AMARANTHINE VOYAGE: THE SHADOW OF TORMENT – Collector’s Edition


by EIPIX ENTERTAINMENT; BIGFISH GAMES

STRIKINGLY BEAUTIFUL CONCEPTION!

Story:  Long ago, Anther was a realm of beauty and magic, but the appearance of a being named Torment drained their magic and forced the survivors to flee to a world called Earth. Years later, one of their artifacts has been uncovered, reopening the way between both worlds. You must enter the portal and stop Torment before it turns its sights toward Earth. An ancient prophecy declares that you will be the one to save both worlds, but will it come true? Find out in this breathtaking Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure game! (Big Fish Sales Blurb)

Desktop:      Menu, Guide, Magic Device/Nether Vision (Left); Inventory/Lists (Centre); Achievements, Hints (Right).   No Notebook!!

Options:     Good, with Automatic Widescreen.

Tutorial:     Optional, quick, efficient, not too intrusive.

Play Modes:   Casual; Expert; Insane; Custom – I always choose Custon as it allows for the most relaxed game-play possible.  You also are able to see if there are Overclicking penalties – a big NO-No in my books – which this game does have, to minimise its affect.

Map:    Interactive – The Tutorial encourages you to use this to travel quickly between locations.

Graphics:   These are Gorgeous as expected from EIPIX games – fantasy colours, which are brilliant and evocative, making unreal the real-world flora and fauna, architecture and characters/creatures.  Brilliant and sparkling in most aspects – though too much use of hazy atmospherics in the HOPs – the settings are brilliantly and cleverly designed and devised with careful attention to the smallest details.

HOPs:   Bubble Popper alternative.  As already mentioned this game has too much atmospheric haze in the HOPs.  However the variety provided is excellent – a whole new level of play which is exciting and fun.  There are Shapes, Interactive Lists, Multiple sites within each HOP, and variations on all of these.

Puzzles:   Similar variations apply here from Simple to Difficult, with enough Information on some, to not enough on others.  The Mozaic Puzzle is cool.  You need to persever with some of them – Tip: Place the Mermaid (Hook) in the space between the chain and chandelier precisely.  Persist.  But you can Skip if any of them drive you crazy, or your game-playing time is limited.

Collections:   Flowers of Remembrance (41); Morphing Objects in HOPs;  Souvenirs – all these can be accessed after the end of the game to collect those missed during play.  This will then unlock other Extras.  The Morphing Objects are particularly difficult to spot as you have to be looking at the right part of the screen when they Morph – quite difficult with a large screen.  If you just miss the change back, then hover over it as it will Morph again fairly quickly.

Game-play:   This entails the usual Point & Click, Back & Forth actions – make great use of the Map which changes as you change locations.The Mouse is fairly spot-sensitive, but more general sometimes which is nice as you tire physically playing this extremely long game.

Player Participation:   Obviously heaps of this – I hardly need to say so these days.

Satisfaction Factor:    Extremely satisfying – the game ends well, resolving issues, and leaving somewhere to go next.

Frustration Factors:    Apart from the odd moments of not enough information- where I resorted to the use of Hints, and on only two occasions to the Guide when the Puzzle seemed unsolvable – and the usual fatigue-related Controls slips, this was fine.  Certainly the positives of this game far out-weighed the negatives.

Extras:    Play Bonus Game; Flower Collection; Lore Book; Souvenir Room; Pictures; Achievements; Making of; Play Puzzle; Music; Movies; Bubble Popper; Find Objects; HOP Chinese Healer; HOP Living Mountain; HOP Sea of Lies: Mutiny of the heart.

Bonus Game:    This is more of the same Game-Play, with a Map and most of the Desk Top Tools – the Magic Device is changed for a Nether Vision Detector.  You play as Victoria with the Shadow as your helper which is a cool twist.  This game is also quite long.

I highly recommend this game – I bought it immediately!

Jud House 7/09/2014

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RITE OF PASSAGE: HIDE AND SEEK – Collector’s Edition


by MAD HEAD GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES

WOW!!

