The Treasure Seekers series are some of the loveliest, most entertaining hybrids out there and Treasure Seekers: Follow the Ghosts seeks to expand and enhance the formula. With a choice of modes (casual and advanced), and such a variety of problem solving, hidden objects, and mini-games, Artogon has created casual gameplay that will satisfy folks on all areas of the spectrum, with fun and challenging puzzles that will appeal to a wide variety of gamers.
Nobody's a stranger to mahjong, the Chinese game of tile matching. According to legend, Confucius developed the game in 500 BC, naming it after the sparrow for the delicate symphony created by the individual tiles coming together to form a whole. Whether or not that's true, mahjong tends to be a quiet, contemplative sort of game, a mood elegantly set by the beautiful music and visual presentation of Mahjongg Dimensions Deluxe.
Despite the similarities to the other Farm Frenzy games (or, perhaps, because of it), Farm Frenzy 3: Ice Age is still a rollicking good time. With tons of trophies to win and lots of levels to conquer, you're still looking at hours and hours (and hours of casual gameplay and replay value that is fun for a wide range of ages. So enjoy the cute animals, and look out for an appearance from a very special guest star.
- • Fatherhood
- • Fishface
- • Desktop Dungeons
It's a roguelike-like Weekend Download! Two of our games this weekend snuggle up to the famously non-casual sub-genre without turning up the complexity. Same RPG flavor, one tenth the time commitment! Quaffing potions should be a standard roguelike feature, though...
Flo's at it again in the fifth installment of the popular time management series. Deal with troublesome customers, wicked weather, and much more across fifty fast-paced levels of Diner Dash action as you work to rebuild the diner of your dreams. Although, we gotta tell ya, if we ever worked in a restaurant and actually blew it up, we'd probably be in a lot more trouble.
Caster is a third-person action-shooter with distinct influences from the glory days of console gaming; it cooks up some of the most-enticing features of high-energy, super-powered shooter action and serves it up on a silver platter.
Secret Mission: The Forgotten Island is a hybrid hidden object/adventure game with a slight leaning towards the latter. That's no surprise, really, as the game was created by Frogwares, veteran adventure game studio that also crafted Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser's Submarines. Explore the island one still screen at a time, gathering items, poking your nose in every corner, and assembling things in your inventory to help you uncover more secrets on this strange tropical paradise.
Eden Hunt has received a mysterious letter informing her of prize money to be had for finding the elusive Akua. Unable to resist an adventure, she immediately heads out the door. Helping Eden on her quest is all about solving puzzles ranging from riddles to sliding puzzles, logic puzzles, and dozens upon dozens more.
- • Wolf, Goat, and Cabbage
- • Animal Control
- • Six-Chamber Champion
- • Watch Ducks
Why spend all of your time toiling away on one game when you can make a ton of them? The 529-in-1 Klik & Play Pirate Kart II: Kart Harder is all about that, and the games featured below are from this recent event. 102 people contributed a total of 529 games over the weekend, each made in under two hours. It's quantity over quality, so don't expect the next Sprout, but do expect a lot of wacky ideas, one-trick games, and maybe even a few things that, once seen, can never be unseen. Check out a random selection of the 529 games, and don't be afraid to download and play many more!
A whimsical time management game from Youda Games, Youda Fairy puts you in the role of an overworked wizard who must lure, capture, store, release and protect fairies, all in the name of fighting evil! There's lots of time management fun to be had. Fast, frantic, cute, and satisfying to play, while a bit of a departure from the Youda norm, it is still grand fun.
Researchers agree: playing logic puzzles requires your brain. Exactly what's required of it, they can't seem to agree, but it's the general consensus that the net effect is positive. Enter Strimko, a sudoku-like game of logic that involves placing numbers on a grid. Instead of a dry, angular box, however, you get to work with number chains that snake their way around the grid, adding a nice, flavorful twist to the familiar concept.
Empress of the Deep: The Darkest Secret is an adventure/hidden object hybrid with strong leanings to the Myst school of gaming. Featuring thick environments rich in detail and atmosphere, you'll encounter loads of great puzzles as well as unique mini-games that never repeat themselves.
