Gemsweeper is a casual game of picross (picture crossword puzzles) created by Lobstersoft. Your goal is to uncover hidden treasure by breaking rocks to help Topex reconstruct the temples of El Dorado. Stones are arranged in grids with sets of numbers above and to the left that serve as clues as to which tiles contain gems and which are cursed. Bash cursed tiles with a hammer, then grab gems from the rest of the grid to complete each puzzle and re-build the temple, one brick at a time!
Drawn: Dark Flight is the direct sequel to last year's hidden object/adventure hybrid Drawn: The Painted Tower, and it spins another intricate tale of dark mystery and intrigue. It pulls you in with a delicious atmosphere crafted by sublime visuals and strong storytelling, and its adventure-centric gameplay builds upon that by getting you to think about the environment, the items you find, and the puzzles in front of you. It's easily one of the best casual adventure games ever released.
Miss Management is, in fifteen words or less, one of the most entertaining, captivating and hilarious casual games I've played in months. Developer Gamelab has really gone out of its way to craft unique characters that fuel the game from beginning to end, making it play like an interactive sitcom rather than your typical time management game (such as Diner Dash or Nanny Mania).
Drawn has returned. The third game in the series, Drawn: Trail of Shadows, dares to outdo its predecessors in what simply must be the most enchanting hidden object adventure game to date. The visuals have improved (if you can believe it!), the storytelling is even more intriguing, and the puzzles are as rich as before. Good hidden object games are hard to come by, so when you find a game this great, you'd best dive right in.
Airport Mania from South Winds Games is a time management sim that drops all the trite settings and food-related themes we've grown tired of in the genre. Instead of serving cake or pizza or sandwiches, your job is to direct airplanes, load passengers, and make sure everything runs smoothly. All of this is accomplished with a simple interface and airplanes that are too cute for their own good. And unlike real airports, you can actually have flights arrive on time or even early!
The undead hordes are on the march, but your back yard is standing in the way, covered with fresh, fertilized topsoil. In this cheerfully absurd melding of resource management and tower defense, you must defend your delicious brains with an assortment of warrior plants. Plants vs. Zombies is the strangest, most original game from Popcap yet.
Combining some of the best parts of Animal Crossing and Virtual Villagers with a sprinkling role playing know-how, Wandering Willows is something so incredibly alluring you'll burn through a few hours of game time before you realize what hit you. It's a pet-raising recipe-collecting item-bartering friend-gaining character-customizing leveling-up collect-a-thon!
Point and click adventure games will never die, thanks in part to the efforts of Wadjet Eye Games, creator of the Blackwell series, The Shivah, and now, Emerald City Confidential. In the studio's latest title you are cast in the role of Petra, a young private eye trying to make a living in the strange Wizard of Oz-inspired world known as Emerald City. The handdrawn artwork is utterly captivating, the storytelling and writing top-notch, and the game itself is a package you won't be able to tear yourself away from.
World of Goo is a phenomenally creative physics-based building game where you assemble bits of goo to form structures leading to an exit pipe in each stage. The visuals are stunning, the sense of humor wry, and there are gameplay innovations at every corner.
In Burger Shop 2, you are once again tasked with combining ingredients coming from an ever-producing food machine to serve the constant stream of customers coming into the restaurant. In a nice twist on the time management genre, you don't control an actual character, so your speed is limited only by how good you are at clicking.
The fashion business has changed quite a bit since Jojo Cruz took an early retirement a few decades back. So, now that her daughter, Rosalind, has convinced Jojo to make a comeback, is it any wonder that she needs your help? Grab your eye for style and get ready for Jojo's Fashion Show.
Pure Hidden is designed to be a hidden object game unlike any other. There is no story, no mystery to solve, no thinly-veiled plot designed to accommodate the endless locating of things that have nothing to do with the story, much less the surroundings. Pure Hidden takes a very zen-like approach to the hidden object genre. The games exist to be played, not to serve any external plot or characters. It makes the entire process of playing a relaxing, soothing experience.
Think you know ghosts? Think again. When they discover their dream house is host to a gaggle of unruly spirits, the only place a young couple has left to turn is the strange little man who shows up on their front step and seems to know a little too much about what's going on. Mishap: An Accidental Haunting represents a benchmark in quality for the hidden object genre by Namco. Featuring eight chapters, 32 hidden object scenes, riddles, minigames, and more ghosts than you'll know what to do with, it's a fun, beautiful romp through an out-of-this world location.
