Dispatch: Series One -“On the Run” Mystery Box

Okay so let’ start kick off this first post since forever with a huge apology to my readers and the wonderful folks who send me boxes to review.  It’s been oh so quiet here, because I’ve been oh so overwhelmed.  I started my great new job, but my days are super long and I haven’t quite yet figured out how to juggle them with this blog. (If you’ve got tips, I’d love to hear them in the comments!) Meanwhile, I’m working on it  and I hope to be able to find a good balance.

Now let’s get to the reason why you show up – the box reviews.  And today I’ve got one of the most unique I’ve ever featured: a monthly mystery box.  I know, you’re thinking “you have mystery boxes all the time”, but this isn’t the kind with surprise gifts.  Instead, you get to channel your inner Sherlock and solve a mystery.  Intrigued? I was too.

The folks at Breakout, who came up with those funky escape room games, started a monthly subscription box called Dispatch.  The boxes chronicle a mystery and send you a box of clues that lead you to online resources that can help you solve the crime.  Each mystery lasts less than a year and each box costs $24.99.

Series One is called “On the Run” and is described as follows:
“Murder, romance, scandal—this story has it all. Once you open your delivery, you’ll find yourself entangled in the strange disappearance of your closest childhood friend, who also happens to be suspected of killing his wife, a well-known heiress.”

 I’ve gotten two boxes in this mystery series.

BOX #1
Box #1 introduces us to the mystery.  Our childhood best friend is accused of murdering his wealthy wife on their honeymoon.
We’ve got a notebook, lots of cool little details like magazine clippings, a napkin with a handwritten note and a set of invitations.  You can follow the clues to Instagram accounts, websites and you can even RSVP for the wedding reception using the info on the invite.
  We’ve also been given a resource, “The Bailey Detective Agency” that we can contact for help.  Pretty cool, right?

BOX #2
 
For our second box brings us more clues that focuses on the deceased’s wealthy family’s interest in a mine and it’s subsequent mysterious collapse We’ve got letters, autopsy reports, a mysterious token and lots of paper shreds.

The materials even have details like coffee and blood stains.

Verdict: Hit!
I love the care that went into putting this subscription together.  A real handwritten napkin, Instagram accounts and websites, letters, email responses and a helpline.  There’s so much detail that makes this fun.  I think this might be a great gift for that retiree who loves mystery books or even a teen who enjoys puzzles.  The one thing I do wish, is that the mystery was more group friendly.  You have to read a long notebook and lots of lengthy materials, so it just doesn’t lend itself well to working with a group. Maybe in addition to the notebook, we could get a link to a online vlog that discusses the contents.  I think that would open this up to being a fun family or group activity. It could be a different spin on a murder mystery dinner party.  Unfortunately, as currently constructed, I feel like it works best as a solo activity.

How would you feel about solving a mystery via a sub box?
Fun? Or not worth the hassle?

BACKSTORY
Dispatch is a monthly subscription-based mystery that tests your detective skills each month with a new delivery of clues.

After subscribing to Dispatch, you will receive your first package in the mail. These physical items serve as an introduction to the story and draw you into this online/offline mystery. After that, you will receive an additional box each month with more items that further explain the story.

Your first box will be shipped immediately. Your 2nd box will be shipped one month later and future boxes around that same date each month.

Each story lasts for less than a year before a new story begins. You can cancel at any time.

COST: $24.99 per month

Freedom Japanese Market: April 2017 + Special Offer

Today I’ve got a really fun post I’ve been saving.  The wonderful folks from Freedom Japanese Market sent me their April snack box to review.  It’s got all sorts of fun and unique treats straight from Japan.  Plus if you mention Subscription Therapy, in your order notes, you can receive a free bonus candy in your first box!

Freedom Japanese Market sends you a monthly box of treats shipped fresh from Japan.  Most of the items are sold exclusively in Japan and boxes contain some limited edition snacks and candies that are only in Japanese stores for a month or two.  About a pound of candy and snacks are packed into each box and an itemized list with pictures is included in each box.

This adorable box was left out by my mailbox which my neighbors thankfully picked up before any of the local wildlife could get to it.

Inside we have a colorful snack guide plus an adorable origami sword.  Because these snacks aren’t available in the US, I’m not going to be pricing them out.

Now to the snacks!

Ume Paper
Description:
“Pickled plum in paper thin form – sweet and sour!”
Verdict:  Where’s the sweet?
Death people, this tasted like death.  Like if a Stephen King book turned into a fruit roll-up.

Mix Fruit Mochi
Description:
“Mini apple and pineapple flavored piece of sweet mocha (rice cakes).”
Verdict: Adorable!
I haven’t had a chance to try these yet, but they look adorable and apple and pineapple sound great.

Premium Umaibo
Description:
“Mozzarella and camembert cheese flavored puffed corn.”
Verdict:
  A cheese doodle on steroids
Imagine a cheese doodle made with stronger cheese.  Like almost but not quite stinky cheese.  Not bad, but nothing I’d go searching for.

Shimi Choco Corn
Description:
“Cute star-shaped crispy corn puffs coated in strawberry chocolate.”
Verdict:
  The strawberry is a lie.
I was so excited for these because no one loves artificial strawberry flavor like I do, but there was this strange sort of texture after eating these.  I can’t really explain it but it was so unpleasant and the strawberry taste was just odd. These were disappointing.

