Eternal Journey: New Atlantis is an amazing science fiction adventure wrapped up in an exquisite bow. Time to forgo the ghosties, ghoulies, and long-legged beasties and set off for a kick-butt adventure to the stars! Or the bottom of the ocean. Whatever. This unique game from Alawar is a hidden object hybrid with a phenomenal story and a lot of extras, and you certainly won't mind taking a dive deep below the sea just to, well, see what you can see... in the sea.
Azada combines elements from a number of casual genres to create a game that's one of the most unique titles I've played in months. Take a point-and-click game such as Myst, then combine it with item hunting from Mystery Case Files and throw in a dash of short puzzles just for fun. Everything is so elegantly combined that you can't help but keep playing, both to uncover the rest of the story and to experience more puzzles.
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.
Royal Envoy is an incredibly addictive mix of strategy, city building and wack-a-mole. Hopping across a series of islands, you have to visit the respective villages on each and repair them. In reality, though, you are playing little logic puzzles. Each village has a set of goals — build certain buildings, meet upgrade requirements, attain a specific level of civic happiness or make a set sum of money. In your way is the clock, obtuse pirates and the odd piece of undergrowth.
When a gang of puppies ruins the baby shower being planned by Flo's friend Quinn, it's up to Flo to fix everything and make sure every goes off without a hitch. It better be perfect, because it seems all of Diner Town is getting ready for this shower. Oh, there's one more problem...the expecting mother, Vicky, is missing. You had better find her too in this point-and-click adventure sequel to 2009's Avenue Flo.
Alt Shift gives us an all new Shift-style game with smoother graphics, deeper puzzles, and a healthy dose of mini-games. The story is one that we've heard before. It's your basic "dimensional traveler meets opposite gendered partner, evil mad scientist kidnaps partner for unclear reasons, dimensional traveler must defeat mad scientist through clever puzzle platforming," story. Like Shakespeare wrote.
Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy stamps its way into the hidden object scene and holds its ground with well-integrated story and gameplay, great artwork, and logical hiding places for items. It's perfect for casual audiences who aren't looking for a lot of challenge but want a good gaming experience nonetheless.
If you've seen one match three game, you've seen 'em all, right? Azkend aims to change that, but not in the way you might think. Instead of shaking up the gameplay or introducing awkward new features, developer MythPeople spent time polishing the game to a brilliant shine. The end result is typical puzzle gameplay with an absolutely gorgeous visual design and sound package. It goes to prove that a rich presentation can turn an otherwise ordinary game into a real gem.
Natalie Brooks: Mystery at Hillcrest High is fun, casual gameplay at its best. With this game Alawar shows its determination to go toe-to-toe with the big guns of the hybrid field, Mystery Case Files and Hidden Expedition. The narrative structure is delightful, the games and puzzles fun, and the action cut-scenes thrilling. Quirky, charming, exciting, and just plain fun, give Natalie Brooks a try! Even if it does
mean going back to high school, however briefly.
Magic Encyclopedia: Moonlight is the sequel to Magic Encyclopedia, which sent young magic student Katrina chasing all over the globe in search of her brother. Katrina is a little older now, but her brother still has the habit of getting himself lost. Once again she must travel the world, searching for her wayward sibling and a favorite professor, who also happens to be a werewolf. It's a solid and satisfying hidden object adventure.
Avalon is a beautifully illustrated casual simulation game that focuses on gathering resources and exploring a magical forest. It ditches the traditional top-down point of view in favor of a sidescrolling 2D perspective which, surprisingly, diminishes that cerebral simulation feeling. As with any casual sim, it's easy to see the influence Virtual Villagers has had, but Avalon strays well off the rails with its setting, graphical style, and the ability to inspire you to explore the world around you.
When does science go too far? How advanced can an artificial intelligence get before it is too advanced? And at what point does an homage cease to be an homage? The answers to these questions and more can be found in Condition, a sci-fi platform shooter by abielins and Lycheesoup that's just a little reminiscent of Cave Story.
Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery is a new hidden object/adventure/mystery hybrid by Sulus Games. You play FBI agent Claire Ellery assigned to a case in a fishing village so small it can't be found by GPS, which should be your first hint that something's rotten.
