Mystery is afoot in the snow-logged town of Raincliff! When a busload of university students goes missing nearby, the locals aren't talking... mainly because there aren't any. The town has been deserted for years and nobody knows why, and when you go looking for answers, it's clear that something
doesn't want you around and will go to any lengths to keep you from playing the hero. Uncover a bizarre secret, stay one step ahead of a murderous unseen force, and search for clues in this exciting, imaginative installment in the fantastic Mystery Trackers hidden-object adventure series!
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye... or their daughter. When a little girl runs afoul of a mechanical monstrosity inside the newly excavated caves outside a remote town, you find yourself called in to rescue her in this stunning continuation of the popular hidden-object adventure series of PuppetShow titles.
Sugar-coated, filled with rainbows and sunshine and love, and cheerier than a dentist the day after Halloween, Yousumin! is a new puzzle game from Square-Enix. In the same way Bejeweled Twist put a spin on the matching genre, Yosumin! shifts things around to deliver a new kind of puzzle game that's unique yet familiar at the same time.
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.
Escape the Museum is an intriguing adventure/hidden object game that reaches into room escape territory for inspiration. You play as Susan Anderson, a museum curator showing her daughter a dinosaur exhibit when a fierce earthquake suddenly rocks the building. Falling debris knocks Susan unconscious, and when she awakens she discovers she's trapped in the room and Caitlin is missing! Find the objects you'll need to fashion an exit, then recover precious museum artifacts as you work your way through the rubble searching for your daughter.
In Sandlot's newest addition to the Tradewinds series, Tradewinds Caravans, experience the excitement and derring-do of a merchant's life, without the boredom and general unpleasantness that would tend to come with the real thing. In this loose, fantastical simulation of a merchant's life circa 100 BC, you will explore the silk road, fight your way through swarms of bandits, and uncover the unique story of the character you choose.
When her fiance goes missing carrying a valuable string of pearls, Johanna turns to the only one she can trust on the seedy streets of London; you. Together with one of the city's finest, you'll need to put your hidden object skills to the test in this gorgeous adventure based upon the original legend of Sweeney Todd. Just be careful who you stick your neck out for. But do try the pie. It's delicious.
Dark Parables: The Curse of Briar Rose is moody, atmospheric, gorgeous, involving, challenging, and fun. What more could you ask for in a hidden object/adventure hybrid? It even sets itself up for a sequel, which we can hope continues the quality of design and implementation seen in this game. It takes us back to a time before folk tales went politically correct; when bedtime stories caused nightmares; and when happy endings weren't always possible. So take a walk down the darker path of folk tales, and go rescue the town, and the princess!
For those who enjoy hybrid hidden object/adventure games PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville is casual gameplay done right. If you want to kick off the Halloween season right, then sit back, relax, and make your way through Joyville before evil completely envelops the town. Just one word of advice: you might want to play with the lights on.
One passenger on a lonely road in the middle of the night is about to change your life forever. When a mysterious girl who you give a lift to a small town in the middle of nowhere leaves a relic from your childhood in the backseat, you go looking for answers, but might not make it back home safely. Artogon Games delivers a flawed but ultimately genuinely scary title that horror adventure fans will want to check out.
Here, among the roses of red and strange mushrooms, we find Alice. Is she visiting the Queen of Hearts? No, it isn't that Alice. Meet Alice Greenfingers. She doesn't have time for chasing rabbits and general nonsense (save the occasional gnome); she has to take some tomatoes to the market while the demand is still high!
The series that made farming less of a "wake up at the crack of dawn, work 'til nightfall" chore and more of a "yay let's farm woo hoo!" form of entertainment is back! Farm Frenzy 3 doesn't mess with the proven formula from the first games, but it does bring a lot of variety into the series by moving you across five locations around the globe. Watch penguins eat fish in the arctic and fend off lions in Africa, all while harvesting eggs and turning them into a succession of better, more profitable products. And, as always, watch out for predators falling from the sky!
Ever wanted to combine a hidden object game with a riddle-centric room escape title? Like strawberries and bananas, the two genres go together remarkably well, as Elephant Games' Lost in the City eloquently showcases. Steeped in mystery, you travel from room to room finding items, solving puzzles, deciphering riddles and completing simple mini-games as you unravel a particularly intriguing storyline filled with strange plot twists.
While doing little to offer any radical new ideas to the series, World Tour offers new styles, new characters, new locations, and even a new look. With dozens of stages to play around the globe and an extensive style editor, there's enough to keep budding fashionistas (and the people who would never admit to it out loud) busy for a long time.