UFO Ramune
Description:
“Ramune flavored hard candy in four flavors: yogurt, peach, apple, and cider.”
Verdict:
  Sounds interesting
I didn’t get to try these but “yogurt” flavored hard candy sounds intriguing.  It can be either horrific or amazing, there really isn’t an in-between.

Nagewa
Description: “Beef consommé flavored ring shaped potato crisps are fun to play with and eat!”
Verdict:  Hamburger Magic
I had no idea what Beef consommé tastes like, but apparently it tastes like a hamburger.  Like a hamburger with ketchup and pickles on it and everything.  These little potato straws were like you took a hamburger happy meal and magically shoved it into an itty bitty crisp.  This was my favorite item in the box.

Teriyaki Umaibo
Description: “Teriyaki burger flavored tube of puffed corn.”
Verdict:  Beefy cheese doodle
Another ginormous cheese doodle.  I’m not sure I would have guessed this was “burger” if I wasn’t told.  The taste was savory but without being immediately identifiable (if that makes sense).

Caplico Mini
Description: “Strawberry flavored aerated chocolate shaped like a mini ice cream cone!”
Verdict:  Wafer-y goodness
This strawberry treat made up for the other one.  It was like a wafer cookie with lots of extra filling.

Pizza Umaibo
Description: “Pizza flavored tube of puffed corn”
Verdict:  MOAR GIANT CHEESEDOODLES!
This cheese doodle had that sort of sharp pizza flavor.  Not bad, but not something I’d look to eat again.

Umaka!
Description: “Ramen chips flavored like champon, a Nagasaki noodle dish made of seafood and veggies.”
Verdict:  Mostly non-distinct
I try all these treats without reading the card first, because I figure that will give me the most honest impression.  I was worried this one would have fish in it based solely on the angry face and the little prawn.  I’d eat one chip and it would be a pretty bland then I’d try another and it would have a faint taste of fish.  They were interesting but didn’t live up to the exclamation point in the name.

Kabuki Cracker
Description: “These delicious rice crackers are stamped with famous kabuki emblems.”
Verdict:  Crunchy and bland
I passed these over to my boyfriend and his verdict was that they were crunchy and pretty bland which is kind of a theme with a lot of the rice based Japanese snacks.

Un-Choco
Description: “Mini grape flavored chocolate balls in cute animal packaging!”
Verdict:  Look at that face!!
I didn’t even try these but I love them. Look at that cute little face.  I don’t know if it’s a koala bear or some kind of alien hybrid animal, but I love it.  Packaging wins me over every time.

Caramel Corn
Description: “A seasonal exclusive!  Sweet rare cheesecake flavored curls of puffed corn.”
Verdict:  Lightly sweet
These corn puffs were very delicately sweetened and I thought they were a nice treat.  They almost reminded me of a lighter version of the honey flavored Chex Mix.

BONUS!
Chewing Straw Candy
Description: “Straw-shaped grape flavored gummy candy.”
Verdict:  Not quite for me
Normally gummies win me over, but I’m not a huge fan of sweet and sour gummies and these had that cloying sweet and bitingly sour thing going on.  But someone who enjoys those types of gummies would probably love this.


OVERALL

Verdict:
Hit!
Now, this box normally costs $24.99, which seems fair to me for a box shipped from Japan with this many treats. I think this would make a fun gift for a teen or even someone away at college.  Even if the treats aren’t quite suited to our Western palates, they are a lot of fun to try out.  I always enjoy learning about different foods and cultures, even if at the end of the day they aren’t something I fall in love with.  The packaging on this sub is adorable and I thought there was a good variety of sweet/salty/sour.  The one improvement I could see with this box is that we received three Umaibos, but maybe instead we could have gotten  one or two and a different type of snack.

I think this is a really fun sub and if you love Japanese snacks or fun unique food items, you may want to give it a try.

Have you ever tried snacks from other countries?
If so, what did you think of them?

THE BACKSTORY
Freedom Japanese Market sends you a box of treats shipped fresh from Japan.  Most of the items are sold exclusively in Japan and contain some limited edition snacks and candies that are only in Japanese stores for a month or two.  About a pound of candy and snacks are packed into each box and an itemized list with pictures is included in each box, so you don’t have to read Japanese.

Club members can buy additional boxes and send them (to other addresses) as gifts or gift subscriptions.

Plans:
Puchi Pack – $14.99 per month:
(For a small taste of Japan)
★ 5 to 8 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
Original Pack – $24.99 per month:
(The perfect box of treats from the land of the rising sun)
★ 12 to 16 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
★ Includes DIY Candy Kit
Family Pack – $45.99 per month: (Snacks for the whole family)
★ 24 to 32 full size and sample snacks
★ 1 handmade origami
★ English content list with pictures
★ Includes DIY Candy Kit
★ Double the snacks without double the price

Discounts: You can create a 1, 3, 6 and 12 month renewable plan (longer plans have larger discounts) that will fit your needs.
Special Offers: If you mention Subscription Therapy, in your order notes, you can receive a free bonus candy in your first box!

Shipping:
Free Shipping Worldwide
You can cancel at any time without fees or penalties.