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Casual Games

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Interplay - 05 September 2012 10:44 PM

As an aside, I realize all three are from Alawar.  I think that barring the internal Big Fish Games Studios, they are definitely the best developers out there in the casual scene.  I think in the future, I won’t hesitate to pick up one of their new games.

I meant to comment on this. I definitely agree. But I think there are few more that deserve some credit. One is Elephant Games. The two Surface games; the second of which, The Noise She Couldn’t Make, I’m playing now. Plus the three Grim Tales games, along with Urban Tales: The Maze, Raincliff and the Void make up a fairly good casual portfolio.

     

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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Based on Interplay’s recommendation I picked up House of 1000 Doors: Family Secrets. I am enjoying it quite a bit. I think some of the 3D rendering in the beginning cut scenes put some big-budget adventures to shame. I’m looking forward to getting through it. While Interplay said she played the second game, I don’t recall a comment on the relative merits of the two. Was the first game the best? Or will I enjoy the second game more?

Also just finished Surface: The Noise She Couldn’t Make. Melanie wrote a mini-review earlier. I’ll just add a few comments.

I liked the psychology aspect of the game. It gave you two antagonists. One, the “bad” half of the split personality, and the cause of the split personality. I wish the second part had been given more of the game’s storyline. Overcoming that character was basically the last 15 minutes of a five-plus hour game.

Graphics were excellent. Music was appropriate. Puzzles ranged from very easy to moderately difficult. A few rank 9+ on rtr’s 1-10 tedious scale, but none required a skip.

A fairly solid 4 out of 5 stars.

     

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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rtrooney - 19 September 2012 07:20 PM

While Interplay said she played the second game,

I guess I should have responded to your earlier discussion about gender: I’m a guy actually.  This is another reminder to me that the internet really is kind of a strange thing. 

rtrooney - 19 September 2012 07:20 PM

I don’t recall a comment on the relative merits of the two. Was the first game the best? Or will I enjoy the second game more?

I think it will be personal preference.  I thought the quality of the two games was comparable.  The second game has more exotic locales, which is unique, but I personally preferred the haunted house vibe of the original.  On the other hand, I liked the overarching story in the second game better (each vignette is related to the overall story).  So, I’d call it a draw.

     
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Interplay - 19 September 2012 09:31 PM
rtrooney - 19 September 2012 07:20 PM

While Interplay said she played the second game,

I guess I should have responded to your earlier discussion about gender: I’m a guy actually.  This is another reminder to me that the internet really is kind of a strange thing.

I won’t make that mistake again Pan

     

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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Bought and finished House of 100 Doors: Family Secrets based on Interplay’s recommendation. Again, a superb game. So good that I bought House of 1000 Doors Palm of Zoroaster sight unseen, and what I have seen so far, it is as good, if not better than Family Secrets. I think Zoroaster is the second in the series because there are references to Family Secrets, ( At least I think there are.)

The mapping feature in Zoroaster is a godsend. Once you have been to a location, it’s added to your map. Returning to that location is a mouse-click away. The added benefit is the map will tell you if there are any un-accomplished tasks at any of the locations you’ve visited.

So far, I’ve been through Tibet and India in Zoroaster. That’s taken about 2.5 hours. I’m guessing that the other two locations, plus the wrap-up will add another 3+ hours. As Interplay said, these are substantial casual games. Both are recommended.

Finally, a few comments on Family Secrets. I really liked the way the game was brought to a conclusion. I wondered how the final elements would come into play, and they did, seamlessly. My one minor gripe, and this applies to the second game as well, is the HO scenes. There are objects that do not fit the description of any object of that type that I’ve ever seen before. There was a “hatchet” that, for the life of me looked like a block of swiss cheese on the end of a stick. If you want to do the HO scenes without a hint, you will do a lot of random clicking. Fortunately, there seems to be no penalty for same.

