Sherlock Holmes and the Persian Carpet is a hidden object game–kind of.
Same as Mystery of the Mummy, this one came with the Sherlock Holmes game pack, and the Steam reviews were not good:
As some describe the mechanics similar to hunting for a grain of sand in the Mediterranean Sea, but a lot of reviews are people were angry it was a hidden object game. Luck for me, I’m in the minority of Steam users who don’t absolutely despise them.
In middle school and sometimes high school, I would go online to those casual sites like Big Fish Games and download the free limited time demos to keep busy. Think free mobile gaming before that was an option. I played the first few games from the Mystery Case Files series this way, and they weren’t bad. They were reminiscent of the I Spy book series with crowded rooms and crazy objects. Now we get a weird hybrid that feels a lot more like looking for your lost set of keys in every room of the house. The Persian Carpet takes the best and worst parts of both the adventure and hidden object genre and mushes them into something unrecognizable.
Let’s break it down, starting with the adventure genre:
- The game had a lot of puzzles. None of them were normal or logically worked into the game’s plot. Theywere thrown in without reason after finding certain puzzle pieces, but a lot of them were at least fun. Especially this decoded message:
- The objects you found belonged to suspects and were used as evidence. None of it was random. Finding ashes in a dirty garden might be hard, but it makes a lot more sense than if it asked me to look for a clown figurine.
- Although tedious, the deduction board was a nice touch. Here you take all the items you found over the course of the game and use them to link suspects to the victim, different rooms, potential murder weapons, and time of death. It reminds of those crimes shows where they break into a person’s apartment and see their walls covered in photos, maps, and red yarn. I’m sure the audience is supposed to find them obsessed and crazy. I’ve always wanted my own.
- While some of the puzzles are great fun, others are not. One is just like the review above described. You have ten numbers and five guesses to figure out what they are before the puzzle and sequence resets itself. Often with these puzzles, there is a strategy for figuring them out. Here I couldn’t come up with one. Another is that damn four ounces of water puzzle. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it plays off of the basic mathematical idea that two odd numbers always add up to an even number. You then must use two containers and one bucket of water to come up with an even amount of fluid. In this case, you use a 5L and 3L to make 4L. This puzzle is in every game. It was just in Mystery of the Mummy. I think I could solve it at gunpoint.
- They added in a step where you analyze evidence, but all that really means is you click a lot. You put everything under the microscope, and click on it. You aren’t looking for anything in particular–only clicking to pull out a smaller sample. Considering it’s primarily a hidden object game, it would make more sense if fewer pieces of evidence needed analyzing, but those that did had pieces of metal and skin embedded in them. More fun, less extra clicking.
And as for the hidden object genre?
- People play hidden object games in a number of different ways. Some want them as easy as possible. Some want the pressure of time, others the punishment of clicking in the wrong place. Here you get three play modes. I played on Casual mode since I wanted nothing more than to get through it and see how it was. This meant I got extra hints, no penalties for clicking everywhere, unlimited time, and several puzzle skips. The Detective mode gives you fewer hints and puzzle skips and time limits. Lastly, there’s Adventure mode. Where the first two modes give you a linear progression, unlocking a scene at a time, here you can search through rooms and put together clues in whatever order you choose. Looking back I wish I had chosen this mode, but I’m not really looking to replay this one.
- The rooms, characters, and artwork are ornate, detailed, and true to the time period. Frogware never fails at capturing nineteenth century London:
- A lot of the rooms felt empty. You look through a bedroom and a dressing room, both of which look the way you’d expect. This made searching much more tedious. Instead of looking optical illusions and tricks of the eye, I was literally grasping at pearls. Really, at one point, I had to find nine pearls hidden around a half-empty room.
- The usefulness of the objects found was fun but also a hindrance. Sometimes you were stuck since the order in which you found things mattered. You haven’t found that monkey wrench? Better stare at that screen for twenty minutes? And don’t worry. You will waste a hint since there’s a good chance the first thing it will show you is the place you already know you need to look but you can’t yet.
Overall, if you don’t like hidden object games, you’ll hate it. If like hidden object games, there are better, longer, and more creative ones. If you like Sherlock Holmes games, there are better stories. If you like squinting, maybe pick this one up.