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#1140259 - 02/01/18 10:01 AM Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations
Marian Offline
Global Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 33490
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Welcome to our new Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations thread! This will be a place where our forum members can post recommendations/reviews of games that they particularly enjoyed. It doesn't matter whether a game was released a week ago or five years ago, feel free to post about it here. Be they recent titles, well-known games released years ago, or what you consider to be a buried treasure that only a few people know about or even remember, all comments are welcome and appreciated. With the dizzying number of games available and new ones constantly being released, it's easy to overlook many worthwhile games in the process. Hopefully this thread will prove to be a valuable resource for casual gamers in search of good new games to play.

Any chit-chat/off-topic posts in this thread will be removed, as we would like to confine this topic strictly to reviews and recommendations.

Happy gaming! wave

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#1140267 - 02/01/18 11:32 AM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
8dognight Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 610
Loc: deep south
Legacy Tales: Mercy of the Gallows:

From Youda, 2013

The artwork uses real historical settings, and the play is much like a regular adventure game. Mercy of the Gallows has a pleasingly retro look and was obviously made with lavish attention to historical detail. If you look at the nonscrolling credits page, you'll see a list of the four Netherlands locations incorporated into Mercy of the Gallows.

I don’t remember any undoable puzzles or puzzles requiring manual dexterity. The music is pleasant with a haunting quality. No horrible saturated blue, pink, lavender. A spirit light will lead you around at first. In game scrolls unroll to provide back story, but—huzzah—you don’t have to find stupid hidden items in the scrolls. You can turn off sparkles.

The items in HO screens are carefully chosen to harmoniously fit the atmosphere and are appropriate to the time of the story under investigation with some slight variations, for example, lovely old brass binoculars would not have been around until the 1850s and the mystery, which is the key to the story, is over a century older. That isn’t a true anachronism. Mercy of the Gallows is one of a tiny percentage of HOPAs with HO screens I enjoyed looking at.

The downside to the game is that to move forward, you must find gold coins in the environment, not in a separate screen, and a few of those coins are blooming hard to see. I had to use hints several times. This didn’t bother me because I usually dislike HOG tasks in any form although I like most of the separate HO screens in this particular game; however, I understand that some players have very high standards about ever hitting the hint button.

Agency of Anomalies: Cinderstone Orphanage This plays better on my laptop using the system cursor. The story here reminds me a little of "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children." I should also mention that this game doesn't cover the entirety of my current laptop's screen no matter what settings I use. If a game is immersive enough, I have no trouble getting past that. The HO screens contain appropriate objects and are often interactive in various ways; screens repeat using those variations. I like solving puzzles where moving one item moves others in complex ways, for example, switch C might move switch E down while switch E moves itself up and switch A moves itself up two but only needs to go up one; Cinderstone Orphanage has a fairly difficult one that I solved the first time I played. If I can do it, it's far from too hard.

Break the Curse: Crimson Gems Some hard puzzles.

Christmas Stories: Nutcracker

From Elephant

The first time I played this, I had to make an effort at the beginning to roll along with the premise, helping Albert, who was turned into a nutcracker, and his fiance Mary, now a talking doll whose conversation is mostly limited to repeated cries for help, regain their humanity, stolen by the evil genius Rat King. No one is watching you; nobody will poke fun at your choice of game. Go ahead, cannonball into the fantasy. While the content is appropriate for children who might want this version read to them, some of the puzzles are the most challenging and visually pleasing I have played in any game. There are banners for various things in the more expensive edition. I don't recall if there are morphing items or collectibles because I did my best to ignore them. Other than that, Nutcracker is a stand-out casual with pleasant seasonal music.

9: Dark Side: The usual demonic forces have enveloped Prague and you must discover the secrets of an ancient fortress.

Dark Canvas: A Murder Exposed: This is an actual murder mystery and a pretty good game.

