Tested: Crimibox

Posted on 2017-07-28

Last month a new home mystery launched their debut and we received the first version of Crimibox in our mail. Jimmy Cowé, Johan Cowé and Kelly Schrader from Aalst, Belgium are the people behind this new home mystery. They're escaperoomfans themselves, so that's where the idea originated. Since their launch they already sold more than 200 copies of their first murdercase. That's double of what they originally had in mind. So it's safe to call it a moderate success already.

On the Crimibox website you can read the backstory (in Dutch): Crimibox was brought to life in 2017 by the government to handle their 'cold cases'. These are cases the police couldn't solve. You can signup as a civilian and will receive the information (police reports, witness reports, evidence) about unsolved murder-, kidnap- and/or dissapearance cases. With your detective skills you might be able to help them solve it.

Our experience
This is not the first home mystery we play, so automatically you'll compare. One of the first things we noticed, was the quality of the material. This seemed a bit less than Puzzelpost for instance. This could be to cut costs (a Crimibox is only 25,- euro), but a bit heavier paper and a nicer cover for the dossier would do wonders! Aside from that the design is fine: simple and  clean, like you expect from a police case.

You'll also get an USB-stick and this grabbed our attention right away. This distincts Crimibox: a lot of the needed material can be found online or on the USB-stick. The briefing for the case is done online for instance. With help from the digital assistant you can start your investigation. The physical documents you'll receive make up the core of the story: what happened and who were involved? The investigation itself mainly happens on the computer. This worked great! The digital assistant can guide you a lot in your research if you want, but you can also ignore it and only use it when you need a hint. That's a great advantage and makes the game playable and fun for both beginners and enthusiasts.

In the end we thought the used technology was a big plus. It's also used to give the story multiple layers, which is great. For fast puzzlers there's enough to do, but for the curious who want to experience more there's more background story to discover than you'll think at first.

We do have another point of criticism though: we though the ending of the game wasn't totally clear. We went through the entire hint system to discover we already had the solution. The story didn't seem finished and this results in a bit of an unsatisfied feeling. This open end is intentional though: in the next edition you'll learn more about this murdercase. This sounds like a good idea, but we think the seperation editions should have a clearer purpose: what are you looking for exactly?

We also had a quick chat with the enthusiastic makers and the feedback they received so far is mainly positive. Apparently not all people get the entire backgroundstory though. They're going to give the people that ordered the first edition some more clarity on the case in the nearby future. There are also some nice plans for the future: they're thinking about launching a membership option. This will get you new information or a new case every two or three months. Sounds like a good Christmas gift right?

All in all it's great value for money and we can't wait for the next edition! We're curious and we would love to know how the story of this first case ends...

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