Jud’s Artwork – What I’m doing when not blogging!

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HODGEPODGE HOLLOW – A Potions Primer


Image result for hodgepodge hollow

by JOLLY BEAR GAMES; BIG FISH GAMES;

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics: ****  Player participation (PP) *****  Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****

Frustration Factor (FF)  Nil

This cute, relaxing, un-Timed Game opens in Windows 7 without any problems.  Accompanied by calming harp music, your task in this Game is to locate a potions book stolen by a dragon from Gnomes.  You need to use the Enchanted Map to begin each level, to search for potion pages strewn amongst the scenes.  When activated, little Scarab-like bugs crawl on this map to the required locations.  As well as finding the usual Hidden Objects, you must collect the potion ingredients, then return to the Gnomes’ house to brew the potion.  Only when all the powerful potions have been brewed and used during your quest, can you retrieve the book from the dragon for the Gnomes.

The graphics are delightful, colourful, imaginative, gentle, and clearly created, though there is some use of minimal atmospheric mists or sun-haze at times.  The objects are well defined but skillfully hidden amongst other items in each scene – creating a challenge while still playing fair with the player.  (I did find that several times I had to use the efficient Hint button for the final item of a scene-search which was rather FF.)  Even the Map design is unusual and picturesque, and its means of use cleverly devised.

 Hodgepodge Hollow

The artistic concept for the Ingredients is innovative, imaginative, interesting, often quite cheeky, and a play on its name – for example: Witch Hazel is a plant with a witch’s head; Dandelions have lion faces; Chickweed has a chicken’s head with feathers poking out the top.  Other ingredients are:  Caterpillar Fur; Bees’ Knees; Forgetmenot Tears; Dewdrops; Eye of Newt; Lightning Ash; Bees’ Wax; Mockingbird Song; Unicorn Flakes; Snake Eyes; Pixie Dust; Lollipops; Nightshade; Sprites; Cobwebs; Fairy Laughter;Wolf’s Howl; Boar Bristles; Cahmeleon’s Tail; Gremlin Teeth; Barnacle Beards; Bad Blood; Lilac Nectar; Hummingbird’s Kiss, and Grugach Hammer.

The Location names are also fun and quite clever:  Heedless the Healer; Hirsute (hairy) Spellman; Nebulous Forest; Big Man Bumble; Addlebrain’s Aviary; Boundless Dark; Wayward Sanctuary; Restless Merchant; Divine Intervention; Gullible Hovel; Dragon Dragoon; Secret Cenote; Ticklish Grove; Troll Bridge; Befuddled Inn; Wolf Den; Canine Confederacy; Murmur Gardens; Master at Arms; and The Gatekeeper.

Tip:  The order in which the Ingredients are mixed is important.  Also it is important to remember the peculiar method of using Forgetmenot Tears, in order not to suffer from FF.

This safe and skillful Game is obviously geared for young people – but it is a great game to play to practise and sharpen Point and Click Game skills, and powers of observation, while providing some relaxing though still challenging play.

 Hodgepodge Hollow

I highly recommend this Game.  High SF and PP.

 

 Jud House   27/07/2011; 20/06/2015

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The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter


judsgamereviews:

Here is another brilliantly concise blog by Pete Davison – this time defining Twitter for the uninitiated – like myself. I do hope it helps enlighten some of you, and that it makes the rest of you laugh, then check out his site which you’ll find has something for everyone.

Originally posted on I'm Not Doctor Who:

Longtime supporter of this blog and regular commenter Jud joined Twitter recently, and seems to be at a bit of a loss as to what to do with it. I remember feeling much the same way when I first joined the site; it was quite some time before I got a feel for what it was all about and how it worked. So with that in mind, today’s entry is dedicated to Jud and anyone else who doesn’t understand what Twitter is, how it works and how to use it.

What is Twitter?

Twitter always used to position itself as a “microblogging” platform; a means for people to express themselves in deliberately short snippets of text: no more than 140 characters. Over time, it’s evolved, and can now be used for a lot of different things: as a means of staying up-to-date on topics that interest you; as a means of…

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HOUSE OF 1000 DOORS – Collector’s Edition


Image result for house of 1000 doors evil inside collector's edition

by ALAWAR; LOGRIS GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES

INTRIGUING, PORTAL GAME!

