Avalon Legends Solitaire

Solitaire Card Game  (variation)        harder                                          51 MB
Untimed                        PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone        Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  You are a Druid on a quest to find all 52 magical cards from a deck with great healing powers.

Hints:  This is very important: If a magic card is hiding on the board it will pulse very subtly, revealing its location, so before starting each round, look for a pulsing card that isn’t one of the next consecutive choices. ~ Remember that your main goal is not to clear the deck but to get those 52 magic cards. ~ Your 2nd most important goal is to collect wild cards; you will need them later in the game and they can only be used once, so hoard them and don‘t waste them if they won’t help you immensely. ~ Your 3rd most important goal is to rescue the hammer, which you will need to break the stones surrounding some of the cards. The hammer is in the farthest row. ~ There are ten rounds of solitaire per level, and if you haven’t accomplished all the goals within the ten rounds, you will lose any goal you have reached, and you will be required to play another ten rounds, again and again, until all goals are reached within the ten.

More Hints:  When you earn 3,500 points, buy a wild card; eventually you should always keep all 13 of them on hand so that, when the opportunity presents itself, you can create longer runs. There will be times later in the game when you need to string 24 cards in a row or earn 12,000 points to complete the level, which is impossible without those wild cards. ~ Other useful magic items to buy when you get enough points are the ‘pendant of foresight’ which lets you know how many cards remain in the deck, the ‘deck of plenty’ which gives you 5 extra cards in the deck, and, when you’re flush with points, the ‘sands of the future’ which shows you the next card in the deck. Those last two are very expensive but I found myself needing them constantly. ~ I felt that the other available charms were unnecessary. Even the ‘crystal ball’ didn’t seem to be useful; in fact, after saving points seemingly forever until I had a whopping 65,000, I found it distracting and unhelpful to know about cards I couldn’t reach when I needed them. So I sold the the crystal ball back to the shop, giving me enough money to keep my wild cards replenished for many more rounds. (They probably would have lasted till the end of the game if I hadn’t become overconfident and started squandering my wild cards when winning the entire round wasn’t a sure thing, and that was a lesson for me.) ~ And by the way, it’s much easier to get a “Perfect” rating than it is to get a high score. ~ There are ten rounds of solitaire per level, and if you haven’t accomplished all the goals within the ten rounds, you will lose any goal you have reached, and you will be required to play another ten rounds, again and again, until all goals are reached within the ten.

My Review:  Don’t be fooled by the name of this game — it is not based on the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table — rather, it is based very loosely on the Druids in ancient Britain, and there is very little if any plot; it is simply a vehicle for playing the kind of solitaire in which you build runs by selecting cards that are one number higher or lower than the card beside the deck.  The ace is both high and low, and you can zigzag back and forth through the numbers as much as you want.

My Recommendation:  If you love a challenge and you don’t get frustrated easily, and if you are willing to lose every round again and again and again as the game becomes literally impossible to win for a long stretch, and if you keep in mind that winning the round is not as important as getting those magic cards and wild cards, then perhaps you will like this game.  It eventually becomes easier, then harder again (at which time you should stop using and start hoarding wild cards again, until it becomes easier again,) so it’s the type of game to keep for when you feel like working on it for awhile to pass the time.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Avalon Legends Solitaire

For Mac:  Avalon Legends Solitaire


A Vampire Tale

Hidden Object Game                            harder                                       148 MB
Timed                          PC & Mac                                Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  The setting is Europe in 1928.  You are a young woman and your scientist father hasn’t called in 2 weeks, and that’s not like him.  You go to his house and look through his papers and learn that he’s gone off to Transylvania in search of vampires (he has a passion for researching vampires).  Since he hasn’t contacted you, you worry that he’s in trouble and you hop a train and follow his trail.  You don’t believe in silly folktales and superstitions, and you certainly don’t believe in vampires.

