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#1143530 - 03/03/18 07:57 PM Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 39213
Loc: southeast USA

Recently I replayed The Dark Hills of Cherai and its sequel The Dark Hills of Cherai: The Regal Scepter. Afterwards I was motivated to seek out the developer, Chayowo Games, to discover what became of them, and whether they made any more games.

This wasn't the first time I've replayed The Dark Hills of Cherai, but it's the first time I did so without getting lost. Somehow the idea of Tara going to the treasure hunter's house while Rahul (and later Maya and her Grandma) go to the magician's house always confused me. Being lost made the game seem longer and more mysterious, so knowing where I was this time around wasn't entirely a good thing. But the game still did an exceptional job with the environments, giving a rarely encountered feeling of being on the border between a real place and an imaginary place. The naturalistic graphics make the game look like it might take place in a mountainous jungle area of India. But I can't be sure where, or even exactly when the game takes place.

In the introduction, the Grandmother is telling the four cousins (Tara, Rahul, Maya, and Arjun) a story about the treasure hunter, his cursed treasure, and the evil magician that wants the treasure and thinks he can remove the curse. Arjun gets up early next morning and leaves to find the treasure. You first play as Tara, leaving a note for Rahul saying she is going to the treasure hunter's house to see if Arjun is there, because she is concerned the magician may have captured him. You play as Tara up the the point where Rahul wakes up and finds Tara's note. He decides to look for Arjun at the magician's house, and you play as Rahul for a while. Later Maya finds Tara's note and leaves with her Grandmother for the magician's house. Apparently Maya is too young to go by herself. At this point you can switch between Tara, Rahul, and Maya, and swap inventory items between them.

I'm not sure when the Cherai games were released, but my purchase date for Dark Hills of Cherai is December 2009, and for The Regal Scepter is November 2011, so they are at least that old. Considering how old the first game is, it shouldn't be a surprise that it is mostly hidden object scenes mixed with some puzzles and exploration. You can teleport to every place you've previously visited using the Map. Mostly I like Dark Hills of Cherai for the mood, and the fact that it takes me to a place that other casual games don't.

Tara, Rahul, and Maya are back in the sequel, Dark Hills of Cherai: The Regal Scepter. There is a lot more swapping of inventory between characters, and switching between characters in this 2nd game. The music sounds more "Westernized" than in the first Cherai game. It also seems to take place at night, and some of the locations look more like some place in Europe, like the area with the castle and catapult that Rahul went to.

The first couple of times I replayed the Cherai games, I thought the Regal Scepter was the better game, but this playthrough I preferred the first game. Though the graphics were nice in the sequel, I missed the more consistent environment of the first game, with the mountainous jungle, the animals, and the distinctive architecture and decor of the big houses.

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#1143531 - 03/03/18 07:58 PM Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 39213
Loc: southeast USA

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But there was never a third Cherai game. So what did Chayowo Games do after Regal Scepter? According to Big Fish, there were four more games credited to Chayowo (of which I have three).
https://www.bigfishgames.com/download-games/developers/773/index.html

3. Zodiac Prophesies: The Serpent Bearer (bought December 2012)
4. Untold History: Descendent of the Sun (bought June 2013)
5. Legends of the East: The Cobra's Eye (bought February 2014)
6. Mystery Crusaders: Resurgence of the Templars (did not buy)

Unfortunately Zodiac Prophecies could have been made by any company. There was nothing distinctly "of India" about it. As suggested by its title, it depended more on zodiac symbols and that overused "air, earth, fire, water" foursome than anything else. Human figures were doll-like and backgrounds were cartoonish.

Untold History: Descendent of the Sun does seem to take place in the mountains of India, and has some nice locations. But you play as a single character, and I am sorry to say you are "The Chosen One." The game also confuses mythologies. You restore statues of Sati, Parvati, and Nandi, yet at the same time you're supposed to be some sort of descendent of Helios, a deity from Greek mythology. Also from Greek mythology is Poseidon, whose statue appears in the bonus game. And of course a modern version of astrology is thrown into the mix. Why couldn't they just stick with the mythology of India?

Legends of the East: The Cobra's Eye is supposed to take place in 1895 British India. Colors are mostly cyan and brown. You play as a woman trying to rescue her boyfriend and keep the powerful "Cobra's Eye" jewel out of evil hands. A missing person investigation set in "1895 British India" might have been interesting if it were more realistic (like a Sherlock Holmes mystery). Unfortunately a game that has evil "Draugs" taking people over whenever it's convenient for them doesn't really appeal to me. Aside from a bit of decor here and there, there wasn't much distinctly of India in this one. Like the previous "Untold History" game, the Map is an integral part of the game, showing you locations where there is something to do and providing the ability to teleport. Cobra's Eye would not start in XP, but played on the same computer when booted to Vista. I don't know if it was an XP issue or a driver issue.

Mystery Crusaders: Resurgence of the Templars
Unfortunately I didn't think this one was worth buying. Before the demo was over I felt like I'd played the game several times before. You are some woman, supposed to meet someone but he's shot first. You get no help from the innkeeper who says you're imagining things and should go to bed. I didn't last through the demo. The Credits don't even mention Chayowo Games -- instead listing Ruby Seven Studios, which seems to be an online game company selling Casino games. Go to
http://chayowogames.com/
and it forwards you to https://www.rubyseven.com
So maybe Ruby Seven is renamed Chayowo or maybe they bought Chayowo or who knows what happened? Unfortunately it appears the Chayowo Games that made the Cherai games is no more.

I feel like Chayowo Games got bad advice from somewhere, telling them they had to make games like nearly every other company makes. They gave up what made their company unique and now there's nothing left of them.

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#1143532 - 03/03/18 08:10 PM Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100]
Reenie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/01/00
Posts: 3688
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
I played the sequel, The Royal Scepter, and didn't know there was a previous game as well. Thanks for that info!

I really enjoyed Scepter, what with the unusual inventory swapping and multiple player use that were intriguing and original. I thought the environments were well done. Now I am going to go looking for the original game!

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#1143567 - 03/04/18 09:11 AM Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Reenie]
Marian Offline
Global Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 35204
Loc: near Yosemite in California
The Dark Hills of Cherai was released on Big Fish on December 5, 2009; Regal Scepter was released on October 8, 2011.

Thanks for reminding me about these games, Jenny. I have a few of their games in my Purchase History that I haven't played yet (I am embarrassed to say).

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#1143574 - 03/04/18 11:00 AM Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100]
oldbroad Online   happy
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 04/01/06
Posts: 4430
Loc: Chicago
I had purchased The Dark Hills of Cherai and Regal Scepter in February 2016 based on Jenny's recommendation but have still not played. Maybe it's time.

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#1143598 - 03/04/18 07:01 PM Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: oldbroad]
Mad Online   happy
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 28664
Loc: United Kingdom
I do have The Dark Hills of Cherai and Regal Scepter - but haven't got round to playing them yet.

I, too, have some Big Fish games "purchased but not yet played" whistle
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Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#1143600 - 03/04/18 07:43 PM Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 39213
Loc: southeast USA
I'm surprised to see how many people bought the two Cherai games, but haven't played them. They'll certainly be a change from current games, which for me is a good thing.

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#1143662 - 03/05/18 04:31 PM Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100]
Mad Online   happy
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 28664
Loc: United Kingdom
I am looking forward to them, Jenny100, but get "side tracked" all the time AND there aren't enough hours in the day for game playing !! laugh
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Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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