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Christmas Puzzle Review

Take a few days off and all these Christmas games show up. No matter. Christmas fun can still be played even a few days after the season. In fact you can play these games all year round. Mac match 3 game Christmas Puzzle is a holiday play with a little sim game of decorating your home with lights and other festive adornments.

The object of this swap match 3 game is to clear all the plates both silver and gold plus bring the Santa coins down the board to collect. You swap 2 Christmas items from candy canes, gingerbread men, ornaments to Santa’s hats in order to make a match of 3 of the same objects either horizontally or vertically. You must also make the matches over the plates to clear (2 times for the gold plates), and bring down the coins by making matches below them.

After making enough matches the hammer will charge up and you can use it to clear 1 square. The more matches you make the faster the hammer will recharge. You click on the hammer when it is ready and then drag it to the square you wish to destroy. This power up comes in handy when you have one stubborn block you need to remove. The other power ups show up on the board like the bombs, rockets and the Hameleon (multi-color orb that can be used to match any object).

With no timer this game is relaxing and fun. There are enough power ups to keep you happy and the hammer will aid you immensely. The Christmas-like music is upbeat and happy putting you into the holiday spirit any time of the year. The background snowy scenes are appropriate for the play. The sim play also enhances your enjoyment by letting you decorate your house with beautiful lightings and other ornaments before the arrival of Santa. The plays are easy but good for match 3 players who want to hone their skills in a relaxing mode. It definitely is not a challenging play but you don’t need the difficult games all the time. The time, however, flies when playing this match 3 levels so try it out and bring the cheerful season back for some fun. I give it a 3.5 out of 5.

Features of Christmas Puzzle:
-Christmas Theme
-Swap Match 3 Games
-Power Ups
-Decorate Your House Before Santa Arrives

Rating: ★★★½☆


Twisted Lands: Insomniac Collector’s Edition Review

Lobotomy! Did that quack/monster doctor say lobotomy? Hey, what the heck!?! He strapped leather restraints around your ankles. No time to dillydally, you have to get out of that insane asylum before it’s too late in Mac point and click adventure sequel Twisted Lands: Insomniac Collector’s Edition.

Choose from Regular or Expert mode: Regular mode has sparkles for zooming in on a hidden object games and areas of interest with faster hint and skip buttons. However, I found the skip button took a lot longer than most other games. I’d hate to find out how long the Expert mode takes. The mirror to the bottom right is the hint button if you need it to find hidden objects. The HOGs are clear and items are fairly easy to spot. The many puzzles throughout the game are from fair to easy but you can skip them if you wish. The games are balanced with the story progressing with animations to keep your interest high. This is similar to their first game Shadow Town.

The tale continues from when Mark and Angel on a treasure hunting expedition get their small vessel overturned and both end up in the water. Shadow Town takes Mark’s point of view and after being washed up onto a small deserted island, he goes looking for both treasure and Angel. In the sequel Insomniac you are Angel trying to escape an asylum and some quack doctor wanting to perform surgery on your groggy brain because you are a danger to society. Huh? What happened?

You figure out how to get out of your straps and manage to explore your area and hightail it out through the vents, but only to be caught by Dr. Torpse who injects you with some meds. Even though you are medicated you go from being in the hospital to a deserted town filled with debris and many, many locked areas. It’s difficult to decipher which world is the hallucination and which one is real. You drift between the 2 playing and solving puzzles to further your quest for survival and escape.

Along the way you find newspaper clippings explaining some unusual circumstances. There are a variety of puzzles, hidden object games that you will visit 2 times (this helps expand the game), point and click adventure and animation to tell the story and increase the spooky factor. It’s not real scary but it has an eerie feel to the game. The music also helps the creepy component. I think this sequel is a bit better than the first game. Although some of the puzzles are similar, the creepy factor is much better in this second game. You also sympathize with Angel and not so much with Mark. The idea of using the point of view of Angel is good, going back and forth from one world to the next a little confusing but it works, looking for photos to fill an album to explain the mystery of the island is a little farfetched, a little short on gameplay but all in all this is an engrossing tale about survival. Help Angel keep her brain intact and get off that crazy island full of monsters!