Once in a while a game comes along that, well, you don't really know how to describe. Great Adventures: Lost in Mountains is one of those games. Designed by Fenomen Games, Great Adventures is advertised as a time management game. Actually, it's more like a casual sim. No, it's more like a point-and-click adventure with casual sim and time management elements. But really, it plays like a room escape game with RPG and hidden object elements. See? Difficult to describe. Basically, all of the above is incorporated to make one wildly fun, inventive game.
From Nevosoft comes a quirky, lighthearted game that takes inspiration from the likes of Galcon and Risk, LandGrabbers. In a land filled with castles and knights and crusades, it's own or be owned. You are a brilliant military strategist (but you knew that already!) who has decided to show your prowess by taking over the land. One building at a time. Send units, fortify your homeland, and set out to conquer the medieval world the only way you know how: casual strategy gaming!
Bucking the trend of ever shorter hidden object games, Settlement: Colossus is an odd, unique, and fun hidden object/casual simulation hybrid, and it will keep you occupied for hours and hours as you work towards your final goal. Gorgeous to look at and fun to play, this unique hybrid is a winner. Now go build a civilization!
The Dark Hills of Cherai is beautiful, fun casual gameplay. Fantastically, it bucks the latest trend of the ever shrinking game time and will keep players busy for hours. This is not a game to speed through. Take your time, explore, and experience the wonders of India without ever leaving your home.
When Sam Hunt disappears without a trace one rainy night following a knock at the door, his wife Danielle is frantic and has no idea where to turn for help. At least, not until help appears from an unlikely source. In this horror hidden-object adventure from Alawar Games, Danielle will travel back to the town her husband grew up in and uncover the bizarre truth about his past.
Ransom of the Seven Ships is a puzzler's dream come true. Cryptograms, slider puzzles, matchstick manipulation, a Blokus variant, and the hardest game of underwater Sudoku you'll ever encounter are just a few of the many challenges you and Nancy must overcome. With hours and hours of casual gameplay, a solid plot, tons of educational content, gorgeous graphics, and a bevy of challenging puzzles, Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships is no mere child's game.
When the ghost of Nathaniel Hawthorne appears to you and asks you to solve the mysteries surrounding his untimely death, the last thing you expected was to get caught up in a centuries old mystery where you'll have to race to prove one woman's innocence. Hunt for clues and discover secrets in this challenging but beautiful hidden-object/point-and-click hybrid.
Nelly and Tom are at it again! Yes, the kids from the original Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold have returned, and this time they're all grown up! Just like the original game, Treasure Seekers 2: The Enchanted Canvases a unique hybrid of adventure and hidden object gaming that makes use of context-sensitive actions rather than laundry lists of items to find. Add to that some much-improved visuals (which is saying a lot!) and you have another potential hit on your hands.
Department 42: The Mystery of the Nine is a hidden object adventure game from Frogwares, creator of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened and Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser's Submarines. Take the role of an agent working for Department 42, a secret organization that investigates paranormal events. Yes, kind of like X-Files! Nine malevolent artifacts that were sealed away in Grimstone mansion have gone missing, and it's your job to find them before their evil influence spreads chaos around the world.
Ricardo Chellini's unexpected inheritance of a private island should have been a dream, but when he arrives to find the estate falling apart and discovers something
wants him dead, he must unravel the mystery surrounding his family's violent, sad past if he wants to survive. A stunning and wonderfully creepy hidden-object adventure from Artogon Games.
Dark Parables: The Exiled Prince is a hidden object game that focuses on finding fragments of items throughout a series of dark scenes. The game improves upon almost every aspect over its prequel, creating a fantastic hidden object gaming experience!
From building neighborhoods to buying movie-star houses, from constructing railway stations to buying a lion for the zoo, Be Richer! is even more engaging than the original. Perfect for casual gameplay, beautiful, addictive, and just downright fun, Be Richer! once again delivers (as do the new pizza parlors)!
In the mood for more beach-themed Virtual Villagers-style simulation gaming? Escape from Paradise 2: A Kingdom's Quest is now available, and it delivers exactly what its predecessor did and quite a bit more. Instead of straightforward village management, Escape from Paradise 2 blends in mini-games to break up the action, and combined with a little hidden object finding and character stat upgrading, you have a game that will quickly sink its hooks in you.
