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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn the basics of visual block coding and observe storytelling and analyzing information as they hear Nancy and friends reason through the clues they discover. However, they don't influence or contribute to the analysis themselves and the coding game is relatively shallow.
Ease of Play
Easy to play. Coding games offer no hints, so kids may need multiple trials to complete.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues is a story-based game that involves collecting evidence to solve a mystery and dragging visual code blocks into place to move a robot. With three female friends setting out to solve a mystery and different costumes for each part of the story, it's designed to appeal to girls. Kids can take screenshots as they play and can also enter their name at completion for a coding-mastery certificate. Find the full scoop on privacy here.
Is It Any Good?
While players will practice different skills on this adventure, they won't find much depth or challenge. It has a lot of appealing elements, such as a narrative, relatively diverse characters, and a girl-power focus. Another strength is that the coding element is useful within the story instead of being an isolated skill out of context. However, the overall simplicity and repetition might not be enough to entice kids to play through to the end. Targeted for younger players, the mystery is tame and peril-free, which may work well for the target audience but disappoint true Nancy Drew fans. While the puppy robot can be programmed in a variety of ways, most kids aren't going to be challenged. Also, the dress-up activity only features a few ready-made outfits, which hampers creativity a bit. It would also be nice to be able to toggle the reading on and off but leave sound effects on and have a broader range of clue-finding beyond hidden pictures. Overall, the concept and approach are admirable and fun, and with more depth and opportunities for kids to contribute to solving the mystery, it'll be a rich experience for budding tech-loving detectives.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.