Solving Sherlock Holmes: The Shadow of Jack the Ripper
Gather clues, question suspects, and unravel an intriguing mystery in Sherlock Holmes: The Shadow of Jack the Ripper.
Mystery games and game books have been some very enjoyable experiences for me lately, so I was excited to take a look at Sherlock Holmes: The Shadow of Jack the Ripper! I’ve played similar adventures before, yet each game book has always provided some unique elements. This one looked interesting from the inner covers… Off to be a detective!
Although I’ve done my best to hide important clues and panel numbers, there are some light spoilers below. Of particular note might be the very last photo, which shows a lot of the notes I took. If you’re looking to play and want it all to be a surprise, come on back here when you’re done to share your thoughts. Otherwise, feel free to read on!
In true graphic novel fashion, this book features panels with numbers and plenty of illustrations. Clues might come as small or hidden numbers, puzzles offer better clues, and the mystery takes place by flipping all around. Don’t expect an easy solution, though. Clues abound!
July 29, 2022
July 30, 2022
2 Hours & 45 Minutes
22" x 18"
A Familiar Crime
Games centered around Jack the Ripper sometimes feel a little played out, so I wasn’t sure what to find inside.
Although I love solving mysteries, this series can have some rather bloody scenes to go through. Still, I’ve had a lot of fun following the evidence, so onward I went!
It’s also interesting to see how this formula hasn’t become boring: Each game book in this Sherlock Holmes series does something differently, or adds another element.
My favorite part? A simple choice of who to play to adjust the difficulty level. I’m Watson. ALWAYS. Ha ha!
Consulting the Expert
Partway into this investigation, I met a self-proclaimed expert on the studies behind Jack the Ripper. She seemed suspicious to me… And may have actually been a suspect!
This new way to get feedback on certain pieces of evidence almost gave me another member of the team.
Sherlock gave Watson a lot of hints, as was to be expected. That would be me, the extraordinary detective who needs things spelled out entirely. But I’m improving, I tell you!
Determined to solve things on my own, I eagerly went to work, feverishly scribbling every little detail on the way.
Mapping Out Locations
My absolute favorite aspect of this mystery was the map, which began with many blank areas. The only filled-in space happens at the start, so that’s not really a spoiler!
Eventually, over the course of both chapters, I filled in each colored area with a number for the book, as well as a quick note on what I should expect to find there.
In this way, I had more control over where I went, what I focused on, and in what order I found the suspects.
For the first chapter was about just that: Figuring out the list of possible suspects, spread all across the district.
Just a Hint of Humor
Covering the investigation of a murder requires a certain degree of seriousness, particularly with the details around this mystery. The tone was very important to get right.
Yet I found the familiar sense of humor throughout, which added some lighter moments. While questioning suspects, silly questions often resulted in silly answers!
Those questions were quite important, as I couldn’t ask all of them. Which were the best ones? I wasn’t always right.
Little by little, though, I thought I was piecing together some major clues that crossed out a couple of suspects.
How Many Times Can You Solve a Mystery?
Probably the biggest concern about these adventures are how they offer no reusability. The solution will always remain the same, so what’s the point in even thinking about playing again? The side puzzles often offer ways to work towards a perfect play… Although this one was surprisingly straightforward, and I solved them all with one small caveat.
I’ve actually gone back through and played through old mysteries here and there. Some details never leave me, yet it’s also like returning to a favorite book: There is a sense of familiarity, and coming across some of my favorite panels again offers up a nostalgic bit of fun. And sometimes I actually find something I never saw before!
Am I going to play through this entire game book again? Most likely, although it might be years in the future. This is a fun series to interact with, and with so much to see, I’m sure I won’t remember every single important detail.
Although the game book covers a single mystery, there are 2 distinct chapters to play through. First, the list of suspects must be collected and questions asked.
Second is the final part of the investigation. New clues show up, and it then becomes a game of determining who could be guilty or innocent. Not an easy task!
Many locations could be revisited with this clever split panel. Most useful for circling back.
I even missed a couple of important clues from the first chapter, but caught them all as I finished exploring.
To the Rescue!
This split panel right near the end had me laughing a lot. They were unrelated, but sort of showcased the different personalities between Holmes and Watson.
Watson, otherwise known as myself, was preoccupied with examining some evidence and pondering over it.
Meanwhile, Holmes jumped into action when he was needed for a daring rescue. Sure, sure. Put yourself in the spotlight, sir. We all know who really solved this case. Ha!
The conclusion was exciting, and I almost missed a key piece of evidence… Luckily, a side puzzle helped a lot!
Play Number: 1 and 2
Solo Mode: Designed for Solo (Included in the Base Game)
I took a full page of notes! Maybe I could have gotten away without this, yet it brought the mystery to life for me. The puzzles were easier, but that was what I was hoping for. Even the main mystery had a couple of red herrings and tricky elements that had me thinking a lot. In the end, I succeeded with the best possible outcome and won. So much fun! This was definitely one of the best Sherlock Holmes game book experiences I’ve had yet. Awesome!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- Collecting information to fill in the map provides a fun challenge and helps track progress while providing clues.
- All of the little puzzles are interesting and on the easier end, making them fun to solve without taking much time.
- The various suspects provide many possibilities and questioning them can lead to interesting revelations.
- Panel numbers on the bottom of each page help reduce the need to peek at every page and spoil certain details.
- There is a detailed explanation of the solutions to nearly everything at the very end, which has some new clues.
- Each part of the story has a good pace to it with lots of action and intrigue, and it never feels like scenes drag on.
– Cons (Negatives)
- There are a handful of typos that don’t affect gameplay, but some locations and names are misspelled.
- A single side puzzle is solvable but has an incorrect explanation of the solution, which can be a little confusing.
- Despite having the choice between both characters, almost the entire story has a single path and no decisions.
- With all of the clues, the final solution in the second chapter might seem a little too easy to come to.
Complete Both Chapters
- Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%
Goals and Milestones
Complete chapter 1.
Complete chapter 2.
Correctly solve the case.
Continue the Conversation
What do you think of Sherlock Holmes: The Shadow of Jack the Ripper? Have you enjoyed any other mystery games or game books lately? I had the best time with this mystery, and easily stayed involved for 2 hours straight. Lots of clues and puzzles made for a fun challenge. This storyline will stick with me for a bit: It’s truly that good, and I loved it!