What city dweller hasn't momentarily yearned for a little plot of land somewhere and a lovely green garden? A place to call your own, a place to breathe in nature, a place to make the neighbors, well, green with envy. This is the premise of Gardenscapes by Playrix Entertainment, a hidden object game with elements of time management and sim games thrown in to make a fun, exciting, and yet curiously relaxing experience.
The Fairy Godmother's monopoly on the potion business is on the verge of collapse due to some healthy competition, so she hires a promising young assistant to reestablish her empire. A tired genre gets a sorely needed infusion of creativity in Fairy Godmother Tycoon, a basic tycoon game wrapped in a pretty, pretty package.
What if Hamlet wasn't? Hamlet, I mean. When a curious time-traveler accidentally lands his heavy spaceship atop the iconic literary protagonist, the show must go on. Point-and-click your way through a quirky and decidedly non-cannon interpretation of the classic Shakespearean tale in this short but fun and original title from Alawar Games.
From the same group that brought us Agatha Christie: Peril at End House and Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet comes an equally alluring hidden object game, Dr. Lynch: Grave Secrets. This entry veers away from the more adventure-oriented direction and hugs the item finding wall fairly close, but the same high production values and great storyline remain intact.
Bejeweled has been around for almost a decade, and its popularity is showing no signs of waning. From the original browser game released in 2001 to the 2009 re-envisioning in Bejeweled Twist, practically every person who's ever touched a computer knows about the series. PopCap invests a lot of effort into the scarce Bejeweled sequels, and as soon as you see what Bejeweled 3 has to offer, you'll appreciate the extra attention that was put in to getting you hooked on gem swapping all over again.
Far to the north in an ancient tower a paladin may have gone astray and awoken something dangerous deep beneath the ice. It's up to you to investigate... provided you have the stones for it. The smash-hit rpg/match-3 puzzle hybrid returns with all the addictive adventurous gameplay you remember plus some significant additions. Clear your agenda for the next week and turn off the phone... adventure awaits.
Reincarnations: Awakening is a fun, if not completely fulfilling hidden object adventure experience. Join Jane as she travels into her past lives via hypnosis, solving problems and puzzles for each of her past selves so she can gain a more thorough understanding of reincarnation.
Heard the one about the ancient curse? Well you're about to live it in this exceptional hidden object game. When you suddenly find yourself transported hundreds of years into the past, you have no choice but to solve a mystery involving a royal family if you ever want to find your way back home. With gorgeous visuals, clever puzzles, and smartly designed hidden object scenes, Royal House of Stone is a short but stylish start to a fun new series.
To celebrate Earth Day (April 22), National Geographic has sponsored Plan It Green, a casual building sim in the style of Build-a-lot that joins the sparsely populated ranks of "green" games. True to its name, Plan It Green focuses on boosting your energy credits by designing green buildings and communities using four types of structures. It also manages to have an environmentally friendly message that doesn't smack you over the head at every turn.
Being a good nanny is tough work. Gwen, though, seems to be a natural. In fact, taking care of the little ones is so second-nature to her, she gets invited to Fantasy Town to help care for all sorts of unique families. From robots to frogs, plants to undersea critters, Gwen uses her magical abilities to keep the young ones happy and fed through dozens of levels. Gwen the Magic Nanny pours on the creativity in a simple but alluring time management game from Namco.
The land of Wonderburg has been laid to waste by evil minions, and it is up to a wizard and a stalwart gnome to travel the lands putting right what has gone wrong. That is the premise of the time management strategy game Wonderburg. While it doesn't venture far beyond what games like the Build-a-lot series have established, it's a charming title that stands firmly on its own two feet.
The dead are restless, but lucky for you they want your help and not your juicy, juicy
brains. After a car accident, you wake up to find yourself in a cemetery; very much alive, but still unable to leave. If you help the anguished souls lingering around their graves complete their unfinished business, you may be able to escape, and set some wrongs right in the process in this stylish point-and-click/hidden-object hybrid from the makers of the PuppetShow series.
Farming used to seem like a chore, then the casual game market took hold and turned caring for crops into a resource management experience. Farm Mania is the latest of those games, following a similar path as Farm Frenzy 2 but keeping things fresh and interesting. Yes, it's yet another game with "mania" in the title, but the experience underneath is subtly different and twice as rewarding. And much cuter, I have to admit.
It's here! The next chapter in the captivating virtual island village sim is available to download. The follow-up to the monumentally successful Virtual Villagers game keeps the same formula as the original but adds all new puzzles, events, collectibles and more. It's the perfect follow-up to one of the most amazing casual games ever released.
