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Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Big Ben Burglary Review


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On 01/22/2012 at 09:00 PM by Nick DiMola

This time Big Ben is missing.
RECOMMENDATION:

A decent learning tool for 7-10 year olds.

The Big Ben Burglary is the second case in the ongoing episodic production of Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math. As such, it features the same Professor Layton inspired gameplay from the The Lady Liberty Larceny, with the exception that the puzzles are more rooted in mathematics than general puzzle solving. This makes for a quest that's a bit duller than the first, in addition to being even briefer.

Starting off in London, players learn that the clock and bell from Big Ben has been stolen. Just like the Statue of Liberty in the previous episode, next to no one was around to witness the event. Moving along at a much brisker pace, players must do a lot less bouncing around to gather the three clues needed to identify the V.I.L.E. member responsible for this theft. With only one fetch quest throughout the game, players will quickly make their way from London to Tokyo, and eventually Miami to consult with a rocket scientist.

Along the way, sidekick Ivan Idea will offer up tons of trivia about each locale (as well as an assortment of puns), all of which are fairly interesting and offer potentially little known facts for the game's audience.

Like The Lady Liberty Larceny, The Big Ben Burglary is host to only 10 puzzles; however, two of the game's puzzles are directly lifted from the first and reskinned to match this game's theme. Considering the puzzle selection is already thin, copying two from the last episode comes across as lazy. This is especially true when one of the puzzles copied is the same coordinate plotting puzzle that began the first game – even worse is that this puzzle is extremely similar to one other coordinate plotting puzzle found later in the game.

Because there's so much less padding in this adventure, the experience will only last about an hour to an hour and a half. The only redeeming characteristic this time around is the ability to import your character from the first case in order to continue building your ranking (which is seemingly worthless anyway).

Given how similar The Big Ben Burglary plays out to the first episode, there's not much to appreciate here if you've already solved The Lady Liberty Larceny. While the developers may have viewed the weekly WiiWare offerings as the ideal way to present the game, it would've done wonders if they were all combined into a single title with some higher production and replay value. Coming hot off the heels of episode one, The Big Ben Burglary is disappointing.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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