Story:  Emily’s everyday life is shattered when a strange woman knocks at her door, begging for her help as a frightening meteor descends from the sky. In an instant, she’s whisked away to the mysterious House of the Lancasters, where she discovers she has a special gift: the inner light. Now Emily’s power is the only thing that can stop the dark disease that threatens to swallow the entire world. This deadly infection corrupts anything it touches: humans, animals, even plants and inanimate objects, turning them into violent monsters. Work together with your new family to fight back and restore the world, before it’s too late!  (Big Fish Sales Blurb)

Options:   Options are good – they include Help for Game-play instructions.

Main Menu:   Stategy Guide; More Games; Profile; Options; Play; Extras; Exit.  These are clearly set out and user friendly, with gorgeous Graphics.

Music & Voice-Overs:  Both are well suited to the game story/genre, and can of course be turned down or muted if you choose.

Extras:   Wallpapers; Concept Art; Music; Achievements; Cutscenes; Collectibles; Making of.  Bonus Game is accessed via PLAY.

Desktop:   (L) Journal (Notes, Tasks), Compass (Map); (C) Tasks, Inventory/Lists; (R) Guide, Scary Faces (Collectibles), Powers (Chronograph, Hand of Light, Revealing Lens), Hint.

Tutorial:   This was efficient, not too intrusive, and worth doing.

Image result for house of 1000 doors evil inside collector's edition

Graphics:   I will now go into raptures over the brilliance of the Graphics – so colourful, clear, vibrant, yet dark when needed.  They were a pleasure to immerse in as the game-play drew me in.

Play Modes:   Casual, Advanced, hard, Custom – I of course chose Custom which gave plenty of scope to play as I wanted to.

Map:   Interactive, extremely useful and worth using to prevent RSI occurring from the Point & Click/ Back & Forth action.

HOPs:   These had Interactive Lists; whole scene Interactive Game-play that either reveal and place pieces to form the final Item, or just lead to you final Item.

Puzzles:   Generally these were interesting, playable, logical and fun – though there were a few random ones that lacked a pattern or logic, then became tedious, so I Skipped them.

Collections:   You have to find Scary Faces in each scene – it is advisable to try to find them all as you go as instead of being able to collect the missing ones upon completion of the game, you have to play a Shmup aka Shoot Them Up game, firing at the Scary Faces as they appear and rush at you while not firing on the people who do so at random.

Game-play:   There is much collection of Items throughout the scenes, using them on others to unlock the next way forward, solving problems, and rescuing people by defeating the Evil Inside them.  Tip:  When you use the Hand of Light Power you click in the circle, then follow each line to the point when it will make a click/bell tinkle sound, then on along the next line and so on till the arrow end.

 House of 1000 Doors: Evil Inside Collector's Edition

Player Participation:   Obviously high – there is so much the Player needs to do.

Satisfaction Factor:   This is a highly enjoyable game of good length.

Frustration Factors:   A few of the Puzzle cause this, plus a tendency for the Game-play to need to be done in the right order.

Bonus Game:    WILD WEST ADVENTURE is a Prequel to the Main Game Story.  It is also of good length, enjoyable, a little frustrating, but satisfying.  I like it when the Bonus Chapter is a Prequel, as it means that the Main Story is complete whichever version you bought.

I highly recommend this game.

Jud House 12/06/2015

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CROSSWORLDS: THE FLYING CITY


Crossworlds: The Flying City

by 2 MONKEYS; BIGFISH GAMES

UNUSUAL SCIFI-FANTASY !

Story:  Monica and her father, Professor Dumbdore, have invented a unique device, a teleporter that enables traveling through parallel worlds! Mysteriously, Monica’s father disappears and it’s up to her to track him down! Investigate the different worlds and meet interesting characters as you track down Monica’s father in Crossworlds: The Flying City, an exciting Hidden Object game. (Big Fish Sales Blurb)

Options:    Very basic, but okay.

Main Menu:    Also basic but okay.

Music & Voice-Overs:   These are quite good, and well-suited to the different Worlds.  I especially like the River World sound effects and music – the birdsongs are great!

Desktop:    (L) Menu, Electronic Diary;  (C) Inventory, Lists;  (R) Hint (rechargeable)

Tutorial:   Quick, okay.

Graphics:   Clear and on the whole colourful.  In the Robo World they are drab and depressing, and for a while I felt as though I shouldn’t have bought the game as it was getting me down.  However, finally stepping through the Portal into the River World was like a huge relief and reward for enduring the previous one – the trees are gorgeous, the swamp lush, the village intriguing, and the inhabitants colourful.  In the Flying City it is more ethereal; marbled, and full of light, statues, and Deities.

