Wrong number calls annoy me so. But color me intrigued when that wrong number call ends up getting me stuck inside a missing person case. Tons of questions start cropping up – did I know the person who called me? Did they know me? And more importantly, did I have something to do with their disappearance?
In Duskwood, you’ll take the role of a John or Jane Doe pulled into a missing person case. You’ll need to navigate the complex social web between a group of friends and use hacking tools to crack open the missing person’s data to bring this mystery to an end and clear your name. Duskwood is available on both iOS and Android platforms.
As Duskwood is a mystery game, there may be spoilers here. I’ll try to keep them at a minimum, but there’s only so much I can do. Consider yourself warned and try not to read ahead of the episode you’re on.
This walkthrough will also be split into 10 – one for each episode of Duskwood. This way, you can navigate to the episode you’re on.
Note that Duskwood follows a linear plot, and no matter what dialogue options you go for, the story will progress anyway. However, the way you treat the characters can affect how they feel about you – treat them nicely and be polite and they’ll return the favor while being rude and brusque can make them more guarded towards you. Note that dialogues also tend to have a neutral response (such as staying silent) which does not affect relationship values towards any character.
Finally, there is no way to take back your choices, so to see the consequences of other prompts, you’ll need to play the game again from the start.
Before we get into the game, let’s talk about file decryption. File decryption in Duskwood takes the form of a match-3 game, like Bejeweled or Candy Crush. Unfortunately, the board layout is random, so there’s not much I can do to guide you here, aside from giving you a few tips.
First off, there’s no time limit. Take your time and measure your moves and make the ones that’ll make the most impact on the required score.
Second, spend your credits wisely. While you can buy extra moves if you’re out, it’s best to avoid doing this in the early stages, and above all, only buy the extra moves if victory is 100% guaranteed within those five moves. And there’s an even better option here – buy lives with your credits instead of extra moves. 5 extra moves will not save you if RNG is bad, but 3 extra lives might.
Third, use bombs and special cubes whenever you can. You’ll frequently run across boards that are separated by a gap, with special cubes being the only way to hit those areas. Matching 4 cubes in a vertical or horizontal set creates a vertical or horizontal bomb, respectively. If you’re unsure which way a bomb will detonate, look at the way the light extends from said bomb. 3×3 bombs are created when matching 5 cubes in a T or L position. Color bombs can be created by matching 5 cubes – a rare occurrence – and these will destroy all cubes of their color. Note that you can also combine two special cubes, regardless of color, to get a more powerful effect.
Lastly, it’s best to match near the bottom (or end) of your board. By doing so, you’ll have a much easier time planning special block creation and making big plays that can knock out a ton of objective points!
You heard me right – you don’t need to solve all the puzzles in an episode to continue. It’s highly suggested you skip puzzles that require a great deal of luck.
I can’t take credit for this, and I’ll freely that I got stuck for a while on some of these puzzles, even when using strategies to snipe the cubes I needed. Fortunately, Reddit user u/photohn has been kind enough to not only provide more tips on how to solve puzzles but has also listed which puzzles they recommend skipping. If you need their sage advice, you can find the Reddit post here.
Now, on to the mystery!
Duskwood Episode One
Episode one begins with a stranger, Thomas, texting you out of the blue, then pulling you into a group chat with his friends. As it turns out, Thomas’ girlfriend, Hannah, went missing, and the last clue she left was a text to Thomas containing your phone number and nothing else.
You’ll be introduced to the characters here, and you can either sympathize with their situation and offer to help or act disinterested. Either way, you’re pulled into the main plot.
The most poignant choice you can make in chapter one is your character’s gender and name.
Note that you can’t use a name of a game character, so you can’t use “Thomas”, “Cleo”, “Richy”, and so on. You can also change your name later.
After this conversation, you can note that Richy is either strange or nice, resulting in a different comment per response. More importantly, you’ll be pulled into a private conversation with Thomas, with the prompt:
Thomas: I’ll add you in a second
At this point, you should go back to your in-game phone’s main menu and switch to Thomas’ private conversation with you. During the conversation with him, you can press him for information, but he’ll need to leave soon to pick his brother up.
Once Thomas leaves, you’ll get a phone call from an anonymous hacker, who claims to be interested in solving this mystery. To that end, they’ll give you tools that give you backdoor access to private conversations between the persons involved (aka Hannah’s friends), as well as the ability to decrypt and open files in Hannah’s phone. Note that when you get the call from the hacker, you must accept it to continue the story – if you drop the call, they’ll just keep doing it.
At this point, the hacker will open the file decryption minigame. Once you’re done with decrypting the files you want (and please do as many of them as possible), Cleo will message you privately.
Cleo: “I’m on my way to work but I wanted to add you”
Pick any of the three options as you’re just acknowledging her. After Cleo leaves, Thomas will return, and you can continue where you left off. Note that his dialogue here depends on what you chose to discuss earlier. And as your talk with Thomas gets cut off earlier, you’ll be given the chance to ask the last question you weren’t able to before he left to pick up his brother.
Ultimately, the gist of your conversation is this:
- The message Hannah left Thomas with your number vanished from his phone, which is why he didn’t go to the police. Suspicious as it sounds, I chose to believe Thomas at this point – which will hopefully make him more cooperative down the line.
- Thomas understandably isn’t comfortable discussing the dynamics of his friend group with you. Note that bringing this up later in the game is a generally bad idea – prove yourself through actions, not words.
