Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge Game Poster Image

Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge



Learn about Japan while solving a puzzling mystery.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game encourages players to be observant and think logically to solve puzzles.

Positive role models

Articulate, smart and curious, Nancy is a positive female role model. She is motivated by an inherent desire to problem-solve and help people, even though she's supposed to be relaxing at the Inn.

Ease of play

Players can choose to play as Senior or Junior Detective, the latter being less challenging with a task list to keep players on track as to what they need to do next. No matter which mode is selected, though, puzzles are tough and can't be skipped.


The Inn is said to be haunted, which results in some scary moments like when a ghostly female figure charges directly at the player from a first-person perspective and breaks a mirror in the sauna room. There is also one scene of a character almost drowning in a pond and gasping for air afterwards.

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From the main menu, players can click on a Scrapbook that contains summaries of the first 22 Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive - by there are no links to outside websites or prompts to purchase the games.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge is an adventure mystery starring teenage sleuth Nancy Drew that is set in Japan. The game offers two modes of difficulty, but even the lesser one contains some pretty challenging brainteasers that can't be skipped. The story revolves around a haunted Japanese Inn and contains some scary moments, but it also exposes players to various facets of Japanese culture, including calligraphy, rock gardens, and sudoku. The game is aimed at players aged 10 and older, but slightly younger players might enjoy playing with some support from mom or dad.

What's it about?

In NANCY DREW: SHADOW AT THE WATER'S EDGE, the 23rd point-and-click adventure game in Her Interactive's long-running series, teenage detective Nancy Drew travels to Japan to teach English but finds herself staying at an inn that seems to be haunted. The mystery proves too intriguing for Nancy to ignore, and she goes about interviewing the employees of the family-run Inn and the surrounding city, diving into Japanese culture, and solving challenging mini-game puzzles.

Is it any good?


Shadows at Water's Edge is one of the less linear entries in the Nancy Drew series. Nancy is free to wander around the Inn and beyond (via a subway system), but she'll miss certain events that only happen at specific times unless she sets her alarm. The exotic and beautiful Japanese setting adds a breath of fresh air to the series, allowing players plenty of opportunities to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and learn a thing or two. Like past Drew games, the puzzles can get quite challenging and can't be skipped which might result in some frustration. A skip option for the dialogue might have been nice as well, since some of the characters tend to talk quite slowly. Overall, though, Shadow at Water's Edge has all the ingredients of another worthy entry to the well-respected series.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what they learned about Japanese culture by playing this game. Did they try to make the origami paper sculpture shown in the diagram? Or draw the Japanese characters featured in Nancy's origami lesson? Would they ever try to create a rock garden in the Japanese style?

  • Families can also discuss the presence of ghosts in the game. Why do so many different cultures believe in ghosts? Do you think all ghosts are scary?

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Her Interactive
Release date:October 19, 2010
ESRB rating:E10+ for Mild Violence

This review of Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge was written by

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Teen, 14 years old Written bygamingurl23 November 1, 2010

A Gr8 Game!!

Ok So I Have Played ALL The Nancy Drew Games & This Is One Of My Faves!! It Is Creepy & Scary(Which Is What I LOVE!) It Is'nt gory or To Vilolent(Some Stuff Jumps out at u but that's it!) Some Images Might be scary but i play this with my little sisters(5 & 10) & it didn't scare them! But It Is A Gr8 Game & Worth A Buy!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byfirefrost123 June 7, 2011

Awesome game!

This is one of my favorite ND games. I think it is very educational because Nancy encounters some challenging puzzles that require some thinking. Nancy Drew is a very good role model because she sticks on a case no matter what happens. There were 2 parts that scared the pants off of me (don't read the rest if you don't want to know when they are) Nancy walks into a bathroom, then walks directly up to the mirror and behind her is this creepy ghost girl just standing there. (It's strange because you don't see Nancy in the mirror.. Hmm...) But then the mirror breaks and she disappears. The next part is near the end of the game when Nancy finds a secret room. You finish a puzzle then when Nancy turns around there is this creepy looking ghost girl that charges toward you and pushes you into the water and holds you there while you finish a puzzle to get out. Other than those parts it's mostly just shadows, and footprints.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written byirockwhee January 6, 2011

Too scary to be rated 10+, disturbing images

I am 19 and thought the images of the ghost girlk were way too scary. I like my nanayc drew games because they are generally light and fun and im playing it at 11:00 at night alone while everyone else is asleep, and this creepy ghost girl who resembles the girl from the grudge charges at me while croaking. i did not like that. the rest of the game is good but I did not think this was appropriate for a game supposedly intended for 10 year olds. If i wanted to be disturbed by my game, I would play an Adventure Company Jack the Ripper game or something.
What other families should know
Too much violence