In Elephant Games' hidden-object adventure Riddles of Fate: Memento Mori, it turns out Death may be big and scary, but he also stinks at his job. There's a delicate balance between life and death, he tells you, and souls must die in order for the new ones to be born. Which, y'know, makes it sort of a big deal when a bunch of wicked souls decided to run from him rather than to go gently into that good night. Death claims he's afraid of accidentally punishing an innocent soul, so he needs your help as an expert detective to trot around the world and root out those who have gone to extremes to literally cheat Death. Not that that's apparently hard to do if running away takes you beyond the reach of his immortal powers. Using his magic ball (stop that snickering), you'll travel to different places around the world, each acting as its own contained story revolving around a different wayward soul. Periodically you'll also need to return to your home to make use of your tools to copy keys, decrypt writing, or develop photographs and so forth, but the bulk of your work is in solve puzzles, hidden-object scenes, and identifying suspects on the ground. The farther you go, the more it becomes apparent someone is actively meddling in Death's business, and yours.
I don't know why everyone makes such a big deal over kids. They're loud and nonsensical, you have to share your toys, and their hands are usually disconcertingly sticky. But some people get pretty attached to the little anklebiters, so when the town in Mariaglorum's hidden-object adventure League of Light: Wicked Harvest sees two of the whippersnappers vanish, they call in a detective (you!) to help sort things out. It soon becomes clear that something wicked is afoot in the world's most sinister looking town, and you'll need to search for clues, solve puzzles and hidden-object scenes, and discover the truth behind the shadowy figure stalking the town's children. All with the help of gaming's most adorable sidekick (sorry Clementine). Seriously. Not even kidding. Stir it all up and you have one campy but immensely enjoyable game that features clever puzzles, an intriguing and even exciting plot, not one but two bonus chapters, and a widdle bitty scarecrow pal who tries so hard to be spooky and puts on widdle hats aaaaaaaAAAAAA-
Mad Head Games' stunning hidden-object fantasy adventure Dark Realm: Queen of Flames begins with a village siege that would make Alduin proud, when you're awoken in the middle of the night by your father, the blacksmith, and told to take your mother's belongings and flee before the shadowy creatures outside break down the door. You have no chance but to flee the city as it burns, but there's no running from destiny, and go figure... turns out the magical boots and mysterious brooch your mother left behind hint at a pretty big destiny for you indeed. One involving the fire banshees stalking your family, and a dragon so nasty he literally busts up your user interface. You'll need to solve magical puzzles and hidden-object scenes, uncover family secrets, unlock spells and enchanted items to help you, and more if you want to save your father as well as the kingdom. With a remarkably well told story with its share of twists and memorable scenes and visuals that might just set a new standard for casual games, this is one adventure any fan should feel proud to add to their library.
In Eipix Entertainment's flashy and classy hidden-object adventure Danse Macabre: Moulin Rouge, you've been summoned to solve the murder of a young woman at the legendary concert hall, and though the police think they have their killer, we wouldn't have much of a game if hat were the case. (Shortest game in history. "Oh, our mistake, madame, please go back home and enjoy some pastries." Credits roll.) As you probe deeper, you soon discover there's something seriously weird happening on the streets of Paris, and Sophie, the poor girl who was murdered, is just the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, you've got your forensic kit at your disposal, and despite the sneering of the local police, you're sure this "new science" will reveal the killer. With your own private coach, you'll travel around the city as you put together connections revealing suspect after suspect and discovering their motives, solving puzzles, hidden-object sequences... and maybe even polishing up your bartending skills a little.
Please note that this game deals with suicide. Players who are sensitive to the subject matter should be aware.
Tap it Games and Artifex Mundi's hidden-object adventure 9 Clues: The Ward begins with a frantic phone call that brings you, a private investigator, and your partner, a guy who always looks like he suspected you farted and is disappointed in you for it, to remote, self-sufficient Mnemosyne Asylum. Only when you arrive, the director insists nobody has called for help... a statement that seems a little dubious when a body goes hurtling out a window right behind her mere moments later. The victim is Doctor Crow, a therapist, and notes on his body point to a slipping grasp on reality, as well as rambling indications of some vague sense of guilt. It quickly becomes apparently this old asylum has its share of skeletons in its closet, but the more you investigate, the more you begin to suffer strange... lapses. What's going on in Mnemosyne Asylum? What secrets are its staff and patients hiding? Who seriously hangs paintings like that on their walls?
