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.
Another casual game that tries its hand at blending genres, Curse of the Pharaoh: Quest for Nefertiti takes two popular game types to ancient Egypt for a fascinating puzzle-adventure experience. The game's main tricks are spot-the-difference scenes along with a few simple hidden object excursions. You'll also unlock minigames and solve adventure-style puzzles using artifacts you find and assemble in dusty old tombs. It's a relatively easy game, making it accessible to a wide range of players, but the real hook is the deliciously mysterious Egyptian setting based on the real-life mystery of Queen Nefertiti's burial.
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.
- • Rainbow Web II
- • Gun Mute
- • The Hangover
- • Powder
Hangovers, guns, and retro roguelike games. Sounds like a typical Saturday night in the 80s. This weekend, however, we're celebrating the good ole days casual gaming style, which results in less money spent, fewer blackouts, and absolutely no inexplicable bruises.
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.
For those who enjoyed the previously reviewed Ambivalence, there's a brand new game, Confined, just released today from the same Japanese developer, FonGeBooN. This appears to be a fairly standard point-and-click room escape game until you dig a little deeper. From what I can tell so far, pixel hunting is minimal (though present), instead the focus is on puzzle solving, which is always a plus when it comes to games like this.
Following the highly-successful footsteps of puzzle-RPG hybrids, Spandex Force combines several match 3-style jewel swapping games with a sim-like spoof of superhero life. Patrol the city surrounding your headquarters searching for thieves and citizens in need. When you engage a bank robber or intervene to save a helpless human, a simple puzzle interface appears as your challenge to complete the task. It's a surprisingly fresh take on a rather tired genre that scores major points for wearing a wacky sense of humor on its sleeve.
- • The Count of Monte Cristo
- • Seven Minutes
- • To Hell in a Hamper
- • DoomRL
She is tolerable, I suppose. But she is not handsome enough to tempt me. Bingley, I am in no humour to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. Go back to your partner and enjoy her smiles. You're wasting your time on me. Just give me a few Weekend Download games and that's all I could ever need.
Miss Teri Tale is the first installment in a planned series of mystery-themed hidden object games. In a delicate departure from the established formula, Miss Teri Tale takes on more of an adventure guise similar to the recently-released Cate West - The Vanishing Files. The subtle shift from object finding to crime solving lends a lighter focus to the experience, and the game's hip soundtrack, gorgeous scenery and slightly satiric tone complete a surprisingly polished and entertaining package.
- • Sparkle
- • Knytt Nano
- • Gravitation
- • Neverball
- • Out of Order
- • Return to Sector 9
A very special treat reaches lucky gamers this weekend: a mini-release from Nifflas, author of Within a Deep Forest and both Knytt games. KnyttNano isn't much more than two tiny experiments Nifflas cooked up while trying out new ideas, so don't expect a life-shattering sequel-sized experience, just two simple games worth their weight in atmosphere alone.
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.
- • The Nightshift Code
- • Painajainen
- • Beneath a Steel Sky
- • Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection
- • Avernum 5
The Weekend Download arrives with glee, Bringing fun games to you, from me. Just download and play, Then sit there all day, On Saturday you couldn't be more free!
We've just finished a complete walkthrough (with images) for Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze!! Be warned: contains major spoilers, so proceed only as a last resort.
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 Sims Carnival BumperBlast
- • Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden
- • Teewars
- • Legacy of Flan: Flan Rising
- • Ethereal Dreams
It's old-school RPG fest here on this installment of Weekend Download! Three out of five games featured have that special "console flavor" those of us who grew up playing SNES games can't get enough of. Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is a must-play simply for its odd setting and premise, while Legacy of Flan turns the RPG battle system on its head and Ethereal Dreams brightens your day with nice artwork. And if you aren't into the role playing scene, give BumperBlast or Teewars a shot for a little more action.
- • Caribbean Hideaway
- • Hurrican
- • Nimuh
- • Excelsior Phase One: Lysandia
- • Really Rather Good Battles In Space
This week we've got a few mega-doses of nostalgic bliss for our seasoned gamers. At the top of the list is Excelsior, a deceptively simple-looking role playing game that doesn't try anything unconventional but still manages to deliver an excellent experience. Hurrican, on the other hand, modernizes a classic shooter by leaving the gameplay intact and giving the visuals a facelift. And if retro gaming isn't your thing, we've also included some not-old titles that are sure to please your twitching gaming fingers (and eyes).