Story:  Twenty years ago, a group of children in the town of Greystone were taken by a mysterious fog while playing hide and seek, including your brother. Only you escaped… Your father went looking for your brother and never returned. Now you’ve found evidence that your father has been alive this entire time, still searching for the missing children. But why would he remain silent for so long? And why was he so determined to keep you away from Greystone? You immediately head out to find answers. But are you prepared for what awaits you in the mysterious fog? Find out in this creepy Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure game! (Big Fish Sales Blurb)

Desktop:   Menu, Hint, Map, Hand, Strategy Guide, Morphing Items (Spiral Icon), Karma Meter (it’s level affects story outcome) (Left); Inventory (Centre); Journal, Objectives, and Talents: Icebreaker, Translator, Summoner, and Seeker which you gain as you progress through the game.

Extras:     Forest Runner; Soundtrack; Achievements; Gallery; Collectibles; Alchemist’s Table.  Within Gallery: Hide & Seek (HOPs); Storybook (puzzles); Reels (movies); Cast (jigsaws); Backgrounds; Imaginings.

Options:   Very good.

Tutorial:   Good, quick, efficient.

Play Modes:    Haze; Mist; Fog; Custom.

Map:     This takes the form of several Mini-Maps that change when you move to a new general location.  The signage on the Maps is good, makes sense, and is helpful.  The Map is also interactive – allowing you to jump to an active site by clicking on it.

Graphics:   Gorgeous Main menu graphics, so colourful, vibrant and sets the tone for the game.  Despite the fog elements, the Graphics remain acceptably clear so that you can see what you a searching for without too much eye-strain.

HOPs:   These are incredibly diverse and have brought a whole new set of facets to the game-play.  There are Interactive Lists where you uncover a set of Items behind each List Item – these are then needed to unlock the final required item, for example, numbers for a phone dial.  There Lists that open Pictured Items to replace in the scene, that open Lists that open more Pictured Items to replace into the scene to finally use.   There are Shapes/Silhouette Items to find and place into the Inventory/Bar to open Interactive Lists.  There are morphing objects which are quite tricky to find – that will unlock Extras content, but which can also be collected after you have completed the Game(s) by clicking on the Spiral Icon.

Puzzles aka Mini-Games:   These are also very diverse – and include the Storybook seek and replace Puzzles, and Mini HOPs in zoom sites.  The Cable Car Puzzle is particularly cool.

Collections:   Handprints – these can also be collected after the main Game, and then the Bonus Game, via Collectibles on the Main Menu.  You then assemble the Handprint Puzzle,which unlocks the Alchemist’s Table where you play HOPs and Puzzles to make a Potion.  You pour this Potion onto the wolf cub to unlock Forest Runner. You also collect Pearls – these contain the missing children who give you small important clues.

Game-play:   So many facets to this game, as I mentioned.  You will find that the Cursor is Spot Specific, and you can find the Inventory popping up if you are not careful when ‘backing out’.  But there are unexpected twists and game-play moves that are quite diverting and fun.  For example, when you chop the roots of a tree with an axe, the tree shudders and a pile of Items fall out onto the ground creating a HOP – this is unexpected and amusing.

Player Participation:   This is high as the game is complex and long.

Satisfaction Factor:    Due to the great storyline, and the length of the Main Game and the Bonus Game, this is high.  You really feel that you get your money’s worth, especially with this Collector’s Edition.   It is well devised and well designed.

Frustration Factors:   Only the need for a little more information in the Journal and on the Maps.  Plus the need to be careful with the Mouse control.

Bonus Game:     This is a Sequel to the main Game, tidying up the ending, containing more of the same game-play and gorgeous Graphics.  Make sure to explore all the facets of the Extras page as there are more hours of fun to be had there.

I highly recommend this game and bought it immediately..

Jud House 27/08/2014

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Paintings – What I’m doing when not blogging!

This gallery contains 10 photos.


  JUD’S ARTWORK   Across the Plain Divided Sharks Jellyfish Jaunt River Reverie Unmasked Glacier’s End

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NEVERTALES: SHATTERED IMAGE – Collector’s Edition


by MAD HEAD GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES

INTRIGUING, MACABRE!