You can also assuage Thomas’ fears that he’ll look suspicious by going to the police to earn some more brownie points; the prompt is:
Player: “You’re afraid this’ll make you look suspicious”
Continue the dialogue, and Thomas will recap how everything first started. Funnily enough, a stranger added him and his friend group to a group chat but said nothing. Thomas sent messages to find out what the stranger wanted, but all he got was a single message: “Hannah is in danger”. Panicked, Thomas went to help Hannah, but upon arriving at her house, he found only Richy there and no Hannah.
The stranger communicated only once more, sending a garbled voice message claiming that they were a friend (and if you’ve bought the multimedia pack, you can listen to it). The stranger claims they witnessed the abduction and that they want to help. Thomas also mentions that the stranger was using voice distortion software to make their voice much deeper. Sound familiar at this point?
Speaking of the devil, Thomas will bring it up, and no matter what choice you select in the next prompt, you’ll establish that the hacker has already contacted you.
Before Thomas leaves, he’ll tell you how to access a person’s profile (if you haven’t figured it out already). This is important as it provides a way to return to previous information. On a side note, the Instagram links do link to the characters’ actual pages, and longtime players claim that you can occasionally find in-game freebies on those pages.
After Thomas leaves, your hacking tool will notify you of a conversation going on between Cleo and Richy. Cleo will note that Richy is acting much more sympathetic towards the kidnapping and the friend group than yesterday and will also discuss the possibility of you being the kidnapper. Richy will also infer that if Hannah had very little time to send a message due to imminent danger, the most likely scenario is that the number she sent (your number) is that of the kidnapper.
If you’ve made enough decryption progress, you’ll gain a picture of Hannah. Forward this to the hacker, and they’ll note that while it may not look particularly useful now, don’t discount it as details on pictures may be more useful than they first appear.
And while Richy and Cleo are suspicious of you, Thomas will return and realize that he could have done more to help you help him. He’ll upload more pictures of Hannah on his profile which you can check at your discretion – if you have the multimedia pack.
Jessy will message you privately – if you don’t remember who she is, she left the group chat almost immediately. Jessy will claim that she wants to get to know you better but warns that she’s both at work and will have to leave if she sees Richy – as he’s the boss of the place where she works, which is a garage.
It’s up to you how to respond to Jessy’s Q&A session but being friendly with her can help you down the path. Regardless of your choices, Jessy will see Richy and will have to put her phone down.
Switch out of Jessy’s conversation with you and spy on Thomas and Cleo’s texts. Thomas will tell Cleo that he’s uploading pictures of Hannah for your benefit, and notes that they didn’t elicit any response from you.
Switch back to Jessy’s texts. She’ll forget what she was about to ask you, and your text prompt will try to steer her back to Hannah’s disappearance; Jessy will respond that while she’s worried about Hannah’s disappearance, there’s not much that they can do and it’s in the hands of the police. Worst case scenario, they’ll end up throwing an innocent person in jail.
You can either sympathize with Jessy’s approach or ask her to calm down – I chose the former, which led to me thanking Jessy for being a breath of fresh air in their friend group. She’ll turn the tables though and ask you if you find her suspicious. You can respond with various degrees of hostility, so pick the one that you think will steer your relationship with Jessy the way you want it to.
At this point, you’ll decrypt an image of a cat.
Thomas will message you, asking if you’ve seen his uploaded pictures of Hannah. Respond the way you want, though I chose to say I have no idea who she is. Thomas will drop the conversation.
Go back to the hacker. They’ll note that this should be the third picture you’ve sent and that they’ll try to find useful information based on the photos. The hacker will also give you a lead: ID 47013. They’ll also note that the police are focusing their investigation on Thomas, so you should work on someone else.
Add 47013 as a contact by going to the upper right of the messages menu. Surprise, it’s Dan!
Dan will understandably be rather panicked by you getting his number. He’ll demand to know who gave you his number – at this point, you can stir the pot by accusing somebody else of doing it, or tell the truth (as I did) and say a hacker gave you his number. He’ll demand you leave him alone.
Switch to the private conversation between Dan and Jessy, where he’ll tell her that you texted him. Jessy will say that if Dan wants people to stop viewing him as the prime suspect, he needs to stop acting like it.
You’ll receive a phone call from an unknown number. Answer it. The voice will threaten you by claiming it can see you and will warn you to stay out of other people’s affairs. Well, that’s not suspicious at all!
Regardless of who you think it is, you’ll need to confront the hacker, just to ensure it wasn’t them (although why would they tell you to call a number then threaten you?) Of course, it wasn’t our friendly neighborhood hacker.
The hacker will point out that the most likely culprit is the actual kidnapper; you can challenge the hacker by asking how they knew it was a man’s voice, but I didn’t press this. The hacker will advise you to continue as before, and that the threat is a good thing, as this means you’re getting somewhere if the kidnapper is starting to act against you. You can also state the opinion that it was (and is) probably Dan, but without any hard evidence, there’s nothing you can do.
The hacker will conclude the call by warning you to not trust a single person in the group, and by saying that you’re doing very well so far and that the two of you can still save Hannah.
Answer Jessy’s video call. She’ll reveal that the police have found an unidentified female corpse and that she’s started a group chat with her friends to divulge this information.
To The Next Episode!
That concludes the first episode of Duskwood. If you need more assistance in getting through the game, head over to the episode two walkthrough!