Scarlet Envelope – Episode Four: Breakfast for a Serial Killer (Review)

Kara’s Note: This review was brought to you by me! 😀

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-2

Price: $20 monthly


From the Scarlet Envelope website:

“Extraordinary Weekly”, 1956: “The death of a waitress at Stanley’s Diner, is being investigated in connection to similar cases…” This time, you work as a cop in the fifties. Bring justice to the victims of a serial killer who clearly has a thing for junk food! Expect case files, coroner’s reports, & footage of suspects’ interrogations with real actors!

This game really puts your detective skills to the test! The gameplay is full of puzzles but is focused on the narrative and is more linear. * Parental Advisory: Mild Content.

Yay Points

With so many types of game play out there, I really appreciate knowing what kind of puzzling experience I’m getting into. And, true to its description, Envelope 4 was very much a linear, narrative-based case. It had an interesting story, with puzzles that were a good use of its theme and setting to carry you through it. The suspect footage added to the immersion, and I especially appreciated the fact that transcripts of the videos were provided as well.

Though this envelope was more narrative-based, the handful puzzles were of a good variety and a mix of physical and virtual props. In particular, I enjoyed one of the early puzzles’ use of color as both the clue and key to solving it. For the most part, there were pretty clear indicators on what you needed to do or use at any given point, which is very helpful for those who are new to puzzles and/or those who just prefer a more chiller, guided puzzling experience.

Having had some unfortunate experiences in the past, I’ve been conditioned to save each page as a new tab with any online puzzling components as a way to keep track of and reference any items I come across. But, I was happy to find that my efforts were unnecessary since the last puzzle provided links to everything required to solve it!

Pondering Points

There were a couple of puzzles that I got stuck on. While a good concept, I felt one of them could benefit from another nudge or indication of how the clues should be interpreted. However, once the hints put me on the right path, I thought it went pretty smoothly. With the other puzzle, I knew what to do with it, but had a little harder time with executing it. Though this could be more of a personal visualization problem on my end, it may have been more helpful to have physical props for this particular one. (As an aside, there was also something in this item that clearly seemed like a clue, but I didn’t end up using it and it didn’t ever become relevant. Though, it is very possible I was completely oblivious to its intended purpose and ended up using a different way of getting to the solution.)

As previously mentioned, this is a narrative-based experience. That’s definitely not a bad thing, but because of it, I should mention that those who don’t like Sherlockian deductions (i.e., my editor) may not enjoy some of the interactions of this Envelope.


This envelope is a good experience for those who want a more laid-back puzzling experience guided by an interesting story. I’d recommend it for those who are newer to puzzling, enjoy deductive-style puzzles, and/or story-focused experiences. Start your journey into the mysteries of the Scarlet Envelope here!

6.5/10 (Good)

Full Disclosure: Scarlet Envelope provided a complementary review copy.

Scarlet Envelope – Envelope Three: Distress Call from Outer Space (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-3

Price: $20 monthly

Lost in Space


From the Scarlet Envelope website:

The year is 2220, a century into the human colonization of Mars. Humans remain the same: two planets are in constant political conflict. Your spaceship picks up a distress call from a Martian spy who has discovered how to stop the war! Now encrypted Martian files are in your hands, along with the fate of both Earth and Mars.

First Impressions:

I’ve gotta say, Canada has been knocking it out of the park lately with puzzling subscriptions. Scarlet Envelope is one of two fantastic monthly puzzling capers that I’ve picked up recently, and I have to say, they are quickly becoming some of my favorite mailings every month! With a brand new theme for every game, I really love seeing how the creators pivot from 1920’s mystery to sci-fi to horror and beyond!

High Points:

The thing I really loved about Envelope Three was how intuitive each puzzle was once you’d uncovered the requisite clues. Though the game certainly didn’t hold my hand, it did provide small clues within each puzzle to ensure that with the application of some critical thinking, the answers would reveal themselves during an excellent ah ha moment! The first half of the game flowed beautifully, with a beginning that had me scratching my head, but with just enough breadcrumbs to ensure I could find my way. One of my favorite puzzles came during the initial stages of the game, and cleverly disguised the method of solving, leaving the puzzle hidden in plain sight. Difficulty ramped up smoothly, and as the conundrums became more challenging, the ah ha moments became ever more satisfying! There are some real doozies further in, and the Experienced level games are perfect for battle hardened puzzle enthusiasts that really want a challenge. I adored one section that involved a ship’s computer, as I loved exploring the options and branching paths I could take, and the design of all the web based materials is really slick.

I’m still enamored with the overall theme of Scarlet Envelope, and am interested to see how all these time hopping good deeds I’m doing will pay off. As I mentioned before, it is awesome to receive a totally different theme from month to month, and I really love opening up new envelopes to see how these themes have been implemented. So far, Scarlet Envelope has done a top notch job ensuring that the story and puzzles are wonderfully woven into the game, and are engaging experiences, with no red herrings or puzzles that feel out of place or just there for the sake of puzzling. Though this is, I believe, (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong,) the designer’s first subscription puzzle experience, it feels like they’ve been making these forever, they’re so well designed!

Low Points:

My main critique for this particular episode is that while I understand why there is a lot of online content, due to the futuristic nature of the game, the non-linear nature of the mystery, coupled with how many branches there are for the online component, really convolutes the proceedings. I played this game over the course of two days, and it was really difficult to set back up to where I was since I essentially had to run back through everything. And when you take chaotic notes like I do… While I definitely appreciate the intent of what’s being done, a more linear approach would definitely provide a somewhat cleaner puzzling experience. The logic of one particular puzzle still eludes me, and the set up doesn’t quite have enough cluing to completely relate how the solutions are meant to line up. While I had the correct answers, it took a little more guess and check than we’d like to get the solution in order. This, joined with the solution requiring a bit of eyeballing to boot, created a situation where I was never quite sure if the answer I arrived at was truly correct, (until, of course, I verified the solution in the online component.)


I’m loving the journey that Scarlet Envelope has set us upon, and am looking forward to next month’s envelope, as number four promises to be right up my alley! I wholeheartedly recommend this subscription, as there’s a difficulty level for beginners and enthusiasts alike, and so much to love about the experience. Start your journey into the mysteries of the Scarlet Envelope here! The creators currently have a cool new Kickstarter on right now for Christmas Puzzle Cards here! You should check it, and their astoundingly funny outtakes video asap!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Scarlet Envelope provided a complementary review copy.