Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Here's mud on your face! - a review of Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger

Before Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger, my favorite casual game was Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses. Well, this new sequel is now my other favorite casual game. Read on to find out why!

What I liked

  • Top-notch music
  • Fun and original mechanics
  • Great story
  • Multiple endings
  • Mini games / puzzles
  • Excellent voice acting (for the most part)

What I didn't like

  • A few of the voices
  • The reward for achieving Master Detective rank
  • Short allotted time for bomb puzzles
  • Too short of game length! Give me more!


Genre

Adventure / Mystery / Object-combining


Quick Plot

Someone at the luxurious Redondo Resort and Spa is planting bombs. Your job as the illustrious girl detective is to track down the perpetrator. Which of the six mysterious suspects is responsible?



Highlights

Mechanics

I love the original object-matching mechanic used in the Nancy Drew Dossier games. Most of the game puts you in one of many rooms where there are various objects to locate with your magnifying glass (mouse cursor). You hover the mouse around the room until it sparkles on some object or area, at which point you can click to reveal a usable feature of the room. You are told how many of these objects exist in each scene.

As you find these objects, you can match them by clicking two of them in a row. If the match is successful, you earn points. If not, you get nothing and your points counter resets. With each successive correct match, the number of points you earn increases. For this reason, I always make sure to find every object in a room before attempting matches. It is too easy to make a mistake if you don't know what all of your options are.

Once you've found all of the matches in a room, the game progresses.

Puzzles and mini games

Throughout the game you'll face various puzzles and mini games including (but not limited to):
  • Bomb-diffusing (connect one end to the other end, like the pipe game)
  • Mud masking spa clients (logical sequence puzzle)
  • Getting correct answers in conversations (requires you to be observant as you go)
  • Animal-catching
  • Riddle-solving
  • Unlocking various objects
Music

You know I'm picky about music in games. Fortunately, Her Interactive has hired Matt Sayre to compose the music for the Dossier series. I respect Mr. Sayre. He's one of the few good composers out there working on casual games. The music is fitting and fun in both Dossier games. This helps push the game to the "great" category.

Production

The best thing about the Dossier games is the attention to quality. So many casual games feel as if they were thrown together, with a terrible lack of quality writing, editing, and English in general. In this game, the music, graphics, writing, voice work (except for maybe 2 exceptions) are all as good as it gets. It's so fun to play a game with a well-written story! Her Interactive has my confidence that they will always deliver the goods, whether it be with their adventure game series or their Dossier series.


Suitable for the family?

Yes. The kids really enjoy this game. The geniuses at Her Interactive put a recurring dog character in the game, which is perfect for drawing the attention of the little ones. Additionally, the game is always moving and changing, which keeps the halflings from growing bored.


The family man's final ruling

It doesn't get better than this, friends.
Go download Lights, Camera, Curses first, and then play Resorting to Danger.

My main gripe is that, knowing how tricky it was to achieve Master Detective rank in the first Dossier game, I was very careful to avoid mistakes this time around so I could earn enough points to unlock whatever tasty morsels they had for me at the end. I was very disappointed. All that work turned out to be for nothing, really. Grrrrrrr. In my mind, Master Detective rank should unlock some great 10-minute movie to wrap-up the plot or show you what happened afterward or something. As it is, it was a huge letdown. The payoff for Master Detective rank was much better in the first Dossier game. In my mind, the reward should be spectacular. Couldn't Her Interactive have polished this element of the game just a bit more?

On the other hand, they offered multiple endings this time around, which provides replay value. You may find yourself wanting to go back and play it again immediately, just to find out what happens in the other endings.

So, this is as much fun and quality as you'll find on the casual game market.

You'll like the game if...

  • You like Nancy Drew games
  • You like solving mysteries
  • You like a variety of puzzles and mini games
  • You like a good story

You won't like the game if...

  • You don't like matching or combining things
  • You don't like Nancy Drew mysteries


My rating:

If you want to play Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger, click below:

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