The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes 2

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes 2 Game Poster Image
Great hidden-pic mystery game with some creepy details.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Folliowing Holmes's example, players learn never to jump to conclusions, and to make sure you have all the facts before ever accusing somebody of wrong-doing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sherlock Holmes always jumps in to lend a hand on a case, even if he's not being paid for it. He also smokes, though, so that's a mark against him.

Ease of Play

There's a well-constructed system for earning hints. Some of the puzzles can be challenging, but none impossible. The difficulty level is just where it should be.

Violence

Many of the cases are about murders, and in slideshow-style still pictures, we often see the before (a killer with a knife raised over his victim, someone being pushed off a ledge, etc.) and after (a person lying dead). There is one scene that shows a chalk body outline and drops of blood on the floor. In another still-frame story scene, a dying man writes a message in his own blood.

Sex

Love affairs are pivotal to the plots of a couple of cases, but they are only spoken of.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Tobacco is everywhere. Nearly every story features a pipe, cigar, cigarette -- something. A packet of Turkish tobacco is a key clue in one mystery, and players must reconstruct the torn-up package. There are depictions (in still-frame pictures) of characters holding these items in their hands, or sometimes actively smoking them. Holmes himself, of course, always carries a smoking pipe. Alcoholic drinks are involved in several cases as well, including mentions of characters drinking them.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes 2 sticks closely to the look, feel, and subject matter of the original Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That means Holmes smokes (as do many other characters) and gets involved in some disturbing cases -- many of the mysteries revolve around a murder. Young mystery buffs more accustomed to Encyclopedia Brown than CSI need to make sure they can handle talk about murders. Four of Doyle's actual Sherlock Holmes short stories can be unlocked and read in the game.

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What's it about?

THE LOST CASES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 presents players with a collection of 16 mysteries to be solved by the literature's most famous detective. These cases involves murders, thefts, kidnappings, hoaxes, and even a stalking. The main action of each mystery is played out through hidden object seek-and-find puzzles in which players scan crime scenes for items that could be clues. Many of the clues lead to other, more intricate puzzles that may requires players to test their memory, break a code, reconstruct broken items, and more. At the end of each case, all the suspects are lined up and, through memory and logic games, eliminated one by one until only the true culprit remains.

Is it any good?

The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes 2 stands out as one of the best hidden-object games around. Its lush, detailed scenes are truly beautiful to look at. Each of its 16 cases has a legitimate plot to follow (and often suprising endings). The hidden objects themselves are not only sensible items to find in their settings, but relevant to the stories; you're not just looking for random whatevers, you're really looking for clues. Many of the objects you find will trigger a word from Holmes about a suspect that the item you just found now implicates. The additional puzzles are also written into the plots -- decipher a puzzle to unlock a clue-bearing box, piece together a shredded note to find out who wrote it, etc. -- so that nothing feels forced or added just for the sake of having another puzzle. Well, except maybe the memory game that is used to weed out the villains from the list of suspects at the end of a case -- but that one-by-one elimination of suspects helps to build the suspense, so it's forgivable. The game is a truly enjoyable playing experience for mystery fans and lovers of seek-and-find games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which attitudes about smoking have changed over history. Many characters smoke in this game, but it is important to point out to children that these stories took place over a hundred years ago and that much has been learned about the dangers of smoking since that time.

Game details

  • Platforms: Mac, Windows
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Legacy Interactive
  • Release date: March 9, 2010
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Tobacco Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Violence

For kids who love puzzles

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