(Written originally for my steampunk blog steamingenious.blogspot.com)
This is the 27th (!) game in the Nancy Drew series of adventure games. Although officially aimed at teens, I’ve recently come to appreciate these games as having well-designed and challenging puzzles, enjoyable mini-games (and I normally HATE mini-games) and a good sense of humor. These games don’t do any hand-holding when it comes to puzzles. Expect a challenge, and bring a pen and paper. The recently released latest installment is one of the most steampunk games I’ve yet played. And I didn’t expect to be saying that. The mystery Nancy has to solve is a murder of a physicist by a Tesla coil. The research facility is working on Tesla’s idea of wireless energy transmittance and is close to revolutionizing the whole energy field when the head researcher is killed by a sabotaged Tesla coil.
The only screenshot of the room I could find online. But it gives you a sense.
So there is a lot of content related to Nikola Tesla’s life, work, and theories. More than that, the main lab is thrillingly steampunk, with all the Tesla coils and other steamy devices. I knew the designer was giving a gentle nod to steampunk when the victim’s office featured a giant half-gear motive on one wall. But I didn’t expect to come across one of the coolest steampunk rooms EVER in this game. It’s towards the end of the game, and I am in LOVE with the decor of this room. I was SO upset that I couldn’t get my computer to take a screenshot in this game. The gear-based stenciled wall, the airship and DaVinci wing models hanging from the ceiling, the gadgets…seriously, I want to RECREATE this room.
As a game, this is one of the stronger Nancy Drew games. The puzzles tend towards the science and mechanical: you will mix chemicals, assemble circuit boards, make etchings, and hack into numerous computers and other secured tech. The storyline is decent if not remarkable. These games are never very long and are priced accordingly. It takes me a couple of days to play each one, but I freely admit to checking a walkthrough if I get really stuck.
Time Played: 5-10 hours
Difficulty: Just Right