- • The Scruffs
- • Abra Academy: Returning Cast
- • Pirateville
Three new hidden object games have recently hit the web, each one with a different setting and storyline wrapped around familiar seek-and-find mechanics. They don't go out of their way to bend the rules of item hunting, but if you're one of the many people who can't get enough of these games, these should keep you busy (and entertained) for a while!
- • 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.
- • Safecracker
- • Return to Mysterious Island
This special edition of Weekend Download highlights two games that are a bit less accessible due to their large download size and lack of a playable demo. We feel they deserve some attention, however, as each one pushes the envelope by delivering an immersive gaming experience that's both fun and engaging. We've spent a lot of time with them and are ready to sing praise from the roof (in the form of short mini-reviews), so read on to see if one could be your next slice of delicious gaming pie.
- • 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!
One of the fastest-growing genres in casual gameplay are hidden object games such as Mystery Case Files and the Hidden Expedition series. Fortunately not all developers are content to copy the same idea, place it in a new setting and throw in a few new items. Forgotten Riddles: The Mayan Princess is one such game, combining an intriguing storyline with dozens of riddles that must be solved in order to learn which items you're supposed to locate.
- • 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!
Plant Tycoon puts you to the task of planting seeds, growing plants of over 500 different species, and discovering the genetic secrets behind 6 magic plants that will make you rich! Become a master horticulturalist as you pollinate adult plants to produce seeds, and even cross pollinate your plants with other species to discover new and rare varieties.
Venice Mystery is a new casual game download that puts a new twist on mahjong. Instead of clicking identical tile pairs at random, you choose from a small menu of tile types, then click matching tiles on the playing field. To complete the puzzle you must unearth a set number of keys buried beneath the piles of blocks. Set against a Renaissance mystery, it's enough to tickle any gamer's fancy.
Mythic Marbles is an action puzzle game of skill that is very simple to pick-up and play. It offers an engaging and rewarding experience to anyone that can appreciate the simple and subtle strategy of a good game of marbles. And even if you've never played marbles before, you're in for a treat. :)
Gemsweeper is a casual game of picross (picture crossword puzzles) created by Lobstersoft. Your goal is to uncover hidden treasure by breaking rocks to help Topex reconstruct the temples of El Dorado. Stones are arranged in grids with sets of numbers above and to the left that serve as clues as to which tiles contain gems and which are cursed. Bash cursed tiles with a hammer, then grab gems from the rest of the grid to complete each puzzle and re-build the temple, one brick at a time!
- • 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.
Kudos Rock Legend sim allows you to indulge your dreams of rock stardom—start out as a struggling band with no publicity or gigs, develop your musical style, write songs and claw your way up to playing the Enormo-dome, making TV appearances and hiring bodyguards to protect you from the hordes of screaming fans.
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.
Miss Management is, in fifteen words or less, one of the most entertaining, captivating and hilarious casual games I've played in months. Developer Gamelab has really gone out of its way to craft unique characters that fuel the game from beginning to end, making it play like an interactive sitcom rather than your typical time management game (such as Diner Dash or Nanny Mania).
- • 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.
Venice is an arcade-style action puzzle game that takes some of the best elements of Peggle and Breakout and combines them into something new (and utterly fascinating). Various items appear atop your vessel floating on the waters of Venice, and it's your job to fire them into the empty slots hovering above. Fill all the gaps in the objects to cause them to vanish and continue your quest to save the sinking city.
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.
Hey surfin' dudes and dudettes! Have you heard about that bodacious betty who has been bagging burgers over on Mount Tikikola beach? Patty Melton, the new owner of the fast food sensation, Burger Island, makes the most totally radical lunch on this side of the Pacific, and she needs your help!
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.
- • Chalk
- • Escape from Paradise
- • Snapshot Adventures
The weekend is upon us and that means another Weekend Download for your perusal. Featuring a mixture of freeware and demos, we have scoured the Web to cherry pick the finest download games that have recently become available.
- • 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.
Peggle is the latest arcade action game from PopCap, and currently available as a download for Windows or Mac. Think of a pachinko machine and an upside-down breakout game and you will be close to the unique and simple gameplay found in Peggle. It is a classic casual game: simple to understand, easy to pick-up and play, and difficult to master. Find yourself the nearest PC and download it now.
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.
Taking a page out of the popular village management book, the downloadable Westward (Windows) drops casual strategy elements into the mix for a game that's both interesting and a bit different. Westward pushes you across the unexplored old west setting up towns and hunting for riches. There's a surprising amount of depth in this game, yet very little was sacrificed to keep it user-friendly.
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.
Empires and Dungeons has been receiving a lot of praise for its stripped-down mechanics and surprisingly captivating gameplay. Taking on the role of a medieval emperor, you must gather resources to help build an army, both to attack your rivals and to defend your castle. Along the way you'll venture into deep dungeons, meet mysterious traders, pillage in the name of the empire and much, much more.
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!
Eets is an amazingly addictive action/puzzle game from Klei Entertainment. Your goal is to guide Eets to a shiny puzzle piece by placing different (and often wacky) items that affect his mood or behavior. The game has an undeniable charm and will easily get you hooked with its huge set of levels and online community complete with user-made level downloads.
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.
From Popcap comes this cute, strange and addictive, action strategy Java game called Insaniquarium. Originally developed by Flying Bear Entertainment, Insaniquarium won the Innovation in Game Design award at the 2002 Independent Games Festival (IGF).