In this fourth installment of Blue Tea Games' darkly dramatic adventure hybrid series, you join a band of femme fatales, once victims in other fairytales, to fight against a power-warped villainess and her plague of mist wolves. Fragmented object search scenes, side quests for cursed items, and a nice offering of gently-challenging puzzles add to your immersion in this action-filled, and oft times violent, adventure.
Aztec Tribe from Merry Pen Games is a casual combination of Farm Frenzy and Build-a-lot. Between building and upgrading gardens, mines and houses and managing a slew of resources, you'll help an adventuresome tribe establish a new home in a faraway land. It's a rewarding and relaxing game that delivers extra challenge only when you want it.
In Ice Blast you take control of Skye, Luna, and Sun and destroy ice crystals to restore the world to its happy warm-like state. Using a fun puzzle/strategy layout reminiscent of The Lost Vikings, you must find the most efficient way to clear each field of ice to earn points and upgrade the girls' abilities.
Women's Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey is the latest installment in the murder mystery/hidden object adventure game series based on the books and television program of the same name. Investigating the death of a young boy, you play the role of several different experts, each with a specialization and accompanying gameplay mode. Gather evidence and clues and piece things together in the forensics lab to solve the mystery!
The pickles are attacking! Run! And while you're running, why not set up a few defensive towers to take out the Horripickles and Fisquitoes chasing you? In Sandlot's latest game, Monster Mash, you must protect storybook villages and their people from evil fairy tale monsters. It's a tower defense game with artwork, characters and plot taken right out of a children's book, and it's every bit as surreal as you might think.
Hidden Expedition: Devil's Triangle is a gorgeous, fun, mind-bending casual gameplay ride. Fans of the old series should not be disappointed, and folks new to the Hidden Expedition games can enjoy as well. And, of course, any old fuddy-duddies (like me) who remember the days of the classic adventure game should enjoy the nostalgia of a point-and-click done right.
Based on the Defoe classic, Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is a game that straddles the now-familiar gap between hidden object and adventure genres. Young Robinson Crusoe was born to a merchant in the mid 1600s, but his heart belonged to the sea. After years of traveling across the oceans, a storm ravages his vessel, stranding him on a deserted beach. His ship seems mostly intact, so Crusoe boards it in the hopes of finding food, supplies, and any surviving shipmates. It's your job to help the boy stay alive and repair the ship so he can find his way home.
Decades ago, the ship Pandora
met with tragedy at sea while returning to America with some very... special cargo. Tonight, the phone rings and your grandfather has called to confess something terrible. Are the fears of an old man groundless? Or is there something else in the dark in this point-and-click hidden object game? You're about to find out you can't leave your past behind... no matter how hard you try.
The Legend of Crystal Valley is a mini-epic adventure game with an eclectic mix of fantasy and sci-fi elements. Gather items, solve both environmental and inventory puzzles, and examine everything you see as you travel through over 150 locations, each just as extraordinary as the last.
In this first chapter of The Fall Trilogy, a new adventure/hidden object hybrid game, Kheops has taken the look and feel of a large, platform-style or large-file game and condensed it down into easier casual gameplay. A nice intro for those new to the genre, while being challenging enough for those who love the larger, more immersion-filled experience of large-file games. Beautiful, alluring, and fun to play, The Fall Trilogy: Chapter 1 is a promising start to a new series. Here's hoping the trend continues!
With its darker and more powerful storyline and haunting music Princess Isabella: Return of the Curse still delivers the goods of involving, entertaining, challenging gameplay. The ability to chose two different modes of play makes Princess Isabella fun for both beginners to the field and seasoned adventurers looking for a challenge. Beautiful beyond belief and exciting to play Princess Isabella: Return of the Curse is a definite hit.
So, like, here's like, the thing. I like, have a mall and you like, don't. Like, not yet, anyway. Also, I'm like going to stop using the word "like" now because it's, like, so like annoying. Instead, I'll tell you about Mall-a-Palooza from RTS Casuals, a time management sim that's all about building stores and nurturing a thriving mall crowd, complete with annoying teenagers with a proclivity for the word "like"!