Fans of Samantha Swift's previous caper have cause to rejoice. Samantha Swift and the Golden Touch, the newest hidden object adventure in the franchise, offers a compelling combination of well-integrated mini-games and adventure-style item puzzles that do an excellent job of keeping the game feeling fresh throughout.
Did you graduate high school and step right in to a high-paying, prestigious career? Well, now you can make up for that in the certifiably crazy Life Quest, a quirky simulation that's all about one-upping your old high school friends.
Released in 2005 by German game developers FAKT Software, Crazy Machines was a cult classic that only recently began to breach the barrier to "fan-favorite" status among casual gamers. Publicized mainly by word of mouth, this out-of-the-ordinary puzzle game staked its claim as the next-generation leap from The Incredible Machine, which reached its height of popularity almost a decade earlier. The common theme in both games is the use of Rube Goldberg-inspired machines and contraptions to solve a puzzle or obstacle in each level.
It's SimCity meets isometric Tetris in this new casual mash-up from Electronic Arts, The Sims Carnival SnapCity. As mayor its your job to build a thriving city and keep its citizens happy and prosperous. Three colors of blocks descend onto the grid, each one representing residential, commercial or industrial zones. When the blocks land and are connected by roads, citizens begin to move in and your population grows. Extras like puzzle zones and natural disasters keep the action lively, but it doesn't take much more than that to keep you hooked on this addictive game.
Archibald's Adventures is a puzzle platform game from Rake in Grass, creator of Larva Mortus, KingMania, and others. You play the skateboard-riding Archibald who accidentally becomes trapped in Professor Klumpfus' twisted underground lair. Roll your way through 100+ stages, moving boxes with bubblegum, leaping gaps with a running start, and hitting switches beneath pools of acid to work your way out of the mutant-infested passageways.It's one of those rare games that keeps begging you to come back for more.
Cate West - The Vanishing Files is a hidden object game that strays as far as it can from the genre without turning into a minigame-focused mystery adventure. In addition to your usual "find all the objects on the list" gameplay, Cate West weaves a number of evidence-related games that keep the pointing and clicking from getting stale. Paired with stellar artwork and an interesting storyline, the final result is something that provides the charm of a hidden object game with new experiences and lighter, more engaging gameplay.
The well-received Farm Frenzy series of time management games has now expanded to include... pizza? HA! I'm joking. Wait, no I'm not. Even funnier than my little gag there is the fact that Farm Frenzy Pizza Party is actually a good game. It doesn't innovate much beyond what the first two titles layed out, but the addition of some new buildings and new products adds a decidedly more strategic twist to the experience.
A letter from a colleague brings you to the countryside, where a young police officer has vanished while investigating a string of disappearances inside a mansion said to be the home of the legendary Queen of Spades; a woman rumoured to have made a deal with the devil in exchange for a pack of cards that brought her riches before she died, cursing the place. Naturally, you scoff at such mystical poppycock... but it's hard to ignore the possibility when the bodies start piling up and you find yourself being followed by a strange... creature. Solve the mystery and come out alive in this hidden-object adventure from ERS Game Studio!
Wonderland Secret Worlds is an isometric puzzle adventure similar to Mr. Robot. Take control of several characters who push boxes, flip switches, roll boulders and build bridges to make it to the exit in each stage. The setup is nothing new in casual gameplay, but somehow the combined package is an extraordinarily fun play. If you don't mind the dated visuals and rather cutesy presentation, Wonderland Secret Worlds will be one of the most enjoyable and satisfying games of its genre you'll ever dive into.
The Serpent of Isis is a new hidden object game by Gamgo with some considerable mystery and adventure game elements added into the mix. Beneath the ever shifting sands of Egypt, untold treasures remain buried. These are the kinds of treasures that drive men mad, possessing the minds of the adventurous and luring explorers into catacombs that twist and writhe beneath ancient pyramids. The Serpent of Isis was just such a treasure, and your grandfather was just such an explorer.
World of Zellians: Kingdom Builder is a simulation and city building game along the lines of My Kingdom for the Princess and Build-a-lot. Set in a moderately whimsical fantasy realm, your job is to repair a broken kingdom by mending roads, setting up farms, and getting each area's economy up and running again. It's a colorful, light-hearted and straightforward game you can jump right into and start enjoying.
Hunting for what remains of her family, Christine heads to her Grandfather's last known location; a remote asylum, now abandoned... or is it? The prequel to Nightfall Mysteries: Curse of the Opera is unfortunately a little easy, but this hidden-object/point-and-click hybrid is still beautiful, freaky fun to fill your evening.