Crossworlds: The Flying City > iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac & PC Game | Big Fish// >

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Play Modes:   None.

Map:    None.

HOPs:   Graphics are colourful in these no matter which world you are in – though a little more drab in Robo World.  These are Interactive Lists, within which the Items move from the first play-through to the second.  But those from the second are in the foreground of the first, and vice-versa, which is an interesting, clever twist.  Of course the items you are actually looking for are much harder to find, but the Hint is there to help if you really get stuck.  Some  of the Items are transparent which I always think is a bit mean.

Puzzles:   These take the form of assemblage of broken machinery, shattered stained glass windows, and intricate locks that need to be opened.

Collections:   You need to collect CD shards; and Potion ingredients; then just minor Item collections.

Portals:    You travel via a Time Machine portal to Robo World; then via a Computer Screen to River World; then via a Tree Portal to the Fly City.

Game-play:   As there is no Map, the game entails continual Back & Forth, and Point & Click activities.  You need to resort to the Diary to see your Tasks which are continually up-dated and crossed off as you complete them.  You are given instructions, all of which are really important, via the Dialogue, and via an overhead note when clicking a hotspot, only once – if you miss it because you click again too soon or are looking at the main part of the screen, then you need to check your Diary for the info which may be there if you are lucky.  You are able to choose the order in which you play some parts of the game, but not others.  You can ask Hint for help only in the HOP, which is very frustrating.

 Crossworlds: The Flying City

Tip:   I recommend that you go to the game’s sales page in Big Fish Games, click on the Walkthrough, then save it, once it opens, in your Favourites.  This way you can have it open behind the game, and resort to it when you are really stuck.  If you are using dual screens then you can slide you cursor arrow out the side of the game screen and onto your side screen, then click.  This will put your game down on the bottom Tool Bar, while you scroll through the Walkthrough to your current position, check to see why you are stuck and what you missed.  You then click on the Game Icon on the Tool Bar and the game will open exactly where you left it.  If you have have only one screen, then if it has Full Screen/Windowed Screen in the Options (which I just can’t recall) you can go to Options, Window the game, look at Walkthrough, return to Game screen, then Options, then Full Screen, and carry on playing.  I hope that helps – it was invaluable to me and I am an experienced Player.  I just don’t like being a frustrated Player. :D

Player Participation:   There is much of this due to B & F, P & C activity.  You also have to make the actions yourself – eg to physically drive the car you need to turn the key on, move gear stick, press pedal down; drive the bus Back & Forth to change locations.

Tip:  In the Flying City you need to speak to the statues several times, and particularly before you place the Items into the hollows beneath them.

Frustration Factors:   Already mentioned – an overall lack of information, and of Help Tools such as a Map or useful Hint button.  Plus the fatigue caused by continually going B & F to P & C.

Satisfaction Factor:    I thought this would be really low, but was surprised by the time I finished.  I did enjoy it, the story is good, and keeps you moving onwards, and I found myself looking forward to the Sequel.

Image result for crossworlds the flying city

 I do recommend this game, but strongly also recommend the saving of the Walkthrough site in you Favourites.

Jud House 4/06/2015

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DARK PARABLES: QUEEN OF SANDS – Collector’s Edtion


Image result for dark parables queen of sands collector's edition

by BLUE TEA GAMES; EIPIX ENTERTAINMENT; BIG FISH GAMES

INTRIGUING, DELICIOUS!

Story:   Townspeople are disappearing in the provincial city of Montafleur as its streets are overrun by nightmarish creatures that vanish into a purple mist. The Red Riding Hood Sisters were called in to investigate, but they’ve got their hands full chasing a ferocious beast last seen along the outskirts of town. Explore the lush French countryside as you team up with Ruth and Brianne to uncover the dark secrets behind Montafleur’s world-famous perfumes. Unmask the true villain, before their nightmares spread to the entire world!  (Big Fish Sales Blurb)

Great story, engrossing, compelling, enjoyable. 

Options:    Good; auto wide-screen.

Main Menu:   Great graphics; Facebook and Twitter links; More Games to scroll.

Music & Voice-Overs:   These are all really appropriate, though the Fairy’s voice was a little annoying – luckily she only made a brief appearance.  The Music is so good adding atmosphere quietly in the background.

