Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion Review

Nancy Drew the Shattered Medallion Logo from Her Interactive Store Page

*Sources of screenshots are listed in their respective file-names.

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Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion’s amazingly funny characters, fascinating dialog and New Zealand setting are fantastic.

However, there are some unfortunate supernatural elements players should know about (detailed in our Potential Concerns section).

On the popular fictional reality TV show Pacific Run, Nancy Drew comes face to face with one of the most beloved characters in the series–Sonny Joon.

The fact that he has never appeared physically in previous titles where his eccentric personality is featured makes the big reveal pretty exciting.

Nancy Drew MED Sonny Joon Screenshot

Nancy soon finds that the beautiful New Zealand countryside and even Sonny himself conceal a darker mystery…

 

The puzzles are classic Nancy Drew–a good mix of smart item use and brainteasers–but it feels like there are less of them this time around. This is especially noticeable in the first act.

Nancy Drew MED Perspective Screenshot

A perspective puzzle seen about halfway through the game.

The Shattered Medallion instead chooses to focus on getting to know an odd cast of characters. It features what may be the best dialog of a Nancy Drew game to date–my family was literally laughing out loud.

Nancy Drew MED Patrick Screenshot Bundle (1)

Nancy: “What’s your angle?
Patrick: “Leena wants me to spy on you. It’s like two birds in the bush.

Nancy Drew MED Patrick Screenshot Bundle (2)

Nancy: “I think that’s two birds with one stone.
Patrick: “Big stone.

Nancy Drew MED Patrick Screenshot Bundle (3)

Patrick: “Or small birds.

Nancy Drew MED Patrick Screenshot Bundle (4)

Patrick: “Or they’re in a line.

The characters Bess (longtime friend of Nancy Drew) and Patrick (the former rugby player seen above) are particularly well-written and engaging.

"He's like one of those tall beautiful things they have in Italy."  "I don't know...A sculpture?"

Bess: “He’s like one of those tall beautiful things they have in Italy.
Nancy: “Not sure… A sculpture?

Nancy Drew MED Bess Screenshots bundle (2)

Bess: “A barista.

Another component filling the gap is a large number of logic-based minigames (10 in total) found on your mobile phone and in the Puzzle Palace.

Nancy Drew MED Minigame Screenshot bundle (1)

Escape! is one of the 8 logic minigames found on Nancy’s phone.

Nancy Drew MED Minigame Screenshot bundle (2)

Monster! is one of the two more involved board games in the Puzzle Palace.

The reality TV show format introduces a wide range of challenges, such as panning for gold and hunting objects in an underwater submarine.

Nancy Drew MED Submarine Screenshot

Education is mixed with fun since books/environmental displays actually tie into the puzzles. One book even includes a list of simple phrases in the Māori language.

Nancy Drew MED Educational Screenshots (1)

Some Māori phrases.

Nancy Drew MED Educational Screenshots (2)

A fish display tying into an underwater puzzle.

A revamped hint system (introduced in Nancy Drew #26) gives the assistance you need in stages. This allows you to figure things out for yourself instead of immediately resorting to a walkthrough.

Nancy Drew MED Hint ScreenshotSo, even with less puzzles, Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion still manages to be both intelligent and fun.

Conclusion:

A laser-focus on fascinating dialog and interesting characters make Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion one of the more solid games in the series.

Unfortunately, some unsettling supernatural influences (detailed below) hinder The Shattered Medallion from reaching the heights of titles like Alibi in Ashes and The Silent Spy.

Potential Concerns:

*WARNING–Potential Spoilers Below*

Being set in New Zealand, players will discover aspects of Māori culture, such as their mythology and symbology.

Nancy Drew MED Maori Mythology-Symbols (1)

Māori symbols, meaning and mythology.

Nancy Drew MED Maori Mythology-Symbols (2)

Māori symbols, meaning and mythology.

Players must find pieces of the “Hei-Tiki” symbol (seen in the first Māori mythology screenshot above) underwater and assemble them for one of the quests.

Nancy Drew MED Hei Tiki Screenshot bundle (1) Nancy Drew MED Hei Tiki Screenshot bundle (2) Nancy Drew MED Hei Tiki Screenshot bundle (3)

Māori totems are also present in the forms of environmental objects and collectible phone charms.