Despite the similarities to the other Farm Frenzy games (or, perhaps, because of it), Farm Frenzy 3: Ice Age is still a rollicking good time. With tons of trophies to win and lots of levels to conquer, you're still looking at hours and hours (and hours
of casual gameplay and replay value that is fun for a wide range of ages. So enjoy the cute animals, and look out for an appearance from a very special guest star.
Escape from Paradise (Windows/Mac) is a simulation/adventure game similar to Westward and Virtual Villagers where you lead shipwrecked castaways on a quest to build a tropical paradise. The interesting twist is the inclusion of minigames that help you earn supplies as well as distract you while your villagers work. It's an intriguing genre-bending concept that puts you in the role of resource manager and resident puzzle solver, and despite its not-so-polished presentation, pulls it off quite well.
Aah, gardening. One of the most relaxing and rewarding hobbies one can undertake. There's nothing like planting flowers and watching them grow, especially when you get to sell them for loads of cash and smash gigantic bees and snails with a shovel from time to time! This is the basic premise of Magic Farm, a resource management simulation along the lines of Grimm's Hatchery and Alice Greenfingers. As a magic-wielding gardener, you must plant, water, protect and raise a variety of flowers to sell for cash. You also have three basic skills that can be increased as you play, lending a delicious RPG flavor to the game.
Artist Colony is fascinating, absorbing casual simulation and time management game. For those who love casual sims, such as Virtual Villagers or My Tribe, this is the game for you. Just be warned, it is very addictive. You can while away hours as you manipulate your little people to and fro, searching for hidden pieces of the past or creating masterpieces for the present. It's time to dress in all black, slap on a beret, and get ready to create some art!
Farm Frenzy 2, the follow-up to last year's Farm Frenzy, takes the smell out of farming with a challenging and addictive resource management/arcade title. Keep your animals fed so they produce basic goods you can refine into more complex (and profitable) products. Then, load everything on a truck and send it to town, using the resulting cash to upgrade your buildings to be faster and more efficient. But uh, watch out for panda bears that drop from the sky. They don't play very nicely with your livestock.
The ancient Malgray Manor will soon be up for auction and you have been selected to appraise the mansion as a potential purchase prospect for your firm. Over the course of twenty-four chapters your task evolves from simply appraising the worth of a mansion to solving a centuries old mystery to ultimately fulfilling a very bizarre request in this quirky, offbeat and campy hidden object adventure.
Mevo and the Grooveriders is a funky music game that'll get your fingers a-snappin' and your toes a-tappin' (and your lips a-chappin' and your GPS a-mappin'?). You play as Mevo, a red alien that needs to reunite his band to save the universe from perpetual silence. (And the cats a-nappin'? Sorry, I'm done with that now.)
The latest installment in the Westward series takes things in a different direction, forgoing the old west setting and the casual village simulation gameplay for a medieval setting and casual kingdom
simulation gameplay. It's bigger, it's better, and yet it's still familiar to fans of earlier Westward games. Be prepared for much fun to be had!
The classic books make the leap to your browser in Where's Waldo: The Fantastic Journey, one of the original hidden object games. Travel around the world to see unexpected sights and challenge your eyes. Detailed, challenging, and just as cute as ever, Waldo is fun for the kids of today, and the kids of yesteryear. You know who you are.
Farm Frenzy weds an arcade title with a resource management sim for a game that's as much thought and planning as it is fast mouse clicking. Gameplay revolves around planting grass to feed animals which in turn drop goods for you to use. These goods can either be sold for cash to improve your farm or turned into higher-value products to rake in even more gold. As you progress through the game's 45 stages you can buy more animals, get new buildings and upgrade existing structures, all while keeping a lookout for bears that drop from the sky!
An unusual point-and-click adventure that drops the conventions of item management in favor of supernatural abilities. There is no inventory, as you don't pick up and carry objects in this game. Instead you gain a battery of ghostly powers that allow you to interact with the environment just like a flesh-and-blood human. It's a refreshing take on the adventure genre with a good sense of humor, unique puzzles, and a captivating game world.
Pity the poor dude who is in charge of Middleshire, one of the areas of the kingdom we first saw in Royal Envoy. First, he's late to the meeting with the king, then all he can report is bad, bad news about the region. The King is not happy about any of this, so he once again appoints someone (as in you, the player) to go and get this poor place redeveloped so that the folks will be happy in Royal Envoy 2, the latest time management amusement from Playrix Entertainment.
