Escape the Room: Murder in the Mafia review – A box of mediocre mobster murder.

I’m a huge fan of escape rooms. Since we got married back in October, my wife and I, plus a few family and friends, have done about 10 rooms across 5 cities. We love the immersion of the experience and putting together the clues to escape under the time limit. In their latest title in the Escape the Room series, Murder in the Mafia, the creators Rebbeca Bleau and Nicolas Cravotta, and publishers  attempt to deliver the thrills of an escape room through a box on your table.

Murder in the Mafia finds you walking into the office of your private investigation office only to find a dead mafioso on your floor. Mikey Malone was the chief enforcer for the local mob and it just so happens your gun is lying on the floor next to him. The goal of the game is to solve clues, find who actually murdered him, and prove your innocence.

With games like this, we don’t want to give away any spoilers, so let me give you a gist of the game as best as I can. The story of Murder in the Mafia is presented in a series of chapters. As you solve the clues of one chapter, you are allowed to move on to the next. The box itself cleverly unfolds to replicate the office from the story and is strewn with potential clues and items to solve the mystery of Mickey’s death. The story has you interact with items in a sequential order, but can implement items unlocked earlier in the game as well. As puzzles are solved, you will get a series of symbols to plug into a decoder wheel to confirm the solution. If the information matches, you can put a checkmark on the puzzle and move on to the next. At the end of each chapter, you will unlock a new character in the game that will add to the whodunit adventure.

The production value of the game is great. Having the box literally unfold into the scene of the crime definitely immerses you in the experience. The decoder wheel is also pretty high quality, if not a little fiddly. Sometimes the wheels would stick and make it difficult to get the solutions lined up properly. All of the unlocked components were well put together and the artwork fit the setting and tone and wove nicely throughout the game.

The gameplay was just alright. Some of the puzzles were pretty clever, but it seemed very formulaic by the end of the game. The two-hour time suggested limit didn’t bring the pressure one gets from a real escape room and our session lasted about 90 minutes. The story did have some fun twists and turns, but at times took some big leaps where we were left wondering how we got there. The locking mechanism helped keep the story linear, but I also think that what makes a lot of escape rooms great is not moving in a straight line to get to a solution. The inclusion of digital clues online are helpful, unless, of course, you are looking for an unplugged experience. The other question to ask is, what happens if we fail? It would have been fun to see an alternate ending for those who couldn’t complete the task in time.

Overall, this game had some fun puzzles, some great artwork, and an ok story to work through. I felt a little challenged but left wanting a bit more out of the experience.



Escape the Room: Murder in the Mafia

Review Guidelines

A mobster escape room in a box with great production quality and a linear path through an ok story. A fun experience for about 90 minutes good for intermediate-level puzzle solvers.

Dan is a newly married educator from Colorado. Growing up as an Air Force dependent gained him lots of new perspectives on the world and a love for making new friends, especially over a good board game. When not at school or playing a board game, Dan is probably at the gym or a local sporting event. Dan loves heavy euros, adventure, and living card games.

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