The Game is On…Your iPhone – Sherlock: The Network Review

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Season three has officially drawn to a close. And yes, I do realize that was last week already, but I’m just not ready to admit to this yet, please let me live in denial just a little while longer…. At any rate, the season is over *sniffles* and Sherlock left us with a few questions, an unwelcome face (I mean welcome! WELCOME! Please fandom people, don’t hurt me) and wondering when our favorite sleuthing detective and his companions will return to the screen for rabid fan squeeing to commence. You’ve probably heard the rumors about the Christmastime return and as much as we all would adore such a short wait for Sherlock, that’s just a bit too soon for the level of quality we demand…I mean hope for… with every episode of the show. The good news is that they will be back and for at least two more seasons as indicated by Moffat and Gatiss. That means, if they keep to their normal schedule, we’ll have a few more years for our crazy obsession to be acceptable. It’s not like obsessing over a show that will never return so that makes us all just a little bit saner, right? (Just go with me on this one…it’s for the best.) Still, two years, one year, heck, three months, it’s all an awfully long time to wait for these guys to get back to work, so to keep us appeased (for a little while at least), The Project Factory and Hartswood Films has come out with a fun little app to fully immerse you into Sherlock’s world as one of his homeless network. I’ve been playing the game for a couple of weeks now and find it an entertaining distraction with some Sherlocky goodness that brings in some video and audio work from Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Mark Gatiss as they reprise their roles for Sherlock: The Network.

The game takes you through ten cases as you work toward solving the final mystery. The faster you work through each case, the higher your score. As one of Sherlock’s homeless network, you are given simple tasks to prove yourself competent and as you advance through the game, the cases become a bit more challenging. Each case takes you through London, hunting down clues and interviewing people as you work it out. You can travel by foot, tube or taxi, the latter two of which present some of the first mini-games to play. In the Taxi Traffic Jam game, you must slide the cars out of the way in order to get the taxi through the traffic jam (faster maneuvering, cheaper fare), while the London Underground game presents a bit more of a challenge as you arrange the lines by color with an interchange tile to change lines. This was a bit of a challenge for me until I reached that “Aha!” moment when I realized what the interchange tile thingamabob was supposed to do. What can I say? I don’t ride tubes or trains or anything with line changes. Also, I’m slow. Once you have that all figured out the next challenge lies in racing the train to the end of the line, as you aren’t always given the pieces you need when you need them!

Once you reach the destination, you are presented with more clues, some of which can be a little tricksy as you decipher codes, descramble images and decrypt corrupt audio files, among other things, each increasing in difficulty as you progress. You can skip the mini-games if they prove too challenging (or you get bored with them) after a set amount of time. If you do feel the urge to get all clicksy with that skip button, be aware that you may lose points you’ve accumulated which count toward your overall score on the worldwide leaderboard that links back to Facebook (don’t worry my paranoid pals, it’s optional…or is it?) If you’re anything like me, however, you won’t be connected and if you are, you’ll be at the bottom of the leaderboard anyway, so impatience will win out.

Audio Descrambling!

At the end of each case, you must head into your Mind Palace to decipher the meaning behind everything you’ve discovered. Here, as seemingly random words float in circles around Sherlock’s head like little birdies on cartoons, you pull out the words that connect to the case to solve it. With the correct clues, you are then given an explanation as to why those are correct (if you were, I don’t know, maybe just guessing until you got it right, maybe) and rewarded for your time and effort with some monies! Okay, so it’s not real money, but it does help you move through the game faster as taxis – the fastest method of transportation – require the most moola. Speaking of, if you see the green £ that means you’ve found money, so pick it up and spend it!

He's thinking agin.

Overall, the game is a fun little distraction to keep you entertained for a little while. I did work through the game fairly quickly (though not all in one sitting) and am working through it for the third or fourth time just to improve my score and kill time, so it definitely wouldn’t hurt to be a little more challenging or have a few more cases to solve. Some of the mini-games do get annoying as you work through the app multiple times (I may destroy my phone the next time I get stuck in traffic in that dang taxi) and at $4.99 the price may not be worth the amount of entertainment it provides. But for you Sherlock nutters out there, it may be just enough, as it offers exclusive new footage and voice work of your favorite characters and a couple extra little tidbits throughout. Ultimately, the choice to spend the money is yours, but if you’re a fellow fan of Sherlock and need a quick fix after saying goodbye for another indefinite amount of time, this may be just what you need!

You can find Sherlock: The Network in the iTunes App Store for your iphone or ipad and find more information at www.sherlockthenetwork.com!

Carrie Hildebrand