- • Vatn Squid
- • Paper Dreams
- • Dissipate
Games are fun. Jam is delicious. Why not combine the two? The Game Jolt Weekend Game Jam has both of those words (even though its jam is less strawberry flavored) and contains exactly the same amount of yum. Check out a few of the top games from this 48 hour competition.
We have just finished a massive walkthrough guide for Virtual Villagers 4: The Tree of Life. This guide will provide all you need to help you get the most from your experience with the latest Virtual Villagers game. Be warned: This guide does contain spoilers, so proceed with caution and as a last resort!
It's time to travel back to Isola! Yes, that magical island paradise with the odd wildlife and mysterious ruins is back in Virtual Villagers 4: The Tree of Life, the latest installment in the Virtual Villagers casual sim series by Last Day of Work. The powerhouse of the field, the game by which all other village simulations are measured, is back to delve deeper into the secrets of the island!
All it takes is one stranger on the road on one dark night to unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that could change the world. Choose your party members from nine distinct personalities and set off on a side-scrolling free RPG adventure through lush environments full of strange characters. Featuring nine chapters, a complex battle scheme, and more, it's a stunning linear adventure that will delight fans of the genre.
Poor Rosalee, what's a girl to do? She hears enchanted music, gets a mysterious request for a tarot reading, and the next thing she knows she's locked up in the town jail with her tarot cards missing. That's the opening for The Tarot's Misfortune, designed by Triple Hippo, and an adventure/hidden object hybrid.
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.
- • Lunnye Devitsy
- • Which
- • The Hunt
This week's selection of downloadable games seems to ask a lot of questions. Not because one of their titles practically is a question, but because of the way they're made. What rests beyond the next corridor? How can you get to the other side of that waterfall? And if I step out into that suspiciously dark and open wooded area, will I get attacked by something hideous?
You awaken alone. You have no memory of who you are, or how you got to this magical castle. There are fairies ready to guide you, and goblins waiting to test you. Using only the mouse, solve puzzles and mini-games in Awakening: The Dreamless Castle, with the goal of collecting six magic runes and discovering who you are and why you've been asleep for a hundred years.
Galcon Fusion is the latest in the growing line of casual strategy games from Phil Hassey. Following Galcon Classic, the original desktop version of the series, and borrowing a ton of tricks from the iPhone incarnations Galcon and Galcon Labs, Fusion pits you against the rest of the galaxy as you fight for dominance. Featuring high-definition visuals, loads of interesting modes of play, and several fun bells and whistles, Galcon Fusion is a respectable successor in the Galcon line and a captivating casual Risk-like strategy game.
Big City Adventure: Vancouver is truly a game for all ages. Expert hidden-object fiends will appreciate the timed madness, playing over and over again to beat a previous time or score. For those who love the genre but don't want to rush, there is a relaxed untimed mode, which is also helpful for the very young or beginners to the field. True casual gameplay for the entire family to enjoy. With over 60 scenes and mini-game in-between, as well as randomly generated lists of objects to find, there's hours and hours of enjoyment and replayablity in this bright, cheerful package.
If you love match-3 games and are looking for a new challenge, then Geisha: The Secret Garden is definitely for you. With an entirely new strategy to learn and innovative obstacles to overcome, the game manages to make the genre feel entirely new and interesting. With its timed and untimed modes we're talking gameplay that everyone can enjoy. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, listen to the sound of one hand clapping, and start meditating now.
- • BirdyWorld
- • Mr. Kitty's Quest
- • Bitworld
- • Dungeons of Fayte
The recently-completed TIGSource Assemblee Competition was all about artists and programmers working together as one big happy family-like unit. The two-part competition began with artists/musicians creating assets, then programmers came along, scooped up the goodies and used them to make games. The results, as you can see, are extraordinary, with over 70 games submitted in the end. Below are a few highlights of the competition.
Ah, the opera. The drama! The romance! The... cadavers? As the lowly stagehand of a popular opera group, you weren't expecting anything out of the ordinary when you're all summoned to a tiny, remote town to perform. At least, until the performers start coming down with an unfortunate case of dead. Is it a simple case of a madman on the loose in the sleepy little town? Or is there something much more sinister lurking behind the scenes?
