Parents' Guide to

Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues - Mystery Coding Game

By Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Girl-targeted STEM ambitious but somewhat shallow.

Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues - Mystery Coding Game Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

Community Reviews

age 4+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 4+

Fun, valuable tool to inspire and encourage coding!

As a parent but also as a teacher, Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues, gets my kids excited about coding! With a terrific story line, fun activities like hidden object games and clothing disguises there's everything to love about this app. And lets not forget about Robot Puppy! Through Robot Puppy my kids put their coding skills to work in a fun and familiar context...while also getting Nancy out of some pretty sticky situations.
age 3+

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 75% of the game, and then very quickly program robot puppy before repeating. While they advertise that the game would be fantastic in classrooms, I would never allow the game in mine as their is little to no educational value. There are many other games, even code.org, that allows students to learn real coding at a young age for free. This game would be a waste of time and money. It also unfortunately does not allow my male students to feel included, therefore removing half of my student population. Overall, not an educational or inclusive game. Would not recommend.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

App Details

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.

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.

See how we rate