Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes

Common Sense Media says

Solve Nancy's latest mystery with help from her friends.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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

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.

Violence

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. 

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Math

  • patterns

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • collecting data
  • solving puzzles

Communication

  • asking questions
  • listening

Collaboration

  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Effectively shakes up the formula of past Nancy Drew mysteries. It’s fun to explore Nancy’s childhood haunts. Full of challenging puzzles, interesting characters, and a compelling mystery to solve.

Learning Approach

Kids can learn how to reason like a detective. Kids learn to collect data, analyze evidence, and make deductions based on facts. Mini puzzle games require kids to recognize math patterns.

Support

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 mini-games slightly.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Math

  • patterns

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • collecting data
  • solving puzzles

Communication

  • asking questions
  • listening

Collaboration

  • teamwork

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Bell

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Platforms:Windows
Price:$19.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Her Interactive
Release date:October 20, 2011
Genre:Girl
ESRB rating:E for Mild Violence (Windows)

This review of Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes 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.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old November 6, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

awesomeness

i think this game is very good it is not educational and dosent have positive messages it not violent. so you should buy this game its very fun to play even after you beat the game!
Teen, 15 years old Written byreaglecelina December 29, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

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 under ten, you just can't really understand the game as well or solve the puzzles. The puzzles aren't THAT difficult. If you're really frustrated with one they have good message boards- monitored tooth and nail- that can give hints. The game was slightly disappointing for me personally. Only because I've played each game multiple times. I wouldn't have not played it though. It's sort of a given that I buy each one. One of the few computer games I really enjoy though. If you're not into the mystery and adventure genre, don't get it. There's also slight violence in almost each Nancy Drew game, just to make it more exciting. Any one who can solve the game easily would be fine with the level of violence though.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Teen, 13 years old Written byDangerRanger101 December 2, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

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 ridiculous because Nancy has done nothing but good deeds, when she's suddenly accused of arson, now that just doesn't make sense! Another problem was the puzzles, this time there weren't very many and when there were they were often frustrating. But the real concern was the amount because without the puzzles, your just wandering around talking to people, boring! Also, some scenes could get a bit violent, like when Nancy dies from smoke inhailation the sound effects may frighten sensitive people. Another frightening scene is when a rock is thrown through the window, that part really scared me because someone could've been hurt and I am a bit sensitive.The best thing was the characters. Nancy is a good role model because she's persistent and kind. And the people you can play as (Bess,George, and Ned) are always there for Nancy in her time of need. But the suspects, with the exception of Toni and Alexi, were bad role models because they were disrespectful, unsympathetic and other bad things. The worst was probably Brenda Carlton because she was always talking about getting revenge and she was untruthful. She'll do anything to get a juicy story, even if it meany lying or trying to frame/kill someone. You'll definetly want to talk to your kids about the consequences of lying. But this really isn't a bad game, just not as good as some of the past ones, so if your new to these games I would recommend starting with the older games. But, if you don't like this game there are a few other things you can do. 1. Play around with the cell phones 2.If you play as Bess, George or Ned, order ice cream 3. Play that word game in the ice cream shop. If all else fails, just go exploring and try not 2 get caught. One last concern I have is that one character says "shut up" so families may want to watch out for that. Overall, this game is very fine but it's not perfect. I think that they could've done atleast a little better with this game but it's not horrible. I say pause because this game may scare some sensitive people, so if you're child is sensitive then you'll definetly want to talk to them about the frights. Also, some people who've read the origonal series may not be too pleased with what they've done with Bess. See, in the books she was always described as being "slightly plump" but in this game she looks like a little miss perfect! I just don't see the need to make girls look so perfect! I mean she isn't like those models and movies stars, but her figure doesn't fit her description, so you may want to talk to your girls about body image. But that isn't a huge problem, but it may still be good to talk about just incase.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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