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.
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.
Think you know ghosts? Think again. When they discover their dream house is host to a gaggle of unruly spirits, the only place a young couple has left to turn is the strange little man who shows up on their front step and seems to know a little too much about what's going on. Mishap: An Accidental Haunting represents a benchmark in quality for the hidden object genre by Namco. Featuring eight chapters, 32 hidden object scenes, riddles, minigames, and more ghosts than you'll know what to do with, it's a fun, beautiful romp through an out-of-this world location.
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!
The underlying structure of the gameplay has completely changed from the first and second games. Previous installments were more point-and-click adventures, wandering back and forth from scene to scene to complete an area. Mystery from Atlantis, on the other hand, has jettisoned the moving about and created a game that is much more of a classic hidden object with adventure elements. If you're after gorgeous hidden object gameplay with a slight adventure flavor, Samantha Swift: Mystery from Atlantis is sure to scratch that itch.
You discover your ancestor's ancient castle, but it's set to be sold in nine days. Maybe you can find something that proves that this castle is yours? Hidden in Time: Mirror Mirror won't keep you on the edge of your seat, but it is a fun romp through hidden object land that would be perfect for those times when you just want a little relaxing amusement.
Historic Dire Grove, although closed for the season, is now open to the public for only $6.99 or a Big Fish Game Club credit. The game lives up to the quality expectations of the Mystery Case Files series, and fans of hidden object and adventure games won't likely be disappointed. Download the demo, read our review, or consult our Dire Grove Walkthrough.
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.
Unravel a mystery in a strange future where you can't trust anyone... maybe not even who you think you are. Nikopol is a large file adventure game with a lavish presentation and intricate story that overshadows its gameplay hiccups.
What's a person to do if they just want some match 3 goodness? Check out The Treasures of Montezuma 2 by Alawar Games. There's a ton of gorgeous gameplay featured here. Complete the initial 40 levels of Adventure mode and unlock lots more to do. Additional difficulty modes and 40 levels of puzzle mode, and even an endless mode, too. There are even trophies for various achievements as well that you can aim to collect.
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.
Westward IV: All Aboard is a solid addition to the ever increasing Westward pantheon. There's not a lot of change from Westward III, but why mess with a winning formula? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Of course, Westward IV offers new characters, new scenarios, new upgrades, and the same casual gameplay fun of its predecessors.
It's more Flo and more of the finely-tuned time management action we've come to love in Hotel Dash: Suite Success! Flo's friend Quinn is expanding her wedding business by offering honeymoon packages, but the hotel she's booked is a bit of a lemon. Enter Flo and her uncanny ability to turn any business from failure to success in the course of one casual game!
Dire Grove is a beautiful game that incorporates live action video sequences to tell the chilling tale of an ancient Celtic legend. And although it picks right up where the previous game in the series ends, it is a stand alone game that can be enjoyed without ever playing any previous installment. Dire Grove is perhaps not as long as Return to Ravenhearst, and yet it still manages to buck the current trend of ever-shrinking gameplay time now seen in most adventure/hidden object hybrids. Between the exploration, the hidden object scenes, and the puzzles you are looking at hours of fantastic casual gameplay.
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.
Adventure/hidden object hybrid Escape the Museum creates a tense, tight, wonderful experience that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Escape the Museum is a colorful, wild ride that tops the original in just about every aspect. So buckle up, find that map, charge your cell phone, unleash your inner MacGuyver, and get ready to navigate your way through a collapsing city. Just ignore the homeless guy following you around like a lost puppy. Really, he's there to help.
Are you old enough to remember sitting down in front of the TV on a Sunday night, anticipating the appearance of Angela Lansbury in one of the longest-running mystery series ever? If so, you will be thrilled with Murder, She Wrote by Legacy Interactive, a wonderful mystery hidden object/adventure hybrid based on the long-running television series of the same name. Murder, She Wrote allows the player to join world-renowned mystery author Jessica Fletcher as she makes her way through five brand new murder mysteries.
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.
