Indie Spotlight Review: The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes (iPhone)
Nothing will give you a bleaker outlook on the future than watching two parents put all their Easter eggs out in the open because their child isn’t bright enough to look behind a shrubbery. The vacant look in the child’s eyes and the defeated slump of the parents’ shoulders say it all.
Don’t despair, now you too can feel just as condescended to as that kid! Just pick up a copy of The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes for the iPhone, and you’ll have a field day. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of field day where every little boy and girl goes home with a medal, no matter what.
The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes is your classic photo-hunt-meets-whodunit affair, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. Your job, as the erstwhile detective from Baker Street, is to search for clues in all the rooms of a mansion where a murder took place. Every room contains three objects which you must locate; some will provide information that will help you solve the case, while others are meaningless.
To solve the case, you must determine which suspect killed the victim with which weapon, and for what motive. Sound familiar? It’s just like the board game Clue, but with room replaced by motive so that it appears to be original.
However, instead of there being many different suspects, weapons, and motives, there are only 4 potential options for each. It’s sad when something made with cardboard provides more depth than an electronic version. Clue: 1, Lost Cases: 0.
As you look at all the items in each room, the game will outright inform you of the correct choice for killer, weapon, and motive. All you, as the player, must do is remember this information for when you’re done searching all the rooms.
Even in Clue, you at least have to figure out who the killer is by process of elimination. This game requires absolutely no deductive reasoning whatsoever, which is more than slightly infuriating for a title based on the greatest fictional deductive mind in the history of ever. Lost Cases dumbs down the detective work to the nth degree. Clue: 2, Lost Cases: 0.
The true mystery of Lost Cases is that there really isn’t more than one case. Every time you start up a new session, it appears that Sir Geoffrey Goodrich has been killed and Holmes is required to solve the case. All that changes is that there are 4 different suspects, weapons, motives, and rooms in the same house for you to search. They simply randomize those elements and call it a brand new case.
Clue may be the same case over and over as well, but at least Clue has multiplayer. Meanwhile, this game has only the same repetitive single player scenario requiring no discernible level of intelligence or effort to resolve. The game is always there to treat you like a special-needs child, pointing incessantly at the easter egg on the ground in front of you. Clue: 3, Lost Cases: 0.
While the art and photo hunt sections are executed well, you can see all there is to experience in this game in under 20 minutes. I completed three “cases” (three loops of the same case) in that timeframe, and what little fun I was having was done at the end. An advertisement in the main menu for the PC version of The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes 2 for PC was just the icing on the cake.
This game succeeds mainly in taking a tried and true formula with one of the best literary figures of all time and then murdering the fun factor by dumbing down the gameplay to a kindergarten level.
The killer? The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes.
The weapon? An iPhone.
The motive? Your money. ($1.99 to be exact)
Gamer Limit gives The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes a 4/10.