     

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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I loved both of the House of 1000 Doors games and will buy the next one sight unseen - if there is another one.
It seems that quite a number of the newer games I’ve encountered have HOS with objects that don’t look anything like the name.  Played Awakening: Moonfell Wood for instance and became very frustrated over the strange looking things I was supposed to be picking up in the HOS.
Actually that game was abandoned almost at the end when it became one puzzle after another with no break for story or even HOS and most were sliders; I hate sliders, my mind just doesn’t understand them.

Blue Tea Games seems to be making great games, the Dark Parables series for instance.

     
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The last game I finished was Dreamatorium of Dr. Magnus. The mini-puzzles were very easy. Most of the challenge in the game was finding your inventory objects. I wouldn’t recommend playing this unless the demo twigs your fancy.
I’m currently playing Alchemy Mysteries Prague Legends. It gives you 360 degree look around scenes, thus seems more like exploration in an adventure. The HOS are multilayered and sometimes you need to find an item first before you can finish them. There is a task list and a map feature. I’d recommend this one.
I’ve played a few demos. House of 1000 Doors Zoroaster will be a buy (thanks for the recommendations in this thread). I also liked Margrave Black Smith’s Daughter, Agency of Anomalities Last Performance, and Dark Parables Red Riding Hood Sisters. I’ll be waiting for the SE versions, though.

     
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I was interested in the Dark Parable series because of the bundle BFG was offering. But, because I had not played any of the other games, I was unwilling to risk buying the bundle only to find out I hated the game(s). I see you have Riding Hood on your “available when offered as SE” list. What’s your experience with the other games in the series?

And, I see we have a new participant sarahandus, and welcome to our group, who has played some of the Dark Parable games as well, I welcome her input as well. Please write reviews of the games you’ve played. Or, simply tell us what you liked and didn’k like about them.

Now, based on some prior messages, you know I have made some gender assumptions that proved to be wrong. So, if sarahandus who I refered to as a her, and “her” is not a her, I apologize.

     

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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I really enjoyed the first three Dark Parable games, I’m getting the fourth now I’ve seen it here…

     

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rtrooney, yes I am female Wink.

Unfortunately I seem to forget the details of games after I play something else.  As for The Dark Parables: The Red Riding Hood Sisters, I have played the demo and will buy the Se when it comes out. The HOS are fragmented and really beautiful. There is a quite a bit of dialog with one or the other of the sisters. Since I seldom use the maps when they are included I don’t remember if there is a map or not, the hints seem to refill quickly, but are not necessarily that useful. Graphics are detailed and beautiful.
There are 2 or 3 difficulty levels and I played on the 2nd, it was not so difficult I couldn’t finish the demo without using a walkthrough. And I was definitely startled when the game shut down with time expired. Normally I decide whether to buy or skip within the first half hour, but the good games sometimes get me so involved I forget it’s only a demo.
The other Dark Parables are equally beautiful and frogs.
I would say go for it on the Dark Parables sale.

     
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I haven’t played any of the other Dark Parable games so I can’t comment.
Just finished Alchemy Mysteries Prague Legends. It was good. I really liked the 360 view. Sometimes it was difficult to figure out what to do next and even with a map, new inventory and HOS would not be marked as tasks so you had to go looking.
I played another demo - Tales of Terror Crimson Dawn. The graphics were a bit grainy, but the lure of pure puzzles (a nice tangram-like puzzle in the demo) may have me buying this one.
BTW, I find the Casual Forum at GB to be very usefull in posting all new games (mostly from BigFish). I use the links there to try the demos.
http://www.gameboomers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/forums/24/1/CASUAL_GAMES.html

     
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sarahandus - 23 September 2012 08:31 AM

rtrooney, yes I am female Wink.