Turbo Subs, a follow-up to Turbo Pizza, is a food serving time management game along the lines of Cake Mania 2 and Diner Dash. On vacation from the hectic pace of serving pizza (at turbo speeds), Rebecca and Robert travel to New York to relax. The entrepreneurial bug has bitten them, however, and when they see a small subway car they just can't help themselves. With Robert behind the sandwich counter and Rebecca serving food, the pair opens up a subway shop and hopes for success.
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.
- • Blood Ties
- • Swarm Racer
- • Psychosomnium
- • Big Box of Blox
- • Guru Logic Champ
- • Millenipede
It's time for Mysterious Mysteries of the Unknown! Mysteries! We've uncovered an old, import-only Japanese Game Boy Advance puzzle game from a company that folded shortly after publishing the title, a 450 year-old investigator/vampire, and a Cactus release drops you in a dream-themed platforming game that makes no sense. What a world we live in.
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.
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.
- • The Great Tree
- • The Griffon Legend
- • Fishie Fishie
- • Tile Crawl
Enjoy a feisty romp through a flat, 2D dungeon now and again? That's good, because this weekend we've got two games that drop you in the middle of a maze of corridors and monsters with only a pixelated sword to save your hide. And then there's a fish that eats other fish and faeries that collect shiny pollen. Go figure.
- • Mystery in London
- • Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues
- • Pingus
- • Midnight Mansion
- • Battleships Forever
- • Passage
- • Large Animal 50% Discount Survey
Lemmings as penguins? A game for Mac only? A shmup-based RTS title? A game about mushy emotions and feelings? Games that are award finalists for design innovation? It can only be... Weekend Download!!!
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!
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.
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.
- • Fairway Solitaire
- • Aquaria
- • Jojo's Fashion Show
- • Aveyond 2: Ean's Quest
- • Wizball
Yay, a second weekend download! Woo hoo! There were so many games to feature this weekend, we had to split it into two parts to accomodate them all. Also, I had to clone myself, and if anybody asks, that was a necessity, not a fun weekend project.
- • Agatha Christie: Peril at End House
- • Trilby: The Art of Theft
- • Rocks'n'Diamonds
- • Lost in the Static
- • PuffBOMB
Trilby: Peril at the Static Art of Rocks'n'BOMB is our featured game this weekend. Or... something like that. Gameplay involves placing bombs on the screen to guide a gentleman thief through each level (stealthily) while finding hidden objects along the way. Don't forget to grab an emerald while hopping through the confusing mass of animated static!
- • Protector
- • Chromatron
- • HoldoffRed
- • The Tuttles: Madcap Misadventures
- • Jumper Redux
Weekend Download is here! Caution: Weekend Download may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. Weekend Download contains a liquid core which, if exposed due to rupture
should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at. If Weekend Download begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. Weekend Download may stick to certain types of skin. When not in use, Weekend Download should be returned to its special container
and kept under refrigeration. Do not taunt Weekend Download.
- • Aveyond
- • FastCrawl
- • Route 960
- • Deathworm
- • Head Over Heels
Did you know that today is the 328th day of the year? You only have 37 days left to ponder the events of 2007 before you leap into the future and begin living the life of a 2008ian. Hope you have your hoverboots ready.
- • Diner Dash: Hometown Hero
- • ToJam Thing
- • Untitled Story
- • I Wanna Be The Guy
- • Banana Nababa
This edition of Weekend Download serves as a firm reminder that some video games used to be painfully difficult. None of this coddling, tutorialized hand-holding gameplay you find today. Back then you were tossed in a blocky four-color world and had to fend for yourself. Brutally difficult games may be a thorn in the side of modern-day casual gamers, but it will help you appreciate the experience programmers have collectively gained over the decades.
- • Nanda's Island
- • Sam & Max season 2
- • Final Vision
- • Marble Arena
- • Enigmo
By far the biggest, most first-paragraph-worthy news of in the downloadable world this week is Sam & Max are back. Not only are they back for another season of episodic adventure games, but the highest rated release from season one is now free. Free as in download it now. No excuses. We've also got a healthy portion of other great games to download, including an almost-too-cutesy casual game, Nanda's Island, that came out of nowhere to steal my afternoon. Don't you just love games that are... good?!
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.