Hints:  Watch as it downloads, and click ‘cancel’ if you don’t want DirectX & Bing to be downloaded onto your computer after the game finishes downloading. ~ Also, it may seem like it had trouble downloading but it didn’t.  Weird, that. ~ You need to click to make the narrative progress. ~ Click after every statement and every small drawing during the comic book style storyline. ~ Happily, you can click through the French accents because you probably can read faster than they’re speaking. ~ There is a point system, and points are given & taken. ~ The Hidden Object scenes are timed, and the timer is under our heroine’s picture. ~ In the HO scenes, click on the red arrow when you’re ready to see the rest of the scene. ~ Important:  Look for scrolls and pieces of scrolls, which are bonus objects that you are not told to seek. ~ Spoilers:  A horse collar is misidentified as a saddle.  The bookmark is on the highly patterned carpet under the desk, towards the front of the screen.

My Review:  This game, which sometimes goes by the name of “Mystery Series: A Vampire Tale,” got some bad reviews, so I suggest you try it before you decide.  I checked it out and it’s not as bad as the reviewers said.  Yes, the hint button is slow to recharge and the hidden objects are hard to find, but at least the hidden objects are true to the setting and they aren’t scattered about in unrealistic places.  Also, the scenes are beautifully drawn, and the story, though slow to evolve, is interesting and appropriate.  Also, it’s very atmospheric.  The puzzles are extremely easy, surprising considering how tricky the HO scenes are.

My Recommendation:  Do I recommend the game?  Too hard to call.  It has atmosphere, beautiful artwork and an interesting story, and I want to know more about what happens, but I had to hit that hint button a lot.

So what do you think?  Try it for free, here:

For PC:    A Vampire Tale

For Mac:  A Vampire Tale


A Vampire Romance: Paris Stories

Adventure with Hidden Objects and Puzzles                                        72 MB
Untimed Option                     harder                         PC & Mac
Walkthrough needed but not available, which is why I’ve included so many hints.

Premise:  You are an art student who has just arrived in Paris, having never been there before, and you must learn how to get around the city, use the subway, buy groceries, get to the art school, learn how to draw in a way that will please an overly-demanding instructor, and try to make friends.  Just like real life.

Hints:  Some scenes are a kind of 3-D that requires scrolling left and right to see what’s hidden behind large objects. ~ To use an item in your inventory, first click the spot in the scene where you want to use the item; that will open the suitcase; when you click on the item you want to use, the job is done. ~ If you see a gold star at any time, click on it; if a part of the screen glows, click on it. ~ Keep your eye on the black bar at the bottom of the screen; instructions will appear there, as well as lists of items to locate. ~ When you get into the crypt at the cemetery, be sure to memorize the design on the family crest.

Hints about the map:  To label your map, click on the building or the Metro subway line that corresponds to the name or the number at the bottom of the screen; keep doing that to label all the landmarks and the subway lines. ~ You can refer to the map at any time by clicking on the icon at the above left margin which has two parallel lines slanted diagonally, representing a Metro ticket.

Hints about the subway:  Walk through the subway following the signs you think will take you to your destination according to your map (your position is marked with a large orange bull’s-eye and your destination is colored in green); if you arrive at a platform and there is no train, you’re at the wrong platform; go back and try a different platform, retracing your steps in the hallway by clicking at the bottom of the screen as many times as necessary; remember, this is like really being in a subway.

Hints about art class:  Art class is the hardest part of the game, and takes patience and luck.  At the bottom of the screen is written what part of the scene you should sketch.  Click on the canvas where you think that item will go.  You may have to try it about a million times; I think it’s designed that way to further the plot, ensuring that you’ll dislike the instructor who keeps telling you to do it again.

Spoiler:  Are you unable to paint because you have no canvas?  There was a canvas in your room when you were cleaning it up, putting things back.  It was on the left, leaning against the counter, and you could see the back of it.  If you didn’t click on it, it’s still there; go back and get it.

More Hints:  The screen’s brightness can be adjusted in the Options tab, which is accessed via the Pause icon, designated by two vertical parallel lines.  The brightness will need to be adjusted several times during the game, depending on whether you need it brighter (like in the underground crypt of bones when you are tracking the tubing from the vat to the blocks on the wall), or darker (like when you’re in the art studio, and also while you’re labelling your map).

The following hints are Spoilers… don’t peek until you’re desperate.  Spoiler:  The Ruthven crest is the ninth crest in the tunnel of bones.  Spoiler:  If you can’t decode the symbols around the vat, then read the piece of paper the antique dealer gave you, which is accessed by the new icon now appearing at the upper part of the left margin of the screen… it lists the symbols keyed to the alphabet.

