Mystery of the Missing Mare is a digital puzzle game created by Reality Break Escapes in Bellevue, WA.
Style of Play: light puzzle hunt
Required Equipment: mobile device with ClueKeeper installed, a printer, and scissors
Recommended Team Size: 1-2
Play Time: listed as about an hour, but likely substantially less for experienced players
Price: $29.99 per team
Booking: purchase from ClueKeeper, download, print, and play
This game is contained in a printed packet and played in conjunction with the (free) ClueKeeper app. When you solve a puzzle, you enter the answer in ClueKeeper. There is a light narrative, with several puzzles that give you clues towards solving a mystery.
Hivemind Review Scale
Peih Gee Law’s Reaction
This light puzzle hunt was very wholesome and clearly designed as a family-friendly game. The narrative was simple: help recover a stolen horse. The puzzles were easy, probably something aimed more for children or someone very new to puzzle hunts. While the graphics were nicely drawn, most of the puzzles felt a bit like grade school homework. Some of the puzzles seemed to require working knowledge of equestrian terminology. This is a good puzzle hunt for kids or beginners.
Brett Kuehner’s Reaction
- + Designed for family play, puzzles are suitable for young players and beginners
- + Horse theming is enjoyable
- + Most of the puzzles are constructed with clear goals and solutions
- + Variety of puzzle types, including intro-level logic puzzles
- + Fine-grained progressive hints are provided, walking beginners through puzzle types they may not be familiar with
- + Mystery/deduction framework provides a natural meta-puzzle to solve at the end
- – One puzzle has an obvious red herring/ confusion that is easily fixable
- – Page numbering seems to be incorrect in places
- – At a much lower cost, this would be worthwhile for beginners, but $29.99 is far too expensive for the content and playtime
Diane Kobrynowicz’s Reaction
The Mystery of the Missing Mare is a sweet mystery that will be especially appealing to horse fans. The puzzles were well designed and flowed nicely. They were simple and straightforward to solve. There was nothing here that would be new to an experienced puzzler.
There are two challenges with this game. First, the 21-page pdf printout is unwieldy and uninviting. There was one early puzzle that was particularly cumbersome and uninteresting. Beyond this, as fun as it is to use an app, ClueKeeper didn’t add anything that couldn’t have been done in the pdf. Mixing both was a bit confusing, especially in the beginning.
The biggest challenge is the price point. Had this been free, I’d have recommended it as quarantine entertainment. Given its cost, I can’t say the experience is worth it.
Sarah Mendez’s Reaction
Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this game. The commonplace whodunnit storyline doesn’t salvage the puzzles, which struggle between obvious and imprecise. The interplay between ClueKeeper and the printed materials is awkward because both compete to guide you through the game, and the ClueKeeper vocabulary was confusing to players unfamiliar with the app (“What’s a mini?”). That said, I wish I’d played this with my daughter instead of adult friends. The challenge level, story, and artwork might genuinely engage kids. So, while I wouldn’t pay $30 for this to entertain myself, I might pay $5 for an hour of bonding with my child.
Disclosure: Reality Break Escapes and ClueKeeper provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.