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Casual Games

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Thanks for the SE heads up. I dialed down through the alphabetical listing and only came up with the CE. This is one of those games that is going to break the Tim Rooney budget. I’ve already used my credit, and bought an additional game. Now there is this one. Plus the Shivers - Vanishing Hitchhiker bought at discount.

In my home state of Illinois, the late, great Senator Everett Dirkson was quoted as saying “A million dollars here, a million dollars there…it all starts to add up.”

Same holds true with me. $6.99 here, $2.99 there, it all starts to add up.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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The first Azada was the best (IMHO). The puzzles were lots of fun and unique.The second I didn’t like at all and the last one, In Libro, was ok - more like regular run of the mill IHOGs.

     
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colpet - 11 August 2012 09:06 AM

The first Azada was the best (IMHO). The puzzles were lots of fun and unique.The second I didn’t like at all and the last one, In Libro, was ok - more like regular run of the mill IHOGs.

I think we will agree to disagree on this one. While I didn’t play the first two, the third is not a run of the mill IHOGS. There’s not a HOG scene in it, which makes it more of a true light adventure game than an IHOG.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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Total Posts: 289

Joined 2003-09-16

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Here’

rtrooney - 11 August 2012 08:27 PM
colpet - 11 August 2012 09:06 AM

The first Azada was the best (IMHO). The puzzles were lots of fun and unique.The second I didn’t like at all and the last one, In Libro, was ok - more like regular run of the mill IHOGs.

I think we will agree to disagree on this one. While I didn’t play the first two, the third is not a run of the mill IHOGS. There’s not a HOG scene in it, which makes it more of a true light adventure game than an IHOG.

Sorry about the IHOG label. I tend to call all of the casuals IHOGs, but now I see that some are veering away from those scenes. I played Azada In Libro last year. After I play a casual. I put it on my list. If I really liked it, I give it an asterisk. That’s how I know I didn’t think as highly of it as some others.
Here’s my 2011 list:
2011
*Mystery Case Files - 13th Skull CE
Nancy Drew Warning at Waverly Academy - Jan 22- Feb 27
The Filmmaker - Aug 7/10 - March 6/11
Rhem 3 - March 7 - March 26
Rhem 4 - March 26 - April 10
*Tiny Bang Story -
Blood Oath
*Fall Trilogy 3 - Revelation
Gravely Silent House of Deadlock
Midnight Mysteries 3- Death on the Mississippi
*Hidden Expedition Uncharted Islands Collector’s Edition
Nightmare Edition The Witches Prison
*Urban Legends The Maze
Echoes of the Past Citadel of Time
*Mystery Case Files Escape from Ravenhurst
Hallowed Legends Templar CE
Nightmare Realm
Dark Tales Edgar Allen Poe Murders in Rue Morgue
*Hidden Expedition Devil’s Triangle
*Haunted Halls Green Hills Sanitarium
*Patricia’s Quest for Sun - jigsaw
Azada in Libro
*The Keepers Lost Progeny CE
*Temple of Life: Legend of 4 Elements CE
*Grim Tales The Legacy CE
House of 1000 Doors Family Secret
*Pahlika Secret Legends

     
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There was another ERS game, Dark Alleys - Penumbra Hotel, that was very similar in concept. That is, it is a straightforward inventory and puzzle game with no HOG scenes.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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Joined 2006-07-30

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I recently purchased and finished the third Drawn game, Trail of Shadows.  In anticipation, I went back and played the first two again, and I was struck by a few things.  Foremost is how gorgeous these games are.  I think the first Drawn game may have been the first casual game I played, but I have played many, many since.  I would be hard pressed to think of a single casual game that could match the graphical quality and art style of these games, even a few years later.  There aren’t many full fledged adventure games that could top them in this regard, either. 

Second, I remember the first two games being very similar.  However, on the replay, I noticed that the second game is much more challenging, with some pretty difficult puzzles.  So, on the whole, I would have to say the second game is the best of the bunch.

Regarding the third game, it is the most beautiful of the bunch.  A moving perspective system is new, which adds a lot of the depth to the scenery.  However, I was a little disappointed in the puzzles.  Until the last act, most of the puzzles are variations on the puzzle types found in the first two games.  Easier variations, at that.  The end does contain some original puzzles though.  So, I would have to say the third game is the weakest of the three, though it is still a very good game.

The Drawn series is very popular, so I’m sure this goes without saying, but for those interested in casual games, this series (along with the later Mystery Case Files games) are kind of must play in the genre.  I look forward to the inevitable next (?last) chapter.

     
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I agree with your assessment of the Drawn trilogy. I can see why you might find the second episode the hardest of the three. And, I agree that the third episode is the most beautiful of the three, albeit the easiest as well.

I’ve played many casual games. Quite a few before I played the first Drawn.

It’s probably because of that, that I consider the first episode to be the hardest. It was simply so different than anything I had played before that I was, at times, overwhelmed. Episode two may have been more “technically” difficult, but I found it easier to procede because, after playing the first in the series I was familiar with the style.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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Joined 2004-07-12

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Quick note…the third Drawn had problems with my old system. I’m going to give it another try with a re-buy. I think I was only one puzzle from the finale, so, if it works I don’t think I need to re-report on how gorgeous this game is.

Regarding my take on Azada-In Libro, I thought it was a great game. No need to elaborate on the lead review. Some very good puzzles. And, playing a game without a HOG scene is quite enjoyable. Reminded me of good adventuring. But it is a short game.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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Total Posts: 12

Joined 2012-03-09

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BigFish is having a “buy 1 collector’s edition, get 1 free” sale this weekend.

I’m relatively new to the casual gaming scene but have played quite a few in the last month (standard editions). Does anyone have any CE favorites that they would recommend over their SE counterparts?

