Review – Nancy Drew: Mystery at Magnolia Gardens by Hunt a Killer
Website Link – https://www.huntakiller.com/mystery-at-magnolia/
Price – $31.99
Disclaimer: we purchased the game with our own money, this review is not sponsored. All thoughts are our own.
In Hunt a Killer’s Nancy Drew: Mystery at Magnolia Gardens, players need to help Nancy Drew capture a poisoner. Nancy has been incapacitated, so players will have to use her notes to finish solving the crime: finding means, motive, and opportunity. There is a fatal flora exhibit at the gardens, so who knows if the poisoner hopes to strike again?
Everything players need can be found within the box. Inside players will have clues and documents to piece together. These items will range from maps and letters to seed packets and postcards to much more.
Mystery at Magnolia Gardens is marketed for 1+ players, ages 14+. The game is advertised to take about 60-90 minutes. As a duo, we completed the game in a little under an hour
This was our second Hunt a Killer case, after solving Murder at the Motel last year. This had a very similar feel and gameplay style, except a bit more family friendly. There is actually no murder, but instead some non-lethal poisonings. Also, while Nancy Drew is the one who asks players to solve the case, her presence is never essential to the overall mystery and is more an added bit of theming.
The game’s narrative is solid. Between all the documents and clues, there is a lot of information for players to dig into. Players will learn a lot about the gardens and the potential suspects. The trick will be weeding (haha) through the information in order to find what’s vital to cracking the case. The available material helps make the suspects feel like fully realized characters. It’s also nice that the players get a little background and a small bit of narrative after the case is solved.
Most of the case will be solved through inferences and deduction. Players need to take what they learn to provide reasons why they might suspect certain characters and why they would eliminate others. There are multiple layers of information, so players should have a lot to explore if they feel inclined to do so. On the other hand, we also felt like we could positively identify the perpetrator even without delving into every detail provided. This should have groups of different skill levels feel like they can accomplish and solve to their appropriate desire.
As for actual puzzles, there are a few, including at least one hidden message and a combination lock to crack. The puzzles are on the easier side, but that should be expected for a game themed and aimed towards a possibly younger audience. It was nice to get to do some actual solving though.
Mystery at Magnolia Gardens provided a lightweight, single session puzzle game that should be fun for families or puzzlers of any skill level. This adventure is of a lower difficulty level, but is still work checking out.
Official C&C Rating:
Overall Fun: 3/5
Total Averaged Score: 3/5