A Māori totem (idol).

A Māori totem (idol).

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot 2

My collection of two totem charms, a needle and a reference to The Lord of the Rings (filmed in New Zealand).

Sonny Joon and the S.P.I.E.D. organization (founded by his grandfather Jin) project a belief in aliens and our need for their involvement in our world.

Nancy Drew MED SPIED Screenshot bundle (1)

S.P.I.E.D. believes that there is a community, like the United Nations, but instead of countries it’s planets… galaxies.” 
So, it’s the U.N. but more fun?

Shortly after…

Nancy Drew MED SPIED Screenshot bundle (2)

The earth is in a very bad way right now.
That does seem to be the main talking point these days.
Because it’s true.

 

Nancy Drew MED SPIED Screenshot bundle (3)

We need help. We can’t go it alone.
I’m pretty sure we can.
As was I.

"We have everything we need, right? We're smart. We're strong. We adapt."   "I sense a--"

We have everything we need, right? We’re smart. We’re strong. We adapt.
I sense a–

Nancy Drew MED SPIED Screenshot bundle (5)

But. Yes, there is. But we don’t know how to work together…

Later:

Nancy Drew MED SPIED Screenshot bundle (7)

Doesn’t matter if any of this is real.
Yes it does…

Nancy Drew MED SPIED Screenshot bundle (8)

No, it doesn’t. Not if pretending it’s true makes the world better.

Sonny also gathers a number of “special” people (including Patrick, who he refers to as “the mystic”) with spiritual names/characteristics together as part of his grandfather Jin’s currently inscrutable plan.

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot bundle 2 (3)

Pictures from his grandfather Jin’s comics.

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot bundle 2 (4)

Pictures from his grandfather Jin’s comics.

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot bundle 2 (5)

Pictures from his grandfather Jin’s comics.

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot bundle 2 (1)

Sonny’s notebook in which he identifies the individuals needed for “the team.”

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot bundle 2 (2)

Sonny’s notebook in which he identifies the individuals needed for “the team.”

Bess also refers to Patrick as her “spirit animal.”

Nancy Drew MED Bess-Patrick Screenshot bundle (1)

He’s like my spirit animal.
He’s a person, and also alive.
I know, but…

Nancy Drew MED Bess-Patrick Screenshot bundle (2)

He’s so…calm.

Nancy Drew MED Bess-Patrick Screenshot bundle (3)

Do you know that his parents, and their parents going back were some sort of mystical teachers?
I gathered something like that…

Unlike other supernaturally-tinged Nancy Drew games (Haunting of Castle Malloy, Shadow at the Waters Edge, etc.), these concepts are not ultimately seen as faulty or somehow delusional–they just suggest a deeper mystery.

However, there is still a possibility that this troubling storyline may be resolved in a future title.

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot 3

I don’t know if Sonny believes in everything S.P.I.E.D. [the fictional alien-centric organization Sonny and his grandfather Jin are a part of] teaches…

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot 4

But after his time in New Zealand, I do know he believes in Jin.

The “Raid” mini-game from the Germany-themed entry Nancy Drew: The Captive Curse features elements of magic and fairytale characters.

Nancy Drew MED Screenshot 5

Nancy Drew MED Raid Minigame Screenshot

Bess has a crush on Sonny and tries to use her “feminine wiles” to get information for Nancy (this does not work due to her nervousness).

Nancy Drew MED Bess Screenshots bundle (3)

Do you want to maybe put that Sonny enthusiasm to work?

Nancy Drew MED Bess Screenshots bundle (4)

You know I do.
Okay. Go see if you can pry any information out of him.
I’ll bust out my feminine wiles.

Nancy Drew MED Sonny-Bess Screenshot

That explains the photo edit she made of me holding a puppy. Sorta. It sorta explains that…

The final puzzle involves the Zodiac.

Nancy Drew MED Zodiac Screenshot

Sonny Joon’s character is a bit confusing. Though he appears normal, at times he also acts effeminate.

Buy Now! (PC)

*This title was received for review. See our statement of ethics here and game review criteria here.
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About Nelson

Writer, amateur #gamedev, and Founder o' Video Games and the Bible. My interviews bring the boys to the yard. Featured from Kotaku to Rock Paper Shotgun. Dropsy.
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