Captured LV Allentown – Murder of 89 [Review]

Retro Inspection

Location:  Allentown, PA

Date Played: June 25, 2021

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28.50 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I may be a 90s kid, but I still enjoy a good adventure back to the 80s. Murder of 89 began with an intriguing narrative premise: murder victim Roxy Warner suspected her life was in danger and, as an aspiring journalist, hid the secret evidence she’d uncovered behind an intricate sequence of puzzles in her bedroom. In order to fully win the game, we needed to not just solve all these puzzles but also identify the correct murderer and murder weapon.

A teen girl's bedroom in the 1980s, posters from various movies and bands cover the walls.

This game was all about the puzzles, hidden throughout various decor and toys you’d expect to find in an 80s teenager’s bedroom. There was a nice variety of puzzle types, and I particularly enjoyed a few puzzles which creatively utilized found objects. The room had lots of padlocks and minimal tech, though this made sense diegetically (and I loved that the story-within-a-story is that Roxy basically built a gen 1 escape room to hide her stuff!). The puzzle sequence felt a bit structurally aimless at times — especially since the game is fully contained in a small, static space — but a light meta element and incrementally revealed evidence about the suspects helped keep things anchored. While the set and props were fairly well maintained overall, I was disappointed to find an enticing ghost puzzle on a prop that shouldn’t be too difficult to modify or replace.

Murder of 89 did an admirable job of worldbuilding, conveyed with just the right amount of reading. It felt a bit like a physical embodiment of a tabletop murder investigation game. I’d hoped the evidence we’d accumulated throughout the investigation — compelling motives and purported alibis for our top 3 suspects — would get used for some final step of deduction, but the final puzzle, though fun and thematic, ended up being more of a straightforward puzzle. Nonetheless, this is a fun game for a lean team of enthusiasts or a slightly larger team of newer players.

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