Nat Geo Adventure: Lost City of Z

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Nat Geo Adventure: Lost City of Z Game Poster Image
Superb search-and-find game teaches about the Amazon.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The protagonist laments the deforestation of the Amazon when she sees a logging camp. She mentions several times how important it is to leave native cultures undisturbed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonist is a noble hero who risks her own safety to find her lost sister. She also puts herself at risk to save the life of a native boy she's never met. She cares greatly about the environment and has an avid curiosity about foreign cultures and history.

Ease of Play

While challenging at times, the gameplay is designed to be simple enough for casual play. There is no time limit and infinite hints (as long as you wait a while in between receiving them). One feature -- uncommon in search-and-find games -- allows you to see the shape of the items you're looking for.


There are swords, knives, spears, and guns present in the visuals of the game, but none are ever used. One brief live-action clip shows real Amazonian tribesmen pointing spears toward the camera in a somewhat menacing way. Two different characters get bitten by snakes (off-screen), and players must tend to the wounds, which appear as small dots surrounded by large reddish welts on the characters' arms.


One brief live-action clips shows male and female Amazonian natives in traditional (i.e., skin-revealing) dress. There is absolutely nothing sexual in the presentation of this footage.


The National Geographic brand is in the game's title. The protagonist's missing sister is a National Geographic employee. And players can earn, as bonus prizes, wild animal wallpapers with the Nat Geo logo in the corner that they can upload to their PCs.The disc also comes loaded with demos of other games by Valusoft.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigars and pipes appear in the visuals, but are never seen lit and no one ever smokes them onscreen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nat Geo Adventure: Lost City of Z is an intriguing search-and-find puzzle game that has a somewhat intense storyline and atmosphere. Aside from two people who have been bit by snakes, no one is ever hurt over the course of the plot. But the game does a good job of building suspense, which makes it feel as if there is constant danger. Parents should also be aware that the game sneaks in lots of stealth knowledge about the Amazon, it's peoples, and its fauna; as well as some references to National Geographic.

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What's it about?

In LOST CITY OF Z, the protaginist's sister, a National Geographic employee, has vanished in the Amazon while trying to retrace the steps of the historical Colonel Fawcett's expedition to find the legendary Lost City of Z. The hero then heads out after her sister and ends up finding clues that lead to both her missing sibling and the long-lost Fawcett. The main action of the game is played out in search-and-find puzzles (players need to locate a series of items in a crowded, often chaotic setting), but several other types of puzzles challenge players in between those scavenger hunts.

Is it any good?

Lost City of Z has a number of great innovations that help it rise to a level far above many other search-and-find games. For one thing most of the hidden objects that players need to find are setting-appropriate; they're items you really might find in a jungle camp site or an Indian village. And when they're not -- like a GPS in an ancient temple -- it's tied into the plot and referred to as a clue to finding the missing sister. (Many other games ignore this idea completely, asking you to search an Egyptian pyramid and find, say, a candy cane and a dinosaur). Lost City of Z also helps out the player a lot with unlimited hints (you simply need to wait for your radar battery to charge in between hints), and a great feature that shows you the silhouette of an object you're trying to find. So, if you're having trouble finding a carabiner, because you have no idea what a carabiner is -- at least you can see what shape you're looking for. The graphics are also beautiful, and the well-paced plot does a remarkable job of building suspense within a genre that often doesn't allow for it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the real Amazon rain forest. What are the potential consequences of over-logging and deforestation? Are the animals in the game in danger of extinction or losing their habitats? What would happen to the real tribes of the Amazon if their forest homes are eliminated?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Valusoft
  • Release date: December 22, 2009
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
  • Last updated: August 31, 2016

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