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Alibi in Ashes is Awful

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  • Alibi in Ashes is Awful

    I had such high hopes for this game because of its exciting premise and being able to play as Nancy’s friends, but the execution was dismal. There’s little to see of the notorious River Heights, conversations are stilted and inconsistent, and some of the characters seem too contrived.

    This unique mystery takes place right in River Heights where Nancy has recently been framed for burning down the old City Hall and needs the help of Bess, George, and Ned to release her from jail so that she can prove her innocence. It sounds exciting enough, and I admit that the sleuthing part of this game is very well-done, but it’s the other details that really derail the game.

    The suspects in this game range from interesting to downright annoying, but the one that really bugs me is Alexei Markovich. In his youth, he was a successful detective like Nancy but then he was framed in a similar way that Nancy is, and he lost the town’s trust. He’s suspected for framing Nancy out of jealousy. I hate how his backstory is just a duplicate of Nancy’s as it seemed like any easy way to create a fourth suspect. On top of that, Nancy and her friends don’t realize that he’s River Height’s famous kid detective until this game. They knew that River Heights had one, they just didn’t know it was him. I find this hard to believe because they live in a small town where it’s hard to keep secrets, and Mr. Drew has a personal connection to him.

    The conversations in this game also bug me. One of Nancy’s friends will ask a suspect a question, and then have the option to ask the same question again but phrased a different way. At one point during the game, Nancy tells Ned to distract Deirdre so that he can take her fingerprint, so he asks her out on a date which she has to leave to get ready for. Then, in his next conversation with Nancy, she tells him that he has to ask Deirdre out on a date so that Bess can snoop through her stuff, and Ned is really uncomfortable even though he had already asked Deirdre out. This inconsistency was really irritating and distracted from the story.

    My final major complaint with this game is the setting. A town map is set up that is reminiscent of Titusville in Secret of the Old Clock, but instead of controlling the car, you just click where you want to go. Also similar to Titusville, most of the locations are non-explorable, and when you click a non-explorable location there’s a phony one-sided conversation from the person at the location. However, unlike in Secret of the Old Clock, the majority of these locations never come into play during the mystery. I wish that the map had been set up more like the older games, like Danger in Design, where the visit-able locations are highlighted instead of being set up for disappointment. There are also only four major locations in the game—the ice cream shop, the antique shop, the police station, and Nancy’s house. This seems like a decent amount, but there was such limited mobility in some of these locations that I feel like the game could have benefited from one more.

    As mentioned before, the story itself and its execution was enjoyable. I liked choosing to play between Nancy’s three friends and going through the process of acquiring evidence that would push Nancy’s innocence. On Nancy’s end, you can analyze the evidence as necessary and arrange it on a bulletin board of all the other suspects. It gave me a clear view of all the other suspects and their motives. I also enjoyed was being able to order ice cream at Scoop—and hearing Bess’ weird whisperings—while Nancy snacked on Hannah’s care package. Yes, I’m a sucker for anytime eating works its way into a Nancy Drew mystery. The game in Scoop is also pretty fun even if it is a play off of one of the puzzles in the previous mystery. There’s also a game in the antique store where you have to hunt around for the numbers 1 through 41 and press them. This game was fun until I realized that after so many attempts the timer stops a second before the best score so that you’re forced to win.

    I do not recommend Alibi in Ashes. Yes, it’s fun being able to play as Nancy’s friends, but there are other games with that feature that are better executed while still maintaining interesting characters, a fascinating setting, and a well-written plot. Instead of playing Alibi in Ashes, I would recommend the Creature of Kapu Cave or the Legend of the Crystal Skull.
    Last edited by K<3M; June 2, 2020, 09:29 AM. Reason: grammar
    I discovered that Secrets can Kill. I Stayed Tuned for Danger. I read the Message in a Haunted Mansion. I uncovered the Treasure in a Royal Tower. I watched the Final Scene. I washed away the Secret of the Scarlet Hand. I pet the Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. I rode the Haunted Carousel. I dodged the Danger on Deception Island. I lassoed the Secret of Shadow Ranch. I overcame the Curse of Blackmoor Manor. I unwound the Secret of the Old Clock. I traveled on the Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon. I unveiled the Danger by Design. I captured the Creature of Kapu Cave. I discussed politics with the White Wolf of Icicle Creek. I unearthed the Legend of the Crystal Skull. I unmasked the Phantom of Venice. I exposed the Haunting of Castle Malloy. I paid the Ransom of the Seven Ships. I heeded the Warnings of Waverly Academy. I chased the Trail of the Twister. I stood in the Shadow at the Water’s Edge. I shattered the Captive Curse. I upheld the Alibi in Ashes. I opened the Tomb of the Lost Queen. I condemned the Deadly Device. I sang to the Ghost of Thornton Hall. I did justice for the Silent Spy. I repaired the Shattered Medallion. I navigated the Labyrinth of Lies. I illuminated the Sea of Darkness. I was awake at Midnight in Salem.