Game Review: Eternal Journey – New Atlantis

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From the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of space this game will keep you searching for clues that unravel the reasons for the disappearance of everyone on a space station on Mars, and the disappearance of Atlantis.

Graphics are crisp though still relatively dark and there did seem to be quite  a bit of backtracking, but that could just be my lack of strategy. Speaking of which, there is a detailed strategy guide if you find you are completely stuck.

The premise and story for the game is quite interesting linking events on Mars to the disappearance of Atlantis and the two are tied together by Archeologist Amrite Stone who has just woken from a 150 year slumber.

Keep an open mind, as well as open eyes, as you investigate the deserted space station to piece together the events that lead to it’s desertion. Save some cute characters and meet some unusual ones.

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One fantastic feature of this hidden object game is the interactive map. You can open the map and see where you are and where you need to be, where you have tasks to complete or objects to collect and with one click of the mouse the map will take you there. You don’t have to backtrack through room after room to return. A fabulous invention and a feature I will always make good use of.

There is plenty in this game to keep you occupied and entertained for hours with it’s 200 objects to find in 100  locations. The game features 13 hidden object scenes with some items quite well hidden and some requiring manipulation before they can be found.

There are 35 mini games to solve and 25 different animations throughout that help to tell the story.

Eternal Journey: New Atlantis – Collector’s Edition is a fun little science fiction adventure to take you out of this world. It’s easy to get lost in the space station piecing together clues and totally forget about the real world knocking at your door.

To get your free demo or download the complete the game head over to Eternal Journey: New Atlantis

Zuma’s Revenge

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PopCap Games is a world leader in casual gaming, and I can see why. Zuma’s Revenge is a Match-3 game that has me hooked. I go to play one level just so that I have it all fresh in my head when I come to talk about it and next thing you know hours have passed and I completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing.

Zuma’s Revenge is a shoot-em-up Match-3 game that has a freaky looking frog shooting balls to break the chain and please the Tiki Gods. There are 4 different modes of play, though two of them can’t be played until they are unlocked by completing Adventure mode.

The soundtrack is not something that really does it for me, which isn’t really an issue because it’s easy to switch the music off, or just your speakers.

There are 6 islands to work through, stopping the balls getting sucked into the skull at the end of the wire. There are times the balls seem to be neverending and once the skull gets them you lose a life. Fortunately there are checkpoints every 5 levels that allow you to restart your game from if you lose all your lives, which is something I am going to love because the idea of having to start from scratch every time gives me the shivers.

zumas revenge

Capture powerups and bonuses of all types by destroying the ball they’ve been attached to and you can change the direction of the balls, remove all of that colour from the gameboard, pick up an accuracy aimer and a laser to destroy single balls. All of which make clearing the board a great deal simpler.

The important trick to get the hang of is to destroy a string of balls and shoot through the gap you created to captures the bonus fruit or, more importantly the further you get, destroy chains further back along the wire.

Game play is fluid as it grows more complex and the balls roll much quicker the further you get but it never loses it’s appeal.

PopCap games has also developed new level layouts  for Zuma’s Revenge which have your frog hopping between two lily pads or rolling on a horizontal track at the bottom or screen as opposed to always sitting in the middle spinning in a circle.

Challenge mode gives you 3 minutes to collect as many points as you can, shooting as many strings of balls as possible. To advance through this mode it’s about beating the challenge score and unlocking new challenge levels.

For fast paced fun in bright colours with a freaky frog and Tiki gods to defeat this is a great way to spend some downtime.

For your FREE 60-min trial head over to: Zuma’s Revenge – Adventure

Peggle

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This PopCap game has got me hooked. It is like a retro combination of a pinball game and Breakout and it has got me chained to the mouse. I go in to play a level or two to get a feel, get some inspiration for what to write and next thing you know the clock has jumped forward.

If I had to list the number of ways this game grabbed me it would be quite a long list but it all started with the cartoon unicorn that greeted me on opening the game. Anyone that knows me knows the game had me at the unicorn.

Peggle is set up almost like a pinball machine with your chute of balls down the left hand side, they shoot out at the top centre of screen and you need to direct their bounce to hit as many of the pegs distributed across the gameboard as possible.

The blue pegs are there to help make the pattern.
The orange pegs are the ones you need to clear to successfully pass the level.
The green pegs (there are 2 per level) give you a special power that coincides with the cartoon Peggle master controlling the launcher.
The purple pegs multiply your score.