Enlightenus is a story-driven hidden object adventure game made backwards. Instead of looking for and collecting a list of items in cluttered rooms, your job is to find where items belong and put them back. Compare your inventory with the objects on the screen and decipher which items go in which location. It's a simple gameplay switcheroo that shoves Enlightenus away from the pack and into the spotlight.
In the world of time management/casual simulation games there are plenty of Build-a-Lot clones, so it was exciting a few years back when a new player entered the field with Virtual City. Rather than concentrate on building or development, Virtual City took the genre in a whole new direction by focusing the gameplay on the movement of goods, services, and people. Now, G5 Entertainment is back with Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort, which takes the transportation madness to new and interesting heights.
The life of a fairy tale detective must be an exhausting one. For one thing, you seem to get called in at a moment's notice all over the world whenever anything strange happens. For another, you must then spend a lot of time fighting your way through fairy tales as they were originally meant to be: dark, scary, and dangerous. However, you are again up to the task in the latest adventure/hidden object hybrid from Blue Tea Games, Dark Parables: Rise of the Snow Queen.
Rhianna Ford & The DaVinci Letter is a fun wild ride through a captivating story that grabs hold and doesn't let go until you reach the resolution. Pretty to look at, easy on the ears, and with a story and characters that actually make you care, Rhianna Ford stands above the ever crowded field of Hidden Object/Adventure hybrids and offers lots of entertaining gameplay.
How great is it to be a detective? You wear expensive suits, your hair always looks perfect no matter what angle you're seen from . . . oh! And of course you get to utilize everything from hidden objects, spot-the-difference, fun puzzles and more to catch your man! And if you do it by playing one of Big Fish Games' newest releases, CSI:NY, you get to do it all with a substantially decreased likelihood of getting shot! And hey, who doesn't like not getting shot?
Alabama Smith in Escape from Pompeii is a new adventure game that builds inventory puzzles into a hidden object-style interface. You play the young Alabama Smith, an archaeology student who has just been given the opportunity to study in Naples. His mentor tells him of a mysterious amulet buried in the ruins of Pompeii that is rumored to grant the owner the ability to travel through time.
The Wizard is missing and with the help of his magical pen you must conjure up all that is hidden to find him. This game is about finding what's missing, both by revealing pictures in magical books, and figuring out from the word clues which items are NOT in the scene. With the magic pen you reconstitute the mysterious invisible world to make it visible.
Kuros is Sandlot Games' first foray into the realm of hidden object adventure games. Taking a page from the Dream Chronicles series, Kuros blends gorgeous environments with a slew of inventory-based puzzles along with clever mini-games that round out the experience. It's a beautiful game from beginning to end, one that you'll be glad you ventured into!
It's Youda time! Youda Safari takes time management to the carefully-controlled realm of animal photography. Failing safari businesses are being turned into hunting grounds, and as the ever-helpful Lucy, you have agreed to help a friend liven up his tours. After all, shooting animals with cameras is better than with guns.
Be a King is a new fantasy strategy title from 300AD. It follows in the tracks of games such as King Mania, Forgotten Lands: First Colony, and the Build-a-Lot series and blends a streamlined building-centric real-time strategy game with a handful of casual knowhow.
Beautiful, engaging, lengthy, difficult, Dreamland is everything that you could want in a hidden object/adventure hybrid and more. A feast for the eyes, ears, and brains, evoking that long ago distrust of the traveling carnival and showing the evil that can lurk beneath the surface of any childhood fantasy. Take the time to enjoy the experience and the thrills of Dreamland.
Awem Studio has done it again, putting together a prequel sequel to the fun title, The Island: Castaway. In The Island: Castaway 2, play as the young tribesman, Yati, as he travels around the island during a time when everything was whole and right, just before any 'strangers' came. Using the same interface that worked for them before, Awem Studio offers another great simulation game that weaves a tale of wonder and mysticism.
Loco Mogul is a new casually-oriented sim game from ApeZone. Accurately described as a cross between Oasis and Railroad Tycoon, your job is to survey uncharted territory, build a railway connecting towns, then run a train from station to station, picking up and delivering shipment carts as efficiently as possible. It's an ambitious combination of genres that plays both like a strategy game and a resource management title, complete with rail-themed music and visuals.
