I’ve recently posted about my top 13 favorite Nancy Drew PC games which you can check out here. Having said that, it’s only natural that I talk about the bottom of the barrel as well. Here are my top 13 LEAST favorite Nancy Drew PC games!
Keep in mind there will be mild spoilers ahead. Otherwise, enjoy!
#13: THE WHITE WOLF OF ICICLE CREEK (2007)
“Follow a Trail to Hidden Secrets and Sabotage! Nancy Drew travels to the Canadian Rockies to investigate the Icicle Creek Lodge. Chantal, the owner of the lodge has asked her to uncover the culprit behind a recent string of suspicious accidents. A wolf also appears at the site of accidents and then mysteriously disappears when the police arrive. As Nancy makes her way to the lodge, an explosion rocks the night. A wolf howls mournfully in the distance. Nancy has barely set foot on the premises and already trouble is afoot! Can Nancy solve this mystery before all the guests leave and Chantal is left out in the cold?”
So the Nancy Drew games are honestly overall pretty high quality and enjoyable. So when I say that this is my 13th least favorite, I actually do enjoy playing it, but there are others that I enjoy more than it. Basically this list will run the gamut from games that just aren’t as good as the ones above them to games that are tolerable to games that I think are just plain bad.
Some gripes I have with this particular game is how often we have to cook for the guests at the lodge and that the mystery could be more interesting. Most of the puzzles in the game are easy while others are harder. All in all, it’s not a bad game.
#12: DANGER BY DESIGN (2006)
“Go Undercover in Paris and Unravel a Case in Style! You, as Nancy Drew, intern undercover in a prestigious fashion design studio in Paris. The lead designer, Minette, hasn’t quite been herself lately. She hides behind a white mask and often throws tantrums, even firing several employees. Mysterious threats arrive at the old windmill studio and other troubles lurk in the underbelly of the City of Lights. Can you help Minette release her latest clothing line on time? Or will your sleuthing abroad meet an unfashionable end in Nancy Drew: Danger by Design?”
This was a game that I was never super fond of ever since the first time I played it. I feel other people love it more for the fashion theme, but this wasn’t a game I found myself going back to often. I hated how much time we have to spend earning money and wasn’t too fond of the treasure hunt. I also wish we got to know the characters a bit more as I feel our interactions with them are minimal at best. It’s not a bad game, but just not my cup of tea.
#11: THE FINAL SCENE (2001)
“Search a Darkened Movie Theater to Free a Hostage from her Captor’s Dangerous Plot! When a high school friend gets kidnapped in a historic theater, you, as Nancy Drew, are plunged into a desperate race against the clock. With the theater being torn down in just three days, can Nancy outwit the kidnapper and rescue her friend before the wrecking ball flies? Or will this be Maya’s final scene?”
The storyline is an enjoyable one; it’s one of the few Nancy Drew games to deal with darker subject matter, in this case, a kidnapping. But, it suffers from what many of the older games suffered from: a lack of direction as to what to do next and how to trigger subsequent events and days. I did enjoy the theater and magic themes to this game though.
#10: ALIBI IN ASHES (2011)
“Escape the Smoky Intrigue of a Hometown Inferno! A local contest turns into an arson scene and now deceit smolders among the charred ruins of the River Heights Town Hall. Police have several suspects, but well-placed incriminating evidence and poisonous local gossip compelled authorities to make only one arrest: Nancy Drew. Can you, as the teenage detective and her closest friends, catch the real arsonist and extinguish the accusations among the embers?”
This is one of the easier games in the franchise and I can’t lie and say that I didn’t enjoy it. But many times, there’s nothing happening and a lot of time is spent going back and forth between characters to progress the game further. The premise of Nancy Drew being arrested and having to prove her innocence is an interesting one, but I feel the game could have been much more than it was. I wish the Clues Challenge was something we could actively participate in and I feel that the ending of the game after Nancy Drew is released goes on for way longer than it should!
