ND: Midnight in Salem

I finished Nancy Drew’s 33rd installment “Midnight in Salem” last night and what a journey it has been. I began playing the game on release day so technically it has taken me almost 7 months to complete this game.

A Bit of Back Story 

In case you’re new to the series, there has been a lot of attention (good and bad) on this particular game. I believe mentioning this information is important because it played a significant role in people’s reception and opinion of the MID.


As is customary, HerInteractive was in the habit of releasing two games a year (yes, you read that right- two). Every time a game is released, a sneak peek trailer at the end of it is thrown in to reveal the next one. This went on for a very long time. So after Sea of Darkness (ND’s 32nd installments), fans knew that there will be a new game and it’s going to be Midnight in Salem.

However, in 2015 HerInteractive underwent big changes. In a letter to their fans, the company announced they will be shifting to Unity as the next game’s engine. As a result, this will affect the development schedule of MID, but that will also ensure better and smoother graphics…etc.

In addition, Lani Minella– who has been the voice behind the character Nancy Drew in the series for almost 20 years, was let go and Brittany Cox was hired. This resulted in an uproar in the community. Not to mention Lani, herself, has been… hmm, how do I say this? — very “vocal” about this decision. Based on what she was sharing with her fans, it was deduced that the reason she was let go was because she didn’t sound  “young enough”. HerInteractive denied this and banned one of Lani’s statements claiming she was sharing too much confidential information with the public.

Fans were sympathizing a lot with Lani because she does have a distinct voice and embodied THE Nancy Drew they’ve known for such a long time. That’s understandable but it’s also only her side of the story. It didn’t help that HerInteractive was elusive about many of the decisions they were making and frankly that is their right to do; however, fans were anguished for some kind of closure and they weren’t getting any.

To make things worse, in 2016, HerInteractive went completely quiet about MID and focused mainly on ND’s new mobile game Codes & Clues. This annoyed many people.

By 2019, many fans began losing all hopes of seeing MID– ever. However, eventually the company released more information about the characters and graphics as the game reached closer to its release date. And after several further delays just a couple of months away from its launch, the game finally came out.

With these factors taken into consideration you can imagine the amount of anticipation, expectation and suspense fans were slowly amassing over the course of 4 years waiting for this installment.

The Game 

Upon the request of a familiar ND character, Nancy flies to Salem, Massachusetts. There, she investigates an estate that is undergoing arson. The estate has roots in history and belongs to the Hathorne family, which was constructed by Judge Hathorne who in turn took part in the Salem witch trials. Drew races to uncover the truth with the aid of her friends and bold return of the Hardy Boys.


The first thing that caught my attention in the game was the minimal interface. Icons and items are colorless and simple looking, mimicking most modern devices today. The second obviously being Nancy Drew’s voice. To my relief, it sounded suitable. I didn’t feel it was alienating from what we’re used to. It was definitely different as Lani’s voice is distinct but not distracting at the same time, which is good.


Massachusetts looks stunning. The level design, the buildings, the music– it’s all nice. The characters on the other hand look less polished. I personally didn’t mind, because I don’t usually play ND games for their nice graphics. It’s the content that matters to me.


The story is interesting but it could have been better. Unlike previously themed ND games, I didn’t feel like I learned a lot about Salem and the trials. There’s so much to work with here pertaining to that time period and history but sadly wasn’t utilized well.


Bess and George, Nancy’s best buddies almost didn’t play any role in this game. Instead, the Hardy boys and Deirdre took their place. It’s a nice addition to have characters actively engage in the investigation. For instance, Deirdre is the detective’s Watson every step of the way. That’s a new experience in the series to have characters collectively piece things together. Usually, they’re a dial away to give you hints when needed but in MID, they’re physically there. Although I have to say that Deirdre’s presence can get a bit annoying at times especially when you’re trying to navigate a scene and she’s just too close to your face. It can get in the way of clicking and exploring things.


As a result of having more characters involved, the conversations were interesting but it was also mentioned that they lacked interactiveness, which I’m afraid I kind of agree with. Usually the player is given the option to choose an answer that can affect the outcome; however in this game, the replies feel like they have little influence.


The biggest let down for me was the lack of mini-games. It’s the aspect of the game that I usually look forward to the most. ND games are challenging and fun unlike many mainstream detective games out there. Each installment has creative mini game design. For instance, one game that comes to mind always is Shadow at the Water’s Edge, which is in Japan. That game seriously has a lot of cool mini games such as Sudoku, Kakuro and Bento puzzles. In comparison, MID is bland. There’s the “cooking” puzzle, which is slightly becoming an ND tradition by now, but other than that, there are hardly any well-crafted mini games to think of.