My Review:  This game should have been entitled “An American Student In Paris” because for most of the game there is nothing supernatural — you are simply an art student.  Perhaps it’s the effort you must go to as you learn to read the map and find your way in the subway, or all the day-to-day activities that you really would go through as a student in a foreign country, or perhaps it’s the occasional scene that can be shifted so you can peek behind things, I don’t know, but this game has a feeling of reality to it that made me feel like I was really there (in spite of the fact that the characters were cut out and pasted onto the scene, and they ‘speak’ in dialog bubbles!).  It is also realistic in that you don’t instantly meet the vampire referred to in the game’s title — after all, it takes a long time to find a new boyfriend!

My Recommendation:  I enjoyed this game and so I’m recommending it; but I must warn you, this is a very tricky game, so if you don’t want to walk around in circles endlessly, read the hints listed above (especially the one about the crest).  If you get stuck and go to the Forum to look for answers or ask for help, you’ll see that this game gets an awful lot of negative comments, mostly by people who are lost and wandering, or who have a bias against HdO, the publisher of this game.  HdO-bashing is a favorite sport on the Forum, but I love HdO games because they are a bit odd or different, and unfortunately those differences seem to throw a lot of players.  I suggest you decide for yourself.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   A Vampire Romance: Paris Stories

For Mac:  A Vampire Romance: Paris Stories


Agatha Christie: 4:50 from Paddington

Detective Mystery Game with Hidden Object Scenes and Puzzles     43 MB
Untimed Option            easier            PC                 Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  Miss Marple’s friend witnesses a murder while traveling on the train, but the police don’t believe her, so Miss Marple hires a clever maid to locate clues and the body.

Hints:  You start with only 3 hints, so earn more by waiting until you’ve spotted at least 5 items and click on them in quick succession; a tinkling sound will signal another hint. ~ Play in a darkened room because many items are the same color as their background and virtually impossible to see otherwise. ~ Be sure you have a sizable block of playing time available because the game is not saved until you’ve finished a full chapter!

My Review:  I wanted to like this game because I love mysteries and Miss Marple is my favorite Agatha Christie detective; I also very much like this game’s puzzles and mini-games, one of which is presented after each of the 11 chapters; therefore I was particularly frustrated by the time-wasting hidden object scenes which were cluttered with useless and irrelevant crap.  Don’t make me find 50 or 60 meaningless items per chapter– let me get on with the mystery!  To make matters worse, because I had to quit before finishing a chapter (which is a group of four or more hidden object scenes), when I returned I had to re-do all the scenes in that chapter but with a new list of items, many of them very difficult to find, thus wasting 20 more minutes of my time, and adding to my frustration and irritation.  I wish I could overcome those feelings because the mystery-solving aspects of the game were enjoyable and better done than many hidden object mysteries I’ve tried, and it was at times more of an interactive detective experience than a lot of others.

My Recommendation:  If you enjoy hidden object games so much that it doesn’t matter what you’re searching for, then I can recommend this game to you in good conscience.  However, if you feel as I do but love Miss Marple, give it an hour’s free trial and then decide.  The ‘mystery’ part of the game was pleasant, engaging, and appropriate for a Miss Marple story, and you might really like it.

You can try it for free, here: Agatha Christie: 4:50 from Paddington


Agatha Christie: Death On the Nile

Hidden Object / Mystery Game                  harder                                 45 MB
No Untimed Option                PC & Mac                   Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  Simon and Linnet Doyle are on their honeymoon across Europe, and one evening while on a Nile cruise, Simon’s ex-girlfriend Jackie (who, you will discover, has been stalking the newlyweds) gets drunk and shoots Simon in the leg.  Next morning, Simon’s wife Linnet is found dead.  Things look bad for Jackie… but, lucky for her, Hercule Poirot is also vacationing on this ship.

