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Labyrinth of Lack-Luster Lies

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  • Labyrinth of Lack-Luster Lies

    This game never appealed to me since I’m not one for Greek mythology, however in Nancy Drew’s magical way, I was still pulled into this mystery but returned on the other side a little disappointed.

    Nancy Drew is hired on to work at a museum in Greece that is hosting a play as a way to draw attention to its valuable collection of artifacts from ancient Greece. However, this ambition has a little bit of a hitch as some of the artifacts appear to be forgeries. It is up to Nancy to figure out who is behind the forgeries and save the museum from ruin. The premise is exciting enough, but it’s kind of annoying that the new Nancy Drew games don’t set this up before the game begins. I miss how the old Nancy Drew games started with Nancy’s letter to Ned or Bess or Mr. Drew or whoever because she gives a quick lay-down of the mystery that you’re about to embark on, and it acts as a portal for you to jump into Nancy’s head and view the mystery how she views it. The middle-aged games replaced Nancy’s letter with a case file, which didn’t quite fill the void left behind by the letters, but they did provide an understanding of Nancy’s mission. At the start of this mystery, it’s not really evident as to why Nancy’s there, why there’s a play going on, why this play is so important, et cetera, et cetera.

    A specific bugaboo I have with this game is how HerInteractive didn’t even try to be realistic in some parts of this mystery. Given the museum’s meager budget, they couldn’t afford a large theater troupe to put on the play and instead could only hire four actors who have to do all of the tech work as well. However, how much tech work is required for a budget performance, right? No, somehow these actors have these elaborate sets depicting the underworld tucked underneath the amphitheater that are controlled with hydraulic lifts. These sets are amassed with detail, even in the parts that the audiences aren’t going to see and are riddled with puzzles even though it doesn’t even remotely make sense to build puzzles into a theater set. Oh, and did I mention that these sets have lava? Yes, as if these sets didn’t look ridiculous enough, there also happens to be lava on one of them making it unnecessarily dangerous and stupid. Instead of allowing Nancy to explore and understand the intricacies of a genuine theater set, HerInteractive throws this extravagant into the game likes it’s a shiny object and its fans are birds. Yes, the sets are cool, but they would have fit better if they were part of one of the museum’s exhibits rather than stuffed underneath a stage.

    The characters in this game were okay. They’re all members of the cast and have secret backgrounds that Nancy investigates via the Hardy Boys. Xenia is the director and star of the play and has a strong head on her shoulders. Niobe is timid about her acting role and spends more time making prop versions of some of the items in the museum. Grigor is charming and sends mixed messages about Nancy going through his things. Thanos is protective of the sets poses to be rather intimidating. His personality is so one-sided that it’s difficult to view him as an actual person. The other characters were more developed than Thanos, but none of them really stood out to me either.

    I did enjoy the actual education parts of this game. Nancy learns about Greek gods in this game and revisits the matter of providence. She performs a few tasks for the museum such as creating pictures of Greek temples according to certain criteria and labels a display of pottery. My favorite part is when she tests different artifacts to determine if they’re real or fake. Unfortunately, these tasks are outnumbered by the gross number of puzzles in this game. Sure, these puzzles are fun, but the majority of them are located on the set and don’t really belong because, as I mentioned before, theater sets shouldn’t have compartments locked by intricate puzzles. It wouldn’t make sense for the actors to fiddle with them during the play in order to trigger something to happen on set. A handle or button would make a lot more sense. I was especially peeved by the fact that the endgame has six puzzles alone. Usually, once Nancy hits the endgame there’s probably a maximum of thirty minutes left in the game, but these annoying puzzles made the endgame closer to two hours long, and the majority of them felt like a hoop to jump through.

    Despite my negative feelings towards this game, I would still recommend this game. Yes, some of the setting is completely unrealistic. Yes, a few of the puzzles felt ill-placed. However, I love the unique premise to the game, and it tells an amazing story that can’t be missed.

    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.