Updated: 4 days ago
Photos provided by Unsolved Case Files
Company: Unsolved Case Files
Country: USA 🇺🇸
Type of Game: Murder Mystery By Mail
Date Played: 7/18/2020
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 5/10
Size of Team: Unlimited
As many of you probably know by now I'm a big fan of CSI/Criminal Minds type of show and at one point in my life I seriously considered about becoming a detective. Of course that didn't happen. But I was so excited when I received "Unsolved Case Files" in the mail as it was about to fulfill one of my childhood fantasies.
Harmony Ashcroft - Case: A03-05081998
This case dated back to May 8th, 1998. Harmony was killed during her own wedding rehearsal dinner in Riverdale, Indiana. There were many suspects but Bones McBride ended up taking the blame for her murder. He's been in jail for 2 decades now waiting for someone to proof his innocence.
The packaging looked really professional. The "evidence" bag was sealed tight like what you see in the movies but in much better condition. We even hesitated on opening it because it was so pretty. Their press kit photos looked exactly like the product you'll receive (if you look below, you probably can't tell which ones are their press kit photos and which ones are ours). All the items were placed in a manila folder named "Unsolved Case Files". You'll get "a case file inventory list" which will list out all the items in the game: evidence report, newspaper articles, coroner's report, finger print, map, witness statements, police interrogations, suspect photos, victim photo, crime scene photos, witness photos, bonus envelope A/B/C, etc. Everything felt really authentic. All the photos were printed on glossy photo paper and different types of reports were printed on various colored papers. It'll be a good idea to have a pen and paper to take notes while reading through all the materials. You'll also need internet to confirm answers on their designated website.
The Game Play
We really liked how organized the game was. When you open the folder, you'll see a clear instruction on what your objective was on the left side. Our suggest for your first step would be organize the different types of files together and check them off against the "case file inventory list". This way if there was anything missing, you'll be able to retrieve it from their website. We didn't have anything missing from our package but just in case you probably don't want any interruptions during the game play.
The creator did a great job at painting the story for us. We haven't played a murder mystery game that was so thorough with details. Having photos of people, places and objects really helped to string the event together. Even though there were close to about 15 characters presented in the story, we were never confused or lost in terms of who's who. The photos also felt like they were carefully chosen or acted out by professional actors as the story behind their character were perfectly represented by their facial expressions. It was easy to sort one group of people together that knew each other from the alibis and other information provided since everything that was mentioned had a photo for association.
Brandon's usually not really into games with too much reading involved. Whenever he seems words, he pretty much throws that puzzle to me. I was shocked to see how much he enjoyed reading the stories from each character from this game. He even changed his tone of voice to act out the different dialects between the suspects and the detective. A lot of that had to be contributed to the way these stories were written. There were definitely lot of humor embedded in the skits. Watching him act it out made me chuckle a few times. My favorite moment was when he yelled: " I told you so!" And I responded with: "You were suspicious about all of them, I'm pretty sure you were going to get one correct, eventually...".
Our "wow" moment came later on during the game play when we thought we were done with the case. The twist was very "spicy". Although Brandon used his "I told you so again", I really didn't think he saw that coming. It was just like watching a movie and you were wondering if there's going to be a sequel. This was when your bonus envelopes came into play but definitely DO NOT OPEN them until you were instructed to do so.
As puzzle lovers, we usually wouldn't feel satisfied after just one type of "puzzle" throughout the entire game (in this case deductive reasoning to find the killer). But, we really enjoyed "Unsolved Case Files". If you are the type of player who can open up your mind and let yourself be immersed into an imaginary "stage" then this performance will be delightful. If you are mainly looking for continuous puzzling, this might not satisfy your urges. We've been playing a lot of online games lately due to COVID and our mindsets have definitely been trained by these "stay at home" games to visualize stories and games in a remote way like never before. We feel like game developers have also been expanding their creative worlds and we can't wait to explore new grounds with them and unlock more unsolved cases!
(If you do decide to try this game, please remember to let them know that you heard it from"ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank Unsolved Case Files 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.