Eastville Chronicles: The Drama Queen Murder

Hidden Object Mystery Game with Puzzles                 easier             181 MB
Untimed Option                     PC                               Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  You’re a detective sent from Seattle to help Eastville’s detective, Ms. Alex Hunt, investigate the murder of the female star of the Eastville Opera House.  The crime had occurred sometime after the evening performance had ended, and the leading lady was found onstage lying amid the toppled baskets, fruits and vegetables of a European village market scene.  The mystery takes some twists and turns as you uncover the secrets of the other cast members.  To add to the drama of the game, each chapter starts with a flashback argument viewed as shadows seen through the stage curtain.

Hints:  In each hidden object scene, drag the frame left and right to see items hidden from view.  To do this, go to the blue line across the very top of the screen and click-hold-and-drag. ~ Also at the top of the screen is the menu button, which enables you to pause the game. ~ If you click wildly, a swirl will appear to alert you. ~ Some of the puzzles are a lot easier than they appear.  For the others, you can skip without penalty and the skip button charges up very quickly. ~ If you can’t find the skip button, drag the screen so you can see lower and to the right of the scene. ~ If you want to start over for any reason, your progress will be lost if you click on New Game, so click on Profiles and give yourself a new name. ~ If you restart or replay the game, most of the objects on your lists will be different.

More Hints:  When the game first opens, it may not be centered correctly on your desktop.  Grab the top of the frame and push it as high as it will go. ~ If your desktop taskbar doesn’t disappear, it will block critical parts of the game, such as the dialogue and the action buttons.  If you are unable to see the Play button on the main menu screen, you’ll have to leave the game and go to your control panel to make your taskbar disappear.  To leave the game (since you can’t see the buttons yet), click around at the lower right corner of the screen until you‘re asked if you want to quit the game, and click yes. ~ If you’ve never gone to your control panel, it’s easy.  Either click the icon on your desktop or go to the Start menu and click Settings, then Appearance and Themes, the Taskbar & Start Menu.  Unclick Lock Taskbar. Also select Auto-Hide. Then Apply.

Spoilers:  In this game paprika is not in powder form. ~ Scaramouche is a buffoon and a braggart who wears a starkly white mask with an incredibly long pointy nose.

My Review:  This is a plot-heavy game so there’s a lot of dialogue to read, but it adds to the story and gives you clues and instructions.  As for the detective work, there is no independent thought necessary — you are told where to go and what to do; as for the forensic work, you don’t do it — the collecting and testing are done off screen and you get the results in a letter.  Try the puzzles before skipping them, even if you don’t usually like puzzles; some of these are fun and some are easier than they look, and the puzzles made me feel like I was helping the detective as I was working on getting around backstage.  All in all, this is a pretty average mystery game and an average hidden object game… but to its credit, the plotline held my interest and made sense, the hos items were usually appropriate to the scene, and the puzzles usually fit into the story, all attributes you don’t always see in these games.

My Recommendation:  I think this is a good game for new game players; unfortunately, its story line is not really appropriate for kids.

You can try it for free, here:
Eastville Chronicles: The Drama Queen Murder




Match 3 & Tetris Variation                                                                       42 MB
Timer can be ignored               PC & MAC               Walkthrough Not Needed

Premise:  Creatures evolve into higher forms when 3 or more of them merge.

Hints:  Whenever possible, just match 3 at a time; unlike other Match 3 games, you get no benefit from matching 4 or more, and you’re losing creatures you’ve worked to evolve and which you will soon need to progress. ~ Whenever you can, concentrate on matching the most recently evolved creatures rather than the more primitive ones, as your aim is to evolve to the next animal. ~ There is a handy vertical chart at the left of the screen, showing the hierarchy. ~ From what I can tell, the hierarchy is: worm, beetle, scrawny butterfly, bat, owl, pelican, starfish, jellyfish, clownfish, pufferfish, whale, lizard, snake, dinosaur.

More Hints:  I find it helps to concentrate on the left of the screen but keep an eye on the right side too. ~ Also, whenever possible, choose the creatures 3 across rather than 3 down, trying to cluster like creatures together. ~ To find the level you were working on the last time you played the game, or to choose an earlier level because it’s a favorite, click on the left or right arrow as often as necessary. ~ To leave the game, click on the left arrow in the upper left corner, then click on the circle in the upper right.

My Review:  In spite of the fact that speed is important in this game, I find Evolver to be very relaxing because the music is so lovely, soothing and gentle, and the sea creatures sway with the waves.  In fact, the creatures in this game don’t move on their own, they drift down and to the left because their movements are determined by the forces acting upon them, namely the ocean’s current, which is travelling from right to left, and by gravity.  This causes them to stack at the left side of the screen, and that makes it resemble a Tetris game — but this game has one significant and wonderful difference — the game doesn’t end when the stack reaches the top.  Keep making matches to reduce the volume of creatures; you won’t lose the round until the entire screen fills up.  The game itself is challenging, and I truly believe it’s impossible to earn all 3 stars no matter how often you re-try the levels… so I say, “Don’t bother trying to break speed records, just work at keeping the screen from filling up totally with creatures and ending the level before they’ve evolved.”  And I should add, in case you’re wondering, this is not an educational game and shouldn’t be used as such, for I’m quite certain it is not scientifically accurate.  It’s just for fun.

My Recommendation:  If you can’t stand snakes, I don’t recommend you go for this game — not only are the worms very snakelike (and there are lots of them, especially early on) — there is even a chapter (a third of the game) which is entirely about snakes because they are so important in the evolution of life on earth.  Animals moved from the sea to the land by evolving from fish into amphibians into reptiles, and dinosaurs are reptiles, and birds evolved from dinosaurs.  And I guess it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway — if you are a creationist and reject the theory of evolution, you probably aren’t going to appreciate this game.  To everyone else I say, “Give it an hour’s trial.  You might like it; I do.”

You can try it for free, here:   Evolver