Posts created by Varley

 
 
 posted in Hotel on Jun 18, 10 3:26 AM
by Cateia

This adventure game uses a game engine and has 'live' characters. The beginning cutscene is over 4 minutes long and can be skipped but not clicked through. A tutorial is offered at the beginning of play. Some keyboard keys can/must be used depending on your style of play. As a detective, the object of the game is to find a necklace. There is a suggestion of the paranormal involved, but at least in the demo, no hint of an Egyptian cult. This is a large game file so allow time for the download.

Walking may be a little troublesome, having for the most part to click in certain areas, but a nice feature is the double click to advance directly to the next scene - if you've been there already. A little inconvenient is that, to advance your character at a more than leisurely pace, the space bar must be used. Once you find an item, you are given the choice of picking it up or looking at it first.

In the game play area, there is inventory, help, hint and menu. Inventory and inventory items can be dismissed by a right click (which is not mentioned in the help or tutorial). Items can be combined. There is room for about 12 items and is scrollable to accept more. Help reveals shortcuts that are not given by the tutorial
(and vv.). Hint indicates things to see and walk locations only. Menu offers video and audio setting that are advanced, quit, resume, go to main menu, save, load, and help.

Game data is saved on exit. The game is not timed nor directed - the player may wander freely throughout. Music is appropriate for the setting. Dialog must be clicked away. There is some voice in the initial cutscene. Cues are given by cursor changes, text, and bright dots on areas of interest. Locations were clear and although not bright, were not hard to view. Dialog was in a good font and easy to read.

This game requires directional sense, thought, and at least intermediate puzzle solving. There is a walkthrough available at http://www.bigfishgames.com/blog/hotel-walkthrough/

P.S. I just read the other reviews. I never had a problem with exit not saving. Granted, I only tried it once, but I still had my room key when I came back. Perhaps this has been fixed? And yeah, I found it very weird that she had a will but not a name. Duh?

In reference to a comment above: think of programming as building a house. All by yourself. To code and spec.
 
 
 posted in I Spy Fantasy on Jun 18, 10 12:05 AM
by Scholastic and Black Hammer Productions

This is a large download file so give about 40 minutes for DSL.

The game is a hidden objects game (HOG). There is narration in clear voices. It claims to be a riddle game, but actually the objects are simply listed within a rhyme. There is no music per se. Cursor waving is required to find locations. Locations are indicated by animation. There is no indicator as to which areas have been searched.

From the initial game page, there are three locations: an aquarium, a toy chest and a mobile. Each seem to have 6 **** areas. A location can be played more than one time with claimed increased level of difficulty. The object of the game in the aquarium is to find all six mermaid diary pages and find treasure. In the toy chest, the player enters a castle as a brave knight. The mobile looked as if it was space-oriented.

At the bottom of the game play area, there are hints, the riddle, and a leave area icon. At the top is the menu which brings up options: narration, all sounds, quit, game help, and full screen.

Each area was clear and bright. Objects were mostly clear although there is some color on color and small objects. Words to be found were capitalized. Objects in the riddle change color to indicate found state. However, objects were not removed from the location. When an object is found, a 5-10 second animation, music, and narration take place during which no click is recognized, even if these are turned off. Only the initial riddle can be clicked through. Objects can not be quickly cleared due to the animation time. When multiple objects of the same kind are listed, there is no indicator for ones already found. There are about 10 objects per riddle. It seemed once in every major location there was a simple twist to finding an object, eg., fish with school required finding the fish and dragging it to the school. There was also one location where the cursor acted as a flashlight, only showing a small area.

Hint refresh seemed to range between 2 and 4 minutes. Finding objects during this time may have shortened the refresh time. A cursor click while hint is in play (on the screen - not the refresh time) is ignored.

At the end of one hour, I had played the complete aquarium, taken notes, explored the castle, and finished one more area within the aquarium.

This game may appeal to a pre-teen or a very casual player.
 
 
 posted in The Inquisitor on Jun 17, 10 9:29 PM
By PrimeGames, Daedalic Entertainment

One hour demo. This game had an intriguing story line which made me want to try it. Alas.

The music and locations befit the story. Music was hymn-like voices, horns or strings ranging from soft to mild crescendo. Locations were gray on grays with touches of brown; dull but mainly clear.

