Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies Game Poster Image
Slow, dull adventure with overly complex puzzles.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Staying positive, bringing criminals to justice balanced by selfishness, rudeness by many characters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nancy Drew is a legendary heroine, with her intelligence, courage, resourcefulness on display. Her impulsiveness sometimes puts her in harm's way, but she finds a way to get out of it.

Ease of Play

Unusually difficult. Point-and-click functionality, but its puzzles are lengthy, requiring cross-referencing of books, other materials. Solving requires a high capability to gauge cause and effect -- if you get stuck, there's no way to skip them.

Violence

No graphic violence, but Nancy is repeatedly threatened, gets knocked unconscious, and is temporarily locked in a cage. She can be "killed" if the player makes bad decisions, by falling rocks and falling into fire.

Sex
Language

No one says anything stronger than "Gee, Nance!"

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies is an old-fashioned point-and-click adventure that's far more difficult than you might think. Its gameplay relies on speaking to people who often get angry and shout at you, order you around, and threaten you. It also relies heavily on reading excerpts from books, and solving puzzles requires the ability to spot relationships among varying bits of sometimes obscure information.

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What's it about?

Teenage detective Nancy Drew has a long history of getting into trouble in exotic locations, and this time her insatiable curiosity takes her to Greece. She's invited to the Phidias Cultural Center by its curator to help prepare the museum for an upcoming show. Once she gets there, however, she's given a much harder task: helping discover how priceless artifacts have managed to go missing.

Is it any good?

Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies is a disappointing entry in the dynamic Nancy Drew series. Its setting had the potential to be picturesque and exotic but is neither. The entire adventure is confined to limited surroundings, with old-fashioned locations that are visually boring and minimally interactive. Its cast is hamstrung by fairly wooden voice performances, not to mention inexplicable emotional responses. (They'll yell at you to go away, and the next time you approach them they'll say, "Hello," as if nothing's wrong.) The story line isn't that thrilling and leaves several unanswered questions, with the result being a clunky back-and-forth experience punctuated by weird emotional outbursts and tedious, often arbitrarily placed puzzles tossed at gamers to expand the gameplay. Although some are interesting, the overwhelming majority are obscure.

On a more positive note, the game offers some interesting information regarding Greek mythology and art, as well as teaching players a little bit about theater craft, museum curating, and authenticating artifacts. It also has a really nice Mediterranean music score. There's a built-in objectives menu to keep track of what you're doing, but it would be nice if completed goals checked themselves off. Also, the tiered hint system is a good idea but fails when you need it most by not allowing you to skip the most infuriating puzzles. Overall, Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies is disappointing in just about every way, and sadly, the best thing about Labyrinth of Lies is the trailer at the end of it teasing the next Nancy Drew mystery, Sea of Darkness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the long-term popularity of Nancy Drew. Why has she stayed so popular? How does she compare with other fictional female heroes, past or present?

  • Discuss how ancient Greek mythology has affected modern life. Can you think of any modern books or movies that have mythological characters?

Game details

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