It had to be tough growing up with a name like Alabama Smith. I'm sure the mullet jokes practically wrote themselves. But somehow the kid named after the 22nd U.S. state made it, growing up to become a successful archaeologist. Now, following Alabama Smith in Escape from Pompeii, the time-traveling ruins scavenger has returned in Alabama Smith in the Quest of Fate. And this time he has to stop a mysterious nemesis searching for magical relics in Peru
Circulate is a physics puzzle game from Pi Eye Games, creator of System Mania and the far-too-cute Kitten Sanctuary. This simple title is built around moving marbles through a circular container so they disappear, whether that be through forming matches, falling into black holes, or even smacking into bombs.
Valerie Porter and the Scarlet Scandal is a stylish hidden object/adventure hybrid set in the roaring 20s. Wander back to a time when men were guys and women were dolls, when gin joints and speakeasies were the happening places to be, and when an intrepid girl reporter could really make a difference. There are 11 chapters and a prologue to this messy tale, each chapter containing multiple HOG scenes interspersed with a variety of mini-games.
Elementals: The Magic Key is a hidden object adventure hybrid that not only gets the item finding sessions right, it also delivers a wonderfully complete battle system that plays out like a turn-based strategy game.
After so many recent disappointments in the length of casual games (especially the HOG games), it's nice to find a game that instead is ready to offer you hours and hours of fun, casual gameplay. So belt up your fanny pack, slather on the sunscreen, don't forget your camera, and enjoy your vacation!
Zombies. Those creepy undead creatures. Ever since George Romero showed us just how nasty the undead can be, zombies have become a staple of good (and bad) horror. And they come in all shapes and sizes. The only thing as varied as the zombies are the ways in which resourceful protagonists come up with to send them back to the grave. But one of the most interesting weapons of choice has to be the bowling ball, as we see in Zombie Bowl-O-Rama.
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.
When Miriel's grandmother discovers a strange egg, they discover that it may only be the beginning in a strange adventure that will take them across the world in trying to unravel the mystery. Of course, Miriel can't neglect the family business either! It's a fast-paced, stylish game of adventure, time-management, and even some hidden object hunting that proves magic doesn't always make things easier.
Romance of Rome is a fabulous, clever, immersive Adventure/Hidden Object hybrid. The breakdown of the game into levels lends itself to casual gameplay. Play a level at a time, or just immerse yourself and play through the whole thing in one shot. The best experience, however, is not to speed through the game but to take a leisurely stroll through ancient Rome. Slow down, relax, enjoy the sumptuous backgrounds and details, and explore the Romance of Rome!
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.
Do you like your hidden object games with a little less fluff and a lot more, well, hidden objects? Little Things is the answer. Sitting pretty next to Pure Hidden, Little Things is a hidden object game that doesn't fool around. All you do is find items, from sheep to elephants to ping pong paddles, by running a magnifying glass along a field of tiny pictures. It's a visually impressive game that delivers exactly what the title promises: lots and lots of tiny little things.
Avenue Flo features everyone's favorite waitress as she tries to help her fellow business owners salvage what could be the biggest wedding Diner Town has ever seen. Tony and Vicky are finally getting married! Maybe. Quinn of Wedding Dash fame is at her wit's end. The rings are missing, the cake has gone bad and all of the butterflies have flown away. Flo quickly springs into action and hits the streets of Diner Town in search of answers.
You are gifted with a peaceful, enjoyable wander through a fairy-tale landscape, picking up little gems of wisdom along the way. Is it worth playing? Yes. If you like HOG games and are not looking for a pulse-pounding experience; simply the joy of finding hidden objects and solving puzzles. For those who enjoy HOG, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the casual gameplay.
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.
The Jolly Gang's Spooky Adventure is a point-and-click adventure game that doesn't take place in a near-fantasy world, a scary haunted mansion, or a series of dream worlds connected by a magical portal. It also doesn't involve anyone's family member heading off to investigate a long-lost artifact. It does contain cheesy visuals and a bit of an adult sense of humor, making it one of the few casual games to target an older crowd. Think of it as a casual version of Ben There, Dan That mixed with your favorite browser-based room escape game.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gemini Lost is a casual village simulation that works to bridge the gap between titles like Virtual Villagers and Sprouts Adventure. During an eclipse, a group of people stumble onto an ancient relic with twelve zodiac symbols on its face. Upon touching one of the tiles, they were transported to a strange new world. Now, the twelve symbols are scattered throughout the land, and it's your job to manage the small tribe so they can assemble the pieces and return home!
