Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall Game Poster Image
Great haunted house mystery with challenging puzzles.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn reading, listening, and investigative skills as they solve a mystery. Some minigames involve sequences, patterns, and shapes. One puzzle gives kids a basic chemistry lesson as they follow instructions to build a battery from scratch. Kids learn about female historical figures, including Harriet Tubman and Belle Boyd. The Ghost of Thornton Hall touches on the history of the Civil War while delivering top-notch puzzles inside an engaging mystery.

Positive Messages

Nancy is trying to find a missing person, which is a positive goal. The game touches on the issue of greed and how it contributed to the Thornton family's ill-gotten wealth. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nancy is a positive role model. Throughout the game she demonstrates integrity, intelligence, tenacity, and fearlessness.

Ease of Play

This point-and-click game offers two difficulty levels: Amateur Sleuth and Master Sleuth. Master Sleuth offers more challenging puzzles, no hints, and a less detailed checklist to keep track of goals. The puzzles can't be skipped.


A character perishes in a fire in an event that takes place in the past and is not shown on-screen. Nancy can be knocked unconscious by falling objects, but there is no interpersonal violence.


Clicking on the “More ND” link from the main menu takes players to a page where they can browse other games in the series and visit the publisher’s website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest pages.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall is the 28th title in the Nancy Drew point-and-click adventure series from Her Interactive. Nancy Drew is a great role model in that she demonstrates integrity, intelligence, tenacity, and fearlessness. There are two levels of difficulty, and younger kids might need a parent's help to solve some of the puzzles, which can't be skipped. There's a lot of reading required. Nancy can be hurt by falling objects, which causes the screen to go black; but there's a second chance option so you can always try again.

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What's it about?

In NANCY DREW: GHOST OF THORNTON HALL, players assume the role of teenage investigator Nancy Drew. As Nancy, they investigate the disappearance of Jessalyn Thornton, a young lady who vanished during a sleepover at Thornton Hall, her family's abandoned estate that's said to be haunted by ghosts. Nancy interviews members of the star-crossed family and searches the run-down mansion and grounds for clues and evidence. Along the way, players solve various puzzles such as deciphering coded messages and opening sophisticated locks.

Is it any good?

The mystery for Nancy to solve is as intriguing as ever, the writing and voice-acting is solid (though a bit cheesy in places), puzzles are challenging, and the atmosphere is suitably creepy. Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall debuts two wonderful gameplay additions: an expanded hints system and the ability to fast-forward through dialog. However, after following on the heels of the fantastic science-inspired Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device, Ghost of Thornton Hall seems to be playing it safe by retreading familiar ground with a haunted house theme. Still, if you're a fan of these beautifully constructed interactive mysteries, you won't be disappointed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Civil War spies. What important roles did they play?

  • Would you rather be rich and unhappy, like most of the Thornton family, or poor and content? Is there a happy medium?

  • What draws you to mystery games? Do you like all mysteries or only Nancy Drew mysteries?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love solving mysteries and puzzles

Themes & Topics

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