Embark on a hidden object adventure to a lush, mysterious, and strange uncharted jungle island. Despite the flaws there's a lot of hidden object fun to be had with Sarah Maribu and the Lost World. Just sit back and enjoy the wild, illogical, yet dazzling adventure through the island of misfit dinosaurs. Just tell them Grandpa sent you.
Gorgeous to look at, easy on the ears and with a fun new twist to the old match 3 dynamic, Paradise Quest is tons and tons of match 3 fun, with enough side tasks to break up the gameplay and keep it feeling fresh. Entertaining, educational, and fun for the entire family.
- • A very brief tale
- • Strangers
- • War and Peace
Sometimes you don't want an epic story or 80 hours of gameplay out of your game. Sometimes you just want to mess around, experience something quirky, and call it a day. All of the games below are extremely short. They're "just 'cause" games, because the only reason you play them is just because you can!
What if history's greatest discoveries never happened? What if it was all because of a butterfly and one very sloppy time traveler? When Helen's grandfather manages to set the modern age back into the stone age after one careless time jaunt, Helen takes it upon herself to set things right. Travel throughout history in this colourful hidden object game and make sure things happen the way they should, unless you like the idea of living in a mud hut. And we're pretty sure those don't get cable.
If you're a fan of first person skydiving games with lots of vowels in the title, Aaaaa! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity by Dejobaan Games is right up your alley. Your goal is to make it from Point A (generally assumed to be somewhere above you) to Point B (somewhere below point A) without crushing every bone in your body. Unfortunately the skies are littered with airborne buildings and architectural oddities. And birds. And cars. And large glass plates with numbers on them.
Absorbing, engrossing, and hours and hours of fun await those who play Fiona Finch and the Finest Flower. Play as little or as much as you like, plan for efficiency or go nuts and create patterned, formal gardens. Enjoy the feeling of satisfaction from creating a lovely garden without the sunburn, dirt under your nails, or stinging insects.
With his first big job completed in Nick Chase: A Detective Story, our hard-boiled P.I. slips into his favorite bar to get out of the rain. Only then, things get interesting. A bit too interesting. So begins our gritty pal's latest hidden object/adventure hybrid, Nick Chase and the Deadly Diamond.
- • TowerClimb
- • Sheep
- • Heartwild Solitaire Classic
Ahem. Here we go Loopty Loo! Here we go Loopty Li! Here we go Loopty Loo! Because it's Weekend Download that you can possibly read on a Saturday night!
Simplz: Zoo combines a match-3 puzzle game with a casual simulation for a new and compelling experience. Now, you may have heard that story before when Floating Kingdoms came along, but this one has a potent blend of the genres that interconnects so thoroughly, everything you do in one directly affects the other. The result is a game that elegantly moves you back and forth while giving you the freedom to customize the experience to your liking.
In the mood for a seriously intense turn-based strategy game? Solium Infernum is about as non-casual as you can get, featuring no in-game tutorial and a 30+ page instruction manual. But it rewards players with superb open-ended gameplay that has as many paths to victory as you can conjure.
Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy is a punishingly difficult puzzle adventure game that tasks your ability to look at and assemble details to progress through the game. It's more like Myst than a point-and-click adventure, but players who sit down and solve the game are rewarded greatly.
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.
- • TimeStill
- • Flood the Chamber
- • This Is How Bees Work
- • Probability Zero
Simplicity is often overlooked in modern games. Whereas early programmers had little more to work with than a few lines of code and a green-on-black screen, modern game makers can have armies of programmers, artists, and computers on their side. It doesn't take 3D visuals and realistic physics to make a good game, though, as indie game creators prove time and time again. This week's games are small in some ways, but enormous in others, and all have that special something that makes you treasure the time you spend with it.
Fixing stuff is always an adventure, isn't it? Especially when it's something as complex and expensive as an automobile. Fix-it-Up: World Tour, the sequel to Fix-it-Up: Kate's Adventure, makes the stakes even higher by moving you around the world, fixing, painting, cleaning and modding vehicles on almost every continent (sorry, Antarctica). It's a little time management mixed with some casual simulation elements for a simple game that's even more engaging than its predecessor.