Hints:  The case is divided into 12 segments, called ‘investigations,’ and for each you are given 25 minutes to examine certain rooms and find all the hidden items. ~ The clock stops when you are not in a room. ~ When a phrase is underlined in the search list, it means that you must create that situation. ~ You must click very precisely with the point of your cursor, or minuscule or sliver-thin items won’t register. ~ The artwork is a little fuzzy and the items are extremely difficult to see; therefore, to not waste time, when you’ve found all you can in one room, go to another by clicking on the ticket marked ‘ship map’ in the upper left corner of the screen. ~ If you run out of time, you are put back to the start of that ‘investigation’ and the clock starts again at 25 minutes with slightly different item lists. ~ For each ‘investigation’ you are also given 5 hints; unlike some other Agatha Christie games, you cannot increase the number of hints when you use them up. ~ Therefore, the best strategy when you’ve run out of hints is to find everything you can, and when you truly are stuck, walk away and make a cup of tea while you let the timer run out.  Then you will get more time and more hints. ~ You can do that repeatedly.

More Hints:  When it is time to question the passengers, the word ‘salon’ on one of the tickets under the stopwatch will begin to pulsate.  Click on it to be brought there.  I think you can go to either the salon or the clue room even before you’re told to. ~ On the other ticket under the stopwatch, the words ‘clue room’ will pulsate when it’s time to go to Poirot’s stateroom to investigate the clues you’ve found.  Click on the ticket. ~ You are now at Poirot’s desk, and there is the list of suspects in the upper left corner of the screen.  Click on a name to see the clues you’ve found that pertain to that person, and click on a clue to get details. ~ Whenever you are told to examine something with the magnifying glass, whether or not you’re in Poirot’s room, bring the glass to the spot you feel needs to be examined, and let it just stay there until Poirot’s words appear. ~ You aren’t done finding information until the ‘continue’ button appears.

Spoiler Alert:  Memorize the position of every brush (of all types), every pen, and every number you find. ~ The three ducks in a row don’t look like ducks, and they aren’t in a row; you must do that. One is a beer bottle, one is a comical toy, and the other is a flat piece of wood against wood of exactly the same color. Put them alongside other ducks. ~ The top hat, being black, is hiding in the darkest place in the room, totally invisible. ~ And by the way, a calabash apparently is a water pipe in this game, even though the dictionary says it’s a gourd; just thought you’d want to know.

My Review:  You won’t get to see Egypt because all action is onboard the ship.  You examine the cabins to find all the objects on the lists, and you may find a clue.  You also get to question the passengers as necessary, if and when it is revealed that they are witnesses or suspects; they all will gather in the salon at those times.  You will make one chemical test, which is fun.  Other than that, this is purely a Hidden Object Game with items that are maddeningly difficult to find.  But the mystery is intriguing.

My Recommendation:  If you like Hidden Object Games no matter how hard they are (or if you are up for a challenge), and you want a good story to go along with it, I think this one will hold your interest.  It certainly held mine, in spite of the number of times I had to re-do investigations.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Agatha Christie – Death on the Nile

For Mac:  Agatha Christie – Death on the Nile


Alexandra Fortune: Mystery of the Lunar Archipelago

Adventure Game with Hidden Objects & Puzzles                               194 MB
Untimed            harder            PC, iPad, iPhone             Walkthrough needed
Alexandra Fortune: Mystery of the Lunar Archipelago Walkthrough

Premise:  Alexandra’s grandfather is an archeologist who has always involved his little granddaughter in his studies and told her about his adventures, sparking her own interest in the field; now she’s grown up…  and when she learns that he’s missing, she thinks she knows where she can find him because she knows exactly what he’s been working on.  She also knows that the unusual pendant he gave her long ago is part of the mystery because she recognizes a drawing of it in his most recent journal, which she believes he left behind as a clue for her to find.

Hints:  Don’t worry if the game has difficulty booting up; that shouldn’t cause any problems. ~ Hints are unlimited and replenish very quickly, in 20 or 30 secs.  (I needed to use them a lot because the items are very well hidden and extremely difficult to see.) ~ When the green gem in the hint symbol is not there, you must do some action first. ~ Try combining items in your inventory &/or transferring those items to sparkling areas on the screen or to the person who needs them.

