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Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai #1143530
03/03/18 08:57 PM
03/03/18 08:57 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 39,633
southeast USA
Jenny100 Offline OP
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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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Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1143531
03/03/18 08:58 PM
03/03/18 08:58 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 39,633
southeast USA
Jenny100 Offline OP
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southeast USA

+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+

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.

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1143532
03/03/18 09:10 PM
03/03/18 09:10 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 3,782
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Reenie Offline
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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!

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Reenie] #1143567
03/04/18 10:11 AM
03/04/18 10:11 AM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 36,364
near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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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).

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1143574
03/04/18 12:00 PM
03/04/18 12:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 5,247
Chicago
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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.

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: oldbroad] #1143598
03/04/18 08:01 PM
03/04/18 08:01 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 29,146
United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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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


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1143600
03/04/18 08:43 PM
03/04/18 08:43 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 39,633
southeast USA
Jenny100 Offline OP
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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.

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1143662
03/05/18 05:31 PM
03/05/18 05:31 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 29,146
United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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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


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1185420
05/05/19 08:30 PM
05/05/19 08:30 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 36,364
near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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I am pulling up this old thread, Jenny, because I came across something of interest today about the developer you were discussing, Chayowo Games.

I installed Murder She Wrote 2: Return to Cabot Cove and it says that the developer is Chayowo Games - I was quite surprised by this.

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1185425
05/05/19 09:09 PM
05/05/19 09:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 5,247
Chicago
oldbroad Offline
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While I still haven't played these games, I did recently download them so I'm getting closer. wink

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1185433
05/05/19 09:39 PM
05/05/19 09:39 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 36,364
near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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Downloading is a good first step - I have some games that I have recently downloaded myself, thinking that might encourage me to actually play them. grin

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Marian] #1185449
05/06/19 05:01 AM
05/06/19 05:01 AM
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United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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I am ashamed of the number of "not yet played" games in my collection !!

So little time required to buy them .... so much time required to play them whistle


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Marian] #1185468
05/06/19 08:55 AM
05/06/19 08:55 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 39,633
southeast USA
Jenny100 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Marian
I am pulling up this old thread, Jenny, because I came across something of interest today about the developer you were discussing, Chayowo Games.

I installed Murder She Wrote 2: Return to Cabot Cove and it says that the developer is Chayowo Games - I was quite surprised by this.

Thanks, Marian. Apparently it was outsourced to Chayowo.

I found a Wiki entry for Chayowo games here
https://hogs.fandom.com/wiki/ChaYoWo_Games

They say:
Originally Posted by famdom wiki
ChaYoWo Games is a casual game studio based in Kochi, India. It was founded in 2007 by Jugul Thachery. In early 2012, ChaYoWo was combined with San Francisco-based Bay Arena game design team and changed their names to Ruby Seven Studios, which focused on making social casino games. Ruby Seven maintained both offices in San Francisco and in the Indian city of Kochi.

The wiki lists Chayowo's games as
Originally Posted by fandom wiki
Dec 07, 2009 The Dark Hills of Cherai: The Dark Hills of Cherai
Jun 25, 2010 A Gypsy's Tale The Tower of Secrets (with Amaranth Games)
Oct 08, 2011 The Dark Hills of Cherai: The Regal Scepter
Nov 13, 2012 Zodiac Prophecies The Serpent Bearer
Jun 15, 2013 Untold History Descendant of the Sun
Jul 27, 2013 Legends of the East The Cobra's Eye
Sep 19, 2015 Mystery Crusaders Resurgence of the Templars
Nov 21, 2012 Murder, She Wrote 2: Return to Cabot Cove (with Legacy Interactive)**

* According to their Facebook page, A Gypsy's Tale: The Tower of Secrets is a fantasy game which ChaYoWo developed for Amaranth Games.

** In Murder, She Wrote 2: Return to Cabot Cave, ChaYoWo worked as an outsourced project from Legacy Interactive.

So Chayowo developed both A Gypsy's Tale: The Tower of Secrets and Murder, She Wrote 2 even though Big Fish doesn't list these games on Chayowo's Big Fish page.

A Gypsy's Tale was sort of interesting. Once I start it up I remember the deer by the cliff and most of the other locations. I don't think it was as good as the Dark Hills of Cherai games, but at least it was unique, interesting, and not "like every other game."

I haven't played Murder, She Wrote 2: Return to Cabot Cove. User reviews seem to indicate it's more like an adventure game than the first Murder, She Wrote casual game, with Hidden object scenes, but where you do more exploring of the town. I'm not sure why I didn't buy this one. There must have been something about that annoyed me enough that I didn't buy it, but I don't remember what. I always liked the Murder She Wrote series with Angela Lansbury.

+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+

I'm still surprised at all the people who have so many Big Fish games they've bought but haven't played. I have hundreds of games from Big Fish and I've played them all at least once. There are some I can't replay past a certain point because they have unskippable arcade sequences or timed sequences. Back when I bought the games I was able to get past these sequences (eventually), but not anymore.

Anyway, if you have any games that you haven't played, and which don't offer a "skip" to get past arcade/timed sequences, you may want to play those games while you still can (unless you have friends or family members willing and able to play past these sequences for you).

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1185491
05/06/19 03:04 PM
05/06/19 03:04 PM
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near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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I really liked A Gypsy's Tale (and recommended it in our official review thread). It reminded me in some ways of an old Sierra game. Very much surprised to find out that Chayowo developed it. It seemed much more like something that Amaranth would do. Thank you for the information, Jenny.

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Marian] #1185583
05/07/19 09:41 AM
05/07/19 09:41 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
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United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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"A Gypsy's Tale".

I don't remember hearing about this one before, so thank you, Marian. I will go for it on the next appropriate Big Fish sale thumbsup


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1185584
05/07/19 09:45 AM
05/07/19 09:45 AM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 36,364
near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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If you read my review in the review thread, Mad, I mention the pros and cons. I thought it was a lovely game, but it's not recommended for those with poor eyesight - I recall some pretty small objects. Otherwise, I found it charming. wave

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Marian] #1185656
05/08/19 05:38 AM
05/08/19 05:38 AM
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United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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Oooo - errr woozy

Might have a change of mind then, Marian, as I'm not a fan of minuscule hidden objects.

Thanks for the heads up thumbsup


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Jenny100] #1185676
05/08/19 08:21 AM
05/08/19 08:21 AM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 36,364
near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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I would still at least take a look at it, as the game does not have conventional hidden object scenes.

Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Marian] #1185680
05/08/19 09:02 AM
05/08/19 09:02 AM
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United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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Oh, yes. I will still be considering it, Marian. Just perhaps not with as much enthusiasm grin


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Chayowo Games and Dark Hills of Cherai [Re: Mad] #1185681
05/08/19 09:06 AM
05/08/19 09:06 AM
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near Yosemite in California
Marian Offline
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laugh

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