#9: STAY TUNED FOR DANGER (1999)
“Go Undercover to Save Daytime TV’s Biggest Star from the Danger Lurking in the Wings! Nancy’s reputation for solving mysteries offers her the chance to investigate behind the scenes of a high-profile daytime drama. One of TV’s hottest soap stars is receiving threatening letters and it’s up to Nancy to get to the bottom of them. Clues are everywhere you look, but so is treachery! Only cleverness and craft can outwit this culprit–will Nancy discover the truth before the final curtain call? Stay Tuned!”
Again, this isn’t a horrible game and I feel it gets a lot of flack from people who forget what year it came out. But, it does suffer from the same problems of the older games such as lack of direction as to what to do next. You can also mess yourself up if you don’t do certain things in a certain order. I experienced this personally and had to reload an older saved file of the game in order to progress further without having to restart the game from the beginning!
#8: THE SILENT SPY (2013)
“Defuse a Toxic Plot and Reveal the Truth Behind Kate Drew’s Death! Nearly a decade ago Agent Kate Drew left home to neutralize a biochemical weapon in Scotland. While her assignment was a success, Kate died in a car accident; or so we were told. Now the echoes of a similar plot reverberate and it’s up to you, as detective Nancy Drew, to thwart the sleeper cell and expose the truth about your mother’s tragic demise.”
This game features an interesting premise regarding discovering the truth behind the death of Nancy’s mom, but gosh they make the mystery incredibly dull! The characters are so confusing and you never really get to know any of them well enough. Most of the game is straightforward and the puzzles are generally easy. A few of them can be quite hard and at times it wasn’t apparent what I needed to click on to make a puzzle appear. I also suffered at times from not knowing what to do next to progress the game further. It’s not a bad game, but it definitely needs a rewrite as there are a lot of good ideas, but with poor execution.
#7: THE DEADLY DEVICE (2012)
“Discover true facts about Nikola Tesla, an eccentric physicist and inventor. Danger and Suspicion in a High-Tech Lab! Fear lingers in a remote laboratory after a physicist’s suspicious demise. A police investigation resulted in nothing except a case as cold as the secretive personalities and steel walls that enshroud a top-secret Tesla-inspired facility. That’s why the lab owner asked you, as detective Nancy Drew, to expose the terrifying truth about The Deadly Device!”
This is the first of the games that I consider to be tolerable. I enjoyed the game more on my recent replay of it than I did when I played it for the first time, but it still doesn’t redeem the game much. It’s very heavy in terms of errands to perform and scientific principles to be acquainted with. It can get very confusing and some puzzles are thrown in twice when once was more than enough. I also wish we got to know the character of Ellie York more.
#6: THE SHATTERED MEDALLION (2014)
“No One is Immune to Sudden Death on this Reality TV Show! Ever since the Secret of the Scarlet Hand, the eccentric Sonny Joon always seemed a step ahead of Nancy Drew. That changes when Nancy and George travel to New Zealand and compete in the hit reality TV contest, Pacific Run. Sonny runs the show, but it’s spiraling out of control. Are the mishaps the result of cheating competitors or something beyond this world? Win big to uncover the truth!”
Most of this game is simple and straightforward, however near Stage 5 and Endgame, the puzzles are way too many and way harder than they need to be! There’s not much of a mystery and the climax is very anticlimactic. Sonny Joon’s character was also a letdown to what they’ve been building to for twelve years! The game has many good elements that I think people don’t give it enough credit for, but it definitely needs fixing!
#5: LABYRINTH OF LIES (2014)
“Thread Your Way Through a Maze of Deceit in this Epic Greek Drama! A museum curator hires you to assist with the most anticipated event of the year, but artifacts from the exhibit are mysteriously disappearing. Are these mishaps connected to the amphitheater’s upcoming performance? Or is an unseen villain pulling strings behind the scenes? Uncover the truth and recover the missing artifacts from the Labyrinth of Lies!”
This game starts out decent enough and has a nice laid-back atmosphere, but by the time you get to the last third of the game, it’s chock-full of puzzles that never seem to end, especially in the endgame! I swear it’s like puzzle after puzzle after puzzle! It’s really annoying and sucks whatever joy you experienced in the beginning of the game out of your soul!