Features of Twisted Lands: Insomniac Collector’s Edition:
-Continuing Engaging Tale of Mark and Angel
-Point and Click Adventure, Hidden Object and Mini Games
-Good Artwork and Great Music/Sound Effects
-Collector’s Edition: Bonus Chapter (another hour of play), Concept Art, In-Game Strategy Guide

Rating: ★★★★☆


The Flower Shop Review

The Flower Shop, not to be mistaken with the sim time management game Flower Shop, is a visual novel with some simulation play on the side. Made by the same developer of Bionic Heart, the story about love, friendship and flowers is progressed with reading the dialogue among the anime characters. You are also in control of some of the conversation when given a choice. In addition to the “talk” in this game, you can direct the mood of each character with your decisions.

In this novel you are Steve, a young, spoiled college boy, finishing his finals after his first year of school and not doing well in his classes, but he is ecstatic about having the whole summer to laze around and see his girlfriend. This type of behavior is quite common among college boys. Not surprisingly his father is extremely angry and decides to send him to his brother’s farm to acquire some discipline. Once removed from the city and delivered to the farm in Fairbrook, California, Steve meets and engages with his Uncle Sam and the town girls.

In the midst of this visual novel, you play a dating and farming sim game. While developing relationships, Steve must weed, water, and keep the land free of insects. During this play you must work as fast as possible because the time is very short. You click on the plot of land you want to weed and then click on the clear button to remove the weeds. With growing the flowers on this patch of ground, you can earn money by selling the flowers. This will lead to an interaction with Susana the town florist and holistic expert on good health. There is a scheduler to plan weeks of activities for Steve. You must balance your schedule to raise your stats and spend time with the girls keeping their relationship gauges in the good rather than bad portions of the scales.

Having lived in California most of my life, I am pleased the game is based in that state. However, the scenery is very generic and I can’t pinpoint what big city Steve lived in or which university he attends. In addition, the small town in the demo is deserted until Steve enters an establishment inhabited only with girls. Also the buildings are all very tidy with nothing scattered casually around the room. For example, Uncle Sam’s kitchen is very modern and neat for an old farmhouse with only a man living there with his cat. I guess I’m being a little nitpicky but I think it would have drawn the reader into the story more with a few more details in the background.

The characters are all done well in the anime fashion, but like the Japanese soap operas have happy, sad (neutral) and angry looks to them. Even the beautiful girls get nasty facial features when they are unhappy with Steve. Perhaps later in the story there is a comedic relief and other young male individuals. It’s hard to say how the story develops because the demo is long and drawn out, setting the game up for future outcomes.

The Flower Shop is different from Bionic Heart where the action and drama opens immediately at the beginning. Since there is less action involved in this novel, I tend to focus in on the background more. I’m hoping the later chapters will bring around some vitality with action and comedy. There is a great scene with Steve driving down a dirt road and comes across a jogger. They should have had mud puddles and Steve splashes her with his truck then there would be conflict instead she is angry about his ogling.

The Flower Shop is more a melodrama than a suspense story and should be accepted as such. It appears this game is aimed towards young girls, but I think you should try it even if you do not fall in that category. The music is muted and appropriate, and the anime characters well done. The dialogue sometimes is funny with words like bummer interspersed. I do not remember the last time a college student used that word. With 9 different endings, depending upon your choices, it will bring about surprising stories in this dating and farming sim play in a visual novel.  Will Steve go with his politically aspiring girlfriend Jill, Susana the florist, Clara the opportunist jogger or the voluptuous librarian Marian?

Features of The Flower Shop:
-Visual Novel
-Dating and Farming Sim
-9 Different Endings in Your Control

Rating: ★★★½☆


Cake Mania 2 Review


Now that Jill has rescued her grandparents from financial disaster (in Cake Mania), she sent them on a Hawaiian cruise in Cake Mania 2. Jill is ready for her own adventures in the baking world in addition to her personal life. Her future outcome is in your hands. Where will Jill end up with 6 different outcomes to her life’s story in this Mac game.

The play starts with your decision to go with Risha, Jill’s friend, and bake in a posh hoity penthouse bakery in the middle of town or work for Jack, her ex-boyfriend who cannot run a water park and is going bankrupt, on the out skirts of the city. The 2 locations have different type of clientele and many personalities.

