Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-4
Price: $24.99 per box, plus $4.99 shipping
Cause I’m Wanted… Dead or Alive
From the Deadbolt Mystery Society website:
The Black Rock Butcher was a serial killer who terrorized the saloon girls of Black Rock in the days when it was a burgeoning gold rush town. Because criminal investigation techniques hadn’t yet been developed, the killer was never apprehended. New evidence has recently come to light indicating that The Butcher was actually the great-great-grandfather of the founder of The Will Street Detective Agency. In other words, your boss might be related to a notorious murderer. Unlike most cases, this one is now personal, and you have been tasked to clear the family name. Although the leads in this cold case all date back to the 1800’s, you must follow each one and use all your skills as a detective to determine the true identity of The Black Rock Butcher.
Wanted is an intriguing theme; a Jack the Ripper-esque killer terrorized the town of Black Rock almost two hundred years ago, and the case remained unsolved. Cut to the present, and the Will Street Detective Agency is having a slow, blessedly peaceful month. However, the founder’s family name is now at risk, since one of the myriad true crime podcasts has determined that his ancestor was The Black Rock Butcher! Similarly to Sleuth Kings’ Case 015: Fashionably Late, an unsolved mystery has come to the forefront again, and it is up to us to solve it!
Tracking down The Black Rock Butcher was a lot of fun, and piecing together the many clues he left behind further spins the web of intrigue the folks of Black Rock were trapped in nicely. A Old West spin on the Jack the Ripper tale is also an interesting idea, and is executed well within the confines of this game without becoming overly morbid. The props included look, if not feel, authentic, and present their enigmas in challenging ways. Everything is important, and even the most innocuous item can become an important clue down the line. The back stories and relationships of the townsfolk are intriguing, and the set ups for their motives and alibis are convincing, keeping us on our toes until we’d tracked down the guilty party.
The game flow works great, with new puzzles being presented as we dived further and further into the story. Use of technology is excellent and well integrated into the story, but not overdone as to preserve the old time feel of the theme. Wanted was challenging, and once we’d figured out one of the best ah ha moments we’d encountered in a while, all the pieces started to satisfyingly fall into place, culminating in the final reveal of our culprit. Though the box can be initiated anywhere, the game flow is presented well from any starting point, allowing the player to put together any piece of the puzzle in a non linear fashion.
Track down the dirty varmint!
The story is overall intriguing, but I felt like the ending was a bit anticlimactic. The stakes feel lower during this case, since we are chasing down a killer who is long dead, and clearing the name of someone who also is long dead. The only connection we have is that our boss will be spared some embarrassment, and we’ll successfully solve an old run of serial murders. Compared to other Deadbolt mysteries, this one loses that sense of urgency and immersion. There are also fewer suspects, and the puzzles included feel a lot lighter than previous installments, so the experience definitely seems shorter than usual. In fact, it was our quickest solve in the series. The game isn’t unsatisfying by a long shot, however, just somewhat lighter fare.
Wanted is a great challenge, but also a fantastic jumping off point for new players, as the game is still straightforward and intuitive to solve. With layered puzzles that lead into a highly satisfying moment of revelation, I certainly recommend giving this Old West mystery a shot! Join the Deadbolt Mystery Society here! Right now, you can get 30% off your first box with the Promo Code ESCAPE30! You can also see the rest of our Deadbolt Mystery Society reviews here!
Full Disclosure: The Deadbolt Mystery Society provided a complementary box.