The Barbie Diaries High School Mystery
|a game by||Activision|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||7.7/10 - 15 votes|
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|See also:||Games For Girls|
I didn’t quite know what to expect when first firing up The Barbie Diaries: High School Mystery, but what I did know was that I wasn’t really the target demographic. Based on the movie of the same name, the game released for the PC and Gameboy Advance in 2006 – but the two games followed different plots. The Gameboy Advance version follows the story of Barbie’s attempt to join the school news team as the anchor, by solving one hell of a thrilling mystery.
Come on Barbie, let’s go party
All of the items have been stolen from the high school charity auction, and it's down to Barbie and her friends to solve the mystery. With the assistance of her handy-to-have around AV club friend, Barbie and her BDA (Barbie Digital Assistant) must solve progression-based puzzles, as well as complete various minigames in order to find the auction items and uncover the identity of a secret admirer. It’s a real thrill ride – and not actually as bad as it might sound to you.
Classic adventure game tropes
The Barbie Diaries is actually quite reliant on tropes from classic adventure games. The general gameplay consists of talking to people around the school to find clues, and then finding items to overcome obstacles (such as using a fan to blow smoke away from a doorway so that she can enter it. High School Mystery does involve a fair bit of back-tracking – but luckily she moves pretty swiftly for a woman in heels so this isn’t much of a problem.
Cringe at every corner
By far the biggest draw of Barbie, at least for me, is the corny cheesy nature of it. It’s quite this weird pre-teen charm that I relate to through my love of H2O Just Add Water as a 24-year-old male. The soundtrack is made up of these royalty-free-esque ‘rock’ songs and the characters are all like-totally-rad. Barbie receives messages from her pals on her BDA using text speak, like ‘Come C Me’ and it’s just makes me shudder. It’s brilliant.
The non-adventure elements of The Barbie Diaries consist of minigames, and to be frank – they're not great. The first of these is a sliding puzzle that doesn’t require sliding, but just rearranging. It’s strangely difficult for how basic it sounds, and throwing a time limit on the task makes it all the more panic-inducing. Another puzzle requires looking at a note that’s been written backwards, and using a mirror to read it. All of the minigames are either too hard or too basic – but none of them are fun.
Whilst not everyone will immediately be drawn in by the license, The Barbie Diaries: High School Mystery isn’t a bad game overall. It’s got some classic inspirations, and at times feels like an old-school point and click mystery. It’s no Broken Sword or Gabriel Knight – but for its small budget and target demographic, it’s a decent stepping stone into more complex genre titles.
- Easy to follow storyline.
- Classic adventure game tropes.
- Slightly too basic.