My Kingdom for the Princess is a casual resource management/building game from Nevosoft. Mixing elements from simulation titles as well as borrowing from the time management genre, the game puts a big casual gameplay hat over itself and delivers a deceptively linear resource management experience with a surprising amount of strategy.
In the latest Women's Murder Club murder mystery game, you play all four members of the titular group of friends from the books of acclaimed crime novelist James Patterson. Lindsey Boxer is a detective with the San Francisco police force, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Cindy Thomas is a reporter on the crime beat, and Jill Bernhadt is the District Attorney. Each of these characters' skill-sets will come in handy as you make your way through this series of bizarre murders.
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)!
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!
Nancy Drew has returned in a brand new hidden object adventure! The ink is still warm from her previous case, so one would think Nancy gets a little vacation. It's anything but time to relax when a series of "construction accidents" (explosions!) rocks a posh spa/resort, forcing Nancy to investigate without alerting the wealthy clientele.
Much like the Dream Chronicles series or the more recent Princess Isabella: A Witch's Curse, the new casual adventure game Drawn: The Painted Tower drops you in a gorgeously drawn world filled with items to find and puzzles to solve. The story and artwork wrap the game in a brilliantly mysterious package, delivering a feast for your senses as you devour the simple (but tasty!) gameplay.
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!
Ahoy, matees! I be here to tell you the gruesome tale of The Adventures of Mary Ann: Lucky Pirates! It be— ahem, it is a match 3 game that combines three methods of puzzle gameplay with casino games to create an adventure of near-epic proportions. The game itself takes place along a Caribbean that exists only in tall tales and Disney movies. Your job is to help Mary Ann defeat all enemies and find all treasures until she rules the Pirate world.
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!
Span the globe as you track down clues left for you by your late grandfather in a race to find the Jade Coin. Visit exotic locations, uncover priceless artifacts, and solve cunning puzzles in this hidden object adventure.
Appearing out of nowhere like a crazy tropical storm, Coconut Queen has arrived and is ready to give Build-a-lot (and, heck, even Totem Tribe) a challenge for its casual sim throne. Combining the "neighborhood improvement" concept with some inventive unlockables and a subtle sense of humor, Coconut Queen provides a phenomenal gaming experience with enormous replay value.
Wierd, colorful little worm-like creatures with a hunger for colorful fruit and a penchant for musical instruments. Sounds like the formula for the latest pre-school PBS sensation. Instead, we're talking about a fun, quirky little puzzler called Yumsters! 2.
Oh no! The famous Willmore Candy Factory is on its last legs! Orders are being delayed, the pipes in the Chocomat are out of alignment, the furnace has broken down, and there are bits of metal getting into the candies. What's a recently graduated college gal to do? Why, save Grandpa's Candy Factory, of course! It's a fantastic puzzle game packed with variety and visuals so gorgeous, you'll want to eat them. Mmm.
Who knew that something as boring as real estate management would make a good time management game? Hipsoft, the creators of the wildly successful Build-a-Lot series, did, and boy were they right! The latest installment in the series, Build-a-Lot 4: Power Source, has arrived, bringing with it the same balanced and challenging gameplay with a brand new theme: energy efficiency.
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!
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.
The Lost Inca Prophecy, from Seppia Interactive, blends match 3 gameplay with the look and feel of a hidden object/adventure hybrid. You play as Acua, a young Spanish woman living around the time of Columbus. One day a book in your beloved library speaks to you, giving you a prophecy about the doom of the Inca Empire. The next thing you know you are on your way to the New World with your friend Juan de Salcedo — a brave conquistador — as your only companion.
In Burger Shop 2, you are once again tasked with combining ingredients coming from an ever-producing food machine to serve the constant stream of customers coming into the restaurant. In a nice twist on the time management genre, you don't control an actual character, so your speed is limited only by how good you are at clicking.
Picross has returned in World Mosaics 2, a brand new puzzle game from Fugazo. Fans of picross (also known as nonograms, paint by numbers, picture crosswords, etc.) will appreciate World Mosaic's straightforward interface and attractive visual design, while everyone else will get a great introduction to the world of picross. Plenty of puzzles, both easy and difficult, and a little story thrown in for good measure make World Mosaics 2 a great choice for all types of puzzle fans.