Story: Your daughter, Alice, has grown up to be a talented young girl – unlike other Travelers, she has a rare gift that allows her to open portals using reflective surfaces, not just books. But when a mysterious mirror-hopping monster suddenly appears through one of the portals and kidnaps Alice, the entire world starts splitting apart at the seams. Strange quakes rock the earth, and huge chasms appear out of nowhere. Now you must use your own powers to travel into Book-worlds and find the source of the trouble. Can you rescue Alice and save Taleworld before it falls apart? Find out in this thrilling Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure game! (BigFish Sales Blurb)

Desktop:    Journal (includes Map), Strategy Guide, Notes, Objectives, Achieve-ments (Right);   Hint, Puzzle  Button, Map, Alice’s Dollhouse, Collectible Discs (Left); Inventory (Centre).

Options:   Good.

Extras:    Gallery: HO Puzzles, Music, Concepts, Wallpapers, Achivements; Travelers (unlock with Bonus Game); Treasures (unlock with Collectibles); Tower Defense (Mini Games – unlock with Main Game).

Tutorial:    Efficient – a little intrusive when you know what you are doing.

Play Modes:   Casual Reader; Bookworm; Scholar; Choose Your Own (Custom).

Map:   Interactive; informative; I only used it occasionally.

Graphics:   Gorgeous; Fantastic; Colourful; Moments of haze but not too annoying.

HOPs:   Interactive Lists, Shapes, Multiple Site HOPs, including Zoom Sites.  On the whole quite inventive and definitely more fun to play than straight HOP searches.

Puzzles/ Mini Games:   Varied and interesting; integral to the story.  The Story Book Elements games are also intriguing – you find the picture items while the tale is being told then turn the page for the next series of Items.  There are quite a few unusual Mini Games that add much pleasure to this game’s play.
            Tip: To collect the wine, you need to hold the vial exactly beneath the falling wine but lower down – half the vial is off the bottom of the screen.  Feel for the Hot-Spot slowly and carefully – you can check the Strat Guide to see where, but it isn’t very clear.

Collections:   Stained Glass Discs, one per scene – if you can’t find them all you can do so at the end of the games via the Collectible Icon on your game Desktop, which gives you access to the individual HOP scenes via obviously ‘uncollected’ Icons.  Morphing Objects, one per HOP game – these are very hard to find – I didn’t get them all and found I couldn’t seem to do so at the end of the game.  So I was unable to open the Hidden Game.

Game-play:   When you Click PLAY on the Main Menu, you are asked which Game you want – Main Game, Bonus Game, or Hidden Game.  Each game unlocks the next one.  I have yet to unlock the Hidden Game!  (I managed to do this in another Mad Head Games game recently, but not this time).
Generally, the game-play is the usual Seek & Find, Point & Click, Back & Forth, high Player Participation pattern that most HOP/Adventure games follow.   But this new NEVERTALES game has quite a lot of innovative HOP and Puzzle/Mini Game variations that have increased the Player Experience considerably.  It is rather impressive.  And far more enjoyable.
Items need to be assembled in the Inventory before use, though there are, for example, Potion making scenes where Items are combined at a specific spot.  The Spellbreaker Book teaches you to cast spells, using a Mini Game style; The Dollhouse pieces must be placed into the Dollhouse, via its Desktop Icon, to give you more information and another important Item for your Inventory.  When you interact with Characters, you need to return to them to ask for their assistance or more information, as you would in real life.
The game uses Portals mostly via Books, but also via a few Mirrors.  Plus you are searching for the four remaining Catalysts that you use in your amulet to ‘see’ your next major location and to access it via  the next Book Portal.

Bonus Game:  This is the backstory of how Pierre and Belle met.  the Game-play is more of the same with its own new Map of course.  Also you need to collect the remaining Stained Glass Discs, and possibly Morphing Objects as well.

Player Participation:   As mentioned above, this is high.

Satisfaction Factor:   This game is Great!!!  It’s really enjoyable all the way through, and very satisfying at the end.  And both ‘endings’ conclude well – are not rushed.

