Vampire.Pizza Chapter 2: The Case of the Missing Vamp [Review]

Trick or treat?

Location:  At home (via delivery or pickup in Los Angeles or Philadelphia)

Date Played: October 15, 2021

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 2-3

Duration: Variable; about an hour

Price: $29 per player (not including tip or delivery fee, if applicable)

REA Reaction

Vampire.Pizza is a series of at-home games where dinner and puzzles are delivered directly to your door. Through paper game materials and online videos, Chapter 2, The Case of the Missing Vamp, continued the story of Belle’s vampire revolution.

A pizza box containing a slice of pizza, next to a red envelope labeled "Vampires Only. Mission: The Case of the Missing Vamp."

A year or so after Chapter 1, the concept of pizza and puzzle delivery still felt fresh. But after all the immersive gaming innovation during the pandemic, we were less excited to discover a packet of paper puzzles sorted into envelopes. The Case of the Missing Vamp probably won’t have much new to offer if you’ve already played some of the standout at-home escape games.

The Case of the Missing Vamp felt even easier than the first installment, so it may be best suited to beginning puzzlers or younger players. (This chapter is recommended for ages 10 and up, likely due to some allusions to the bloody realities of the vampire lifestyle.)

Now under the umbrella of Bite.Delivery, Vampire.Pizza is part of a system of collecting points which can be saved in a user account and redeemed for prizes. Additionally, for orders in October, extra prizes were delivered to the team leader’s home at the end of each game. These bonuses are a perk for players who value the element of surprise, but may disappoint those who were hoping to win an Oculus Quest. Still, the in-character prize delivery was the highlight of the evening (despite some puzzlement over the prize we received).

Between the pizza, puzzles, and prizes, the food was ultimately what we most enjoyed sinking our teeth into. However, The Case of the Missing Vamp offers an undemanding hour of eerie entertainment if you’re looking for an unusual add-on to your takeout delivery. This run of tickets spanned October 2021, but Bite may offer more opportunities to play in the future.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Pizza lovers
  • Best for beginners

Why play?

  • Pizza and puzzles in one package
  • Vampire lore
  • Mystery prizes

Story

Head vamp Belle asked us, as members of the Fang Force, to help find an old friend who’d gone missing. By reading Belle’s old journals starting in the 1910s, we needed to identify and locate this powerful ally so she could help lead the vampire revolution.

A folded letter, adorned with a drawing of a vampire's fangs. The letter begins "Dear Fang Force, I need your help to find one of the most brilliant vampires I've ever known..."

Setup

Vampire.Pizza is an immersive puzzle game available for pickup or delivery in either Los Angeles or Philadelphia. Each set of game materials comes with an individual meal for each player. Because we played during Halloween season, a vampire came back to our address to deliver a prize after the game. (Prizes are delivered digitally in Philadelphia.)

Though The Case of the Missing Vamp was a sequel, Bite provided a video recap of Chapter 1, and no prior knowledge of that game was necessary.

Compared to our experience with Chapter 1 in 2020, The Case of the Missing Vamp felt more basic. The game materials were mostly straightforward printouts that all fit into one large envelope.

Gameplay

The Case of the Missing Vamp was a play-at-home puzzle game with a low level of difficulty. Gameplay followed a linear path which involved reading the game materials and making observations, peppered with a few paper-based spatial puzzles. If we got stuck, we could call a phone number for self-service hints, but there was no time limit and thus no need to rush.

An envelope labeled "1910," a printed form cut up into strips, and a temporary tattoo with backwards text that reads "Vampire Class of 96."

We frequently returned to the team leader’s phone to move the story forward via texts, phone calls, and videos. Belle’s diary entries also provided significant backstory. 

At the start, we learned there were bonus puzzles hidden throughout the mission. We found enough to know the hidden puzzles existed, but couldn’t be sure how many there actually were.

Analysis

➕ The takeout/delivery format made Vampire.Pizza stand out from other puzzle games. The bonus prize delivery at the end was exciting (though we did question the necessity of making two trips).

➕ The game flowed smoothly, and we never got stalled while solving. In general, the puzzles felt embedded in the story.

➖ The story worked as a wrapper for puzzles, but it was hard to suspend our disbelief. The videos and puzzles all felt like part of a game, rather than actually immersing us in a vampire revolution.

➕/➖ Some players might appreciate the historical context described in Belle’s diary entries, but it also felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the experience.

➖ The game materials served their function, but the design and quality could have been more authentic. For example, the diary entries looked more 2020s than 1920s.

➕ We enjoyed looking for hidden puzzles to get extra points. We may never earn enough points to redeem them, but bonus puzzles are their own reward.

➖ We experienced some minor tech issues (specifically, loading the mobile website and voice-activated phone navigation), but nothing that slowed down the game too much.

A gold plastic scapula on a trophy-like base that reads "Best Bite."

➕/➖ A mystery prize is inherently exciting, but the box loses its mystery once you open it. When we opened ours, we were perplexed. Upon researching Bite’s #GetTrickOrTreated hashtag, the line between trick and treat appeared blurry—as it should be, lest the tricked players feel disappointed. Then again, teasing expensive tech gadgets as treats will entice some players, but disappoint others. Perhaps something sweet and individually wrapped would have been more of a crowd-pleaser.

➕ Gameplay aside, overall we enjoyed our meal. It was nice to have multiple food options (not just pizza!), including vegan and gluten-free choices. (Our order arrived via food delivery service, so freshness may vary.)

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: mobile device with the ability to send and receive texts, QR code reader, pen or pencil

Bite’s Halloween missions have been extended slightly past the original October timeframe, but tickets may or may not be available for future dates.

The lead player is the person whose phone number is attached to the order. Their phone must be present during the game.

The team size you choose only determines the amount of food. The game packet is playable by any group size (though ideally a small one).

Buy your copy of Vampire.Pizza Chapter 2: The Case of the Missing Vamp, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Bite.Delivery provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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