Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues - Mystery Coding Game

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues - Mystery Coding Game App Poster Image
Girl-targeted STEM ambitious but somewhat shallow.

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

Not yet rated

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational value

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.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

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.

User Reviews

Educator Written byRegina K. September 16, 2016

Hidden Object/Dress Up Game

This game touts itself as a STEM/girl power game - but forces girls into yet another box. Let's dress up and then find objects around different rooms for 7... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

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?

App details

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For kids who love mysteries and coding

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