When her fiance goes missing carrying a valuable string of pearls, Johanna turns to the only one she can trust on the seedy streets of London; you. Together with one of the city's finest, you'll need to put your hidden object skills to the test in this gorgeous adventure based upon the original legend of Sweeney Todd. Just be careful who you stick your neck out for. But do try the pie. It's delicious.
Return to the farmstead in this sequel to the popular original as Anna tries to make her dreams a reality. Featuring an updated look, streamlined gameplay, and more critters and vegetables for you to make a fortune on, Farm Mania 2 doesn't add much to an established formula, but still provides an improved and challenging experience for fans of time management and farming sims alike.
- • Wave Goodbye
- • Squid and Let Die
- • Wave Goodbye
Reflexes are a mixed bag, aren't they? On the one hand, they cause you to do things like uncontrollably kick people if they look at your knees (that's a reflex, honest), on the other hand, they jerk your hand away from painful objects and let you play insanely fast and chaotic games.
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!
Terry Cavanagh's ambitious and charming little game of platformer-esque exploration contains a lot of fun, but may demand too much from your reflexes for some players. Seek out your missing crew across a sprawling map packed with secrets, symbolism, and a whole lot of challenge that will put all your skills to the test. Buckle up, Captain.
The classic books make the leap to your browser in Where's Waldo: The Fantastic Journey, one of the original hidden object games. Travel around the world to see unexpected sights and challenge your eyes. Detailed, challenging, and just as cute as ever, Waldo is fun for the kids of today, and the kids of yesteryear. You know who you are.
If you like the Farm Frenzy series then get ready for lots more farming fun. Manage a farm, raise animals, ship goods to market, chase away angry bears, and get ready for a rocking good time. The stripped-down style takes nothing away from the basic gameplay, and what's left is very addicting and long-lasting. Especially if you go back and try to gold medal all the rounds, or earn all the side trophies, you are looking at days of gameplay with a high replay value. Now with 50% more robots!
- • Apocalypse Adventure
- • Penguinagain
- • Scavenger
- • Cat Planet
It's Ludum Dare time again! Ludum Dare 16 has come and gone, leaving with us dozens upon dozens of unique, quickly-crafted games to enjoy. The latest competition's theme was "exploration", and here are a few of the top games as voted by the LD community!
A minor scoop turns into a major crime when Nancy Drew's student reporter friend Maya vanishes without a trace in an antique theater where Houdini once dazzled audiences, and it's up to you to figure out what happened. An adventure game lives and dies by its plot, and I really cannot think of any complaints to make about The Final Scene. The story is revealed through a vivacious and extensive script, performed by voice actors who are clearly having fun.
Based on the classic short story by Edgar Allan Poe, delve deep into the heart of Paris as you track down a brutal killer alongside one of fiction's most influential detectives. While it may not be as challenging as some veteran gamers might like, this is still a gorgeously rendered hidden object game, and a lot of fun, with just the right amount of... monkey business?
Once in a while a game comes along that, well, you don't really know how to describe. Great Adventures: Lost in Mountains is one of those games. Designed by Fenomen Games, Great Adventures is advertised as a time management game. Actually, it's more like a casual sim. No, it's more like a point-and-click adventure with casual sim and time management elements. But really, it plays like a room escape game with RPG and hidden object elements. See? Difficult to describe. Basically, all of the above is incorporated to make one wildly fun, inventive game.
- • ArGeeBee
- • Opera Omnia
- • Audia
It's the first Weekend Download of 2010! We thought we would go easy on you while you break in your new calendar, so all of the games below have a light download footprint. You can handle a few megs worth of games, can't you? Sure you can!
Inspector Poirot is on the case again! Detective novelist Ariadne Oliver suspects that a murder may be committed at her high-society murder mystery fete. Sure enough, instead of a girl pretending to be a corpse, an actual corpse appears, which really casts a pall over your evening, let me tell you. It's up to Poirot to determine who is innocent, who is lying, and who is a murderer in the third entry in the series of hidden object games, Agatha Christie: Dead Man's Folly.
Blueberry Garden is a game about curiosity. It's a game about exploring your environment and playing with objects just to see what they do. The game's world, though stark in appearance, is vibrant and alive, with a thriving ecosystem of plants and creatures that interact with each other and change over time. From the moment you step foot in this garden, all you want to do is walk around and see what you can see. Too bad someone left a giant faucet running and everything's flooding with water!
