Harlequin Presents: Hidden Object of Desire

Hidden Object Game                              easier                                     112 MB
Untimed                     PC & Mac                                Walkthrough not needed

Premise:   Allie and Shaun, an American journalist and her photographer, are on location in Aristo, one of the two islands that make up the Middle Eastern nation of Adamas.   Their assignment is to cover the 30th birthday celebration of Prince Adrian Karedes.   Adrian’s father, King Karedes, died last winter, but Adran’s right to inherit the crown is being challenged because, according to tradition, the crown belongs to whomever has the complete Stephani Diamond, which was broken in two… and one of the halves was recently stolen.

Because this is a Harlequin romance, Allie is young, single and very pretty, and the Prince, who is just turning thirty, is very handsome, debonair and also single… and is immediately attracted to her.   But, of course, things won’t go smoothly for them.

Hints:   Waiting for the hint button to recharge is a drag and a waste of time, but in this game you can instantly recharge the hint button by finding two items and quickly clicking on them one right after the other. ~ However, there’s a catch-22 with that because when you need the hint button it means you don’t know where any items are, obviously.   Therefore it would help you to refrain from clicking on easily-spotted items and save them until you can’t find any more items and you now need the hints. ~ Another way to instantly recharge the hint button is to find and click on the diamond-shaped Harlequin logo, but don’t click on it until you really need that recharge because there’s only one per scene.

My Review:  This is a beautifully illustrated story set in a luxurious hotel decorated like a traditional Arabian palace.  It also has an interesting story, which is a refreshing change from most Hidden Object Games.  However, it is still a Hidden Object Game, and so it has, as most of them do, irrelevant items plastered in impossible places.   Oh, well.  Sigh.

But it does come with a bonus: you can download a free Harlequin Romance book.  (Be forewarned: that novel is said to be racy, so if you have middle-schoolers using your computer, I suggest that you hide the book’s icon in a boring-sounding folder, like  ‘broccoli recipes’.)

My Recommendation:   If you like Hidden Object Games, this is a very attractive one.

You can try this game for free, here:

For PC: Harlequin Presents: Hidden Object of Desire

For Mac: Harlequin Presents: Hidden Object of Desire


Heartwild Solitaire

Solitaire Game (variation)                    easier                                     23 MB
Untimed                           PC & Mac                      Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  The story, which is in the form of a diary (two pages of which are revealed to you after each seven rounds of cards), is a disjointed attempt at a romance story about a woman who runs away from her abusive husband, and her reluctance to take a chance with a new love.  Tarot readings add to the plot.  Of course, if you dislike florid prose or romance stories, you can always skip over the diary pages and get back to the gameplay.

Hints:  You are not penalized for shuffling the deck when you run out of matches. ~ In fact, high scores give you nothing in this game, so just play for enjoyment. Ignore the scorekeeping and concentrate on matching the cards that cover the most hidden cards, as your ultimate goal is to clear the board. ~ But don’t worry if you lose, for you will be given another chance, even when you run out of re-do options.

More Hints:  Don’t worry if the game accuses you of missing cards you’re sure you clicked on during the find-the-card-very-quickly mini-game, as it always does that. It’ll still give you a high score. ~ And for that matter, if you enjoy keeping score, then go for the matching cards and the runs, and remember you are not penalized for shuffling the deck when you run out of matches.

My Review:  This is a very easy, relaxing card game in two parts (plus the find-the-card-very-quickly mini-game).  In the first part you simply match up the pairs, and in part two, which comes after the story is complete, you match pairs that total 13 (my favorite, and a good, fun, mind exercise).  Both matching games continue until you’ve cleared the beautifully decorated desktop.

And speaking of beauty — beauty is everywhere in this game — snowflakes, crystals, sunflowers, daffodils, lilies, red roses, white roses, gold coins, pearl necklaces, ice blue diamonds, amethyst and aquamarine cameos, amber beads, agate swirls, antique scrollwork, Florentine mosaics, exotic tropical butterflies, gold lace, lavender velvet, and sterling silver — the artwork is lovely, and every screen is painted in vivid, jewel-like colors.