Death and Betrayal in Romania: A Dana Knightstone Novel: If you cannot stomach helpers, the presence of Bandit—a ghostly border collie wearing a red bandana—will be annoying. While I often loathe helpers, I kinda liked Bandit. I have no idea how or even if Bandit fits into the story. Like many border collies, Bandit is exceptionally springy and good at jumping to fetch you things. This game does not have those scrolls with clumsily drawn pictures and ostensible written exposition containing words which you must match to an item in the ugly drawing. The one place with such technique has an array of beautiful, setting appropriate objects on shelves in an armoire. Several of the puzzles are difficult.

Grim Tales: The Legacy

Grim Tales: The Vengeance

Inception of Darkness: Exorcist III: Skip the very first puzzle, a lock on a chest in a cart, then go on with the game. That first puzzle is not worth eating up all the time in the demo. If you like the game, buy it and continue on without starting over. After you finish the game, you can always create a new profile and try that puzzle as it only takes a few minutes to find. I’m only slightly better than average at difficult puzzles but I like them and seek them out; nevertheless, I’m fairly sure I would still be working on that chest puzzle years later even if armed with graph paper, screen shots, and sheer stubbornness. Other puzzles in the game are designed better.

Mystery Trackers: Black Isle: I think this one has HO screens that combine with the use of inventory items, a technique that takes some getting used to. Also skillfully done graphics and a pretty good story.

Mystery Trackers: Blackrow’s Secret

Mystery Trackers: Four Aces


Mystery Trackers: Raincliff’s Phantoms

Nightfall Mysteries: Black Heart


Nightfall Mysteries: Haunted by the Past

Riddles of Fate: Wild Hunt: Good graphics. I’ve replayed it a couple of times. Wish I didn’t remember it so well because that would make playing again more entertaining.

Witches’ Legacy: Charleston Curse




Edited by 8dognight (02/14/18 01:08 PM)

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#1140310 - 02/01/18 08:50 PM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38818
Loc: southeast USA
Crystals of Time

Crystals of Time is a game I keep on my hard drive for when I'm tired of the excessive animations, visual effects, and pop-ups in modern games -- and I want to play an old-style hidden object game, but one that's a bit more than a succession of hidden object scenes held together by cut scenes.

You play as a female thief, breaking into a mansion to look for your missing father, also a thief. New locations open up as you progress in the game, starting with your arrival at the deserted house, to exploring the backyard garden and shore areas, and boating to an island with a ruined church and castle. Animations are subtle (a curtain blowing, the flicker of a torch), or even non-existent -- especially towards the end of the game.

Unfortunately if grammar and spelling mistakes bother you, this game was obviously not created by native English speakers and it shows.

According to http://www.rvlgames.com/index.html
"Crystals of Time" was released in December 2013, but it seems at least 2 years older. Normal and Hard modes -- on Normal mode it will occasionally "find" objects in the environment for you without your using the Hint. The game folder is a tiny 172 MB, and as you might expect for such a small folder size, there is no voice acting.

Unfortunately it is NOT a good game for puzzles -- it has very few -- and there is one puzzle I have to play windowed in order for the hotspots to line up with the numbers correctly.

I enjoy replaying "Crystals of Time" because it hits a sort of nostalgic sweet spot, straight hidden object lists, but with some exploration and without the annoying timers of earlier games.

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#1140332 - 02/02/18 06:35 AM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Jenny100]
Mad Offline
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 28052
Loc: United Kingdom
The Lost Cases of 221B Baker Street.

This is a pretty old Casual - so older graphics - and is made up of around 20 or so short cases for Sherlock and Watson to solve - one case at a time.
And I find a spare ten minutes or so can happily be filled by solving one.
[Whenever you break off, the game is saved so if you don't want to, you don't even have to complete ONE at any sitting.]

There is little animation but there are voices (and text) - and music of sorts.
And each case is comprised of a few hidden object type screens and an easy, visual memory test.

I had it permanently installed on my WinXP machine and it's now permanently installed and playing happily on my (current) Win7 machine.

