Reviews by josiejay

The Great Unknown: Houdini's Castle Collector's Edition Icon
Good story line but artwork and lack of animation let the game down.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Nov 5th 2016

I liked the story line a lot, the whole magic/Houndini thing held a lot of potential but the game was let down by the artwork and the limited puzzles. Most scenes were dark and lacking colour or detail with few interactive areas. Animation sequences were few and far between and pretty dissapointing. There were lots of areas but no map so you had to do a lot of wandering about to get to the next active zone. There was a journal that recorded useful information. I particularily liked the silent movie films that you collected to view in the cinema room, except that they were stills rather than moving film, but the idea was good. The puzzles were rather poor and not very attractive or enjoyable. Despite being pitched at woman (you play the heroine trying to save her boyfriend) I found that the game got more and more tool orientated as it progressed with you searching for generators, belts, isolators, sensors etc. Considering this was meant to be the world of magic it felt more like a the world of mechanics in a dingy garage. That said I played it to the end, and even started the bonus chapter but that was much worse than the main game so I just decided not to waste my time. It started with a puzzle that you had already played twice in the main game (sliding lock blocks) and then went into mending a lift (Yawn). Sorry but this was meant to be the world of magic and I felt dissapointed. There are better games out there, but some will still enjoy this.

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Mayan Prophecies: Cursed Island Collector's Edition Icon
Good game, apart from the weird boyfiend who wears a life jacket all the time!
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Nov 5th 2016

This game is a follow on from one of my favourite games Mayan Prophecies - Ship of Spirits. Play that one first as then this game will make much more sense. This game has lovely colourful Mayan artifacts galore. The HOGs are colourful, clear and interesting with several interactive items in each hog. The puzzles are all beautiful, well thought out and fun, none too difficult. There is a useful map which shows you where the next bit of activity is due. There are plenty of collectibles too, lots of otherworldly morphing items and the beautiful little hummingbirds that fly around the screen, lovely! Whilst not as good as the first game, in my opinion, it is still an enjoyable & beautiful game in its own right. The weird thing about this game is the useless boyfriend character 'Gregory' who was also in the first game. He looks pretty dopey and is always getting injured or captured and is generally a waste of space. He wears a life jacket constantly even on dry land! Game includes a bonus chapter and a guide should you get stuck.

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Dream Mysteries - Case of the Red Fox Icon
Different Idea for game but rather short with few puzzles
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Nov 4th 2016

The game is set in a psychiatric hospital and you are a dream therapist who can enter the patients dreams to help you cousel them. An orginal idea that held a lot of promise but ended up being a little dissapointing. The HOGs were average, most of the time you are searching thgrough mundance objects, artwork was mostly clear but not a stye I particularily liked. There were very few puzzles, they were too simple and completed quickly. The objects to collect were all tiny and mundane and you did not have to overcome any challanges to get those objects, they were just littered around the rooms. The challenge of working out which object to use were was removed because each area where ojects were needed a graphic would pop up showing you exactly what objects to use. Consequently you could whizz through the game with out thinking. The game was very short. There were few animations and final animation scence at the end could have been so much better and was over very quickly. Had a lot of potential but dissapointed.

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Web of Deceit: Black Widow Icon
Great Animation of Steampunk Insects, excellent puzzles
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Nov 3rd 2016

I really enjoyed this game because it had several unique features that set it apart from many of the other games in this genre. It has a compelling and original storyline and some excellent animation including battles between robotic insects. The quirky feature of the game is the real actors who appear in various roles, they were all rather endearing in an odd sort of way and did not detract from the game. The puzzles were excellent with many orginal ideas and beautiful mechanisms that tied in perfectly with the game, The HOGs were clear, bright and interactive. There is an in game journal that records all the important information and includes some pointers for the way forward and includes videos of the animation sequences. Word of warning - you do not want to play this game if you have arachnophobia. There were a couple of points in the game where I got stuck and almost abandoned the game because there was no strategy guide to help. First point was at the butterfly incubator (the thermometer has a slider on it to raise the temperature which is not very clear) and the missing radio button (which is tiny and easily overlooked in the cave) - had to replay game a couple of times before I got past these problems, Glad I persevered.