Now, if that isn’t enough, they even give you the ability to create your own card layouts, which is now my favorite part of the game.  “More Levels” stores the layouts you create in “Level Editor”.  Decorate the backgrounds of your creations in “Edit Mode” and “Theme”, and get instructions in “Help”.

My Recommendation:  If you’re looking for an easy, relaxing, and beautiful way to pass the time, this is the game to try.  Even the music is soothing and relaxing.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Heartwild Solitaire

For Mac:  Heartwild Solitaire



Strategy & Puzzle Grid Game                  PC                                        10 MB
Untimed Option                        easier                       Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  The knights of Hexalot are out to recapture the Crown of King Arthur, and your mission is to guide each knight across the treacherous lands of the Saxons.  You accomplish this by creating straight paths, called bridges, for them to make their way across a grid of hexagons, leading them from brown castle to brown castle, until each reaches the safety of a white castle.  Along the way you can collect gold coins and jewels for them to bring back to Hexalot.  They have completed their quest when they have traversed all 36 levels and recaptured the crown.  Not as simple as it sounds, of course, as minor complications can arise on the way, but quite manageable in easy (Adventure) mode.

Hints:  Before you start, it is very important to read How To Play,  which is found on the main menu . ~ The land that the knights must cross is a hexagonal grid, and the small hexagons which make up the grid are called hexes.  The game refers to the small colored hexagons that you will position onto the larger hexagonal grid as magic crystals, but they don’t look anything like crystals; they look like hexagonal tiles, so I’m calling them tiles. ~ All travel must be in a straight line, diagonally or vertically, and you create these lines (bridges) with the colored tiles which you select out of four boxes (wells) that are lined up along the right side of the field. ~ Often the tile in the well is made up of several hexagons stuck together in an odd shape which can be either problematic or useful, forcing you to think creatively to get it to fit where you need it. ~ When you choose a tile, it sticks to your cursor until you place it onto the field or discard it into the Dropzone Cauldron. ~ Choose your tiles carefully, for once you choose a tile, you cannot return it to the well, and if you discard it, you will lose points… so, if you care about points, you might prefer to place it, whenever possible, onto a part of the field that you are certain you will no longer will be using. ~ When selecting a cluster of tiles, you can reorient them by right-clicking or by pressing your spacebar until they are positioned in the most useful direction, but you must do this while they are still stuck to your cursor and before you place them. ~ Once a tile is placed it cannot be moved or removed. ~ A tile might, however, disappear on its own if a knight doesn’t use it quickly enough.  That can help you sometimes, or it could work against your plan. ~ If a tile starts flashing, it’s about to disappear.

More Hints:  On their journey toward the white castles, the knights can take refuge in the brown castles, but, unlike the white castles, the brown castles can each hold only one knight at a time (unless they’ve arrived there simultaneously), so the first one must leave before the next can take refuge there. ~ When planning your strategy, be sure that there will always be a castle at the end of every bridge you’re planning for the knight to cross, because without a bridge he will go nowhere, and it’s very easy to fall into the trap of sliding him into a spot from which the only option is backwards. ~ As the game progresses, the knights will begin to do a lot of zigzag travel before they reach perhaps the only white castle. ~ The bridge you create to transport a knight to a castle must be at least two tiles in length. ~  A bridge must be just one color. ~ If you use more than one color to make a bridge, it will collapse and those tiles will disappear. ~ Some paths have painted hexes which you must match, which can be a problem if you don’t have that color; also, it’s impossible when there are two hexes of different colors in a single line.  That problem is solved by using multi-colored tiles which can stand in for any color and are able to cover an inconveniently-located hex of the wrong color.

