Style: Sherlock Holmes based online immersive game
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: 5/5 stars
Welcome to The Case of the Hung Parliament. You’re here to assist Sherlock (well mostly Watson actually) in solving the murder of the Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Lord Chancellor as well as a threat to the life of the Prime Minister.
Played through a combination of Zoom and websites, a group (there were six of us) work together to discover clues and put together the murderer, their motive and method. There are four acts – the first in which you investigate the victims’ offices (where they were killed), the second in which you work with either Scotland Yard or Forensics to discover further clues, you then interrogate the suspects and finally, work with Holmes in the home straight (sorry!) to piece together the puzzle.
The Watsons are a rolling team, and in our case we were ably guided by Ellen Lilley. Her style was perfect, setting out the rules and watching us go. I never felt too guided but equally never got lost. The rest of the cast don’t appear live – it’s all done through video clips. But there was enough interaction with both Watson and the group to make it feel fully immersive.
Like all such things, I suspect that who you play with matters quite a lot. In my case most of the group was a really lovely family, whose enthusiasm made the thing fly by. It also meant that I got to see people of all ages engaging in the game. It seemed that everyone was getting a lot from it and there has clearly been thought put in to making sure that it worked for such groups.
With games where you have a win/lose ending, I always ask how many people get the ending right. I’m told that this is roughly 60% (of which I am delighted to say we were a part). That seems about right to me. You want a majority satisfied audience without the game play being too easy. It was extremely satisfying to get it right.
Overall, this was a really fun and engaging way to spend an afternoon. The game play was impressive and the technology (largely) held up. Online gaming is not going anywhere even after lockdown, so it’s good to see the work being put in to making it work.
Given that my job is working in political journalism, the one thing I would quibble with is how rotten all the politicians were. It would be nice just once to see a politician who isn’t corrupt portrayed. But that is totally my own hang up and didn’t affect my enjoyment. Also on a very odd personal note, it was quite fun that I’m distantly related to a clue (though I can’t tell you who as it would be a spoiler).
Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure was engaging, fun and provided a lot of laughs. Fun for all the family – from those I was playing with today to my ancestors!