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iPhone Game Review: The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes

Posted by: Tina at 5/4/2010 6:05 PM
I’m not sure when Sherlock Holmes became such a tame character. It’s become standard procedure to reflect his “intellectual” side in modern renditions of his detective stories. While that’s certainly not a quality to be missed, Sherlock Holmes has many other interesting angles to his personality that are usually left out in favor of content with more ambiguous age restrictions. Read on to see what the iPhone App Store has to offer in terms of The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes.



The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes is an iPhone game that sets you to a challenge of solving various murder cases. The problem, however, is that they’re not actually all that challenging. A diorama of a mansion – one that is used repetitively in all cases – maps out the architecture of the house for you to select a room to investigate. Upon visiting a room, and so long as you strike off all the hidden objects listed on the bottom of the screen by Where’s Waldo-ing them with a tap of your finger, you’re pretty much golden to bust the case. Sherlock himself will proclaim when a piece of evidence is deemed worthy and, therefore, is the missing piece to the murder case. There is no time limit, and no restrictions of how many guesses you are allowed. By the end of your “investigations” you’ll have ransacked the mansion in search of a murder weapon, motive, and suspect and be able to solve the case by selecting each right item according very simply to Sherlock’s word.

There is no scrutiny involved in this mystery game and, in fact, there’s no mystery at all. More over, each murder case involves the same mansion and the same victim. The only fluctuations in the story are in the pieces of evidence you are in search of, and what room they may be located in. Even the dialogue is fairly symmetrical, with minor changes in context to fit the specific murder situation in question. The only possible replay value is in attempting to beat your previous high scores by running through each case at a faster record. The game bores after two rounds.

Minus the lack of mystery involved in this mystery game, this image of Mr. Holmes has effectively been rendered trite. With such an interesting character to mold stories from, we only ever see this one perspective of a pipe-smoking genius at work. There is no character and no charm to either Sherlock Holmes or his aid and companion, Watson. Their interactions are forced, and so is your time spent playing the game.

While the idea of solving a mystery murder case under the ruse of Sherlock Holmes sounds quite appealing, the execution of this particular game involving the detective could have resulted in something more challenging. Perhaps even an additional gameplay mode would have sufficed in bringing out some distinctive quality to this application. As it stands, however, the game is lacking in all the qualities that bring gamers coming back for more.

The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes: Not Currently Available in US App Store
Gaming Nexus Grade: D