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28Jul/14Off

Hidden Wonders of the Depths 3: Atlantis Adventures Review


The third one is the charm, right? Well, in Hidden Wonders of the Depths 3: Atlantis Adventures it is. Even though it is much like Hidden Wonders 1 and 2 in the match 3 play, the timed game is very much a challenge. There are many differences in this latest match 3 version. The colors are more intense and vibrant, more hidden object games and less memory games. The music not as intense as before but it is appropriate to the play. The crab is still its sassy and impatient self, losing none of its funny personality.

The premise of this game is that you can resurrect Atlantis destroyed many centuries ago to its former glory by making matches to earn money, bonuses and upgrades. With the money you earn you can purchase buildings, statues and more to beautify the once grandiose city. Bonuses will get you fish, coral and other items to enhance the scene.

The match 3 is the main play still in Hidden Wonders of the Depths 3 with playful board designs and related icons. You swap 2 tiles to make a match of 3 or more similar items either vertically or horizontally. In addition you must make matches in front of the crab so he travels to the treasure chest. Also there are colored tiles you must make matches over to destroy before the level can be completed. I got the crab to the chest easily but the level did not end because I had missed one tile in a corner. If you should lose a level, you have 4 more lives in the timed mode and you can get more lives by playing the mini games.

There are fun bonuses and upgrades to help you along on your journey. Some will need a few levels to complete your upgrade tools. You’ll see them on the right side of the screen. The powerups are on the left side. There are many blocks that will need to be cleared with your upgrades to pass barriers. The blocks can be stone, vines and other things to block your passage. The crab himself is a block because you can’t move him to make a match.

Between match levels there are many mini games related to the story. The hidden object scenes will take you to undersea places where you will look for items. There is a beautiful mosaic puzzle you must return to its original design. Other games are the blank board with very few objects scattered around and the match by collapsing your objects game.

The rebuilding of Atlantis is a game in itself. You need to make enough money from your match games to buy different beautiful buildings and statues for your city. Remember you can only purchase one building a day. With each improvement you will win a reward like coral. To see your city any time click on the eye icon at the bottom left.

Many of these things are familiar and may be too easy for you, but it’s still fun to do and try out. The main play is very similar to the first 2 games, but the developers listened to your suggestions and improved on many aspects. The artwork is more vibrant and colorful from the first game. I checked it out. The music is slightly different and more calming. If you want a challenge, play it timed to meet your difficulty demands. If you liked the first 2 games, you’ll like this third improved version. Try it out and see what you think.

Features of Hidden Wonders of the Depths 3: Atlantis Adventures:
-Improved Match 3 Levels
-Rebuild Atlantis
-Lots of Mini Games

Rating: ★★★½☆

27Jul/14Off

Profiler: The Hopscotch Killer Review


What could be worse than being female, young and African American starting your first day on the job on the New York Police Department in 1974? Probably not much but Jane Smith is feisty enough to make a go of it in Mac Hidden Object Adventure Profiler: The Hopscotch Killer.

Her first day is not a great success when she finds out that her fellow workers are not happy she is there and her grumpy trainer (she is replacing him) wants nothing to go wrong before he retires. After cleaning up the office, her first case involves a grisly murder of a homeless man. The hidden object game has the items you need to find at the bottom of the screen. Once you find and click on an object, it will scroll to the left and supply you with more things to find. Sometimes you will look for multiple of items designated by how many and an X. Remember to expand the scene (left and right or up and down) for more items hidden from your view. Most of the objects are easily found but if you need help, use the clue button at the bottom left of the screen. On the button will be the number of clues left for you to use. However, don’t worry about running out of clues because right after you use a clue, there will be a star in the scene for you to get another clue in the standard game. If you are playing the timed version, then you’ll get extra time for finding the star. There are only 2 modes of play to this game: Standard (untimed) or Timed for more of a challenge. The tabs to the left will help you remember your tasks for the level, zoom in on a scene, pause and the inventory case at the top. After finishing the standard HOGs (including some outlined items), you’ll be asked the cause of death.

In between the HOGs you find puzzles to solve like jigsaws, match 3s, Rush Hour, and more of your familiar mini games. The jigsaw has tabs on the right side to maneuver the pieces in different directions. You can skip any game by waiting for the button to recharge.

Profiler: The Hopscotch Killer is a retro game set in the 70’s. Going from one murder to another you find a pattern and Jane discovers there’s more to it than meets the eye. The game is your standard HOGs filled with puzzles for answers and clues to the murders, but it really didn’t spark my interest in the stories or the characters. The game actually suggests you brighten your screen all the way to be able to find objects. The scenes are dark and some items are hard to find due to that fact. The constant sound effects get annoying after a while but the music when present is eerie and appropriate. Jane, although smarter than her predeccesor, could have been a lot more sassy but is content to follow meekly an almost comical Deck to solve cases. Donuts anyone?

Features of Profiler: The Hopscotch Killer:
-1974 Story of a Serial Killer
-Hidden Object and Mini Games
-Dark, Grisly Scenes, Sound Effects and Eerie Music

Rating: ★★½☆☆

26Jul/140

Mr Jone’s Graveyard Shift Review


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to run and manage a cemetery? In Mr. Jone’s Graveyard Shift you can tackle the answers to your conundrum by sim time management playing in the graveyard. You’ll discover what happens after the sun sets and how to handle those ghostly dilemmas.

Mr. Jone’s Graveyard Shift is a different kind of sim play from Youda Marina or even County Fair. First of all you have a very involved tale of Kranky who retires to an idyllic forested area to spend his final days with his faithful dog. Kranky becomes very cranky and lonely in his little house in the woods and calls his lady friend Mimi. Luck will have it, and she wants him to come down to her tropical paradise, but he needs to bring a few items. Unfortunately, Mimi wants a lot of things that cost plenty of money that Kranky does not have. In order to meet her needs Kranky must work to earn money. He stumbles on a scheme to turn his land into a cemetery to make the money, because, let’s face it, he’s old and no one is going to hire him. I guess he’s never heard of age discrimination.

The cemetery play is very similar to your usual sim play where you click on the customer to find out what he/she wants and then you go about preparing the plot to their specifications. In order to keep your supplies handy, you must buy from Mr. Bingo who delivers headstones, fountains, flowers and trees for the gravesite. You have different types of clients with different price ranges, likes and dislikes that you have to satisfy as quickly as possible. You must keep your customers happy in order to increase your reputation so you get more clients and make more money. You do this by providing the types of flowers that the deceased enjoyed while on this earth and decorating the gravesite with the best headstone they can afford.

In addition to all that, you must avoid the scary part of living on cemetery land. You have to sidestep the ghouls, zombies and ghosts who frequent the gravesite at night. You can avoid these pitfalls if you go home to bed, but sometimes you have to work the graveyard shift to meet your timelines. What’s even scarier is Mimi when you do not make enough money to purchase all her wants.

I think the tutorial is very good and the play interesting and funny. The character reminds me of the cartoon Courage the Cowardly Dog except the dog has a minor role in this game. It has the same dark, acerbic comical humor especially when the dead body plops into the grave you just dug. This game may not be for everyone because of the theme, but it is a good Mac sim game with many features you must deal with in the scope of the play, and it’s funny on top of it.

Features of Mr. Jone’s Graveyard Shift:
-Build Cemetery Empire
-Battle Ghouls and Zombies
-Collect Crystals

Rating: ★★★½☆

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☆☆