Tornadoes have been in the news a lot lately, so if it’s a topic that interests you, you might consider playing Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister. Players ages 10 to adult can take on the first-person view of fictional amateur sleuth Nancy Drew and solve a mystery by interrogating suspects, discovering clues, and figuring out puzzles. There are two choices of gameplay: Junior and Senior detective modes. Each has a different difficulty level of puzzles and hints, but neither of these affects the actual plot of the game.
Here’s the plot: A series of accidents and equipment breakdowns have been plaguing the Canute College storm tracking team. They are trying to win a $100 million research grant in the upcoming Green Skies storm competition. Are they just having a string of bad luck, or is someone sabotaging their chances of winning? P.G. Krolmeister, the storm-chasing team’s wealthy sponsor, has hired Nancy to join the team undercover as an intern. Nancy needs to keep her wits about her, because she not only has to expose a saboteur, but also has to watch out for tornadoes.
Despite its title, the game is pretty slow-going and you hardly even see any tornadoes. Most of the time is spent doing chores at the storm chasers’ headquarters (a farmhouse in Oklahoma), or running errands around town. The game is slightly educational since you learn how to recognize cloud formations, read Doppler data, survive tornadoes, and pack a disaster kit. You also get to use equipment like computers, wind speed measuring devices, a GPS, and a camera phone. At the general store you can play arcade games, purchase candy, and stock up on disaster kit supplies.
Unlike other Nancy Drew games, there is nothing spooky in this one; but there were a couple of scenes in which Nancy was personally in danger. Needless to say, every character seems somewhat suspicious, and it’s up to you as Nancy to figure out who the culprit is. There are some places in the game where Nancy can make “fatal errors” (like crashing the car too many times!). Instead of “Game Over” they give you a chance to try again. If you are a fan of mystery stories or Nancy Drew, you may like this game. But if you are looking for intense storm-chasing excitement, I’m sorry to say it’s sadly lacking.