Set sail for action, adventure, and... spelling? When Lucy runs away from home to avoid being shipped off for her tomboy behaviours, she never imagined she'd get wrapped up in a conspiracy involving the powerful East India Trading Company. Now she has to fight her way through a horde of pirates and rivals in her efforts to save countless lives and her family's name. Sink your opponents by spelling out words that charge your cannons in this clever new adventure release from Moonpod and unleash the Pirate Princess in you! We know you've got one.
While doing little to offer any radical new ideas to the series, World Tour offers new styles, new characters, new locations, and even a new look. With dozens of stages to play around the globe and an extensive style editor, there's enough to keep budding fashionistas (and the people who would never admit to it out loud) busy for a long time.
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.
- • Shards
- • Hydorah
- • Battle of Tiles
If games weren't challenging, we wouldn't bother with them, right? Games create a set of rules that cause certain actions to be difficult, then you, the player, must try to perform those actions. It's a narrow definition, to be sure, but challenge on any level is something that sits at the core of gaming. Each of the games below throws challenges at you in a different way, whether it's via enemies, puzzles, restrictive physics, or a combination of all three. Sometimes you have to form a strategy, but sometimes it's about fighting with the game itself to make it all work. Either way, it's fun.
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!
- • GunFu Deadlands
- • !
- • Sumotori Dreams
- • Magic Planet Snack
- • Dawn's Light: A Christmas Tale
Ever wonder what happens to the games we feature on Weekend Download? Think the respective developers just take a nap and start on something new? Oh ho HO! You would be wrong! Two of this week's games are updates of titles we featured in the past, proving once and for all (insert significant philosophical observation here).
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.
All of mankind vanishes from the universe in an instant... except for one person. Saira, a photographer, has spent years alone, trying to figure out what happened that day. Now, she's very close to discovering what happened, and finally tracking down who might be the only other person left alive. Nifflas's newest puzzle-platformer is a beautiful journey of exploration and discovery, where the few gameplay hiccups are only minor bumps in a long road.
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.
- • Lily
- • We Want YOU
- • Kaiser Kitty
I'm a sucker for cute, quirky games. Throw a few chunky pixels in my direction, slap on a coat of "retro, yet new" gameplay on the top, and you've got my attention. All three games this weekend have that quirky old-school charm, and all three were thoroughly played/nommed by yours truly!
It's a blast from the past in this remake of and tribute to the original M.U.L.E., one of the great pioneers of multiplayer gaming. Stake your claim on an alien world with three friends and make the best of your time and resources to come out on top at the end of the game. Just remember to keep an eye out for the wampus.
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.
Prepare yourself for an interactive fiction that peels back the truth in layers as you become more and more entwined in this tale of superscience and space exploration. The narrative begins with an itsy-bitsy clue that not all will be as it seems, followed by your character waking up in a fairly unadorned abode. From there, it's up to you as to what you do and how you go about it, but be wary of those who comment on your every move...
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.
- • Focus
- • Dreamside Maroon
- • Saut
Exploration is most of the reason why many of us play video games. When a developer crafts an entire world for you to play in, it's easy to get giddy with the concept of probing every corner and climbing on top of every boulder. This week's selection features several games that are heavy on the discovery aspect of gaming. Whether it's a magical world filled with moonlight or a dark pixel cave, you never know what's around the corner until you look...
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.
Are you an adventurer who just can't seem to adventure? Are you a villager whose name is Villager? If so, you'll find the perfect home in Wildhollow, a well-crafted RPG/adventure/simulation game from KarjaSoft, creator of Spandex Force. In this light-hearted, humor-filled game, you play the role of a young boy/girl returning home to find your parents missing and your family ranch destroyed. Don't frown, though, as this game takes itself about as seriously as a clown working at a pie factory.
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.
- • Restraining Order
- • Focus
- • rComplex
- • Igneous
RUUUNNNN!!!!! Escape games of the non-point-and-click variety are well-represented in the indie gaming community. What could be more basic than "get away from the thing that's chasing you"? Two of this weekend's titles focus on running away from something really scary. And you'll have a good time doing just that!
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.