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Each level provides you with a set number of balls which can be increased if you catch the ball in the bucket before it falls off screen or if you achieve a high score with an individual ball.

The adventure mode is made up of 55 levels that become increasingly challenging, every 5th level or so you unlock a new Peggle master who will oversee your game and bring a special power to help you through, they will also often impart a piece of wisdom before the level begins.

If Adventure mode doesn’t do it for you then there’s Quick Play which will let you jump to any level that you have previously unlocked. If you can’t decide what you want to play there is a random option that will throw up levels you have unlocked in any order, and you can play as any Peggle master so the power you use isn’t necessarily the one you had to unlock the level.

Duel gives you a 2 player option where you can play a friend or take on the computer, in any level you have unlocked playing Adventure mode. You also have the Random option in this mode. There are only 6 balls per player in Duel and catching your ball gives a bonus but no free ball. Both players are using the same game board so it can be quite annoying if the other player gets the good pegs.

The last mode is Challenge, this is an extra 75 Grand Master Challenges which are unlocked at the end of Adventure mode.

There is a lot to be said for the addictive nature of this game. It all comes down to the luck of the bounce really, but that doesn’t mean there’s no skill involved. If you can work out the precise angle from which to strike…

It is bright and vividly coloured which means it’s extremely eye-catching for the younger players, my Miss 8 became rather entranced with just standing watching. It really is a great game for all ages because there is nothing that could be suggestive or offensive. It’s fun and it’s a FABULOUS tool of procrastination, I’m just lucky I got to call it work. Definitely a game I put off coming to write about so that I could continue playing it.

Great for calming stress relief, I think I will come back to it for an end of evening wind down on a regular basis.

To download your FREE 60 minute trial: Peggle Deluxe

Plants vs. Zombies

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PopCap Games you sure know how to twist my arm and make me stay!

I popped on to play a few rounds and get a bit more of a feel before I came to tell you about the game and what do you know, there goes my early night and all the work I had planned. Ahh, it really is hard when I can spend my night playing PC games and then turn around and call it work.

So, you’ve all heard that I love my vampires and I am missing them desperately at the moment (if you’ve read any of my other reviews you would) so spending an evening with brain eating zombies seemed like an endeavour that would scratch my horror itch.

Not sure about the scares but it certainly kept me amused.

The Plants vs. Zombies page over at PopCam boasts that the PC version of this game has 50 Adventure levels. Now I don’t know proper gaming terminology but I think it’s more time management than adventure. Yes, the scenery and the game board change which to an extent means the objective changes but it’s still a matter of making sure that you have your plants properly placed, you’re making sunshine and you’re using the right weapons because if you’re not ‘The Zombies Ate Your Brains!’ will be splashed across your screen in big green letters.

plants vs zombies

There is definitely challenge, and I am certainly addicted. If nothing else I wanted to see what whacky zombie would get the munchies for my brains in the next level, and what worthy weapon I would get to plant against them.

The imagination inherent in the characters of this game were enough to keep me involved, even though night-time gardening is extremely hard work with no sun – it’s no wonder I felt a little zombified at work today because the zombies had a fair feast on my brains last night.

The colours are vivid and the zombies are fantastic. The night time levels are richly coloured but understandably not what you’d call vibrant.

I love that you can turn full screen off and play in a game window because it is too isolating, and easy to lose HOURS and hours when playing full screen.

There are 26 types of zombies from a Simpson-esque Disco Stu (who drags in back-up dancers at the click of a finger) to well padded football players and everything in between, all of whom will go head to head against the 49 perilous plants. We have tiny little mushies to massive black bomb-shrooms, pea shooters and cherry bombs.

In addition to the 50 Adventure levels there are 20 mini games which you can unlock as you play through adventure mode. Along the way you will also unlock Puzzle and Survival modes as you collect the 20 new Achievements.

But that’s not all, you can even create your own Zombatar! There are fully customisable choices to make your very own zombie which will save on your desktop for your use wherever really… I wonder if my Zombatar would make a good Avatar on all my sites, what do you think? The funny thing I did find about my Zombatar was that she popped up in the very next level I played.

This is a game to entertain with a giggle for the strategist. Not necessarily heavy thinking strategy but definitely requires some forethought. A lovely way to spend a quiet evening at home!

Plants vs. Zombies is available for a long list of platforms as well as online and Facebook, head over to the website to check them all out.

