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25Jul/140

Jessica’s Cupcake Cafe Review

Jessica's Cupcake Cafe

The Story: Jessica is home from LA and overhears her Aunt Margaret talking about hers and Uncle Fred’s woes about their failing bakery. Bright-eyed, ever ready Jessica suggests updating the bakery concept and start a cupcake café to bring in the customers and also make a profit. Aunt Margaret is thrilled with the idea since all the buzz is about Jessica's Cupcake Cafe2cupcakes (even Martha Stewart devoted a week to cupcake making on her top-rated TV show, and everyone knows Martha can turn a profit). However, Auntie M is astute enough to know that a conversion of the shop will take a lot of work and assistance, so she asks Jessica to lend a hand to get things started.

There will always be a need for your typical neighborhood bakery making breads, birthday cakes and cookies or even the fancy French patisserie with their, oh so decadent, ganache frostings and croissants, but the latest craze in bakeries is the cupcake shops that are everywhere nowadays. My favorite cupcake shop is Magnolia in New York City, and I hear Vanilla in LA is quite good. I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in town. Jessica’s Cupcake Café is an updated sim play like Ice Cream Craze and Mystic Emporium.

The Play: Making cupcakes appears to be a straightforward, easy play or it it? The play is to click on the type of cake your customer wishes to buy (this is shown to you with the number of cupcakes in a bubble next to the client). The highly innovative machine will place the correct amount of batter into the baking sheet, you click on the pan, click on the oven to bake, wait, click on the baked cupcakes, click on the counter, click on the requested frosting, click on the completed tube of frosting, click on the tray of cakes to frost after completion click to pick up the pan, click on the customer andJessica's Cupcake Cafe3 finally on the cash register to collect the money. These are a lot of steps to maneuver, but once you get into the groove, everything will flow nicely. However, in these plays there are always things that may slow your play down such as a decoration candy piece to top the cupcake. It can be a bear, daisy, heart or sun. The customer may request a special order causing you to throw out a batch of cupcakes or frosting.

However the game will always give you great upgrades to help you increase your speed to beat the level. You may get additional stoves, more icing machines and candy makers. Another added plus is you can design your own cupcakes to sell to your clients. Don’t worry about the extra cupcakes since they will be sold at a bake sale in a side mini game. Your goal is to sell as many cupcakes as possible in a limited time.

Jessica's Cupcake Cafe7Jessica’s Cupcake Café, although similar to many of the sim plays, is an entertaining Mac game for everyone. In addition you will unlock many great cupcake recipes to try out and enjoy. The graphics is good and the music will keep you in sync with quick speed to meet your goals.

Features of Jessica’s Cupcake Café:
-Run a Cupcake Café
-Design Your Own Cupcakes
-42 Levels in 9 Locations
-Cupcake Recipes

Rating: ★★★★☆

24Jul/14Off

Frankenstein: The Dismembered Bride Review


I was ready to be scared or at least a little spooked in Mac Hidden Object Adventure Frankenstein: The Dismembered Bride. However this game is more campy than bone chilling. There are a few creepy scenes but mostly it is a straightforward hidden object game with mini puzzles to solve.

The story is about Brad who is looking for Janet, his fiancée, who disappeared suddenly on one of his work related trips to Europe several months ago. He waits this long to go searching for her? His car breaks down in Bavaria in front of a manor. Lucky for him this is the very castle he was looking for even though he doesn’t know it. Here begins your adventure trying to enter this estate. Screams from within the establishment prompt Brad to enter quickly and find out the source of the terrifying noise. I don’t know if Brad is brave or not but he manages to find his beloved, but unfortunately, she is in many pieces and only her brain can communicate with Brad. Are you frightened yet? When Brad is feeling something like love, irritation and other emotions, you see it above his head as hearts (when he sees his favorite wine) or lightning when he is frustrated. I guess this is suppose to be funny, but I’m shooting lightning rods out of my head playing this game. Let’s get past this and go on to the games.