This game is not a brain teaser. Just a nice relaxed way to pass some time.
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#1141476 - 02/12/18 06:49 PM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
lexxy Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 04/02/00
Posts: 3285
Loc: Southern Exposure
I would highly recommend Dire Grove . This game is as good as any adventure game I have ever played.
_________________________
carol
It doesn't cost a dime to be kind
----------------------------
Currently playing The Moment Of Silence

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#1141675 - 02/14/18 11:07 AM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
8dognight Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 610
Loc: deep south
Solitaire

Regency Solitaire: I enjoyed the music and many of the period details. To progress, I had to hoard wild cards. I don't know how common that is in similar games because this is the first solitaire game that ever caught my attention sufficiently enough to buy.

There is a modest story with a twist at the end. I plan to keep this game installed.



Edited by 8dognight (02/21/18 12:31 PM)

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#1141812 - 02/15/18 12:59 PM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: 8dognight]
Mad Offline
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 28052
Loc: United Kingdom
An "oldie" match3 game I enjoy playing and would recommend and which is another permanent fixture on my machine, is Legend of Gallant.

It has a bit of a story to follow and is altogether good, mindless match3 fun !! laugh
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#1141823 - 02/15/18 02:16 PM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Mad]
Marian Offline
Global Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 33490
Loc: near Yosemite in California
The Island: Castaway

This game was released on Big Fish in 2010.

This game is a blending of genres: strategy, adventure, and simulation. My overriding feeling while playing the game, though, was that of playing an adventure game - and there is definitely a storyline. Over the course of the game you will fulfill many quests. There is quite a large area to explore and it is longer than most of the other casual games I have played. I thought it was a great deal of fun and it still stands out in my mind, more than seven years later, as being one of the best games I have played on Big Fish.

At the end of 2011, a second game in this series was released: The Island: Castaway 2. Nearly everyone who played the first game and enjoyed it thought this second game was equally good. I recommend it for the same reasons that I recommend the original.

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#1142091 - 02/18/18 01:16 PM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
Mad Offline
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 28052
Loc: United Kingdom
Another favourite Casual of mine, and one which I would absolutely recommend, is Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles.

[I originally bought it from Frogwares but it is at Big Fish now.]

A long and interesting version of the famous story with the good graphics and voice acting one would expect from a Frogwares game and a way of visiting the past which was novel at the time of the game's release thumbsup

Being guided by the list Jenny100 offers re this thread I have edited and added :

I didn't encounter any hugely difficult puzzles.
I don't remember there being any no pop-ups.
Nor do I remember any dexterity issues.
It is slightly gruesome in parts.


Edited by Mad (02/19/18 05:47 PM)
Edit Reason: Referring to list from Jenny100
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#1142251 - 02/19/18 07:38 PM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
colpet Online   content
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/07/01
Posts: 1987
Loc: Orillia, Ontario, Canada
These are two games I recently played on my iPad. I purchaced them at the app store.
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise
This game currently has 4 chapters released. When you buy the game, you get all 4 chapters, you don’t get them separately. You play as a secret agent working to thwart an enemy agent named Ruby. Chapters 1 and 2 take place in her hideout. Chapter 3 has you locked away in a devious series of traps, and chapter 4 has you trying to escape and stop Ruby carrying out her plans.
The game is in cartoon style, and has some over the top humour. There are a few cut scenes, and you play as a solitary first person explorer. There are a ton of puzzles, both inventory and not. Each Chapter is a self contained game. All you need is in the location, but there is a bit of back and forthing, especially in the bigger locations, like in Chapter 4. My favourite was Ruby’s Trap, Chapter 3. You have to check eveything to look for clues and investigate all corners of an area. The puzzles range from minigames to inventory, but quite a few had you thinking outside of the box. Apparently there is a Chapter 5 on the way.
The Secret of Chimera Lab
This was a full game. It took me about 5 or 6 hours to play. It has node based movement. You are called to investigate some unusual goings on at a laboratory. The game involves getting into the building and accessing the rooms, as well as snooping through computers and various notes to work out what was happening. This was a challenging game, but the in game notebook keeps track of everything you need. What I liked is that you get to use the knowledge and equipment as part of the puzzles. While there is some backtracking, the building is pretty compact, so it is not too bad. I was so impressed with this game, that I bought another one from the developer (Aircamp) called Adventure Beyond Time. There was some connection between the two with the story line, but there was no notebook, and you had to traipse all over an island. Interesting, but the puzzles were too spread out.

