Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society DS Review
There is no Carolyn Keene, but the conglomerate of authors who took on the pseudonym should be proud that mystery maven Nancy Drew is still relevant to today's youth. In The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society for DS, Nancy's abilities are called upon once again while she is auditioning for membership into an elite club located on a remote island.
Many years of sleuthing merit Nancy an invitation to try-out for the previously mentioned Clue Bender Society. After asking permission from her pops, she heads off on a ferry for the trials. In predictable fashion she is caught up in another case when the bumbling Clue Benders lose their precious book of secrets.
Unfortunately, these self-proclaimed puzzle masters couldn't find 6'4" Michael Phelps on a street in Beijing. It's up to Nancy to explore the society's mansion and the town nearby to locate a suspect and uncover the plot behind the stolen tome. We grabbed our monocle and pipe to get ready for the mystery, but quickly realized that any deduction on our part wasn't needed. Nancy doesn't share the limelight and you are essentially her assistant. Your job is to jockey Nancy to and fro, stopping at the exclamation points to solve a puzzle or pick up an object.
Using the d-pad and buttons, you lead her towards arrows that point to the next room or a point of interest beyond your view. These arrows are often obstructed by objects in the foreground.
Traversing the mansion becomes exasperating as you run back and forth to each objective and get caught up with wonky arrows that don't make the game appealing. A top-down snowmobile and boat mini-game offers a small respite, but don't expect it to save the game. Your trip abruptly ends with no real finish.
The puzzle mini-games left by the Clue Benders are another disappointment. These usually hide items and rooms. A nice try, but the game prohibits you from solving them on your own time, as you can only interact with things that have exclamation points over them. You must wait until Nancy is ready to have a look and only then can you satisfy your curiosity.
When you finally get to check out those doors you were eying or the lower room in the library, you find yourself feeling a little dissatisfied with the secrets. Difficulty is never an issue, and the time-consuming back and forth through the mansion leaves you wanting to put the game away. We realize that Mystery of the Clue Bender Society is made for younger players, but most kids today are computer literate at increasingly younger ages. Don't insult them with a gift of self-solving puzzles and the overall poor reincarnation of a literature legend.
What's Hot: Nancy, bringing a classic female book character to life.
What's Not: Absolutely frustrating and boring, puzzles are too easy, certain camera perspectives block navigational arrows.