Gardenscapes, Gardenscapes 2 and Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover

Hidden Object Games with Time Management / Sales                       134 MB
Untimed Option          easier          PC & Mac           Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  In ‘Gardenscapes’ you and Austin, your butler, create the perfect garden.  You sell unwanted junk for outrageous prices and build your garden paradise. Comb the mansion’s rooms for hidden items and restore a once stunning garden to its former glory as you choose from a myriad of garden items and accessories to customize the garden to your taste. Also become part of the city’s community and enter the competitive ‘Best Garden’ contest.

In ‘Gardenscapes 2’ you accompany Austin to the place of his childhood, meet his parents, and collect the old photos and other memorable things from his past.  Run sales of the old stuff found around the house to implement your decorating ideas.  Help your good old friend bring the family garden to bloom again.

Now, in ‘Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover’, it’s time to polish up the mansion because company’s coming!   Word got out that you’ve created an exquisite garden (with the help of Austin, your butler, in the first Gardenscapes Game), and all your relatives want to visit you… but all your money and attention went into your yard, and your mansion is a bit dilapidated.  Time for an open-house tag sale and some redecorating decisions.

Hints:  Look for coins, question marks, cameras and thermometers in each Hidden Object scene. The coins are tucked in everywhere, but the others are very rare. ~ Each coin adds several dollars to your profits. ~ Each question mark adds another hint to your hint button. ~ The camera, if you find one, will show you where all the items are, so don’t click on it until you can’t find any of the 5 items your customers want. ~ The thermometer, if you find one, will make a customer’s item tag turn red when your cursor is close to that item; don’t click on it until you need its assistance. ~ You’ll have five customers at a time, and, unlike other sales games, these customers don’t get angry and or leave if you’re too slow at finding what they want… at least not in relaxed mode. In timed mode you will have to face their impatience, but if it gets to be too much you can always switch modes at any time.

My Review:  Ordinarily I don’t like Sales games because of the pressure and the angry customers, but this game has none of that, at least not in the relaxed mode.  Also, I liked how the butler kept talking to me, which made me really feel a part of the action.  Also, I got to name the dog, and I gave him a dog biscuit and a stick to play with, which was a nice touch.  My complaints: First of all, just like all the other sales games, the prices are ridiculous.  A $37 clothespin, a $38 glass of milk, $39 for a spider web, and a $41 maple leaf?  (On second thought, kids would probably enjoy getting tons of money for worthless junk.)  And then the butler spends $1,400 for the dog’s bed and $12,000 on a TV!  Really?  Also, the shadows in the corners of the rooms, where items were hidden, didn’t seem appropriate.  One would have to play this game in the dark to find every item without repeatedly using hints; this game is so kid-friendly, I can’t see having them not play during the the day, nor them needing to sit in the dark to play without frustration.  But maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing?  I’ll leave it to you to decide.

My Recommendation:  In spite of my picky personal feelings mentioned above, I have to admit that this game is a friendly, light-hearted, entertaining and enjoyable Hidden Object and Sales Game, and I’d recommend it for adults and children, too.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Gardenscapes
……………..For Mac:  Gardenscapes

For PC:   Gardenscapes 2

For PC:   Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover™
……………..For Mac:  Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover™


Gems Legend

(also called Gems Legend: Mystery of the 8 Figures)

Match 3 Game Variation                              harder                                28 MB
No Untimed Option                             PC                 Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  Sasha’s mother is dying of an incurable disease, and while Sasha is taking a leave of absence to care for her, she is also doing research in the hopes of discovering a cure.  When she comes upon a reference to a special red flower that can cure the incurable, she travels to the area mentioned in the book; and while searching for the legendary flower, she discovers an underground cavern with 8 stone platforms that have magical properties that will reveal clues to aid her search as long as she plays their Match 3 game.  In this Match 3 game she (you) will be harvesting gold powder and really beautiful, sparkling jewels, which will ultimately embellish the stone idols which belong on those platforms.