To download your FREE 60-minute trial: Plants vs. Zombies Game

Behind The Reflection 2: Witch’s Revenge

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Alawar have done something a little different with their new Hidden object puzzle adventure game Behind The Reflection 2: Witch’s Revenge.

There is still the spooky music, dark and creepy settings and supernatural theme this is one that takes a different approach. Part of me wants to say that this would be perfect for the beginner at HOG, or the younger adventurer but I’m not sure that I’d let the younger ones play with all the witches, skeletons and soul stealing.

The sequel to last year’s hit Behind The Reflection sees a mother once again separated from her son by an evil sorceress and you have to help her search through five settings to track down the witch and save her son.

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I’m not sure about the original but I can tell you the Behind The Reflection 2: The Witch’s Revenge embraces a totally new approach to the hidden object genre, well totally new to me anyway. Throughout the locations this game will give you a block of pictures to find instead of a list of objects. You know exactly what you are looking for which can be quite helpful, especially as some one word descriptions can be ambiguous. This way you can see what you need to find with no confusion, as you find an item you drag it onto its coutnerpart and it lights up.

Don’t be fooled that this will make the game too much easier because it certainly doesn’t. And there are still traditional hidden object locations that will give you the list.

The soundtrack is suitably spooky and the sound effects are realistic – the creaky chandeliers were making my skin crawl. The graphics are sophicticated and the story plays out nicely on screen without too much disruption from the cut-to scenes.

The key features of the game:

  • Five settings
  • 36 locations
  • Over 45 mini-games
  • More than 20 hidden object scenes
  • Interactive help

The puzzles are challenging, the hidden object scenes are great at  hiding things in plain sight and the new way of using picture prompts to tell you what you’re looking for made the game new again, got the brain changing gear more often to go from visual clues to written clues.

Have fun with it, but don’t lose track of time too badly. That’s my only issue with full screen games, I can no longer see the clock at the bottom of my screen. So on that note, good night.

Download the FREE trial: Behind The Reflection 2: Witch’s Revenge

PREVIEW: Vampire Saga: Break Out

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As some of you may be aware Vampires are my genre; be it books, movies or TV shows if it’s got vampires you can count me in (even if I do then discover that Playboy vampire movies aren’t really so much about the vampires, but that’s a whole other story). I even tracked down the Vampire Weekend album, just because they were called Vampire Weekend.

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Those of you who follow my book reviews may also know that vampires have been a little scarce lately in my reading pile, and I don’t have time to be watching them. So you can imagine my excitement when I was asked to preview Vampire Saga: Break Out! I weighed up whether I had the time for playing games tonight and decided that for vampires, I could make time!

And that’s exactly what I did!

I didn’t get to play the whole game, which is probably not a bad thing or I never would have finished, but I played enough to get hooked.

This game takes place in the town of Hill Lock where you play the  role of Dr Crow, who has been summoned to perform an autopsy on a disfigured corpse discovered in the local mine. Your job is to steer the good doctor through many creepy locations on the run from terrifying creatures of the night that are often seen as inky black shadows.

Hidden object scenes abound, and they are of the visual variety. In this game the hidden object scenes require you to find multiples which was something new to me. They are also scenes that need to be revisited, each time the scene seems to be exactly the same and it’s just slightly different objects you need to find.

This is the third installment of the Vampire Saga, though the first I have come across so I can’t compare it to the early games. I can just tell you that I came, I played, I was a little disappointed when I finished the preview because I hadn’t had enough yet.

vampire saga

Complete with animated story scenes, a tutorial and a handy hint function you are sure to be able to get through any area that has you stumped. And there is a journal at the bottom of the screen to capture all of the important information, ensuring that you have all the info you need at  your fingertips.

The graphics were dark, which is to be expected with a vampire hidden object game, but I do find it makes it difficult to see into all the corners of a hidden object scene.

I enjoyed playing this preview, and I am looking forward to the game’s release on the 8th of March. That could just be the vampires but I think there’s more to it than that. I am intrigued to discover how the good doctors daughter fits into the storyline, and whether or not they can find a cure.

 

Dark Strokes: Sins of The Fathers Collector’s Edition

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The dark and spooky hidden object game I’ve been playing this week is Dark Strokes: Sins of The Fathers Collector’s Edition.

Remembering that I am still reasonably new to the whole PC game experience, it catches me out at times that all the hidden object games I have played are so dark and creepy – until I realise that’s probably the best environment for a hidden object game.

dark strokes

If it’s spooky you want then this supernatural adventure game will keep you guessing. I actually decided to follow the story completely this time round and I had my predictions at the beginning about how it would all turn out. And I was totally wrong, I couldn’t believe it.