It's word game meets RPG in the excellent release from PopCap, Bookworm Adventures Volume 2! Mother Goose leaps from the pages of her book when the Big Bad Wolf comes a-knockin', and our bespectacled hero Lex is the only one who can help. Spell words to damage each enemy as you work your way through 30 chapters, gaining levels and earning unique trophies along the way. It's everything the original Bookworm Adventures was with a little extra oomph.
If large file adventures are not your thing, here is a special freebie treat for Windows users today: the colored light puzzle game, Prism, can be yours absolutely free.
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.
Passport to Perfume is the latest time management game from Mean Hamster Software, creators of Everything Nice. Play as Sophia, a 1940s perfumer who collects ingredients (via hidden object scenes), assembles perfumes, mixes her own scents, and sells her goods to customers as efficiently as she can!
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!
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.
Pure Hidden is designed to be a hidden object game unlike any other. There is no story, no mystery to solve, no thinly-veiled plot designed to accommodate the endless locating of things that have nothing to do with the story, much less the surroundings. Pure Hidden takes a very zen-like approach to the hidden object genre. The games exist to be played, not to serve any external plot or characters. It makes the entire process of playing a relaxing, soothing experience.
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.
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.
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.
- • DinerTown Tycoon
- • Kitten Sanctuary
- • Pahelika: Secret Legends
Our goal is to bring you only the games that are worth playing, meaning most of these titles are left in the forgotten realm of Didn't Quite Make It land. This is especially true with downloadable games, as it's a bit more of a commitment to buy a game than just click on a link and play. Some games look good, play well, and are entertaining enough to be featured, but for one reason or another they just didn't make the cut. Here are a few games that are, by all rights, excellent titles to play, but for one reason or another didn't quite get their own review.
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!
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.
Finally! It's about time a resource management/casual tycoon game came along that's more than a fresh coat of paint and a few new tricks! Hollywood Tycoon puts you in charge of a movie studio, giving you the power to buy scripts, hire actors, build sets and much more. As you earn cash you get to upgrade everything from your sets to actor trailers, prop studios, script centers, distribution buildings and more, allowing you to make bigger, better movies that rake in millions of dollars of profit. And it's fun for hours upon hours, too!
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.
Sprouts Adventure is the latest in the increasingly long line of casual sim games made famous by Virtual Villagers, Totem Tribe, My Tribe, etc. This one separates itself from the pack by clearing away the bloat to leave a streamlined experience behind. Sprouts Adventure gives you a clear, goal-oriented simulation that meters out its rewards at a careful pace, ensuring you are never overwhelmed with choices and fully appreciate each new upgrade you get to use.
As one of six mythical heroes, each with their own set of goals, sail off in search of treasure and your place in history in ancient Greece. Discover legendary cities, meet interesting people . . . and pound the snot out of them for your own financial gain. It's a thankless job, being a hero.
We've just finished a complete walkthrough for Sherlock Holmes: The awakened! Be warned: This guide contains spoilers so use it as a last resort.
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is an ambitious mystery adventure from Frogwares. It simultaneously attempts to remain faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's eponymous sleuth, provide a crossover with another body of work with its own cultish following, and blaze new trails in the well established adventure game genre.
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.
Faerie Solitaire is, at its core, a version of the classic golf-style card game found in Fairway Solitaire. Take cards off the pile or pull cards from the play area that are either one above or one below the target, the ultimate goal being to clear the screen. The usual suit of numbered cards (two through ten, jacks, queens, kings and aces) are at your disposal. It may seem a simplistic set-up, but if you throw in power-ups and a Pokemon-esque pet raising game, something magical is created!
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.
You'd think that being able to do magic would make things like running a magic shop a snap. Just wave your wand and POOF everything is taken care of. Well, turns out it's not all that easy, if Mystic Emporium is any indication. In fact, it's going it take all of your time-management skills to be a successful magic shop owner and satisfy the mystical people and creatures of the realm.
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.
We've just finished a MASSIVE walkthrough for Dracula 3: The Path of the dragon! Be warned: This guide contains spoilers so use it as a last resort.