Hints:  To enter the Match 3 game after the opening narrative, click on the whirling blue spiral hovering over one of the 8 platforms. ~  When it tells you to “click any key”, it means “click your mouse”. ~ Changing the direction of the arrow on a tile will make the timer at the bottom of the screen move faster. ~ When you run out of time, the round ends, but you can try again. ~ When you re-do a level, you lose your gold powder, but you don’t lose the jewels you’ve accumulated. ~ Work on matching the jewels first, then make as many tile matches as you can in the time you have left, to gather enough gold powder to fill the jar.

My Review:  This is a unique variation on the Match 3 game, in which each tile will  move in the direction of its arrow; you can change the arrow’s direction by right-clicking on it, but you will forfeit seconds on the timer.  As always, your goal is to make matches of 3 or more same-colored tiles, but here’s the difference: you can move a tile to place it where you want it, even though it makes no matches while you are moving it.  This ability to reposition the tiles really helps in rescuing the jewels, which must be brought together in a line of 3 same-colored gems… a task which looks impossible, given that they are far from each other and there aren’t always enough of each color… but with practice you’ll figure out how to push the jewels along by changing the direction of the arrow on the adjacent tile so it switches places with the jewel, in effect moving it toward another jewel.  This challenge really adds to the game.

My Recommendation:  I do recommend this game, especially for anyone who enjoys Match 3 games and wants to try something new.  I really enjoyed the free trial and didn’t want it to end.  Those sparkling jewels are beautiful enough to tempt me to buy this game, and the unusual twists are also intriguing.  Plus, I want to find out how the story ends.

You can try it for free, here: Gems Legend


Puzzle Grid                                           harder                                       23 MB
No Untimed Option                  PC                            Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  You are an anthropologist’s apprentice, and you are searching for gems that are hidden under tiles within the Mayan ruins found deep in the Central American jungle.  You “lift” (click on) the tiles to release the gems; unfortunately, some of the tiles are cursed and you must not lift those, so break them instead.  If you make a mistake, there are consequences; therefore, you cannot guess but must use logical reasoning to determine which tiles to lift and which to destroy, using clues that have been left behind in the form of number sequences.  As you clear away these tiles, you are helping to restore the Mayan temples and the pyramids upon which the temples are resting.

Hints:  As you progress, the grid becomes larger, so make sure you always know how many tiles you’re dealing with. ~ The grid is always square, therefore it has the same number of tiles on every side. ~ When it gets too large for you to handle, you can always play the arcade version, which is timed but manageable. ~ In the arcade version, when you fill your pile of gems to the top you get more time and a new grid which is one tile larger on each side, so adjust your calculations accordingly. ~ In the arcade game each row and column disappears as soon as you’ve completed it, and another row or column takes its place; for that reason I find it useful to leave one tile untouched until I’ve gotten all the useful information I can out of it to help me work the adjacent rows. ~ By the way, right-clicking your mouse will change your cursor from hand to hammer, and back again; or you can choose (in the Options section of the Menu) to use the left half of your mouse for the hand and the right half for the hammer — which is a faster method, and especially useful in the arcade version. ~ Just stay focused and don’t let yourself get confused when clicking.

My Review:  Don’t be deceived by the pictures — this is not a game for small children (unless they are really smart and love numbers) — because this is a real brain exerciser; but if you like challenging games which make you think logically, you might consider this game.  It’s fun to see the jewels stack up.  And because it only requires simple addition and counting, I think just about everyone can probably handle it, at least in the beginning; just be aware that it will get quite difficult, at which time you can always start over, using a new name.

My Recommendation:  This is a real brain workout, and quite a challenge, and if that’s what you’re looking for, I say give it a try.

You can try it for free, here: Gemsweeper


G.H.O.S.T Chronicles: Phantom of the Renaissance Faire

Hidden Object Game with Mini-Games                   harder                115 MB
Untimed Option           PC & Mac              Walkthrough is definitely needed
G.H.O.S.T Chronicles: Phantom of the Renaissance Faire Walkthrough

Premise:  Ghosts are spooking the visitors and the theme park will close unless you can find out why they’re upset, and get them to stop.  The ghosts are not scary; it’s not a creepy or in any way frightening game.  You go to each booth in the faire, listen to what the workers have to say about the problems, then do the hidden object hunt, after which there might be a mini-game.

