Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-4
Price: $24.99 per box, plus $4.99 shipping
It was a dark and stormy night…
From The Deadbolt Mystery Society website (edited slightly for brevity, full synopsis can be found at the website below):
Rosemary Clark is one of the world’s most popular and enduring cozy mystery novelists. For the past two years, however, she has lived as a recluse in her hilltop mansion, cutting off contact with friends, family, and the public at large. The reason for her withdrawal from the public eye has been a subject of much debate until earlier this week when Ms. Clark emerged to announce that she had been writing her final novel, entitled “The Dark and Stormy Night.” To celebrate the completion of the book, Ms. Clark invited a small group of her closest friends and associates to Winterwood Manor with the tantalizing revelation that she had featured all of them as characters in the novel. After the guests arrive and dinner has been served, Rosemary reveals that she has spent the last two years leaving her estate in secret to investigate a very specific crime and that the novel contains hints about both the crime and the one who committed it. Poised to reveal more about the plot and the main players in her mystery, Rosemary has just taken a sip of her nightcap when the lights flicker suddenly and then go out for a period of approximately ten seconds. A scream rips through the night and then the lights come back on. Inexplicably, Rosemary is gone. All that’s left where she was standing are a few spatters of blood. After a thorough search of the house, Rosemary is nowhere to be found, and while it’s unclear whether any sort of crime has been committed, there is a definite feeling that something is wrong here. Determine what happened to Rosemary Clark, search through the clues of her final novel to determine the nature of the crime and the identity of the criminal she had been investigating, and solve the mystery of The Dark and Stormy Night.
The Dark and Stormy Night piqued my interest immediately due to the incredibly creative theme and story that seemed to be promised by the story synopsis. A mystery within a mystery, (within a mystery,) all coordinated by a reclusive novelist who has brought all the players together within her remote mansion reminded me somewhat of the movie Clue. Such a twisty game immediately caught our attention, and we couldn’t wait to get started. It also didn’t hurt that we’d recently watched the amazing Knives Out, which would be a great companion to this box for a mysterious date night!
Whereas last month’s box, The Collector, reminded me of a Holmes v. Moriarty showdown, The Dark and Stormy Night reminds me of a great mashup of the Clue movie and an Agatha Christie novel. As I’ve previously stated, Agatha Christie stories are very much my favorites, and I feel that style of mystery is severely under utilized in escape rooms and subscription boxes. Enter Deadbolt Mystery Society with a twisting, turning caper that engaged us from the start and didn’t let go until we’d caught the culprit! This box was jammed full of great props and pieces of evidence, and though it is the third box that comes in the new, smaller format, it seems there’s even more to work through than usual. The story presented had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing throughout, and the puzzles helped further the story through small tidbits of info.
The game flow is fantastic for this box, with a multi-layered run of puzzles and three distinct “levels” to work through. Every moment is filled with enigmas to solve, with several great moments of revelation. One particular one was a puzzles we kept coming back to and mulling over before working on another. When it came down to this puzzle as the last thing we needed to move forward, it all clicked into place, and the satisfaction of solving this deceptively intuitive code was phenomenal. In fact, the way many of the puzzles are solved is subtly clued and well signposted, putting together a immensely fun challenge and ensuring we stayed locked in a battle of wits with these codes rather than frustrated by obtuse puzzles. One of the newer mechanics we’ve only seen once before in Deadbolt boxes has been expanded, and is elegantly worked into the game in a way that creates an additional level of puzzling. This extra step really enhanced the game and lent a bit more complexity to the usual mechanics of a Deadbolt Mystery Society adventure. Once we had entered the climactic part of the game, everything started to fall into place, and while there were still some excellent puzzles to solve, (one of which was beautifully done, presenting us with a logical problem we loved working through; a generally rare occurrence,) the pacing was set up perfectly to become a riveting climax.
Overall, this box does a great job by melding varied puzzles together with intuitive clues while still providing a proper challenge. We loved it, and think anyone who enjoys a Dark and Stormy Night spent reading an Agatha Christie novel will too!
I honestly cannot think of any low points for this experience. The bar has been raised again, as I think this is the first Deadbolt box we’ve played that gives their previous box, The Cabin, (which I gush about on regular occasions,) a run for its money!
The Dark and Stormy Night is a brilliant mystery that presents a conundrum that kept us guessing from start to finish! Boasting a run of exciting, multi-level puzzles, and supremely intuitive solves, this box is an absolute must purchase! I recommend any experience level check this one out, as it is a great challenge for veteran detectives, but is definitely still manageable for newcomers with a bit of out of the box thinking. 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.