The private detective Nancy Drew is hired by a Hollywood studio to investigate a series of suspicious accidents on the set of "Pharaoh", a remake of a film about Ancient Egypt that is rumored to be cursed.
Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses! is an adventure game with simple puzzles, aimed at the casual market. Instead of collecting objects in the traditional inventory to solve the puzzles, in this game the player has to find all the hotspots on the screen. They shine when the magnifying glass cursor passes over, and clicking on one of them opens a circle with a picture of an object or place and a brief text description. The objective is to match all the hotspots in a logic sequence, for example a light bulb to a socket. Only two hotspots can be opened at the same time, and a sequence or "combo" of correct matches gives bonus points.
Some objects, matches or actions bring up a separate screen with one of the mini-games:
- In the lock-picking game, the goal is to construct a structure with blocks matching the figure shown at the top-left. Each dropped block makes the platform rise, and the game has to be restarted if any block touches the top.
- In the smoothie game, the objective is to fulfill orders by pouring the ingredients to create drinks, by dropping blocks in moving glasses of various shapes. Each successful order fills a bit of a tube at the left side, that has to be filled to the top to complete the game. Glasses empty or with incomplete drinks break when they disappear from the screen. There's a limited amount of glasses, and when they are all gone, or the tube is not yet filled, the game has to be restarted.
- In the hacking game, the goal is to fill carefully columns with blocks, not leaving blank spaces. Each block has up to four segments that can be rotated to fit better. The spaces are marked with a red X, and only a few are allowed before the game is reset.
Besides these recurring mini-games, there are also some that appear only once on specific locations. At the end of each stage, a bonus round gives extra points with a game of concentration, where pairs have to be found to accumulate the maximum amount of points before time runs out.
A window with dialog options appears when Nancy talks to one of the characters, where the player has to choose the correct answer to several questions. Giving wrong answers decreases the points received when the correct one is selected.
The game has two endings, that are selected according to the final score.