If your business is flopping, don't flip. Unless we're talking about burgers. Journey across 48 states in this casual addictive culinary spin on the classic solitaire game, where dozens and dozens of levels await as our heroine cooks her way to success.
It's word game meets RPG in the excellent release from PopCap, Bookworm Adventures Volume 2! Mother Goose leaps from the pages of her book when the Big Bad Wolf comes a-knockin', and our bespectacled hero Lex is the only one who can help. Spell words to damage each enemy as you work your way through 30 chapters, gaining levels and earning unique trophies along the way. It's everything the original Bookworm Adventures was with a little extra oomph.
Build-a-lot 2 is a real estate tycoon sim game where you must improve the value of different towns by meeting goals set by each area's mayor. Tasks range from building a number of houses/buildings to earning a set amount of cash or increasing rent income to a certain level. All the while you must manage three things: cash, workers, and materials. It's simple, extraordinarily fun, and could easily be one of the best casual games of 2008.
A blend of Virtual Villagers, Westward, and strategy games such as Warcraft and Tribal Trouble, Forgotten Lands: First Colony is a casual RTS game that hits the sweet spot between challenge, complexity, and captivating casual gameplay. The game puts you at the helm of a young civilization looking to strike out and settle new lands. Everything about Forgotten Lands is geared towards easing you into the experience, yet there's no shortage of depth or intrigue.
Plant Tycoon puts you to the task of planting seeds, growing plants of over 500 different species, and discovering the genetic secrets behind 6 magic plants that will make you rich! Become a master horticulturalist as you pollinate adult plants to produce seeds, and even cross pollinate your plants with other species to discover new and rare varieties.
From Popcap comes this cute, strange and addictive, action strategy Java game called Insaniquarium. Originally developed by Flying Bear Entertainment, Insaniquarium won the Innovation in Game Design award at the 2002 Independent Games Festival (IGF).
A generation has passed since you last helped the Baumeister reach sweet fame in Chocolatier. Since then, the company has fallen into the wrong hands. Evangaline Baumeister's granddaughter, Alexandra Tangye, needs your help to save their chocolate empire by stirring up a little competition. Uncover secret ingredients as you mix your way to chocolate-induced success!
For many casual gamers, the word Peggle has become almost magical in nature. Last year's pachinko-style title from PopCap caught us by complete surprise with its blend of deliciously simple gameplay and subtle strategy coated in the glossy paint of a stellar presentation. Now, Peggle Nights has arrived with all-new levels, a new setting, and a handful of other extras, all ready to steal your time like few other games can.
Damon lives under the thrall of the evil vampiress Celeste until one night he crosses paths with the mortal Victoria. Yep, it's another cheesy vampire love story. Luckily, this hidden-object/point-and-click hybrid features a gorgeous presentation, varied puzzles, and more mythological beasts rendered into soup ingredients than you can shake a stake at. Zing!
Fashion Solitaire is a surprisingly challenging blend of solitaire and dress-ups. You must dress a certain number of models with at least a hairstyle, top and bottom garment and shoes before you can progress, and there may be conditions attached, such as including a red item. You can earn more dollars by designing your own clothes and adding them to the solitaire deck. On the solitaire side, each card represents a garment type (i.e. shoes, jewelry, skirts, etc) and features particular colors and patterns. They are stacked in piles with only the top card exposed, and you use the exposed cards to dress your model.
For some reason, everyone loves collecting things that are smaller than they are. We're not so much interesting in gathering buildings as we are looking at them, but if buildings were pint-sized, you can bet they'd fill our pockets like lint-covered jellybeans. Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds plays on this compulsion and puts you in control of a blob of gray goo that can eat anything smaller than it is. As you can guess, this is a dangerous thing to let loose on the Earth, but give it a time machine and all of the past and future could be in quite a pickle.
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords blends a match 3 game with an old-school fantasy RPG. As you roam the overworld you complete quests, earn gold, gain experience, buy equipment and upgrade your stats just like any role playing game. But when you encounter an enemy a Bejeweled-like tile swapping game appears. Match gems to cause damage and collect mana to cast spells to help you defeat your enemy. It's a remarkably well-balanced game that's as easy to pick-up and play as it is to continue playing for hours upon hours. And it's one of the most addictive games I've played in a very long time.
