|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gorilla Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
When I was a young girl, I was what you could call a bookworm; I loved reading. Among my favorites were the Goosebumps series, the Babysitter's club, and of course, Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew was always a particular favorite, not necessarily because of the memorable characters, but because the mysteries were always so suspenseful and had an outlandish Scooby-Doo-like plot twist near the end. However, I never got into the Nancy Drew games, despite my zeal for their written inspiration. I felt like the video game would not mirror the novels' mystique and appeal.
And now, after playing Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society, I can definitely say I was right; there is definitely a lot lost in the book-to-game translation. One thing that is still intact, however, from the book series is the solid story. Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society begins with Nancy receiving an invitation to join the prestigious and mysterious Clue Bender Society, which her father believes is a secret society that has helped shaped the course of history. Nancy accepts the invitation and takes a ferry to a mysterious mansion, where she will have to take part in a competition to prove herself as a top-notch sleuth. However, once she arrives, the competition turns serious, as one of the society's most precious artifacts goes missing, and Nancy ends up having to solve a real mystery.
In true Nancy Drew fashion, the story is pretty hokey and has some pretty severe plot holes and outrageous twists. But as I alluded to before, this is part of the whole charm of the Nancy Drew series, so it's something fans will surely recognize and appreciate. And if you're not a seasoned fan, well it might leave you scratching your head.
But story aside, I have to say this title doesn't have much else going for it. Chief among my complaints is the gameplay. Essentially, the gameplay is a connect-the-dots adventure, and I mean that in the most literal way. In effect, what you have to do is follow a trail of white circles and wait for an X button icon to pop up, which means you've found something and can continue following the dots. Once you finish finding all the necessary clues, you'll be treated to a fairly generic mini-game, which generally consists of solving a very simple puzzle. These generally consist of matching tiles or dropping balls into color-coordinated pots; they are very standard puzzle fare that won't really surprise or impress most gamers.
After you go through each paint-by-numbers level, you will be treated to a dialogue scene, which will consist of pictures of the characters' faces and some scrolling text at the bottom. Normally, I would be somewhat upset by the lack of animated cutscenes, but the scrolling dialogue is reminiscent of reading the Nancy Drew novels, so it is permissible in this case.