The Deadbolt Mystery Society – The Old and Hidden Secret (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $24.99 per box, plus $4.99 shipping

Can you keep a secret?

Theme:

From The Deadbolt Mystery Society website:

The Ambrosia Hotel is a Valley Falls historical landmark and the scene of an unsolved murder from the 1930’s. Local millionaire Harlan McAllister has purchased the hotel and spent the past 6 months restoring it. A week before the Grand Reopening he has invited a series of well-known Valley Falls personalities who all have historical ties to the hotel including famed mystery author Rosemary Clark (last seen in The Dark and Stormy Night). The night’s events are proceeding as planned until one of the guests, Sinclair LeCompt, doesn’t show up for dinner. After checking his room, they find that LeCompt’s door is chained from the inside. Once the chain is cut and access to the room is gained, LeCompt’s body is found. He has been stabbed through the heart. But how is such a thing possible? The only one of the guests with an airtight alibi is Rosemary Clark. After the Will Street Detective Agency is brought in to help with the case, they enlist her assistance with this locked-room mystery. Can you help Rosemary Clark and The Will Street Detective Agency solve the mystery of The Old and Hidden Secret?

First Impressions:

The Old and Hidden Secret is a sequel of sorts to The Dark and Stormy Night, my current reigning favorite Deadbolt mystery! The return of Rosemary Clark and the complex mysteries that always follow her is a welcome surprise, and we couldn’t wait to delve into this locked door murder!

High Points:

A new inclusion for this box was a card that promised a soundtrack to accompany the game! While the soundtrack was much shorter than the experience, we appreciated the addition, and thought it set the tone well. I also loved how narratively based this mystery was, and how after solving each portion of the game, we were presented with new revelations that not only enlightened us regarding the modern day murder, but the shady dealings of our cast of suspects, as well as the hotel’s torrid past. Rosemary’s commentary and… interesting cosplay decision add to the fun as well, and we were always happy to receive some wisdom from the famed mystery writer!

We really loved how tactile many of the puzzles were, with bits and bobs that helped us visualize the puzzles. A favorite was much like chess, and required a bit of logical thinking to get us to where we needed to be. The great part was that with this puzzle, there were a few paths to take, and we could tackle them in a lot of different ways. We ultimately organized them by levels of complexity, and went from there, which provided a very satisfying solve, and helped us develop more advanced plans as we went. A few of the puzzles are very meaty, with multiple layers to complete before they are completely solved, which is always a lot of fun. Another favorite puzzle is an early stage one that reminded us of Clue, and heightened the level of intrigue quite a bit! This one also had implications for the rest of the story, adding to the narrative as well as the puzzling experience. Overall, The Old and Hidden Secret provided a moderate challenge that included intuitive solves, a great theme, and creative puzzling throughout!

Low Points:

There was a slight typo that had us wondering if we were missing an item from our box, but a quick check of the inventory page helped ease our worries. This box felt somewhat less dense than other mysteries, with a more linear presentation and therefore fewer items to compare and connect. I sometimes miss the chaotic brilliance of previous mysteries, where we’d sort through loads of evidence and make the connections as we went. While this set up is still enjoyable, and somewhat cleaner, I have really enjoyed those games that hearken back to those days. One particular prop was cool, but the prop itself felt a little dirty, with a lot of dust that was included within it.

Verdict:

The Old and Hidden Secret is a welcome return to the mystery stylings of Rosemary Clark, as well as an introduction to a brand new Valley Falls locale that truly fits into this enigmatic town! We had an awesome time putting together the solution, and absolutely recommend this game to new players and veterans alike! 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 (Excellent)

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

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