Think you can solve a murder? Hunt A Killer has been giving us the chance to try for many years, and they gave me the chance to try their first-ever jigsaw puzzle mystery game Whodonut?
A copy of this game was provided for the purposes of this review.
I want to start by saying that I have probably more experience doing interactive mystery solving than the average gamer since my brother produces immersive theatrical mysteries. This mainly comes into play when I discuss difficulty.
The premise of Whodonut? is as follows:
Fred Jackson Jr., the co-owner of Do Not Not Donut was killed behind the counter while opening up the shop. You will assume the role of a deputized detective trying to finish the work of ace investigator, Detective Frage. Along the way, you’ll put the pieces together to reveal the crime scene, answer the lingering questions in the Detective’s Notebook, and choose the right pieces from the Answer Board to fill in the blanks and solve the case.
The game really consisted of assembling the puzzle and then solving the mystery. The instructions didn’t really say to do anything in a certain order, so I decided the logical thing to do would be to complete the puzzle before diving into the notebook. This choice greatly affects my overall thoughts and feelings about the game.
Let’s discuss the puzzle. It took 11 hours and 10 minutes just to complete the puzzle, with four people working on it in total. The puzzle had no reference image, which makes sense since it was the crime scene. I think what could be done is to give a reference sheet of what the scene looks like before the crime. That way we can have some direction versus the 11 hours of trial and error. It was such a big time suck that our enjoyment was steadily whittled away, and I didn’t end up actually doing the mystery (which I did solo) for at least a week after the puzzle was finished.
Now for the mystery itself. This game is labeled easy and I can confirm that it certainly is. I’d even say that for me it was too easy and I ended up solving it with the correct answer in under ten minutes. It wasn’t an immediately obvious answer and was completely logical given the evidence which is a good thing, but I had a hunch before filling in the missing puzzle pieces which just confirmed my thoughts. It was a little disappointing for something with such a long setup to take so little time to complete.
Now I wouldn’t say that Hunt A Killer isn’t worth it. I’d like to try one of their more difficult mysteries that doesn’t involve a puzzle. I don’t think the puzzle adds much, especially when out of 1,000 pieces only a handful really matters. Since this is their first time utilizing the puzzle I don’t fault them too much.
If this was your first time ever trying a mystery-solving game, then I would still recommend Whodonut? But maybe do the puzzle and discuss the detective notes at the same time so your time is spent better than how I did it. If you’ve already some solved mysteries in your gaming career, maybe skip this one and try one of Hunt A Killer’s more difficult games.
Have you tried an interactive murder mystery before? Let me know with a comment!