is necessary to solving one of the larger puzzles included. The storyline follows an incident referenced in Box 1, with implications surrounding the Van Kress family, and delivers a fantastic follow up while still being it’s own self contained narrative. Items from Box 1 are incorporated intuitively, and serve to refresh your memory of previous events as you search for previously unnoticed clues. The online components serve as a great way to further the narrative outside of the box and, per usual, the ending is delivered in a climactic fashion by giving you a video from your friend James, capping off the experience definitively.
Less fluff, more puzzles!
With the exception of the one admittedly very nice prop, pretty much everything else is newspaper clippings and printed clues, which isn’t as exciting as what you can find in other subscription boxes of similar pricing. Though there were a couple puzzles that I really enjoyed, I can see where they would become a grind for people who don’t really enjoy solving traditional jigsaw-esque puzzles or grind-y codebreaking.
Box 2 was a significant improvement over Box 1, balancing the exposition with satisfying puzzles. While it is still a heavily story based experience, you can really see where Breakout’s escape room background comes into play with this installment. Box 2 is absolutely worth the wait, and I definitely recommend trying it out if you were unsure about the puzzles included with Box 1. You can sign up to begin your monthly investigation here!