Paranormal Detectives* is a cooperative deduction game about helping your psychic friends to solve your own murder through obscure clues and baffling hints. It takes less than an hour to play, and it’s a spooky hit we keep coming back to.
In this article we’re going to help you decide whether it’s worth buying the game for yourself, and share some quick links to buy it if you decide you’d like to grab it. Full disclosure: If you do buy the game using our links, we will get a small fee from our partners to help keep the site running, but it won’t cost you anything!
What is Paranormal Detectives like to play?
In Paranormal Detectives, one player takes the role of a ghost who is trying to help the other players to uncover the story of their own death. To do so, they use a combination of 9 different tools as best they can to guide the detectives towards the correct answers.
These tools take a variety of forms, from a Ouija board that lets you create quick anagrams on the fly (which I’ve since adapted to use in my D&D games, it’s wonderful), to drawing shapes with wires and arranging tarot cards to draw a picture.
The ghost has a story card that tells the ghost how they died, who killed them, and generally weaves a story that they have to communicate to the detectives.
As a detective, you get to engage in a series of fun puzzles, using your character’s abilities to get different answers from the ghost to uncover different facts, and try to work out which piece of information relates to each clue. Each player gets their own dry-erase board for note-taking and assembling their clues, which is a really nice touch.
As the ghost, you get a really fun puzzle of your own – how to tell your story without accidentally misleading the investigators. Personally, I hugely prefer the ghost experience of Paranormal Investigators to the ghost experience of Mysterium, the obvious parallel, as each case has an interesting new range of things to take into account, and you’ve got something new to work with every time. Some cases are even not murders for a change!
How easy is it to learn to play Paranormal Detectives?
Paranormal Detectives is easy to learn to play, and should be fine for anyone from ages 10 up, so long as you’re fine with the themes of death and murder. The 9 different tools have different difficulty levels for using them effectively, with the and generally it’d probably be a better idea for an older player to take the role of the ghost, at least at first.
How much does Paranormal Detectives cost? Is it worth the price?
In our opinion, Paranormal Detectives is a steal at under £30 (about $38) from our partner retailer Zatu*, and while it’s hard to replay the same cases with the same people, the base game comes with a whopping 28 cases, there’s an app with even more cases, and you can even write your own cases quite easily. So replayability-wise, I honestly doubt we’ll ever run out of cases to play, and it’s definitely more than worth the price in terms of how much play time you can get out of the box.
The production quality of the game is top-notch, and it’s actually a little strange to me that it’s so cheap given the variety of components and the quality of the materials.
Similar games to Paranormal Detectives that you might enjoy
- Mysterium Park* is our favourite version of Mysterium*, which is an obvious game to compare to this one. Mysterium is more about abstract association, whereas Paranormal Detectives* is more deduction-focused. There’s definitely room for both games to coexist. We’ve even got another article if you’d like to take a look first!
- Chronicles of Crime* is another great way to solve cases together in a rich, app-led experience that’s totally unique to the genre.
- When I Dream* is a competitive party game-style spin on the single-storyteller style of game, for groups that are less into cooperation! When I Dream flips the format by making the single Dreamer guess the solution while the teams of Good and Naughty spirits try to guide and deceive them.
- Obscurio* puts another spin on the genre by adding a hidden traitor to the ranks of the guessers, secretly trying to lead them to the wrong conclusion, preventing them from ever leaving the cursed library of an evil wizard.
Should you buy Paranormal Detectives?
Paranormal Detectives is a cheap, high quality game that’s fun to play, and best with 4-5 players. While you can play it 2-player, we only tend to break it out with a group of people, because it’s just a lot more fun! If you’re OK with the themes of death and murder, and you have the people to play it with, Paranormal Detectives is a great pickup for your collection.
That being said, at least 2 of the tools used by the detectives do require the ghost to touch a detective, which can be an issue for some people. But it’s not the end of the world if that’s you – each detective has their own tools, and you can simply choose to play without those tools, as the game is more than playable with “only” 7 tools. The ones that require touching are… honestly not the most useful anyway.
Overall, we highly recommend Paranormal Detectives, and for under £30 on Zatu*, it’s almost a shame not to have a copy on your shelf for some spooky fun.
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