Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
History and storytelling of the Salem Witch Trials (and Salem, Massachusetts as a whole) is heavy in the storyline. A museum regarding the Trials is a major location in the game, including interactive exhibits meant to be explored. Reading and analysis of fictional historical documents is highly encouraged to advance the plot.
Empowered and confident women make up most of the characters. The several female sleuths do not rely on male characters for guidance. Characters engage in frequent discussions about false accusations and bringing justice to light.
Positive Role Models
Nancy's role is to investigate crimes and help her friends and father with their struggles. She portrays a positive role model for young girls, always looking to be of service to others, but not at the cost of her ethics. As is common with the series, other themes of female-empowerment are heavy. A female lawyer tells Nancy that women have to work twice as hard as men do to be respected. She instructs Nancy to not let her boyfriend's aspirations get in the way of her own.
Almost all characters in the game are women, and most are represented as strong and intelligent. Nancy occasionally accepts hints from her two male detective friends Frank and Joe Hardy (longtime characters in the series), but she repeatedly states that she is independent and confident in her skills. A few mild stereotypes can be found – a moody teenage girl, a clumsy male lawyer who relies on a confident and capable female subordinate. White characters make up the majority of the cast – there are two characters that are women of color and one separate character who is a plus-sized woman.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Ease of Play
For fans of the series, the updated user interface will be difficult to adjust to. Mac users will need to play in low-resolution for the game to run properly. Still, this click-and-point adventure has low stakes for new gamers and those unfamiliar with PC gaming.
Violence & Scariness
References to torture and murder of the women perceived to be witches during the Salem Witch Trials are consistent. This includes mentions of hanging (and subsequently choking to death) and a description of a form of torture calling "pressing" where a victim has increasingly heavy stones placed on them over a period of days until they die. Suspense, dark lighting, multiple jump scares, and intense music in stressful scenes are present. A friend's house is vandalized with insults in graffiti. Multiple main characters are intentionally poisoned. A friend is found unconscious on the floor. Nancy and a friend can audibly drown and die if they do not evacuate a flooding tunnel quickly enough.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Despite multiple rejections from Nancy, a male character insistently flirts with and asks to take her on a date, refusing to take no for an answer.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Midnight in Salem is the 33rd installment in the Nancy Drew franchise, and some dialogue may be confusing for those who have not played the previous games.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Midnight in Salem is a mystery-adventure game available for PC and Mac. While the decision-making in the game is relatively simple, the plot and violence may be better suited for older kids. Graphic verbal descriptions of murder include murders of young children, which may startle younger players. Additionally, the cool, suave depiction of a male character who is pushy and coercive toward Nancy does not represent healthy relationship standards for players who are too young to know better. The game's controls are clunky and may be confusing for younger users. As is common in the Nancy Drew series, Nancy makes it her mission to bring justice and resolution to the crime she is investigating, but never compromises her morals and ethics in order to get there. She's a great role model for young players, and parents will enjoy the historical nature of the plot as well.
Is It Any Good?
Despite the updates meant for a newer audience, issues with controls and ease-of-play keep it from being an adventurous game for all. Multiple changes have been made to Nancy Drew: Midnight in Salem to make it feel consistent with previous games, but some of these changes (Nancy's voice actress, checklist and notebook usage, user interface, etc.) may frustrate some players. The classic click-and-point navigational system is "updated" to adjust to modern demands in PC gaming, but the result is clunky and frustrating to utilize. While environmental graphics are significantly improved, character graphics feel outdated, and the timing in the voice acting is awkwardly paced. Due to the upgrade in graphics, players may need an entirely different platform to successfully run the game, or may need to run it on the lowest-quality graphic setting. At times, the plot is slow and difficult to follow. This latest installment in one of the first computer game series geared toward young girls is a disappointment for many.
Despite these setbacks, Midnight in Salem succeeds in its detailed historical accuracy, paying respect to the many men, women, and children who were wrongfully accused and executed during the Salem Witch Trials. The Hardy Boys are prominently featured in the game – a frequently-requested addition by fans. Dialogue, technology, and lingo are updated to fit a modern generation of players. The music, environment, and sound effects help create a haunting atmosphere that brings Salem directly to the player's world. While tech issues are present, the game's dedication to seeking historical justice and educating young players on an important event in American history helps the mystery thrive.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.