Options included effects and music volume, full screen and mute all. The introduction was over 3 minutes long and can only be skipped, not clicked through. Cutscenes were similar. There are no voices.

There were about 12 objects per location; text was in a serif font which may make it difficult for some people to read. Once found, objects were crossed out, as opposed to being removed from the list. Objects were not cleverly hidden; however, there was a lot of color on color, some small objects, and objects that did not look recognizable. Even after using a hint, some objects were hard to see. The cursor was picky with regards to clicks. Also, three random or inaccurate clicks within 6 seconds caused the cursor to swirl around for a couple of seconds. Incorrect clicks are known by audio form only (and of course, not picking up anything).

The menu bar at bottom was not explained. On the left there is a journal, and an archway icon that offers continue, options, or exit. On the right is a candlestick that replays dialog and the cross that symbolizes hints. Hint refresh took about 60 seconds and was only visually clued, not audible.

Some cursor waving is required to determine where to go or what to do. Mini games are included, and instructions or at least a hint is given in text form once you start. They may not be skipped.

The game is not timed, yet high scores are offered on the menu/home page. There is some monologue that can not be clicked through nor skipped.

This game may appeal to those interested in the theme. A walk through is available at http://www.bigfishgames.com/blog/the-inquisitor-walkthrough/
 
 
This is a hidden objects game (HOG) that includes some adventure and thought. It includes mini-games. The game is not directed, and the player is allowed to wander through several scenes at a time. It relies on cursor waving to give visual clues as to what to do next or where to go. Some clues are given in text or dialog and in glittering dots and the player is required to pay attention to avoid frustration.

On the home page/menu screen, help is available that explains some of the rules of the game. The tutorial is built-in.

Options include music, sound FX, environmental sound, full screen, mute all, cursor, and credits. Game data can be saved at any point on exit. Cutscenes are animated. There is some load time involved.

The introduction can be clicked through or skipped. Some dialog is voice, other text. There doesn't seem to be a way to click through dialog while within a scene. Mini games can be skipped. The game is not timed.

The player must travel to a scene and find a colored card to reveal a list of objects. Three types of hidden objects are hunted. Regular text, silhouettes, and parts. Scenes are not always bright but on the whole seem clear. Most objects are obvious, however, some objects can be small, color on color, or concealed. There are about 10 objects per scene.

Random, rapid clicking results in an uncontrollable cursor for a few second within a small area. Hint refresh is about 45 seconds. The cursor can be a bit picky as to clicks or showing the way to another scene.

After an hour's play, most of this game seems to be easy with few challenges. May be suitable to an experienced beginner or an intermediate player. Would not be suitable for those with poor eyesight, slow reading ability, or those who prefer a casual, relaxed game.

This game is similar to Midnight Mysteries 2 - Salem Witch Trials. There is a walk-through available at
http://www.bigfishgames.com/blog/strange-cases-the-lighthouse-mystery-walkthrough/.
The regular edition (non-CE, for about 1/3 price) is also available. The CE includes a bonus game, 3 punches, music and wallpaper.

 
 
 posted in Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials on Jun 17, 10 12:48 AM
Game by Mumbo Jumbo

This game is a hidden objects game that includes a little adventure in that one is allowed to wander through scenes. A journal provides commentary about some objects found, maps, and text. There are about 12 objects per scene. Once those are found, an additional item is listed. There are minimal distractions. Some items, when found, are clues to the storyline and need to be clicked away. In this game, one might do well to take notes. The game is not timed though a timer is probably kept for end game scoring. An inventory is included and items can be combined.

Mini puzzles are included and can be skipped. They are of the sort where the player has to think rather than just perform an action. Dialog consists of talking with ghosts and the player is allowed to select responses. There are no voices.

Options include sound, music, full screen, cursor and credits. Music and sound effects are appropriate.

Hints are somewhat sparce and consists of finding 1 or 2 ravens (hints) in every scene. However, the ghost will appear if you try to get off track.

Random, rapid clicking is not really penalized. The hints fly away for a few seconds and cursor turns red, but is still usable.

An added bonus is to find 50 clovers scattered throughout the game to unlock the unlimited hidden objects game.

The game can be saved with data intact. The tutorial is built-in. Items are cleverly hidden and color on color, concealment and small objects are used. Cursor waving in scenes is required as well as good eyesight.