Totem Tribe manages to pull together some of the best elements from a number of popular casual games and create something twice as engaging without upping the complexity. Gone are resource managing, complex building/unit requirements, and villagers who act while you're away, but in are over 20 islands to explore, friendly and not-so-friendly characters to encounter, mini-quests to earn spells, and unlockable artifacts that grant your tribe special abilities.
Casual sim/strategy fans (and anyone who enjoyed Virtual Villagers or My Tribe) take note: Westward III: Gold Rush has arrived! Following last spring's release of Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier, the third installment in the series continues the new 3D visual style and basic premise introduced in the second game. Take control of three new heroes as you collect resources, construct farms, saloons, granaries and more to keep your settlers happy and healthy.
Peggle is the latest arcade action game from PopCap, and currently available as a download for Windows or Mac. Think of a pachinko machine and an upside-down breakout game and you will be close to the unique and simple gameplay found in Peggle. It is a classic casual game: simple to understand, easy to pick-up and play, and difficult to master. Find yourself the nearest PC and download it now.
Appearing out of nowhere like a crazy tropical storm, Coconut Queen has arrived and is ready to give Build-a-lot (and, heck, even Totem Tribe) a challenge for its casual sim throne. Combining the "neighborhood improvement" concept with some inventive unlockables and a subtle sense of humor, Coconut Queen provides a phenomenal gaming experience with enormous replay value.
Do you believe in magic? How about voodoo? If you don't, Jessie Bodeen might just change your mind in this eerie, engrossing hidden-object/point-and-click adventure. When a voodoo priestess succumbs to greed and gives in to the request of a jealous woman, how will the spirits repay her? Find out in the start of a fun new series and this tale of jealousy and revenge gone wrong.
In My Tribe, you play as sort of a guardian angel for a tribe of island-dwellers, telling them what to do, dragging them from place to place, and occasionally sprinkling them with a (hopefully) beneficial potion. Harvest food, wood, and stone to build with. Your tribe continues to work even when your computer is off. It's remarkably similar to Virtual Villagers but better in a number of ways.
With DragonStone, dev studio PlayPond bravely mashed a marble-grouping game with a shoot-em-up, spray-painted it with a medieval fantasy theme, and literally turned the whole thing on its head. The result is an exciting and perilously addictive experiment, with the friendly face and high production values of a casual game.
There's nothing quite like a day on the farm: the smell of freshly tilled soil, tender plants sprouting, and honeybees buzzing in search of nectar. Some call it work, but if you've ever met Alice Greenfingers, you know it's more like play. The lovable pig-tailed girl is back, tending her Uncle Berry's farm in Alice Greenfingers 2, a sequel that does nothing but improve upon the original.
As one of six mythical heroes, each with their own set of goals, sail off in search of treasure and your place in history in ancient Greece. Discover legendary cities, meet interesting people . . . and pound the snot out of them for your own financial gain. It's a thankless job, being a hero.
When her boyfriend goes missing while investigating an old asylum, it's up to you to guide our plucky heroine safely past the bizarre nightmares and experiments that make up the Green Hills Sanitarium and this fun, weird hidden-object adventure title. Despite a few flaws, it's just the sort of engaging, creative title you might have been craving... especially if you're a fan of bad 1980's horror movies.
Real estate sounds about as exciting as dentistry when it comes to casual games, but in HipSoft's latest tycoon-style game Build-a-lot, managing your empire turns out to be quite entertaining. You assume the role of a contractor working for towns to improve property value. Tasks include building houses on vacant lots, upgrading homes to higher-rent properties, and managing cashflow to feed all your ventures.
Gemini Lost is a casual village simulation that works to bridge the gap between titles like Virtual Villagers and Sprouts Adventure. During an eclipse, a group of people stumble onto an ancient relic with twelve zodiac symbols on its face. Upon touching one of the tiles, they were transported to a strange new world. Now, the twelve symbols are scattered throughout the land, and it's your job to manage the small tribe so they can assemble the pieces and return home!
Death Under Tuscan Skies: A Dana Knightstone Novel is the latest hidden-object adventure hybrid in the Dana Knightstone series, and it explores the pitfalls of the life of a famous professional writer. Dana has decided to take a break from writing and accepts a gig as a guest lecturer at a University in Tuscany. Things start to take a turn for the mysterious when a handsome professor and a melancholy ghost make their appearances. Pretty soon Dana is blowing off research for the lecture to solve a mystery involving a girl that died young of a mysterious disease and her missing love, Giovanni. Those looking for a relaxed, non-scary adventure that still features ghosts should give this amusing and entertaining hybrid a try.