Unfortunately I seem to forget the details of games after I play something else.  As for The Dark Parables: The Red Riding Hood Sisters, I have played the demo and will buy the Se when it comes out. The HOS are fragmented and really beautiful. There is a quite a bit of dialog with one or the other of the sisters. Since I seldom use the maps when they are included I don’t remember if there is a map or not, the hints seem to refill quickly, but are not necessarily that useful. Graphics are detailed and beautiful.
There are 2 or 3 difficulty levels and I played on the 2nd, it was not so difficult I couldn’t finish the demo without using a walkthrough. And I was definitely startled when the game shut down with time expired. Normally I decide whether to buy or skip within the first half hour, but the good games sometimes get me so involved I forget it’s only a demo.
The other Dark Parables are equally beautiful and frogs.
I would say go for it on the Dark Parables sale.

You’re not alone there. I too sometimes lose interest in games and forget various bits of information when I come back to it. I find this happening mainly in games that really don’t offer that much soul to the game and story. So far its been two weeks since i played Angelica Weaver Catch Me When You Can, and because of its interesting story, HD visuals, beautiful environments, non-excessive use of HOG sequences. I still remember what happened in the story. Something that can’t be said for a lot of HOG games.

I’m pretty sure I’m near the end of the game and I can definitely recommend it. A really good experience with some cool moments.

     

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sarahandus - 23 September 2012 08:31 AM

rtrooney, yes I am female Wink.

Unfortunately I seem to forget the details of games after I play something else.  As for The Dark Parables: The Red Riding Hood Sisters, I have played the demo and will buy the Se when it comes out. The HOS are fragmented and really beautiful. There is a quite a bit of dialog with one or the other of the sisters. Since I seldom use the maps when they are included I don’t remember if there is a map or not, the hints seem to refill quickly, but are not necessarily that useful. Graphics are detailed and beautiful.
There are 2 or 3 difficulty levels and I played on the 2nd, it was not so difficult I couldn’t finish the demo without using a walkthrough. And I was definitely startled when the game shut down with time expired. Normally I decide whether to buy or skip within the first half hour, but the good games sometimes get me so involved I forget it’s only a demo.
The other Dark Parables are equally beautiful and frogs.
I would say go for it on the Dark Parables sale.

Well, to get the complete package, with the “deal” costs about $22US v purchasing the games individually for $28US. I guess I’m going to have to play a demo, and hope the offer is still available if I like what I see.

     

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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As I had the previous games, I didn’t notice the actual pricing of the deal.

Just finished “Infected: The Twin Vaccine”.  It is not one I will ever replay. While I loved Carl, his facial expressions and movement were perfect, the rest of the cast were cardboard cutouts in comparison. There were long delays of black screen between scenes, whether that was intended or a glitch, it was very annoying. The HOS were interactive, making you hunt for things to open or make other things which I liked, although some were very hard to find. Hints were helpful here and seemed to recharge quickly. Hints for the main game were not so helpful.
There were some sparkles in the advanced mode. Graphics in general were good, but on the dark side. There are far more puzzles than HOS, I only skipped one puzzle out of frustration.
The introduction was very long and somewhat grisly and had to be watched every time you started the game.

This was a game I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for it.

     
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I played the demo of Dark Parables: The Red Riding Hood Sisters today. I wasn’t very impressed. I may give the game a full try when the SE comes out, but I certainly won’t be taking advantage of the four-game package deal.

The graphics were very good and the voice acting wasn’t bad. But those qualities hardly made up for what was wrong.

The good voice acting unfortunately is attached to some poorly animated cut scenes. And the few cut-scenes that are well-done, the rising of the castle out of the lake for example, really don’t add much if anything to the story. They seem to be there for effect only.

There is a mapping feature that tells you where there is something to accomplish. But it is worthless. One, because it is not interactive. I.e., you can’t click on a location and be transported there. Two, it is a simple grid, showing up/down/left/right options that don’t mesh well at all with actual movement within the game.

The HO scences were interesting. Although the objects tended to become more obscure as I progressed through the demo. I wondered whether I would even be able to find an item by the end of the game.

There are some other minor complaints, but you get my drift. There are plenty of other games on my desktop that I would rather replay.

     

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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