Sherlock Holmes Mysteries in Review – Elementary, my dear Watson!

As a child I simply adored Sherlock Holmes. I had the complete collection of works by Arthur Conan Doyle and later even read some of the spin-offs, though they were never half-as-good. The genius detective has been a hero of mine ad it always amazed me how he always managed to crack even the most bizarre of cases. And now, just in time for the release of the latest movie about the great Sherlock, Warner Brothers invite you to test your intellect in the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries.

It’s difficult to describe the genre of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries. It’s an adventure at heart, but has taken quite a lot from the CLUE board game, as well as several minigames that help you to acquire various clues and items. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The core part of the game centres around collecting clues and then matching them to an objective. When you do it correctly a part of the brain (lower left corner) lights up. As soon as all parts are lit, just click the deduce/analyze/solve/etc button to advance the story. You can get clues through conversations, picking up items and various minigames. Objectives are obtained automatically as the storyline progresses. The general view of the game is a first person 360 degrees pannable variety. If you tap or even drag the finger over an object or a character, an option with the possible action appears at the top of the screen. The issue with this setup is that unless you touch/drag over a hot-spot, there is no indication of the active objects – leading to a variety of pixel-hunting that can get annoying at times. On the other hand it does make you feel a bit like a detective.

As noted above, a substantial part of the clues are obtained through minigames. There are four of them in Sherlock Holmes Mysteries – Hidden Object, Boxing, Lock picking and Chasing – though the latter two differ in such minor details that to call them one and the same would be more than adequate. Hidden Object is probably THE main clue-gatherer. If you see an object with an “Inspect” action – get ready for some Hidden Object action. In this mode you have a limited time to drag the magnifying glass all over the screen to find all the hidden hot-spots and tap them while they light up.

The second minigame is boxing – and quite an original variety at that. It reminds me a bit of the scores of repeat/tapping games on the App Store, pioneered years back by Simon Says. You have to tap the actions as they light up on the screen to block or hit the opponent. Sometimes you get an uppercut hit where you have to do a swipe motion along the line. And as you successfully do this, the insight bar fills up, allowing you to trigger a sure hit move where for a limited time you can make repeated punches.

The last type of minigame is a swap tiles kind of game. Remember the board games where you have to rotate tiles with pipes/tubes in such a manner so they create a linkable path from A to B? (aka Pipe Mania) Well, this is essentially the same. Here you are timed with the puzzle and the tiles are obtained by opening and swapping them to make the desired shape/path. For Lock picking, it is made a bit more difficult by the necessity of tracing the path through tumbler tiles.

The graphics are very well done in Sherlock Holmes Mysteries, with pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D characters. The overall performance of the game is very good even on the 3G, but the switching from the overall view to a minigame or inventory (and vice versa) is accompanied by a frustratingly long delay. The worst part is that there is no loading screen or anything of that sort, which sometimes makes you doubt whether the game is loading or has simply locked up.

Sherlock Holmes Mysteries features a short tutorial case and a full-blown one with a total gameplay value of about 6-8 hours. This not bad for a $0.99 adventure game and I hope they will add new chapters with in-app purchases or separate titles. Even though it has its drawbacks, I really enjoyed the game and can safely recommend it to both adventure game fans and casual players.

With this I declare Sherlock Holmes Mysteries officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Sherlock Holmes MysteriesDeveloper: Warner Bros.
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$0.99App Size:43.8 MB
  • Solid storyline
  • Good graphics
  • Intuitive interface
  • Minigames for all tastes
  • Excellent value for money
  • Annoying pixel/object hunting
  • Frustrating loading times with no indication

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