A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.