After ERS Game Studios' hidden-object adventure series Maestro: Music from the Void and Maestro: Music of Death, you'd think your taste for musical prodigies might have soured a bit, what with all the unspeakable evil and demonic pacts they seem to attract and leave you to clean up. In Maestro: Dark Talent, a performance by "Diva", a singer who literally came out of nowhere, turns freaky when your friend, Kate, and the rest of the theater patrons are sucked inside by the dark forces du jour, where they'll have their life force drained unless you can stop them. At least, according to some dandy in an alleyway who calls himself a "Knowing One", which sounds smug and insufferable until you realize there's a good reason he's not called the "Actually Effective One", and soon it's up to you to stop Diva and the dark forces and wannabe Dementors behind her.
In Blam! Games' hidden-object adventure Fierce Tales: Feline Sight, you play a country vet of dubious credentials, unless you think taking a stranger's "sick cat" and giving it a random tablet of "cat medicine" you had laying around on your dusty shelf is the pinnacle of modern medicine. Seems the whole area has had some feline problems, with house cats running away in droves, and a pesky leopard infestation terrorizing the townsfolk. The local authorities are pretty quick to demand you find out what's going on, which seems like a lot to ask from someone who frequently gets locked inside her own house. Seems a mysterious woman is controlling the colossal cats, and in addition to sabotaging your progress to almost comical extent, they're even abducting certain locals. Mightn't it have something to do with the local legends about the native people being driven off the land? It mightn't. But it also might have something to do with two sisters and a love triangle, too. If you can survive the strange woman stopping you at every turn (and your character's own questionable judgement), you might be able to get to the bottom of things. Which you should definitely do, because a town without cats is no town at all.
When a popular author's car is suddenly buried by an avalanche, then she is rescued by a mysterious man who happens to be a caretaker for an eerie (and empty) nearby castle, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had wandered into a badly thought-out edition of Misery 2: Paul's Revenge or something similar. Instead, you have stumbled into the latest Dana Knightstone joint, Death and Betrayal in Romania: A Dana Knightstone Novel, Boomzap's latest adventure hybrid. Dana Knightstone is no Stephen King, heck, she's not even Tabitha King. She is, in fact, a best-selling romance novelist who just happens to have a unique talent — she can see and speak to ghosts. This has led to her being able to solve the mystery of whatever dead star-crossed lovers happen to stumble into her path and then plagarize their love-story for a public that just can't seem to get enough.
It doesn't matter who you are, finding bloody threats and arcane symbols scrawled on the wall like Lovecraft had a fingerpainting class is a little unnerving. You're escorting actress Norma Shine home late one night after the police have been unable to track down who's been leaving her these red missives when an apparition makes you crash, and you awaken just in time to see her being hauled off by a mysterious figure into the Blackrow District. Which, by the way, has been quarantined for almost two hundred years after the plague ripped through it. You know, just to complete your round of Bad Omens Bingo with a win. In Elephant Games' Mystery Trackers: Blackrow's Secret, the latest installment of the popular hidden-object horror thriller adventure series, you'll need to discover what grim truth is behind the darkness of Blackrow, a place that hasn't seen the light of day in centuries but is by no means "empty". Together with your faithful yap-yap dog Elf, who can be used to reach things you can't, and an unstable device that can allow you to see the memories of those long dead, you'll find items, solve puzzles, and maybe think of changing careers to something that involves a bit less mortal peril, corpses, and possession.
The thing about inspiration is that it sort of sucks. You could be halfway through your adventure fanfic mashup of Harry Potter and Spongebob and bam! your inspiration leaves you staring helplessly at the screen in the middle of the Krabby-Patty-cook-off-on-broomsticks scene. This is pretty much what happened to Scarlett (minus the fanfic). She is the protagonist of Manor Memoirs, Playrix's new hidden-object/time-management hybrid – a bestselling author who just can't get herself to start working on her next book. So she takes the only surefire cure for writer's block: she buys a sinfully expensive mansion in the country and moves in. Having neglected to visit the place before buying, Scarlett realises the manor is almost in ruins and in dire need of renovating. This is where you come in. You are an expert interior designer and the perfect person to conduct a series of garage sales to raise the money for the makeover.
