The Deadbolt Mystery Society – Beneath the Surface (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $24.99 per box, plus $4.99 shipping

Theme:

From The Deadbolt Mystery Society website:

A dog wanders up to the front steps of The Will Street Detective Agency. A note has been tucked into his collar. The note is written by a woman named Mary who has been kidnapped and is being held somewhere in town by a maniac who has already killed several other women. Mary has somehow managed to use the dog to carry her request for help, and now it is up to you to find her before it’s too late. Retrace the dog’s steps, use clues that the dog may have picked up unknowingly, and find the house where Mary is being kept. But beware! There is more to this case than meets the eye. See if you can find what lurks…Beneath the Surface!

High Points:

After a couple of fantastic deviations from the norm with The Watcher and The Inheritance, The Deadbolt Mystery Society returns to their favorite crime with Beneath the Surface! A killer is on the loose, and without us, Valley Falls doesn’t stand a chance… It’s good to be back! Deadbolt has really hit a stride recently that we’ve loved, coupling their old style, non-linear game play with their newer, envelope based approach that breaks the game into different stages. It has been working brilliantly for them lately, and this entry is no different in that regard! The story is fantastic, and develops as you go, allowing players to feel as though they are moving through the story in real time. This, along with some great twists and turns as new revelations are uncovered gives the game an exciting “on the clock” feel, as well as an awesome unpredictability. The whole chase for this serial killer has a beautifully creepy (without being scary,) vibe to it, and I absolutely loved the rogue’s gallery Deadbolt had in store for us this time! The puzzling itself is really original, with loads of interactions we aren’t used to seeing, which is always awesome to see from an established subscription. Even puzzle types that are a little more basic or ubiquitous to the genre are tweaked excellently to keep them interesting! Each stage of the game is non-linear, and presents a progressively more challenging slate of enigmas. The mystery starts off with a few easy wins to get players going, and ramps it up nicely as the search for Mary heats up! This is definitely one of the smoothest difficulty curves we’ve seen recently, and that, coupled with how perfectly packed with different puzzles this box is ensured that we were entertained for a good two hours!

Low Points:

One puzzle was used twice, which we weren’t used to with most puzzle subscriptions, but after a little backtracking, we were able to figure out what had been missed. Lately I have also heard from several veteran puzzlers that they aren’t fans of interactions that require cutting out, and if that’s you, this box might present some difficulty in that regard. For us, though, these were pretty small critiques for an otherwise amazing entry!

Verdict:

Beneath the Surface was brilliant! A challenging box for veteran solvers, yet still approachable enough that new players will be able to get the hang of things quickly, this entry marries a creepy, well written story with dense puzzling to create a mystery you’ll be dying to solve! I highly recommend this game, and as always, cannot recommend Deadbolt enough. 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!

9/10 (Excellent)

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

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