This game is not so much about hidden objects as where to go next, what to do next. The game is not directed. This game would probably frustrate a beginner and appeal to an intermediate player who enjoys a challenge.

 
 
 posted in Explorer: Contraband Mystery on Jun 16, 10 10:30 PM
National Geographic Games, Action Games, and PODD

This game begins with a hidden object game. The intro can be skipped but not clicked thru. At this point, Skip, Hint, Pause, and Exit are available. If you choose skip or find all the objects, you enter
player sign-in. Seemed a little backwards. For some reason, the name ME is not acceptable - it may just be the number of characters. At this point, with no clue as to what was wrong, I had to crash the game to exit.

After restarting, playing the initial game and signing in with another name, the "home page" is shown. Here, the journal, mission selection, help, and exit are available. The journal is broken down by
mission with 2 tabs: facts and notes. Help is side x side explaining all the games. For almost every game there is a section on how to play and hints. Some have a penalty description, most have
a section on the objects, collectibles and clues available. One is timed.

Options include full screen, cursor, timer, background sound, sound effects, and music. Music is appropriate to the African theme with drums and strings mainly. Game data is only saveable at certain points, however, locations are saved.

The 9 games are:
spot the difference
spot the similar
spot the odd
jumble puzzle
hidden objects
map
drag and drop
quiz
catch falling objects

The game consists of 3 missions, each containing mini-games. These are, Diamonds, Gorillas, and Drugs. Drugs must be played last.

The game is fact filled. In each game, one can collect chests, jewels, and batteries for 'free'. Across the top runs a bar as a visual clue to the number of 'free' objects have been found, the mission number and game number within the mission, the score, number of items left to find, and time played. Across the bottom; the item list, journal, hint (the laptop as it's referred to), pause and menu.

Locations seem to be photographs of actual locations. Locations are usually clear though not always bright and there are no disctractions. They are slow (in comparison to other games of this nature) to load. Incorrect clicks are marked with a permanent x. Multiple, random clicks result in a 10 point penalty. Hint refresh is about 1 minute. Mini games are preceded by instructions and can be skipped.

Items are cleverly hidden with some obvious but many small, color on color or mostly concealed items.

This game would appeal to an intermediate, casual player with good eyesight or theme interest.
 
 
 posted in Faded Reality on Jun 16, 10 7:58 PM
faded reality by PuzzleLab

Options on this game include music, sound, fullscreen and credits. This is not a timed game.

The music is a range depending on location. Syncopated percussion on one, soothing piano on another.

Locations come in pairs. Waving the cursor over a location will direct you to the match.

Game play on hidden objects is a mix. Most locations are clear and bright with not too cleverly hidden objects. However, there is hiding that includes concealed objects, color on color, and small objects. Some locations include distractions, some are merely cluttered.

There was no audible or visual clue to an incorrect click. Random, rapid clicking resulted in a black POW! spot on the location for a few seconds.

The object list includes 6 items: a mixture of objects and letters. Some items in the list are greyed and unavailable until another object or letter has been found. There are about 30 items to be found between the two locations. Once a letter is found, it can be used in either location. Item names are shown on the location and one places the letter from the tools area to within the item name. The item moves to reveal a hidden object.

Hints are freely given. Hint refresh is about 30 seconds. There is an audible and a visual indication. Also, if there is no cursor selection within about 90 seconds, an item is hilighted on the location.

Mini games occur after locations and can be skipped. Pair matching and fill in the missing letters were both extremely easy. Incorrect selections are visually recognizable. A more challenging puzzle involved moving lamps to pre-set locations to light up an area.

Monolog occurs on and between locations. Intro can be skipped or quickly clicked through.

This game might appeal to experienced beginners or casual intermediate players.

 
 
 posted in Journalist Journey: The Eye of Odin on Jun 16, 10 3:19 AM
When starting this game, you are given the choice of having a tutorial. Choose it! The tutorial is in book form and available at any time.

Most of my time was spent learning (and then trying to remember!) the rules of the game. Objects in red are within other objects. These objects are identified by the cursor changing into a magnifying glass. After all your hidden objects are found, about 20 with some being grouped (like runes (10)), you must search for quest objects. More time must be spent waving the cursor over the scene - again - looking for cursor symbol changes. Once these objects are found they must be matched with something else in the location or with something in inventory.

