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Friday, November 14, 2014

Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies (a review)

When artifacts for her  museum’s upcoming exhibit disappear in transit , Melina calls her sleuthing friend, Nancy Drew, to come to Greece and help her finish setting up the exhibit and to check out the troupe of actors who will be performing Persephone for the opening.

Nancy quickly finds herself working through a labyrinth of secrets and lies.  Help her uncover the truth in this puzzle adventure from Her Interactive.

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Nancy Drew #31:  Labyrinth of Lies

by Her Interactive

Ages 10 to adult

Puzzle Adventure for PC

For: 

Windows® Vista/7/8

OS X: 10.6.8 Snow Leopard/10.7 Lion/10.8 Mountain Lion/10.9 Mavericks or higher

Please see the Her Interactive site for addition specs.

 

Labyrinth of Lies is a puzzle adventure.

As Nancy Drew, you’ll travel to various locations of the game, collect clues, talk to characters, pick up tools, and solve various puzzles to advance the story line. 

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Characters are CGI renderings and conversations are scripted (ie, you’ll have a list of things to say to the character and click on them to say them, then the character talks back to you).

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In game tools include:

  • a cellphone, which allows you to converse with Melina and the Hardy Boys (yep, Joe and Frank will do some research and send you important information), take photos, play little games, and access your diary which will automatically record some notes from your doings and conversations
  • a list of tasks to complete and check off and you complete them (some have the option of getting a hint)
  • a list of important notes

Tasks vary from typical puzzle game fair (finding a missing key, password, or combination to a lock), completing museum displays by putting together information from various resources, interviewing characters to find out key information, poking around in typical Nancy Drew fashion, picture puzzles, solving puzzles to unlock a new area, and so forth.

What did we think?

It’s a bit uneven.   I started out playing this with my 10-year-old, but it is hard to get into the storyline as there is a lot of reading near the beginning.  Reading this book for clues to solve one puzzle, reading that book to find more clues for another puzzle, reading a script, reading another copy of a script.  I don’t mind reading, but too much on a computer screen boom, boom, boom like that made my eyes go wonky and it was just plain boring for my child.

After you get past that, there is more active doing in the game and the pace improves.  She rejoined me later to solve some of the puzzles.  So the pacing is a bit off, and there is a bit of a expositional hump to get past, but it’s worth it to work through that. 

The puzzles vary a good bit in quality.  A couple seemed more like busy-work or dreaded “reading comprehension” things where you had to read a long document and pick out specific little things to find the answer ---there was not real thought involved.

The picture puzzles are tedious.  Placing 70 pieces on a screen with no reference as to what the finished picture is supposed to look like, and only being able to view a handful of pieces at a time (you can scroll through them, but you can only see about 7 at any one time) took awhile.

It’s not always clear what is optional and what is needed to complete the game---there are optional things in the game (for instance, you only really need to do one particular picture puzzle, but there are several of them).

On the other hand, many of the puzzles do require putting together information from multiple resources and/or reasoning out answers.  Nancy will often you give a verbal cue when you stumble onto a puzzle or something you need for one, which is helpful for tweens.

There are educational elements.

You’ll learn about ancient Greek pottery, the gods, mythology, Greek architecture, and more---studying the ancient world?  This may be a fun add in for your kids to play in their spare time.  You can do multiple saves, so multiple kids could play and save their own game.

There are little things I don’t care for---

The game involves different areas that are all within walking distance, but it several clicks to get from one to another, because you can’t zip to a distant locations you’ve already visited (or at least, I see no evidence that you can, the in-game help is minimal).  This means a lot of wasted time.

It’s not obvious that you can keep something and add it to your inventory when you first pick it up.  You pick in up and then look at it, then when you zoom out, it will show you a new icon if you can add it to your inventory.

The game automatically gives you notes on your notepad and also in your cellphone’s diary, but it doesn’t note everything that happens or even all the important things.  If you leave the game and come back to it a few days later, you may forget what you were doing.

These are minor, but things that could definitely be improved in future Nancy Drew games.

Labyrinth of Lies is Kidpropriate.

“Kidpropriate” is a term we’ve coined in our house.  It means that something is appropriate for kids:  no sex, drugs, gore, or excessive violence.  Not super scary.  No “mature” themes. 

Lately I’ve had issues with getting a game for PC that is just too scary for my kids to watch me play---there seems to be this trend towards the supernatural, murder, curses, and stuff like that.

Every family is different, of course, so I recommend previewing things before turning your kid loose on them, but I’m confident that Labyrinth of Lies is something I could allow my 10-year-old to play on her own without risking any nightmares or premature loss of innocence.  I’ll be looking at the other Nancy Drew games for her in the future.

You can purchase Nancy Drew:  Labyrinth of Lies directly from Her Interactive or from local and online retailers.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

1 comment:

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    ReplyDelete

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