Uh-oh. Sherlock needs our help. Ok, maybe not our help, but he is inviting us along for the ride (and honestly who could say ‘no’ to Sherlock Holmes?)
Have you ever wondered what is going on in those funny little brains of the world’s only high functioning psychopathic consultant detective? Well, now you can find out–sort of.
In the mobile app video game, exclusive to iOS systems, ‘Sherlock: The Network’ invites gamers into Sherlock’s Homeless Network to aid the detective with solving various crimes throughout the city. While the concept of ‘The Network’ is a pacifier of sorts in anticipation of a possible two year hiatus. With Season three ending and no confirmation from the network on season 4, this game will keep your Sherlock palate wet while you wait.
Gameplay consists of 10 mini-cases and a countless number of mini-games that all lead to ONE BIG CASE: Who kidnapped Mrs. Hudson?! As a member of Sherlock’s Homeless Network (homeless people he pays to investigate clues and interview possible suspects when he deems it too conspicuous or dull to do himself) the player is recruited through a series of Face-Time messaging, voicemails, and texts. Sound easy enough? Sorry, you’re wrong. Yes, it’s nice having John, Sherlock, or Mycroft Face-Time you from time to time, but don’t forget you are working with Sherlock Holmes and nothing is easy when he is involved. You are introduced to your first puzzle early on in the game. Sherlock tells you to walk, take the tube, or take a taxi to the destined location. The game is based on a monetary system and the bank of Sherlock Holmes isn’t very generous. Walking to your destination is free, taking the tube is the second cheapest option, and taking the taxi is the most expensive. Now, this is the part where you may say to yourself “Well why don’t I just always walk to the case if it’s free?” Dearest reader, I thought the same thing. I thought perhaps I could walk to the various locations throughout the game and save my British pounds for cool game additives which would aid me in certain cases. I, like you at this moment, was wrong. Very wrong. Not only is the game based on money, but how much time you spend on a case determines your winnings at the end of each solved case. The kicker in some cases is that the taxi route is shorter than the bus route, and time equals money – we don’t want to keep Sherlock waiting, do we?
Mini-game coolness ensues when you choose the option to arrive at your destination via tube or taxi (walking will not prompt a mini-game). The Taxi challenge and The Tube challenge are games based on puzzles and spatial recognition. However, do not fear, if you aren’t good at solving puzzles based on spatial recognition after a certain amount of time the game will prompt you to move on to your destination consequently resulting in loss of money. Other mini-game coolness includes decoding (a la CSI), audio unscrambling ( a la NSA), and spotting ‘hidden’ images. Again, if any of the latter sounds difficult or catches you off guard the game will prompt you to eventually move on by telling you Sherlock can solve it for you (this means the Bank of Sherlock will deduct many a pretty penny from you at the end of your case). For the most part, though the mini-games aren’t your main concern. Enough with the nice and let’s move on to the more challenging aspects of the game. Sherlock’s Mind Palace.
The Mind Palace is the most difficult part of gameplay because you have to enter into Sherlock’s infamous ‘Mind Palace’–you know the memory device that he uses to solve all these crimes while looking like a schizophrenic mad man? The Mind Palace is the last level of every mini-case you solve in the game. That means there are ten of these bastards you have to go through. There is no skipping them and you have to use all your deductive brain power to remember every little piece of evidence you gathered throughout each individual mini game to decipher what happened to the victim (s) of your particular case
Remember that time when I told you that if you aren’t so good at certain mini-games the game will prompt you to move on? Yeah, well in this Mind Palace you are on your own. Seriously, I blew an hour and a half sleuthing why a soon to be married man got cold feet but was later found betting on horses at a race track. I mean seriously, what the hell?! Maybe he was a jockey and didn’t want to tell his fiancée or maybe he no longer wanted to get married and wanted to run away on horse-back or maybe the poor bastard forgot his wedding day? Let me tell you now that none of those is the answer.
(Hint: The things that can trap you in these Mind Palace levels are if you don’t pay attention to voice mails and text messages). Oh, and did I mention you can only solve a case using three words? For example, I was solving a case about murder, and the words to choose from in order to solve the murder were; Apple Juice, Church Bells, and Belles Pommes. I won’t even tell you how long it took me to solve that one. The nice part (nice is being used VERY LOOSELY) is that you get plenty of chances to work out your theory for the case and time does not affect how much money you will make for your homeless character. After a few cases and use of The Mind Palace system, you will become an adept sleuth detective.
Overall after you’ve concluded all the cases that lead up to the main plot of the story (who kidnapped Mrs. Hudson), you have carpal tunnel, you’re mentally exhausted, drooling (Cumberbatch on Face-Time!), and left wanting more.Although the game isn’t available on bigger platform contenders it provides intimate gaming interaction for fans of the series. As it contains a heartwarming congruent storyline between its main characters Sherlock and John, and offers humor and little bits of trivia about the show as you play.
‘Sherlock: The Network’ has just the right amount of challenging, frustrating excitement that a fan can have without rioting in the streets until season four begins. And who knows? Another game may be released in the meantime, after all, in the words of Sherlock Holmes “the game is never over.”