Nancy Drew: The Creature of Kapu Cave is the fifteenth game in the Nancy Drew series. You'll take the role of the fledgling female detective as you attempt to learn what's really going on in Hawaii in this first-person adventure game.
There's something to be said when a game series is on its fifteenth entry. Well, there's one of two things to be said: either the game is ridiculously popular, and its fans are clamoring for more, or the game is just ridiculously easy to make and short on content. The Creature of Kapu Cave tends to slide down the latter of the two paths.
I'm well aware that this game is not directly targeted for a gamer like myself. Though the game box states "For mystery fans 10 to Adult", it's clear that this is made for the young 'uns. So, with this in mind, I sat down, installed, and began to play.
The game allows you to choose between Junior and Senior level difficulties, the latter containing slightly tougher puzzles and a lack of a 'task list' that tells you what your next goal is. For obvious reasons, I took the Senior level and started to play. What I noticed immediately was the very budget feel of the game. The graphics aren't terrible, but the mostly-static backgrounds and the movement scheme (click on the path to move forward, that kind of thing) feel like something out of the 90s. The characters aren't too great either, as usually only a couple parts of them, like the arms and the face, will move while the rest of the body remains motionless. Adding to that is the very basic interface that feels even more dated, though to its credit it is simple, which might be more to the target audience tastes.
Still though, I'm sure one would be hard-pressed to find even a ten-year old that could find the game very fun or engaging. After playing the game for a few hours, I had beaten it. Yes, it's that short. As a kid's game, the storyline is more linear than most, and the puzzles simpler. Even so, the puzzles that arise in the game are either too simple that they require no thought whatsoever, or involve a series of mundane tasks, like fishing or harvesting seeds, to proceed. Others are pattern- or recognition-based, and might appeal to the younger types. You'll also have the opportunity to take control of the Hardy Boys as you progress, but this is more of a storyline-continuation thing, and is not the choice of the player. To be honest, the storyline isn't really too good either, neither is it too mysterious in any sense, and it's finished before anything really happens.
If there's anything good about this game, I'd say it's the sound. The voicework is fairly well done (though impossible to skip through, so you'll be listening to it all), and the atmospheric and sound effects are more engaging than most.
There's just not a lot to this game. An incredibly short playthrough and lack of any stimulating thought don't make it really worthy for purchase, even for a budget title. If you must buy something for a younger one, you might want to look into purchasing one of the books instead.