Remember Carmen Sandiego? That mysterious woman in red who would steal precious and historical items from throughout the world all while teaching kids about history and geography? Well, she’s finally back and up to her old tricks. Except this time, rather than geography, it’s going to take all of your best math skills to stop her crimes in Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Lady Liberty Larceny.
The plot isn’t the most original or interesting, but it's geared toward grade-schoolers after all. When the world realises that the Statue of Liberty has been stolen, it’s up to you to travel the globe and look for clues pointing to who could have pulled off such a ridiculous crime. By talking to locals and solving math-related puzzles, you must figure out who Carmen Sandiego is working with and solve the mystery.
One of the most impressive things is that the game retains all of the witty charm and humour of the original Carmen Sandiego games. As can be expected, the entire plot is very tongue-in-cheek, and most of the characters speak in pun. If nothing else can be said about this game, it’s cleverly written and has a whole lot of charm.
At its core, what this game boils down to is a point and click adventure. Taking the role of an ACME agent, your job is to move around different locations spanning across the globe and to talk to as many people as possible. Some locals will give you clues about the theft, others will give you items to exchange with other characters for information or access to new areas, and others still will give you a puzzle to solve. As a game that intends to teach kids about math it’s unfortunate that there are only ten different puzzles in the whole game: some are about geometry, some involve reading graphs and others are simple arithmetic, but there aren't enough of them overall.
Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Lady Liberty Larceny controls like any good point and click adventure should. Holding your Wii Remote you control a cursor that you can move freely about the environment. Pointing and pressing the A button will cause your character to move wherever the cursor is located, and clicking on people will cause you to talk to them. The controls are simple and intuitive and work just as well as they need to.
Graphically, this game isn’t overly impressive, but the mix of flat cartoon characters with vibrantly coloured and surprisingly detailed settings make for a very appealing combination. Almost the exact same thing can be said about the soundtrack; while a bit underwhelming, it’s still upbeat and fun enough to not be a complete distraction. Both the visual and audio presentation fit the light-hearted mood of the game quite well.
The biggest letdown in this game is that the whole thing is entirely too short. With only a handful of different locations and ten different puzzles to solve, you can clock it in under two hours. Beyond that, the fact that the puzzles, plot and characters don’t change each time you play means there’s no real replay value here either. There’s nothing to unlock, and unless you really enjoyed playing through the campaign or want to see how quickly you can do the whole thing again, it’s not likely that you’ll sit down for another playthrough any time soon.
There is a multiplayer mode, but it’s far from a saving grace for this game. All multiplayer does is allow you to compete against friends in any of the puzzles that you’ve already solved in the main game. This may be fun for a short while, but again, all of the puzzles somehow involve math, and there are only ten of them in total, so there’s really only so much fun that can be had with this deficiency of content.
Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Lady Liberty Larceny could have been great, but falls very short of being significant. It looks and sounds nice, controls well and has a whole lot of charm, but what it comes down to is that the actual game itself as a whole package isn't very satisfying, even for 600 Points. If there had been more puzzles, or at least a different variety with each playthrough, then this would have been a very different story. But, as it stands, it's a bit of a robbery in itself.