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Nancy Drew and the Ceaseless Chore List
on January 1, 2016
This is a title that I skipped over for years. It just didn’t sound interesting to me and I knew that the reviews of it were mixed. It ended up being okay. It’s one that I would recommend only to established fans of the ND series. I'm going to split my review up into different sections so I can give the game a more accurate rating.
PLOT - 3/5: Nancy is hired by PG Krolmeister to go undercover as an intern to investigate some suspicious happenings with the Canute College Tornado Chasing Team. PG is funding the team and providing their equipment for a competition in which college tornado chasing teams try to learn the most new information about storms. The winning team wins an insane amount of money ($100,000,000!!) so obviously a lot is at stake. PG believes that someone within the team is sabotaging his equipment to prevent them from winning the competition.
I had three problems with this plot. 1 – It was boring and lacked a sense of danger or urgency. 2 – The sabotage was kind of lame (i.e. luring mice into the house, broken video camera, broken GPS) 3 – There was little depth to the story line. Probably because it lacked any sort of sub plot.
What kind of redeemed the game for me were the little extra things HER put into the game. I loved the TV in the farmhouse that played goofy TV shows and had references to past games. I loved that you could give candy to the suspects (and feed Nancy candy until she throws up). I especially loved that you could drive Nancy’s car like a maniac and crash into things.
CHARACTERS – 3.5/5: The characters had a lot of potential here. The suspects were everyone on the storm team - Scott, Debbie, Chase, and Frosty - and Pa who owns the general store in town (who was my favorite). The voice acting was excellent and the personalities of the characters seemed very realistic. Unfortunately pretty much the only reason you talk to the characters is to receive chores from them. I definitely would have liked to have better interaction with the characters, and also would have liked to see more developed relationships between them. Phone friends include PG Krolmeister, who was a lot of fun to listen to, and the Hardy Boys who unfortunately were pretty boring this time around.
SETTING – 3.5/5: The setting was gorgeous but pathetically small. There were only two areas you could explore; the farmhouse and Pa’s store. There were no more areas unlocked throughout the plot. There were a couple more areas that Nancy could stop at in her car but they were only viewpoints for looking at clouds. But everything was so beautiful and lifelike. The rain looked awful however.
PUZZLES – 2.5/5: So. Many. Chores. It was ridiculous. Every day in the game starts with Debbie giving Nancy a list of chores to do for that day, and then pretty much every time you talked to a character the conversation ended with them saying “Hey while you’re here, why don’t you do this for me?” I get that Nancy was undercover as an intern, but she was also an intern in Danger by Design and her chores in that game weren’t nearly so numerous or obnoxious. Her Interactive should have realized that a puzzle loses 99% of its entertainment value the minute it becomes a chore. So I really can’t say that I had fun with the puzzles in this game EXCEPT the mini game Land Rush at Pa’s store. I haven’t had that much fun with a mini game since playing scopa in The Phantom of Venice.
IS IT CHALLENGING? – Kind of. The puzzles weren’t as difficult as the puzzles in the last game, Ransom of the Seven Ships. Some of them I could solve on my own and some of them I used a walkthrough for. I’d give it a 3.5 for challenge.
ENDING -3.5/5: The ending was interesting. It was weird because Nancy pretty much discovers who the culprit is – she finds incriminating evidence against that person in the room where that character stays – but the game kept going for probably 45 minutes before Nancy actually realizes that that person is the culprit. And she accuses like two other characters of being the culprit in the meantime. It drove me crazy. Nancy has caught culprits with less evidence than that in the past so it was just weird why the game didn’t end there.
But once Nancy finally realizes who the culprit is and confronts them the ending was better. Nancy had to chase the culprit while simultaneously running from a tornado which made it a lot more exciting. I also liked how Nancy finally catches the culprit and I liked how everything was wrapped up in the monologue.
= 19.5 divided by 6 = 3.25 rounded to 3