Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes Game Poster Image
Solve Nancy's latest mystery with help from her friends.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to think and reason like a detective by stepping into the shoes of Nancy Drew as she solves her latest case. By talking to others, using police equipment, and snooping, kids collect data, analyze evidence, and make deductions based on the facts they gather. Mini puzzle games, offered in two levels of difficulty to suit younger and older players, require kids to recognize math patterns. This Nancy Drew game delivers an intriguing mystery and engaging puzzles within a small-scale world.

Positive Messages

The positive message of the game is that it’s important to uncover the truth, despite how unpopular the truth might be to certain people. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nancy’s friends are wonderful role models who rally around Nancy in her hour of need. Nancy and her friends refuse to be intimidated in their quest to discover who the real arsonist is. 

Ease of Play

Players can play as Senior or Junior Detective; the latter provides a task list to keep players on track about what they need to do next, and simplifies the mini-games slightly. No matter which mode is selected, though, puzzles are challenging and can't be skipped. If a fatal mistake is made that causes the game to end, players can restore the game to the moment before making a bad decision.


There are some instances of mild violence. A rock is thrown through a window as a form of intimidation. Players can make “fatal mistakes” that cause Nancy can succumb to smoke inhalation, but players get unlimited chances to redo the scene. 


From Nancy’s desk, which is available from the main menu and by visiting Nancy’s house in the game itself, players can click on a Scrapbook that contains summaries of the first 24 Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive, along with links to the developer's website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and newsletter signup.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes is a mystery game about the famous literary detective, Nancy Drew. Unlike previous Nancy Drew games, in this one you spend much of your time playing as Nancy's friends, since Nancy is in jail charged with arson. Players can explore the game at two levels of difficulty, as Senior or Junior Detective. No matter which mode is selected, though, puzzles are challenging and can't be skipped. If a fatal mistake is made that causes the game to end, players can restore the game from the moment before making a bad decision.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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

Teen, 15 years old Written byreaglecelina December 29, 2011

Great game- if you don't like mysteries though..

I've played all the Nancy Drew games. Have been since I was eight or something. It's not that the game isn't completely appropriate for kids un... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDangerRanger101 December 2, 2011

A fine game, but not as good as the past games

This game wasn't bad, but I've seen better games. There were a few more problems with the game. The #1 was the plot. I feel that it was absoluptely ri... Continue reading

What's it about?

In NANCY DREW: ALIBI IN ASHES, Nancy returns to her hometown of River Heights and finds herself under arrest for arson after a mysterious fire destroys the old town hall. With Nancy in jail, it’s up to her friends George, Bess, and Ned to investigate the mystery on her behalf by interviewing suspects and gathering evidence to help clear Nancy’s name. Players switch between controlling each of the four characters, and must decide how to use each person’s unique personality traits effectively.

Is it any good?

Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes effectively shakes up the formula of past Nancy Drew mysteries. With Nancy confined to a police station, players spend most of the game switching between her three friends while Nancy coordinates the investigation on her cellphone. The setting – Nancy’s quaint hometown – isn’t as exotic as the settings of some of the other games, but it’s still fun to explore Nancy’s childhood haunts (including her home and the famous desk that players see at the start of every Nancy Drew game). And like previous games, Alibi in Ashes is full of challenging puzzles, interesting characters, and a compelling mystery to solve.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it might be like to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Do you think that would be a good thing or a bad thing?

  • Families can also talk about fire safety, since this game’s purpose is to solve a crime of arson. Do you know what to do if you ever find yourself caught in a smoking building?

  • What do you like about playing mystery games? What are your favorites?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries and puzzles

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