The hidden object play is the one similar to one I recently played Profiler: The Hopscotch Killer and Bonnie and Clyde. The objects scroll across the bottom of the screen. You may have to find multiples of the objects. In other HOGs you may just get pictures of what you need to find like in the topiary garden. Some of the scenes will need to be expanded by clicking near the edge to see a little more and find objects out of your initial view. There are other times when you need to clear an area to see things. Brambles are plentiful in and around this manor. You may also have to click on spider webs to clear a room. If you are having a problem finding an object, use the hint button to help you. When solving mini games, the skip button becomes available after 3 long minutes. There are 2 modes of play in this game. The Standard mode is not timed and the Timed mode is. Since the scenes tend to be dark and the game does tell you to brighten your screen as much as possible, you will not be able to see all the objects you are looking for. I click in dark areas knowing I’ll come across something hidden in the recesses. However, this is not fun. You get only a set amount of hints but you can look for the stars in the scenes and get more clues or if you are playing the timed, you will get extra time.

The rest of the game is looking for Janet’s body parts throughout the castle and garden and solving mini games like finding keys to use to get into locked areas or looking for gold teeth (really?) that Dr. Frankenstein lost when he slipped on Janet’s brain and died. What?

This story is like pulling teeth (groan). It did not hold my interest, it was very hokey, standard and familiar mini games, dark areas to search, and no voice acting (thank goodness). Like their other games the artwork is good, music minimal with lots of sound effects. For all of the above, I give it a 2.5 out of 5. Try it for yourself and see if you like it.

Features of Frankenstein: The Dismembered Bride:
-Crazy Story
-Lots of Hidden Objects and Mini Games
-Good Artwork, Music, Sound Effects

Rating: ★★½☆☆

23Jul/140

Call of Atlantis Review

call-of-atlantis

The mystical land of Atlantis was a blissful, idyllic place where Poseidon created for his people, but as time past they neglected the god and darkness fell throughout the kingdom. The altar of Poseidon was separated and 7 crystals were sent to 7 countries and 7 cities to be sealed forever.

The hero will be the one to remove the spells and bring the crystals back together to resurrect and bring the power back to Atlantis. The hero is you, and you need to swap 3 or more like items in a row to conquer and win back the jeweled encrusted altar. In the match game there is an amulet of Poseidon power-up which must be used in the level. There are bombs once brought to the bottom of the game board can be used in a hard to destroy area.

This game is very similar to Around the World in 80 Days with a different story line, but somehow Call of Atlantis is not as an engaging of a tale. The play although is a match game like many match games, it was not as exciting to play. I thought it was good but not enticing enough to play it again. Maybe it is because I didn’t play the previous Atlantis games, but I think other match plays are more interesting. However, the artwork is excellent. If you are into Poseidon and Atlantis, this may be the game for you.

Features of Call of Atlantis:
-Part of the Atlantis Series
-66 Levels
-7 Lands to Explore
-7 Crystals to Recover

Rating: ★★½☆☆

22Jul/140

Mystery Legends: The Phantom of the Opera Collector’s Edition Review


I remember years ago I saw the musical version of The Phantom of the Opera with my beautiful sister. It began with a huge chandelier swooping over the audience’s heads and crashing loudly onto the stage. It was some opening. Mac hidden object/seek and find game Mystery Legends: The Phantom of the Opera Collector’s Edition is not as head spinning but it gradually sets the stage for a dramatic and sometimes shocking story.

Evelina the daughter of a retired stage actress is trapped in the once grand but disheveled abandoned opera house and held against her will by a mad man who thinks she destroyed his love for her by running away with another man. In reality she is the image of her mother and her father is the other man. You find yourself in the lobby of this once majestic and magnificent theater. You have objectives and tasks to complete while playing hidden object games. You search for areas to zoom in on and for HOGs. You’ll see sparkling stars where you need to investigate further. The HOGs will have the list of items at the bottom of the screen. You search mostly dreary, dark spaces for 12 objects. Once you click on a found item, it will be crossed out. If you need help, you can click on the mirror on the lower left. It will crack and slowly restores itself. The journal and the map can also be helpful. You will also hear the voices of the phantom and Evelina assisting you and written messages across the top. If you click too many times on wrong objects, the screen will crack abruptly. If you get stuck or do not know what to do, you may need to go back and search areas you have been before. In some instances there will be more interactive puzzles or HOGs to discover. Sometimes you will be back at a scene you already have completed but must look for more items. The Phantom wants you to find the black rose. Keep looking.

