When I heard that CluedUpp the detective mystery app game was coming to my city, I bought a ticket right away! If you’re interested in playing CluedUpp, this CluedUpp review explains what it’s all about.
What is CluedUpp?
CluedUpp is an app-based mystery detective game that’s like Clue (called Cluedo in the UK) crossed with Pokemon Go. Using your smart phone’s GPS signal and map, you explore your city, solve riddles, and interview witnesses to solve the mystery.
You know that one of the witnesses did it – but whodunnit?
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Each mystery revolves around a different theme. Our was called ‘Sneaky Finders’ set in the 1920s with a Peaky Blinders theme.
Dressing up in fancy dress in the style of the CluedUpp theme for your day is encouraged by the organizers and is great fun!
What to expect before the day
I received a few emails before the day announcing the game theme, giving useful information about the start time, app, technical support and the email also included a link to a video introducing the mystery.
I downloaded the app before the day and forwarded the YouTube link to my team so that they could watch it can get their case briefing.
If you’re competitive, you may want to take part in some of the challenges for your CluedUpp event. For our event there were prizes for:
- The Fastest Team
- Best Dressed Team (best fancy dress costumes)
- Best Team Picture
- Best Team Name
- Best Little Detective (kid’s prize)
- Best K9 Unit (best dog photo)
What to expect on the day
CluedUpp start time
My group met at the starting point outside Sheffield Cathedral on 11th May 2019 at 10am. There was quite a gathering outside the Cathedral so other people had the same idea!
The CluedUpp official times for my mystery were:
Start Time: Any time between 10am and 1pm
End Time: You must be finished by 5pm
CluedUpp app setup
I downloaded the app ahead of time so that I could get it on my phone using my home Wi-Fi data. I didn’t activate it until I was with my group at the Cathedral. I simply entered the group code and I was sorted.
Then we did three things.
- Took a group selfie
- Added a team name (think of one in advance! Ours was on the spot and was rubbish!)
- Shared the app code with our team members so everyone could view the map
How long it takes
It took us about 2-3 hours to walk around and talk to all the characters and solve the case. We knew from the outset that we didn’t want to compete for the fastest time, we just wanted to enjoy the afternoon so we did stop for drinks and snacks. And we had lunch partway through too!
What it’s like
After watching your briefing video, you’ll open your map. You’ll see all the people on there as well as some spots for time bonuses and extra questions.
You’ll spend your time looking at the map and heading to your next person and then interviewing and questioning them.
When you get to a person you may need to answer a riddle or a question about the local area to get access to them. Get the answer right and you get access straight away. Get the answer wrong and you get a time penalty and still can’t speak to them!
Every now and then we got a witness and they ran away! We had to get to their new location before the countdown timer ran out. We didn’t run exactly, but we did walk pretty fast to catch up with them!
I won’t ruin the story with spoilers. But it was an interesting case and each of the characters had a pretty distinctive personality and role in the story. The videos helped to bring key characters to life.
The game was pretty good at making us suspect different people at different times and the answer wasn’t obvious within the first half an hour.
After an hour and a half, we had it narrowed down to three prime suspects and one item.
After speaking with the final people, debating over lunch and asking some characters our remaining questions, we were all pretty clear on who it was. We submitted our answer and solved the case! Our final time was 4 hours including our 1 hour lunch and time penalties for using hints.
What’s good about it
Gets you out with your friends
I loved that the app got me and my friends outside doing something fun together. That’s the best thing about it.
It’s a shared experience that you can look back on and remember.
Fancy dress is completely optional but is encouraged on the CluedUpp website. All the photos of people dressed up makes the day look like so much fun.
My group decided to dress up just for fun. We weren’t going for the best fancy dress prize, we just wanted to join in with the fun.
We felt silly walking to the event dressed up as characters from Peaky Blinders, but when we got to the starting point at the Cathedral, it felt awesome to see other people dressed up too and be a part of it.
I loved seeing people wandering around my city like they were from Peaky Blinders.
You feel like you’re part of a special club
As you walk around solving the mystery, you will attract attention. Hundreds of people wandering around in small groups huddled over their phones and gathering in strange places in fancy dress does attract attention.
It feels like you’re in on a big secret with the other participants and that is pretty fun. Of course, we shared what we were up to with anyone who asked. And we had some great chats with people too!
What’s bad about it
There was no CluedUpp representative present
A representative from CluedUpp was not promised at all as part of the sign-up process. However, I would have liked to have seen someone at the starting point from CluedUpp. They do offer support via email and their Facebook page for live events.
350 teams took part in the Sheffield event, with them all paying £36 each, that’s £12,600. They could have sent someone to the start point in a pink t-shirt with a flag or something just in case people have questions or need technical support. It would have made it feel like a bigger event.
From CluedUpp’s perspective, it would be great marketing from passers-by wondering what it’s all about.
Assumed order on the characters
When speaking to some of the witnesses, they said things like, “You’ve already spoken to X, so you know what I mean.” When we hadn’t spoken to that character at all!
It’s only a minor thing, but it happened several times for different characters and it pulled us out of the story flow.
The app eats battery
My battery went down pretty quickly during the day. You need to download some data when you first get to the starting point. The app even suggests that you are connected to Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi outside in a public place in Sheffield? That’s just not a thing.
Some characters also have video testimonials which use power and data to watch. To be fair you can read their testimonial too, but it’s not as fun.
It was really sunny for most of the day so we had our brightness turned up high. Having other team members with the app in read-only mode did help though. It meant we could give my phone (the leader phone) a rest, and use teammates’ phones for finding characters on the map.
What I wish I’d known before
You could have a group larger than 6
The website says that CluedUpp is for a team of 6 people. I wondered if it was 6 people because maybe each person had an app that worked collaboratively.
In reality, the 6 people limit just meant that only 5 other people could have the ‘read only’ view of the game on their phones. Otherwise, you could really have other friends tag along with you. We saw several groups of around 10 people.
Stop the timer if you have a break
After interviewing all the characters, we went for lunch to deliberate. We all had a gut feeling over who we thought did it but we wanted to check our facts (and get out of the rain that had just started to fall!).
I forgot to stop the timer on the app when we sat down to eat which added about an hour to our final time. So I wish I’d stopped it when we went for food!
It’s worth having a guess
If you guess and get it wrong, you only add 15 minutes to your time. Asking for a clue from a witness costs 5 minutes of time and to be honest, they didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. So for every 3 clues, you could have had a guess.
So you may as well take a guess.
Witness proximity and questions
After you’ve found a witness and spoken to them once, you can ask them questions again from any location. You don’t need to be standing next to them. We wish this had been clear at the beginning!
You can only ask each witness one question. We wasted some early questions not knowing this.
Conclusion – CluedUpp Review
I’d do another CluedUpp mystery game.
It was a fun afternoon out with my friends and it was a great experience to share with them.
See if there’s a CluedUpp event near you on their website. They run events throughout Europe, the US and Canada.
If you like live game events you might enjoy The Dark Room. A show where comedy meets text adventure games of the 1980s. Check out my Dark Room review for a peek into the dark.
If you like playing board games and want to meet more gamers near you, check out my article all about where you can find more board gamers near you.