Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister is a solid addition to the series in a fresh new setting.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Twister, then you know that tornado chasing can be full of excitement and drama. The thrill of the chase, the danger and unpredictability, working together as team, tornado chasing has it all. But when you’re an intern, much of the excitement is lost. And that’s exactly the situation that Nancy Drew finds herself in during her 22nd adventure, Trail of the Twister.
When the original intern for an Oklahoma tornado research team runs into some mysterious car troubles, Nancy goes undercover to investigate, taking over his spot. She joins a group that has been hit with a string of bad luck, mostly related to equipment malfunctions, though there are plenty of hints that suggest sabotage. And since the research team is competing for a $100 million grand prize, it’s cause for investigation.
In her role as an intern, Nancy attempts to learn about the different members of the research team to figure just who might be responsible for all of equipment troubles. Each member has their own particular motivations and figuring out just who is the culprit is no easy task. But even with all of this mystery and sabotage — not to mention an incoming tornado — the story is rather thin and not as exciting as you’d imagine. Instead of chasing tornadoes and questioning witnesses, most of Nancy’s time is spent doing chores. Lots and lots of chores.
The fact that Nancy is stuck with a to-do list a mile long makes sense within the context of the game; after all, she is an intern. But that doesn’t make it any less tiresome. Every member of the research team has something for her to do, and often it’s a simple and mundane task. In her first day alone Nancy has to go shopping at the corner store, take a tornado preparedness quiz, fix an LCD display in a car, organize a filing cabinet, and more. It seems like every time you speak to another character all they do is list off a heap of chores for you to do.
Thankfully the puzzles make the experience much more enjoyable than it should be. Pretty much every chore results in a puzzle and, with the exception of a few duds, they’re all challenging and fun. The game doesn’t hold your hand when it comes to the puzzles, so there’s nothing in the way of hints. You get a brief description of what needs to be done and that’s it. This can be a little frustrating at times, as it can be easy to forget what exactly you need to do, but it goes a long way towards adding some challenge to the experience.
Trail of the Twister looks, sounds, and feels just like the rest of the Nancy Drew games, which, of course, is a good thing. The interface is easy to navigate, the characters and backgrounds look great, the voice acting is spot-on, and the controls are simple to learn and very intuitive. In short, it’s a Nancy Drew game. The only real addition gameplay wise is that Nancy now has a vehicle to drive, though this is easily the worst section of the game. Driving is incredibly frustrating, with loose controls that make it easy to crash into other cars and swerve off the road. There’s a damage meter and if you crash too much, it’s game over. It would’ve been much better, and quicker, if the game let you simply click on where you wanted to go instead of having to drive there.
But even with its somewhat sparse storyline and the frustrating new driving sections, Trail of the Twister is still a solid addition to the Nancy Drew series. The game features all of the interesting characters, great production values, and challenging puzzles that fans have grown to love, and wraps it up in a fresh new setting. It may not be the best the franchise has to offer, but it’s certainly worth investigating.