Escape game in a box
It’s been one good, one bad from the Heroic Adventures box set from Unlock so far. Our final game is said to be the middle difficulty of the box, a classic Sherlock Holmes murder mystery.
Mr Hall has been killed. The murder weapon: a statuette used to crack his skull. Your team of sleuths will assist Sherlock Holmes in his investigation. You start at the MORGUE, where the investigation’s first pieces of evidence and the body await you.
You’d have thought that a Sherlock Holmes game would have been the hardest but Unlock have created one deemed to be medium difficulty. The issue here is that the puzzles may be medium difficulty but the navigation of the puzzles is far from it. We found playing this game was very hard going. There were points where the links were obvious and you could make quick progress, but there were too many times in which you stared at a huge number of cards with no real clue as to where to go next. In fact, there was one point where we were completely stumped and the hints system didn’t give any clues as to where to go next.
The game is not just based around cards but there is a fold out notebook that provides as a kind of game board for the investigation. The is a nice change to the other games Unlock have created but it doesn’t save itself from being a game that overstretches itself way too far. At one point in the game, you end up with a huge amount of cards in front of you and it seems many are redundant by this point but you are never told to discard them. This makes the game increasingly more difficult. There are also some real leaps of logic that go too far and unfortunately make gameplay rather enjoyable for most of the experience. We wished we had been the murder victim by the end as we wouldn’t have to have lived through it!
The game is designed to look like a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery and it fits well within the theme. None of the design leaves any ambiguity when it comes to playing. It works well when you know where you are supposed to be heading. Here, it’s clear the designers brief was to fill out the puzzles with interesting illustrations with only a few of the designs really important for puzzles. It does what it does well, but it doesn’t save the game.
It’s not the best game from Unlock. In fact, it means that two out of three of the Heroic Adventures games are on the poor side. Insert Coins saves the trilogy but not enough for us to recommend the set as a must play. Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Thread of Murder has real potential but the only crime being committed her is the quality of the game.