If you’re the kind of person that loves a good mystery these subscription boxes bring the thrill of murder mysteries, escape rooms, and more, right into your living room, month after month.
While mystery games are popular for good reason, a much more inventive way of tackling such challenges is through the use of a subscription box service so you get a new mystery every month. With dozens of different services out there, we’ve narrowed things down to the six best.
Now, we appreciate that not everyone has as much free time as they’d like. So, we’ve looked at mystery subscription boxes that work best in one hit, as well as mysteries that work over many months by unfolding a small part of the story every month. There’s room too for particularly tricky challenges, as well as sets that can be played by the whole family. Whatever your interests, there’s a challenge here that you’re going to love.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite mystery and immersive story subscription boxes.
Best For A Six Month Run: Hunt A Killer ($25 per month)
Laid out kind of like a TV show—in that it has seasons of six episodes/boxes spread out over 6 months—Hunt A Killer lures you in with the unnerving idea of a serial killer delivering a package to your door each month. Yup, this isn’t for family consumption.
Each month, you’re sent a box of clues and it’s down to you to figure out what the heck is going on. There’s evidence, statements to read over, as well as more obvious clues to piece together. The first month also includes a detective’s notebook and you’re going to need it to write down what your ideas are.
Hunt A Killer is based around a fictional town, right down to offering up an authentic yearbook, and providing you with hand-crafted police records and newspaper clippings. It’s an impressively immersive world with a private Facebook group enabling you to group up together and discuss what could be going on.
Best Self Contained One Hit: Escape The Crate ($30 every 2 months)
Not all mystery subscription boxes have a bloodthirsty murderous theme to them. Escape The Crate is one such example. It’s an escape room in a box, basically. Each month, you and a group of friends can work together to solve riddles, puzzles, and codes, all in a bid to escape the virtual room within the box. Every other month, you’re provided with a different theme from science fiction style alien escapades to defusing time bombs or escaping from a pirate ship.
Because of the nature of the adventure, it works quite well with younger players so this is ideal for a family with young teens who are keen to solve puzzles together. Each session only takes about an hour and a half but it’s the perfect way to enjoy family time away from the games console or TV.
Crates contain a variety of different things including letters, ciphers, tools to help you solve puzzles (like blacklights), as well as some neat objects that you gain as a reward for solving earlier challenges. It’s a linear experience so once you finish it once, that’s it, but it’s a satisfying couple of hours. And it won’t be long until the next one shows up.
Best For A Mixed Experience: Murder Mystery In A Box ($30 per month)
Want to order just one box every now and then? Murder Mystery In A Box is the ideal solution for you. Just don’t expect it to be good for all the family—even the website is a little unsettling to look at! Each month, you’re sent a box full of items and clues that you need to use to conduct an investigation and catch the killer of that chosen month.
Usually, you get things like mysterious keys, profiles of killers, creepy photos, interviews with witnesses, newspaper clippings, and other items connected to the crime scene. Each month is different so it depends what theme the box is following that month, but we’re talking stuff like dog tags, poker chips, necklaces and so forth. It’s down to you to piece together how it all joins up.
Each month is an individual mystery so you don’t need to have prior knowledge of other boxes, however, they all occur in the same fictional town so it’s worthwhile sticking around. The longer you play, the more you’ll find out about the city of Port St James and it definitely enriches the experience.
Best For A Challenge: Finders Seekers ($30 per month)
All of these mystery boxes are meant to offer a challenge but Finders Seekers is considered exceptionally challenging. That means it’s perfect for those players who spend their lives muttering how escape rooms are too easy and rarely being challenged.
Each month, you get to explore different cultures around the world while solving puzzles, decoding cryptic messages, and uncovering underground cultures. Having a worldwide theme is a neat and original way of doing things. It means you get to learn about new locales as well as explore local traditions along the way. Unusually for a subscription box, you also need to do some traditional research away from it, i.e. via online tools. There’s a competition draw for those that succeed too.
Its international flavor means it works pretty well for all the family, but bear in mind that you’re all going to need to be pretty good at puzzles to not get frustrated!
Best For A Detective Mystery: Deadbolt Mystery Society ($25 per month)
Everyone loves a detective mystery, right? So, The Deadbolt Mystery Society is a perfect choice for young and old. Each month, you’re sent puzzles, evidence, and interviews to piece together just like if you were Sherlock Holmes himself. Each box is a standalone mystery so you don’t have to worry about committing yourself to anything long term.
In some cases, boxes contain interactive components but using your smartphone will do just fine. Most of the time, you’re good to go with everything contained within the box. It’s basically like a large board game all in one with immersive scenarios to be drawn in to, as well as some cool stories to learn more about.
Each month has its own theme with many of the themes being fine for teenagers so it works well for a family game night. Just keep an eye out on the occasional box that’s a little creepier (like one that features a sinister doll). You can also opt to choose specific past boxes to try out for $25.
Best For History Buffs: Madmen & Heroes ($30 per month)
Do you love to learn about historical events? And also love to solve puzzles? Madmen & Heroes is the subscription box for you. Each month, you’re sent a mystery that’s rooted in genuine historical events. You then have to solve a series of challenges in order to get to the bottom of things.
Each box contains things like artifacts, photographs, letters, and hands-on puzzles (of course!) with each of these tied into a real-life story from history. The boxes are self-contained so you don’t have to keep playing through them all but the more you solve, the higher your rank goes, and you unlock extra information to tie into the storyline. You also need a way to go online to solve some of the activities, plus Madmen & Heroes encourages you to research more on the ins and outs of the people your solving puzzles about.
While not exactly educational, there’s definitely a certain element of knowledge imparting here, so it’s a good way of showing your kids how history matters.