Extras:   Play Mini-Games; Play HOPs; Parables; Collectibles; Bonus Video; Movies; Art Gallery; Music; Souvenir Room.

Desktop:    (L)  Hint; Objective; Task !; Parables.  (C) Inventory/Lists.  (R) Guide; Map; Achievements; Collectibles.

Tutorial:   As usual, quick, efficient, helpful, and not too intrusive.  As always you can opt out at any time.

 Dark Parables: Queen of Sands Collector's Edition

Graphics:    Glorious, occasionally breathtaking; cleverly detailed and designed to create authentic settings; colourful; sparkling; a visual feast.  The HOP Graphics are particularly enjoyable.

Play Modes:    Casual; Hard; Insane; Custom.  The latter is really fabulous, as you can turn off any penalties, plus set the game-play to get the best experience for yourself!

Map:    Interactive; really informative and helpful – with a Key on one side and the Portal to the chosen site at Top Right.

HOPs:   Time to go into raptures here – this game continues its use of jewel encrusted pieces that assemble to form the final Item, which can be a crown, an amulet, a screwdriver, a cane, a gear and so on.  So gems are not just reserved for jewellery Items, but for the mundane as well.  It makes the search so enjoyable – I find myself grinning all the time, filled with delight and happiness.  Of course this is not saying that the HOPs are too easy to solve – you still need to search vigilantly.  Blue Tea Games and EIPIX have definitely played fair with the Player – there are no hazing, transparencies, or tiny pieces – they are there to find if you look carefully.

Puzzles:   On the whole these are innovative, with a few new types, plus many variations on older puzzles.  I believe I only Skipped one and that was because I was too tired to persevere.  Some are short, some are longer, some are complex with several Puzzles in one.

Collections:  You need to collect Fleur-de-Lis; plus Morphing Parable characters/ creatures which are much harder to find.  Don’t stress – you can have fun collecting the missing ones after you’ve completed both the Main Story and the Bonus Chapter.

 Dark Parables: Queen of Sands Collector's Edition

Game-play:   As you’ve probably gathered by now, this is really good to play.  It follows logical steps, is played in stages which involve local Back & Forth, Point & Click playing per new location while collecting, repairing, solving, assembling to open the next ‘level’. The Story  is embedded into the Game-Play; it drives the game forward and remains in the foreground.  It is the whole reason there is a game – it’s not just tacked on to HOPs and Puzzles.  It is something that both Blue Tea Games and EIPIX do really well.

Player Participation:   This is obviously full-on.

Frustration Factors:   I have to say, other than the Fairy’s squeaky voice, there were none!

Satisfaction Factor:   My love affair with BLUE TEA GAMES and EIPIX ENTERTAINMENT continues.  They are not my only faves – apologies I meant to say favourites :D – but they are up at the top of the list.  All the DARK PARABLES games have been excellent, and continue to improve in subtle ways.  They are more player friendly, we have the choice to opt out of being punished like naughty children if our style of play involves a lot of Clicking.  We are being presented with clearer, sumptuous Graphics that make us want to play and buy more games.

Bonus Game:    This has the same Game-play parameters as the Main Game, with a really good Opening Movie.  It is also of good length and is the Prequel to the Main Story.  It is also very enjoyable and well devised.

Image result for dark parables queen of sands collector's edition

I highly recommend this game to all Players.  :D

Jud House 30/05/2015

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AMARANTHINE VOYAGE: THE OBSIDIAN BOOK – Collector’s Edition


Image result for amaranthine voyage the obsidian book collector's edition

by EIPIX; BIGFISH GAMES

FABULOUS SCIFI, FANTASY!

Story:  A long month of waiting, rising tensions and utter silence has passed. The stakes are high, and the fate of the harmonium radiation research team is still unknown. The CCPP decides to send one of the best agents – you – to find out what transpired.
As you land on the frozen mountains of Iceland, a mysterious helicopter passes above you. CCPP didn’t send reinforcements, and the question arises – did someone else find out about the important research of your scientific team?
As you traverse the narrow pathways and ice coated cliff sides, you will discover the findings of your scientists, and their conclusions will be borderline impossible. The investigation will pull you deeper into the research of harmonium energy, its possible uses… and abuses.
Prepare yourself for a journey that will change your life and your perception forever.  (Big Fish Sales Blurb)

Options:   Good.

