Sherlock: Interactive Adventure Review

Sherlock: Interactive Adventure Review

This new iPad app brings Sherlock Holmes to life in the digital age, but only has elementary interaction

A Sherlock Holmes app made in Russia? It turns out that the quintessential quirky English detective is very popular there. It‘s also soon deduced that this is no point-and-click adventure but a digital retelling of the short story ‘The Red-Headed League’ with a few interactive elements.

For each page, the orientation of the device determines whether you get the book text shown below the animation, or just the latter full-screen with the text narrated. The interactive element is limited to panning around certain 3D scenes (others are preset or swipe-activated animations), or zooming in – with a magnifying glass, naturally – to search for objects. These aren’t clues, however, and there’s no way to influence the outcome of the story. Instead, found items are added to the Collection screen along with some interesting tidbits about them. Similarly, locations visited appear with info on a map of 19th Century London.

Key characters encountered are added to a dossier, starting with client Jacob Wilson, who is perplexed after being asked to join the mysterious Red-Headed League and spend four hours a day transcribing the Encyclopedia Britannica. Naturally, there’s an ulterior motive, resulting in Holmes and Watson travelling around London to solve the mystery. Ten of the thirty scenes are free, but you need to pay £1.99/$2.99 to unlock the rest.

The production values are certainly high, with great attention to detail. Highlights include a bustling street complete with horse-drawn carriages and a 3D, slow-motion action scene. Unfortunately, the app adds little to the original story, which you could read for free (in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) found via iBooks.

Rated 3 out of 5

Some very high production values and a classic story, but the limited interaction is disappointing.