Little Folk of Faery is a gorgeous, whimsical, amusing casual simulation game that takes place at the base of an ancient tree inside an antiques shop. The faery realm has endured some setbacks since your grandparents passed away, and it is your job to rehabilitate the faery realm, as well as help clean up the musty, dusty shop. Little Folk of Faery will appeal to a wide range of people, from those who enjoy its fantastical look and feel to those who enjoy the casual sim genre as a whole.
From newcomer World Loom comes the latest resource management game to take the action out of the diner/restaurant/shop/airport: Fix-it-Up: Kate's Adventure. More of a business simulation along the lines of Build-a-lot, you must help Kate expand her profits by buying cars at low prices, fixing them up, and selling them for a hefty profit. The combination of time management and business acumen creates a delightful final product made even better by its whimsical art style and soundtrack.
And Yet It Moves, the simple but marvelous indie release from Broken Rules, will reignite your love for video games. That, or it will cause you to shake with anger as you replay the same part of the game for the tenth time. It might even do both! The physics-centric platform adventure employs the familiar "world tilting" mechanic that allows you to rotate the entire game environment in 90 degree increments. And Yet It Moves then proceeds to do crazy and wonderful things with this, allowing you to explore a universe as strange as it is satisfying.
Nick Chase: A Detective Story is a gritty, film noir-style casual adventure game flavored with hidden object scenes and loads of delicious inventory puzzles. Based on classic detective stories and graphic novels, you follow the down-and-out Nick Chase as he embarks upon his first job in ages. From his messy office to shady hideouts of even shadier characters, you'll have to use your own detective skills to piece together evidence and solve puzzles. It's one of the most enjoyable detective games I've played in quite a while, and the stellar voice acting and gorgeous hand-drawn art scores major points in my book.
Rooms: The Main Building is an upgraded full version of the Flash game Rooms released early last year. Created by HandMade Games, Rooms: The Main Building is a clever combination of puzzle and adventure elements. Bored with simple sliding puzzles, the main character receives a strange gift that transports him to another world. Here, rooms are broken into a series of spaces that can be moved around a grid like a sliding puzzle. Gather items to unlock more rooms as you search for puzzle pieces that lead the way out of this bizarre realm.
Fairway Solitaire is a new casual card game that (miraculous as it may seem) blends solitaire with golf. Don't let that trick you into thinking it's a dull game filled with white gloves and whispering announcers. Fairway Solitaire is as funny, bright and entertaining as any casual game out there. And with its slightly new take on some familiar themes, it's worth heading out on the green and sinking a few holes.
The Cake Mania series is one of the most widely-recognized names in casual gaming. Three main installments have hit PC and Mac platforms over the last few years, and you can even find Cake Mania on mobile phones! Now, with the release of Cake Mania: Main Street, the series veers into a slightly new direction, providing more varied gameplay and a host of new and interesting challenges. It's not just cake anymore, as now you'll be slinging sushi and building burgers in order to raise money to revive Jill's home town!
This is one of the best, most elaborate adventure hybrids to come out this year. With the emphasis squarely on the point-and-click adventuring, Sacra Terra: Angelic Night is a mind-blowing throwback to the days of yore in adventure gaming with its engrossing story, stunning visuals, and, most importantly, depth of gameplay. Alawar has created a world which is fascinating to explore and difficult to leave, and the combination of beautiful, otherworldly scenes juxtaposed with the grim, haunting asylum proper makes the entire experience surreal.
There's nothing ordinary about this adventure hybrid from Artifex Mundi, creators of Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek. Sure you get the familiar tale of undead pirates cursed by stolen gold, but you also get an amazingly ambitious production with attention to every detail. You can finish the entire game without playing a single hidden object scene if you wish; just opt for mahjong, instead (or do both!) Gorgeous scenes, well-designed puzzles and expert storytelling are just a few of the top notch features that make Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart an experience not to be missed.
Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift is a curious combination of a free-form simulation, tycoon management title, and time management game. As customers come in, you custom-create grave plots based on their requests and budget. You have an enormous amount of freedom in how you create your graveyard, allowing you to be creative, inventive, or just plain efficient. Plus, there's no time pressure!
It's been quite a while since I've been genuinely excited about a hidden object game. They usually look fantastic with immense effort put into the artwork, but the hidden object aspect of things suffers from a lack of diversity along with a handful of poor mini-games thrown in because, well, that's the done thing these days, isn't it? So I'm very happy to say that Flux Family Secrets: The Ripple Effect is a quality addition to the hidden object genre. And I like it!
