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Death at the Dive Bar review with Coach Troy

Troy Wellington
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Hunt a Killer: Death at the Dive Bar

Intro: In the To Hunt a Killer series you take the role of private investigators looking into a murder. In this iteration the owner of a small town bar has turned up dead. The local authorities have ruled it an accident but an employee and friend of the deceased isn’t convinced. It is up to you to look through the compiled evidence and find which suspect has the means, motive and opportunity to pull off a murder.

Components: The components of the game are a little sparse but nice. There are some professional looking memos, dossiers that include photographs of the suspects, various other photographs, bar implements such as a menu and coaster, my personal favorite is always the newspaper clippings, and many other mostly paper clues. One big component is a locked bag. This adds a physical tactile component that is pretty cool.

Pacing: While much of the deducing can be done in different ways there are a few that follow a path. This makes it nice that several players can be looking into different areas. But are then drawn back together at some big ‘Aha!’ moments. This can be done in one to two hours. Though with the easier difficulty level some groups may finish it much quicker.

Difficulty: This is on the easier side. There are a lot of different clues and information that look to clear some of the suspects as well as some that point you into the right direction. It is not without its twists and surprises though. One of which is in the form of a cipher that you need to decode. The
game does a good job in giving you a tutorial on how to do this in the intro. This adds a little variety to the game and may be the hardest part. There is also online support to help guide players if they get stuck.

How it compares:
This game works as a great introduction to this style of game. It won’t be as intimidating as a Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, or burn your brain as much and possibly tells a better story than some of the Cold Case or Unsolved Case Files. I do like how it adds some puzzle elements. This will feel familiar to those who have done some of the Escape room games, like Unlocked or the more tactile Escape room the game like The Werewolf Experiment. On the down side, as stated earlier, the components are more sparse and it is quite a bit easier than most cases. Also the price point may be a little high for a one time game. This is similar to all games of the genre though. I always suggest finding other groups that play and get into some trading.

Overall I do enjoy this style of game. This one is no exception. The game tells a nice story as you progress and the ending is satisfying. Sure there are a couple plot holes, but nothing that would completely derail the story. While the easy difficulty may be a turn off for some of the more hardcore players, I found it a nice change of pace while still having some challenging moments. It works well as an introduction to this style of game. The different escape room style puzzles don’t feel forced but fit in with the natural progression of the game. I would recommend this game to beginners and novices, or those that like Escape Room games as well. Veterans detectives may want to look for a challenge elsewhere
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