20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Game Poster Image
Seek-and-find adventure gets sunk by excessive difficulty.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

There's a lot in the story to promote a sense of wonder and curiosity about the ocean and the plants and animals that live within it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The trio of heroes in the story are at first seduced by the wonder and adventure of Nemo's exploits aboard the Nautilus, but when they discover the true nature of Nemo and his crew, they do the right thing, even though it may mean trouble for them.

Ease of Play

This is one of the more difficult hidden object adventures we've seen. The spot-the-differences puzzles (and there are a lot of them) are exceptionally tough. The "differences" players are meant to find are often ridiculously subtle -- a spot on a wall with a slight color variation, a small object that is a few milimeters to the left. There can be moments when you give up, press the hint button to highlight the area of the screen in which the hidden difference lies, and still not be able to find it.


In action-based mini-games, a player-controlled diver shoots a spear gun at attacking sharks and squids. In another, the player dodges spears shot by a villain. In the story, a sailor gets eaten by a giant squid, but this is not shown, only related verbally.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigars and pipes appear among the scenery, and must occasionally be found in hidden object puzzles.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that puzzle-game version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is exceedingly difficult and liable to cause a lot of frustration for younger players (and possibly older ones as well). Parents should also know that in a deviation from most puzzle games of its ilk, 20,000 Leagues contains a few shooting challenges -- a couple of levels that involve shooting spear guns at attacking sea creatures. These sections are not graphic, but it is important to note their inclusion.

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written bycaitlyn grandjambe March 29, 2010
love it

What's it about?

Players will get a Cliffs Notes version of Jules Verne's classic novel, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. The survivors of a shipwreck are recued by the mysterious Captain Nemo and his submarine crew, taken on amazing undersea adventures, and eventually discover a horrifying truth about their saviors. Even though it's greatly abridged, there's a lot of reading to be done here. In between illustrated story scenes, players engage in puzzles that are often (but not always) connected to the plot. Most of the puzzles are seek-and-find hidden object games. The physician narrator may need to gather medical supplies to help a wounded sailor, so the player will have to find those items among a cluttered scene -- and they'll also have to find weird random things, like a sea horse, a coffee press, or something called \"amphora.\"

Is it any good?

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a great adventure book, which ensures a great, engaging plot for the game as well. It does not, unfortunately, ensure great gameplay. The seek-and-find puzzles start becoming very repetitive as the same settings are re-used repeatedly. The spot-the-difference puzzles are outrageously difficult at times -- and you have to wait a long time for the "hint gauge" to refill before you can use it again. Some of the other varied puzzled types that show up in the game work much better, but some of those can also be way too hard. The spear shooting mini-games are incredibly fast-paced and difficult to keep up with while steering your character via mouse. A standard video game controller would make the game easier, but it is a PC game. On the upside, it could well inspire kids to read the book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the very complicated character of Captain Nemo. He believes himself a hero, but is looked upon as a villain. He saves lives in the story and yet performs actions that could take the lives of innocents. What motivates Nemo? Is he really a good guy, bad guy, or something in between?

  • How did you feel about the difficulty levels of the puzzles? Were the too hard, or is that what makes this game fun?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $14.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Legacy Interactive
  • Release date: March 14, 2010
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: NR
  • Last updated: August 31, 2016

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles

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