My Review:  This game is fun and exciting, the plot makes perfect sense, and all the puzzles are an integral part of the adventure.  (Some of the puzzles are very difficult, some extremely so, but the skip option comes up very quickly.)  As for the hidden object part of the game, the pigpen aspect didn’t irritate me the way it usually does because the messes were justified by the fact that the islands had just been hit by a typhoon.  All the items you seek are useful and necessary to the plot, and you actually will need to use every item you seek; for this reason alone the game gets my highest praise because it enables you to really become part of the adventure.

My Recommendation:  I really enjoyed this game and I believe everyone else will, too. It is hard enough to please experienced gamers, but also satisfying enough for new gamers to practice on.

You can try it for free, here: Alexandra Fortune: Mystery of the Lunar Archipelago


Alice Greenfingers

Time Management Game                          easier                                    4 MB
Untimed                                PC & Mac                    Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  Create and manage a farm by planting flowers & vegetables of your choice; buy animals that take no work at all, except for gathering eggs; when you bring your produce to market, the speed at which the flowers & vegetable sell will tell you if you’ve set the right price.  You have 30 “days” to earn as much money as you can, after which you’ll be given a grade and told to go on vacation, you deserve it.

Hints:  The market prices fluctuate daily, so don’t stress out about it; you’ll do o.k. whatever the going rates; just make an adjustment if something isn’t selling at all. ~ $10 is a good average price, and you can raise it every time your popularity increases. ~ Increase your popularity by donating to charity, being featured in the newspaper, and (when you have lots of plants) going organic by using the natural pesticide (it’s very expensive, so I’d wait awhile, until I had hundreds of plants). ~ Don’t forget to gather those eggs. ~ Some plants (like roses, grapes, mushrooms, and pumpkins) take longer to produce, so consider planting extras of those. ~ As soon as it’s made available in the shop, buy the rotating water sprinkler. You’ll be buying several of them because watering your plants by hand just isn’t cost-effective; and besides, it’s tedious and boring, and it’s too much mouse-clicking. ~ Now this is tricky, but it works: The sprinkler can water 2 or 3 squares in each direction, so when figuring where to set your seeds, decide where the middle will be and let the grass remain in that square. Now dig your squares of soil in a grid pattern around the center square, which is where you’ll be placing your sprinkler. ~ If you need to put a sprinkler in a square that has been shoveled, just plant grass seed there, and when the grass matures you can place the sprinkler. ~ If there’s already a plant there, either dig it out with the shovel, or don’t water it; and when it dies, plant grass. ~ It helps to have more barns, spaced apart, to save walking time. If you want, you can fill all the barns before going to market. ~ You can line up Alice’s work ahead of time, and while she’s filling the baskets you can be shopping for more baskets, sprinklers, seeds, animals, etc., and making more plans.

My Review:  Even though there’s no timer, this can feel like a high-pressured game because it’s designed to push you to want to plant more & more, and to try to keep up with the fast pace of the harvest.  I found that to be unpleasant; but by turning off the music and the sound effects in the options panel in the main menu,  I was able to reduce the frenetic tension noticeably.  Of course, you may enjoy the pressure of playing beat-the-clock — a lot of players do — but I’d rather slow it down so I can strategize, and and enjoy the cuteness of this game.  But as much as I like this game, I must mention one rather large drawback — you’ll be doing an awful lot of mouse-clicking, which may make your fingers and wrists stiff after hours of play.

My Recommendation:  This is a pleasantly addictive little (just 4 MB) game that I really enjoyed when I first starting playing these games; it’s just simple enough for a beginner.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Alice Greenfingers

For Mac:  Alice Greenfingers


Amazing Adventures: The Forgotten Dynasty

Hidden Object Game with Puzzles              easier                             52 MB
Untimed Option                      PC                            Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  Rumors of an unknown dynasty surface when ancient tiles turn up on the black market, and your mission is to explore China and search for clues to uncover the secret of the forgotten dynasty.

Hints:  Be sure to find the two halves of a black and white yin-yang symbol in each hidden object scene; it looks like you’ll need them all at the end of the game. ~ Use the hint button as often as you want because it takes no time at all to refresh, which is a wonderful detail I wish all game designers would adopt.