One the surface, Gratuitous Space Battles, from Kudos developer Positech Games, looks like your run-of-the-mill space RTS, something in the vein of the Homeworld series or Star Wars: Empire at War. But when that glance turns into a longing stare, you'll realize it's very different from both of those series and isn't really, in fact, a real time strategy game at all. Gratuitious Space Battles has a whole new system of gameplay going for it that, in many ways, feels more like a tower defense game than anything else.
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.
Delicious Emily's Holiday Season is a fantastic time management game from Zylom Game Studio. Much like the often-forgotten Miss Management, this game plays like a TV sitcom, complete with incidental music and cheesy sense of humor! The variety of gameplay is a welcome addition to the genre, and unlike most games that make the same attempt, it doesn't come across as forced innovation.
- • Harmony
- • Featherweight
- • Dungeon
- • Devil's Tuning Fork
Two things the indie gaming community thrives on are experimentation and nostalgia. Some developers push their concepts so far the resulting experience is unlike anything we've ever seen. It may be fun, it may be frustrating, but we love it for the boundless innovation. Other developers take classic concepts and reinvent them for the modern player, resurrecting proven gaming mechanics for everyone to enjoy once again. The selection of games below illustrates both concepts quite well, with a few games blending both nostalgia and experimentation in equal parts. Gotta love indie game creators!
Lights... camera... URK. Lottie's got a problem the night of her big stage audition, and she's not willing to go down without a fight. Sarah Morayati's snappily written interactive fiction piece about teenage girls under the limelight suffers slightly from some unintuitive puzzle design, but is easily carried by a memorable cast of characters and some genuinely funny storytelling. Broken Legs is an over-the-top and snarky adventure worth a look from anyone who has at any point ever been a teenager, stereotypes aside.
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.
Once upon a time, an exceptional game designer decided to put his hands to making a 'cool' game. It worked. The result was Excitebike, a fast-paced and challenging motorbike racing game. Released this year is the strikingly similar debut game from Turborilla, the aptly titled Mad Skills Motocross. While there are obvious differences between the latter and former games, the general idea of "move right using a motorbike while making jumps and going fast" is here, and that's what we like to see.
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.
- • The Balloon Bros Tumble-Top Sideshow Spectacular!
- • Au Sable
- • Fetus
- • Tetripong
Alternate title for this edition of Weekend Download: The Balloon Bros. Return of the Attack of the Wrath of the Download: Episode 2 Part 4 - Tetripongfetusausable's Revenge.
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.
Kiss your free time and your loved ones goodbye. Torchlight is here. The indie rogue-like/action/RPG title has been highly anticipated, but is it worth all the hype? Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Stop talking to me, I'm trying to play. With randomly generated dungeons, an obscene amount of treasure and monsters to hunt, and a faithful animal companion at your side, Torchlight is a stellar example of indie gaming at its finest.
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.
- • ButaVX: Justice Fighter
- • Umbrella Adventure - The Castle of Cake
- • Home
Who needs bajillions of colors, seriously? The games below illustrate that all you need for a visual presentation are a few well-placed shades of gray (or orange and black, for the last one) and you've got yourself a visual style!
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.
- • Heartland Deluxe
- • The White Chamber
- • Unbound
Lots of movies, books, TV shows and games try to scare people around Halloween. Instead of shocking you with things that jump out and go "BWAGGA BWAGGA!!!!", let's get a little more disturbing with a few adventure games that will make you question your sanity. Without further stalling for time and taking up valuable page space... Let's. Get. Scary.
Kids these days are just dying to spend some time alone. But when Christine's plans for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend are interrupted by a series of unsettling events, she may come to regret the secluded location for their rendezvous. Especially when she finds out that someone else has plans for her. Mixing hidden-object hunting with traditional point-and-click gameplay, The Hookman is a stellar example of creepy, quality story-telling that could have you jumping out of your skin.
Eufloria, formerly known as Dyson, is a real-time strategy game built around the concepts of simplicity, ambience, and gentle pacing. It plays like an evolved version of Risk or Galcon, where sheer numbers and a good strategy are all you need to dominate. Eufloria isn't about warriors battling over blood-soaked soil. It's a slow, organic game that uses plants as its inspiration, challenging you to expand a seedling empire one asteroid at a time.
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.