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.
As you might expect, the objective in Youda Marina is to run a successful marina. You do this by building facilities, attracting visitors, and earning money to gain fame. It's a unique simulation game that offers a very casual gameplay experience, along with the appeal of pretty boats and steel drum reggae music. Make yourself a Pina Colada (or a Shirley Temple) and settle in to live the dream!
Plants vs. Zombies is now available from Big Fish Games for a mere $6.99! That's a steal of a deal for a game that will likely be in the running for Casual Game of the Year 2009.
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.
New from Myth People, creator of Miriel the Magical Merchant and Azkend, comes another matching-based puzzle game with a new take on an old mechanic: Dragon Portals. The friendly dragons have been bound to earth with dark magic. Young Mila is called in to save them by dropping orbs from one dragon to another, matching groups of like-colored ones to keep the dragons aloft. It's a nice departure from most matching games, and combined with Myth People's signature art direction and epic power-ups, makes a game well worth trying out.
While it may be built upon the same time management foundation we're already familiar with, Everything Nice skirts the perimeter of the genre with a recipe-based setup reminiscent of Miriel the Magical Merchant. Fed up with all the violent toys flooding the market, Abby has the idea to create classic, "happy" toys such as teddy bears and jack-in-the-boxes. A local businessman rejects her idea, but then she stumbles across the Wondermachine9000, a magical device that can create anything her imagination conjures. Just the thing she needs to start her own factory!
If you don't already own the unique, puzzle-filled game Azada, or the epic hidden object adventure Hidden Expedition: Everest, or the remarkably fun and challenging Fairway Solitaire, or the time management hit Spa Mania, then you can get the full version for any or all of these titles, FREE! Offer good only until May 31, 2009, so don't delay — do it NOW...
The undead hordes are on the march, but your back yard is standing in the way, covered with fresh, fertilized topsoil. In this cheerfully absurd melding of resource management and tower defense, you must defend your delicious brains with an assortment of warrior plants. Plants vs. Zombies is the strangest, most original game from Popcap yet.
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.)
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.
Virtual Families is the latest addition to the impressive lineup of simulation games from Last Day of Work, makers of the Virtual Villagers series. Virtual Families takes the basic concepts of Virtual Villagers and brings them home — literally. No longer are you concerned with a village of people trying to survive the ravages of the wild. Now it's just a single family in a single house. While the concept may seem over-simplified when compared to Virtual Villagers, you'll find that it's less about simplifying the game and more about concentrating on the details.
Building upon the classic franchise released over two decades ago, Defender of the Crown: Heroes Live Forever is an excellent successor to the original game. It keeps intact many of the important things from the original game, including the minigames, much of the strategy of the main game, and the beautiful graphics, while giving the game an update that helps to bring it into the modern realm of casual gaming.
A new hidden object mystery game has appeared: Cate West - The Velvet Keys! Following the style, story and gameplay conventions set by Cate West - The Vanishing Files, The Velvet Keys casts you in the role of the young scarlet scarf-wearing author/psychic as she digs through occult legends in search of a way to contact departed souls. It's a great-looking game with surprising variety and an enticing plot that gushes out as the game progresses.
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.
With a solid story and hours of gameplay, Cindy's Travels: Flooded Kingdom is a game that builds upon the basic match-3 mechanic with additional gameplay elements. While character perspective may take a bit to get used to, it certainly doesn't detract from the fun packed into this title. Take up Cindy's mirror, clear the land of refuse, and get back to the business of "happily every after."
Hey look, it's Dream Chronicles 3: The Chosen Child! The latest installment in the Dream Chronicles series has arrived, and its as breathtakingly brilliant everyone would expect. A little bit of hidden object finding, a little bit of puzzle solving, but a whole lot of adventuring can be found in this superb sequel, along with some of the most gorgeous scenery you've seen since looking out your own window (assuming you live in a fantasy world with fairies, fountains, and vibrant gardens). It's an excellent follow-up to the previous Dream Chronicles games and a fantastic game in its own right.
We've just finished a complete walkthrough (with images) for Dream Chronicles 3: The Chosen Child!! Be warned: contains major spoilers, so proceed only as a last resort. Be sure to read our review of Dream Chronicles 3.
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!