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Fear for Sale: Nightmare Cinema Collector's Edition Icon
Excellent game, puzzles & lots of collectibles 7 awards.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Nov 1st 2016

This game has just right amounts of spooky & sinister in it, to keep the storyline compelling. Lots of good animation that adds flow and drama to the game. The sound effects and background noise are exceptional and add greatly to the atmosphere and gameplay. It is so refreshing to find a game of this genre that isn't ruined by the overuse of hammy or inappropriate music. The puzzles are good, often with an original twist, just about the right amount of difficulty. The HOGS are very good, clear, bright, sinister with objects cunnigly concealed - lots of interactive items in each scene. My favourite part of the game was finding all the shape shifting other-worldly objects, there are 66 throughout the game - still have a few elusive ones to find before i get the award. Game includes a useful location map showing where next objective is located so u don't have to keep wandering about, also a strategy guide included. all in all a great game for this genre. I encountered no glitches and played bonus chapter to end on more than one occasion.

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Enchantia: Wrath of the Phoenix Queen Icon
Beautiful graphics, maybe a little too ornate.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Oct 30th 2016

Set in an Elven kingdom, almost everything you encounter in this game is magical or enchanted. There are lots of ornate locks and gizmos to find througout the game. The HOGS are slightly unusual in that you are looking for bits of broken jewellery and the like in order to create another enchanted object. You are given pictures of bits to find rather than a list. The puzzles, except for the final one, were not that memorable. Lots of animation sequences and a few characters to interact with. Beautiful game but not as challenging or as satisfying to me as others I have played. No bonus chapter or strategy guide.

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Dark Mysteries - The Soul Keeper Icon
Good one.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Oct 30th 2016

Enjoyable game, just the right amount of spooky and challenge. You have to stop the evil Curzen who is killing all the villagers and stealing their souls so he can becom immortal. A unique bit of the game that I particularily enjoyed was using the magical powders and clocks so that you can turn back time and talk to the ghostly murder victims. Nice animations and lots of ghosts. Puzzles not too difficult with skip option if you get stuck. There is no map but you can use the hint button to direct you to next area of interest if you dont want to spend time wandering around. There is a stragegy guide as well if you get stuck. The bonus chapter was excellent and a nice continuation of the story. The HOGs were the traditional list type, with just the right amount of difficulty for me. The downside was that the HOGs were however revisited about 3 times each during the game and the music that played whilst you searched was wrong and just annoying.

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Detective Quest: The Crystal Slipper Collector's Edition Icon
Beautiful graphics, great animations, original puzzles.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Oct 26th 2016

What a beautiful colourful game, full to bursting with every kind of mythical beast you can imagine! My favourite beasts being the unicorn, the griffin, the tree of wisdom and the trhee headed dog! Not only do you get mythical beasts but lots and lots of gorgeous animals and a few rather hot assasins! The HOGs are beautiful and very interactive - an original twist is that rather than find the items listed and remove them from the scene, you are given the actual objects and have to work out where to put them! The map transports you quickly from place to place and also lists the objectives you have to achieve for each area. Puzzles are good with a few original ones in the mix, moderate to easy on difficulty. A fun, beautifully designed game.

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Legacy Tales: Mercy of the Gallows Collector's Edition Icon
Enjoyable game with a few unique features.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Oct 25th 2016

Ejoyable game, with some unique features. For example you need to collect many coins that are scattered throughout the many scences of the game in order to open the various treasure chests that contain important items. Initially I found finding the coins difficult but it got much easier once you get your eye in and it became a fun part of the game which i wish more games like this would include. (If you have trouble finding the coins at first then I would recommend turning up the brightness and turning off the widescreen setting). I also enjoyed using the spectre lens which showed up the ghostly ectoplasm in the bonus chapters. The puzzles and locks were all good quality and moderately challenging. The game includes a full strategy guide and a useful map that shows areas of interest and where the missed coins and ectoplasm. The HOGS were clear, bright and interesting and only utilised once. I agree with the previous reviewers comments that the depiction of the characters was in a completely different art style to that of the scenery but I soon found I did not notice it. I enjoyed the way the story was narrated at key points, it helped the game flow nicely.

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Echoes of the Past: The Citadels of Time Collector's Edition Icon
Puzzles are the strength of this game
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Oct 24th 2016

Interesting concept for a game, involves a time machine, a witch, and lots of people frozen in time. Your goal is to repair the various clocks that keep the people trapped and ultimatel, to destroy the time machine. The real strength and beauty of this game lies with the puzzle sections, the art work of which is lovely. There are some really orignal puzzles, I particularly loved the stain glass window game. You can replay some of the puzzles in the extras section after you have completed the full game. The 'hot-spot' scenes are less attractive than the puzzles but still acceptable. I found the HOGS to be different again and are less colourful and distinct than I like, but they were still challenging. Each HOG scene is revisited several times, which was a dissapointment as I enjoy the fresh challenge of a new picture each time. The ending of the game is quite abrupt and leaves you with a black screen (see disscussion below) but there is a bonus chapter in the extras which you can access once you have completed the game (quit the game first and then restart the game to access this).

