Sleuth Kings: Case 030 – Black Magic (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $29.95 per box

I put a spell on you… and now you’re mine!


From the Sleuth Kings website:

Mina Yen, a Magician’s Assistant, was murdered on stage during a performance. Although it’s clear that the illusion was sabotaged, the police aren’t sure who is responsible. Sullivan has been hired to clear the lead suspect’s name, but he’s not convinced that the man is innocent. If he can’t find evidence that will help put the real murderer away – and fast – he’s afraid it’s only a matter of time before they kill again. Can you help Sullivan cut through the smoke and mirrors to bring a killer to justice?

First Impressions:

The last magic focused Sleuth Kings box came years ago, and it was a really fun experience that wove it’s tale of betrayal and revenge well. Black Magic returns us to the world of illusion, and I was excited to compare how things have changed between these two cases!


Good to see our old client Abraca-Debra doing well for herself!

High Points:

For the most part, Black Magic flows between its many puzzles extremely well, and there was only one major choke point we came across. Once we worked that one out, everything chugged along rather smoothly from there. The experience was highly intuitive from start to finish, and while we found it to be one of the easier boxes we’ve received recently, it still had a fair amount of challenge and provided some satisfying moments of revelation as we deduced how clues linked together with each other. Most of the puzzles involved one form of code breaking or another, but each code was cleverly implemented, and at no point did the process feel repetitive or overlong. One thing I could definitely say about this mystery is that though it is compact, it is very dense, with loads of puzzling packed into every item. The multiple layers within many of the clues continue to be a beloved hallmark of Sleuth Kings cases for us, and they are beautifully implemented for the full course of this adventure.

I love the art style of Sleuth Kings cases, and this one is no different. There are several drawings depicting rather brutal accidents, and yet everything remains amusingly cute, keeping what is a fairly dark theme from feeling overwhelming, and providing a lightheartedness that you don’t regularly find in murder mysteries. Props were high quality, and for fun, I did a comparison from the early days of Case 004, Abraca-Debra and it’s great to see how Sleuth Kings has improved and upped the quality of their props. I enjoyed how many of the props tied into the theme and story very well, and really loved how some of the major props came together during one particular puzzle. The story is good, and the characters really help flesh out the narrative as it develops. We loved how interesting Magus was as a client, and the twist that came at the climax of the box was excellent.

Low Points:

One of the clues to the meta puzzle is worded somewhat vaguely, allowing for a couple possible answers to feel valid. One tweak to specify more directly what is being discussed would help a lot to ensure that the true answer is the only one that makes sense. This was also a somewhat easier box, so veteran sleuths may run through it a bit quicker. The whole experience was solid, but it didn’t really stand out quite as much as previous cases, but we may have just been getting used to crazed mascot killers and kidnappers who dress up like Krampus.


Black Magic is a solid adventure, and a great introduction to the Sleuth Kings universe for new detectives. It may trend towards the easier side for veteran solvers, but the story and clever puzzling are still very much worth checking out! I definitely recommend picking this one up, and subscribing today. 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!

8.5/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Sleuth Kings provided a complementary box.


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