Update September 2022: Per Escape Kit’s comment, they have updated this game from the version we reviewed in 2020.
The Mysterious Murder is a print-and-play escape game created by Escape Kit.
Style of Play: print-and-play escape game
You need to be able to print double-sided, preferably in color. Also, for the “Print Both Sides” PDF, begin printing on page 2; otherwise, the fronts and backs will be mismatched.
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, printer, scissors, tape or glue
Recommended Team Size: 1-3
Play Time: 60 minutes
Booking: purchase from the website and play at your leisure
This game is designed to simulate the scene of a murder. To set up, you print, cut, and/or assemble a large variety of “evidence” that you then distribute to seven numbered locations within your house. You will spend time printing and preparing the game. To play, your team begins at location #1, solves the puzzle, and continues to location #2, possibly gathering additional “clues” for the mystery in the process. As the game proceeds, you collect information about the murder so that, after all seven puzzles, you can make an accusation. At the end, you check your solution on a website.
Hivemind Review Scale
Tammy McLeod’s Reaction
I played this with my kid who has played over 100 real-life escape rooms, but very few at-home escape kits. The puzzles are of varying difficulty levels, but will likely be too easy for experienced puzzlers. The clue card system is a little clunky, not least of all because there does not seem to be a way of getting hints when you are stuck. Compared to other play-at-home escape games, the price is high for the amount of content, but many other games don’t have themes that are appealing to kids. The art style is charming, however, and it’s always fun to handle physical “artifacts.”
Theresa W’s Reaction
The Mysterious Murder was a print-and-play game that took much longer to print and cut than it did to play. Scattering the various printed objects around your play area and setting up the atmosphere added to the experience, but for the amount of ink used and time spent cutting out and making props, the trade-off wasn’t worth it. I could see this game being fun as a replacement for a murder mystery party, allowing players to solve individually or in teams. The game does not need to be printed, yet without printing it would lose all of its charm. The puzzles in the game solved cleanly, but the level of difficulty was quite low with my team of 2 finishing in just over 15 minutes.
Sarah Mendez’s Reaction
I love this concept of being able to set up a pre-designed, minimalist escape experience at home with the option to embellish it with ambiance as much as I want. This idea feels flexible enough to entertain your family on a whim or to host a post-pandemic adult party with more elaborate planning. Given the same set of puzzles presented online versus scattered throughout a room or house, there will always be something pleasing about kinesthetically moving through a game.
Alas, this particular implementation disappointed me both in game mechanics and puzzle design. It was sometimes unclear when you had completed a puzzle and thus when it was safe to move to the next one. One puzzle suffered from a misleading color scheme that obscured the relevant information. There was no clue system, so our only recourse in these situations was to peek ahead at the game cards, potentially spoiling other puzzles. I can forgive a certain amount of troublesome logistics if they don’t overshadow the fun of the puzzles, but here the puzzles were often either too straightforward or too ambiguous. That said, I did enjoy weaving together information from throughout the game to solve the final puzzle, so at least the experience ended on a high note. Overall, though, this game seems logistically frustrating for a younger audience and insufficiently rewarding for adults.
Disclosure: Escape Kit provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.