Even though you are stuck in the theater, there are many locations to search from the ballroom to the caretaker’s cottage outside in the snow. The objects you search for can be ordinary to something you may need later. The mini puzzles can be skipped after a while but stick with it and you’ll be able to figure it out.

I think Mystery Legends: The Phantom of the Opera is well done with exquisite artwork. The colors help create the mood and the era of this story. The music also helped create the eerie atmosphere of the opera house, but I kept waiting for the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s soundtrack from the musical that is so ingrained in everyone’s heads. The game is not that difficult, but may not be appropriate for young children. It is not shockingly scary, but puppets hanging in the ballroom are a bit creepy. So try it out and listen to the music of the night.

Features of Mystery Legends: The Phantom of the Opera Collector’s Edition:
-Dramatic Story
-Many Scenes In and Around the Opera House
-Many Objectives and Tasks to Fulfill

Rating: ★★★★☆

21Jul/14Off

A Gypsy’s Tale: The Tower of Secrets Review


This time this Hidden Object Adventure begins with eerie music (appropriate for the story) and a ghost trying to kill you. Whew! You make it through and now you are asked by a monk to save a girl in a tower. This is the start of your wanderings through an enchanted land full of ghosts, gnomes, fairies and humans. You are Reylin of Winderalth a gypsy minding her own business until this happened.

A Gypsy’s Tale: The Tower of Secrets is not your standard adventure full of hidden object games with sparkles and a list of items to search. No, this one has hidden objects to search when you click on an item and a wheel with other things pop up. You must search for, say, a cardinal, click on it and take it back to the wheel to place it. After finding all the bubble items, you get the main item in the center. It may have nothing to do with a bird but you may need this main item later on. There are other places where you can zoom in when your cursor changes into a magnifying glass to either collect hidden items or solve a puzzle. You’ll have many varied puzzles to solve from jigsaws, match, untangle the lines and slide puzzles.

There are many different (beautifully drawn) environments to explore and search from mystical forests full of fairies and gnomes to a high tech tree house. In most areas there will be crystals to collect. Some places will have 0 crystals but at the upper left side of the screen, it will let you know exactly how many are in that scene and how many you have collected. When you collect all the crystals in 1 location, you will get a piece of the map for you to use. This map is extremely helpful since it will let you jump to different places directly avoiding having to retrace your steps. Eventually you will be using these crystals as money to buy different things from the store (once you find the shop).

Even though there is only 1 mode of play, the hint and skip (for puzzles) buttons are fast charging, and you will not have to wait long to use it again. Most of the time the hint is explicit, but there are other times when it will only make obvious observations like the monk is creepy. Let’s hope he’s not the same monk you are helping.

There are many things to do in this game and most of the puzzles are easy to do. It may not be much of a challenge for some of you who are really good at this type of game, but for the rest of us, it is a fun game to conquer. For traditional HOG fans this may not meet your needs, but you are still searching for hidden items in a different format with the same types of puzzles to solve.

The only problem I faced with this game is when I was in the garden and trying to plant the seeds, nothing happened even though I could see the pile of seeds but couldn’t click on it. I restarted the game and even though I had to start the garden sequence again, it worked the second time. I found the music good but some parts didn’t seem appropriate for the scene (the tree house for one). The wheel search also seemed at times disconnected. When you figure out how to get a key down from high on the wall, you cannot collect the key immediately. The wheel opens and you have to find 3 different kinds of flowers before you can click on the key. In Treasure Seekers the wheel opens and you look for parts of the piece you need. That game made more sense to me.

Other than those minor quirks, the game is good, the story interesting and the search fun. I recommend casual gamers try this game. I give it a 3.5 out of 5 for an entertaining time.

Features of A Gypsy’s Tale: The Tower of Secrets:
-30 Different Environments
-Interesting Tale
-Puzzles and Hidden Objects

Rating: ★★★½☆