There is a bit of step retracing in this game but not enough that it really started to irritate me. It’s usually only one or two locations earlier that you need to return to with extra tools to retrieve something.

Throughout the game you collect figurines which have to be placed in a nativity type box, each time you place a figurine in the box you are shown another piece of the larger mystery.

Ethan and Clair– are forced to postpone their wedding to pay a visit to Ethan’s father, unfortunately that’s just the beginning of their run of bad luck as Clair is kidnapped by one of the ‘Faceless Ones’ from the train. Ethan sets off in hot pursuit, desperate to find his lovely lady and rescue her.

Give chase through the rundown town, following clues and picking up useful inventory items along the way, eyes forever pealed and squinting into the darkest corners.

Alawar are extremely good at finding inventive ways to hide objects in plain sight making the hidden object locations quite the challenge.

I followed this game right through to its conclusion because I found myself so hooked that before I knew it we were done, which was a nice surprise. The best bit about that is that I have opened up the bonus chapters and have more of the story to discover.

Key features:

  • 58 locations
  • 16 mini-games
  • 20 hidden object scenes
  • Step-by-step walkthrough
  • Concept art and desktop wallpapers

If you like a supernatural challenge and to test your observational skills then this is definitely the game for you. Supernatural themes, the fear of the unknown and a desperate need to track down the lover he so desperately wants to marry motivate Ethan to track down all of the missing items that will help his progress. Follow the clues to a conclusion that will surprise you.

Have fun with this one, I know I did.

Download the FREE trial: Dark Strokes: Sins of the Fathers Collector’s Edition

Mystery Stories: Mountains of Madness

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I was sent over to Big Fish Games this afternoon to check out a new hidden object game, because I’m on holidays from the day job and have so many extra hours I thought why not! I then proceeded to spend the afternoon playing Mystery Stories: Mountains of Madness.

PC Games really do have a knack of drawing me in and hidden object games are great for the powers of observation. It may look like I’m sitting here playing games but I am really exercising the grey matter and honing my observational skills – both of which are very important in every day life. (That’s what I tell myself anyway).

Mystery Stories: Mountains of Madness is an intriguing tale of an expedition to the snowy wilds gone wrong. It is shaping up to be the perfect base storyline for a horror movie. And on further investigation – it turns out it’s based on a novel by H.P. Lovecraft!

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You discover the base camp deserted and most of the crew brutally slain (though not graphically so not an issue for younger viewers) but there is one of the team missing. You need to follow the clues left in his wake to discover him before it’s too late.

Beginning at base camp you trek through beautiful snowy and deserted locations where many of your clues are hidden under snow drifts or hidden in plain sight. There are also hidden object locations where you need to collect the requested items, sometimes unique and sometimes multiples of the same item, as well as bonus puzzle rounds.

The graphics are gorgeous and you have the option to enable scrolling so that you get a more panoramic scenery, which is beautiful on the eye. The music is something I can take or leave but it does fit the graphics.

Game play is smooth and you can pick the easy option and have on screen tips, hints and tutorials to help point you in the right direction. There is a little bit of retracing your steps when you find an item that you can use on something you found earlier, at times this annoys me but it doesn’t seem to be too apparent in this game.

The one thing that I REALLY loved about this one – you have the option to turn off Full Screen Mode so I can still see what else is going on in my other screens. A big plus for me considering I always have other things on my mind as well.

A pleasant way to fill an afternoon, brilliant for a distraction and great for the thinkers!

DOWNLOAD THE FREE TRIAL: Mystery Stories: Mountains of Madness

A Girl in the City

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With her journalism degree in her pocket, Laura leaves her small-town home to take a bite out of the Big Apple! She dreams of becoming a freelance journalist with a major New York women’s magazine, but the road is long and fraught with pitfalls!

Help out A Girl in the City in this fun Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure game!

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* Awesome locations
* Stunning puzzles
* Set out to conquer New York!

Download the FREE trial: A Girl in the City Game

Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds

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Gobble up the entire Tasty Planet in this fun and exciting Adventure game! Grow in size and take on even more delectable items as you storm through level after level as an extremely hungry blob of grey goo.

Start off in a small science lab, but take on the entire city in Tasty Planet – Back for Seconds. Track down new treats and take over the Tasty Planet!

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* Exciting levels
* Tricky obstacles
* Take on Tasty Planet!

Download the FREE trial: Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds Game