And with that being said, the player can easily feel there’s little to do in this game aside from the main plot line. With previous games, you can leave one task or puzzle to pick up another. Your to-list is full and the game world feels rich. In this one, your iPhone’s check list is laughable. There’s usually only 1 or 2 tasks to accomplish. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a list really.

Without saying too much, the ending was appropriate. It wasn’t too obvious but neither was it too creative. And instead of a sneak peek trailer, Nancy drops a hint or two about a possible next game set in Austria (or maybe a sequel?).

The Verdict 

Although I’m sure many fans are happy to finally get their hands on MID, the uproar and negativity is understandable to a certain degree.

Having said that, I don’t think many people realize how difficult it is to roll out 2 games a year. I think what HerInteractive has done in the past is seriously commendable. It took a lot of effort to provide that level of consistency. As a result, fans developed a schedule. When things change, which are inevitable in any business, it’s normal to project a level of concern (especially with the Lani situation and her role in the games). And when there are a lot of delays justified for the sake of improving quality, fans’ expectations will soar.

Not many people were happy with the end result and some claim the character designs were even worse than previous installments. It makes me wonder if HerInteractive didn’t issue those promises, would people still think the same way? I think the game is a definite improvement from previous installment but not enough to justify the time spent on it to some people.


I choose to take a more lenient position with the game. I’m certainly disappointed with many things in the game but I also understand that big changes in companies are not easy especially for small developer companies like HerInteractive. The company’s past accomplishments are enough for me to continue to want to have faith in what they do and I’m choosing to stay optimistic.

It’s going to take some time for them to maintain a schedule again, especially with old staff out of the building and new ones in (not to mention the pandemic situation).

So is it worth playing MID? Absolutely. If you’re new to the series; however, I would suggest starting with earlier ones. Not too early in the series though. Somewhere between games 21 and 32. The old games are an absolute gem but to new gamers, they might be outdated. Once you’re done with those 10 new installments, it’s certainly worth going back to the original games.

My final score is 4/5 ★★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for design
  • 2/5 for Puzzles
  • 3/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): Mac
  • Game Link | Click Here (Also available on Steam & Mac Apple Store).
  • Trailer | Click Here


Poisonous Promises | Review

Poisonous Promises is part of the Family Mysteries series, developed by Brave Giant and published by Artifax Mundi. It’s a hidden objects game that centers on Emma– a detective who tries to unravel the mystery behind several incidents where survivors show up with traces of poison on them. And much like many of the Family Mysteries series, the incidents involve several people/suspects and their connections to each other.

Poisonous Promises 3

Steam did a fantastic job in writing up the game description. Sadly I didn’t really find enough “oozing coolness” to keep me entertained. It’s a straight forward hidden object game with a few mini games on the side. The graphics are nice. They also focused a lot on technology, which I suppose is a cool feature. You can use your mobile phone as a flash light (which never occurs to other games), collect data and inspect evidence.

Poisonous Promises

Poisonous Promises 2

The game is very short but once you’re done they give you a bonus chapter, which I thought was great– only it didn’t really add much to the original story.

Not worth the full price for a PC/Mac unless you’re getting it cheaper on the iOS.

My final score is 2/5 ★★

  • 2/5 for gameplay
  • 3/5 for design
  • 3/5 for Puzzles
  • 1/5 for plot
  • Game Platform (played on): Mac (Apple App Store).

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion is a mystery hidden-object game by Cateia Games. I finished the game today and frankly I still don’t know what the game is about. I do expect some of these hidden-object/mystery games not to take their plots seriously but this one is on a completely different league of its own. The narrative is so rushed, you forget what’s going on. It tries to deliver a serious tone and then it turns slang.


Its navigation system is probably the worst of its kind. Instead of simply giving you an arrow to indicate backtracking, it shows you weird symbol of footprints that has to be triggered clicking on a specific angle on the screen otherwise it won’t work. It’s also hard figuring out what’s clickable and what isn’t. Usually that’s intended to make a game difficult, but in this one it’s beyond workable. I had to switch to Easy mode to see hint sparks on my screen to figure out what I need to click. There are also several glitches in the game that made solving some of the puzzles a total nuisance. Also did I mention how much I really hate games with inventories that hide their inventories?


Putting aside all of the bad, the thing I DID like about this game is the difficulty of the puzzles. The hidden objects are kept to a minimum and more than half the puzzles in the game actually demand thinking. That came as a surprise. Although a couple were repetitive, I didn’t mind that. I think the puzzles alone were what kept me motivated to play.

As for the ending, it’s safe to say it’s laughable and there’s going to be a sequel.


Would I recommend the game? Probably not. There are plenty of games out there far better. I’m giving it 3 stars though because I actually stuck with it and it kept me company when I’m not feeling well.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★

  • 2/5 for gameplay
  • 1/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 2/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): Mac.