     
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AprilRyan - 18 August 2012 02:04 PM

BigFish is having a “buy 1 collector’s edition, get 1 free” sale this weekend.

I’m relatively new to the casual gaming scene but have played quite a few in the last month (standard editions). Does anyone have any CE favorites that they would recommend over their SE counterparts?

I personally can’t think of a single CE that would be worth the extra cost.  They’re kind of a scam, imho.

     
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AprilRyan - 18 August 2012 02:04 PM

BigFish is having a “buy 1 collector’s edition, get 1 free” sale this weekend.

I’m relatively new to the casual gaming scene but have played quite a few in the last month (standard editions). Does anyone have any CE favorites that they would recommend over their SE counterparts?

I don’t usually buy CEs now. I found that they were rarely worth it. Wallpapers, behind the scenes, and strategy guides (please, does anyone really use these for casuals?) are of no interest to me. The extra game play for the money doesn’t seem proportionately long enough, though I haven’t played a CE in a while.

     
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Thanks very much for the input - I really appreciate it.

I feel the same as well regarding the extra content - never felt the need for a walkthrough for any of these games and wallpapers, etc. are of no interest to me. The bonus gameplay was what caught my eye and wasn’t sure if there were any titles where it was an essential continuation of the story that might merit the extra cost for me (especially while on sale).

     
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I think the only CE I ever bought was “Final Cut - Death on the Silver Screen” I can’t remember exactly why I bought it. There must have been a great sale!

The bonus material was not worth the premium, even at the sale price. If you need help, every SE version has access to a free walkthough.

For the sale you mentioned, you’re getting two CE games for $7.99 each. SE games are $6.99. Not a big difference if you are really interested in the game(s). Plus, if you have two CE games you are intersted in playing, it’s going to cost you an extra $2.00. Not a bad price to see what CE versions have to offer.

I’m not a fan of the CE versions, but this is certainly a good opportunity to find out if they are worth it to you.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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Joined 2010-02-15

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Practically every CE I’ve ever played, I felt like I just couldn’t bare to try out the additional story. They always either feel like a stupid extender (a HOG infested part of the story which should of been in the original storyline) or just a HOG sandbox full of shit.

     

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Just finished Dark Alleys: Penumbra Hotel.  I won’t go into detail since AG did a formal review of it.  Overall, though, I thought it was just an average casual game.  I think the 3.5 stars is generous.  The game is attractive, but there’s not a lot of variety in locations.  The story was very generic, and, imo, uninteresting.  I had a feeling the story was going to get more interesting towards the end of the game, but it didn’t.  The game has the not-uncommon quick non-ending as well.  It has a quirky musical score which, while not annoying, pretty much undercut any tension the game may have otherwise developed.  The puzzles are, for the most part, easy, though there were one or two tougher ones.  The best thing, by far, about the game, is the length.  It is a nice and lengthy game, even without HOG scenes.  So, anyway, just an average casual game.  Worth picking up on sale.

I’m going to kind of switch topics now but use Dark Alleys as an example to talk about casual game design.  I like how newer games have different difficulty settings, eliminating sparkles and such.  Dark Alleys even went so far as to eliminate the text that appears when clicking on an object in the hardest setting.  However, as marcd2011 pointed out, this also eliminates all descriptions of objects, not just the hinty ones.  So, that was a big fail in this game.  However, I really like the idea of adjusting the description for different difficulty levels.  Too often, the item descriptions tell you exactly what you’re supposed to do, without allowing you to figure it out.  For example, I would much rather the game say, “I need to get this cat out of the way to look in that hole” versus “I need to find a tape recorder of a dog barking to scare this cat away”.  Some games do this much better than others.  Also, a while back I figured out that the games are much more challenging if I never look at the journal.  The journal usually keeps track of all visual clues and goals so it’s hard to get stuck.  But this is super hint-heavy.  I kind of wish there was a separate hint and non-hint version of the journal.  Because sometimes the journal is used to add narrative depth to the situation, but I have to avoid looking at the journal because they always give away puzzle solutions.  It would be great if they could split the hints away from the journal.  Also, for this reason, I wish the developers would not have any solution to a puzzle that couldn’t be figured out by walking around and looking at things again.  For example, in the second Ravenhearst game, there is a puzzle where you have to know two symbols to input into a lock.  These symbols are only seen within a HOG scene.  Once you’ve solved the HOG, there is no way to see these symbols again without looking at the journal which makes it glaringly obvious and easy.  Things like that shouldn’t be within a HOG scene but maybe within a magnification inset instead.  For example, in Dark Alleys, there is a lock whose combination is figured out by putting together numbers on photos you’ve seen over the course of the game.  These numbers can only be seen in the journal, but if you go to the journal, there is a photo of the combination lock that directly tells you all 4 numbers! Lazy programming.  At another point in Dark Alleys, there is a box that is opened by arranging all the items to fit within the space (standard puzzle), but when you click on the box, the picture it shows before you try to open the box is the correct solution, so it gives the answer away before you can even try to solve it! (and without even having to open the spoiler journal).  Extra lazy programming.  Anyway, I hope casual games continue to evolve to eliminate these systemic problems.

As another aside, I personally like HOG scenes in a game, but I don’t want there to be a lot of them.  HOG scenes add to the play value, and, in many cases, offer the only challenge in the game.  I’m happy there are iHOG games like Dark Alleys and Drawn, but I kind of like having a few HOG screens.  But this is just personal preference. 

I’m sorry, this is already my longest post ever, but I wanted to say I just noticed a new Twisted Lands game came out over the weekend.  I really, really liked the other two, so I think I’m going to have to break my rule and pick this one up not on sale.  I’ll post my thoughts afterward.

     
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