I grew up idolizing Nancy Drew and her ability to face any danger with courage and solve any mystery with her quick-thinking and intelligence. So it seemed only natural I would fall in love with HerInteractive’s Nancy Drew video games, which allow you to take on the persona of Nancy Drew as you complete logic puzzles to solve mysteries. It’s been four years since the last game was released, but in honor of the 33rd game coming out this fall (Midnight in Salem), here my top ten favorite Nancy Drew video games (so far).
Shadow at the Water’s Edge
In this mystery, Nancy visits a Japanese ryokan and tries to discover the secret behind the ghost haunting the family. The gameplay was long with enough places to visit that the game felt immersive. I especially loved the mini games, however, such as the Bento sorting and the ability to make avatars for Nancy’s phone.
The Secret of Shadow Ranch
This is one of the most celebrated Nancy Drew games and for good reason. It has compelling characters, a decent length for gameplay, and plenty of chores to keep Nancy busy (if you like th games with chores).
Secret of the Old Clock
I love this one because it is the only historical Nancy Drew. Based on her first book, it takes players back to the 1930s. Nancy gets to drive around town in her iconic blue roadster, play mini golf, and more. I can’t help but hope that we will one day see another historical game!
Sea of Darkness
This maritime adventure is set in Iceland, where Nancy gets to view the Northern lights, explore a restored ship, venture into ice caves, and, of course, buy plenty of souvenirs. The gameplay is long and there are a myriad of settings for Nancy to visit, so it never feels like the game is stalling. The graphics in this one are really beautiful, as is the soundtrack.
Labyrinth of Lies
The graphics in this Greek adventure are really beautiful, though it is a shame Nancy has to spend so much time exploring Hades and does not really have the ability to walk around outside too much. Still, there is plenty to do and explore in this game, and the puzzles felt new–sometimes the games use similar puzzles.
The Captive Curse
Nancy visits a Bavarian castle and learns about the monster that roams the forest outside, sometimes kidnapping young women. The setting for this game was especially enjoyable–it’s always fun to explore a castle! I also love the games where you can earn money to purchase and collect souvenirs.
Ghost of Thornton Hall
Ghost of Thornton Hall is one of the creepier games, which normally I don’t like so much. (Curse of Blackmoor Manor, for instance, terrified me with its emphasis on the occult.) However, this one was pretty enjoyable. I don’t know why, but there’s something compelling about getting to explore cemeteries.
The Haunting of Castle Malloy
The Haunting of Castle Malloy has a somewhat weak plot, but it is set in Ireland, where Nancy is investigating the disappearance of her friend’s betrothed. I really liked getting to explore an old castle, roam the grounds and see (and shear) the sheep, visit an Irish pub (where the only beer is root beer), and more. Plus, the soundtrack is really good!
Treasure in the Royal Tower
Treasure in the Royal Tower is one the earlier games, but don’t let that convince you it isn’t any good. The plot sees Nancy investigating an inn once associated with Marie Antoinette as she tries to find hidden treasure. This game has one of the more intriguing settings for players to explore.
Stay Tuned for Danger
The second game released by HerInteractive, Stay Tuned for Danger has Nancy investigating threats made against a soap opera star. The older games are fun to play because players must sometimes advance the game by going to sleep, plus clues must be found in order for the game to progress, adding some difficulty. (There’s also the novelty of having to find a landline instead of having ready access to a cellphone.) I also remember that players had to accuse characters of committing the crime and lost if they guessed wrongly; the later games usually just have the villain reveal themselves before a final chase scene.
What are your favorite Nancy Drew video games?
16 thoughts on “Top Ten Nancy Drew PC Games”
Oh my god this is so fun. I love this post!
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The Nancy Drew games are so fun!
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Great list! I’m so curious to see what the new game will be like. It’s been way too long since one came out!
Agreed! Krysta and I are both excited!
I know!! I think it will be amazing, though. We’ve waited long enough that it ought to be!
I’ve only played one of the Nancy Drew games, so “Secret of the Scarlet Hand” is my favorite by default, but I did play that one a lot when I was kid. Looking back at it, I appreciate how the game has a nuanced perspective on museums. Yes, they’re centers of public education and there’s great value in that, but they’re also part of a system that treats art and history as commodities and, as the character of Alejandro del Rio points out, their collections are often composed of stolen cultural treasures. I don’t think fifth-grade me was getting that message anywhere else.
I think the games generally do a good job of presenting a variety of perspectives. I was really surprised–and impressed–that Secret of the Scarlet Hand dug into some of the ethical issues surrounding museums!
Ah! I love Nancy Drew games! I really enjoy Phantom of Venice and Sea of Darkness. Two of my friends from college and I were working through the games since we found out we were all fans of the games–they’re just so much fun. We’re really excited to see how the new game is!
I’m still working my way through with a friend, as well! I can’t wait for the new release!
Stay Tuned for Danger, omg! The memories… ❤
How did I never know there were Nancy Drew PC games? Looks like I missed out. The Secret of Shadow Ranch was one of my favorite of the books, so I’m glad to hear it was a good game, too.
(I got here via the Captain’s blog post about the Nancy Drew book series.)
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Her Interactive has coupones all the time on their Twitter if you ever still want to play! :p
Oh fun! Thanks for the tip!
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Wow – this post brought me down memory lane! I haven’t played in so long and should get back into it! I love that even the newer games were still excellent.
I still have few games to play and I feel very lucky it will keep me occupied until the new release in November! I’ve played for years and the games are still challenging and inventive!