Still More Hints:  Always map out your knight’s total route before leading him to any brown castle, because not all brown castles are connected to a white castle. ~ Jewels appear randomly from time to time on the paths, tempting you to direct a knight down that path to collect the jewel.  But watch out — they often appear on paths that do not lead to any castle at all, or to brown castles that are not connected to any white castle — and in fact, the more valuable the jewel, the more likely it is placed there to lead you astray. ~ How to Play, on the main menu, gives a list of the values of each jewel. ~ The most valuable jewel is the triangular diamond, and more valuable than the diamond is the gold crown, but most valuable of all is the red shield. ~ You start out with three lives and that’s the most you can have, but if you run out of tiles without having rescued all the knights, you will lose one of your lives. ~ Lose all your lives and the game ends…  but if you see a red shield on one of the tiles or hexes, make a bridge with it, and if a knight uses it, you will regain one life. ~ Toward the end of the game the grid starts to get more complicated, and you may need to make a sketch of the grid and the positions of the castles.  Ignore the jewels; they disappear randomly and at this level you already have lots of points.  Draw a complete path for each knight and you’ll notice that the lattice you’ve created is symmetrical, with one side mirroring the other; that knowledge may help you when you can’t work out a knight’s path.

My Review:  I like hexagonal shapes, and I enjoyed using them.  Hexalot is  8 yrs. old, which in the game world is ancient and considered primitive by today’s standards… but, as is often the case, simple can be fun, and this is such a good game that I still play it!  It requires you to think (which is its whole point), but it doesn’t get too difficult too quickly, which is a big plus.  The music is appropriate, making this a pleasant game for anyone.

My Recommendation:  This is a good, easy, and enjoyable game which is also an excellent brain exercise.  If you like puzzles, why not give it a try?

You can try it for free, here:   Hexalot


Hobby Farm

Civilization-Building Game                      easier                                     69 MB
Untimed Option                 PC, Mac, iPad                 Walkthrough not needed

Premise:  A retired couple buys a tropical island because the wife wants to try farming.  (They soon find out why the price was so low.)

Hints:  The seeds you’ll be planting in the soil you buy are: marigolds, tangerines, Java apples, carambola (starfruit), watermelons, pineapples, bananas, coffee beans, and melons.  I suggest you keep a copy of this list handy while playing, so you’ll quickly know what’s missing.  ~ After the first 5 ‘days’ in the timed mode, you can go back to the menu and choose the Relaxed option. You’ll start from the beginning without the instructions, but it will go quickly. Just remember to plant only 2 tangerine plants at first. ~ If you make any big mistakes or want to redo a previous day for any reason, go to the Map, which has a calendar. ~ In the untimed Relaxed mode, you can take your time and use as many days and nights as you need to accomplish each ‘day”s work. ~ If you need to quit the game before the ‘day’ is over, go first to the map to save your progress, then to the menu to quit.

More Hints:  Collect gold stars left by escaping convicts. ~ You can get help from the husband by recharging the energy bar at the top of the screen, which you do by watering the seedlings, watering the plants after their fruit has been picked, and by clicking on the gold star left behind after each escaped convict you’ve frightened away at night.  In fact, at night, all I have the wife do is search for those scoundrels, while hubby takes over the chores.  The wife never sleeps; the husband sleeps all the time, unless you wake him up by clicking on the recharged bar whenever you need his help to water or harvest the crops.  Eventually he will take over most chores if you ask him to, but he doesn’t fill or run the machines, catch chickens, or buy supplies.  (Just make sure you’ve replenished your supply of seeds, or he’ll get annoyed that you woke him for nothing.)

My Review:  One of the things I like about the mechanics of this game is that whatever I do each ‘day’ is still there the following day… which is unusual in this type of game.  That means that while I’m waiting for a certain plant to ripen, or a sheep’s wool to grow back, I can stockpile the fruits, milk, and blocks of ice I’ll need in the future to run the various machines that make what the neighboring hotels need.  And nothing ever melts or rots!

My Recommendation:  This is a fun game — yes, it’s a bit chaotic with all those animals walking around and needing attention while you try to harvest your crops and keep the plants alive — but that’s part of its charm.  It’s cute and sweet, and I think you’ll like it.

You can try it for free, here:

For PC:   Hobby Farm

For Mac:  Hobby Farm