Empress of the Deep: The Darkest Secret is an adventure/hidden object hybrid with strong leanings to the Myst school of gaming. Featuring thick environments rich in detail and atmosphere, you'll encounter loads of great puzzles as well as unique mini-games that never repeat themselves.
3 Days: Zoo Mystery, a new hidden object game from Realore Studios, drops you in the middle of a mystery at the local zoo. You play as the owner's niece, Anna, whose job it is to find several animals that have mysteriously disappeared. You have three days to solve the crime, otherwise the feds sweep in and shut the place down for good! Serve meals, work with the police, become a salty dog, circumvent hi-tech security systems and so much more in this eclectic mystery.
The casual village sim Many Years Ago drops itself in a crowded genre, competing with games like My Tribe, Virtual Villagers, Escape from Paradise, Totem Tribe, and many more. Why, then, should anyone bother with another village sim? In four words: laid-back and relaxed gameplay. In one word: dinosaurs!
My Kingdom for the Princess has returned in an aptly-titled sequel, My Kingdom for the Princess 2! Nevosoft brings back its casual resource management/building game with a new story, new levels, new settings, and some other little twists to give players of the original something to look forward to. If you love games like Build-a-lot but can't stand keeping track of so many things at once, My Kingdom for the Princess will suit you just fine.
From the creator of Youda Camper comes another overtly-titled casual game: Youda Farmer. In this resource management sim you play the role of a farmer growing and gathering crops and other food products to sell in town for profit. Using the money you earn, buy new facilities and upgrade existing ones, stimulating the town itself to open new shops and expand current ones.
Top Chef is based on Bravo Channel's reality program of the same name, which takes a batch of fifteen confident up-and-coming chefs and eliminates them through a series of culinary challenges each week until only one remains. The game puts you in the shoes of one such aspiring chef and, with your help, she's going to chop, saute, and julienne her way to the top through fifteen episodes and a whopping forty-five challenges.
Youda Camper is a slow-paced simulation game along the lines of Sim City. You're put in charge of creating and running a camp site, from where to put the toilets to how many spaces for tents to allocate. Keep campers happy by building amenities and learn from their complaints to construct a campsite that rakes in the cash day after day.
From Divo Games, creator of Sea Journey and the Be Rich! series, come a time management/simulation game that will really sweep you off your sandals. Jack of All Tribes is a bit like Virtual Villagers meets Gemini Lost while they're having a party at Build-a-Lot's house. You take on the role of Jack, unwitting chief of a tribe, and help the various prehistoric peoples get along better while you spruce up their villages. It's a very well-built game that hits that "one more level" mark perfectly, and you won't be able to put it down until the end.
Dana Knightstone is a writer, but she would really prefer to be a best-selling
writer. A trip to Scotland seems like just the thing to get the inspiration she needs for her latest historical romance, but the mystery she soon stumbles on to is anything but romantic. The old hotel hides a lot of secrets, and before long Dana finds herself trying to solve an ancient murder case. Uncover the truth in this gorgeous new adventure puzzle game from Boom Zap.
Ah, the opera. The drama! The romance! The... cadavers? As the lowly stagehand of a popular opera group, you weren't expecting anything out of the ordinary when you're all summoned to a tiny, remote town to perform. At least, until the performers start coming down with an unfortunate case of dead.
Is it a simple case of a madman on the loose in the sleepy little town? Or is there something much more sinister lurking behind the scenes?
You reprise the role of the resilient young castaway, Mina, and her adorable primate pal, Jep. When last we left the duo, we thought we had made our way safely off of Nemo's island, but it seems we were a little naive. Now you must guide them both through more explorations of the island in the hopes of getting off of it... again!
The Island: Castaway is a new simulation-meets-RPG game that combines a Virtual Villagers kind of atmosphere with gameplay reminiscent of Wandering Willows, putting you in the role of a castaway on a lonely tropical island. Gather tons of items you'll use to hunt, fish, build, cook and more, all while fulfilling the needs of your friends and uncovering mystery after mystery on the fog-shrouded land. Play it casually, but be prepared to sink a lot of time into this excellent game!
When a man goes missing deep in Louisiana on his newly acquired sprawling estate, his family turns to you to help find him. You don't have much to go on, and time may be running out... but his daughter may hold a clue. The last person to see him, she also claims she saw a ghost that night... but even in a place as mired in history and shadows as this, ghosts can't really
exist... right? Find out in the seventh installment of the fantastically popular hidden-object adventure series, Mystery Case Files!
