Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger! is the second casual entry of the long-running series by Her Interactive. As in the previous title, the player takes the role of the young detective Nancy Drew trying to solve a mystery. This time, a celebrity spa suffers a series of bombings that are always preceded by threatening letters, and the manager decides to hire Nancy to discover the culprit. She must work undercover as a regular resort employee to avoid any suspicion and not alarm any of the VIP guests, and at the same time investigate the place for clues.
The gameplay combines elements from the adventure and hidden object genres. Instead of a list of objects to find, the bottom of the screen displays all the pending tasks and a series of verb icons. The game moves from location to location, where a series of hotspots have to be clicked to accomplish the list goals. The hotspots sparkle when the cursor hovers over them, and the objective is to click on two related spots in sequence to solve a puzzle. For example, clicking on a key and a lock to open some container. Even when the combination is not successful, the hotspots remain highlighted on the screen with translucent circles. The verbs can also be used to press, push, pull, turn, scratch, lift, flip and shake objects.
In some places, clicking on parts of the scenery brings up a window showing a close-up view of the scene, usually with some mechanism or self-contained puzzle that has to be manipulated directly. Some mini-games appear between chapters, where the player has to match two paper clippings to create full letters, form molecules in a lab by color matching their atoms, complete circuits to disarm bombs, and other similar challenges.
Sometimes a dialog tree appears when talking with other characters, where the right answer has to be selected from several options. Correct actions give bonus points, slowly increasing the player ranking. A special ending is unlocked after achieving the top ranking of Ultimate Private Eye.