The Deadbolt Mystery Society – Backstage Pass (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $24.99 per box, plus $4.99 shipping

I wanna rock and roll all night, and escape every day!

Theme:

The band Voodoo Mary has come to Valley Falls to finish off their Pins and Needles Tour, but unfortunately, the town residents won’t be able to enjoy it for very long, as just before the show was set to start, the band’s manager was found murdered! Luckily, the Will Street Detective Agency is on the case

First Impressions:

The Deadbolt Mystery Society has been on a roll lately, with their really incredible Infected and Sanitarium boxes truly wowing us for the last couple months. With another spectacularly original theme, Backstage Pass was certain to deliver another great mystery to solve.

High Points:

Deadbolt does a really great job with their customer service. Many of the boxes were arriving a bit later than usual, and true to form, they made sure to let all of their subscribers know what was going on immediately through email, facebook, and other outlets. They really went above and beyond to let us know they were working on making sure everyone’s boxes made it to their intended destinations, and kept everyone in the loop throughout the process. Once our box landed on our doorstep, we were excited to tear into it to see what was behind the snazzy design. This box is really quite dense, filled with many well produced clues and puzzles. The suspect list has been beefed up a bit, ensuring there’d be extra interactions to eliminate the innocent, and the cards arrived in a separate bag within the box, ensuring they remained pristine, and that they were easily identified, which was an excellent touch.

The experience remains non-linear, per usual, allowing for a free form puzzling adventure, and it was really enjoyable to soak this particular mystery in. Many of the interactions we engaged in during this box relied on some detail oriented sleuthing, and it helped to just take everything in at the start, and begin making connections. Though most of Deadbolt’s mysteries are set up this way, everything seemed to click even more satisfyingly than usual for this box. Clues we would come across would connect to even the most innocuous seeming item, busting open some really great moments of revelation, and propelling us forward through the story. Some mystery box standbys are used during this mystery, but they are twisted in such a way that they aren’t always as obvious as one might expect, keeping veteran detectives on their toes while still presenting an approachable challenge to newer players. Not all puzzles feel familiar however, as there are certainly more than enough clever hidden messages and codes to ensure that you never quite know what’s coming next!

Speaking of not knowing what’s coming next, story remains a strong suit of Deadbolt’s experiences, and this one is really quite twisty! There are a couple mysteries within the mysteries that help solve the overarching murder, but there are many threads that needed to be tied up before we could definitively conclude this case. The story feels personal to the characters, especially some of the more enigmatic suspects, and this line up really feels like a family, albeit a very dysfunctional one. It’s one of those stories where even though it has reached a satisfying conclusion. I’d love to see what happens next for this crew.

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There’s a lot that’s been left behind at the ill fated show!

Low Points:

One particular code is easy to derive, but the connection between it and the solution it goes to was a little more tenuous. We arrived there by trying it on the items we hadn’t used yet, rather than deducing where it goes using the clues that provided the solution. Looking back, I can sort of see how one could get there, but without already knowing the answer it’s a bit of a leap. One particular item, coupled with a clue we were given, became a sort of red herring for us. I believe it’s unintentional, but a few other folks I know who subscribe also fell down a bit of a rabbit hole until they were able to come to the real reason the item we’d puzzled over was included. One color dependent puzzle gave us some real trouble until we used a flashlight to really up the lighting, as in normal light conditions, some of the colors looked mostly similar.

Verdict:

Backstage Pass is an excellent box that provided a lot of clever twists and turns, as well as some highly satisfying puzzling. Set against the backdrop of a dysfunctional group of band members, Deadbolt remains one of the most originally themed subscription boxes from month to month. (And next month’s box, Body Farm, looks to continue this trend!) I can easily recommend giving this one a go for new and experienced players alike, as the game itself is very dense, and the difficulty is just right, overall. If you’re not a subscriber already, you should be! 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!

8.5/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: The Deadbolt Mystery Society provided a complementary box.

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