Location: Your Home!
Players: We recommend 1-4
Price: $29.95 per box
…but hear me out, maybe we just let her kill our main competitor?
From the Sleuth Kings website:
John Malvone broke his ex-girlfriend’s heart, and now she intends to break him. The problem is, he’s not sure which ex is coming after him. John has survived three attempts on his life so far, but his luck won’t hold out forever. If he doesn’t figure out who wants him dead – and soon – he won’t survive his spiteful lover’s next attack. Can you help John stop his ex before she decides he can’t live without her?
Last year’s Valentine’s case, The Cupid Killer, was one of the most exciting games of the year, and finally gave us some long desired movement on the Sullest St. King relationship front! This year, we’re travelling a parallel and reversed road as we try to determine which of John Malvone’s many, many, (many, many, many, etc.,) exes is trying to kill him. Sounds fun, and if it’s as quirky as the usual Sleuth King’s case, I’m absolutely here for it.
As I suspected, Love Hurts is a funny and immediately engaging case to solve. All the tidbits about John Malvone’s tumultuous love life and weird reasons for breaking up with the poor women unlucky enough to date him keep things light hearted and fun. I swear, Sleuth Kings is great at ensuring even attempted murder can stay light and hilarious while still delivering a great story and fully realized characters. Speaking of characters, the return of the gruff, rough edged John Malvone is excellent, and his character is somehow both endearing and annoyingly unaware of his own faults, making for some great interactions. I love how this character, who was originally our nemesis in Fashionably Late, has grown (a little, let’s not give him too much credit,) and become a some time collaborator with us and (begrudgingly,) Sullivan. The whole theme ties well into Valentine’s and the climax of the story is fantastic, with an appropriate epilogue to tie all the loose ends together.
On the puzzle front, things are very tightly woven together, placed into a game flow that works smoothly over several layers of puzzling, and brings the threads together into a fantastic meta puzzle or two that we really enjoyed. The method for use of the initial meta puzzle provides extremely good feedback on whether the answer is correct, and is a great way to mark progress within the mystery. Once solved, it becomes part of the even larger meta, tying all the puzzling threads together in an extremely satisfying way. Though the game mostly consists of code breaking, it never becomes tiresome, as there are no endless lines of codes to decipher, and things remain varied enough to keep the focus on the fast paced flow of puzzling. The adventure is incredibly intuitive, with subtle sign posting that ensures that players remain on the right track as long as they are aware of where to look. This consistency coupled with the quality clues delivers one of the best Sleuth Kings experiences to date!
The only thing I’d say is a low point for this box is that it was an easy, very quick solve for us, taking about an hour total for an experienced couple. However, the story is a lot of fun, and even experienced players are going to enjoy the storyline.
Love Hurts is a fantastic case, and though it is a little on the easier side, it was a blast to work through, and an awesome introduction to the Sleuth Kings universe for new detectives! Veteran players may speed through the experience, but the clever puzzling and story are absolutely worth it! I whole heartedly recommend checking this Valentine’s themed case out with your loved one as soon as possible. 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.