New Casual Game Releases [ 1 | 2 ]
Off the Record: The Italian Affair Collector's Edition
Off the Record: The Italian Affair Collector's Edition
Arcanika
Arcanika
Tales of the Orient: The Rising Sun
Tales of the Orient: The Rising Sun
Mexicana: Deadly Holiday
Mexicana: Deadly Holiday
Riddles of The Mask
Riddles of The Mask
School Bus Fun
School Bus Fun
Emberwing: Lost Legacy
Emberwing: Lost Legacy
Cadenza: Music, Betrayal and Death Collector's Edition
Cadenza: Music, Betrayal and Death Collector's Edition
Dark Dimensions: Somber Song
Dark Dimensions: Somber Song
Surface: Reel Life Collector's Edition
Surface: Reel Life Collector's Edition

Violett
Violett
Northern Tale 3
Northern Tale 3
Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons
Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons
Mahjong World Contest 2
Mahjong World Contest 2
Fantasy Quest
Fantasy Quest
Tales of Empire: Rome
Tales of Empire: Rome
Mystery of Unicorn Castle: The Beastmaster
Mystery of Unicorn Castle: The Beastmaster
Dark Strokes: The Legend of Snow Kingdom Collector's Edition
Dark Strokes: The Legend of Snow Kingdom Collector's Edition
Riddles of Fate: Into Oblivion
Riddles of Fate: Into Oblivion
Fear for Sale: Phantom Tide Collector's Edition
Fear for Sale: Phantom Tide Collector's Edition

Surface: Reel Life

DoraFamily. Can't live with 'em, can't enjoy a quiet night at home mangling your fledgling novel without one of them getting abducted into a movie by the man she thought was dead. In Elephant Games' hidden-object adventure game Surface: Reel Life, you receive a frantic phone call from your sister, Mary, who just saw her daughter Jane get abducted by Andrew... Jane's former lover and a beloved actor who was shot dead years ago. Arriving at the theater, you discover the developers have been re-watching Jumanji, and the film everyone was watching (a classic by a suspiciously talented director) has come to life, with poison spitting plants, monkeys, and tigers generally wreaking havoc. If you're thinking this is a job for the police or maybe animal control or generally just anyone who doesn't narrate her actions in the most groan-worthy fashion, well, you're not thinking like a hidden-object game heroine, darn it. Set off on an adventure beyond the screen to rescue Jane and discover the truth!

Nightmares from the Deep: Davy Jones

Starchild Before he was a tentacle-covered sea captain in Pirates of the Caribbean, Davy Jones was little more than an obscure legend. But Professor Black, undaunted by her previous maritime misadventures, is determined to unveil his true identity. At the start of Nightmares from the Deep: Davy Jones, the final act of Artifex Mundi's exciting hidden-object adventure series, she is about to reveal her exciting findings when Davy himself bursts in and kidnaps her and her daughter Cory. Time to walk the plank, Professor! In order to save her mother, Cory signs a pact with Davy Jones, vowing to be his maid. She is taken to his cursed island, where she joins a multitude of other unfortunate souls,now mostly skeletons, who have signed their freedom over to the dreaded pirate. There is only one way to end the pact, but no one remembers what it is, so Sarah Black must unveil the ancient secret in order to free them all. Luckily, the skeleton slaves are quite helpful, and thoroughly endearing with their colourful accents, and she finds out that she'll have to wake up the twelve guardians of Davy's memories who hold the key to his darkest secrets.

Fear for Sale: Phantom Tide

DoraIn ElefunGames' hidden-object adventure Fear for Sale: Phantom Tide, the latest problem property is literally underwater. Ever since his wife's death, Adrian's home has been having some... unusual issues, with water appearing from nowhere to flow up the walls, cryptic handprints on the windows... you know, the usual stuff that most insurance policies won't cover. You've been called in to investigate, just in time to see Adrian swept away and sealed behind a door of watery runes. This is one freaky, fiesty poltergeist... but is it friendly, or does it have something more sinister in store for the grieving family?