The play is very similar to Cake Mania, but in multiple scenes. A customer comes in the shop, you click on the customer, they read the menu and decide what shape cake and which frosting they want, you click on the shape on the oven and wait, click on the baked cake to pick it up, then click on the type of frosting the client requested, click on the frosted cake to pick it up, click on the customer and finally click on the money left on the counter. This money will goCake Mania 6 towards your daily cash total. This procedure is done over and over in the course of the workday. You can change it up a bit by picking up the baked cake and click on the next shape before going to the icing station. You need to do double duty to keep up the demands of the impatient customers. You can tell by the hearts what the level of tolerance is for that person.

In order to speed up your production and satisfy your clients, you need to purchase baking equipment to expand your Cake Mania 7shop. You can only do this when you have made enough money for the expensive items. Hopefully you are fast enough to make the daily quota. In addition to the new equipment, there are extras that will allow you to charge more for each cake and make more money.

There are 18 new and different customers from the deep sea diver from Jack’s water park, the security officer, doctor, and the old cat lady at the posh bakery. The areas are new from the first game, and there are 50 more kitchen upgrades to buy and install in your shop. The oven is the same old reliable machine that granny has always used, there are toppers for the cakes, and additional frostings. With a couple hundred levels, play can continue for hours.

Cake Mania 2 has more options and a twist to the story line that the first version of the game did not have. If you liked Cake Mania, you’ll love this second one even more with its options to the story line, different location to bake your cakes and funny characters to satisfy.

Features of Cake Mania 2:
-18 New Customers
-204 Sweet Levels
-50 Kitchen Upgrades

Rating: ★★★☆☆


Midnight Mysteries: Devil on the Mississippi Collector’s Edition Review

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Shakespeare? What does the 2 have in common? Mac hidden object adventure Midnight Mysteries: Devil on the Mississippi Collector’s Edition takes you on an incredible journey of ghosts and mysteries involving the 2 great writers and more.

This point and click adventure game has only 1 mode of play but that’s all you need since the hint and in-game strategy guide are quite good, even if you are a novice, you’ll be able to play without any obstacles. The hint button will take you directly to where you need to be with clearly marked arrows or in the hidden object games bats will circle the item. You can skip the puzzles after the button charges up. It takes a while and most of the games are easy enough to figure out, even though there are no instructions, before the button is ready, so try doing it while you are waiting. Other things you must watch for are the ravens and 4-leaf clovers. Click on the ravens for more hints and click on 70 clovers to unlock a special unlimited Hidden Object game.

The Hidden Object games are highlighted and will zoom into a scene full of items to click on and solve. The list of items you must find is at the bottom of the screen. The green lettering is a clue of what you need to find like “finger adornment” or “fuzzy water plant”. The blue items you must interact with the scene to get to that item. After finishing the list, you will get 1 more item to look for like a key to use it later.

The inventory list from items you have earned, solved or found will sometimes need to be combined before you can use it. There are 2 squares to the right of the list with a plus sign between the 2 boxes. Click on 2 items you want to put together like a blade and handle. Now you can use it in a scene.

In addition to all this you will come across mini puzzles to get into locked areas. A lot of the puzzles will need missing pieces to find in different scenes and then, you must figure out how to solve it. Also there will be ghosts you will need to do tasks for before they will allow you to pass or help you. Other things that will help you will be signs, newspapers, books and notes.

Midnight Mysteries: Devil on the Mississippi Collector’s Edition is an interesting and fun game full of puzzles, HOGs and ghosts. The background sound effects are spot on with eerie noises, and the animation creates a spooky atmosphere, however there’s no voice acting. You do get to interact with the ghosts with questions you can ask at the bottom of the screen. Some of the puzzles can be challenging if you have not played this kind of game before, but most of it is easily solved with great helps. The story can get a little convoluted with an evil force chasing Mark Twain’s ghost, but it’s still a good tale. Try this game out. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Features of Midnight Mysteries: Devil on the Mississippi Collector’s Edition:
-Fascinating Tale of the Ghost of Mark Twain
-Hidden Object and Mini Puzzles
-Great Animation, Artwork and Music
-Collector’s Edition: Bonus Game, In-Game Strategy Guide, Concept Art and Wallpapers

Rating: ★★★½☆