The Nightshift Code

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
The Nightshift Code Game Poster Image
An enjoyable puzzle game for armchair sleuths.

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

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game doesn't contain any inappropriate material (even for younger players). It's basically a "Where's Waldo"-like seek-and-find puzzle game with an adventure twist. This is a downloadable game for both Mac and Windows computer, and it comes with a try-before-you-buy option.

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What's it about?

It was quite the night for Mike. Not only does this young security guard catch someone breaking into the museum after dark, but he also discovers that the rare artifact the intruder is after is tied to his own father's mysterious disappearance. Such is the story behind THE NIGHTSHIFT CODE, a well-crafted adventure that cleverly integrates a fun story into the popular \"hidden object\" puzzle genre. Available as a download for both Windows PCs and Macs, PlayFirst's The Nightshift Code follows Mike and Isabel as they venture across the globe -- from the U.S. to Germany, Canada to the Greek Isles -- in order to find key items, decipher messages, and solve puzzles.

The core game-play will be familiar to fans of hidden object games and it is well executed here. You're presented with a busy scene, such as a messy room or outdoor courtyard, and you're asked to find a dozen or more items listed at the bottom of the screen. Examples of items you'll be asked to find include a sword, conch shell, green apple, sphinx, penny, wheelbarrow, car, fan and mermaid. No, you're not asked to find Waldo, but that's the idea.

Is it any good?

The puzzles can be tricky at times, but that only enhances the challenge. You'll be tasked to find multiple items such as "Four tapes," and when you comb the screen with your computer mouse to find them all you realize they're not all the same thing. In this scenario, the items are an audiotape, VHS cassette, measuring tape and sticky roll of tape. Likewise, the Story mode also features six tricky mini-games. The first one, for instance, is a "logoscope" puzzle where you must flip through numerous symbols and figure out what word each symbol stands for to decipher a message.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why this genre is one of the most popular among "casual game" fans. Is it because it's very accessible? Non-violent? Conveniently downloadable? Offers a try-before-you-buy model?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac
  • Price: $19.95
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: PlayFirst
  • Release date: December 11, 2007
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: NR

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