The Deadbolt Mystery Society – Scavenger (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:

When Ernest Whitlock, the head of the Valley Falls Historical Society, is found dead from a gunshot wound inside City Hall, the first thing investigators do is check the security cameras. It’s quickly determined that someone took the cameras off-line for the night. This leaves a series of unanswered questions about how Whitlock gained access to the locked building after hours and what he might have been doing there. Those questions are soon answered by a printed invitation found in his jacket pocket. The invitation is from Walter Cline, the founder of a group called the Enigmatic Assembly. The secretive group’s mission statement is to “Shine a light on the unlit corners of the world to uncover secret truths,” and their purpose is to seek out cryptic knowledge that has been lost to history. The letter Whitlock received provides a host of details about an extreme scavenger hunt that will lead six participants to the strangest and most remote corners of Valley Falls and task them with finding the location of a life-changing fortune. Based on this information, the most likely suspects in Whitlock’s death are the five other players listed in the letter. Take up the task that Ernest Whitlock started, play the game the Enigmatic Assembly has set into motion, and be prepared to go into the deepest, darkest places in Valley Falls to find Whitlock’s killer. The Hunt is on!

High Points:

We’ve really enjoyed Deadbolt’s themes lately. They’ve definitely evolved from the standard murder mystery, branching out to different crimes and more elaborate, original styles of murder. They’ve created the murder capital of the world in Valley Falls, but manage to keep things fresh even several years on! Scavenger’s murder mystery slash treasure hunt mash up takes two well worn themes of puzzling boxes, and creates an innovative game that kept us fully entertained throughout! And for a good while as well. Although our average solving time for Deadbolt boxes tends to run about 90 minutes, this one took us a good 2 hours to complete, as the game itself was so incredibly packed with puzzles to solve! There is a fantastic difficulty curve as well, with the initial stages allowing us some easy wins in order to get warmed up, which transformed into a much more difficult challenge as we progressed! The difficulty was never arduous, however, as almost every puzzle was intuitive, and the cluing was fantastically woven into the box. I appreciated how all the puzzles felt original, including a nod to a basic cipher that doesn’t become tedious or force players into a long winded solve. In fact, almost every puzzle can be tackled with teamwork, ensuring that nothing is a solo solve. Scavenger weaves linearity with more open solving well, presenting puzzles in stages, but ensuring there is usually a few different things to explore and solve at any given time. This design does an excellent job of gatekeeping to ensure that players aren’t confused with too much information, while preventing them from feeling as though they are being railroaded through a narrow story. Sometimes open endedness can harm the narrative of a box, but this is not the case with Scavenger, and, as always, The Deadbolt Mystery Society does a brilliant job of characterization and world building to bring an immersive feel to their mysteries. I really loved that we weren’t just chasing the clues left behind by the killer, but following a treasure hunt at the center of the case, it allowed for the game to go places the killer might not have otherwise, sending us on an intense hunt to save the others on the trail of the treasure!

Low Points:

There was only one puzzle in particular that felt like it needed a little more cluing. It was an early one that evoked some musical theming, and though we eventually solved it, it definitely felt as though we were doing a lot of guess an check rather than following the hints provided.

Verdict:

Scavenger is yet another brilliant entry into the case files of the Will Street Detective Agency! Deadbolt has been mixing it up, theme-wise, a lot lately, and what they’ve come up with is pure gold! Watching the evolution of this series has been amazing, and as always, I cannot wait to see how they wow us next! I 100% recommend Scavenger to players new and old, as there is certainly something for everyone in this box. 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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