Dark Dimensions: Somber Song

DoraAccording to Daily Magic Productions, Dark Dimensions are places on earth where extreme suffering has left an actual psychic wound that taints and warps the landscape. So any theater that played I, Frankenstein must be an absolute miasma of agony, amirite? Heh, but seriously, this game is about dead stuff. Specifically, hidden-object adventure Dark Dimensions: Somber Song is about a town where seven children, all musical prodigies, were consumed in a deadly fire. You're just passing through when a frantic pounding at your hotel room door (that you have to find a key before you can unlock, because reasons) wakes you up just long enough to see a terrified little girl being whisked away by an evil dark smoke... which apparently has also put the whole panicked town into lockdown. Too bad for it, you have a PhD in... uh... smoke... hrm... how exactly does one toss off a witty one-liner physical threat at a supernatural embodiment of human suffering?

Dark Dimensions: Somber SongFor the most part, Somber Song is a very by-the-book example of the genre, as you solve puzzles, hunt for clues, and gather items. The hidden-object scenes tend to be set up as a chain of puzzles, which is nice compared to the usual junk pile search, and takes some of the sting out of it when they repeat. It is not, unfortunately, what you'd call challenging in the slightest, and for a lot of players, how fast they'll find themselves blurring through it without having to resort to the hint or skip functions, or even the map, will be a bit of a turn-off. Which is a shame, since despite not feeling like it's even trying to trip you up, Somber Song is actually really enjoyable. It's constantly throwing new twists and cutscenes at you as you explore the lavishly illustrated environments, and even manages to execute a few well-done jump scares. The brisk pace makes this one shorter than others, but the intuitive design and simple gameplay keeps you engaged the whole time.

It actually feels as though it might, both in story and gameplay, be the most simplistic of the series, and compared to the stunning artwork the animated cutscenes are... uh... kind of... not stunning, which interferes with the mood. At the same time, however, Somber Song's design and cinematic appeal will make it the perfect choice for players who really are looking for a horror-lite adventure that's a fit for a casual evening's enjoyment. As you explore the town, naturally you discover that the fire that swept the music school all those years ago may not have been an accident, and even as the ghostly spirits of the children seem to be trying to help you uncover the truth, the dark smoke and something even more dangerous works actively to bar your way. A little campy? Sure. But Dark Dimensions: Somber Song is a snappy, fun game that makes up for its brevity and lack of ingenuity by being all-around well designed. Plus, the first item you can pick up is some breakfast toast sausage. If that right there doesn't scream "game with its priorities straight", I don't know what does.

Note: Currently, only the Collector's Edition is available. It contains a bonus chapter, art gallery, strategy guide, and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mystery of Unicorn Castle: The Beastmaster

Starchild Let me start with the moral of the story: if you don't want your home to be overrun by giant rats, don't live in a lavish castle. If you insist on being a wealthy nobleman, you have to put up with the occasional possessed warlock trying to take over, which is why you've procured a magical unicorn (awwww!) to protect you. But then the warlock turns the unicorn into stone, and you're in big trouble. Many years later, a detective is investigating the disappearance of a little girl which leads straight into the forgotten castle, and thus begins the Mystery of Unicorn Castle: The Beastmaster, the new hidden-object adventure by Meridian 93.

Mystery of Unicorn Castle: The Beastmaster As you approach the castle grounds in search of little Sophie, you'll become rather acutely aware of a certain rodent presence, namely huge, bristling, belligerent red-eyed rats. (If you aren't particularly fond of rats in general, be on your guard, because they tend to pop up in a good number of scenes.) You manage to locate Sophie, only to have her snatched from you by the warlock, who plans to sacrifice her in order to gain immortality. While you're trying to unravel the mystery behind this nasty old man, you will be approached for help by ghosts who haunt the castle, unable to find peace. Their testimonies will provide pieces of the story and help you understand how to defeat the villain. Of course, your detective skills will also come in handy, because there are many items to find, doors to unlock and mini-games to play. While all this is pretty typical for the genre, there is an interesting innovation in the "karmic choice". Every once in a while, you'll be asked to decide whether you want to be naughty or nice... for example, whether you want to use one item to smash an aquarium, or another one to gently fish out the item inside. These decisions won't influence the course of the story, but they do give you trophies and allow you to take a break from the goody-goody image of the usual casual game protagonists.

Mystery of Unicorn Castle: The Beastmaster The best moment to play this game is when you feel like having a thrill without actually being scared. There is no horror here, but the game is dark and ominous enough to keep you on your toes. Unfortunately, the darkness also means that the scenes are a bit gloomier than ideal, and some hidden-object scenes look dishearteningly monochrome. The number of locations is pretty impressive, considering that the story never leaves the castle grounds, but never fear, the interactive map will teleport you wherever you need to go. Even though Mystery of Unicorn Castle: The Beastmaster doesn't break new ground, it could well give you a pleasant surprise or two. It's a rather simple, solid story, without much drama, intrigue and convoluted plot twists. If you'd like a more raw game, with no fairy godmothers and happily ever afters, try this one. Oh, and don't mind the rats, they're actually quite cuddly once you get to know them.

