I have mentioned the Nancy Drew series a few times now, but I’ve not yet had the pleasure of doing a review for this blog. That will be rectified in a few days, when I receive The Shattered Medallion, the thirtieth in the series. I’ve been a Nancy Drew fan since childhood and these games are what tided me over my early teenage years. So here are the five games I recommend, must-plays for adventure gamers everywhere.

5. The Deadly Device

My first recommended game skirts the line of appropriateness since it’s one of two games in the series to feature an actual murder as the catalyst of the mystery. With a host of puzzles to solve and as plausible a backstory as you’re likely to get tying them together, this game is far and away the best of the newer games.

4. Haunting of Castle Malloy

If you can handle positively atrocious British/Irish accents from the voice actors, then you’ll enjoy this game. It doesn’t make pretentions to being a horror game, as some of the spookier titles do, but instead it allows the story to be a bit campy and gives a cursory glance at Irish folklore. The series can and has done much worse with ghost stories.

3. Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon

Lucky game thirteen is one of the most puzzle-heavy in the series: You’ll see some in the very first stage that you won’t be able to solve until near the endgame. Taking place almost exclusively on the titular train, the game is tightly paced and makes up for in pretty art design what it lacks in character animation. This game also marks the digital debut of the Hardy Boys, Nancy’s longtime compatriots.

2. Secret of the Scarlet Hand

If you want puzzles, this game will be more than your match. In a sort of Nancy Drew/Indiana Jones hybrid, Nancy must solve the riddles of an ancient tomb while within the confines of an American museum. While most of these games aren’t so hard for the critical thinker, this game goes out of its way to throw down the gauntlet. If you want a challenge in your mystery game, pick this one up.

1. Treasure in the Royal Tower

My personal favorite of all the games, this story has the most entertaining and least condescending backstory of them all. When Nancy gets snowed in at a ski resort, she’s drawn into an historical mystery involving the French Revolution and a treasure hunt. This game has the best balance of puzzles and story, and the art design is superb yet subtle. If you can hunt down this older title, definitely give it a try!

I'm the daughter of a veteran who spent my childhood in Killeen. As of 2013, I have a degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. I'm a critic of books, films, television, and video games. Find me on Twitter: @rachel_knows

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