The American Girl: Kit -  Mystery Challenge  - Review

The American Girl: Kit - Mystery Challenge
Ages: Everyone

Kit is an American Girl character, living in the '30's during the Great Depression. The game sets this tone in a most realistic way. The Kittredge household has had to take in borders to make ends meet. Kit and her aunt had to give up their bedrooms and are moved into the attic. The house is filled with people packed two to a room. A big crowd, plenty of suspects if there was a mystery - and there is.

Starts off pretty tame - someone left the latch open on the coop and the chickens got loose, but then, this is American Girl. This is the first of five mysteries - most of the others involve finding missing objects - mother's pearls, a Cinderella Costume, a rose - one involves surreptitious tracking and surveillance.

The 2-D scenes are meticulously done with an immense amount of detail that isn't really made use of. Kit takes on the job of finding out who did it. This involves running up and down through the house, questioning everyone and getting alibis - a la Nancy Drew. Then there's a whole thing about footprints and finding shoes - more running through the house. Meanwhile, evidence, alibis and found objects are cataloged, and when Kit can put together enough clues she can make an accusation. If correct - case solved, if not - back to the drawing board. The idea of amassing clues and conversations in a file is standard OP for a Nancy Drew - no need to take notes. Not so here - not all events are included and so you will have to remember what Aunt Millie said and what you decided about Mr. Pike's shoes. A little more work on the part of the designers is needed here.

Solving real mysteries takes lots of legwork, collecting evidence, going over the crime scene, making deductions - but this is a game and there is too much repetition and backtracking. It's a standard way of extending the length of a game instead of using content, and players resent it. The designers did such a good job of setting the tone for the game but they neglected the game play.

Fun Factor: To much repetition and backtracking
Female Factor: The American Girl formula produces characters that are almost too perfect.
Player Friendly: Girls need better games

Reviewed by: Editor - 03/09

  • The American Girl: Kit - Mystery Challenge
  • © THQ
  • Platform(s): GBDSDS
  • To Order: DS $19.98