September 24, 2009

The Making of The 39 Clues™ App!

Posted by at 9:51 am in Games, The 39 Clues | Permalink


I’m Sam, producer of The 39 Clues Madrigal Maze App for the iPhone™ or iPod touch®! We know a lot of Ink Splot 26 readers who are 39 Clues fans so this blog will give you a sneak peek into the new app. When we started working on The 39 Clues app, we knew we wanted to tell a different side of The 39 Clues story. If you read the books, you know about the Madrigals — the shadowy group that thwarts the Cahills in their search for the clues. But what is it like to actually be a Madrigal? Our app explores the idea of becoming part of this secret organization.

The app puts you through a recruitment test to become a Madrigal. As you’d expect, it’s not easy. You get locked inside a labyrinthine Aztec pyramid and have to survive all kinds of perils in order to get out. The game is a test of wits and strategy as you attempt to successfully navigate a series of 39 mazes inside the pyramid. As you progress, each maze gets more challenging.

We wanted a combination of pulse-pounding action and brain-teasing puzzles, just like the books. You know how Amy and Dan are racing speedboats through the canals of Venice one minute, then solving an elaborate puzzle the next? Our game has the same feel. On one level you’re weaving through a pack of guard dogs, and on the next, you’re figuring out the right path that won’t trigger deadly boulder traps in the maze. You’ll have to be very quick and very smart to make it all the way through. Some mazes even have time limits on top of all these obstacles.

Level 23

But how hard is too hard? When the game was almost done, we tested it with kids and adults and adjusted a lot of the levels. We wanted to make sure that the early and middle levels were fun and not too hard for the casual gamer. We won’t lie to you, though – some of the final levels are very tough. We’ll be interested to see how many players make it all the way through!

Level 33

The final ingredient of any great 39 Clues story is secrecy, and we worked with the books’ editors to work in some good secrets. If you make it to a certain level of the game, you’ll unlock a secret Madrigal Encryption Key on We don’t want to say too much, but if you’re interested in the Madrigals, you’ll definitely want to get that Key before you finish the game!

— Sam, Scholastic Interactive Staffer

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    we would like to complain about how unfair it is for people who do not have ipods. we do not get the oppritunity to become madrigals and that’s just unfair! if you want to make money out of this, why don’t you sell clue cards or gift cards with a code that let’s you become a madrigal? it would give everyone a fair chance of becoming a madrigal.

  2. S

    I wish that I had an I-Phone, so I could add the app. I hope that I get one, but that will never happen. The website is really good though!! :) :D