Charles and his twisted son Victor are back in Mystery Case Files: Escape from Ravenhearst, the third and final (?) installment of the popular Ravenhearst adventures. Replacing the standard hidden object scenes with morphing objects, this is not your usual hidden object adventure hybrid. The mini-games are fun and challenging, and best of all skippable if they turn out to be not your cup of tea. There is a bit of back-and-forth backtracking, although not nearly as much in Return to Ravenhearst as Escape from Ravenhearst is divided up into more manageable sections. If dark and twisted with a side of gorgeous is your cup of tea, then this is definitely the game for you!
With loads of scenarios to work through, trophies to be won, and the sandbox modes for each state, Virtual City offers hours and hours of fantastic casual gameplay. Fun to play in small chunks or while away the time in immersive gameplay. Not a clone or a knock-off, but a virtual experience all its own, Virtual City is a fantastic wild ride. Just, really, don't forget the garbage. You won't like what happens if you do.
You awaken alone. You have no memory of who you are, or how you got to this magical castle. There are fairies ready to guide you, and goblins waiting to test you. Using only the mouse, solve puzzles and mini-games in Awakening: The Dreamless Castle, with the goal of collecting six magic runes and discovering who you are and why you've been asleep for a hundred years.
On the surface, Paradise Beach resembles a casual building game like Coconut Queen. The gameplay, however, is more similar to the classic of the tycoon sim genre Rollercoaster Tycoon. Join Mr. Gates and his cute — and occasionally annoying — granddaughter as they develop beachfront property. Travel to six different islands and work with the pair to develop a fun beach experience, all the while helping endangered species, uncovering dinosaur skeletons, finding pirate treasure, and all the other fun things that happen to folks who create vacation beaches.
In the hidden object game, G.H.O.S.T. Chronicles: Phantom of the Renaissance Faire, you play a ghost hunter called in to aid a renaissance faire/theme park that has seen better days. It's one of the better hidden object games around that doesn't resort to cheap tricks when hiding items, and the beautiful presentation and haunting adventure aspects make it a true winner.
Casual adventure games are gaining ground as titles such as Azada and the Dream Chronicles series cut out the complexity and serve up a little lighthearted gaming alongside item-based puzzles. Natalie Brooks - Secrets of Treasure House follows suit in an adventure that uses optional hidden object scenes to earn hints to solve puzzles in the main quest. It's a good blend of genres that, despite its rather short length and occasional grammatical hiccup, holds your attention with an interesting story and varied gameplay.
Matches & Matrimony: A Pride And Prejudice Tale gives you the chance to simulate your own Austen-style romantic adventure. Pursue nine different endings in this clever visual novel. Will you throw caution to the wind for the passionate Colonel Brandon? Succumb to the temptation of the nefarious Mr. Wickleby? Manage to capture the heart of the elusive Mr. Darcy? Or will you end up alone? These and other results will all come from the choices you make.
A growing city of worshippers, ever increasing godly abilities and a love triangle. These are just some of the things awaiting you in Realore Studios' newest time management game, All my Gods. Help direct your people in building their city, expanding their lands and learning new technologies as you slowly earn the approval of your fellow pantheon members. You can't just be a son of Saturn anymore, you've got to make a name for yourself as a god in your own right!
The Clockwork Man is a beautifully illustrated hidden object game from Total Eclipse. Set in a stunning steampunk world, you follow aspiring engineer Miss Miranda Calomy and her clockwork companion Sprocket as they travel from London across the seas and beyond. The adventure doesn't stray far from the hidden object standard, but the story and setting are exquisitely presented and the game itself a true joy to experience.
Ready to scratch your hidden object itch? A new Hidden Expedition has arrived! Along with the Mystery Case Files series, the Hidden Expedition games are among the best-known titles in the genre. And for good reason. Hidden Expedition: Amazon has extraordinarily high production values, interesting gameplay that tweaks the familiar formula in very subtle ways, and plenty of crowded scenes to scrutinize.
A casual game that both challenges and chides you is finally here, and it's time to cater to your toughest customer yet: Chef Gordon Ramsay. Hell's Kitchen is a resource management management sim based on the gritty reality-television cooking competition show of the same name. Take control of both serving and cooking as you seat customers and prepare meals to meet chef Ramsay's high expectations. Perform well and raise your rank from dishwasher to Senior Chef, but if you fail you suffer Ramsay's fiery, scornful wrath.