Becoming Sherlock – The Game is Now

Sherlock is out of the country and a rash of break-ins are rippling across London, one thing is clear his brilliance is required, or in this case our’s as Sherlock is absent.

With Sherlock away, Mycroft Holmes put out a call as The Network seeks recruits with sharp eyes, keen wits and a hunger for adventure.

A group of us from the Love Pop Ups London community were invited down on a complimentary basis via Mycroft to become detectives for the evening to help solve the crimes. 

Question is can we make Mycroft and Sherlock proud?

The Game is Now

Creators and producers of the BBC show, co-writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who plays Sherlock’s elder brother Mycroft in the series, and the team behind one of London’s original escape room concepts, Time Run brings to London The Game is Now.

Escape room fans will be able to become detectives and enter into the world of Sherlock walking through immersive sets and environments from the show, whilst working together as a team to solve mysteries and puzzles before time runs out.

This brand new Sherlock escape room features original content from the stars of the show including Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, in brand new, specially recorded video and audio sequences.

What’s an escape room?

An escape room is a room full of puzzles to be cracked.  Locked in a room between 2 to 6 players usually you will just have 60 minutes to solve a series of puzzles.  There might be puzzles which involve solving a code to crack a lock, wiring cables in a certain order, finding a key, crypt riddles etc.

Some escape rooms (i.e. clueQuest) have multiple rooms with the same story and clues so you can compete against another team of friends, family or colleagues. 

Escape rooms do vary on price as it depends on location, how well themed the room is, and if they have actors within however you can usually expect a decent experience from any that you choose and book.

Who is Sherlock Holmes?

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who first appeared in publication in 1887. He was devised by British author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A brilliant London-based detective, Holmes is famous for his prowess at using logic and astute observation to solve cases.

Being Sherlock for 110 minutes

The Game is Now. It all starts out at Doyle’s Opticians.

Looking like an ordinary opticians, you would of never of thought this was a cover to secretly hide Sherlock’s office.  There are a few large tables surrounded with chairs and many pairs of glasses dotted around the walls. The sign on the door says ‘by appointment only’ so we buzzed the buzzer and was greeted by a staff member who told us that we were right on time for our eye test.  For a few minutes I thought hang on have we buzzed on the wrong door to Sherlock’s secret hideout as the staff really acted like opticians by asking us various eye sight questions in which we might be experiencing.  However after an initial talk and eye examination it all then started to become more clear as our focus was then reflected to a screening of a past crime that had took place along with clues and evidence which popped up on the screen.  This was to get us trained before putting us out in the field to solve the crime which is happening now. 

John Watson (Martin Freeman) then appears on the screen and talks us through what has recently happened and how he needs our help due to the absence of Sherlock.  

Sorry I cannot reveal the plot as it is top secret after all.

It’s elementary

After being ushered into Sherlock and John’s living room of 221b Baker Street the time is now for us to grab a group photograph, before being inducted into The Network.

Moriarty is back! or is he? and someone is in danger.

As Sherlock was out of the country it was now up to us to play Moriarty’s game and save the day within 110 minutes, slightly longer than your normal 60 minutes. Why though? as this mission needs  a lot of careful decisions and thinking.

Upon entering the series of rooms I was highly impressed by how well designed they are, as they are all highly detailed, full of high tech and interesting puzzles such as cryptic to physical. 

Most of the puzzles require brain power and make logical sense once you have wrapped your brain around the clues.  There is also a few locks and physical puzzles to crack.  Sherlock delivers hints to help you along your way if you are getting stuck.

You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.

Sherlock Holmes Quote

Luckily we managed to solve the challenge, save ourselves and stopped Moriarty, with just 47 seconds remaining.

“Excellent! I cried.” “Elementary” said they

OK we might not be super sleuths like Sherlock who most likely would of cracked the case within under 37 minutes, which at present is the fastest time for a team of sleuths to have cracked the whole mission but we had fun.

We then had a debrief on how well we done as a team and where our sleuthing skills laid. 

Then we were handed a sheet like an exam sheet really on our performance. 

It was then time to head into The Mind Place for some refreshments.

After checking out some props from the show within the bar area, we then sat around together and discussed the game between us over a well deserved drink, it was then time to adventure back out onto the streets of London.

Conclusion

All the series of rooms were all great fun and full of different puzzles and clues to solve.  For me personally I preferred the first room on our mission where we had to work out clues about this man that lay dead within the middle of the room from was he married?, who to?, what was his occupation? etc. to which eventually led us getting a code to open up a safe.  I also loved the last game which involved more physical hands on challenges from cranking to pumping that’s all I am going to say as I don’t want to spoil the fun. Also during this room there were some clips of old cartoons, animals etc flashing up and even the odd flash of Countess of Lovelace and Babbage from Time Run as The Game is Now is made by the makers of the fab Time Run which ran in London during 2017 through to 2018.  That was one of my best escape rooms I had ever played.

As for the number of players there was six of us playing which I felt was slightly many too many and some of us ended up standing around with not much to do, so I would advise a maximum of four people.

The only downside about the whole game I would say is that you can’t see how much time you have left.

Other than that the game is well thought out from the story to the puzzles making it one of the most elaborate escape rooms within London.

Question you might be asking though is was it worth the high price? yes, if you love puzzles which focuses more on brain power and if you love Sherlock. 

Within the bar area are some props from the show, and discuss your team’s performance over a drink, and beware, for The Game is Now.

London needs Sherlock. Instead it has you.

The Game is Now : Sherlock escape room requires a minimum of 4 players and can hold up to 6 players.

There is also multiple duplicated rooms so you can compete against another team of your friends, family or colleagues.

Network Headquarters are at
W12 Centre, Shepherds Bush, W12 8PP

Help Mycroft by clicking here.

Thank you The Game is Now for a very challenging fun mission. I was given this experience on a complimentary basis but all views are my own honest opinion.

Click on link below to read blogs from the community members who joint me on the night. All their views are of their own honest opinions.

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