#4: TRAIL OF THE TWISTER (2010)
“Apprehend a Saboteur Stirring up Turbulent Trouble! $100,000,000 is at stake in this competition to discover a formula to predict tornado touchdowns. But when equipment starts failing and crew members are injured, you as Nancy Drew, must join the team to keep them in the competition. Is it just bad luck that’s plaguing the storm chasers or is someone sabotaging their chances of winning in the action adventure Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister?”
Now, we’ve arrived at the first of the games that I think are just plain bad! This game is way too heavy on errands and puzzles and almost none of them are enjoyable whatsoever! Playing this game just feels like you’re doing work instead of having a good time!
#3: RANSOM OF THE SEVEN SHIPS (2009)
“Dive into Danger to Rescue Bess from Kidnappers! Your friend Bess Marvin is kidnapped and the only chance you have to save her is by solving a 300-year-old Bahamian mystery! Dangerous waters keep treasure hunters from exploring the reefs around Dread Isle, but this remote island might hide the riches of El Toro’s lost fleet! Can you, as Nancy Drew, track down the treasure before time runs out?”
While it’s a nice idea to pay tribute to the nineteen Nancy Drew games that preceded this one and to see an old villain again, this is another chore-heavy game featuring only one other character! Sailing is annoying, driving around in the golf cart is annoying, your oxygen when scuba diving runs out way too quickly for all the ocean puzzles you need to do, etc! This game just felt cumbersome rather than fun!
#2: THE CREATURE OF KAPU CAVE (2006)
“Team up with the Hardy Boys® and Track an Ancient Legend Through Hawaii! You, as Nancy Drew, go to Hawaii to serve as a research assistant to Dr. Quigley Kim. A devastating scourge is destroying the pineapple crop causing residents to whisper that a local research compound has awoken the legendary Kane ‘Okala. Upon arriving, Nancy discovers the camp ravaged and Dr. Kim missing. Coincidentally, the Hardy Boys are also on the Island to complete a top-secret mission, but it’s up to Nancy to uncover this intricate web of mysteries in Nancy Drew: The Creature of Kapu Cave!”
I really hated this game, but especially hate the character of Big Island Mike! There’s really no mystery in this game nor is there any creature of Kapu Cave, like what gives?! There’s way too many chores including sorting frass, finding shells, and fishing! The biggest problem with this game is that the storyline seems to be nonexistent!
AND MY #1 LEAST FAVORITE NANCY DREW GAME IS:
MIDNIGHT IN SALEM (2019)
“Nancy Drew unexpectedly finds herself in Salem, Massachusetts investigating an arson on the Hathorne estate. The Hathorne House was originally constructed by Judge John Hathorne, inquisitor of the infamous Salem witch trials and the final home to 102-year-old Frances Tuttle, his last direct descendant. When Tuttle passed away, the estate became city property and while the mayor was seeking a manager to oversee the estate the home burst into flames. The ongoing investigation has turned up little evidence but concerned citizens have accused Mei Parry of arson and are pressuring the police to arrest the secretive teenager. As Nancy races to uncover the truth behind the arson, she discovers connections to the house’s past with the Salem trials and finds herself drawn into a struggle with supernatural events that she simply can’t explain. Nancy’s convictions are put to the test. Are the ghosts real? Has Salem’s dark history come to life, or is there someone else to blame? Time is short, and Nancy must find the answers before the clock strikes midnight.”
Was anyone expecting anything else? Where do I even begin with this game? The character designs are horrible, the new navigation system is horrible (seriously, WHY do we need to look up and down? We were fine without it for the other thirty-two games prior!), the endgame is filled with too many puzzles and it just doesn’t feel like a Nancy Drew game at all! It feels like what a company’s first Nancy Drew game would feel like, not a company’s thirty-third game!
The mystery isn’t very interesting to begin with and by far the scariest thing in any Nancy Drew game is whenever you turn around in this game and see Deidre or Frank/Joe Hardy standing right behind you! I guess the biggest disappointment is that this game was released 4 years after its predecessor. Like, we were waiting so long for the next entry in the series and this was the best they could come up with?! No offense to anyone who enjoys this game, but this is one I won’t be replaying much in my life!
And those are my top 13 least favorite Nancy Drew games! What do you think of my list? What are your least favorites? Let me know in the comments below!