Update 6/22/21: If you enjoy Sherlock The Game is Now, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creative director Nick Moran on The Reality Escape Pod.
“You look but you do not see.”
Location: London, England
Date Played: May 5, 2019
Team size: 4-6; we recommend 3-4
Duration: 100 minutes
Price: £54 per player
Ticketing: Private or Public
Emergency Exit Rating: meets amusement park code
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Sherlock: The Game is Now carried a lot of hype:
- It was made in partnership with Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue, and Mark Gatiss, the writers and producers of the BBC’s Sherlock.
- Sherlock: The Game is Now featured audio and video performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, and Andrew Scott, the show’s Sherlock, Watson, Mycroft, and Moriarty.
- The entire experience was “Presented by Time Run,” one of the most impressive escape room companies that we’ve had the fortune of visiting.
- There are 5 copies of Sherlock: The Game is Now built within a 17,000-square-foot facility.
- At £54 per ticket (approximately $71 US when we played), Sherlock: The Game is Now is almost certainly the most expensive escape room on earth as of publication.
With all of that in mind, Sherlock: The Game is Now is a fantastic experience if – and only if – you are a fan of Sherlock.
You have to be excited to spend a couple of minutes hanging out in 221B Baker Street. You must look forward to having Sherlock and Mycroft condescend to you for 75 minutes. To enjoy The Game is Now, you have to be eager to step into the world of the show.
Sherlock: The Game is Now stood out for us because of 3 key factors:
- the amount of worldbuilding
- the Sherlock-esque deduction
- Andrew Scott’s performance as Moriarty, which stole the show
All of this boiled down to an appreciation of the world of Sherlock.
If you’re just a fan of escape rooms or you saw the show a few years ago and kind of enjoyed it… or kind of remember it… The Game is Now is just a very fancy, very expensive escape game. The stuff that made it special will fall flat for you.
Similarly, if you were a diehard fan of Time Run and you’re eager to play the third Time Run game, this won’t be it. This was something different. It was not necessarily worse, but it served a different purpose for a different audience.
Go play Sherlock: The Game is Now if you love the show or you want to see big-budget immersive fan service done well. Make sure you leave plenty of time to hang out in the bar after the game.
Brush up on Sherlock season 1, episodes 1 & 3 and season 2, episodes 1 & 3 before you visit this game. You’ll want to have a strong grasp of the story and characters.
Who is this for?
- Fans of the BBC’s Sherlock
- Adventure seekers
- Story seekers
- Scenery snobs
- Players with at least some experience
- Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
- Great performances from the show’s original cast
- To hang out in 221B Baker Street
- Detailed sets in a physically massive game
- The deduction puzzle
- Andrew Scott’s killer performance as Jim Moriarty
As new recruits in the clandestine service known at The Network, our new boss Mycroft Holmes had brought us in to assist in an investigation. His dear brother Sherlock was out of the country and we were the best he could find on short notice.
Sherlock The Game is Now was a pretty game.
We began in a “front.” We entered an optometrist’s office in a London mall. It was fairly convincing.
From there we explored a number of familiar locations from Sherlock. Each set was detailed with show accuracy in mind. (We encountered the exact phone from Mycroft’s desk in the show.)
We exited Sherlock The Game is Now into the experience’s bar, The Mind Palace. Like the game, the bar was beautiful. It was also fairly well stocked.
Sherlock The Game is Now was an atypical escape room with a high level of difficulty.
The experience progressed through a series of sets, each presenting a unique collection of challenges. We had only a certain amount of time in each set before we were moved on to the next scene.
Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, deducing, and puzzling. The deduction component was an intriguing addition to the game.
➕ From the moment we entered the optometrist’s store, we were in the game world. Our gamemaster’s introduction was entertaining.
➕ Before the game started, our gamemaster led us through a deduction exercise to get us thinking as detectives. It was a humorous in-world onboarding.
❓ The onboarding was long. If you don’t want to engage with the actor – or aren’t sure how to – it will likely drag on. For escape room players who understand the idea of deduction and aren’t fans of the show, it will likely feel tedious. That said, it was worth playing from both a narrative and a gameplay perspective.
➕ Sherlock The Game is Now was at its best when it asked us to deduce, (almost) as Sherlock did in the show. For us, this scene was the strongest in the game because it zeroed in on what made Sherlock Holmes special.
➖ Although we enjoyed the lab’s deduction puzzle, that scene lacked some cluing, which was especially evident in the presence of a lockout safe.
➕ Mycroft’s office had some nifty input mechanisms. They were fun to manipulate and worked well. They also felt believable in this spy-esque office, but were hidden enough that the office felt like a set pulled directly from the show.
➕ Sherlock The Game is Now included audio and video from the original cast. It was exciting to meet the characters again and solve mysteries along side them. Andrew Scott’s killer performance as Jim Moriarty was exceptional.
➕ 221B Baker Street was true to the show. We enjoyed poking around in this familiar space. The women playing before us were huge fans of the show, but not escape room players. This was their favorite part of the experience. Additionally, the transition out of this space and into the gameplay worked well.
➖ If you don’t know the show, you’ll feel a lot of dead time in this game. 221B was purely experiential, with no action you could take to further the game. The actors perform information, which could easily be more accessible in other medias and through other interfaces.
➕ The hint system was a part of the gameworld. We enjoyed Sherlock’s jabs at our intelligence, or lack thereof. The hint system was designed for players who need a lot of hinting. If they are dragged through the puzzles, they’ll enjoy that process because it was another tie-in with the show. (That said, for escape room players, the hint system might feel overly pushy, especially in the first act.)
❓ The premise of the crime felt a little haphazard and impersonal for a Sherlock mystery.
❓ The memorable moments were delivered as an extension of the show, to the fans. They were the moments spent in Sherlock’s world, touching his things, hearing from to his friends and enemies, and experiencing that charming condescension first hand. The gameplay worked, but the moments were largely forgettable. Your mileage will vary.
➕ Post-game, our gamemaster presented a personalized analysis of our team’s performance at each stage of the game. It was funny and felt pretty accurate.
➕ The Game is Now let us out into their own bar, The Mind Palace. The bar was beautiful and well stocked.
Tips For Visiting
- Sherlock The Game is Now takes place in a mall.
- There are 5 copies of this game. Most bookings are private, but there is 1 copy always reserved for public bookings.
- Watch the following episodes of Sherlock before your visit: season 1, episodes 1 & 3 and season 2, episodes 1 & 3.
- Leave time to visit the bar after your game experience.
Book your hour with Sherlock The Game is Now, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Time Run comped our tickets for this game.