I think once the rules become second nature, this would be an ok game. However, it is for the intermediate player. For example, I finished the first scene, performed the 2 quest object instructions and nothing happened. I had neglected to close something. Logical once you know how. :-) But hint would not help even though it had to recharge anyway. After that, one takes pictures. The bad was the whole screen was fogged so a player with bad eyesight or bad lighting would be at a disadvantage. The good was, when you had the correct location, it was sticky. Another disadvantage for anyone with less than speedy reflexes; to take the picture, the progress bar bead had to be in the green area of the bar. At one point you have to trace a rune. Instructions for these special tasks are given and clear.

The music was ok, but fast paced lending an air of urgency. I kept it at the barely audible setting. Sounds helped in knowing an incorrect click since there was no visual clue. Fast paced, inaccurate clicking resulted in the cursor flying around the location for a few seconds. Sounds included occasional loud sounds for no particular reason.

The hint rule was nice but with a twist; you click the item you want to find and THEN click the hint button. Hint refresh was about one minute. Options included wide/full screen, sound, music, and mute all.

Made it through 3 locations. I can only say it was a mixture. For the most part they were clear and the objects were not too cleverly hidden. However, there was some hiding of brown on brown, white on white, etc. Again, would not be the best game for those with failing eyesight. Would also not appeal to anyone squeemish about finding a hand within an alligator.

Not worth full price.
 
 
 posted in Antique Road Trip USA on Jun 16, 10 12:19 AM
continued

However, once you're in a game the only way to leave it is to finish the game. This can be bypassed by using the hints.

Hints cost you 5 seconds if you're playing in the timed version.
Hint refresh is about 25 seconds. I completed the game in about 4 hours.

I did notice something I thought was quirky. In some games, an incorrect choice is simply xed out. In one game, 'try again' pops up. Also, the furnishing categories are not linear. I found it a little confusing trying to remember what I'd bought. However, once a category is opened, your purchased (or furnished) item is highlighted.

This game is for anyone new to Hidden Object Games (HOG) or someone who
wants a relaxed, nice environment, and a fairly easy game with different types of games included.
 
 
 posted in Antique Road Trip USA on Jun 16, 10 12:18 AM
This was such a cute relaxing game that when my hour was up, I purchased it.

Storyline: you alternately play husband/wife to earn money to set up your own antique store. Your new puppy is your hint giver.

The goal of the game is to earn enough money to furnish your shop.
There is plenty of money, and about 25 types of furnishings. Each type has 5 items. You can upgrade or downgrade choices, but you can't toss an item out once you've bought it.

A nice touch is that after you end the game, all locations are unlocked and you can pick and choose games to play and still earn money.

The scenes are clear and mostly bright. Objects are clear and not too cleverly hidden or small. I didn't notice any tricky hiding either, eg. blue on blue or 3/4 hidden behind something else.

The music is strings and drum, upbeat ranging from jazzy to country.

Options include cursor change, full screen/windowed, sound, music.
Language is included, but only English is available.

When you first begin, you may choose a timed or untimed game. You also can accept or reject the tutorial. This tutorial explains the Fast shopper game. It also points out money within the location. You must intuit that each game will have 3 (maybe 2?) packets of money you can pick up for free.

There are 15 locations, each with a pre-set collection of 7 out of 9 games. The game directs you to a location where you play one game.
Then you travel to a new location and play another game. And so on, until all 105 (?) games are played. Every so often, you win an antique for your store. You can choose to buy furnishings for your store any time after a funiture category is unlocked. And there is a happy, though not unexpected ending.

the 9 games are:
Hidden object: about 20 items.
Find matching item: 7 rounds. Find 2 matching in set of about 10-20 items.
Picky shopper: three text clues are given for each item to be found.
Fast shopper: 15 customers leave money for items to be found.
Jigsaw: all pieces are right side up, no right clicking involved.
Find 25: of the same type of object.
Spot the difference: about 10 differences in 2 items. Nice touch, the cursor is shown on both items, making it easier to spot differences.
Reverse collections: 7 rounds of finding the one item that doesn't match the others (in a collection of about 5 - 10 items)
Collections: pick the two matching items in a group of 10-20 items.

continued ....
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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