A mysterious knock on the door, a mysterious package on the stoop, you just know this isn't going to end well for whomever finds the parcel, don't you? Indeed, in Witches' Legacy: The Ties that Bind, EleFun's latest adventure hybrid, that package heralds the beginning of yet another fight between the forces of good and the forces of evil involving witches, witch hunters, and a ton of hidden-object finding and puzzle solving. It is the day before your adopted daughter (who is a good witch) Lynn's wedding to former witch hunter Edward when suddenly, displaying the brains and judgment of a concussed lemming, Edward decides to walk right into what is obviously a trap to find out what happened when he was a child and his family was killed.
You know you're in for a treat when the opening cinematic of a hidden-object adventure features a lady straight-up shanking a massive god straight through the heart, and things only get better from there. In EleFun Games' Mayan Prophecies: Blood Moon, you play US Coastal Guard Alexis, who one night is awoken to discover the city has a little jaguar problem. Turns out some lunatic is going around turning people into the big cats in a bid to resurrect an ancient evil deity, because some people can't have a normal hobby, and you'll need the help of your transformed buddy Gregory and Sofia, the whitest Mayan priestess you've ever seen, to petition the help of the Moon Goddess before it's too late. You'll search for hidden-objects, solve puzzles, save a manatee, find a fascinator for a mermaid, discover the weirdness that is the Good Boy/Bad Boy skull lock (how do you even commission something like that?)... oh, and command your shapeshifted, mind controlled best friend to fetch things for you like a dog through the help of a magic talisman. With customizable difficulty, a handy instant travel map, and the option to play mahjong instead of hidden-object scenes, Mayan Prophecies: Blood Moon has all the bones of a solidly constructed casual adventure, with the meat of an absolutely bonkers story wrapped around them. Just the way I like 'em.
Do you think it's frustrating living in a fantasy world? Every time some big, dark evil appears to threaten the land, which happens every other Thursday, there has to be people who are like, "This is garbage! We can handle this ourselves! We can do this!" But then the rest are all like, "Man, you know how this works. You have to wait for some random chosen one berk to show up and take care of things for us. Stop trying to be in charge of your own destiny." In Eipix Entertainment's hidden-object adventure Amaranthine Voyage: The Shadow of Torment, an archaeological dig goes awry when your students activate a strange artifact that looks like a Fabergé egg and a perfume bottle owned by a 1920s madame had a baby. Soon, you find yourself in a mysterious, fantastical world beset by a danger known only as The Torment. With a student who has about as much restraint as Dee Dee, you must stop the threat if you want to find a way back home by solving hidden-object scenes and puzzles, as any legendary hero would do. Hope you like pink and purple lens flares!
In Gunnar Games' hidden-object adventure Lost Legends: The Weeping Woman, after a woman is abandoned by her unfaithful husband and her children taken away, she drowns herself out of sorrow in the river. Which would be freaky enough to know if you lived in the town alongside that river, but each year on the eve of Flores de los Muertos, a festival intended to appease the spirit, a child has gone missing. Which totally means you, as a plucky, cynical reporter, are definitely going to get the scoop of the century. Tragedy sells, amirite? Take that, Ben Urich, Clark Kent! But though you may not believe in the legend, the locals do, and it's clear something is going on since, you know, vanishing plot moppets and all. And then there's the fact that you see the daughter of the innkeeper get plucked off the swing by the Weeping Woman herself, but hey, I'm sure once you track her down and explain that she doesn't exist, you smug American you, she'll understand what a crazy mistake she's made. Search for clues, solve puzzles and hidden-object scenes, and explore the town while you talk to the locals in order to get to the bottom of things!
In Mad Head Games' hidden-object adventure Nevertales: Shattered Image, you and your husband, Pierre, have your hands full with your daughter Alice. Only instead of normal pre-teen annoyances like pirating music or putting the milk back in the fridge empty, she's been opening portals to other worlds even though you expressly told her not to. See, although you and Pierre share the same ability, Alice can open these portals using mirrors alone, and though you've warned her these places she opens doors to aren't always safe, your worst fears come to pass when you find her in a coma on the floor next to a broken mirror. The night she finally awakes, however, a strange creature hauls her off through yet another mirror, and to bring her safely home, you'll need to discover the root behind the mysterious power your family can wield, and put a stop to an ancient evil, because it isn't a hidden-object adventure if there's no ancient evil threatening something. I think that's the number one sign you might one day become a protagonist in a casual game is if your day-to-day life involves a lot of stories and warnings about ancient evils. Search for clues, solve puzzles and hidden-object scenes, and travel to worlds beyond your own in a way that the nerdiest of us always knew was possible. Butterfly in the skyyyyyyy....