Hints:  At each booth or site, FIRST THING, find the fairies!!!  (Some look like pixies or brownies, with wings.) ~ Also, I suggest you allow the game to give you suggestions.  That will allow you to re-enter a finished site if you haven’t found all the fairies. ~ There are 68 fairies.

My Review:  Because the hidden objects are too hidden (they’re the same color as what they’re in front of), and because the game sometimes requires you to be clever, I found this to be a difficult game, and I wasn’t able to get very far in it… until I found a Walkthrough, which I needed to refer to a lot.  Aside from that, this was a relaxing, attractive game with enjoyable mini-games which were original and fitting for the theme and plot.  I really appreciate that.

My Recommendation:  For experienced hidden object gamers and gamers who are patient and also who don’t mind referring to a Walkthrough for help, who are looking for a quiet game they can take their time with, I can recommend this game.  I found it enjoyable and well-worth the money.

You can try it for free, here:  G.H.O.S.T Chronicles: Phantom of the Renaissance Faire

Ghost Whisperer

(Revised Review)

Hidden Object Game             easier              PC & Mac                      169 MB
Untimed                                       Walkthroughs needed and can be found at:

Premise:  Melinda Gordon inherited the ability to see and talk to dead people who have not passed on to the next realm because of some unfinished business with which they need help.  The game contains two separate mysteries; the 2nd, “A Brush With Death”, is unlocked after you’ve finished the 1st, “Forgotten Toys”.

Hints:  The scenes are so dark that, in order to see the items you’re searching for that are hidden in the shadows, you should play this game at night, in the dark, with the top of your screen tilted toward you if possible. ~ Click on every tiny glint or sparkle. ~ The inventory bar keeps popping up when you don’t want it, and it’s very difficult to get rid of, but pushing your cursor to the very top of the screen will do it. ~ The inventory bar holds more items than you need at the moment, and some of those items are hidden; click on the arrows on the left and right of the inventory to remember what items you’ve collected so far, because sometimes you have to be creative to solve a problem. ~ Before leaving a completed scene, check your list of clues (under the inventory) to see if there’s any odd item left to grab. ~ At the hospital, when a photo of an elephant appears on the x-ray pictures on the wall to the right of the bed, take the elephant photo; you’ll need it on the easel in the manor’s solarium. ~ When trying to make charcoal, it doesn’t work to put the wooden sticks into the candle flame — you have to put them onto the length of the candle. ~ In the puzzle with 3 clocks and old torn photos: if nothing happens when you set the clocks to the right times, readjust the middle one because noon and 6 pm look the same. ~ The crescent moon hint button takes a full minute to recharge — and boy, will you need it — because most of the objects on the list are hidden in dark corners and are completely invisible. But don’t wait until you’ve given up before asking for help, or you’ll spend too much of your time waiting. ~ If you don’t get a hint, move your cursor around the hint button until the crescent moon glows, then click again. ~ And after you’ve used a hint, you can click on the spectral face if you see one (it looks like it’s shrouded behind a cloth) to get another hint instantly, but those faces are rare. ~ There’s a penalty for over-clicking. ~ When you can’t figure out what to do next, go to the map to try another site, even if it makes no sense to look for Melinda’s computer mouse at the train station. ~ Ready to give up? Copy and paste the publisher’s walkthroughs, listed above.

My Review:  This game is based on the popular TV series, and it’s true to the look and feel of the show. However, it’s been a long time since that show was new, and I suspect it’s been that long since this game was new, too, judging by the crudeness of the artwork, and the fact that the characters are just paper cut-outs.  The stories proceed slowly (very slowly, in my opinion), but that too is in keeping with the feel of the show.  The Hidden Object scenes are piles of “stuff” and there are a lot of them… and it really is difficult to see the items, so I seriously recommend that you play the game in the dark, and tilt the screen if you can.  Also, the inventory bar is very frustrating and annoying.  But on the positive side, the puzzles are solvable, rather clever, and fit the story.  And in spite of the game’s shortcomings, I have to admit that the stories themselves are really interesting, after all.

My Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of the Ghost Whisperer TV series, and if my criticisms don’t deter you, check it out.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Ghost Whisperer™
For Mac:  Ghost Whisperer™