Inquisitive investigator Nancy Drew must solve another mystery in The Deadly Device, which returns the titular teen to the U.S. after her exotic trip to Egypt in 2011's Tomb of the Lost Queen. The case has Nancy Drew working undercover at the alliterative "Technology of Tomorrow Today" facility in Colorado Springs. Renowned scientist Niko Jovic was found electrocuted after tinkering with a Tesla coil, but his death is apparently no accident.
As with previous adventures in Her Interactive's long-running series, you'll play as Nancy Drew from a first-person perspective as you investigate potential suspects and explore the science facility's various rooms, hallways, and floors. Once again a point-and-click interface is used to navigate your surroundings, with the environment of static screens filled with various objects and items that may or may not be important in your investigation. The facility offers gadgets galore, so the puzzles are more logic-oriented than in previous games. You'll pull switches to switch off groups of colored lights, arrange gears to make an elevator work, mix the right amounts of chemicals to create a solution, and more.
The developers have included a nice amount of educational content in the game without it ever feeling forced or heavy handed. You'll be able to browse the bulletin boards for a Periodic Table of Elements, for instance, or a sign detailing "15 Things You Never Knew About Electricity," with such factoids as your brain has enough power to run a Wii console. Does this mean smarter people can run an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3? Food for thought.
Unlike 2011's Tomb of the Lost Queen, which had you visiting an ancient tomb and a nearby archeological site, the setting in the Deadly Device is confined to one location. That's actually not a bad thing, as the developers have packed the science facility with plenty of interesting details. The setting is highly atmospheric, thanks in large part to the music, which is evocative of the X-Files, and sound, which uses creaking doors, muffled footsteps, and sudden surges of electricity to great effect.
One of the more interesting features is that you can adjust the time of day through an alarm clock. This initially seems strange since the game takes place indoors, but the time influences who you'll see at the facility. Your suspects don't all work at the building during the same hours, so in order to interview those working the late shift, for example, you'll have to switch the time of day. You'll also encounter different events during each shift, making for a welcome twist on the normally static environment.
The play mechanics are not much different than earlier games in the series, as your primary objectives are presented in a checklist fashion in the corner of the screen. You will frequently encounter objects or parts of the facility that are locked or not working, requiring you to "fix" them by completing puzzles, finding key codes, doing tasks for people, or collecting items through exploring.
Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device is a recommended addition for anyone who enjoys a little exploring with their brainteasers and puzzles. There is no one set path through the environment, so you are often free to complete your objectives in any order. While there are some minor complaints (Nancy still sounds and acts like an incredulous Rocky J. Squirrel and the interview segments don't offer meaningful choices on how to approach suspects), Deadly Device is yet another case worth cracking in the sleuthing series.
People who downloaded Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device have also downloaded:
Nancy Drew: The Captive Curse, Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes, Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill, Nancy Drew: Danger by Design, Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships, Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister, Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice, Nancy Drew: The Final Scene
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