Reviewed: June 27, 2008
Released: May 7, 2008
Casual games have come a long way over the years and are an excellent alternative for those seeking a not so time consuming way to relax. This is true of both your everyday busy body that wants something to keep them occupied in their down time and of people like me who do this for both business and pleasure.
Legacy Interactive, which got its start in 1998, has been making a name for themselves by developing and publishing quality casual titles for the PC and Mac. They are known for the Law & Order titles as well as Emergency Room and Pet Pals: Animal Doctor.
Having just finished up on the recent Sherlock Holmes adventure title, I found myself looking for another mystery based title to start. What I found came in the guise of Legacy’s newest endeavor, The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes for PC and Mac.
Let me first say that this title is not like any of the Sherlock Holmes released by The Adventure Company recently. Legacy puts their spin on the famed detective with the first ever title officially licensed by the Conan Doyle Estate. The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of puzzles that are played in the form of case files.
This title features 16 different cases with over 100 different puzzles to test your skill at. You, the player, must solve each puzzle with the help of Sherlock Holmes, Watson, Lestrade and even Mycroft. Not only will you work alongside the world’s greatest detective, but you will encounter over 100 different historical figures as well.
The object of each case is to ultimately find the culprit to that case’s crime or mystery. The case will vary from finding a missing brooch to a hidden will to several cases featuring death threats. But the means to get there will vary with each case.
Each of the 16 cases has a time limit in which you must complete it. Each case comprises of various rooms or locations in which you must either find the clue or find a number of items of that are on a list on the left side of your screen. The fun part about The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes is the addition of all the various puzzle types that are offered. Some of the puzzles in this title include Sudoku, anagrams, cryptograms, and even find the difference puzzles.
This make for a nice mixture of challenges and it keeps things interesting. I as a gamer become very bored with any game that reduces your actions to the same thing time and time again. The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes is not one of those in the slightest. I was pleasantly surprised on the shear amount of puzzles, some of which had me stumped for awhile.
As I mentioned above, the developers at Legacy added several puzzles within each case to keep things interesting. Throughout your cases there will be some object that Sherlock or Watson will want to inspect further before you go on. Some of these items will wield puzzles that are to some degree harder that most of the puzzles in this title. However fear not if you become agitated with said puzzles. I most case you will have a Skip Puzzle option available to you. But be warned, using these will reduce your time to complete that case by a fair bit.
There is also a hint system in place during each mission. They will come in handy in some of the “find me” puzzles, but you only have so many per case, so use wisely. You do however get a chance to pick up one additional hint by finding Sherlock’s pipe in case, but again it’s not always that easy to find. Also as an added bit of fun Sherlock’s hat is hidden in each case as well. Good luck finding them all.
Graphically, The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes looks decent compared to some of this genre. Honestly these types of titles aren’t really marketed to be flashy; they are made to be entertaining as well as stimulating the brain. I will say that the character images are pretty good for what they are. The famed detective looks a bit like Kevin Spacey, and their take on Watson is rather different but cool looking.
Usually upon completing each case you are presented with nice simple cutscenes of how the crime went down. It was a nice touch as I would rather see some sort of animation than having to read how it was done. The one thing that I did notice that kind of bugged me was that sometimes you could see the animator’s handiwork when it came to making the characters mouths move with the words.
The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes features a rather adventurous tune that is reminiscent of Victorian London and fits quite nicely into this title. The only drawback is that it is the only tune that I heard while I was playing. If there was other tunes I wasn’t paying much attention to them as I was too busy hunting for clues.
The voice acting was pretty decent although a couple of character voices seemed a bit harsh compared to the others, but all in all not a bad presentation.
The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes will definitely keep you busy for a while. With 16 cases and more than 100 different puzzles, I find this title a great deal. One of the things that sets this title apart from some of the other in this genre is the ability to save and exit a case at any time and pick up later at the exactly spot you left off at.
This is a nice touch as I’m sure many people like me hate having to do the entire case from the beginning just because you’ve quit the game. This to me make me want to go back and finish what I started. Well that and I’m a sucker for mystery titles. The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes retails for $20 dollars at most retailers.
All in all, I thought The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes was pretty enjoyable and challenging at the same time. I particularly liked the case of The Mystery of the Billiard’s Blackmailer and the case of the Death Card Devil both for their clever storylines. I recommend this title for anyone looking for a new challenge and anyone who is a Sherlock Holmes fan like me. The Game’s Afoot, hurry out and buy this one before it’s too late.