Fred Jackson Jr., the co-owner of Do Not Not Donut was killed behind the counter while opening up the shop. You will assume the role of a deputized detective trying to finish the work of ace investigator, Detective Frage. Along the way, you’ll put the pieces together to reveal the crime scene, answer the lingering questions in the Detective’s Notebook, and choose the right pieces from the Answer Board to fill in the blanks and solve the case.
Completion Time: 4 hours
Date Played: November 2022
Party Size: 2
Fun fact about me: I love jigsaw puzzles!
Although, having been in the escape room industry for some time, I’m beginning to think that’s not so uncommon around here. Entering into the great unknown, hunting through a large amount of information, following your unique method for success, ‘competing’ as a team and ultimately solving the ‘puzzle’? It can sound a lot like what happens inside an escape room and I am here for it.
So when Hunt a Killer reached out about their new murder mystery jigsaw puzzle, I was intrigued. The concept wasn’t new, but I’d never tried one myself. Jigsaw puzzles AND solving puzzles?! Sign me up.
What is an Escape Room Jigsaw Puzzle?
In Whodonut, the gameplay officially begins when you open the box and spill out all the jigsaw pieces onto your table.
The jigsaw part, for me at least, was 99% of the gameplay, and took me several hours over a couple of days. Made extra difficult due to the fact you have no reference picture, your only knowledge was that it was a scene from within a donut shop moments after a horrific crime had taken place. By piecing together the puzzle, the clues would slowly reveal themselves and you’d be able to crack the case.
Except, on successful completion of the game, we realised some of the pieces were blacked out. Oh no! Vital information missing. This was where our detective notebook came into play. In Whodonut, the detective’s notebook explains the case and, at the end of each section, asks a question. The answer to the question could be found in the jigsaw we’d constructed, and gave us a single letter answer: A, B, C, D and so on. This then corresponded with an additional section hidden in the jigsaw box with push-in windows. For behind each of those doors were those missing pieces.
The goal is therefore quite simple: Answer the questions to get a letter, to push open a door, to get the missing piece. Rinse and repeat.
For sure, it’s not as puzzle-y as say, Ravensburger’s Jigsaw Puzzles (which, after playing this one I immediately rushed out to purchase as I wanted to experience more of this kind of puzzle and jigsaw cross-over), but it does provide many hours of satisfying gameplay. If you’re a fan of puzzles anyway, why not add a little murder mystery into the mix to make the whole thing more exciting?
Cracking the Case, One Piece at a Time
As mentioned, the gameplay split was around 99% of the time spent constructing the jigsaw and 1% of the time solving the case. For the first half, my player two flitted in and out of the game, occasionally helping to construct. As such, it’s a game best played solo or in a couple who have the time to dedicate over a couple of days. In short, just like a real jigsaw is.
Once the jigsaw was constructed, the game was over in a matter of 30 minutes or less. The reason for this was a combination of it being a fairly straightforward case, and having just spent so much time staring at the pieces, most of the questions we were able to figure out quite quickly from noticing small details.
We had a little back and forth, trying to decipher some nuance with exact wording in the notebook, but nothing overly challenging. Searching through the completed image was also a fun experience, as the scene is rendered in a beautiful visual illustration complete with delicious looking donuts… And a lot of blood!
The real question: Was Whodonut fun? Absolutely yes. I really enjoy jigsaws, and I doubly enjoy jigsaws when I don’t have a reference image, and I triply enjoy jigsaws when theres a final step after the final piece is placed in.
Hunt a Killer’s Whodonut was a delightful surprise that offered a lot of fun over a couple of days. They add their own unique twist to the “escape room jigsaw” genre and show off their strengths in creating a fun murder mystery that is also accessible to relative newbies to the genre.
Given the nature of this being a ‘murder’ mystery I wouldn’t recommend it to younger folks. There are some dark themes and even darker images that might just put people off their donuts for a while.
But overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another and give it as a gift to either the jigsaw lovers or puzzle enthusiasts in my life. Hunt a Killer have done an excellent job and I look forward to what else they make in the future!
To purchase Whodonut for yourself, head directly to Hunt a Killer’s website here.
Please Note: We received this experience for free in exchange for an honest review.