We Tried To Hunt A Killer With A Subscription Murder Mystery Box, And It Was Pretty Fun

These days, the subscription box market is chock full of just about anything. From toys, games, men’s wear, women’s wear, fitness, gardening, baking, and even cannabis. There’s something for everyone, for a reasonable monthly fee.

But what if we told you there’s one for the mystery novel or escape room enthusiast? Though there are a bunch of them out there, one in particular that struck our attention was Hunt A Killer. What the box gives you is part of a murder mystery involving the serial killer, whose identity, modus operandi, motives and the like you have to uncover across six episodes, or 6 monthly boxes for US$30 per month plus shipping, billed monthly.

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If you plan on signing up for Hunt A Killer, you can use our very own special discount code – “GEEKCULTURE” – that grants you 25% OFF your first box.

Unlike its contemporaries, what makes Hunt A Killer stick out is that its contents are actually spread out across 6 months, with a box being sent to your doorstep each month. But don’t worry — each box provides a piece of episodic content – a mini mystery, if you will – that you can take the time to solve. While a lot of these escape room subscription boxes are generally family-friendly, take note that Hunt A Killer does contain some mature content, so it might be good to steer children clear of this one, at least until they’re of age.

While each episode is essentially standalone in that you do not necessarily need the contents of each to solve the other, completing everything in succession adds more context and a deeper understanding to help you solve the final mystery in the last episode. The superb quality used in the materials help you to appreciate the amount of effort and thought the creators put into making an immersive narrative-based mystery experience. In short, the 6-month run aims to make you feel like a true detective with some well-made props and material to aid you in your hunt.

Without revealing too much, we’ll show you just what to expect in every Hunt A Killer box. Opening up the first of the six episodes of the Curtain Call storyline, you’ll be greeted with a slew of material, including an instruction manual on using the contents, instructions on how to confirm your findings, a contents leaflet, a notebook for penning thoughts and piecing clues together, a small enamel pin, and a curious envelope that houses the contents of the first episode. Note that none of these items don’t necessarily contain clues to the mystery itself. All the material for the mystery proper is sealed in the big envelope.

All the evidence you need to solve each episode comes from the envelope. Depending on the storyline, the material provided differs. It’s mostly a mix of handwritten and printed letters, pamphlets, telegrams, shopping lists, and even small props that resemble things like dropped-off buttons or cuff links, all of which are for your perusal and cross-reference to solve the mystery. It’s highly recommended that you give each article of evidence a once-over, and once or twice more against some harsh light, flipping them around or stacked on top of one another, for some added perspective in hopes of unlocking more clues. Even the instruction manual encourages this, and is a good way to get your noggin’ clicking. 

Though at first glance, the evidence doesn’t seem correlated, but after reading them at least once, we’ve found that it’s quite the engaging narrative. Of course, we’ll leave the details out so you can enjoy what’s in store for you. The print quality of the clues is superb, with newspaper clippings using material almost identical to that of actual newspapers, and dirt and all manner of human touch caking certain items (though without any trace of bacteria for any germaphobes out there). The writing is none too shabby either. From our experience going through Curtain Call storyline, which is set in 1930s New York City, the gritty, noir-style tone can be felt through the fine print, and even the way in which people spoke through firsthand letters. Not a single ounce of paper was wasted in engaging us, which is a good sign considering we’re paying quite a premium for mere pieces of paper.

As if the physical material isn’t enough to aid you in your investigation, there’s even an online component that you can tap into, specific to each episode of each case, providing you with even more material to cross-refer to. But consider this optional, as we’ve found that the episodes can be solved with just the physical evidence alone. The immersion one can get just by poring through the evidence is none too shabby, even if the ultimately the difficulty of the initial episodes aren’t the most challenging. But if one does find themselves stuck in a dead end, there’s a whole Hunt A Killer community on Facebook to tap into for tips and tricks on how to get past certain episodes without fear of spoilers.

Once you think you’ve gotten the answer to a mystery, you can email your findings to an email provided in the instructions. Whether you’re right or wrong, you’ll receive an automated email depending on your answer. If you’re wrong, the response email will encourage you to try again, but if you’re right, you’ll get a congratulatory message, and that’s it. As sad as it sounds, we guess you could consider the experience of hunting for clues to be the reward in and of itself. Also, once you’re done with all six episodes, there really isn’t much replay value, so it might end up in the garbage one day if you’re done with it and need to clear space in your home and make way for the next set of mysteries, provided you’re still subscribed after 6 months.

For US$30 a month for about half a year, there’s quite a good bit of content to enjoy in Hunt A Killer. Though the production quality is certainly up to snuff, we still ultimately think this is an acquired taste, as not everyone will be up for the mild time sink of reading and re-reading material to solve intricate puzzles and mysteries. But besides that, it’s not half a bad investment for half a year.

If you plan on signing up for Hunt A Killer, you can use our very own special discount code – “GEEKCULTURE” – that grants you 25% OFF your first box.

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