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Game Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament

If you’ve ever wanted to test your detective skills like the legendary Sherlock Holmes, then you can strap on your Meta Quest headset and experience Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament, available in the Meta App Lab.

Coming from Les Enfants Terribles and vrisch, The Case of the Hung Parliament is partially an escape room-style puzzle and partially a live-action theater experience.  You play as a rookie (or rookies if you are joined by up to three friends) from Scotland Yard who has been recruited by Sherlock and Dr. Watson to join them in solving mysteries.  Your first case is a doozy as three members of the British parliament have been murdered, hung in their homes, with the Prime Minister seemingly the next person on the list.  You need to figure out who killed the parliament members and why before the time is up.  To do this, you travel to the crime scenes, gather evidence, conduct interrogations, and make your best deduction.  You have a certain time limit in each segment of the investigation, like 30 minutes to visit all the crime scenes and if you don’t find everything in that time limit, you might be missing key evidence or information you will need later.  You have a magnifying glass in the crime scenes that beeps when there is something of interest and it’s up to you to decide if it’s important or not.  The interactivity is a bit lacking in the crime scenes compared to other VR games, as the locations are just a static environment and you are highlighting points of interest instead of walking around and picking things up.  You do interact later in the office where your evidence board is but it would have fun to actually pick up and examine the objects along with using the magnifying glass, maybe revealing new clues if you open them or rotate them to see a certain side.

All the evidence and information you gather goes to Sherlock’s office, where you can place it however you want on the evidence board.  This part really makes you feel like a detective as you can arrange the evidence however you want and start to make connections and assumptions about who the killer might be.  You also gather evidence from interrogating the suspects and one thing I didn’t realize that is important is that you can pin the suspects’ statements as evidence just like the objects you find at the crime scene, which I realized too late on my first playthrough.  The suspects, Sherlock and Dr. Watson are all portrayed with live FMV actors, who all do a great job of leaning into their characters and hamming it up if needed.  One disappointment is that the Dr. Watson segments aren’t really interactive and are 360 videos like you might watch on YouTube on your headset.  The other segments give you dialogue options and the actors respond based on your choices but you can’t ask or interact with Dr. Watson at all.  It would have been nice to maybe get hints or ask about some of the clues or suspects in between the various chapters.  The upcoming remake of 7th Guest in VR is looking like it’s going to put live-action actors into VR environments in a more organic way and it would have been fun and interesting if this was more like what that game seems like it’s going to offer.

I played the game solo but it seems like this would be a great party game where you can bounce ideas off each other and argue about who the killer is.  The team behind the game also offers a Zoom version that you can book where it’s fully interactive and live that seems crazy and you can look into that version if you don’t have a VR headset.  Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament is a fun mystery experience that is a bit static and less interactive than you might expect but it has an interesting case to solve and mechanics like the evidence board make you feel like a real detective putting together the clues.  You can check it out now on Meta Quest in the App Lab or head to their website for info on the live Zoom experience.

Where to watch Sherlock

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