Mystery of Unicorn Castle: The Beastmaster is currently only available in a Collector's Edition, which includes a bonus level, concept art, wallpapers and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version


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True Fear: Forsaken Souls

DoraPlease note that this game received its rating of R for scenes of extreme blood and gore and horror, allusions to child abuse, and suicide.

With a few exceptions, nobody really expects a hidden-object adventure game to be actually scary, but Goblinz aims to change all that and see if they can't keep you up all night with True Fear: Forsaken Souls. As the game begins, its unfortunate star Holly Stonehouse, is having one heckuva nightmare about a bloody massacre in an asylum. At first, she's glad for the pounding at her door that wakes her up from it, because Holly is an idiot and doesn't understand foreshadowing and story progression. The man at her door delivers a letter from her estranged sister Heather, who tells Holly it's finally time to "know the truth" about both of them... and their long dead mother, because that isn't a red flag. It feels like it was intended originally as a straight-up point-and-click game since the hidden-object scenes use a different art style from the rest of the game and seem shoehorned in, in addition to having a few odd and frustrating word choices. Since when does "cell" mean "birdcage"?! The actual gameplay itself, however, is very well designed if not wildly original... you'll have a map you can use to travel anywhere with a click, a journal that will keep you up to date on everything, and, of course, every girl's must-have accessory... a demonic doll that breathes a sinister red mist to highlight hints. It matches my highlights and my new shoes!

True Fear: Forsaken SoulsAs a nice addition, you can also find collectible figurines of characters from the game that add a lot of backstory. The game's pace is deliberately slow, dedicating to establishing its genuinely unsettling atmosphere, and surprisingly does a good job of making you feel truly menaced and in danger. There are jump scares, sure, but there are also some absolutely stellar uses of subtle imagery and visual tricks that will make your skin crawl, such as forcing you to turn on the light when you think you know what's standing in front of you in a darkened room. There are a lot of animated cutscenes that add to the story and the tension, helping to keep you glued to your seat the whole way through. The story has a lot more twists and turns than you'd think, and a lot of shocking, well-executed moments. Compared to Mystery Valley, the developer's last game, True Fear: Forsaken Souls is a much better well-designed, smart, and altogether stronger achievement. Admittedly, it still feels like it needed some extra polish, since some gameplay elements are little clunky, and aspects of the presentation, such as the text or the awkward character model used for Holly, look a little rough around the edges.

True Fear: Forsaken SoulsIt's also a long freaking game for the genre too, stuffed to the gills with puzzles of all kinds... some, unfortunately, repeated more than once. The whole thing is a bit on the easy side as your journal doesn't keep track of "clues" the way it claims so much as it does actual solutions in the most obvious fashion possible. We're all big kids, Forsaken Souls, we dressed ourselves this morning and everything... we can handle a little deduction. But I guess not everyone can be Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove. Still, True Fear: Forsaken Souls has a lot going for it, including its ability to poke fun at itself, such as the books on a shelf that mock the elaborate, ridiculous nature of the locks you find yourself stymied by. "Emblem Locked Doors: Really?" But most importantly, True Fear: Forsaken Souls is a genuinely frightening, engrossing, and engaging hidden-object adventure that begs to be played with the lights off and the sound up. By turns cheesy and melodramatic? Sure. But also fun, scary, and wonderfully weird, and thus well worth a look.

Note: Currently, only the Collector's Edition is available. It contains a bonus chapter, art gallery, strategy guide, and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Danse Macabre: The Last Adagio

Grinnyp"Everything was beautiful at the ballet, graceful men lift lovely girls in white..." For those who are fans of the art, ballet is a glittering world of glamour, intrigue, music, and movement. Fortunately you are a fan, especially since your sister is making her big debut in a starring role at the local ballet. On the way to see her dance you encounter a few problems however, like the fact that she is missing and a ghost is haunting the theater, amongst other things. If that sounds like the intro to an adventure hybrid game, well, it is. In fact, it is the intro to Eipix Entertainment's latest hidden object offering, Danse Macabre: The Last Adagio.