Main Menu:   Gorgeous Graphics of course, with Twitter and Facebook links

Music & Voice-Overs:   Both are really well done, both suit the game-play and the storylines.  Imaginative yet not intrusive nor discordant.

Extras:   Play Bonus Chapter; Play Mini-Games; Making of; Play Alternative HO (Bubble Popper); Play HOPs; Movies; Collectibles; Pictures; Souvenir Room; Music.

Amaranthine Voyage: The Obsidian Book Collector’s Edition > iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac & PC Game | Big Fish// >

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Desktop:   Harmonium Collector, Guide, Menu (Left); Inventory/ Lists (Centre); Achievements, Book, Objectives, Hint, Map (Right).

Tutorial:   This is efficient as always, with choices for a Full, Partial or Skipped Tutorial.  The Info given is relevant, necessary, and helpful, and can also be accessed via the Main Menu.

Graphics:    Glorious snow scenes; Loading and Music Load Menu graphics really great – love the use of musical instruments that are different for each game.  The quality of the Graphics is excellent, though the Opening Movies are a little pixellated due to my large screen.  The attention to detail within the Graphics for all aspects of the settings, characters, attire, equipment, architecture, weather, and terrain is meticulous, providing an authentic experience when playing – there are no moments of discord, nothing that feels out of place.

Play Modes:   Casual; Expert; Insane; Custom – the latter is great, and allows you to turn off the Penalties for Over-clicking.

Map:   Interactive, easy to use, informative – hugely helpful to keep yourself on track and to save time.  The Map Key lets you see where the Active sites are – if none are showing check your Inventory in case there is action needed there between Items.

HOPs:   These are varied: Silhouettes open Lists; Silhouette Connections; Morphing Items that open Lists; Lists.   These are interesting, engaging, mostly visible with interactive Items aplenty. 

Puzzles:   Mini-Games can auto-solve by using Skip – or you can resort to the Guide to get the gist of things if really stuck.  Some Puzzles are random actions, which can be a pain, and which I usually Skip if I don’t get a fairly quick resolution.

Amaranthine Voyage: The Obsidian Book Collector’s Edition > iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac & PC Game | Big Fish// >

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Collections:   Magic Book (40) per scene – any missed can be collected after completion of both games.  Collect Harmonium Crystals, needed to recharge your Harmonium Collector Powers of Mending, Cleansing, and Phasing, throughout the scenes.   The Souvenir Items are collected by re-visiting all the scenes upon completion of both games – they are an added Extra, and some may need actions in order to locate them.  They are Fun!

Game-play:   After charging the Harmonium Collector you can use this to Mend Items small as a Cup and large as a Bridge; to Cleanse Black Shadows/Magic from locations; and defeat Monsters and Black Magical Creatures with the Phasing Power.  The story drives the game-play which is always great, as you become immersed in both story and play not wanting to stop till you’ve resolved all the issues.  And of course you think you have several times – this is always when the next twist occurs and you have to resolve it to continue.  You also have a little helper for some of the game-play, which is great, though you do have to rescue him as well.

Player Participation:   This is high – not just with the highly interactive HOPs and Puzzles, the Point & Clicking searches throughout for useful Items, but also the sorting searches moving items aside with the cursor until you find the Hidden Object you want.  Of course there are a huge number of misplaced items, knobs off doors and drawers, keys missing, name-plates, statue-pieces, etc all gone astray and needing to be found and replaced.  The game is one of continual Player Participation.

Frustration Factors:   Slight graphic clarity problems in some of the HOPs, and the odd Puzzle instructions not quite clear or detailed enough.  I find it frustrating that as the story is resolved, it is rushed and quickly shut down.  The Player needs to feel the story resolving, and that what follows the Climax gives a full completion to their journey/quest – this provides the Eucatastrophe, the euphoria that accompanies a happy ending – even if that ending is going to lead on to further adventures.

Image result for amaranthine voyage the obsidian book collector's edition

Bonus Game:    This is a Prequel to the game, which is interesting, and pleasing – it’s not so bad if you’ve only missed what preceded a game than what followed it, by buying the Standard version instead of the Collector’s Edition.  The game length is excellent; the story intriguing and well devised, with the same playing parameters – so you need to keep collecting the Books.

Satisfaction Factor:   A hugely satisfying experience, as I expected it to be.  I bought it as soon as a Sale was available.  I highly recommend it to all SciFi and Fantasy fans.

Jud House 9/05/2015

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