When your car veers off the road one night following a bizarre episode, you have no choice but to seek help at the comfortingly named Drowned Dead Hotel despite the frantic warnings of one of the young women living there. It quickly becomes apparent that you're going to need more than a mechanic to get out, and both the crumbling hotel and nearby town hold more than their share of unpleasant little secrets. Codeminion's latest hidden-object adventure allows you to switch to match-3 on the fly if you don't like item searching, and also provides some genuinely creepy atmosphere to make one very engrossing game.
BugBits is a light-hearted real-time strategy game built around a war between hives of bugs. Unlock and send troops across the paths to your foe's base, all while harvesting bugs dash out to gather nectar. Each unit has strengths and weaknesses that can be used to leverage your victory, and with each passing stage, you uncover more details in a sinister plot.
Play Texas Hold 'Em against skillful computer opponents in Governor of Poker. Build your reputation and wealth in a dusty western town by winning at poker and buying up property. You start out in a small Texas town with some money in your pocket and ambition to climb up in the world. As you win at poker, you are able to buy property and increase your reputation. The higher your reputation, the more poker games you get invited to, and so on, until you own the whole town. You can even make headlines in the town's newspaper!
A birthday party goes awry when Lyra suddenly finds herself teleported to another dimension by an unknown force. Lyra learns she must seek out someone named "The Clockmaker" if she ever wants to return home... but some unknown force seems determined to thwart her at every turn. The iconic point-and-click fantasy series Dream Chronicles returns with a new trilogy in this captivating first installment.
Claret Spenser doesn't care much for the outside world. She's happiest working in her airship repair shop, where machines are much easier to deal with than the aristocracy of her floating city, or the winged Skyborn race that conquered the humans generations ago. But her life is about to change... A gorgeous retro RPG from Dancing Dragon Games, Skyborn takes place in an engaging and fully-realized fantasy-steampunk world that begs to be explored. Highly recommend for fans with even the slightest love of the genre.
Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate is the fourth hidden object game in the Mystery Case Files series. This installment drops you off in an old fashioned carnival where the fortune teller Madame Fate has seen something troubling in her crystal ball. At the stroke of midnight she will be killed, but which carnival character will commit the act? Gather clues about the carnies by finding hidden items and solving puzzles throughout the dark and mysterious carnival.
Built like an adventure game from the ground up, Robin's Quest: A Legend Born is a cure for the common hidden object game. The gorgeous release from Gogii Games puts you in the now-feminine shoes of Robin Hood as she escapes prison and starts doing what the legend is famous for: taking money from the rich Prince John and giving it back to the people!
Bejeweled Twist is PopCap's latest installment in the well-recognized series. Instead of clicking a single tile and then choosing an adjacent space to move it to, Bejeweled Twist turns your cursor into a 2x2 circle that spins its contents one quarter turn clockwise. The result is a new kind of match 3 that's fresh and fun all over again.
Who knew that something as boring as real estate management would make a good time management game? Hipsoft, the creators of the wildly successful Build-a-Lot series, did, and boy were they right! The latest installment in the series, Build-a-Lot 4: Power Source, has arrived, bringing with it the same balanced and challenging gameplay with a brand new theme: energy efficiency.
Sometime in the mid 19th century, scandal tore apart the great Baumeister chocolate empire. Tempers flared and factories closed, leaving the world desperate for a decent bite of chocolate. To paraphrase cocoa guru Benard Shintero, "nobody knew the truffles they'd seen." In this latest game from Playfirst, play an apprentice chocolatier working to restore the Baumeister reputation.
My Kingdom for the Princess is a casual resource management/building game from Nevosoft. Mixing elements from simulation titles as well as borrowing from the time management genre, the game puts a big casual gameplay hat over itself and delivers a deceptively linear resource management experience with a surprising amount of strategy.
Just like its predecessor, Awakening: The Dreamless Castle, Awakening 2: Moonfell Wood bills itself as a hidden object adventure, but it plays more like a fairy tale puzzle adventure with hidden object mini-games. That's to say, you won't spend too much time looking for objects from a list, but you'll spend plenty of time picking up items and learning how to use them to progress through the game.
The wait is over! The release of the latest Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst is finally here. Big Fish Games Studios takes the hidden object genre to unprecedented new heights with an absolutely gorgeous, hidden object / adventure hybrid that is sure to please a very wide range of casual game players. This is one game you don't want to miss!
