9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek

9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek

Join a paranormal private investigator as she rushes to the aid of her friend who runs into some trouble in the town of Serpent Creek. The Secrets of Serpent Creek is probably a little too short and easy for veteran players, but casual players or those new to the genre will still find plenty to like. It is not a groundbreaking title in any way, but the story is entertaining and the cast of interesting characters makes it worth a second look.

Gameplay: Quite short and very, very easy, but still offers plenty of entertainment.

Graphics: The usual hand painted scenes, but nothing really memorable.

Sound: The music is good and the voice acting much better than what the genre typically has to offer

Starship Traveller

Starship Traveller

Starship Traveller offers a nice departure from the usual swords and sorcery settings that the gamebooks are known for. It is a science fiction tale that borrows heavily from Star Trek, but packs a lot of humor as well. Completing the story requires a lot of luck or trial and error, which might annoy some players. However, it remains entertaining and engaging throughout, even if the replay value is not as great as we would have liked. Still, you can’t really go wrong with its low asking price and it is worth it for the nostalgia factor alone.

Gameplay: Lots of reading along with the occasional choices and dice rolls.

Graphics: A couple of nice full color drawings add some flavor to the text.

Sound: Not many sound effects, but the music capture the mood nicely

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

Improving on a game that is rated so highly as Batman: Arkham Asylum could not have been easy, but Rocksteady Studios pulls it off with aplomb. If you are looking for the definitive Batman experience, then look no further than Arkham City. While not quite perfect, it comes close and sets a new standard for all licensed titles.

Gameplay: Improves on almost every aspect of the already great original.

Graphics: Shows that the Unreal Engine 3 can still deliver stunning visuals.

Sound: Excellent voice acting and a moody soundtrack

Alan Wake

Alan Wake

Five years in the making and still impressive, Alan Wake is one of the best exclusives on the system. The story is utterly compelling and the gameplay has just the right amount of action and tension to keep you hooked to the end. There’s a few minor issues here and there but overall this is a solid game that deserves to be played by all fans of the genre.

Gameplay: Tense flashlight and firearm battles with the Taken and some good story sections.

Graphics: Nicely done and really gives the impression of a large gameworld even if you are mostly restricted to a linear path.

Sound: Good sound effects and good voice acting

Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

Clockwork Tales lacks a compelling plot, but makes up for it with a unique steam-punk setting and some lovely hand-drawn visuals. It also veers a little too close to being short and easy for our taste, but it is certainly entertaining while it lasts. Anyone looking for a change of pace from all the supernatural themed hidden object games will definitely enjoy this game. Clockwork Tales is also very newcomers friendly, so if you are unfamiliar with the genre, it is a great place to start.

Gameplay: A nice gentle introduction to the genre with relatively easy puzzles and mini-games.

Graphics: The same high quality hand-drawn artwork that we have come to expect from Artifex Mundi.

Sound: The voice acting is decent enough and the music is rather good

STAR WARS™ – The Force Unleashed™ Ultimate Sith Edition

STAR WARS™ – The Force Unleashed™ Ultimate Sith Edition

With so much potential and clearly a lot of work put into the audio and visuals, its hard not to be disappointed by the lackluster level designs and imprecise controls. This Ultimate Sith Edition includes all downloadable content from the console versions plus an extra level set on Hoth, but the rather large download size (30GB) and host of annoyances makes this one for the die-hard Star Wars fans only.

Gameplay: Ultimately could have been so much better. Still playable, but not living up to the standards of the Jedi Knight series.

Graphics: Excellent art style and some visually stunning locations.

Sound: Decent voice acting and stellar audio

Eventide 2: The Sorcerers Mirror

Eventide 2: The Sorcerers Mirror

Eventide 2 unfortunately doesn’t quite live up to the high standards set by the original game, but it is still an imaginative adventure with some great visuals. This time it is your niece that requires rescuing after being kidnapped by an evil sorcerer with sinister intentions. The game features much less mythical creatures than the first and the absence of a bonus chapter makes it feel even shorter than it is, but a new moral choice system adds some replay value. If you are a fan of the genre or would like to get your feet wet with hidden object games then Eventide 2 shouldn’t be missed.

Gameplay: Less mythical creatures than the original, but the story is still entertaining and the Eastern European setting is unique.

Graphics: Nice hand painted backgrounds and great use of color.

Sound: Not a lot of background tunes, but they are all good and the voice acting isn’t too bad either

Memory’s Dogma CODE:01

Memory’s Dogma CODE:01

Memory’s Dogma: CODE1 kicks off with a very interesting premise as far as visual novels go and initially seems like it is going to be an epic science fiction yarn. While the story doesn’t exactly live up to expectations, it remains interesting throughout and doesn’t end on a cliffhanger as one would expect from an episodic release. The visuals and audio in the game are surprisingly good for an indie title, so it is definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre. The characters and story didn’t’ exactly blow us away, but does have a lot more depth than all the fan-service oriented slice of life visual novels that are all the rage these days.

Gameplay: No branching paths and the story doesn’t quite live up to its initial premise, but overall very decent.

Graphics: Polished, detailed and featuring some nice character designs.

Sound: The music is varied while the Japanese voice acting is top notch

Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood

Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood

The Mists of Ravenwood is another solid hidden object game from Artifex Mundi, one of the most respected developers in the genre. It takes place after the events of The Ghosts of Maple Creek and features another gripping adventure for the detective protagonist to solve. Improvements, such as the polished visuals and fast travel system, make the game more enjoyable to play while the story remains engaging throughout thanks to the “evidence board” feature. If you are a fan of the genre and enjoyed the original then The Mists of Ravenwood should not be missed.

Gameplay: Not too difficult, but remains fun to play all the way through.

Graphics: The hand drawn scenes are stylish, detailed and very interesting.

Sound: A little too similar to the original for our taste, but the sound effects are great

Sakura Nova

Sakura Nova

The setting and characters are all good, but nothing ever happens to really make you care about either. The game does feature a free patch to add back all the censored content, so anyone looking for a nukige title will probably enjoy Sakura Nova. Unfortunately, those looking for a memorable story or plan on playing without the patch are likely to be disappointed.

Gameplay: There are choices to be made and three different endings, but the story is a bit lacking.

Graphics: Like other titles in the Sakura series the visuals are beautiful, but static.

Sound: Not much to say about the music, but the voice acting is pretty good