Frustration Factors:   Not many – the Graphics could be a little clearer, especially in the HOPs, and the Exit area from each scene could activate so it doesn’t keep bringing the Inventory Items up – mind you the Inventory might be lockable to stop this.

I highly recommend this game – and I bought it as soon as I could.

Jud House 8/08/2014

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DEAD RECKONING: SILVERMOON ISLE – Collector’s Edition


by EIPIX ENTERTAINMENT; BIGFISH GAMES

INTRIGUING CRIME!

Story:     I really like the 3D CG characters, with their excellent voice-actors.  The Story is well devised, with enough twists and turns to keep you interested, though I worked out who the murderer was quite early.  Still that doesn’t mean that all players will – and it didn’t diminish the entertainment factor at all, as I naturally wanted to keep playing to see if I was right.

Silver-screen star Veronica West plummeted to her death from the top of a lighthouse on Silvermoon Isle. Was it an accident? A suicide? Or did someone at the party that night kill Veronica?

Solve the case using an innovative “deduction” feature that turns questioning suspects into a fun, interactive game! (BigFish Sales Blurb)

Desktop:    Evidence Board, Guide, Menu, Achievements, Map (Left); Inventory (Centre); Hint, Stars (Right). 

Options:    Good; Supports widescreen automaticallys

Tutorial:    Good; Optional.

Play Modes:    PI; Detective; Inspector; Custom.

Map:    Interactive.  A little unusual as it open as a Camera with Lenses circling the rooms/sites.  YOu are encouraged to use the Map to teleport from site to site.

Graphics:    Mostly Colourful; Authentic to the era so a little dingy at times.  Gorgeous Art Deco style.  Unnecessary use of hexagonal light beams to obscure the HOPs.

HOPs:   There is a Bubbleshooter alternative which I chose not to use as I dislike that type of game.  As mentioned that Graphics are okay except for minor light beam obstructions.  There are Interactive Lists; Shapes; some Double Lists with Zoom Mini HOP shapes and Lists as well.  There are quite unusual combinations of HOPs and these are moderately spread throughout the game.

Puzzles:   Most of the Puzzles are fun, unusual, achieveable – apart from a couple that wouldn’t do any of those things.  So I skipped them.

Collections:   Stars; Morphing Souvenirs (in HOPs).  If you miss any of these, upon completion of both the Main and Bonus Games, you can click on the Hidden Stars and Souvenir Buttons in Extras to go back and collect them all – a bit of extra fun play.

Game-play:   You are investigating a Crime inan Art Deco mansion on an island.  You collect evidence, assess it, talk with the suspects showing proof for your questions to discover whether they speak the truth or lie.  To do this, you need to click on each piece of evidence – not always as straight forward as you would expect.  Once you have made it work once, it is easier to work out what to click on and what not to click on.  You can just click randomly until you make it work first time so you can then understand what is required of you.  I’m not sure of the game video on the sales page will show this action – if it does it will probably be really quick.  There are of course the usual HOPs and Puzzles, plus Mini games, but the game is not overloaded with these.  Much of the gameplay is gather evidence and disseminating it throughout the sites.

Player Participation:   As I am sure you have gathered by now there is a fair bit of this.

Satisfaction Factor:   Wow!  This is a cool game, once you adjust to the game-play quirks.  It is also a fairly long game, with good characters and plot, and game-play driven by the story.  The visual environment is excellent, and the continual progress through it enjoyable.

Frustration Factors:   The Exit/Back-out area above the Inventory is a little large so that it covers the bottom quarter of the screen; and is too close to the Iventory which keeps popping up when you are trying to find the Back Arrow.  Just a minor nuisance.

Extras:    Collect Hidden Stars; Play HOP; Play Puzzles; Making Of; Play Bonus Game; Souvenir Room; Pictures; Movies; Music; Bubbleshooter.

Bonus Game:  This plays the same as the Main Game; and is also quite long for a Bonus Game.  Also enjoyable.  It follows the search for the missing necklace after the Murders have been sorted out in the Main Game.

I highly recommend this game – I added it to my collection as soon as I could.

Jud House 31/07/2014

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