Haunted Houdini is the first title in the Midnight Mysteries series that I’ve had the chance to play, but it certainly won’t be the last. While in general hidden object games are becoming more like “true” adventure games every day, Haunted Houdini takes storytelling within a hidden object game to a new level. Combine that with many diverse locations to explore and a fine balance between hidden object scenes, object based puzzles and mini-games, this has become one of the most enjoyable from this genre that I’ve played in quite some time.
Steve Jobs (RIP) may have publicly glibbed that the iPhone 4 was “like a beautiful old Leica camera”, but he never saw the Gizmon iCa coming…
No one did. And I’m glad. Perfectly succinct designs, such as the iPhone and the iCa, are obvious only after debut. Why is that? As I sip diluted tea at my dining table and type, scenes from the past two weeks flood over me. These few weeks have seen me skipping, happy, snappy, and experimenting. I’ve found a love for digital photography. Finally.
When games set the bar so high in a particular genre, much like The Treasures of Montezuma 3 did for match 3 games, I often wonder if new variants are even going to be worth trying. I was especially nervous about this one because I had played its canine sibling, Puppy Sanctuary, on the PC and didn’t really care for it. I’m happy to report that not only is Kitten Sanctuary a much more interesting game than its puppy partner (or I didn’t give the other enough of a chance), but it can actually be quite addicting. The whole Tamagatchi style interludes aren’t even that bad.
GoVibe products have come a long way, thank God. Remember the Hippo Box+? Rife with mis-labelled parts, a broken website, and costing a pretty penny for what, essentially, was just a battery box, it was embarrassing. It sounded good, though, and therefore got away with a TAP. Today, GoVibe, together with its cheaper Hippo branch, is generally a badge of quality. The VestAmp+ is a high-performance headphone amp with a 24bit DAC thrown in for good measure.
I’ve never been so frustrated with tiny men lacking in necks, arms, and legs. Oddly enough I also can’t remember the last time I fell quite so in love with them. Such is life in the land of Quarrel Deluxe: at times an exhilarating dose of brain-busting competition, and at others… phone-throwingly frustrating. What is Quarrel, you ask? It’s an unfortunately overlooked game cast into a world in which games just like it have already planted their flags. There is little room to move on the map over which apps such as Words With Friends already rule. However, if Quarrel were to advance on their territories it would do so with the word value of SCRABBLE, and all the war strategy of RISK.
I’m beginning to think developers are purposely making the tough puzzle games cute. They do it to lull us into a false sense of security because of course a cute looking puzzle game is going to be easy. It has to be for the kids that will invariably be drawn to it, right? I can’t think of a more charming premise than a disgruntled sheepdog that dons a motorcycle helmet and goes all Evil Knievel to get the sheep he’s supposed to be rounding up to respect him. Yet some of these levels can be quite maddening.
While rhythm action games in the old-school vein of Parappa the Rapper have certainly seen their day, Simogo Games has come to the table with a lightly veiled reincarnation entitled Beat Sneak Bandit. The game takes place in the city of Pulsebury, in which you, The Bandit, have learned that all the clocks in town are being stolen. The suspect is none other than Duke Clockface: villainous owner of the mysterious Clockwork Mansion. Serving more as Batman than Bandit, you invoke vigilante law in an attempt to steal back the town’s clocks.
Letters from Nowhere HD has a different story, different mini-games and different scenes to explore, but in the end it’s still your traditional hidden object game. Thankfully that suits me just fine, and even though it doesn’t stray to far from the formula it manages to suck you in anyway. The story gives you just enough to make you want to know more, and there are enough gimmicks that the hidden object scenes feel fresh even though you’ve played them a million times before. Even the mini-games are passable, both figuratively and literally. Letters From Nowhere doesn’t break any new ground, but it does what it does really well.
There is a list that sits on my desk that is infamous – at least to me – because it is the list of all the games that I have slated for review. It’s not a bad list, mind you, but rather a constant reminder that I have a lot of playing to do. The problem with this is what has compelled me to write this particular review. I sat down one day at lunch to play one of those games that I’m supposed to review, and I spent about 10 minutes with it. The game was fun, but I was ready to move on. Then I decided to go back to Trundle Unlimited. Before I knew it a half hour had passed and my lunch break was over. I felt like I had been playing for five minutes.
The week that DARIUSBURST SP came out I included it in my weekly “10 App Store Games To Watch” list and hoped that it would be half as good as another Taito “retread” called RayForce (TMA Review) . Well, after spending some time with the game I’d wager to say it’s actually better. At the very least they’ve handled the “too easy” issue amicably, but Dariusburst has a third game play mode, two fighters which need to be unlocked before use and a branching level system – all of which greatly extend the replay value. Sure the initial run through can still be fairly short, but there’s a lot more reason to keep playing this one after you’ve beaten it.