Danse Macabre: The Last AdagioThere is a story here, something involving a kidnapped sister, suspicious characters, and a jealous lover who burns down an entire theater of people in a fit of rage. You know, as you do. What's important is not so much the story as the gameplay, which Eipix once again brings in spades. Every inch of Danse Macabre is packed with puzzles, games, hidden objects, and the like. Hidden object scenes feature a multitude of interactive options, puzzles are challenging and fun, and even something as simple as picking up objects to use later can have extra layers of action. Of course there are secret items hidden in every scene as well, and the option to eschew hidden object finding altogether for the fast and furious fun of marble popping.

Everything we've come to expect from Eipix is present in spades, from the lovely changing cursor and controls to the interactive map, helpful hint features, and customizable gameplay. Yes, the whole "damsel in distress" and "ghosts haunting a theater" and even "crazed lunatic slaughters a whole bunch of people because he misunderstood something he saw/because he's an insane idiot" plot points have all been done before, but rarely with such style and grace, chock-full of enough gameplay to keep the player interested for hours on end. Everything is most definitely beautiful at this ballet, so dive right in!

Note: Danse Macabre: The Last Adagio is currently only available in a Collector's Edition, which includes wallpapers, music, animations, concept art, extra gameplay (including both a new adventure and the ability to replay each and every hidden object scene and mini-game), a built-in strategy guide, and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions, and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Order the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Order the full version

Dark Parables: Jack and the Sky Kingdom

elleThe tales most people know are only partly true, fragments of the actual stories behind the myths. As the Fairy Tale Detective, your mission is not only to get to the bottom of the facts, but to save the world while you're at it. This time around, the mythical kingdom in the sky is breaking apart causing meteor-like pieces hurling toward earth and you must join with a grown-up boy on the beanstalk, yes that Jack, to rescue it in Blue Tea Games' gorgeous, action-packed hidden object adventureDark Parables: Jack and the Sky Kingdom.

Dark Parables: Jack and the Sky KingdomLike the others in the Dark Parables series, the story elements are strong, blending familiar plots and characters into an original, darker fairy tale. Here, Jack is like Indiana Jones but don't start thinking he'll being doing the heavy lifting in this adventure. It's all up to you to take on foe and friend alike, exploring lush environments for the objects and pieces needed to unlock new areas or fix broken ornaments. That's where most the enjoyment lies as the heart of the gameplay is finding and using items. How easy or difficult this turns out to be can be customized through three difficulty settings; at all levels, you can choose to turn on and off sparkles at any time. Even so, the challenge is somewhat inconsistent. Most of the task-based and item-use puzzles are beautiful but simple to complete, hidden objects are usually (although not always) easy to spot, while the minigames tend to be less frequent yet more involved. It is the hidden object search scenes that sets this series apart from others in the genre, though. Instead of a jumble of random objects, in Jack and the Sky Kingdom, as in all the Dark Parables games, elaborate and interesting artwork helps camouflage fragments of items. Once you find all the parts, they come together to create a single object that can be used somewhere else in the game, a bit like a magical crafting system.

Dark Parables: Jack and the Sky KingdomAlong with the main objectives, which are kept updated in the task menu and highlighted on the map, there are a number of side quests: collect twenty cursed objects just for the fun of it and also find the various parts to a parable to open the story in your journal. The map itself isn't much use, though, as it doesn't show areas with incomplete puzzles nor can it be used to jump to a new scene. Still, while there is a wide variety of locations and areas to discover, backtracking is kept to a minimum so the lively pace of the story is never dragged down. Just as you think the story is winding down, a new twist sends it on and things really get mesmerizing once you reach the Sky Kingdom. The fantasy-themed aesthetics are truly beautiful as well: there is no shortage of eye candy anywhere you look. It's easy to sigh the lack of higher definition graphics yet Blue Tea Games' design and artwork remains superbly high quality throughout and many of the details are near photo-realistic. An amazing amount of depth in the artwork and animations, along with a well written story and talented voice acting make playing Jack and the Sky Kingdom worthwhile and entertaining. It's sure to be a favorite among fans as well as those new to the series.

