I’ll admit I’m not the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan. From the books, movies, TV shows, and games, I’ve never clicked with it and been into the famous detective. The Sherlock Holmes games have always intrigued me though, as many adventure game fans regularly shared their love for the series of games made by Frogsware. So I was eager to play Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened when given the opportunity. Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, a complete remake of the 2007 game, does a fine job of welcoming people into the world of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a bit of a mixed experience that ultimately falls apart on Nintendo Switch.
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened features a truly unique concept for a Sherlock Holmes game. It has the famous detective exploring one of the most bizarre cases you can think of, the Cthulhu Mythos. While investigating what he thinks is just another routine murder case, Holmes stumbles upon a mysterious cult and conspiracy to awaken a dark cosmic deity, along with the apocalypse. In Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, not only do you need to collect evidence, but you need to piece it together. One instance of this is in the opening of the game. You need to look into the local bookkeeper, and after you discover a range of clues, you need to decide whether he’s simply a workaholic or perhaps involved in a plot against the detective. I won’t spoil how that opening case ends, but I was impressed with how interpreting the evidence impacts how certain events play out. It impressed me that these cases were something that tests you on an intellectual and moral level.
The overall story is a bit hit or miss. Everything about the Cthulhu Mythos is absolutely cool and constantly captivating. The other cases Holmes takes on feel like they drag on and, quite frankly, are boring and not good. Pacing in Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is by far its biggest issue. Whenever I was investigating the mysterious circumstances surrounding the cult and the Cthulhu Mythos, I loved this game. However, as soon as you went down the path to explore more about the cult or Cthulhu, the game randomly pulled you away from that and wanted you to go back to a more “normal,” aka boring, Sherlock Holmes detective case. It just never made any sense why this was happening, and it was a constant issue.
Ultimately the biggest problem with Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is how poorly it runs on Nintendo Switch. While not game breaking, the game looks and plays poorly at nearly every moment. Most of the characters and environments are quite blurred, and, let’s just say it doesn’t look good. The game is constantly trying to render its environments, with frequent pop-ins breaking your immersion. Add to it the poor framerate that is so noticeable, and you’ve got a working, albeit very poor, Switch experience.
Is Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened worth playing on Switch? Eh, not really. Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is a fine adventure game that adds in a unique supernatural twist to Sherlock Holmes. The game is at its best when you focus on the supernatural storyline and is at its most boring when it wants you to do anything else. The overall Switch port is quite poor, with poor graphics, constant rendering issues, and poor framerate ruining the experience. Diehard Sherlock Holmes fans that own a Switch may find some fun here, but for everyone else, maybe look elsewhere for a fun adventure rather than pick up Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened.