Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    HerInteractive

Released:  May 2014 

PC Requirements:  see review below



Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion


by Jenny100



I can't say I enjoyed this episode of Nancy Drew. I had my doubts when I started up the game and read that Nancy would be competing in a “reality” TV show. Unfortunately nothing in the game changed my initial impression. I'd taken a break from playing Nancy Drew games before playing Nancy Drew #28 (Thornton Hall) and #29 (The Silent Spy), and either of those games would make a great introduction (or re-introduction) to the Nancy Drew series. Unfortunately #30 (Shattered Medallion) might well be the last Nancy Drew game a person plays if it happens to be their first. IMO it's the worst since #20 Ransom of the Seven Ships, with Ransom's abysmal dexterity-oriented Monkey games.


In the opening scene, Nancy learns that her best friend Bess Marvin has volunteered her for a reality TV show (called “Pacific Run”), partnering Nancy with her other best friend, George Fayne (who for some reason is a fan of the show). Personally, I would have been horrified, but Nancy is more spunky and good-natured than I am. Poor George is taken out of action early on, and Bess gets her comeuppance by having to take George's place. Bess foresees her own imminent demise, though since she is Bess, her fears are greatly exaggerated. Although George is no longer a contestant, she continues to be helpful as a researcher.

There are originally 10 different teams, each named after a New Zealand bird. Nancy and George/Bess are “Team Tui” and other important teams are “Team Kea” (Patrick Dowsett and Leena Patel) and “Team Tawaki” (Kiri Nind and the soon-to-be-taken-out Erin). Team Tui is mysteriously rescued from elimination early on by Sonny Joon, who is the show's producer for this episode (though no one is sure how he got to be producer). Poor Erin is injured when trying to help George, and Sonny allows her teammate Kiri to continue as the solo member of “Team Tawaki.”

That's the setup, but what about the story? It's mostly about Sonny Joon's intentions, which you don't figure out until late in the game and which I won't go into because it would be a spoiler. There is also the mystery of whether George's “accident” was an accident -- and if it was intentional, who was responsible.


You get to actually see Nancy's friends George and Bess instead of just talking to them on the phone. You talk to some of the other contestants, including Leena and Patrick (Team Kea) and Kiri (of Team Tawaki). And you have quite a bit of interaction with Sonny Joon. Apparently he's a recurring character in the Nancy Drew series, though he made only small appearances before now (according to the Nancy Drew Wiki at ). I don't remember him because of the Nancy Drew games I've played, he only had a small mention or bit part in the earlier ones and I have a gap in playing the Nancy Drew games immediately preceding #28 (Thornton Hall). But Sonny, or mention of Sonny, seems to be a recurring feature in the series. If there are Sonny Joon fans out there, getting to see and talk to Sonny may be enough reason to play Shattered Medallion. He certainly has interesting blue hair.

Game Environment/Graphics

The game takes place on an island of New Zealand. New Zealand is a beautiful part of the world, with interesting features like geysers, hot springs, mud volcanos and other geothermal activity. Unfortunately we don't see any of these in the game. Nor are the scenic areas well depicted. The graphics are pre-rendered and not real time, but they often look like they've been rendered with a real time 3D engine from the late 1990's or early 2000's. For example, tree branches can be oddly flattened and sticking out at strange angles. Rocks often look bizarre and unrocklike. Tree trunks and other objects look like cardboard cutouts pasted on a background. The same tree is often duplicated more than once. I don't remember naturalistic backgrounds ever looking this shoddy in a Nancy Drew game. I guess it was done as a cost-saving measure and they thought no one would notice. What could have been beautiful New Zealand landscapes turned out looking pre-fab, generic, and like something out of an old FPS – without the free-roaming aspect.

There were the usual token “educational” features that have to do with whatever part of the world Nancy is visiting. For example, you read information on posters and in books about different sheep breeds, different aquatic creatures, how to pan for gold, etc. At one point, you have to shear a sheep, and you leave the poor sheep standing there with a large swath of wool missing from its side and the rest unshorn. Apparently the other players don't bother shearing the sheep, because the partially shorn sheep remains this way until the end of the game – patiently waiting for someone to complete the job.


The interface is the same point-and-click as other Nancy Drew games. At times you can type in passwords either by clicking on letters or typing them in using the keys of your keyboard. During the canoe race, you have to mouse around and click on arrows to maneuver between the buoys you're supposed to tag.

The interface includes the usual list of tasks, its completeness depending on whether you are playing as “Amateur” or “Master” Sleuth. You can either display two items at a time or expand the list upwards to display more items. Checking off a task will automatic move it to the bottom of the list – an improvement over having completed and incomplete tasks mixed together.


As with all Nancy Drew games, you are given a choice of playing either as an “Amateur Sleuth” or a “Master Sleuth.” “Amateur Sleuth” has “regular puzzles,” hints available, and a detailed tasklist. “Master Sleuth” has “more challenging puzzles,” no hints, and a “basic” tasklist. I played on “Amateur” because I like having the complete tasklist, even though I generally prefer the more challenging puzzles (except for those that are dexterity-based or timed). It's too bad the Nancy Drew games don't allow separate selections for the different categories.

