Nancy Drew: The Model Mysteries, is based on the trilogy of Nancy Drew books entitled "Model Crime," "Model Menace," and "Model Suspect." The game plays out in three "Acts," with each act representing one of the books. The trilogy follows the wedding plans of supermodel Syd, one of Nancy's best friends, and her fiancé Vic, a reality TV star. Act I revolves around dress fittings and the bridal shower. Act II covers the joint bachelor/bachelorette party, the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding. Act III takes place during the honeymoon. Most of these activities are being filmed by Vic's reality TV crew.
Unfortunately, this unlucky couple is plagued by a series of mishaps, some more dangerous than others. For example, at the bridal fitting, Syd finds that her dress has been shredded. At the rehearsal dinner, Vic is served a piece of cake laced with glass shards. At the wedding location, a large light used by the TV crew almost falls on the groom. It is up to you, playing as Nancy, to discover who is trying sabotage the happiness of this lovely couple.
The game delivers the mysteries through dialogue spoken by over 15 characters. The characters are depicted by almost photographic realism in still pictures on the top screen as their dialogue appears in the lower screen. You hear ambient sounds to make you feel as if you are in the scene. As Nancy, you can periodically question suspects about their whereabouts and what they know. Eventually, you must finger the suspects; and, if you are wrong, you have to go back and interview more characters.
The rest of game involves playing puzzles and mini-games, which have been nicely intertwined into the sleuthing story. A majority of the puzzles involve finding hidden objects in a crowded scene. These puzzles are tied into finding clues that move the story along. The game also has six mini-games, including unscrambling words, finding differences in two scenes, and repeating memory sequences.
The game puts a heavy emphasis on hidden object puzzles, similar to the kind of puzzles that are very popular in casual games found online. Each of these hidden object puzzles has ten items to find in three minutes. If you fail, a new list of objects is generated; but none of the objects move, so you will eventually find all the objects that you need. Also, there are hints available if you really get stuck. All of the game's puzzles and mini-games can be played separately from the story mode.
For those who have played the popular Nancy Drew PC games from Her Interactive, this Nintendo DS game is a lot easier to play and is shorter in length. Even so, it is an enjoyable game, especially because of the three intertwining mysteries.
Although easy to play, the game skews up in age because of some of the themes it presents. This is a mystery about relationships between young adults. Scorned girlfriends behave badly. The game talks about scary acts of stalking and harassment. And it shows a world of reality TV with questionable role models where directors can be rude and actors do risky things just to get ratings.
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