Virtual Villagers 5: New Believers is a brilliant addition to the genre and ramps up everything that is fun about the series. The puzzles are tougher as are the challenges, which is a good thing for those who love this series of village sims. The story has a darker, more sinister edge as you explore what the destruction and grief have done to the original inhabitants of Isola. There's much to love and recommend in this fantastic new adventure. Go explore!
There's a reason "I love you" and "I hate you" use the same number of letters. In this dark hidden-object adventure based on the classic story, you play Evelina, the daughter of a once-renowned Opera Diva, who one day receives a letter from a stranger. The next thing she knows, she awakens in the crumbling remains of an old Opera House... but she isn't alone. Creepy and incredibly well put together, with a heavy emphasis on story, Phantom of the Opera deserves a spot on every
adventure game enthusiast's shelf.
Virtual Villagers is back, and we're so excited we couldn't wait until the weekend to tell you! With Virtual Villagers 3: The Secret City, the surprisingly addictive real-time simulation game sticks with its proven formula and makes a few minor tweaks to freshen up gameplay. With new secrets to uncover, new technologies, real-time weather effects and a whole new island to explore, Virtual Villagers 3 has all the ingredients that made the first games so compelling, plus more.
Chocolatier: Decadence by Design is the latest installment in the popular Chocolatier series. Decadence by Design returns Chocolatier to its original format, allowing you to make chocolates in factories, explore new ports around the world, running errands and completing quests. So, even though this sequel is set a half a century after the first, fans of the original Chocolatier will feel right at home.
The sequel to Sandlot's Virtual Villagers-esque hit sim Westward has finally arrived! Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier continues the old west drama with a whole new batch of improvements, including 3D visuals, new buildings to construct, more scenarios to complete, and a brand new sandbox mode. Keep your townspeople happy, fed, and busy gathering resources as you expand across the uncharted territory in search of the elusive Copperhead Gang.
Avenue Flo features everyone's favorite waitress as she tries to help her fellow business owners salvage what could be the biggest wedding Diner Town has ever seen. Tony and Vicky are finally getting married! Maybe. Quinn of Wedding Dash fame is at her wit's end. The rings are missing, the cake has gone bad and all of the butterflies have flown away. Flo quickly springs into action and hits the streets of Diner Town in search of answers.
Dream Chronicles is a sensual delight, an intellectual challenge, and a very engaging twist on adventure, seek-and-find and puzzle games. It's been compared to Myst and Uru, and whilst it's certainly not as demanding as those mainstream titles, I found Dream Chronicles even more enjoyable.
Out of the capable hands of Youda Games comes a time management game that will have you hooked for days on in. Youda Survivor combines some of the best elements from Youda Games' previous efforts with some stylistic influences from games like Farm Frenzy. Not only are you gathering items and converting them to better products, you're also boiling them into new and exciting potions to make you look more impressive in the eyes of the island chief!
Digital Chocolate comes Tower Bloxx Deluxe, a PC downloadable version of its hit Flash game Tower Bloxx. Deluxe features an amped-up, graphically-superior 3D presentation to the original mobile title with more complexity and improved game mechanics. Watch the swinging block and tap the spacebar to drop it. Line the blocks up and watch how high the tower can grow!
Absorbing, engrossing, and hours and hours of fun await those who play Fiona Finch and the Finest Flower. Play as little or as much as you like, plan for efficiency or go nuts and create patterned, formal gardens. Enjoy the feeling of satisfaction from creating a lovely garden without the sunburn, dirt under your nails, or stinging insects.
As evidenced by a flood of Flash-based titles in the last year or so, tower defense games are all the rage. Now, iWin is throwing its hat in the ring with Garden Defense, a full-blown downloadable tower defense game where you save your garden using gnomes, flamingos, cupid statues and a host of plants to fight off waves of attacking bugs. It's eat or be eaten in this easy to learn but surprisingly challenging strategy game!
Decorating your home is loads of fun. Assuming you have a huge budget, unlimited resources, and all the time in the world. Sandlot's new casual game Eye for Design drops you in the interior design chair with near total control over the inside of each house. You play Cheri, the top grad from a prestigious design school in Paris, working with clients looking to spruce up their abodes. Choose and arrange nearly every element in each room to make the customer happy and earn respect in the interior design world.
