Puzzles are at the core of Adventure gameplay, they provide challenges for you to overcome with brains rather than brawn. For Action Adventures, they offer a break from the hacky-slashy-stabby-shooty element of title.
Every week I’ll bring you a new puzzle, drawn from some of the best and worst adventure or puzzle games I’ve ever played. Every once in a while I’ll even leave you one of my own for you to solve. If you do, I’ll find a way to reward you!
Yeah, you read that right. I’m no longer going to offer you one of my puzzles every two weeks. I realised I need a bit more time to come up with them. The first two I drew from one of my game ideas and I don’t feel comfortable to keep using those ideas here. If I do, I won’t have anything to put in the game when I finally get around to it. I’m also trying to work out the best way to write logic and inventory puzzles so they’re understandable.
This week’s puzzle comes from Victorian England, from the Great Detective himself.
In Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes series and starting with Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper, when you explore a scene and collect evidence, Sherlock and Watson will put the facts up on their Deduction Board. There is one for every case and every crime scene. By connecting the different facts and hypotheses together, you infer the many different solutions to a given problem. As the cases progress the boards will sometimes link together, increasing the overall complexity.
What I love about these puzzles is they make you feel like Sherlock more than any other one in the series. Going through the different options, making deductions and completing the boards when you find a crucial piece of evidence can be very challenging but they immerse you in the Sherlock Holmes experience. So when you hear that familiar “It is Simplicity Itself!” on solving them, you’ll feel great as if you had just cracked open the case with your best friend and trusty companion.
But there is a second reason I find these puzzles so appealing. They’re not just game mechanics, not just a challenge to overcome. The deduction boards themselves drive the story forwards and once they start interconnecting they help form a cohesive story. Instead of single cases, they become one big investigation, a larger story. The mechanics support and enhance the storytelling and I find that amazing.
The Sherlock Holmes series has amazing puzzles, including my usual kryptonite: number sequences. Have you played them? What are your favourite Sherlock puzzles?