Weekend Download №4


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JayIt's the weekend, Mothers Day even, and everyone here at Casual Gameplay has taken the weekend off to spend with our families. But we also realize you may be looking for something new to play, and so we'll leave you with a few choice selections of the latest casual games making the rounds on the download circuit. Be sure to let us know which of them deserves a full review.

Play with FirePlay with Fire
(Windows, limited demo, 70MB) Designed by Chris Bateman, Play with Fire is a highly unusual platform puzzle game in which you play a giant ball of fire—and burn things down. Each level presents you with a structure composed of different kinds of materials, ranging from non-burnable stone to a variety of others that burn more or less easily. Somewhere in the level is an exit, and to get to it, you have to burn things in the right place or order to reach it. Sometimes, if you do things wrong, the structure will collapse as it burns and make it impossible to reach the exit; sometimes you must move quickly as the object burns and the fire spreads to get to the exit before the structure collapses underneath you.

SheeplingsSheeplings
(Windows, Mac OS X (Intel), limited demo, 8MB) - A brand new action puzzle game from KarjaSoft in which you play as Windsor, a border collie, on a mission to reach the sheep jumping competition in Woolyville. To get there you must guide and protect your flock while overcoming obstacles such as predators, bandits, logic puzzles and stubborn sheep. There are 80 levels spanning 3 quests in this charming and cute, non-violent game for the whole family.

Mystery of Shark IslandMystery of Shark Island
(Mac/Windows, limited demo, 12MB) Waking up one morning, you are shocked to realize that you are stranded on a deserted island and know nothing of how you got there, where the island is located or what its history is. Roam the gorgeous beaches and collect beautiful sea shells, rocks and sea glass to unlock the mysteries of a lost civilization. Find the right ones and the mysteries of the lost island will begin to unravel before your eyes! Can you solve the Mystery of Shark Island?

Grimm's HatcheryGrimm's Hatchery
(Windows, limited demo, 17MB) Raise magical pets and fight monsters in an enchanting kingdom. Raising pets produces eggs that can be redeemed for cash or hatched into more pets to produce more eggs, etc. Grimm's Hatchery features 20 types of magical pets, four hatcheries, and several villages to enjoy. In addition to raising the adorable creatures, you can also create new breeds of pets and solve quests for the villagers. To keep you challenged, the game offers 3 difficulty levels and 6 areas to unlock. The game also features lots of clicking, so be forewarned(!) If you can get past all the clicking, it can be rather addictive.

The Apprentice: Los AngelesThe Apprentice: Los Angeles
(Windows, limited demo, 50MB) Play for the top spot in the Trump Organization in this unique twist on resource management-style games. Earn the most money by serving your customers as efficiently as possible, combining strategy with fast action. You'll need to know how to prepare food, how to manage your assistants for maximum benefit, how to control your inventory, and more in order to win. There is even a free Flash demo of the game you can play online.

33 Comments

I have the full version of Grimm's Hatchery, and it is far too addicting for my own good :P Great game!!

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Michael May 12, 2007 8:04 PM

I'm interested in grabbing Play with Fire, but I don't want to risk getting hooked on it and then being forced with the decision to buy it...

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Actually, the game won't kick you out if you go past the time limit. It'll just prevent you from starting the program.

Anyway... on the same general motif, I can't see the actual "flames". The blocks just change color. Is this part of an attempt to get you to buy the game? I also run into this weird glitch where everything goes black and I have to blind peck through the pause menu to go back to the hub and see again, did I mention that the text is all black? Black text + Navy blue BG = VERY HARD TO SEE.

That is all

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Sorry for the double post, but I've also run into a snag with shark island. It seems that the computer is convinced I don't have enough memory for it. The game is MS-DOS and my comp has approx... 2 GIGS of memory. I think it isn't looking hard enough. If I find a fix, I'll post it here to give a hand to anyone else in my same predicament.

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Mkelican - I only have 256MB on my XP PC and Shark Island runs fine. :/

Have you tried closing other programs you're running? Might be a simple thing to try first.

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WOW this is aggravating, Shut down everything in the background (INCLUDING several weird processes that will probably result in my comp crashing in twelve seconds), moved it into a DOS shell, tried forcing every byte of memory capacity I had down the throat of the program, tweaked (and tested) every compatibility setting AND forced it into DOSBox and I STILL get the same bloody error! Starting to debate whether or not to just shred the program off my hard drive (not delete, that leaves minute traces of the darned thing)

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So, okay, I download Play with Fire, and I start it up, and that registration screen comes up. I choose to not buy the game (and my 60-min grace period is still full) and I hit next. The screen gets black in one area in the upper left, like the games going to initialize in a different resolution and then go to full screen. I get aforementioned flash of black and thats it.

I go in and check the error log (which makes me feel like a totally awesome programmer guy) and it says:

Error Logger started

PlayWithFire::init() begins

Direct3D9 Initialize Successfully

Direct3D Device creation Failed

Do you techie guys have any Comments/ideas?

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Jace - Give reinstalling a shot. If that doesn't work, reinstall DirectX. Just go to the microsoft website and search for the highest DirectX version your graphics card can take. If your computer is fairly new, try 8 or 9. If it still doesn't work, unplug your computer and go to the nearest apartment building. Place the tower and/or monitor on the top flight of stairs. Give slight push. This will be quite a bit more fun than continuing to TS the game

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Jace - You should also try looking to see if there are updated drivers for your video card available from the vendor's website. From the looks of the error log, DirectX (9) loaded successfully, so that's not likely the problem. But when DirectX tried to create a Direct3D device—it does so by communicating with your video card—that's when it failed. So, the culprit is likely the driver for your card.

