Cate West and the Vanishing Files Game Poster Image

Cate West and the Vanishing Files



Find hidden and missing items in creepy crime scenes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

You play as a psychic assisting in criminal investigations.


As a psychic assisting in criminal investigations, there is discussion of murder, arson, and assault, though no graphic displays of either. One scene shows a burning church.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Several references to smoking, though not overt.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game has a slightly eerie tone that could frighten younger children. The environments - static images with objects hidden in them - are sometimes creepy crime scenes. The game also discusses murder, arson, and assault in dialogue scenes, though none of these crimes are graphically shown. Overall, this fun hidden object game is as appropriate as most mystery fiction aimed at the target age.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

CATE WEST: THE VANISHING FILES is a mystery game in which players assume the role of a psychic investigator. The game first appeared on Nintendo DS and PC and now is available on the Nintendo Wii with essentially the same story, play, and comic book graphics. With a simple point and click-and-drag gameplay mechanic you solve a series of mysteries from crime scene to criminal trial, while the plot is revealed in dialogue scenes that occur between gameplay missions.

Players begin each chapter by going to the cluttered crime scene and finding \"clues,\" or hidden objects. Then, you'll identify differences - often very subtle - between two images side-by-side; one is a photo of a criminal's hideout, the other, Cate's mental vision of the location. Once suspects are narrowed down, you'll use Cate's deductive powers to pick out the criminal from a lineup.

Is it any good?


Cate West is a mostly engrossing experience. Finding the stubborn object hidden in a messy room, an ever-so-slight variation between two images, or picking out the suspect given limited info can be lots of fun. The ominous music and dark environments supply an eeire tone, as well. And there is no shortage of gameplay, with 15 "chapters" that take you through a case from crime scene to trial verdict.

Some players, however, may not see this game through to the final mission. Each chapter follows the same five-stage sequence that can get a bit too repetitive. Though there are dozens of backgrounds to keep the locations fresh, clicking around on a static page might not be enough to engage gamers seeking more action and movement.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this game is similar and different from mysteries on TV or in books. Is finding hidden objects a satisfying way to solve a mystery? Do kids find this activity challenging enough and does it seem connected to the story or is it simply an activity dropped between explanatory scenes?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:March 25, 2009
ESRB rating:E10+ for Tobacco Reference, Violent References

This review of Cate West and the Vanishing Files was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?