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House of 1000 Doors: The Palm of Zoroaster Collector's Edition Icon
Great animation and lovely locks!
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Mar 10th 2016

I really enjoyed this game. There are many amazing, short animation sequences (I love the opening one) that make this game stand out from the crowd. The House of !000 doors has a great story line and it takes you, the supernatural detective trying to discover the cause of the mysteriou & dangerous fire balls, to other countries where you meet and help ghosts who have been affected by the fire balls. The ornate and intricate locks that you encounter are also a lovely feature of the game. I would have given the game a five, but what lets it down is that some of the art work, particularly for the HOGS is not as good as that associated with the animation. The hogs just seemed too dingy and junky (lots of tools, gloves, shoes, grungy bits). I found that I needed to have the screen up to brightest setting and to lean close to discover the items, I suppose I prefer HOGS to be brighter and full of interesting, magical, glittery bits and bobs, but maybe thats just me. You also have to revisit each HOG 3 times , which is annoying for those of us who look forward to the HOGS. The mini games where pretty good, but some of them were not as good as they could have been if they had been brighter and more colourful - for instance the toadstool game was so dingy but would have been great if the colours were richer. When I am playing a shooter I dont mind dingy and dark if it adds to the atmosphere, but when I play these adventrue games it is all about a visual feast, about colour and detail . Otherworldly objects were dull, I prefer collecting colourful hummingbirds or butterflys or interesting jewels/ gold or colourful objects. Despite these grumbles the game is still excellent and probably should give it a 4.5. Includes a useful map that shows you current location and the where the next objective is.

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Calavera: Day of the Dead Icon
Steampunk meets Day of the Dead.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Mar 9th 2016

Great concept; you have to trick your way into the world of the dead, in order to rescue some one, by creating and taking a potion that will transform you tempoarily into an Undead person. Many features set this game apart from the usual HOG games. Your assistant is a talking Book of the Dead, with a personality, which makes a nice change from the usual mute animals. The Mexican day of the dead theme is richly represented throughout the game (love the skeleton dog) and is nicely combined with lots of steampunk style robotic contraptions. Some novel things to collect and some refreshingly original games. My favourite things were using the Transformation Altar, creating the my robotic cockcroach, and visiting the street vendor. I just loved that all the undead characters in the story all have quirky personalities. There is an excellent map that shows you where to go for the next piece of action, which becomes quite useful as the game develops. My only piece of advice is - dont forget to pick up the item that emerges from the transformation altar each time you use it. That my be why one of the above reviewers had problems. All in all, a fun game with character.

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Chimeras: Tune of Revenge Icon
Detective investigating Supernatural murders.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Mar 9th 2016

A detective style, hidden object & games, adventure story. You must gather 13 cursed cards that have caused the death of several of the towns inhabitants and uncover the story behind the phantom organ grinder's need for revenge. During the course of the adventure you will meet a wide array of supernatural beings, from headless horsemen to golems. And of course your animal assistant is a little phoenix ! HOGs are colourful and clear. Games are not bad. The items to be gathered included a few too many of the usual tools, shears for ivy, the ladder & rungs, the corkscrew and jar of oil, the acid & lock. However there were also some more unusual associations which redeemed it. The strangest thing about the game is that the villan speaks in a rather dodgy faginesque voice but you get used to it. The game includes a useful location map that shows your where the current action is and enables you to go directly to it, which speeds up game play. When playing the HOGs I found that I could not view the third line of the list of objects, below the picture, when I was in full screen mode. Consequently I had to play part of the hog in small screen mode and then revert back to full screen mode - mildly annoying.

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4 Elements II Collector's Edition Icon
Relaxingly addictive - Novel take on the Match 3 Genre
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Mar 8th 2016

This is a novel take on the match 3 genre. Instead of the normal static screen, where blocks drop into your field of view, you are racing along the brightly coloured blocks trying to explode or remove them so that a liquid or gas (steam, water, larva, sap) can travel along the same route. Lots of bombs and magic arrows create satisfying explosions, The game sounds are ptiched just right; the sound of the rushing liquids, the crunch of dropping blocks, whizz of arrows and explosive pops all add to the movement of the game. The liquids also need to be divereted through mazes of pipes and blocks which add a slower paced but slightly more challenging aspect to the game. Would have given it a 5, but the Fairy interludes just annoyed me. They should make an adult version of this game. However, even though I am an adult, I enjoyed it and found it relaxing and slightly addictive.

