Mysterious Package Company – The King in Yellow [Review]

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Mysteriously, this company’s packaging is the best part of its product.

Date purchased: January 3, 2016

Price: $199.00


I decided to surprise Lisa with “an experience” from the Mysterious Package Company for her birthday. (This was a replacement gift after the first gift I gave her was promptly recalled due to a high risk of detonation.)

The Mysterious Package Company describes its “experiences” succinctly:

“We tell a story through the mail using letters, postcards, diary pages, artifacts and more. Mailings arrive over time to build anticipation and intrigue.”

The Mysterious Package Company asks users to apply for a membership before allowing them to buy and sends email correspondence in an engaging pseudo-Victorian voice and tone.

It was all a bit pretentious, but also slick and intriguing, so I went mid-range and purchased The Yellow King to see what they were going to send.

Lisa loves letters, physical mail, and mysteries. I was optimistic that I was giving a good gift.


The packaging and materials were detailed and interesting.

A leather bound book with a metal medallion with intricate inscriptions on its face resting atop the book.
The stuff looked cool.


The contents of the packages were wordy, meandering, and could have greatly benefited from substantial editing. It was confusing, uninteresting, and with each passing package, I could see Lisa giving up on even trying to make me feel like this was a good gift. “Read the gift” started showing up on her to do list because reading this stuff was work.

Image of a handwritten journal page, it reads: "August 6: We took Buster to the vet today. I think he knew what was happening cause he went and hid under the porch. I had to crawl in under and push him out. Mom wrapped him in a ...""
There’s a lot more where this came from.

It also took for-freaking-ever for these packages to arrive. They came over the course of months.

Should I buy Mysterious Package Company’s The King in Yellow?

I cannot recall giving another person a gift so disappointing.

It was time-released disappointment. Every month or so, some potentially interesting package would arrive. Then, upon deeper exploration, it would dash our hopes.

The materials and packaging were cool. The story and content was incredibly weak.

The Mysterious Package Company’s The Yellow King would have been a regrettable purchase at half the price.

Skip it and escape a bunch of rooms instead. You’ll feel better about how you spent your money and time.

Update: Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling ran her own post at nearly the same time on the Mysterious Package Company. She has some added insights that are worth exploring if this company’s work interests your.

Any other recommendations for at home puzzle adventures?

To try an escape room at home, order Think Fun’s Mystery at Stargazer’s Manor.

And get excited about Escape Room in Box’s The Werewolf Experimentscheduled for release in February 2017. Pre-order it today.

Think Fun is developing more play-at-home escape rooms and they aren’t the only ones. Subscribe today for the most up to date information on these games.


  1. “(This was a replacement gift after the first gift I gave her was promptly recalled due to a high risk of detonation.)”

    Now that’s an intriguing narrative hook.

  2. Is the book actually a copy of Robert Chambers’ The King in Yellow which influenced Lovecraft (and True Detective)? Or is this something else entirely?

    1. It’s something else. It’s not actually a book. It’s a story told through a series of objects sent in the mail.

  3. I was also somewhat disappointed with the Risen! experience: expensive, late, and didn’t make much sense.

    1. This seems to be the consensus on their stuff. It’s a bummer because the concept is cool, and the objects are impressive.

      1. We’ve had ideas for something similar since last summer. I’ll be sure to reach out when we’re farther along.

  4. I find this review interesting because I absolutely loved my King in Yellow package. Did we get the same thing? I didn’t get a leather bound book, mine came in a series of letters, pictures, and newspaper clippings. I thought the story was unsettling and a lot of fun, probably because I’m a big H.P. Lovecraft fan myself. Everything came together once I got the last package and it made me curious to try out the other ones as well. The only complaint I had was the amount of time it took to get the packages. My gift giver said that he ordered it around October and it was in January I got my first package. This was mostly because it was supposed to be a Christmas gift so I was anxious to receive it. I think this is best suited as a “just because” gift, the random nature of the mailing process makes it hard for it to be a holiday and birthday gift. Also, I think the Mysterious Packages are best sent to people with esoteric and weird tastes, this is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

    1. Alycia it is possible we got something a bit different from what you received, and I absolutely agree with what you said about the timing, “just because” is a much better buying mode for this than targeting a specific date. That factored into my purchasing the package because I had already blown the whole birthday gift on explosive footware.

      Lisa and I are big on the esoteric and weird (we spend our free time paying people to lock us in giant puzzles, and then spend even more time writing about it).

      I think that the King in Yellow novel is a much more worthy, and it’s free as it’s in the public domain.

    2. The book that is pictured is the diary from “The Weeping Book” experience. So, either he ordered “The King in Yellow” or he didn’t. Showing pictures from a different experience and then calling it “The Yellow King” really doesn’t make any sense at all.

      1. You are correct that what has been depicted is from “The Weeping Book.” However, this is all due to shipping mess ups from the Mysterious Package Company.

