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"Alibi" Aspires to be Special, Instead Annoys - A Review by ConnectTheDots

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  • "Alibi" Aspires to be Special, Instead Annoys - A Review by ConnectTheDots

    ConnectTheDots' Review
    --Alibi in Ashes--

    **Bottom line:** Despite some memorable characters and a unique plot, the annoying gameplay and lack of challenges douse this fire.


    I was disappointed by CAP, but when I saw the preview for ASH I was so intrigued and excited because I knew it was going to be different.

    Nancy finally returns home to River Heights. She is participating in the local Clues Challenge, and one of the clues leads her to the Old Town Hall. The building goes up in flames when she's inside, and Nancy is placed under arrest. It's up to you as Nancy, Ned, Bess and George to get Nancy out of jail and figure out who really started the fire.

    It's almost like getting two cases in one! You'd think the game would be twice as long for that reason, but it's actually the shortest recent game.


    I enjoyed talking to three of the four suspects in this game. Alexei, former amateur detective, was definitely one of my favorite characters in recent games, perhaps the whole series. He was so interesting. I want to know more about his cases! Deirdre was also a joy to talk to. She was so sassy and reminded me of earlier characters like Simone from FIN. Brenda was a stereotypical news reporter, but I found her honesty about her job and her feelings about Nancy very humorous. Toni was my least favorite character. She just seemed like a fake politician and her conversations seemed empty because of it.

    Bess, George, and Ned play a huge role in this game and much of the mystery is solved through their points of view. The suspects offer different answers depending on who talks to them, which I like, but I got very tired of switching back and forth between all four viewpoints, especially since you often have to make TWO phone calls when you want to switch - one to get Nancy to take over the case, and another to get Nancy to hand the case off to someone else.

    Graphics and Setting

    The graphics were great. I was especially impressed with the character graphics in this game. Their mouths moved along with the words so well, especially Toni. George looked much better in this game than RAN because she appeared to be the same age as Bess.

    I think probably the biggest reason people had their hopes up about this game was because it was set in River Heights. It has been many years since I last read a Nancy Drew book, so I did not go into this game with certain expectations of what River Heights should be like. I have always just thought of it as the ideal small town, and the game definitely captured that image. However, much of the game is spent inside buildings.


    The music in this game was not memorable. The one song that I do remember was very annoying with lots of percussion and crashes. This particular song was supposed to be suspenseful, but the setting is not at all mysterious so it just didn't fit.

    Puzzles, Tasks and Mini-Games

    There were not that many puzzles in this game, and those that were in the game were a breeze. For the ones that appeared to be difficult (the ones where you press one button/knob and it causes something to happen to other knobs) I just mindlessly pressed buttons for thirty seconds tops and ended up "solving" the puzzle. These kinds of puzzles do not really appeal to me.

    I enjoyed collecting evidence to help Nancy get out of jail at first, but it started to feel like a chore after awhile.

    The numbers mini-game took me several times to beat, but I wouldn't call it fun OR challenging, just frustrating. There are mini-games on the phones that are optional and there is an optional mini-game in Scoop as well. I did not play these.

    "The Scare Factor"

    There is nothing scary about this game, though I did jump once. It was something that's in the trailer for the game, so there are no surprise scares.

    Other Odds and Ends

    - The culprit seemed obvious to me. Then again, if the culprit had ended up being one of the other suspects, I would probably be saying the same thing. You find out who the culprit is way too early for my taste.

    - My biggest issue with this game is the gameplay. Handing the case off to other characters a million times and dropping off evidence to Nancy/having Nancy pick up evidence became so, so annoying. I also didn't like that most of the game is outside of Nancy's perspective (I enjoy questioning suspects as Nancy!). She is the star of this series, after all. I understand that part of the fun of the game is getting Nancy out of jail but... well... I can't say any more.

    - The ending "puzzle" was not one of my favorites, but I liked that it was timed. I didn't beat it the first time around. It didn't really make sense, though, for reasons I can't explain without spoiling.

    - I do appreciate the little details in this game like the radio in the police station (I've heard this is just in the special edition, but I may be wrong). I also liked seeing the picture of Bess and George at Shadow Ranch and the cake baking contest pictures.

    - Those who like food in the games will be very, very happy.

    THANK YOU so much for reading my review! Feel free to comment with your own thoughts. Feedback is appreciated.
    Last edited by ConnectTheDots; May 16, 2012, 07:28 AM.
    My reviews - STFD, MHM, TRT, FIN, SSH, DOG, CAR, DDI, SHA, CUR, CLK,

  • #2
    I really enjoyed you're review! I agree with you on the puzzles etc.