- • Dr. Daisy Pet Vet
- • Ballhalla
- • Slaves to Armok II: Dwarf Fortress
- • Mr. Heart Loves You Very Much
- • Roach Roundup
This edition of Weekend Download is the most love-filled edition ever. There's so much love below, you might think it's Valentine's Day. But it's not, it's just a whole lotta love. For example, tons of people love Dwarf Fortress. Tons. That collective love is now focused here on this very page, and if you download and play, you'll experience some of that love, too. Dr. Daisy Pet Vet is all about the pet love. Just look at those cute animals! And the kitty, she's reading a magazine! The energy orbs in Ballhalla love each other so much all you have to do is click them and they get all cozy with each other. And to top it all off, Mr. Heart just straight-up loves you. Very much, I hear.
- • 5 Days a Stranger
- • Loonyland: Halloween Hill
- • Spooks
- • Knytt Stories
- • Fate by Numbers
- • Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst
It's time for adventures in Halloween Land! The ghostly holiday is just a few days away and we're pouring on the spooky games. This special installment of Weekend Download showcases a handful of adventure games that get the Halloween atmosphere just right. Paired with our Halloween-themed Link Dump Friday and sprinkled with a few Halloween-style reviews in the coming days, you should have no excuse not to don that Super Mario costume and head out on the town.
- • Nuclear Ball 2
- • Exolon DX
- • Synaesthete
- • Puzzle Quest
- • Shellblast
Gene is shorter than Bruce but taller than Imhotep. Imhotep is taller than Gene but shorter than Lord Scotland. Lord Scotland is twice the height of Gene and Brutus combined, but only 1/10 the height of Millsy. Millsy is at a constant height of X-Y. If Gene stands exactly one nautical mile away from Lord Scotland, how tall is Imhotep? Find out in the games below! Or... maybe not.
- • Prism: Light the Way
- • TIGSource B-game Competition
- • King Mania
- • H2O: Heaven2Ocean
- • Narobiyu
- • Narbacular Drop
It may surprise you to know that each and every Weekend Download article is written by a team of highly trained elves adept at both gaming and making waffles. This week, however, the elves have been replaced. By gnomes. The gnomes do a comparable job with words, links and images. But let me tell you, the waffles aren't nearly as good. It's like that old saying that neither I nor anyone else has ever heard before: If you want waffles, better get the elves.
- • Build-a-lot
- • XIQ
- • GoldenEye 2D
- • The Goonies
- • Kaipuu
Stuck at work on the weekend? Tired of spending your Saturday/Sunday doing homework? Or are you one of the lucky folk who have two days of (relatively) work-free bliss? In any case, we've got a boatload of distractions for you. No matter if you're hopping the company firewall to grab a few games or just relaxing at home, consider this your excuse for not doing anything especially productive.
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!
- • Zoom Book: The Temple of the Sun
- • Sauerbraten
- • Biniax-2
- • Nelly Cootalot
A smattering of games for the weekend, begging you to answer just one question: exactly how much is a 'smattering' anyway? Serve yourself up a helping of Sauerbraten if you're in the mood to shoot some baddies, and puzzle fans can delight in not one but two games to send their neurons in a tizzy. Always careful to cater to my adventure gaming bretheren, you'll also find a fun little adventure title full of pirates!
- • G.H.O.S.T. Hunters: The Haunting of Majesty Manor
- • What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed
- • Timetravel Bloboid
- • Quinn
- • A Tribute to the Rolling Boulder
It's another edition of Weekend Download! Join us as we pose the important questions in life: What would happen if you could rewind time with the touch of a spacebar? Who owns Majesty Manor? What would happen if the rolling rocks from Indiana Jones got a mind of their own? And just what does Linus Bruckman see when his eyes are closed?
I was skeptical and wasn't expecting much from Ricochet Infinity at first. There are a lot of Breakout clones out there, including a lot that use dynamic targets, the most impressive of which is Break Quest. And while Ricochet Infinity is no Break Quest, it is a highly engaging and addictive game that should satisfy both breakout and shmup fans alike.
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.
Everybody likes flinging around barrels full of toxic waste, right? Toss, tumble.... Oops. Well, perhaps not in a real environment, unless you are a law-breaking factory owner with questionable ethics. But, when tossed across a gorgeous fantasy landscape, lined with carefully placed adjustable platforms and forces, it isn't so bad. When you get to clear the way with dynamite, and watch things explode... now we're talking.
- • Wilfred, the Hero
- • The Stone of Destiny
- • N-Ball
- • Coaster Rider
What does a muscular bunny rabbit, a pegasus roller coaster, and a bouncy rubber ball have in common? They all enjoy the musky aroma and cherry/strawberry fusion flavor of JIG Cola! That, and they happen to star in games featured on this week's Weekend Download. While you recover from your 7/7/07 party bonanza, let these games soothe your soul and tickle your brain into casual gaming submission.
