Saturday, November 9, 2019

A really bad Sherlock Holmes game

I always admire those better angels of the internet who strive to remain positive and not just spend their on-line time complaining about every little thing. And as a Sherlockian (or a Watsonian), one also wants to help spread the influence of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson by encouraging others to take part in anything revolving around our favorite detection team. So what does one say when one encounters a truly failed effort to create a Sherlock Holmes product, sold by a major retailer, that one would like to warn folks about?

"Truly failed," of course, is my opinion, and one might expect that there will be others who disagree upon that point for a work like a book, a movie, etc. But what about a game?

A game must be playable, must be enjoyable, must . . . like any mechanical device, because games do have mechanics . . . function. And I guess this one does function. The way it's packaged into a little square box is very nicely done, and it was fun to open and anticipate playing. It's $12.95 price tag is affordable and makes it an easy buy. But when you start to play it?

The cases that Sherlock is presenting John with, and that we are supposed to solve, seem to break down into a few categories: math problems, a classic riddle sort of trick, and insanely complicated tales that you are supposed to psychically predict with no evidence to get you there. 

The good Carter and I have a couple of puzzle games that we enjoy, which present you with problems to solve that can be horrendously hard, but are at least fair play puzzles. But when this game brought us the mystery of a woman whose brother disappeared after returning to his hotel room for the night, like he or his hotel room never even existed, and we were to somehow intuit that during the night the entire hotel staff found he had typhoid and arranged his disappearance so as not to hurt the tourism trade . . . well, that was the point we realized it would take us a marathon playing session to finish this supposed 30 minute game.

And since we were playing with our favorite FBI agent, who worked her way up the ladder from forensics, I don't think it was a lack of investigatory abilities that prompted our frustration with the game. (Sorry if that was a bit of a humble brag, but one has to be proud of family. Especially when they excel. But back to this game which didn't do so well.)

But, like I said, $12.95 during the Christmas season, Barnes & Noble, you might just see it as a Christmas gift. Just don't get your hopes up about playing this one. Track down "Moriarty's Web" instead. Oh, and since I'm trying not to be too negative, nor have the game's designer see this and get their feelings hurt by not mentioning its name, here's a mug shot of the culprit:


  1. The typhoid trick, as I recall, has been around awhile. The first I'd saw was an old b/w movie. It has also been used on t.v. and one version replaces the hotel with a cabin on a ship. So IF you saw one version MAYBE you stood a chance but... that's not playing fair.

  2. Wait - I've heard that story before! The whole Vanishing Hotel Room/Guest thing is in a bunch of different things, though I can't remember where I encountered it last...maybe one of the Veronica Speedwell novels? Anyway, not only was it waay too hard, but the story is swiped! Shame, game. SHAME.