My Review:  There is a mini-game between each hidden object scene; the games, which are puzzles, vary in variety, which is nice and keeps things interesting; they also vary in difficulty, but I only found one in two hours of testing that was too hard for me to solve, and thankfully there is a skip button.

I have to admit that I have a strong bias against hidden object scenes that are filled with unrelated and out-of-scale objects, like a 3-foot long paperclip resting on a roof or stuck on the ceiling — and this game is filled with objects like that, which spoiled the game for me — and it’s really too bad because the scenes in this game are of places typical of old China and are truly lovely, and I wanted to explore them.

My Recommendation:  Many players really love this game, and if you don’t mind searching for out-of-scale items in unrealistic and even physically impossible places, then you will enjoy this really beautiful and very popular game.

You can try it for free, here: Amazing Adventures: The Forgotten Dynasty


Around the World in 80 Days

Match 3 Game                                           harder                                  42 MB
No Untimed Option                PC & Mac                   Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  Victorian gentleman Phileas Fogg makes a bet at his exclusive London gentlemen’s club that he can circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days, and he takes along his newly-hired manservant, Jean Passepartout, much to the servant’s chagrin.  During the journey, many things go wrong, and Mr. Fogg discovers he must obtain certain artifacts which will enable him to proceed, and which are in pieces on a Match 3 grid; it’s your job to free them from the grid by enabling them to drop down and out of the grid, which you do by making matches below each piece.

Hints:  Sometimes there is a brick wall at the bottom of an artifact’s column which will prevent it from being released and which will cost you one of your lives. ~ Watch for these brick walls and concentrate on moving the piece right or left, into the neighboring column that doesn’t have a brick wall. ~ You do that by making matches to drop tiles in the adjacent columns — but not under the piece itself — until the tiles on the left and right of the artifact are the same color; then you can slide the artifact piece over to make that colored match; and now it’s a part of one of the adjacent columns. ~ Sometimes there are bonus items on the grid: a heart will give you another life; bags of coins add to your wealth and if you  reach 100,000 coins you gain another life; and an hourglass will stop the clock temporarily. ~ But be careful with the hourglass: don’t work on releasing another hourglass until the ice that covers the clock has disappeared and the clock is running again, or you’ll waste the hourglass’s bonus. ~ Sometimes a tile is locked or frozen and you must make matches of the same color to release it. ~ The rounds keep getting harder, until the only way you can win is by building up your power-up hammer to whatever ability you need, so when the grids are too difficult to win, immediately concentrate on making as many hammers or bombs as you need. ~ Hammers and bombs are created and charged by making a lot of large matches of at least four tiles. ~ The first completed hammer is a regular hammer which will remove one tile of your choice, and depending on the layout of the grid, sometimes that is just what you need. ~ But more often, you need something more powerful. ~ The regular hammer can be built up with more 4+ matches to become the Tesla hammer, which will knock out every tile of the color you choose. ~ The Tesla hammer can be powered up into a bomb, which takes out three tiles in every direction. ~ The bomb can be powered up into a glowing bomb which takes out lines of tiles in every direction. ~ Make whatever weapon will remove what you need removed, to release your artifact pieces, but make it quickly because the clock is ticking, and you probably need more weapons to win the round. ~ Nothing removes a brick wall.

My Review:  This is a beautifully illustrated telling of the story, and as you leave each country you are offered a screensaver which moves, changes from day to night, and even rains if you wish.  Very nice touch.  What’s not so nice is how difficult the Match 3 puzzles become.  By the time I got to China I had to stop, because if you don’t finish in the allotted time, you lose one of your lives, and I had only two left.  I returned to the game in order to write this review, and I learned that the only way to win is by using your power-up hammer multiple times per round.  But it still keeps getting harder and harder.  One reviewer said she cried during the last level.

My Recommendation:  This beautiful game is, unfortunately, for very experienced Match 3 Game lovers only.

If this sounds like you, you can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Around the World in 80 Days

For Mac:  Around the World in 80 Days


Around the World in Eighty Days: The Challenge

Adventure / Hidden Object Game with Puzzles              harder          114 MB
Untimed Option       PC & Mac      Walkthrough needed? Yes but unavailable

Premise:  You follow British gentleman Phileas Fogg and his French manservant Jean Passepartout as they travel around the world on a bet Fogg made, swearing that they could make the trip in just 80 days.  Considering that it’s 1872, it’s going to be difficult… and it’s made more difficult by the fact that a police inspector is tailing them on suspicion that they robbed the Bank of England!  Will our fellows surmount the obstacles and win the bet?

