In this adventure game, Nancy Drew has been hired by the owner of a Canadian Rockies guest lodge to uncover the source of a series of accidents. She goes undercover as the maid and cook in this small inn.
You become Nancy and see the world through her eyes. You direct her movements by clicking on arrows at the side or bottom of your screen, and you can zoom in to investigate clues whenever your cursor turns into a highlighted magnifying glass.
Upon arriving at the wintry lodge, you meet four guests and the Inn's handyman Ollie and his daughter. As Nancy, you try to deduce what drew each guest to this lodge. On the surface, Yanni Volkataia is here to train for his upcoming cross-country ski race, Guadalupe Camillo because she is an avid bird-watcher, and Bill Kessler and Lou Talbot because they wanted a vacation. But you quickly discover that there is more going on under the surface.
Since you are the maid, you have access to the guests' rooms and can discover secrets there. You also have access to the Lodge's computer and records.
As with previous Nancy Drew games, this gameplay incorporates the solving of puzzles as part of the mystery's resolution. Thus, when you need to shovel the snow off the pond so that the guests can go ice skating, the job involves uncovering weak points in the ice by assessing the color of the ice when it is presented as a grid (a Mindsweeper-type puzzle). Likewise, when you get knocked out by an ice ball thrown by a mysterious person dressed in black and you wake up on a piece of ice floating in a river, your route to safety becomes a puzzle where you have to figure out how to jump from one ice floe to another to make it to the riverbank.
Fans of mystery games and of Nancy Drew will enjoy this new installment. As usual, the visuals are stunning. The sparkling snow landscapes look so real that you expect to breathe in the crisp cold air. And players no longer have to worry about taking risks: if you choose a fatal path, the game automatically restores you to the point before the bad decision.
But this game isn't quite as good as some of the earlier installments. Being the maid and cook imposes limitations because you have to cook three times a day at specific times and clean the guests' rooms every morning. Cooking is a game of filling orders by combining ingredients and frying items without burning them, but it gets old quickly. Your ability to investigate is further hampered by the Canadian temperature, which can be so cold that, at times, you cannot venture outside and have to wait.
These limitations don't distract much from the enjoyment of solving this complicated mystery. While sleuthing, players will find themselves going snowmobiling, ice fishing, and snowshoeing, as well as enjoying a good snowball fight. They will discover hidden tunnels, and come face-to-face with a big White Wolf. Through dialogue of the characters, kids will learn about environmental issues.
With two levels of difficulty, this mystery game will appeal to kids as young as age 9, as well as older siblings and parents.
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