Puzzles were varied, though some of them were not original (for example, a “patchwork” type puzzle where you have to fill in outlined areas with colors so no area touches another of the same color) and some were timed or dexterity-oriented (for example, the canoe race, a marble drop puzzle, at one point your submarine has an emergency...). Some puzzles involve deciphering or extracting clues from various comics created for Sonny Joon by his grandfather, Jin.

There are optional “Raid” and “Monster” games in the “Puzzle Plaza.” It isn't necessary to play these to finish the game (after reading the rules I had no interest). But if you want to win all the “Achievements,” you have to play them.

There are a couple of  “sudden death” areas where Nancy can be flattened by a rock or other large thing that falls due to an earthquake. Although there is an automatic restore, I think being flattened by at least one of these events ruins your chance of getting one of the “Achievements.” Just be warned, there is only one direction you can go to avoid being squished, so you'd better find it quickly and not mouse around too much. In real life you could run in several different directions to avoid pancakehood – but not here.

Voice Acting/Dialogue

The voice acting was OK, considering the lines that were given. But the dialogue was often annoying. I think it tried too hard to be cute, and maybe witty, but ended up being baffling instead. There were times when some characters seemed to want to tear your head off after a question. Ask another question and they'd be back to their normal, semi-friendly selves.


The music did not suit a Nancy Drew game. It wasn't horrible music, but it would have been more appropriate for an epic movie. Maybe they hoped it would match majestic New Zealand scenery, but since the scenery was so imperfectly depicted in the game it didn't work. I ended up turning it off, which meant that the credits at the end of the game rolled by in silence.


The “Collector's” version has the usual phone charms hidden around the game. In addition you can earn “Achievements” for things like taking the canoe out more times than necessary, using the submersible more than necessary, playing the “Raid” or “Monster” games in the “Puzzle Palace” building, visiting the injured George many times, buying all the items in the “Auction House,” and other things that aren't necessary to complete the game. There was one “Achievement” called “Spoiler Free” which was sort of interesting because of its detection mechanism. I'm guessing that the game determines whether or not you used a walkthrough or hints by whether you solve a puzzle without having first found the relevant clue(s).


I had a low opinion of “reality” TV shows to start with, and this game did nothing to improve it. The amount of cheating was disgusting. Nancy frequently had her prizes stolen despite there being rules against it. In one case the perp pointed out that the rules said that other contestants must not remove a contestant's award – and claimed she had only “moved” it and not “re”-moved it. Just disgusting – and from a character who should really behave better considering her real life job.

One thing that seemed rather odd was how Nancy never saw other contestants while trying to complete any of the show's tasks. She never saw anyone else in the wool-shearing shack, while canoeing, while using the little submarine, in the “Puzzle Palace,” etc. A couple of times she overheard a conversation while wandering in the woods or mines, but for the most part she was alone. The only time she saw someone was when they were hanging around their appointed position in the base camp or field. It seemed strange, especially at first when there were 10 teams competing, that she wouldn't meet other contestants in the course of completing her tasks.

The person responsible for cutting the rope bridge – something that could have had fatal consequences for Nancy's friend George – apparently gets clean away with it. And this was not the only murderous thing she tried to get away with. Is this considered allowable behavior in so-called “reality” TV shows? If so, it's one more reason not to watch them. I'd consider such a thing to be attempted murder. At the very least, the perp should have been banned from competition instead of being given her own “Redemption of” show, which is what I understood to happen in the end.


Ardent Sonny Joon fans and Nancy Drew completists only.

If you've never played a Nancy Drew game before, do not start with this one.

Grade: C-

Minimum System requirements for PC:

  • Windows XP/Vista/7/8

  • 1.5 GHZ or greater Pentium 4 CPU or equivalent class

  • 512 MB of RAM

  • 3GB or more hard drive space

  • 128 MB DirectX 9.0 compatible video card

  • 16 bit DirectX compatible sound card

  • 4x DVD drive

  • Mouse and speakers

Minimum System requirements for Mac:

  • OS X: 10.6.8 Snow Leopard/10.7 Lion/10.8 Mountain Lion/10.9 Mavericks or higher

  • Intel processor

  • 512 MB RAM

  • 3 GB or more hard drive space

  • Intel GMA X3100, ATI X1600, NVIDIA 7300 graphics card or better

  • 4x DVD drive

  • Keyboard and mouse

  • Internet connection the first time the game is launched

  • This game will NOT run on PowerPC (G3/G4/G5) based Mac systems (PowerMac)

I played the game on a computer with:

  • Windows 8.1 Professional

  • AMD Phenom II x4 905e processor 2.51 GHz

  • 8 GB of RAM

  • 3 GB or more hard drive space

  • AMD Radeon HD 7770 with 2 GB VRAM

  • ATI High Definition Audio Device (onboard sound)


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