Updated: Oct 16
Photos provided by Crack-a-Nut Mysteries
Company: Crack-a-Nut Mysteries
Country: USA 🇺🇸
Type of Game: Puzzles By Mail
Date Played: 8/26/2020
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 6.5/10
Size of Team: Unlimited
Price: $155 US ($200 elsewhere)
"Double Major" is Crack-a-Nut Mysteries' first creation. This is our third game that we've played in the Crack-a-Nut Mysteries' game series.
One day, we received a mysterious letter. It was addressed to me but none of the content made sense and sounded more like a scam. A week later, I received a second letter with someone pleading for my help. Few weeks later, a box full of unrelated artifacts was shipped to me and this time, it seemed like I needed to dig in a bit deeper. We knew that this box came from a student in an university but what does he have to do with me and how were these items relate to the missing persons incidences around campus? Hopefully we'll be able to decipher these clues and find out the truth behind it all.
The first item we received was a letter. There was a few documents in there that serviced as the story build up tool. A week later, we got another letter in the mail. The week after that we received a large box full of items that felt a bit overwhelming yet exciting at the same time. Some intriguing items included a fortune cookie, a heart shaped paper weight, a journal, some recipes, etc...It actually really reminded me of the days when I was packing my items up from my college at the end of a semester. There was a bit of everything and none of them seemed to be useful but I hoarded them all. After the box, there was another letter that would give you some sense of direction on what to do with all your findings. Finally, you'll get a conclusion letter to tie up story.
The Game Play
We quite enjoyed this type of game set up. It got us hooked onto the story but didn't bombard us with hours of puzzles (well maybe except the box part). Each mailing served its purpose and eventually we were able to tie everything together. One thing we kind of got confused about was how we were supposed to play the game. Since there were obvious "surprises" included in the items, we discovered some prior to solving puzzles. When we actually solved some of the puzzles, we had already acted on the solution. Normally we're not good searchers but for some reason, we're just spot on with this "hunt". It did take away some elements of "wow" since it wasn't through solving an actual puzzle but it was still very cool to think of these concepts.
This game was full of ciphers. If you love to decode messages and search for hidden gems, you'll have a blast with this game. We had to use the hint system multiple times. There were definitely a lot of ciphers we haven't even heard before. It was a great learning experience for us. Since there wasn't not much guidance with this game in terms of what you should do first, we had many "duh" moments. At one point we thought perhaps we were suppose to light something up due to a correlation and almost set our apartment fire alarm on. Ops! Can you imagine the embarrassing moment when the firefighter comes into the apartment and we have to tell them that we're playing a puzzle game? So just in case this happens to you, I would definitely suggest checking the online hint system at least to make sure you're on the right track.
This game was probably our favorite out of the three mainly because of the similarity we found with an escape room (the searching, correlations and various types of puzzles). There was also more humor elements added to the game (especially in the journal). Personalization of the entire game with my name and birthday definitely earned a lot of brownie points. I felt like the story was written for me and I was a real character in it. We also enjoyed feeling much smarter after the game after learning so many different types of ciphers. We recommend taking notes especially since the packages come in separate times so it would be a lot easier to jog your memory. If you are computer savvy, this FREE online whiteboard (Miro) is great at helping you create a story board. It's actually quite difficult to pick a favorite because all three games are so different so probably it's best to just try all of them. Now that we've traveled around the world, solved missing persons mystery and even relinquished some demons, where to next Crack-a-Nut Mysteries?
(If you do decide to try this game, please remember to let them know that you heard it from"ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank Crack-a-Nut Mysteries for providing us with a sample of their game. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.