Hey look, it's Dream Chronicles 3: The Chosen Child! The latest installment in the Dream Chronicles series has arrived, and its as breathtakingly brilliant everyone would expect. A little bit of hidden object finding, a little bit of puzzle solving, but a whole lot of adventuring can be found in this superb sequel, along with some of the most gorgeous scenery you've seen since looking out your own window (assuming you live in a fantasy world with fairies, fountains, and vibrant gardens). It's an excellent follow-up to the previous Dream Chronicles games and a fantastic game in its own right.
Taking a page out of the popular village management book, the downloadable Westward (Windows) drops casual strategy elements into the mix for a game that's both interesting and a bit different. Westward pushes you across the unexplored old west setting up towns and hunting for riches. There's a surprising amount of depth in this game, yet very little was sacrificed to keep it user-friendly.
With just over a year in the making, Azada: Ancient Magic, the sequel to the enormously successful adventure/hidden object hybrid Azada, has finally arrived! Fusing a large variety of unique puzzles with an undeniably intriguing atmosphere, Azada: Ancient Magic puts you in the shoes of a puzzle solver helping the young Titus disarm a magical menace. As you sift through the library of classic literature you'll help legendary characters such as Rapunzel, King Arthur, Dracula and more escape from stories gone awry. Expect some great puzzles and a lot of interesting minigames to come your way in this spectacular sequel.
With fifty levels to play, this fast-paced and addictingly enjoyable new game from Youda Games is sure to provide many hours of fun. Youda Fisherman succeeds in combining a variety of popular time management and simulation elements in a way that makes sense while adding a fresh spin on the genre. Make use of fantastic inventions to fight off pirates, gather resources, and build a thriving fishing company into a successful enterprise.
More than a time management game, Farm Craft 2 combines pieces of gameplay from simulation genres into an extremely captivating (and satisfying) game. Grow and harvest crops, raise livestock, pick fruit from trees, hire workers, it's all there, and it's all great!
A new addition to the Wonderland series, retro-themed isometric puzzle/adventure games that are of the best around. They retain the spirit of what makes the genre so enjoyable while adding new, more modern twists to the experience. Wonderland is threatened once again, only this time the quest to save the world goes terribly wrong. Shipwrecked and marooned on the shores of Fire Island, its your job to maneuver through sets of puzzle challenges and make your way to freedom.
Flo's at it again in the fifth installment of the popular time management series. Deal with troublesome customers, wicked weather, and much more across fifty fast-paced levels of Diner Dash action as you work to rebuild the diner of your dreams. Although, we gotta tell ya, if we ever worked in a restaurant and actually blew it up
, we'd probably be in a lot
The Eternal Maze continues where the first game left off with a beautiful blend of puzzles, adventure, object finding and Myst-like environments. You play Faye, a mortal woman whose fairy husband has been kidnapped and daughter imprisoned by Lilith, the Queen of Fairies. By solving a series of puzzles you can reach Fidget and awaken Lyra, but the Queen is always one step ahead!
The Cake Mania series is back with its third installment, Cake Mania 3! Not content to confine the game to slinging cakes in fancy modern-day locales, Sandlot installed an interesting storyline that splits the game into five unique areas, each in a different time period and different place. While the core mechanics remain unchanged, Cake Mania 3 serves up something unique in the resource management series to create a wholly enjoyable game.
Build-a-lot has a new competitor in town: Divo Games' Be Rich, a strategy-oriented casual tycoon game of real estate planning, building and investing. The game's title gives away your ultimate goal of raking in cash by constructing and upgrading houses in various cities to increase your profits and up your credibility. It takes a more real estate-centric approach to building than the Build-a-lot series does, although the similarities between the games are hard to ignore.
It's time to travel back to Isola! Yes, that magical island paradise with the odd wildlife and mysterious ruins is back in Virtual Villagers 4: The Tree of Life, the latest installment in the Virtual Villagers casual sim series by Last Day of Work. The powerhouse of the field, the game by which all other village simulations are measured, is back to delve deeper into the secrets of the island!
Holly's family has a secret, and it's a whole lot weirder and scarier than she could ever dream. Following a letter from her estranged sister, she strikes off on a bizarre journey into her past that uncovers the disturbing truth behind her birth as a shadow dogs her every step in this fantastically freaky hidden-object adventure.
With the increase of popularity of hidden object games, it seems there has been an almost equal rise in hybridization of the genre in an attempt to keep things nice and fresh, and Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses! is no exception. True, much of the gameplay involves hunting around different settings for specific objects, but from the very beginning you'll realize that this isn't your run-of-the-mill object finder.