Hints:  The dates are written in British notation, day before month. ~ Pay attention to the instructions; the game mechanics are unique to this developer and a bit tricky, with buttons assigned to various moves. ~ When you think you’re done with a puzzle and nothing is happening, it’s waiting for you to click on the forward arrow. ~ Keep checking for items and clues at the top of the scene, which, at least on my computer, gets cut off in both window and full screen mode. ~ When you see a pulsating area of light, click on it. ~ You are allowed up to six hints, and whenever you use one, a gold star will appear soon afterwards; click on the star whenever you see it, to replenish your supply. ~ Some puzzles are difficult, and sometimes (as in some of the playing card puzzles) if you make one mistake you start over again; but at least they aren’t timed. ~ Sometimes you can click on the light bulb button to see the solution to the puzzle or get an easier version, and eventually you can click on the double arrows to leave a puzzle you cannot solve.

My Review:  Many of the hidden objects were difficult to find, but at least they fit the time period and the games fit into the story, which are two uncommon but significant game design details that I love.  Also, the illustrations were lovely, very Victorian, and I liked the occasional 3-D scrolling that enables you to find items hidden from view.  Sometimes the grammar is incorrect, and there are no apostrophes, but that is pretty normal for these games; often made in non-English-speaking countries, there are always errors.  For instance, when you’re told to look for mud, it’s actually a life preserver you seek.  Other than that, I enjoyed the story and the adventure.

My Recommendation:  If you like a challenge, I think you will enjoy this trip around the world.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Around the World in Eighty Days: The Challenge

For Mac:  Around the World in Eighty Days: The Challenge


Awakening: Moonfell Wood

Adventure with Puzzles                                     easier                        254 MB
Untimed                     PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone                 Walkthrough Needed
Awakening: Moonfell Wood Walkthrough

Premise:  Princess Sophia awakens after sleeping for 100 years, only to find everyone gone!  To learn what happened to her people she goes into the forest to try to talk to the queen of the fairies.  The narrator is the fairy queen as she tracks Sophia’s progress.  The forest is dark, and the forest dwellers she meets in her travels keep telling her that she is the light in the darkness, so now instead of just finding her people she realizes that she must also save the forest world from  darkness.

Hints:  Pass your cursor lightly over the entire screen; when it changes, click there for something to do either now or later, when you’ve gathered what’s needed. ~ Collect 5 glowing blue butterflies. ~ Your inventory is located in the lower bar and will be hidden when not in use. ~ There are scroll buttons to move your inventory left or right. ~ Hints are unlimited, but you must wait for the fairy to wake. ~ When playing a mini-game the Skip button will appear at the bottom of the screen.  You may skip a mini-game once the button fills. ~ Above the Menu button is the journal and task list.  Click on the gold arrow just above the journal to see the most immediate task if you are playing casual mode.  Click on the task for instructions on how to complete the task.

Spoiler:  Can’t find any acorns for the grouchy squirrel?  You’ll need to travel to a new part of the forest, beyond the locked iron gate.  Have you examined the padlock?

My Review:  This game is really stunning.  The water shimmers so realistically when your cursor touches it that you’ll swear it could be real.  I’ve never seen anything like it in a computer game.  And just wait until you see your fairy helper… how lovely she is, and how excited she gets when she thinks you’re going to ask for her assistance.  This is a very beautifully illustrated adventure game with a fairytale feel to it, and since it’s easy enough to figure out what to do, I’d say it’s suitable for children as well as adults.  It’s the second in the four-part Awakening series, and some  reviewers recommend playing them in their proper order, which I agree is good advice, but I’m having no trouble following the story without having played the first one (Awakening: The Dreamless Castle).

My Recommendation:  Absolutely yes.

You can try it for free, here:
For PC:   Awakening: Moonfell Wood
For Mac:  Awakening: Moonfell Wood