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.
Travelogue 360: Rome is the second in a series of 3D hidden-object games by Big Fish Games (the first was set in Paris), and it is a great introduction to the genre. If you're already a hidden-object expert, you may find the search a tad easy, but the visuals are exceptional and worth the virtual trip to Rome.
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.
Puzzle fans rejoice! A sequel to the critically acclaimed action puzzler, Professor Fizzwizzle, is here and it's HOT! Just released by Grubby games, Professor Fizzwizzle and the Molten Mystery picks up where the first game leaves off and presents over 200 fresh new levels to sink your puzzle-loving teeth into.
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!
Nanny Mania follows a formula similar to downloadable games such Cake Mania where you play a working woman going through the daily grind in order to make a living. The Mayor of Suburbia and his wife are too busy to cook and clean up after their growing family, so it's your job to straighten furniture, do the laundry, and perform all the little tasks that need to be done during the day. It's an extraordinarily well-made game that beats the competitors by leaps and bounds.
Similar to the Mystery Case Files series, Hidden Expedition: Everest takes the tried-and-true object hunting formula and whisks it away to exotic locations. You play one of several teams of explorers racing to be the first to climb the snowy mountain peak. The path is blocked, however, and the only way up is to locate a mysterious adventurer who knows of a hidden passage. Head off to South America and search the land for clues leading to this strange traveler.
- • Play with Fire
- • Sheeplings
- • Mystery of Shark Island
- • Grimm's Hatchery
- • The Apprentice: Los Angeles
It's the weekend, Mothers Day even, and everyone here at Casual Gameplay has taken the weekend off to spend with our families. But we also realize you may be looking for something new to play, and so we'll leave you with a few choice selections of the latest casual games making the rounds on the download circuit. Be sure to let us know which of them deserves a full review.
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.
Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst is a "hunt the item" game similar to Hidden Expedition: Titanic. The Queen of England (affectionately known as "Queenie") has sent you to investigate the mystery behind this creepy cluttered mansion. But beware. Not only is this house abandoned, and likely haunted, but it is also filled with strange twists, puzzling locks and hidden clues.
Hidden Expedition: Titanic is a seemingly simple game of finding objects in a picture. The pictures have a mostly antique, nautical theme, and you need to find all of the objects on your list before your oxygen runs out. As you progress through the levels, the number of rooms you need to explore within the time frame increases.
Egg Vs. Chicken is a wacky action/puzzle game where you must fend off guerilla chickens by lining up and flicking different colored eggs. There are very few gaming experiences that match stockpiling brown eggs in a corner and flinging the yolks at a group of attacking chickens.
Fizzball is the latest game from Matt Parry and Ryan Clark of Grubby Games—who gave us the perfectly adorable Professor Fizzwizzle. It was described to me as "a combination between Breakout, Arkanoid, and Katamari Damacy," which pretty much makes it compulsory playing.
Plantasia is a charming and addictive downloadable game about gardening that requires you to dig up rocks and soil, plant a variety of multi-colored flowers and vegetables, water them, and defend your garden against malicious bugs. These gardening chores earn you mana, which can be spent on upgrading your tools, moving plants around the garden and buying new seeds.
Cake Mania is a fast-paced arcade game where you play the role of Jill, a new graduate from culinary school, who returns home to discover her grandparents' bakery is closed. Business fell when the new Mega-Mart opened and not even their special recipes could help them compete. Jill decides to open her own old fashioned bakery to earn money and re-open her grandparents' store. Through nearly 50 levels and four different locations you'll help Jill serve customers as efficiently as possible.
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!
This next game is inherently gratifying to play, and it just feels good even though it's very short. Mr. Figgles is an action arcade game in which the object is simply to collect all the stars on the play field, within the time limit, while avoiding any traps and enemies.
Pong was an amazing and innovative game in its time. Unfortunately, after the novelty wore off there just wasn't much gameplay left to hold our interest. And by today's standards, it's just too simple a game to be much fun anymore.
GameLab leverages the simplicity of Pong, as well as that...
From PopCap.com comes this beautiful and very popular, well-conceived puzzle game that is similar to games like Bust-A-Move. Gameplay consists of shooting colored beads onto the play field using the mouse for aiming and shooting, aligning three or more in a row removes them from play. Special power-ups and bonuses abound that add spice and variety, as well as strategic elements, to the gameplay.