Remember Titus? Sure you do, he's that dummy who got himself trapped in a magic book his malevolent uncle left lying around. Then he called on you to help free a library from an evil genie who was ruining the classic stories contained within. It's been a few years, but Titus is back in the latest (and greatest) installment of the Azada series of adventure/hidden object hybrids, Azada in Libro. That darned evil uncle is trying to take over the magical land of Azada once again, and this time it's personal!
Re-experience this classic, fantastic example of adventure gaming and storytelling at its finest, or discover the series for the very first time. Follow Nicole Collard and George Stobbart on a trilogy of adventures that take them across the globe. Uncover the secrets behind an ancient order, find out what a drug cartel has to do with a Mayan artifact, and escape from the depths of the jungle after a plane crash. The Broken Sword series mixes adventure, humour, mystery, and even a little romance, and the complex narratives and challenging puzzles will keep you busy for a long time.
Virtual Families is the latest addition to the impressive lineup of simulation games from Last Day of Work, makers of the Virtual Villagers series. Virtual Families takes the basic concepts of Virtual Villagers and brings them home — literally. No longer are you concerned with a village of people trying to survive the ravages of the wild. Now it's just a single family in a single house. While the concept may seem over-simplified when compared to Virtual Villagers, you'll find that it's less about simplifying the game and more about concentrating on the details.
Dire Grove is a beautiful game that incorporates live action video sequences to tell the chilling tale of an ancient Celtic legend. And although it picks right up where the previous game in the series ends, it is a stand alone game that can be enjoyed without ever playing any previous installment. Dire Grove is perhaps not as long as Return to Ravenhearst, and yet it still manages to buck the current trend of ever-shrinking gameplay time now seen in most adventure/hidden object hybrids. Between the exploration, the hidden object scenes, and the puzzles you are looking at hours of fantastic casual gameplay.
Based on the James Patterson novels (and the subsequent television spin-off), Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet is a murder mystery wrapped in an adventure game spiced with light hidden object scenes and a few simple minigames. Investigating crimes is the central focus of gameplay, with heaping doses of clue sniffing, murder scene scrutinizing, and some light labwork here and there to keep the story moving along. You don't need to be a fan of the series to enjoy the game, and even if you are, Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet weaves a completely new tale (penned by Patterson) that stays faithful to the original characters' personalities. This time, however, you're in charge.
When a small town falls under a sinister curse, it's up to you to investigate in this point-and-click/hidden-object hybrid. Why have all the children fallen asleep? Why has everyone else abandoned the place? And what's going on in that suspiciously ominous castle atop the mountains? Find out in this beautiful, ghoulish followup to 2009's PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville!
A ghost, a wolf, a dark and isolated castle, and possibly even a werewolf? Looks like you've got your hands full in the latest hidden object hybrid from Elephant Games, Grim Tales: The Legacy. A sequel to Grim Tales: The Bride, the story and setting are connected between the two games, only this time around, you're stalking through a castle while a peculiar wolf hunts you from the shadows.
Laxius Force is your latest old-school fix. Inspired by classic 16-bit role playing games, Laxius Force boasts 17 playable characters, multiple storylines that gradually weave together an intriguing plot, and original artwork and music. All while battling countless foes, earning experience, and equipping your party with powerful weapons and armor.
Musiac Box is a unique combination of a puzzle game and a musical toy that will challenge your brain and delight your ears all at the same time. Using tiles that represent individual musician's portions of a song, arrange the Tetris-like pieces on the grid and listen to the results. It's an extraordinarily simple premise for a game and the "match the tiles to the melody" puzzle solving is surprisingly enjoyable, even for non-music lovers.
Poker. You're either hopelessly addicted to it, or you can't tell a flush from a straight. The word itself conjures up high-stakes games in Vegas, dusty saloon matches between cowboys, and crummy online games played with real money. Fortunately for us, Youda Games has brought back its casual poker-meets-simulation game in the delightfully accessible Governor of Poker 2. No matter if poker scares you or excites you, this game's got something great in store for you.
A quiet town in the middle of nowhere has a dark history, but when you regain consciousness in the middle of it with someone else's blood on your hands and no memory of why you're there you have more pressing concerns. Solve a decades old mystery and uncover a dangerous, ancient evil in this big, beautiful and eerie hidden-object adventure from Artifex Mundi!
