If you make a purchase after following a link on our site, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

Preview: Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets is a P.T.-Inspired Puppet-Filled Horror

Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets

Although currently very rough around the edges, playing a slice of an early build of Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets has left us hungry for more. Set to release early next year and in development by a very small team, Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets feels like P.T. with puppets – and we’re here for it.

The preview build we had our hands on threw us in somewhere after the start of the game. Playing as the titular Jack Holmes, a new detective working his first case, we found ourselves in a dark, abandoned house where terrible things had clearly been happening. Exploring the house gives us glimpses of the sinister world Jack has found himself a part of: experiments gone wrong, puppets brought to life, and children being used in unspeakable ways. Needless to say, Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets doesn’t hold back on the shock factor.

The house we explored is teeming with details, all adding up to tell a story. Wander into the kitchen, and you’ll see a blood-spattered refrigerator, and a severed foot served up on the dinner table. Elsewhere, a bedroom is absolutely soaked in blood, with a discarded puppet tossed on the bed. Other areas look almost normal, like a little girl’s pink and frilly bedroom, and the neatly-arranged books around the TV unit in the lounge. But it’s clear any real sense of normality is long gone, and you’re never far away from something horrifying.

Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets

Being a horror game, Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets throws its fair share of jump scares at you. As you first wander around the house, you’ll never be quite sure what’s waiting for you around any corner. Lanky, terrifying puppets lurk in the darkness, sometimes standing in wait or charging at you when you least expect it. Luckily, Jack is equipped with a pistol and so taking care of them isn’t too much of an issue (providing you’ve got bullets). It’s nice to have some semblance of protection: other horror games of a similar vein expect you to simply endure any foes you encounter without any means to fight against them. Here, a couple of well-placed bullets sees them dealt with.

Once you’ve explored the house, then, the horrors of Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets give way to its puzzles. The terrifying puppets you encounter won’t come back once they’ve been destroyed, so you know you’re safe to wander back into rooms. You’ll likely do a fair bit of backtracking as you try to find solutions to puzzles and search for any clues you might have missed. It’s clear the developer has taken cues from classics in the genre like Resident Evil and Silent Hill: puzzles play a big part in the game, and so you’ll need to keep your wits about you as you figure out how to unlock doors and more.

Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets

Looking at the game’s Steam page, it seems the house we’ve explored as part of the preview build is only a small part of the game. The screenshots on Steam show an amusement park, which provides a very different – if equally terrifying – atmosphere. It leaves us intrigued to see what else Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets has in store for us.

The build we’ve played leaves a lot to be desired in terms of presentation. Menus are basic and only half-translated, and although we could use a controller to play most of the game, we had to use the keyboard to use our inventory and to interact with certain items. But we can look past those issues: the game underneath is very promising indeed. Jack’s investigation so far gives us hope for a decent horror experience. Is it likely to blow you away? Maybe not, but there certainly is promise in those freaky puppets, and we can’t wait to find out more.

If you fancy getting a taste of the game yourself, there’s a free Jack Holmes: Master of Puppets prologue available to play right now on Steam. It’s set to release on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC in early 2024.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.