Unfinished Case of Holmes

8.1 Overall
Component Quality
Puzzle Design
Game Experience
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Unfinished Case of Holmes

  • Played August 2018

  • 90-120 minutes
  • 4-6 players recommended
  • $20-30 depending on retailer

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I dare anyone to say they don’t love a little mystery involving the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes! Like a traditional escape room, the Unfinished Case of Holmes is an at-home game that requires players to solve many puzzles. In order to advance, your team must successfully complete one puzzle before moving on to the next. As a team you are responsible for helping Holmes solve a mystery involving an unexplained death.

The game has you (in present day) exploring a case dating back to the Victorian era in London, England. With the blend of old and new you will need to use pieces of evidence that have survived over time and modern day technology. You will also need to download the corresponding app to successfully play this game. Make sure you are playing in a location with wifi and allow about 10-15 minutes to download and prep to play. The app is mainly used to receive instructions and to submit solutions to the puzzles. It is possible to play the game in several modes, including as a single team (the standard mode which was the version we played), against the clock, or in multiple team competition mode (for this version you need to make photocopies of all the clues and game pieces).

Our team was immediately impressed with the dossier style folder that the game came in. The paper used for the puzzle pieces and clues was high quality, making it possible to pass the game on to other people to play (unfortunately, once you’ve played this game you cannot play again). The graphics were well designed and the evidence pieces looked as though they were from the Victorian era. We did find it took a bit of troubleshooting to figure out exactly how to use the app with the game. Once we figured it out though, it was much easier to combine the two elements and it made for a smooth flowing game.

Our team was split on how we felt about the overall story of the Unfinished Case of Holmes. We all seemed to agree it was an easy to follow story but at times it was confusing how it would jump between past and present. Two players felt the story line developed well. On the other hand, the other three players felt they were more fixated on the puzzles themselves to note what was happening in the actual story. The person who read each step felt they had the strongest concept of the story (perhaps we were all bad listeners)! We did note that a little bit of music added to the app would make for a much more exciting, immersive experience.

The puzzles were all very different and kept the game exciting and not repetitive. Some puzzles involved decoding symbols, while others involved mathematical equations and even some origami, so they offered up a little bit of something for everyone. The nature of the puzzles took away the inclusiveness but they were mostly solved within a few minutes so it wasn’t that much of a problem. We did feel that this game would be hard for a group of beginners to tackle since the puzzles were a little more on the difficult side. It would definitely best be played by a group of puzzle enthusiasts, aged 18 or older.

The Unfinished Case of Holmes is a clever at-home game to play with family and friends who enjoy exploring complex puzzles. The game is a great excuse to work together as a team to solve a case that was explored by Holmes so many years ago. So put on your deerstalker cap, pull out your magnifying glass, and help Sherlock solve this 100+ year old mystery!

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