A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What 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.
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What's it about?
In NANCY DREW: CODES AND CLUES Nancy and her friends have created a robot puppy for their school's tech fair, but the neighboring exhibit has gone missing. The girls set out to collect clues, try on disguises to fit each scene, and program their puppy robot to help along the way. The story plays out in six chapters, with each including a hidden-pictures puzzle, analysis of the clues, dressing up for the scene, and programming the puppy. Players collect charms as they complete different objectives to fill up a charm bracelet at the end of the adventure.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the logic involved in programming and solving mysteries. What skills did Nancy and her friends use to find clues? What about to program the robot?
Talk to kids about the different parts of the game. What appealed to them most? Did they enjoy something new they hadn't tried before?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Science: engineering
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, asking questions, investigation, problem solving, thinking critically
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct
Tech Skills: coding, using and applying technology
- Price: $3.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: October 26, 2016
- Category: Education
- Topics: Adventures, Book characters, Great girl role models, Robots
- Size: 209.00 MB
- Publisher: Her Interactive
- Version: 1.0.5
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love mysteries and coding
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.