Sprouts Adventure is the latest in the increasingly long line of casual sim games made famous by Virtual Villagers, Totem Tribe, My Tribe, etc. This one separates itself from the pack by clearing away the bloat to leave a streamlined experience behind. Sprouts Adventure gives you a clear, goal-oriented simulation that meters out its rewards at a careful pace, ensuring you are never overwhelmed with choices and fully appreciate each new upgrade you get to use.
Standing toe to toe with games like Azada, Dream Chronicles, and even the Mystery Case Files series isn't an easy job, but Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena matches (and, in many areas, surpasses) its contemporaries with a fun blend of adventure and hidden object gaming.
In the latest Women's Murder Club murder mystery game, you play all four members of the titular group of friends from the books of acclaimed crime novelist James Patterson. Lindsey Boxer is a detective with the San Francisco police force, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Cindy Thomas is a reporter on the crime beat, and Jill Bernhadt is the District Attorney. Each of these characters' skill-sets will come in handy as you make your way through this series of bizarre murders.
Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy is a punishingly difficult puzzle adventure game that tasks your ability to look at and assemble details to progress through the game. It's more like Myst than a point-and-click adventure, but players who sit down and solve the game are rewarded greatly.
Based on the classic short story by Edgar Allan Poe, delve deep into the heart of Paris as you track down a brutal killer alongside one of fiction's most influential detectives. While it may not be as challenging as some veteran gamers might like, this is still a gorgeously rendered hidden object game, and a lot of fun, with just the right amount of... monkey business?
Virtual Villagers is a downloadable real-time simulation game developed by Last Day of Work, the creators of Fish Tycoon and a number of other casual sim games. Take charge of a village of crash survivors and help them carve out a living on a jungle island. Teach them to farm, help them research scientific advancements and expand their population. It's a remarkably addictive game that's easy to play but impossible to stay away from!
Westward IV: All Aboard is a solid addition to the ever increasing Westward pantheon. There's not a lot of change from Westward III, but why mess with a winning formula? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Of course, Westward IV offers new characters, new scenarios, new upgrades, and the same casual gameplay fun of its predecessors.
Normally, mixing real estate with casual gaming wouldn't seem like a smart move, but HipSoft's latest release proves you can take a complex subject matter and make it fun. Build-a-lot 3: Passport to Europe continues the highly successful Build-a-lot series with just the right balance between familiarity and innovation to lure new and veteran players alike. Hone your real estate skills as you buy, upgrade and sell houses, collect rent, and attract new residents to neighborhoods that need your expert eye.
Nancy Drew has returned in a brand new hidden object adventure! The ink is still warm from her previous case, so one would think Nancy gets a little vacation. It's anything but time to relax when a series of "construction accidents" (explosions!) rocks a posh spa/resort, forcing Nancy to investigate without alerting the wealthy clientele.
Cleaning up is rarely fun to do. Unless you're cleaning someone else's mess, right? Hmm, no? How about if you're cleaning up someone else's mess in a casual game? That's the surprisingly successful recipe for fun in Nanny Mania 2 Goes to Hollywood. After helping Mayor Whitby and his family in the original Nanny Mania, Emma moves on to help Sophia Ashford, an incredibly wealthy woman who can't seem to keep her family affairs in order. It's your job to help raise the children, care for pets, and keep the house spotless as clueless teenagers leave unmade beds and babies create problems of their own.
Simplz: Zoo combines a match-3 puzzle game with a casual simulation for a new and compelling experience. Now, you may have heard that story before when Floating Kingdoms came along, but this one has a potent blend of the genres that interconnects so thoroughly, everything you do in one directly affects the other. The result is a game that elegantly moves you back and forth while giving you the freedom to customize the experience to your liking.
Jill's back in a sequel to one of the most popular casual games of last year, Cake Mania. In Cake Mania 2 you reprise the role of the baker extraordinare with the task of helping one of two friends: Jack, who is looking for a bakery in his underwater theme park, or Risha and her bakery in the big city. Serve cranky customers piping hot cakes as quickly as you can to rake in the cash and expand your business!
Much like the Dream Chronicles series or the more recent Princess Isabella: A Witch's Curse, the new casual adventure game Drawn: The Painted Tower drops you in a gorgeously drawn world filled with items to find and puzzles to solve. The story and artwork wrap the game in a brilliantly mysterious package, delivering a feast for your senses as you devour the simple (but tasty!) gameplay.