Currently only the Collector's Edition of this game is available. It contains bonus content not found in the standard edition: a bonus game, built-in strategy guide, wallpapers and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mystery Trackers: Raincliff's Phantoms

DoraRaincliff is a town with a weird reputation, and when a budding reporter goes missing covering the myth of a family of invisible people, you get called in to find her. After all... you know the myth is both real, and dangerous. In Elephant Games' hidden-object adventure Mystery Trackers: Raincliff's Phantoms, you'll return to the town that nearly killed you in the second game of the Mystery Trackers series, and it's as deadly and weird as ever. The town is anything but abandoned, and its strange inhabitants don't like you sticking your nose into their business again... after all, you did nearly blow the place up last time, but it still seems like they're up to something. They all appear to be afraid of someone in particular, and with all the axes, broken glass, and baseball bats aimed at your head, maybe you should worry too.

Mystery Trackers: Raincliff's PhantomsThough Raincliff's Phantoms plays like your typical hidden-object adventure as you hunt for items and solve puzzles using things you find, it does offer a few twists. The morphing collectible objects now have a use, keeping you warm if you're playing in Frost Mode for the secret bonus at the end of the game, and you'll also find videotapes to watch that will provide clues to hidden locations. Yes, you also have your intrepid little yap-yap dog to squeeze into small places and retrieve items for you, your magic hint-dealing toad, and that wonderful instant-travel map. Elephant Games has always designed user-friendly games, and with a bunch of difficulty settings on top of it all, Raincliff's Phantoms is no different. You'll find yourself doing a lot of back-tracking, yes, but the map and its helpful "DO STUFF HERE, DUMMY" icons makes it less of a chore. The gameplay itself will likely only offer any sort of challenge if you're playing on the hardest difficulty since the hints are too helpful. Adventure game logic will rear its head from time to time, but hey. You're playing a game where your sidekick is a magic frog. As a great woman once said, Captain Logic is not steering this tugboat.

In its own way, Raincliff's Phantoms is just as crazy as Mystery Trackers: Raincliff, which is a good thing, since as weird as it is, it's also creative and keeps you guessing, and at around four hours for an average play, not counting the additional bonus chapter in the Collector's Edition which has its own story, a solid length for some warped mystery solving. It's packed with cutscenes, plot twists, mild jumpscares, great atmosphere, and gorgeous art. It's more campy than serious by a long shot, so you should try the demo if that's a make-or-break situation for you, but Mystery Trackers: Raincliff's Phantoms delivers high-quality design and gameplay all around for a polished adventure that shows other games in the genre how it should be done.

Note: Currently, only the Collector's Edition is available. It contains a bonus chapter, art gallery, strategy guide, and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

My Kingdom for the Princess IV

GrinnypIt's tough to find a job in today's economy, isn't it? Especially if you specialize in something pretty obscure like, say, rescuing princesses. After all, most princesses can take care of themselves, so there's not a lot of call for rescuing these days. Once in a while, though, something untoward happens and you get the call to arms! Nevosoft is back with another exciting round of time management princess rescuing shenanigans in My Kingdom for the Princess IV, and the action is faster, more furious, and more rescuey, along with 50% more dragons!

grinnyp_mykingdomfortheprincessIV_screenshot.pngSome random prince named Arthur, but not the same Arthur from the first three games, has been tasked by his father to set up a princess rescuing service. Fortunately a few princesses get themselves in a jam and Arthur has a chance to grow the business. You control workers who pick up resources, clear roads, build bridges, and accomplish the tasks needed to clear a scene for travel to the next. Nevosoft has ramped up the gameplay by adding a new twist... multiples. Piles of resources are now real piles, each requiring more than one trip to pick up everything, and the same goes for obstacles. Remember those flying monsters that would hold up the game until you clicked them out of existence? Yep, multiples of them as well. Fortunately they've also added new buildings that can help shoot down the attacking dragonets. Did I mention the monsters are now all baby dragons?

grinnyp_mykingdomfortheprincessIV_screenshot2.pngThe scenery involved has changed as well, as Nevosoft has eschewed the traditional flat, two-dimensional maps in favor of floating, three-dimensional islands. A new dynamic causes the floating islands to "move" as the cursor moves, enhancing the 3D effect. The addition of multiples also changes strategies as labor becomes more vital than ever. The ability to "chain" your moves is an exceedingly welcome new twist as well. And, of course, it wouldn't be My Kingdom for the Princess if you weren't building a fantasy castle each time you complete a level in gold star time. My Kingdom for the Princess IV retains all of the fun of the first three games with the exciting new additions that keep the gameplay fresh. With five new terrains of ten levels each to explore, once again productivity levels all over the world are in danger as another highly addictive addition to the series arrives, causing players everywhere to mutter, "Just one more level..." Warning, here be dragons (and tons of fun)!