Game link

Game trailer

MSW II: Return to Cabot’s Cove

Murder She Wrote II: Return to Cabot’s Cove is a mystery point-and-click game that follows the mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. It is based on a classic TV show of the same name from back in the 80’s. Jessica Fletcher and her adventures were a childhood favorite of mine so I was excited try this out.


The game includes 3 episodes/cases in the form of books set in the town of Cabot Cove, Maine. Many of the characters you meet are in fact characters from the actual show. The music, graphics and voice acting are very nostalgic to someone that have watched the show. I thought that aspect of the game was well done. In fact I couldn’t help myself as soon as the memorable intro music played I had to make a little happy dance.

Another nice feature is that despite all three cases set on the same map, new locations are unlocked upon starting a new case except for the final case which is set on a completely new location.

There’s plenty of interactions between characters; however, you’re not given the chance to choose your own conversations. Instead, they unfold to keep the story going.


Much like a standard adventure puzzle game there’s an inventory with minimum item exploitation; a hint system and a journal. The puzzles are considered fairly easy. I thought the mini-games variety was decent but I was a little disappointed that they made you go back to the same puzzles which made it a little boring and repetitive.


I can see that there are plenty of features that can make the MSW game series unique. Sadly, there aren’t many of them out there. I think there are only 2 games for the computer and a few others in different formats. It’s a shame because the TV show has enough content to turn these games into a hit. It just needs someone to develop these games to make them better and create a culture behind them which would be really nice- kind of like what Herinteractive is doing with Nancy Drew.

Overall the game is average if not a little too easy, but for any Jessica Fletcher fan, this comes as a heartwarming treat!

My final score is 3.5/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 2/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 3/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): MAC, Big Fish Games.

Game link

Game trailer

Review: Bonfire Stories

It’s been a while since I played a Big Fish Game but when I saw the game Bonfire Stories: The Faceless Gravedigger selling for $2 I thought why not. Upon logging in though the price changed to $6. It seems the promotion is only valid for new subscribers.

I’m assuming the game is part of a Bonfire Stories hidden game series. One thing about me is that I’m not a huge fan of hidden object games. I prefer mini-games over hidden objects but every now and then I get in the mood to play one when I don’t want to think too much.


The story is about a group of friends who decide to camp in the forest of Quiet Grove. At night, they gather around a bonfire and tell each other spooky stories. One of the gang members tells the story of the faceless gravedigger and that’s when your game launches. As usual you’re either a journalist or a cop trying to follow the lead of a mysterious phenomenon and in this one- you probably guessed it- is a faceless cult of gravediggers.

The story is a little cheesy not to mention the transition of cutscenes can be rushed and laughable but the graphics look ok. In some parts like the Cinema & Reception the design is nostalgic and 60s style which I’m a sucker for. They tried to be inventive with the hidden object games which was nice so there’s a bit of variety. One that stood out for me was an audio-based hidden object which frankly I haven’t seen done before. A conversation takes place and you have to find the items spoken.


Aside from that item manipulation- which I usually enjoy- was average. In the beginning it was okay but eventually I noticed they make you find the same items, not sure why. You can combine the items but everything is very straightforward. There’s also no journal to refer to- only a map and a task list, which is very odd. The funny thing is that I hardly ever use the notebooks/journals in adventure hidden object games but in this one they wanted you to remember certain code combinations. In some mini games, as is customary, they’ll let you see the code clue you find side by side with the mini game, but in others you have to depend on your memory. Which is fine but with these games it’s something unexpected as the majority of the game is easy and doesn’t demand jotting anything down or trying to remember. When I clicked on the information button it laughably said “it’s the same code and letters you heard so many times in the game”. I guess the game designer was bored that day.


The mini games were fine. In fact, some of them actually made me think for a change. They weren’t exceptionally difficult but they weren’t that easy either. Overall the game lasted for about 2 hours, which is not very long but for the promotional $2 they’re offering (provided you’re a new subscriber) I think it’s fair.

I’m sure it’s even cheaper (if not free) for the iPad and iPhone. Would I play it again? Definitely not. Would I recommend it? Probably not but possibly, if I stumbled on it and someone happened to ask me about a game at that very moment in need of something laid-back to play to waste time- I might.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★

  • 2/5 for gameplay
  • 2/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 3/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): MAC, Big Fish Games

Game link

Game trailer

Note: The link provided here is for the Collector’s Edition which is $13- Couldn’t find the standard  Not sure why they have so many different prices for the same game. Aside from the collector’s edition which is usually pricier there’s also $6 and $9 and the $2 promotion. I definitely don’t think this is worth $13.