Seek out your destiny, young knight! Or candlemaker. Or beast tamer. Or cook! In Cute Knight Kingdom, a fantasy life simulator from Hanako Games, you'll guide a young girl with a mysterious past to any one of dozens of endings. Will you become a renowned warrior? Or will you settle down and carry on the family business? Despite some repetitive gameplay, Cute Knight Kingdoms is an addictive little title that will be right at home with anyone who enjoys open-ended simulators.
Are you the type of person who walks into a room and immediately thinks about a remodel? "Ew... who put those curtains with that carpet? And that coffee table is way too close to the couch. How do you reach the window?" Perhaps you like to dabble in feng-shui. Or, maybe you're one of those weekend warriors when it comes to home-improvement. In any case, you're ready to try out your hand at design. If so, welcome home. Home Sweet Home, that is.
The Mystery of the Crystal Portal is the latest casual title to bend the genre mold and create a hidden object/adventure hybrid. This one succeeds where many other efforts fail, however, by ramping up the level of intrigue and by building relationships between items you find and objects on the screen. The result is less of a hidden object game and more of a still-screen adventure title... with a few missing items.
A follow-up to the 2008 hit Escape the Museum, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure continues to bend the hidden object/adventure barrier with a captivating game of inventory puzzles and interactive scenery. You play Dr. Susan Anderson, an archaeologist who receives a treasure hunter's journal and embarks on quests to find new pieces for her museum. The slick visuals paired with an impeccable presentation and strong puzzle design make it a solid entry in the cross-genre adventure wars.
The foggy town of Bitterford, Maine, has been deserted for decades after a devastating earthquake, and rumours of hauntings makes it the perfect location to film a little low-budget ghost hunting. But when the show's psychic consultant calls you in to help, you find the rest of the team wants nothing to do with it, and discover that the secrets held in quiet Bitterford may be more ancient, and more deadly, than you're prepared for. A hidden-object adventure packed with top-notch production values, scares aplenty, and Cassandra. Lots and lots of Cassandra. *sigh*
Flora Dale has been having one of those days. First there was the excitement of the birthday party and the lottery ticket, and then later, the horrible fall down the stairs. Now she finds herself in a hospital bed, trapped inside her own subconscious. If she hopes to survive, she must discover what has happened. Faced with obscure puzzles and hidden clues, Flora must pull off the most challenging of escapes: from her own mind. If you think you can handle the disturbing landscape of the victim's mind, then you must play Hidden Secrets: The Nightmare.
There comes a time for everyone when your mom takes away your car privileges until you get out of the house, you slob. Seriously, what is your deal? Get a job. Your father didn't fight through Contra 2 without the Konami Code to support a good-for-nothing kid. That's how my life story started. It's also how My Life Story starts, an entertaining time management sim from Game Fools. It's set in an unnamed small town, where your mom owns the only house and she's kicking you out. Time to find a job! Fortunately, like any fictional town, there are job opportunities ripe for the taking.
When a New York City book critic is murdered, dressed up to look like Frankenstein's monster, and hooked up to an electrical current, it's time to call the one detective who actually prefers
the really weird cases: Kate Beckett. If she brings her "consultant," a mystery writer named Richard Castle, along with her, so much the better. Such is the premise of Castle: Never Judge A Book By Its Cover, a tie-in hidden object game that was written as a companion to the television show Castle
. It appeals to more than just fans of the show, though, and blends hidden object scenes and puzzles seamlessly. Can you find the Hardcover Killer before it's too late?
Casual games built around sets of mini-games are gaining popularity, as are pared-down strategy titles that keep the spirit of the genre intact while trimming the bloat. Then something like Floating Kingdoms comes along and somehow manages to combine both: a simplified strategy game that's one part resource management, two parts mini-games. And it does it in a light-hearted, fun kind of way that just about any age group can enjoy.
Who would have thought parking cars could be turned into a casual game? Parking Dash, following in the long footsteps of other time management games such as Diner Dash, Wedding Dash, Cooking Dash, etc., twists the genre's formula around a bit to park the game at a safe distance from Cloneville. The end result, like Airport Mania, is a breath of fresh air that breaks the mold in all the right places.