Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy

Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy

Spring 2010 Software
Ages: 10 & Up
Price: $19.99
Platform: Windows
Probably no PC game title has been published more prolifically than Her Interactive's Nancy Drew teen detective series; this new game is the 21st in 12 years. But what's more remarkable than the quantity is the quality. Even occasionally when a ND game is a bit off its game, it's still educational, fun and immersive. And the best of these first-person gumshoe fantasies, with their deep cast of characters, crisp and detailed graphics, striking animation and solid storylines, are like nothing else.

Fortunately for ND fanatics as well as newbies, Warnings at Waverly Academy is totally on its game. Taking place in an exclusive private boarding school for girls where the mystery encompasses all the gossip, rumors, snootiness and social castes, it is nearly perfect for the ND primary audience--'tween and teen girls.

In this one, Nancy is beckoned to Waverly Academy to solve the mystery of the Black Cat. Seems that some girls who are set to graduate as valedictorians have been receiving threatening letters and, soon after, experiencing unusual accidents--apparently the nasty work of the Black Cat perp. So Nancy slips undercover, posing as a new student at the school. She learns to live by the school's rules and spends more time collecting evidence, questioning suspects and investigating threats than doing homework. Challenge: Prevent any of the student body from becoming a student body.

Meanwhile, Nancy has to make friends in this cliquey school-girl environment (not easy), learns how to run the snack station (not hard), plays air-hockey (fun), and solves various puzzles requiring logic and problem-solving (challenging), ranging from creating a valedictorian page on the school's website to memorizing the patterns of a squirrel climbing up a tree.

As in previous cases, the difficulty levels are junior or senior detective--and that makes a big difference in game play and available hints. Nancy's cell phone helps a lot and lets players (playing as Nancy, of course) make and receive calls, text messages, take photos, even set wake-up alarms. The game doesn't play as long as some of the previous ND titles and there are fewer games and puzzles (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), but if Nancy Drew is your heroine or mystery your genre, you can't do much better than this.

Don Oldenburg   ©2010 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers
Her Interactive, Inc.

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