Online, Jun 2021
Incognito is a company I narrowly missed out on visiting when I last passed through Dublin, so I was glad to have a chance to try one of their games remotely. Baker Street Mystery is the only one they’ve converted for avatar play so far, and I suspect they chose it because it’s a classic style of game, a Sherlock Holmes theme with furniture and locks.
Our goal was to crack one of Holmes’ unsolved cases, a gangland murder where we need to find the names of the victim and the perpetrator. The intro video set this up with a story involving time travel and a gang member who’d hidden clues in Holmes’ apartment, though following that wasn’t important for the game itself.
Inventory management was via Telescape. In most respects that’s an excellent platform, and has deservedly become the default choice for avatar games. I have two small frustrations with it, both of which applied here. Firstly, any interactive task that allows multiple players to drag items around at the same time becomes almost unusable due to lag – the only way to handle that is to nominate one person to do the dragging. And secondly, it’s unnecessarily cumbersome navigating between a set of different items, where what you actually want to do is view them side by side. Those are points where the platform gets in the way of gameplay, instead of facilitating it.
Baker Street Mystery may have been traditional in style, but I enjoyed a couple of nicely creative ideas. Our friendly host handled it well with a good level of responsiveness and energy. The game also got the basics right, for example being approachable at the outset and building up to the games’s most complex puzzle as its finale. Which is to say, this is a reliable choice of game: well adapted and solidly enjoyable.