Lifestyle

This interactive mystery box is the date night activity you didn’t know you needed

It's actually really, really good

Hunt A Killer lets you play detective, unraveling a decades-old murder case. Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

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When you’ve been with your partner for several years, date nights can get a little predictable—there are only so many movies you can watch before you want to shake things up a bit. So when I got the Hunt A Killer subscription box, I was cautiously optimistic that it might be something new and exciting that my boyfriend and I could do on our weekly date night.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous this cold case mystery box would be corny or too simple, leaving us bored and regretting the purchase, but I’m happy to report that Hunt A Killer exceeded our expectations. In fact, my boyfriend keeps asking me when the next “episode” is coming, so it’s safe to say we’re thoroughly committed to solving the decades-old murder case at the Cadence Theater.

If you’re wondering whether Hunt A Killer is a worthwhile purchase, here’s what you need to know.

What is Hunt A Killer?

What Is Hunt A Killer
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

Each box contains a wide array of clues to sort through.

If you have no idea what I’m going on about, Hunt A Killer is a truly unique subscription box that costs $165 for a 6-month subscription. Alternatively, you can get one-off boxes for $30 per month, plus shipping, but I’d recommend getting the whole “season”—you’ll save money this way, and you’re definitely going to want all six boxes.

In your first delivery, there’s a letter from a private investigator, asking for your help solving a (fictional) cold case murder. Her letter gives you all the background information you need to get started, and then you can dive into the clues she’s sent along, which include things like police files, old letters, and even physical objects. Each month, you receive a new box containing more evidence and clues, as well as a specific goal, and it will generally take you between 90 minutes and three hours to sort through the contents of each delivery.

Each “season” of Hunt A Killer is composed of six boxes—referred to as “episodes”—and at the end of the season, you’ll (hopefully) have pieced together the puzzle and come away with a confident decision on who committed the crime.

Who is Hunt A Killer good for?

Who It's For
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

Hunt A Killer is designed for adults, and it's quite challenging!

The first question my boyfriend asked me when I told him about Hunt A Killer was, “Is it for kids?” The answer is no! This interactive mystery is designed for adults—in fact, the company gives it (roughly) a PG-13 rating, as some of the clues are a bit graphic (ie. autopsy reports) and certain puzzles are really quite challenging. You could certainly work on the box with your children, but it’s equally fun to complete by yourself or with other adults.

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Beyond that, Hunt A Killer is ideal for anyone who likes crime-focused TV shows, movies, or books. There are also ciphers and puzzles involved, so people who love a good mental workout will enjoy the activity, as well. I might be biased, but I’d also recommend Hunt A Killer to couples who want a unique new date-night activity!

A few other things you should know

Things to Know
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

You'll get a specific objective with each episode.

There are a few other things worth mentioning before I give you a more in-depth run-down of the Hunt A Killer box we tested.

First, in addition to the physical clues and objects you receive, you also get access to an online portal where you can view transcripts of all the documents. (This is quite helpful, as some of the handwritten clues can be tough to read.) Hunt A Killer also has dedicated hint pages if you ever get stuck, as well as online communities where you can discuss the box and get assistance, if needed.

While you don’t have to access these assets, the activity does have a few “mandatory” digital aspects. For instance, at the end of the first box, you have to send an email to one of the characters, so you will need an email address and internet access to complete the box.

Finally, while the boxes will be delivered once a month by default, you can go into your profile and request to have your next episode delivered immediately if you simply can’t wait to solve the case.

Our Hunt A Killer experience

Our Experience
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

We spent several hours puzzling over the clues in the first box.

I obviously don’t want to spoil this season of Hunt A Killer for you, so I’ll try to give our general thoughts about the first episode without going into too much detail.

Over some delicious pepperoni pizza, my boyfriend and I cracked open the Hunt A Killer box and delved into the contents. The first thing we noticed was that all the clues are extremely high-quality. The various items are printed on different types of paper and written in various prints to make them feel authentic—there was even one typed letter that was actually written with a typewriter! Overall, it definitely seems like the company puts time and thought into creating clues that will provide a more realistic experience.

I can’t speak to other episodes, but there was definitely a lot to read through in the first box. In addition to an introductory letter from the investigator, there was a long letter from the theater owner, notes from various characters, a multi-page autopsy report, and a full theater program. It took us around three hours to sort through everything, and we ended up taking notes on characters and the timeline of events because there was just so much information to process.

It just so happened that the last document we read was the one actually needed to complete the episode’s objective. It didn’t take us that long to figure out the murder weapon based on that sole document, and I was actually a little surprised that it was so simple. It didn’t use any information from the other clues, which was a bummer, but at the same time, there’s a lot of information in the evidence that we could tell will be important as the case unfolds. All that to say—even if you solve the episode quickly, it’s still worthwhile to go through all the evidence in the box, even if things don’t necessarily make sense at first.

After we sent our email to the theater owner, we waited eagerly for a response, which came within a few minutes. We weren’t disappointed, either, as the response wasn’t just a generic “You’re right,” but an in-depth correspondence that stayed true to the character and lent authenticity to the whole case. Color me impressed!

Is Hunt A Killer worth it?

Conclusion
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

"Hmm, yes, very suspicious," says Addy, dog detective and all-around good girl.

Even after just one episode, my boyfriend and I are hooked on Hunt A Killer. We were thoroughly impressed with the quality of the box, the complexity of the case, and the thought and care that went into creating a fun, immersive experience. My boyfriend keeps asking me when the next box is coming, and I have to admit it’s nice to see him so excited about something besides video games. While it’s tempting to get the next boxes delivered ASAP, we’re going to try to space them out so we can get several date nights out of the season.

That said, there’s no denying that Hunt A Killer is a little pricey at $165 per season. That shakes out to around $28 per episode, but the clues and evidence were so well done that I really can’t complain about the cost. If the episodes continue to be thoughtful and engaging, I think it’s worth the price—after all, you’d easily spend $30 for a date night at the movies!

Bottom line? Yes, I think Hunt A Killer is worth it! If you love true crime, mysteries, or interactive puzzles, this unique subscription box is sure to keep you engaged, and it’s a cool activity for couples or families who are sick of mindlessly staring at the TV.

Get 6 episodes of Hunt A Killer for $165

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