Resorting To Danger, by Her Interactive, is the second in the Nancy Drew Dossier series, following Lights, Camera, Curses!. This time, Nancy is investigating a series of bombs at the Redondo, a rejuvenation clinic for the stars. The bombs are more mess than death, containing pie filling or ladybugs, but Nancy’s still got to defuse the bombs and find the mad bomber without alarming the wealthy celeb patrons in for a facial or mud bath.
Since the Redondo is home to a group of zany characters with the same kind of accents, wild backstories, and over-the-top personalities I loved in Lights…, there’s no shortage of motives. Resorting To Danger offers multiple endings to the mystery, so no matter who you pick as the bomber, you’re right! This added some replay value, and I did choose a different villian the second time through for a different well-developed ending, but I also felt a tiny bit short-changed because there was no “right” suspect to uncover. I know, I know, I’m usually a huge fan of open-ended games, the more sandbox-y the better, and it feels strange to not to be completely thrilled by this multiple-choice ending. I think it’s because the Nancy Drew games remind me of reading the novels and solving the cases along with Nancy, and knowing that I’d automatically be right felt like too much of a good thing.
Like Lights…, Resorting to Danger involved a hidden-objects mystery with a collection of different minigames. I liked mixing up potions in the lab, fixing contraptions and eavesdropping in the salon. The game is never frustrating since players gain hints through successful gameplay so you always have more hints that you could need. And I absolutely loved that HER included a science-themed puzzle in a game for girls, but I actually found Helfdan’s molecule puzzle an underwhelming match-three. The poetic riddles throughout the game more than made up for it.
The eccentric previous owner of the Redondo estate, Hippocrites Bell, left a garden full of ancient statuary and a puzzle based on the statues’ attributes that anyone trying to get into the underground shelter is required to solve. Each statue has an item that belongs to a different statue, but the attributes weren’t quite the ones I expected.
One of the common assignments in classics is to be given an unfamiliar piece of art and to be asked to identify the story and characters from their iconography, so I think I had a rigid expectation of what each deity needed. When it turned out that the snake did NOT go with Athena, the bow was NOT for Apollo, etc., I felt a bit frustrated. When I used the clues given and not my classics degree, the attributes chosen by the developers were connected to the statues (some more loosely that others) but as I gave the statues their new attributes, I could hear my old Greek art and archeology teacher scolding me.
I did like the choice of a puppy for Artemis, and the pig for Homer, so clearly someone at HER studied classics and/or really likes stories where powerful women change men into animals.
(Speaking of classics tripping me up, when I saw the name Hipparchus on a statue, my first thought was NOT the astronomer but the brother of Hippias, and I wondered for a moment what sort of implement an Athenian co-tyrant would be holding. I really should consider getting out more.)
I loved the little references to Lights… in this game. They were so well done, it was a little laugh for players of the first game to hear about Eva or to see the black cat with Molly’s name on it, but players who hadn’t played the first one weren’t missing any vital clues. There were also fun references to characters from the novels, like Hannah the housekeeper.
Overall, Resorting to Danger is another hidden-objects mystery in another charming setting with a new cast of wild characters.