Sunday 4 December 2016

Games: Change of pace for super sleuth

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter (PS4/XOne/PC ) 4 Stars Age: 12+

Published 03/07/2016 | 02:30

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter

The world's greatest detective sometimes can't see what's under his nose. Yet at other times, he's capable of gigantic leaps of logic. Such is the dichotomy of a video game version of Sherlock.

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The Devil's Daughter marks the umpteenth raiding of the Holmes canon by developer Frogwares, with each one of its procedural investigations getting closer to the pacy demands of modern gamers.

Frogwares essays dozens of mini-games in Devil's Daughter in an attempt to spice up the deductive reasoning at the heart of each of the five largely unrelated cases herein. From lawn bowls to tracking a suspect by stealth to box-shifting puzzles, none is particularly interesting but do help broaden the flavour of the gameplay.

Solving the cases demands careful attention to the clues (inconsistencies in characters' dialogue, telltale marks on clothes, etc). A lengthy investigation produces dozens of clues and, commendably, Frogwares makes it entirely possible to point the guilty finger at the wrong culprit.

Holmes' fallibility doesn't grate so much as the occasional possibility for the player to jump ahead of the case's logic, correctly guessing the next step, only for the game to refuse to acknowledge your intuition.

Some strong writing and a nicely rendered version of Victorian London underpin Devil's Daughter, which offers a refreshing change of pace amid the summer games drought.

Kirby: Planet Robobot

(Nintendo 3DS) 4 Stars Age: 7+

The pink blob reboots for his latest in a long line of adventures but many things remain the same. His new suit of armour makes him even more invulnerable than usual, reducing the challenge in its 2D platforming to near-zero.

Nonetheless, Planet Robobot is a riot of colour and inventive transformations. Kirby assumes a jet or car form for some sections but it's his trademark adoption of enemies' powers (lasers, fireballs, etc) that delivers the most fun.

Though probably too similar to 2014's Kirby: Triple Deluxe for its own good, Planet Robobot offers younger gamers many hours of entertainment.

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