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#1142264 - 02/19/18 09:41 PM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: colpet]
Marian Offline
Global Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 33490
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Brink of Consciousness: The Lonely Hearts Murders

Developed by: Magic Indie

This game was released on Big Fish in November 2012. This was back in the days before achievements, pop-ups, and announcements, so there are none. No dexterity challenges that I can recall. This is a good detective story set in Victorian England. There is quite a bit of dialogue, which I personally enjoy, but I know that some players find this tiresome. It plays like an adventure game more than a HOG. There are some hidden object scenes but not a huge amount. There are also some good puzzles that I found fun to solve.

I purchased the Collector's Edition. One of the extras in the CE is an interview with the developer, which I found interesting and a welcome addition to the usual.

There are three levels of difficulty from which to choose.

I enjoyed the game very much and am replaying it right now - an oldie but a goodie.

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#1142669 - 02/23/18 09:15 AM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
8dognight Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 610
Loc: deep south
Secrets of the Dark: Mystery of the Ancestral Estate

Developed by: Orneon

The premise here is switching lavish environments from their ordinary appearances to their dark alter egos. You are called in to help the heir who is frightened by all the magic in the house emanating from the crypt. No sooner do you arrive than the crypt opens and the spirit of an evil grand uncle whisks her away, leaving you to solve a series of puzzles dazzling in their ingenuity and HOs, all carefully thought out and visually pleasing. One of the early HO screens, for example, is a series of steps like a door puzzle to put together animated miniatures of a hot air balloon, chariot, and cannon. This is a difficult game by casual standards in part because there is no map and the ancestral estate is a sprawling compound. I wish Orneon would make more like it.


Edited by 8dognight (02/25/18 07:50 AM)

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#1142671 - 02/23/18 09:54 AM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
The Haze Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 02/12/06
Posts: 989
Loc: SE Michigan
The newest The Room is, quite simply magnificent. It's gorgeous; lengthy for a casual game; and has a "Help" system that actually helps (If you like those things.) It's probably the best $5.00 puzzle game I've ever played.
_________________________
If all the people were heroes, there would be no one to watch the parades.

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#1142768 - 02/24/18 11:56 AM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
8dognight Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 610
Loc: deep south
Secrets of the Dark: The Flower of Shadow

From Orneon

A game has to have multiple redeeming features that I enjoy a lot for me to forgive a pink and lavender demon spewing pink and purple everywhere like that old Rolling Stones song "She Comes in Colors." I got past the irksome rainbow because Flower of Shadow has some excellent puzzles and also managed to trick me several times in terms of gameplay. The first time I played, I was lost because I skipped the introduction. Don't do it. Grit your teeth and endure the glowing pastel onslaught. Like the other Secrets of the Dark, Flower of Shadow does not play on full screen on my current laptop.


Edited by 8dognight (02/25/18 10:17 AM)

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#1142859 - 02/25/18 10:26 AM Re: Your Favorite Casual Games - Reviews and Recommendations [Re: Marian]
colpet Online   content
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/07/01
Posts: 1987
Loc: Orillia, Ontario, Canada
These were played on my iPad and I purchased them at the App store.
The Secret of Raven Rock
This is an older game and plays like a typical casual adventure. At the beginning there was an unskippable tutorial and some sparkles to show you where the next spot was. But very shortly it changes into a pure puzzle delight, along the lines of the old PC game Pandora's Box. You enter a Temple full of straight up minigames - sliders, codes and riddles, with some inventory items. Clues are kept in a journal for you. There are 25 challenges to beat, most will gain you access to new parts of the temple. There was a particularly good flip tile slider I had never seen before. You also need to use the physics of a tablet to solve a few of the puzzles.
Return to Grisly Manor 2
This is a basic adventure casual(no HOGs). You return to your grandfather's house to help him find the original deed, so the evil developers won't bulldoze it down. There are all kinds of seek and find quests here, but what makes it interesting for me is that there is no hand holding. There aren't many mini games in this one, so the puzzles involve thinking about how to get what you need from what you have. Thinking outside the box is a must.

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