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
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Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians

Starchild Boyfriends are a curious bunch. They play Counter Strike for days on end, forget to take out the trash and insist on looking despondent when you take them shopping. But at least your average boyfriend is unlikely to turn into a bear and attack you in the middle of a strange forest, which is exactly what happened to poor Elena. In Mariaglorum's new hidden-object adventure, Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians, a curse has descended upon Elena's hometown, together with a flock of especially nasty crows. It's up to Elena's aunt to save the day and rescue her niece's ursine beau.

Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians At first, it doesn't seem like the curse runs very deep. Your only opponent is a feather-cloaked weirdo who keeps making empty promises of destruction and misery. Unfortunately, soon enough it turns out he's just a lowly minion of the great sorceress Morrigan. To beat her, you'll have to channel the power of three ancient guardians through an amulet which is, of course, broken. As you track its pieces down one by one, you'll face monsters, deadly traps and a very grumpy bunch of carnivorous plants. There are lots of fun things to be done along the way, such as picking up items, solving puzzles and interacting with parts of the scenery. The various mini-games are plentiful and pop up where you least expect them, including the middle of hidden-object scenes. They might not always be very challenging, but they do provide a nice change of pace. The hidden-object scenes come in two varieties and they are quite clear and bright, so hunting for items is a pleasure.

Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians is a grandiose, well-structured game. The story, though elaborate, doesn't get lost in the multitude of scenes and locations. The magic amulet as the key to vanquishing an ancient evil isn't exactly a new idea, but it's developed with care into a compelling narrative. The stunning visuals help complete the experience with their vibrant colours, formidable architecture and a good number of cutscenes to add a touch of urgency. Every aspect of the game is polished and tailored to satisfy a hidden-object adventure connoisseur, and even if it's not altogether inventive, it will certainly entertain you for more than four hours.

Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians is currently only available in a Collector's Edition, which includes a bonus level, concept art, wallpapers and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Myths of the World: Spirit Wolf

GrinnypThe first day of work at a new place is always nerve wracking, especially when you, an expert on native American symbols, are heading to the Center for Native Cultures when suddenly symbols and your amulet begin glowing. At the same time, the local mushrooms are suddenly the size of Buicks, and there's a ghostly Indian maid asking you for help, and there's a glowing spirit wolf wandering around... yeah, this is not your normal first day of employment, is it? No, it is in fact the opening of Eipix Entertainment's beautiful new adventure hybrid, Myths of the World: Spirit Wolf.

grinnyp_mythsoftheworldspiritwolf_screenshot1.pngPoint and click your way through as you attempt to solve the mystery of the glowing symbols, amongst other things, in a world packed full of adventuring, mini-gaming, and hidden object finding. Alongside the expected mix of gaming there are extra quests like finding sun runes in every scene. In fact, along with the usual picking up everything not nailed down you will find yourself building and using your now glowing amulet to unlock symbols, using your trusty binoculars to find far-off clues, and solving a ton of puzzles and mini-games. To help you along the way are the usual changing cursor, a useful map that allows you to instantly travel from place to place, and the obligatory notebook to keep track of clues.

grinnyp_mythsoftheworldspiritwolf_screenshot2.pngEvery inch of Myths of the World: Spirit Wolf is packed with gameplay. Each hidden object scene features not just simple "find this object" gameplay, but a multitude of "combine these objects" sub-quests. And for those who disdain hidden object finding, the choice to instead play a rousing marble popper game is a joy. An amazing amount of effort appears to have been poured into every aspect of the gameplay, from the visuals to the music and sound, creating a game that looks as good as it plays and plays as good as it looks. If Myths of the World: Spirit Wolf has one downside, it is the co-opting of every practically every cliché of Native American culture that ever existed. Despite this insensitivity, Myths of the World: Spirit Wolf takes hidden object adventuring to new heights with its stunning look and marvelous gameplay. The ability to customize the difficulty levels only enhances what is already amazing adventuring fun. Crank up the Duran Duran and get playing!