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Alabama Smith in the Quest of Fate Icon
Meh
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Mar 8th 2016

Old fashioned style of hidden object game/adventure. The game does not flow or play well, the hogs are not very interesting or colourful. When new locations or objects appeared, I felt frustrated because you just felt too far away from the detail. Art work not attractive. Just found it frustrating and lost interest quickly. There are many better versions of this genre out there.

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Summer Mahjong Icon
Suitable for children
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Oct 15th 2015

If you are looking for a challenging, adult, mahjong game then this is not it. However it does keep track of your best times so there is a time challenge. The layouts are pretty predictable and not as numerous as in other games. The tiles are clear and attractive and can be modified to suit your taste. The music and the cartoons are not to my taste. Mahjong games are interspersed with hidden object and picture swapping games, all against the clock. Suitable for children.

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Mahjong Forests Icon
Tiles too small.
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Oct 15th 2015

I purchased this game based upon other reviews and was dissapointed. The tiles are far too small and the photo-bird tiles are annoyingly difficult to differentiate as the picutures are poor. This had the potential to be a lovely game if the tiles were larger and artistically drawn. The fairy theme is, I presume, aimed at children and yet the small tile layouts would not appeal to children at all. If you want a relaxing game of mahjong then this is not it. If you like taking ages to spot the difference in small bird photos then this might be up your street. I am not sure if there was a best time recording facility with this game because I lost interest. There are better mahjong games out there.

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Daily Mah Jong Icon
Best Mahjong that I have found so far
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Oct 9th 2015

The game comes with hundreds of different, imaginative games of varying complexity. You also get three new games each day. There is also a daily fortune telling function which is a bit of fun. The sounds and tile animation are particularily good. I love it when you match tiles depecting the season, directions and flowers because this triggers a flurry of petals, leaves, snow or wind depending on the selection. When you gain confidence and start playing faster the varying confetti of petals and bits you can whip up makes the game more fun. The game keeps track of your times and scores and awards stars accordingly and tells you when you improve on your best. In the options section you can change the backgrounds, tiles and music. The traditional Standard tiles are large and clear and cn be modified in their appearance and colour to your liking. My only gripe about this game is that I did not really like additional tile types that you gain as the gain progresses. These additional tiles are american in style, based around american states, and are smaller than the standard tiles. However the traditional standard tiles are fine so not a problem. All in all best value Mahjong I have found so far, adult difficulty and pretty addictive. The gentle background music is relaxing and can be changed in the options.

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BioShock Icon
Will there ever be a shooter as good as Bioshock?
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Sep 16th 2015

Bioshock - excellent name for an astounding game. Right from the off, you are in 'shock' instantly immersed in the game and running for your life from the hideous, vicious splicers. You are at the bottom of the ocean but it might as well be on another planet -forget anything you ever knew up on Topside (Land) because life in Rapture (the underwater world you just stumbled into) is like nothing else. One shock just follows another, the splicers, the plasmids and OMG the Little Sisters.... This is one shooter that has a story line of cinematic proportions, never tire of it. BioShock is amazingly atmospheric and has many stunningly scary moments, The wide range of weapons can be upgraded several times throughout the game, and ammo, firstaid kits etc can be brought at vending machines or found littered and stashed around the place. A challenging, diverse array of enemies that all require different techniques and weapons to bring them down. Lots of hidden extras that you might miss on your first play through, but you will definitely want to play it again and again on all three levels of difficulty (or was that just me)? Bio Shock? Is it Art, Social Critique or an outstanding shooter? Its probably all three. Whatever Bio Shock is, you wont forget it.

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Demigods Icon
Fun, Fast paced and Challenging
by josiejay, United Kingdom - Sep 10th 2015

I love this time management game; it is a colourful, intricate, fast paced, amusing and challenging. The graphics are lovely and the sound effects are great, they work so well with the rythm of the game as the pace picks up. Read the tutuorials carefully or you may (like me) be left wondering why the Golden Sheep don't appear. Two levels of difficulty and as it is so enjoyable, plenty of replay value. If you liked Roads of Rome you will enjoy this game, which is better. I have also played all of the Adelanta Trilogy but enjoyed this more. Loved the golden sheep and the altar power ups. The awards at the end of each game were great too! Loved it.

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