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Sorry bout this, but my sleep meds are kickin' in. I won't be able to help or respond til I return from my lair...

What, doesn't everyone sleep in lairs?

Well, I have the sun trying to kill me and all so there. If anyone would happen to know the address of any vampires so I can distract the sun for a while, that'd be great, seeing as I am a gamer/light programmer/light hacker and drawing power from the night and whatnot and NOT a vampire (you listening sun! I have a pale complexion dagnabbit!). till then, TO THE LAIR!!

Ps: the 60 min trial games are LAME with a capital L, you just feel cheated out of your time when the thing butts in and tells you to buy the game if you want to keep playing. I would like it if you would either
A) stop using these games in these segments
OR
B) Give some kind of disclaimer as to the nature of the demo (Ie. is it the entire game with a time limit, is it the first three levels etc.)

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I too am slightly saddened by the way that every game in this installment is a free demo version of a product that I must pay to experiece.

I'm chalking this one up to pure chance. If it happens again, I'm going to get suspicious...

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There's nothing to be suspicious of. When I mentioned the "download circuit" I was, in fact, referring to the casual game portals where you find nothing but free demos of games with full versions to purchase.

Casual Gameplay spans much more than just free games, though we indeed give you plentiful helpings of those. There are many quality titles available worth the few bucks the developers are asking.

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Thnikka May 13, 2007 7:45 AM

I have the exact same problem as jace. The activation screen pops up, i click activate later and next, then in the upper left hand corner the screen goes black for a second and then... nothing. more help would be appreciated

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when i choose a game mode in "play with fire" the computer blocks, any help?

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From the Manifesto Games website...

Minimum system requirements for Play with Fire:

  • Windows XP

  • 1.5GHz processor

  • 512MB RAM

  • nVidia 5900, 128MB VRAM or ATi Radeon 9600

  • DirectX 9.0c or later

  • Preferred: GFX nVidia 7300LE

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The download link for Grimm's Hatchery appears to be nonfunctional. It times out on me. Is anyone else getting this problem and does anyone have a suggestion for how to fix it?

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pH - Try reloading the page to see if that fixes it. I just tried and the game downloaded fine for me. If you're still having trouble, here's an alternative link to Grimm's Hatchery for you.

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Kristan May 13, 2007 12:49 PM

Sheep game is Win only....

Pissed off Mac user

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Pissed off Mac user - did you see the link to the Mac version of Sheeplings listed above?

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Kristan May 13, 2007 3:30 PM

No, but seeing as there was no mention of such a file on the game's website I gave up...

Slightly less pissed off Mac user (pissed off because I'm a Mac user)

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Playing with Fire, started up, I selected Level 1, than than hanged with a black screen and froze my computer, only powerdown worked. Luckly I saved my work before I tried that game. Not to mention I quickly deinstalled it again :)

mkelican: you are not funny.

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Kristian: Sorry for not mentioning the Mac version better on the homepage! I'm working on improving the game based on feedback; improving the homepage and making a PPC version is on my todo list as well. Hopefully the slightly less pissed off Mac users will be quite less pissed off eventually. :)

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Debster May 13, 2007 6:17 PM

I'm still having trouble playing Grimm's Hatchery. The first link gives me a black box that automatically closes. When I open the second given link, all I get is a white box.

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Sorry Debster. Without more information, it's hard to know what the problem is.

For anyone having trouble with Play with Fire, if the game appears to freeze once you select a mode of play from the main menu, try pressing [space].

It looks as if the developer created some special effects on the menus that don't render if your video card is not up to snuff. This leaves dark text on a dark background, which is very difficult to see (as Mkelican noted above).

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play with fire runs fine on my pc.
( just happend to have a ATi Radeon 9600)
and somehow it seemed like the demo kept running for a lot more than 60 min.
if you just keep the darn thing on it wont force close when the time is up.
at least it did that at me...
it felt like a big 3d version of the sand game. 0_o

and jay... stop posting demos.(please)

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It might interest people that Grimm's Hatchery was developed by the geniuses at amaranthia.com along with other brilliant games. They started out with a free CRPG, Ahriman's Prophecy(still available and highly recommended) and branched out from there.

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Kristan May 14, 2007 8:45 AM

Thanks Karja, it's great to see the makers on this site and listening to feedback. Am much less pissed off now, especially thanks to your game :D

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There are over 1000 games on JIG. :p

And I just received this from Greg at manifestogames.com (which also happens to be his email address -- figure it out...) for people having difficulty running Play with Fire...

"Best thing is to have them email me with a description of how it fails, and I'll try to track down the problem."

And there you have it.

By the way, I am back in the office today trying like crazy to catch up with things so I can post a couple of new reviews for you. So please check back in a bit!

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Elliott May 14, 2007 2:33 PM

It's tragic I actually read to the "HAHAHAHA!"

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seeing jays hint, i tried playing with again. No its not my graphic card, this time it went just fine some minutes into the game, then it went all black again. *shrugs*

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I can't hatch any of the eggs. All I get are rotten eggs when I click on the cauldron thingy. Is it just real rare or am I doing something wrong?

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Aimee - it's just really rare that an egg will hatch into a creature. Keep trying!

If every egg hatched into a creature, the game would be too easy, so I believe it is like that for balance.

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realy funny crocker

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