Note: Myths of the World: Spirit Wolf is currently only available in a Collector's Edition, which includes wallpapers, music, animations, concept art, extra gameplay (including both a new adventure and the ability to replay each and every hidden object scene and mini-game), and a built-in strategy guide. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions, and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Order the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Order the full version

Amaranthine Voyage: The Living Mountain

Starchild Teaching is becoming more and more demanding these days, especially when one of your students manages to open a portal into a parallel world and you have to go chasing after him. Of course, it turns out that the parallel world has a power-hungry ruler who turns you into a monster and you are the only one who can break the curse and you're pretty sure you left the stove on at home... Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. In Amaranthine Voyage: The Living Mountain, the new hidden-object adventure by Eipix Entertainment, you take on the role of the intrepid professor Burns, as she travels through a magical land and tries to save it from the clutches of the evil king Demario.

Amaranthine Voyage: The Living Mountain At least the land is pretty stunning, so you're got that going for you. As you walk around, collecting stray objects and opening other people's cupboards and chests, you'll encounter one breathtaking landscape after another, not to mention the elegant architecture and, er, an ancient stone golem or two. Alas, you aren't here on a holiday. There's a kingdom to be saved, and between you and victory stands a mighty tyrant. The land relies on a balance of power, represented by two crystals; one is given to the ruler, the other to the Guardians, a council of mages. Since Demario has pulled a Macbeth and taken all the power for himself, you have to find a way to take his crystal away and restore the Guardians. And, if you have time, bring your student Jonathan back home, along with a lost puppy. You better get some overtime pay for this.

Amaranthine Voyage: The Living Mountain Amaranthine Voyage: The Living Mountain doesn't stray too far from the familiar formula. There are items to find, puzzles to solve and stuff to interact with. Lots of elements follow standard patterns, but they are still enjoyable – the puzzles aren't terribly innovative, but they're certainly adequate. There's also the (seemingly compulsory) adorable sidekick, but how can you say no to an eager little puppy? However, it must be said that there are real attempts at refreshing the genre. For one thing, hidden-object scenes are varied, from text lists to silhouetted lists to riddles. Also, you are given a bow to use on items that are too high to reach, and the shooting system lends an almost arcade feel to the action sequences. The story is dynamic and has enough twists to fill an entire episode of a soap opera, but still manages to follow a coherent line. The Living Mountain might not be a game-changer, but it tries, and it delivers an average of four hours of magical entertainment.

Amaranthine Voyage: The Living Mountain is currently only available in a Collector's Edition, which includes a bonus level, concept art, wallpapers and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Hidden Expedition: Smithsonian Hope Diamond

GrinnypThe Hope Diamond is many things, one of the most beautiful gems in the world, a hugely popular exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History, and legendarily cursed, which makes it the perfect subject for the latest hidden object adventure hybrid Hidden Expedition adventure, Hidden Expedition: Smithsonian Hope Diamond. Created by a collaboration between BigFish Games Studio, Eipix Entertainment, and yes, the actual Smithsonian Institution, Hidden Expedition: Smithsonian Hope Diamond takes you on a rollicking journey through the known (and sometimes apocryphal) history of the world's most famous blue diamond.

grinnyp_hiddenexpeditionsmithsonian_screenshot1.pngDive right in to what turns out to be a very adventurous and rather dangerous extended job interview as you trace the dastardly bunch across three continents, learning both the history of the big blue rock and the venerable Smithsonian along the way. The game takes place in and around America's most famous institution, as well as locations in Europe and India as the race is on to find the fragments that have been removed from what was once one of the most famous of the French Crown Jewels. Click your way through the locations with the help of a changing cursor, a bottom-loading inventory, an electronic notebook, an interactive map, and a refilling hint system useful in both the adventure and hidden object scenes.

grinnyp_hiddenexpeditionsmithsonian_screenshot2.pngAnalysis: Once again BigFish comes in guns blazing, with top of the line graphics and gameplay. Great pains have been taken to make the core hidden object scenes a multi-layered joy of working with line drawings, silhouettes, and the classic list format of object finding. That same attention also goes into the multitude of amusing puzzles and mini-games that are crammed into every nook and cranny of this delightful adventure. The graphics are dazzling, especially when accompanied by the top-drawer music and incidental sounds which bring the adventure to life. The character animation is a bit stiff, paired with competent voice acting which moves the story along at a pretty brisk pace.

