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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MYSTERY TRACKERS: SILENT HOLLOW – Collector’s Edition


by ELEPHANT GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES

TIME TRAVEL!

Story:   There are screams heard in Silent Hollow… Trouble at the Mystery Trackers headquarters means you’re called in to help. With a few extra abilities, not to mention your trusty sidekick, Elf, you just might save the day!
Uncover the treachery of a centuries-old turncoat … (Big Fish Sales Blurb) 

Options: Great!  Has the usual Gamma setting which is always good if your screen doesn’t have it’s own brightness setting.

Main Menu:   Also great!  User-friendly, with gorgeous graphics.

Music & Voice-Overs:  These are perfect for the story, the setting and the genre.  they can be adjusted in Options.

Extras:   Extra Game Play; Wallpapers; Concept Art; Video; Music; Secret Room; Achievements; Dossier; Pets; Shop.

Desktop:   (L) Map/Globe; Menu. (C)  Task; Inventory.  (R) Strategy Guide; Toad/Hint.  Map also gives access to Achievements, Pets, Shop.

Tutorial:   This is quick, efficient and not too intrusive.

Graphics:  These are really great, with infinite attention to the smallest details, authenticity for each setting to match both the story and the genre.  They are colourful, atmospheric, imaginative, and enveloping.

Play Modes:   Casual; Advanced; Hardcore; Detective.  I had to use Casual as there was no Custom setting.

Map:   Interactive, informative.  I had to resort to this often to speed up the game-flow, and to establish the location of the next active site.  I usually knew what needed to be done next and where, but using the Map enabled clean moves to the right location without floundering around trying to work out the right route.

HOPs:   Interactive Lists.  There weren’t as many HOPs as there were Puzzles and Mini-Games.

Puzzles:   There was a good diversity of Puzzles and Mini-Games, some deviously clever, others more mechanical, and a few random-clicking non-logical and totally Skippable.

Collections:   Mystery Trackers Pets (13); Coins (to spend in shop).

Game-play:   During the game, at intervals, you receive from the Trackers Society’s  gadgets (innovative devices), certain Powers – Pyrokinesis (to create fire), Hypnosis (to use on and restore cursed colleagues), and a freezing power which proves unexpectedly useful.  You need to keep an eye on their icons on the bottom bar so that you don’t forget to use them.  If you are at an impasse, check and see if they are lit in case you need to use one of them to progress.  You can also use Hint if you are stuck – it will point you in the right direction, but not spell it out entirely.  You also receive a Mystical Lens with which you scan each scene to find special Items or Coins.

Player Participation:   Plenty of activity for those who like to do it all themselves.

Satisfaction Factor:  As the game is really long, and resolves the main issue at the end, the feeling of satisfaction is there.

Frustration Factors:   Only the usual suspects – those random clicking/swapping/ sliding Puzzles that follow no logic or pattern.

Bonus Game:  I was impressed by the length of this  game, which involved time-travel that needed the use of the Mystical Lens to temporarily transport modern Items into the past to replace ancient Items.  It also exposed Coins.  I advise use of the Map and Hint to assist when Information is lacking. You also collect the last few Trackers Pets.  Unfortunately you cannot collect any you missed upon completion of both games, as you can with some other producers’ games.  The Secret Room allows a little Play to open each door, to then play a HOP or occasionally a Puzzle/Mini-Game to gain special Detectives’ Portraits which you then place in the Tree at the glowing top of the screen.

I highly recommend this game.

Jud House 8/08/2015

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MYSTERY TRACKERS: NIGHTSVILLE HORROR – Collector’s Edition


by ELEPHANT GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES

CLEVER; SCARY!

Story:  A young boy named Oliver’s been kidnapped, and the scared citizens of Willowsville are blaming the Owl Man from their rival town, Nightsville. Long thought to be a made-up story to scare the kids, the Owl Man seems to be real… and he’s coming for you…  (Big Fish Sales Blurb))

Options & Main Menu:   Both are great.  Options has a Gamma setting so you can adjust the brightness of your screen.  The Main Menu is colourful and user-friendly.

Music & Voice-Overs:   These are also great – really suitable for narrative and the game genre.  They both contribute to the game atmosphere, and you can adjust the volume to suit your own needs.

Play Modes:   Casual; Advanced; Hardcore; Custom.  Custom allows the most flexibility, including Tutorial and Penalty Options.

Extras:   Bonus Chapter; Wallpapers; Concept Art; Music; Secret Room; Achievements; Collectibles; Vending Machine.

Desktop:  (L) Map (Achievements, Collectibles, Diary, Vending Machine); ELF (helper dog).  (C) Inventory + Foresight Mode; Task.  (R) Hint; Strategy Guide.  (Top R) Deduction Circle.

Tutorial:    As always with Elephant Games this is quick, efficient, and Optional.

Graphics:    As I made no notes re the Graphics it means that they were great!  There were obviously no blurring issues to spoil the search experience within the HOPs and out in the main locations and their scenes.  Most recent Elephant Games graphics are colourful, innovative, with careful attention to the smallest details that enable the player to immerse themselves in the world of the game.

Map:   Colourful, informative, Interactive – allowing the player to transfer from one site to the next active site instantly with no charging lapses or penalties.  This speeds up the game, and eases the ‘urgency anxiety’.

Collections:   Morphing objects; Evil Creatures.

HOPs:   There are Lists that give Item Fragments to be assembled; Shapes that then unlock Lists; Items that give Lists; Shapes and Interactive Lists.  I know that sounds like I’m saying the same thing, but basically there are multiple variations of HOPs that are fun, intriguing, and puzzling for the player.

Puzzles:   Also huge variety and innovative, some simple, some Mini-Game formats.  Most are clever and enjoyable; but a few are still repetitive, random and annoying – Skip those.   I wrote “Key a bit tricky” and think that may be a Puzzle or could be the creation of a Key in a location.

Game-play:   You can pan from side to side in some scenes, which is always cool.  If you can’t find an Item in the Foresight scene then click its outline which then puts it into the Foresight Inventory to collect elsewhere.  These Items once found can then be used in either normal scenes or Foresight Scenes.  They unlock areas in the normal world and vice versa.  You need to click on the Deduction Circle, where the relevant clue items are collected, before you can proceed in the game.

Player Participation:   Plenty of this – a high degree of Interaction in all aspects of the game.  Even more if you don’t use the map to jump from scene to scene.

Satisfaction Factor:   On the whole this is high in the SF.  The story is well devised and embedded in the game, the game is well designed, and the game-play flows logically.

Frustration Factors:   The usual minor control slips due to play fatigue, and the irritation caused by some of the ‘random’ Puzzles – those where logic is chucked out the window.

Bonus Game:   Surprisingly, the Bonus Content is a bit disappointing.  There are not many HOPs and Puzzles to play – located in the Secret Room; and you can’t collect any missing Collectibles, Artifacts or Morphing Objects upon completion of both games.  The Bonus Chapter is great, more of the same game-play as the Main Game, and quite long which is satisfying.

I highly recommend this game.

Jud House 8/08/2015

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Posted in ADVENTURE, CRIME & MYSTERY, FANTASY, SPOOKY GAMES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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// >

// ]]>

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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