        We did receive the rest of “The King in Yellow” mixed in.

        Our dealings with the Mysterious Package Company were a gigantic mess.

        This has all been discussed throughout the comments section.

      2. Yes, unfortunately, I realized this after I sent my message and read even more comments. That’s just crazy.

  5. Have you done any further work on the puzzle?

  6. David, a little confused by your review. You mention “The King in Yellow” experience but all of your images are from “The Weeping Book” experience.

    1. Brian, based on what you and a few others have said, I think we received a confused mixture of items from both “The Weeping Book” and “The King in Yellow.”

      … and that doesn’t improve the review.

  7. I too was the recipient of The King In Yellow. I wasn’t told in advance that I would receive a mystery (or series of mysteries), so the first arrival was VERY confusing. Thankfully a co-worker who did know the sender, explained that I had actually received the 2nd packet prior to getting the 1st one, which is the one that sets the story in motion. A week later, I got the 1st packet. Overall, the process took 4 months to complete – and I live in San Francisco, so it’s not remote. I love the idea, but found the fake newspaper clippings and the letters to be un-engaging. It was a chore to read the longer ones! I wanted to like this more than I did. I’m not a fan of Lovecraft, so I was less impressed with the contents of the crate (a small statue of a hooded/caped figure – so trite and too goth-y for me) than the crate itself. I’m probably going to give the statue away, but keep the crate!
    I don’t know the ‘level’ of gift I received. I adore the sender, but the idea is so much better than the items sent!

  8. by Gift Giver whose surprise was spoiled due to this ridiculous review.Posted 19 September 2016

    Why are you spoiling the surprise for others by putting all the details here? I recently bought this experience for a friend who googled to try to find out what the mailing was and this completely spoiled it. Surely you could have used some code names or something to provide a review without ruining the surprise.

    1. Nothing in this review is a significant spoiler… Especially since the folks from the Mysterious Package Company sent us a hodgepodge mix of objects from two of their offerings.

      Even so, it’s a tiny portion of an early package.

      1. Well, rather than being a true mysteri about “The King in Yellow,” now my friend knows it’s just the first mailing in a series from the Mysterious Package Company. That pretty much spoils the intrigue. No longer fun. It would be better if you didn’t really use the name of the experiences. Well, maybe the name is not critical to all the experiences, but for “The King in Yellow” it is because pages from the play of that name are sent.

        Sent from my iPhone


      2. Wait… you’re angry at me because your friend googled the gift that you gave? There are tons of websites that explain the sequential package delivery nature of Mystery Package Company products.

        And “The King in Yellow” is a story that’s about a century old. It’s a freely available book.

  9. I found this review BECAUSE I wanted to know if these packages were worth it – what good would the review be if the reviewer didn’t name them? That would be like reviewing McDonald’s but just saying, “so, I went to a burger joint today…” not something you can find in a Google search. Thank you for this review!

  10. Well, thank you. I thought the concept looked amazing, but decided to check it out before being seduced. Now I think I’ll pass and wait for Mystery Right to come along.

  11. David, I just got the final mailing of “Under the Ceiba Tree,” and I am incredibly embarrassed to have spent $278 on such a huge disappointing “experience.” The trailer for the UTCT was the best part, and that part was FREE! I am writing up my non-spoiler review in the next few days if you’re interested.

    1. Sorry to hear it. I’d love to read your review. I’d like to review a few more of these, but they are so damn expensive and disappointing.

  12. This ruined the gift for my husband because it pops up on Google searches for Professional Logistics. I’m not sure why you’d post this much detail about something that is rooted in the fun of mystery. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it, but don’t ruin it for everyone else.

    1. This has been addressed many times in this comment section.

      If you take time with your mystery package, you’ll find this spoils very little, in large part because the Mystery Package Company messed up our experience. The photos aren’t even from the listed experience.

  13. We are in the process of getting these mailings. HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. My husband initially threw away the first mailing and I pulled it out of the garbage. When I get the packages now I just put them in a cupboard. We will revisit when the last one arrives. I really wish I hadn’t fallen for the great copywriting and instead did more research. We love escape rooms and I thought this would be fun to anticipate. NOT!!! I will not purchase from MPC again. I wish someone could make these work….it’s a great idea.

  14. I wish I would have heeded your review. We bought The King in Yellow on sale and also The Century Beast. After the first mailing – and you are right they are SO WORDY, we knew this was not for us. (there were no puzzles) We asked for a refund (or partial refund since we had already received a mailing). We paid $350 with the sale and shipping. They gave us a refund of $150. I am so disappointed with their customer service! I will NEVER again buy from The Mysterious Package company. Lesson learned. Listen to the Room Escape Artists.

    1. Mysterious Package Company does a lot of things well. I wish that they would bring on a game designer to make their product more dynamic.

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