Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower

Posted by Bregje van Ederen.
First posted on 07 May 2013. Last updated on 21 November 2014.
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Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower
Can Nancy crack the code?
Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower
Nancy reads up on the history of Marie Antoinette.
Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower
Dexter is not a very friendly caretaker.
Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower
Nancy needs to pull the levers in the right order.
Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower
It is too cold to stay outside for long.

Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower is the fourth game in the Nancy Drew game series developed by Her Interactive. Like the other games in the series, this game is based on the novel The Treasure in the Royal Tower by Carolyn Keene (a pseudonym used by the book's publisher, Stratemeyer Syndicate) and first published in 1995. Although Her Interactive has targeted the game towards girls with the company slogan "For Girls Who Aren't Afraid of a Mouse", Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower is an interesting game for any sleuth in training who loves hidden treasures, a bit of history, and a mystery to unravel.

After her last case, Nancy decides to take a break and goes on a ski vacation at the Wickford Castle Ski Resort. The owner of the resort is a friend of her father. With Nancy, however, a vacation is never going to be a dull holiday. Even before Nancy can start enjoying her retreat, she finds herself locked up in the resort because of a snow storm. Soon afterward, strange accidents are happening in the resort, but Nancy is unable to contact the owner for help. As Nancy investigates, she stumbles into some legends about Marie Antoinette and rumors of a treasure hidden in a castle tower. Just what secrets are hidden in the Wickford Castle?

Not surprisingly, the story features an interesting cast of characters, all with their own personalities and all make for pretty good suspects. There is Dexter, who is the caretaker. Most of the time, Dexter is just in a bad mood or acts just a bit weird. He orders Nancy around and tells her to run errands that are actually part of his job. He also says he does not know how to contact the owner, a claim that Nancy finds suspicious. There is Jacques, who is a former ski champion and now gives ski lessons at the resort. He is a handsome man who knows that he is handsome. It is unclear why he is willing to work at the resort if he is such a famed athlete. There is Lisa, who works as a photojournalist. She knows a lot about the history of the Wickford Castle and perhaps even more about the castle's secrets. Finally, there is Beatrice, a professor who describes herself as a scholar of French history with a special interest on Marie Antoinette. She locks herself in her room and almost never comes out. She also seems unusually disinterested in what is happening at the resort.

The game's graphics are really good and have greatly improved over previous games in the series (in particular, Nancy Drew: Secrets can Kill). The surroundings are very detailed but not so much that they become distracting. Most objects which you need to search for look real and are easily recognizable. Movements of the characters are still a bit unnatural, in that they look like stiff robots who have not been oiled recently.

The game's voiceovers are very good. The acting is natural and not overdone like in a soap opera. The dialogs are also well written, though a few of the jokes backfire. The game's sound effects are quite realistic, and the background music is pleasant to listen to. The signature Nancy Drew theme music plays whenever you return to the game's main menu.

The game features 360° panoramic view. At any time, you can pan the game's cursor to the right or left of the screen to see the whole scene. You have to click to move the screen, however, as the camera does not freely follow the mouse, This way, you do not get seasick by accidentally panning around the screen too quickly.

There are 2 levels of difficulty from which you can choose to play the game: junior detective and senior detective. Your choice only affects the game's puzzles but not the game's story. There is a tutorial to show you the basic interface for the game. The alarm clock is back for this game, so that you can set the time when you want Nancy to wake up. However, it is a bit tricky to determine the best time to wake Nancy so that she can do her sleuthing. It is also really weird that Nancy can sleep a whole day without waking up. The game is somewhat linear, in that you have to complete certain tasks before you can tackle others, even if these tasks are entirely unrelated.

The game is loaded with a lot of interesting puzzles. Most of them are very fun to solve, except for a particular puzzle that involves a chess table which is a bit frustrating to complete (especially when the answer turns out to be a lot easier then you may have first guessed to be). The solutions to some of the puzzles are hidden in the books that you will find and need to read. In these books, you will also learn a lot about the life of Marie Antoinette as well as basic investigative techniques such as fingerprinting. There are a few secret passages which you get to explore as you learn more about mystery of the Wickford Castle.

Compared to other Nancy Drew games I have played, I must say that I have enjoyed the other games more than this game. The story is interesting, though not exciting enough that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The puzzles are fun to solve, though some of them can be too challenging for younger gamers. Even though the game may not be the best in the series, Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower is still a welcomed challenge for fans of Nancy Drew.

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