Reviewed: April 6, 2010
Released: March 31, 2010
App Store Price: $2.99
The game is afootÖliterally, and this time itís taking place on the new iPad. While Sherlock Holmes games are commonplace on the PC and just now making their way to the console, this is the first time the English super sleuth has appeared on the iPad and it is a significant update from the iPhone version that requires a magnifying glass to appreciate.
Sherlock Holmes Mysteries looks and plays fantastic on the large and beautiful iPad screen. Based on the recent Guy Ritchie movie (only in character design and the boxing mini-game), this mobile game includes a pair of mysteries in need of solving; The Missing Memento and the Case of the Innocent Man.
Gameplay unfolds as a sequence of environmental investigation for clues as well as frequent conversations with the various characters that inhabit each scene. Finding clues opens up new topics of conversation and talking unlocks new topic threads and new locations to explore. Itís pretty standard stuff by adventure game standards.
Searching for clues with the floating magnifying glass is enjoyable and even a bit challenging thanks to the strict time limit imposed upon you by the game. The conversations can wear you down a bit, especially since you are reading everything and the centrally located text window is inexplicably small, thus reducing the font size to something a bit uncomfortable.
One particularly fun element inspired by the film is taking Holmes into the fight ring where you can master the art of boxing with various taps and swipes on the touch screen. These QTEís play out in a first person view that will appeal to fans of the Punch Out style games, and those with excellent reflexes. Other cool moments that break up the conventional crime solving are lock picking and foot chase mini-events.
I love the look of this game from the obvious resemblance of the characters to Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law to the slick background design and realistic and detailed close-up when you move in for the investigations. The art and textures really shine on the large iPad screen and I can see this becoming a popular system for similar point and click adventures. The audio is minimal with some great music and environmental noises, especially in the fight sequences. Sadly, there isnít much in the way of voice work, which makes this more like an interactive novel than a full on game.
The game is a bit short with the first mystery mostly serving as your tutorial for the slightly longer and more involved second chapter. It would be interesting to see new mysteries appear as in-app downloads but Iím guessing anything in the future will be standalone.
If you are fans of Sherlock, mystery games, or reflex-testing button-matching boxing then you might want to check this out. Considering what most launch apps are selling for, $3 is incredibly fair for the gameplay youíll enjoy.