Imagine: Detective

 

Learning(i)

Detective game for girls has great play, good role model.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game is all about being smart and solving crimes. Among the many cases players take on is one with the noble goal of exonerating a school janitor wrongly accused of starting a fire. Not all of the cases have such righteous objectives, but they do all involve the making sure justice is served.

Positive role models

Our heroine, whose parents divorced when she was younger and whose father recently died under suspicious circumstances, is an intelligent, justice loving, enigma-unraveling teen. She occasionally engages in dodgy activities, such as rifling through a girl’s purse looking for evidence or distracting a security guard so she can sneak into a crime scene to examine it, but there is never any doubt that she is doing it all to serve the greater good.

Ease of play

Everything is self explanatory, and hints abound. Two skill levels allow players to set how challenging they want the game’s puzzles to be. Players always have a chance to redo puzzles to score more points and improve their detective rank.

Violence

The player’s character prefers to use her brains rather than her brawn to solve cases. However, there is one mini-game that involves tapping fists with the stylus. It clearly suggests -- but doesn’t show in any detail -- a minor scuffle.

Sex

Not an issue.

Language

Not an issue.

Consumerism

Not an issue.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not an issue.

Privacy & safety

No privacy or safety concerns.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a teen detective game suitable for tweens and up. Players take on the role of a crime-fighting high school teenager who looks for suspicious activity, solves mysteries, and makes sure justice is served -- as when she unravels the events behind a school fire and keeps the building janitor from being falsely convicted of the crime. She does carry out a few sneaky deeds -- like rifling through a fellow student’s purse for evidence -- but it’s all in the name of truth. She’s a good role model for girls. Note, though, that the game touches on a few issues that may be sensitive to kids, including divorce and the death of our protagonist’s father.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • investigation
  • analyzing evidence

Self-Direction

  • initiative
  • set objectives

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

This is a girl-centric game that is blissfully free of the genre’s typical superficial trappings. The investigations are brisk and fun. 

Learning Approach

Kids get to use logic and reasoning to solve puzzles, find clues, and learn about what it's like to be a detective. They'll use their memories and learn to sympathize with the protagonist. 

Support

Everything is self explanatory, and hints abound. Two skill levels allow players to set how challenging they want the game’s puzzles to be. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • investigation
  • analyzing evidence

Self-Direction

  • initiative
  • set objectives

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Kids can learn about what it's like to be a detective and the importance of seeing justice done in this quick-moving collection of virtual investigations designed for slightly older girls. They'll use their memories to put together the pieces of mysterious puzzles in an effort to see innocents exonerated and the true facts of each case brought to light. Kids will also learn to sympathize with the protagonist as she deals with difficult emotions. By playing Imagine Detective, kids get to use logic and reasoning to solve puzzles, find clues, and sample what it's like to be a private investigator.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

Imagine: Detective, the latest entry in Ubisoft’s Imagine series of games geared for girls, puts kids in the shoes of teen detective Kirsten Spark. A student in a small town high school, she’s still recovering from her father’s recent and suspicious death, and is a bit obsessed with solving crimes and ensuring justice is served, whether it’s investigating a missing book or finding out how a school fire began. Players spend their time investigating suspicious scenes by moving objects around with the stylus and tapping on items of interest to reveal clues. They also engage in mini-games, including one where they stealthily move around a room without being seen and another that involves stopping spinning pieces of a puzzle to reveal a picture. Once enough clues have been found, players need to remember them and quickly pick the proper ones out of groups to solve the case. With each solved case, we move a little closer to learning what happened to Kirsten’s dad.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Imagine: Detective is a girl-centric game that is blissfully free of the genre’s typical superficial trappings, including fashion, makeup, and shopping. That’s not to say that Kirsten isn’t fashionable or feminine (quite the opposite), but rather that play is focused entirely on the investigation of crimes, which will hopefully help girls believe that they can use their brains to figure out riddles and complex problems.

The investigations are both brisk and fun. Players can drive Kirsten’s scooter anywhere in the city with a single tap of the stylus, and once they get to their destination it’s usually straight to work, with perhaps just a quick and witty bit of dialogue to preface her search for clues. It’s all over a bit more quickly than one might like, but once each investigative mini-game has been played it becomes available as a standalone activity from the main menu, giving the game a minor boost in longevity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be a detective, and how it’s important to alert adults to any activities you think might be criminal rather than try to investigate them yourself.

  • Families can also discuss the importance of privacy and the difference between true detective work and plain old snooping. Can you think of any instances in which it is acceptable to look through someone else’s private belongings?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:UbiSoft
Release date:September 8, 2009
Genre:Girl
ESRB rating:E for Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Imagine: Detective was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old August 9, 2011
age 18+
 

don't play it

don't play it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old September 17, 2009
age 11+
 

LOVE IT YA THINK?

Love it..... LOL!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old March 12, 2011
age 9+
 
I loved this game! It is easy to play, the mingames are cool, and youc an even have your own pig collection!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models

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