This game is a nice improvement over the 1st game for Nintendo DS, The Deadly Secret of Olde World Park. Clue Bender Society lets you really sleuth and figure out things rather than always play a minigame to do the work, which sort of holds your hand which was in the Olde World Park. Fortunately for me, the website I bought the game off of even gave me a free graphic novel (comic book) by Papercutz for Nancy Drew that had good art, story, and dialogue in which she had to private investigator and save her missing friend. The character art is about as good as Olde World Park, which I thought had good art work. I do like a couple of music themes, such as the title music. The story has Nancy try to find a tome that was stolen from a detectives' society that you join. It is a very interesting read full of twists and turns.
The game had a nice change from the 1st one in which you have to really solve things on your own. You must look into the backgrounds carefully and think of how things go together, such as door codes and the music puzzle was pretty interesting. I like being able to figure something out if it makes sense, which is what this game does; if you get lost, you're probably missing something under your nose, like when I didn't realize the 3 pieces of paper I found for the music puzzle are connected in a certain way (you couldn't manually connect them, but just visualize it in your mind).
It's a great feeling when you're making the mistakes rather than the game flaws mess you up, such as looking under meaningless places to find vague clues in adventure games. Like when I figured out the music puzzle, I thought, "How could I actually miss this clue?" It's also nice that like the last game, the searchable areas are already identified, though new ones pop up as you progress in the game. It is also nice that Nancy can jog. Also, there are minigames, but those are for puzzle elements like lockpicking or solving the puzzle of a box, rather than a distraction from actually convincing someone (that was in the 1st game). The lockpicking minigame is the only one that's from the 1st game. Fortunately, it doesn't have the sliding puzzle of 16 pieces (15 with 1 empty) that I thought was nearly impossible in Olde World Park, but it's a good thing that you could do something else instead.
There are a couple of problems though. The snowmobile is pretty boring; it doesn't feel fast and you don't do any cool jumps. There is also the problem of how the game lets you navigate; rooms have arrows that let you enter/exit but you cannot enter/exit other than by way of these arrows. Sometimes the arrows are positioned in a way that might make you accidentally touch them upon entrance to that room, making you go back to the other one. This means that you can go to a room with the arrow exit to the prior room in front of you and you have to walk in front of it.
Lastly, since the game lets you sleuth, I think it should have let you take some notes, such as those door codes since you have to go up the stairs, and across a few rooms to activate the 4 codes. Fortunately, this is very minor since you could always make notes manually by hand.
I do think the game is a great improvement over the 1st game due to the freedom it gives you as well as the fact that Nancy can move faster. There isn't really any replay value like most graphical adventure games but it was a great playthrough.