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I Spy Mystery

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By Tom Nelson and Mary F. O'Connor

I Spy Mystery  - Review of I Spy Mystery

I Spy Mystery

Courtesy of Scholastic

The Bottom Line

I Spy Mystery is another satisfying entry in the popular I Spy series of software and books. The mystery angle adds a fun twist and a fresh approach to the word-picture puzzles. Each puzzle mixes the everyday with the unexpected, and will put your powers of observation to the test. Things aren't always what they seem, and while some objects are almost too easy to find, others are maddeningly difficult.

We're long-time fans of the I Spy series, and it's only their limited replay value that keeps us from awarding them higher marks. Once you find all of the objects in a game, there's not much point in playing again.

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  • Richly detailed, highly imaginative graphics.
  • A good mix of easy, moderately complex, and very complex challenges.
  • Fun for all ages, including non-readers.
  • If you get stuck on a puzzle, you can move on and return to it later.


  • Limited replay value.
  • Some riddles and puzzles may be difficult for players at the youngest end of the target age group.
  • Not as challenging for older kids as some of the other I Spy titles.
  • Some of the puzzles are recycled from other I Spy titles.


  • CD contains both Mac and Windows versions of the software.
  • Includes 13 mysteries to solve by gathering clues.
  • Personalizes scenes with your child's name.
  • Develops language arts, problem solving, and thinking skills.

Guide Review - I Spy Mystery

The I Spy puzzles are as familiar as a comfortable old shoe, but for many of us, they never fail to entertain. I Spy Mystery recycles some puzzles from previous titles in the popular series, but with a fresh twist. This time out, you're not just tasked with finding hidden objects; you must also solve a series of 13 mysteries, by unearthing clues hidden in the puzzles.

If you're new to I Spy, the books and games share a standard format. A colorful scene that's jam-packed with objects has a number of items hidden in plain sight. A rhyming riddle tells you which objects you must find in each puzzle; a voiceover reads the riddle aloud, so even non-readers can enjoy this game. Some objects are very easy to find, while others will challenge both your powers of observation and your creativity. In some cases, an object is so cleverly woven into its surroundings that it's almost impossible to spot. In other cases, you must first figure out exactly what it is you're looking for, and then try to find it. For example, is a bat something you hit a baseball with or a creature that flies at night?

The game starts with 13 file folders scattered across a desk. Each folder contains a mystery, which you can tackle in any order you choose. When you select a folder, you'll hear about the mystery and view related photographs. Your mission is to solve each mystery by ferreting out the clues hidden in the various puzzles. You may have to return to a puzzle more than once, to look for additional clues or objects. If you get stuck on a puzzle, you can move on, then come back later and try again, without losing the items you've already found.

I Spy Mystery teaches kids to listen and follow directions. It also develops visual recognition, problem solving, and logic skills, and can help build basic reading and vocabulary skills in non-readers or early readers.

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