Well I finished the other Nancy Drew. I don’t know what’s happened to me. Though these games have never exactly been lengthy, I at least used to savor them. It just feels like I reach this point that is usually right before the penultimate chain of events where all I want to do is hurry up and get done. Despite truly enjoying this installment’s puzzles and characters, this was no different for Labyrinth of Lies.
Here Nancy is in Greece working at a museum when she arrives to see that her boss has run off to track down some missing jewelry for an exhibit. For the thousandth time, she is given relatively high security clearance for a teenager with complete access to the exhibits and artifacts. But this means I get to do one of my favorite parts of these games: chores!
That might sound sarcastic, but it’s really not. I’m speaking earnestly.
The one part of these games that keeps me convinced that school-aged children are a large part of their intended demographic is the subtle doses of learning. Each game takes place in a different location that lends itself to history, science, and mythology. More often than not, Nancy is simultaneously working and sleuthing in these games, meaning she has a to-do list each day. With too many examples to count, let’s talk about this game. It has all three!
History: Well, more specifically, art history. Considering you’re at an art museum, this is a given. But to be able to complete the work your boss, Melina, wants you to do in her absent, you have to read certain books and glean the useful information from them. Here you need to learn about the different styles of temples and vases so that you can prepare their corresponding exhibits. Obviously these tasks are a mix of deducting and puzzling, but these are wrapped with an educational ribbon.
Science: For someone who can tell you nothing about the subject, this was my favorite part of the game. You are asked to authenticate a few pieces of jewelry in the museum, and in the office are some guidelines. You get to see how you can tell if different gemstones and metals are real. Sadly you only get to do this process three times. Often you get to do optional versions of past puzzles for kicks, and I wish this had been an option. With the funny business happening at this museum, would it have really been a waste of time for me to prove the authenticity of, well, everything?
Mythology: Honesty, it’s important. I’d be lying if I said I liked the implementation of Greek mythology. I feel like these games use it in every other game for some reason or another, and I’m getting a little tired of it. Seriously, there are thousands of cultures and millions of years to pull from. Why harp on this one constantly? And sadly, all of the puzzles seem to be based in it. I honestly don’t feel like I can talk in detail without sounding completely irrational and launching into a potentially culturally-insensitive rant that will result in Zeus smiting me down, lightning bolts and all.
One standout has to be one character. Typically I don’t bother getting invested in these characters, viewing them instead as vehicles to give me information and tasks to do. More often than not, I speed through conversations, knowing that anything important will get through on either my task list or in my journal. But here I was intrigued by one guy in general: Grigor.
Now that’s not his real name, but we are never privy to that information. He is meant to make you think. From looking at his tablet he leaves out quite a bit considering everyone he works with is a possible art-stealing mastermind, you see that he has observational skills that rival Nancy’s. Through further investigation, you find out he grew up in foster care, having to constantly adapt his personality to whoever his new family wanted him to be. This made him an expert at reading people and using their setting and personal belongings to build a character profile for them .It makes you wonder how Nancy would have reacted in a similar situation, far away from her dad’s influence, the Hardy boys, and her friends and boyfriend who consistently enable her reckless behavior. She probably would have done the same thing as Grigor as much out of her survival instinct as much as her natural curiosity.
But now I’m off to continue my adventure game kick. Lucky for you that Sherlock bundle was on sale last week. Oh, sorry, I misspoke. Lucky for me.