Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-4
Price: $29.95 per box
Don’t Kramp my style!
From the Sleuth Kings website:
Asuna Yukimura has been kidnapped by Krampus the Christmas Devil. Now, being held for ransom, Asuna intends to make Krampus regret ever targeting her. She has only one option – create as much trouble as she can. Luckily, she still has her cell phone, and Sullivan is only an email away. Can you work with Sullivan to help Asuna beat Krampus at his own game and escape?
I’m a big fan of everyone’s favorite Christmas demon, Krampus, so it was great to see that Sullivan would be taking on a case themed after this holiday hoodlum! Even better, one of our favorite supporting characters, Asuna, would be joining the cast for this particular mystery. We couldn’t wait to dig into this holiday themed mystery and got cracking as soon as we had a free night!
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why, Krampus will throw you in a sack and drag you away.
I said it while we were solving the case, and we immediately thought it was an appropriate quote to sum up a lot of the Sleuth Kings experience, so I share it here. If any subscription box can make a story that centers around child abduction light-hearted, it is Sleuth Kings. I mean this in the absolute best possible way. In almost any other light, the kidnapping of high schoolers by Krampus would likely be horrifying, but in this case, Asuna’s empowerment and the excellent writing and tone employed keep spirits light. The props and clues included are appropriately mysterious and sinister, and absolutely layered to the brim with puzzles, including a few points of meta-puzzling that really tie things together well. All tie excellently into the theme as well, and bring a Christmassy vibe to the proceedings that we enjoyed.
The game flow for Krampus Kidnappings is pretty great, providing an excellent flow and providing intuitive, yet subtle hints. There is a very specific point at which things become somewhat non-linear, allowing us to pick our favorite puzzle types and work on them in tandem. The puzzles build on one another even more than usual, and we loved the twisted web of clues that we had to unravel in order to uncover the secret behind Krampus and his motivations, and as the puzzles were solved, the narrative evolved nicely as well. There was a particular side story that lent some fantastic comic relief to the experience, and working with Asuna, even when she has been kidnapped, is always a joy. The climax was excellent, and the twist and epilogue deliver a satisfying end to the machinations of the kidnapper.
There were a couple moments in which some of the puzzles were fairly familiar through having been a long time Sleuth Kings subscriber, but luckily, these puzzles had evolved from their basic forms, and were utilized in a way that allowed us to discover the deeper meanings and hidden additions through some superb sleuthing. This was definitely a great box to close out the year and enjoy some great holiday themed puzzling.
This one was somewhat of a lighter mystery overall; once we overcame the first hurdle, we were surprised to see that we blew through it pretty quickly, so veteran solvers might find it somewhat easier than usual. The hurdle in question had to do with a couple interactions that provided less clear solutions than usual, but as we moved on, we were able to solve certain clues in an unintended way. The logic still makes sense once we reverse engineered everything, but one particular layer of this mystery isn’t quite as well signposted as we are used to. We were slightly disappointed that we only got to interact directly with Asuna once during the experience, we love how she’s written and always look forward to those interactions.
Krampus Kidnappings was a lot of fun to work through, and once we were able to untangle some initial hiccups, the game flow worked smoothly and revealed an awesome holiday mystery! Though it may be a quicker solve for veterans, I still recommend trying it out, as it provides many great moments of revelation, and newcomers will find this one accessible yet challenging. You can purchase this and other previous cases from the Sleuth King’s archives here, and if you’d like to subscribe to upcoming adventures, you can use the promo code ESCAPEADVENTURE to get $5 off your subscription here! You can also read the rest of our Sleuth Kings reviews here!
Full Disclosure: Sleuth Kings provided a complementary box.