The same attention to detail which graces the puzzles and games is also present in the controls which feature an interactive map which you can use to travel back and forth, the hint system which can do the same, and the plethora of side quests like finding all of the hidden Smithsonian logos or the morphing object which hide in the hidden object scenes. Best of all for those who love adventure gaming are the levels of gameplay, which include a customizing feature so that you can tailor the hint features to suit your own tastes and experience level. Is it perfect? Well, maybe not, as once you leave the venerable Smithsonian the other locations are not as fully explored as they could be, making the game the shortest of the Hidden Expedition series. On the plus side, you get a fully realized adventure, no "To Be Continued..." this time around. With the top shelf graphics, gameplay, and overall design Hidden Expedition: Smithsonian Hope Diamond does its subject proud as one of the best download adventure games of the year. Time for a new Expedition!

Note: Hidden Expedition: Smithsonian Hope Diamond is currently only available in a Collector's Edition, which includes wallpapers, music, animations, extra gameplay (including both a new adventure and the ability to replay each and every hidden object scene and mini-game), and a built-in strategy guide. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions, and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Order the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Order the full version

Mystery Case Files: Fate's Carnival

DoraThere's some "strange phenomena" allegedly happening around a familiar abandoned carnival, but even though you're a member of the Mystery Case Files detectives, you're convinced it's just a bunch of kids stirring up trouble... right up until you find yourself trapped by a malevolent curse, that is. Now you and the rest of the carnival's performers are doomed unless you can find a way to save everyone and thwart the dark power du jour in the hidden-object adventure Mystery Case Files: Fate's Carnival by Elephant Games. With twelve cursed souls to save, including your own, and piles of confounding puzzles, some freaky and creepy jump scares, and a cat that actually does what it's told, it's a worthy successor to the series.

Mystery Case Files: Fate's CarnivalThough the game basically plays like your standard pointy-clicky, hidden-object-seeky title, it does a lot to both streamline the experience and engage you. You've got your magic map to traipse around the fairgrounds simply by clicking on any location you've visited, your magic sassy cat to retrieve items you can't reach, your five levels of difficulty you can switch between at any time... oh, and there's also some weird little extras, like collecting magically shifting playing cards to unlock a Solitaire game, and the ability to find cash to buy items for your cat, if that's what you're into. All of the carnival workers, who you should recognise, are snared in lethal yet oddly poetic traps, and the fairgrounds themselves are dangerously run down and laden with all sorts of puzzles left behind by the madman who seems to have caused all of this and has one serious grudge. Who could he be... and could he have more to do with your past than it seems?

Mystery Case Files: Fate's CarnivalAnalysis: Having veteran awesome-crafters Elephant Games take over the series is a bit of a surprise, but they've definitely done an outstanding job. Mystery Case Files is a series that has undergone some dramatic changes in basic design and style, some more successful than others, and Fate's Carnival feels like a return to classic form both in aesthetics and gameplay. No more real actors (you'll be in my heart, Cooter), this game features gorgeous artwork from top to bottom, and rich, stunning environmental design. Even more welcome are the sort of complex, Rube Goldberg-esque puzzles we haven't seen from the series in a long time, and a greater reliance on adventuring over hidden-object scenes. There's a bit less of a focus on storytelling this time around, and the game doesn't do much to fill you in on who all these returning characters are or what they're talking about if you haven't played Madame Fate... but you'll be going far beyond the carnival as it is, anyway, as the game changes things up just when you think you've explored everywhere you can.

Mystery Case Files: Fate's Carnival is one stunner of a game, with a satisfying length and engaging gameplay. It isn't, however, particularly difficult. The puzzles are all fairly logical and item uses are obvious, and the more tricky mechanical puzzles have their solutions spelled out in the notebook you require, which makes me wistful for Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove's fiendishly sneaky hidden clues and solutions. The biggest challenge can be that the game is occasionally finicky when it comes to accepting clicks to interact with or use/pick-up items, something that gets especially frustrating in the Rube Goldberg-sy challenges. Still, Fate's Carnival feels devoted to its gameplay rather than its cinema in a way that the series hasn't in a long time, and the result is worth the wait. It's filled with twist and turns that bring the entire series together in an unexpected way. If you've given up on the series because of the changes its undergone over the years, do yourself a favour and check out the demo for this one. And if you've never played but are looking for an adventure that's big, weird, and gorgeous in equal measure, check out the demo too. Highly recommended.

Note: Currently, only the Collector's Edition is available. It contains a bonus chapter, art gallery, strategy guide, and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

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