The Secret Order 6: Bloodline

The Secret Order 6: Bloodline

Sarah Pennington is back and this time her adventures take her to a mysterious jungle where a visit to her mother turns into a showdown with the Dragon Clan over an extraordinary plant. The Secret Order 6 won’t disappoint those who are expecting more of the beautifully detailed visuals that has become a staple for Sunward Games titles. However, the game is also quite short and can easily be completed in a couple of hours. It is still very enjoyable though, and one of the better recent entries in this particular series, so if you are a fan of the genre or previous titles then this will be a good fit for your library.

Gameplay: Short and easy, but definitely entertaining.

Graphics: The scenes in this game are imaginative as well as very detailed.

Sound: Decent voice acting and a fitting, albeit limited, soundtrack

NEKOPARA Vol. 3

NEKOPARA Vol. 3

The NEKOPARA series has consistently delivered entertaining kinetic novels with great visuals and audio, so it is no surprise that volume three does the same. This time the story shifts to Maple and Cinnamon, the only catgirls left at La Soleil who have not yet had their chance to shine. While the story spends a lot of time with these two the other catgirls also make regular appearances, so no matter which ones are your favorite, you’ll get to experience more of their cuteness. Like volume one and two, this game is available in censored and uncensored versions, with the former costing less and the latter including explicit h-scenes. Whichever version you choose, you’ll find a story that is packed with adorable catgirls, plenty of humorous situations and some of the best visuals in the genre.

Gameplay: NEKOPARA Vol. 3 is still a kinetic novel with no choices to make, but the story is entertaining all the way through.

Graphics: More stunning artwork by Sayori and more animations courtesy of the E-mote system.

Sound: The soundtrack sounds a little too familiar at times, but still has plenty of great tracks and some stellar Japanese voice acting

Lode Runner Legacy

Lode Runner Legacy

Lode Runner Legacy takes the addictive gameplay of the classic title and spruces it up with some brand new Voxel visuals. In addition to the 150 original levels, the game also includes brand new adventure as well as puzzle levels along with leaderboards. Best of all, Lode Runner Legacy features editors for creating everything from your own levels to custom characters, enemies and items. Fans expecting the newer features that were introduced in later Lode Runner titles might find the game a little too simple for their taste, but everyone who loved the original are in for a treat.

Gameplay: Adventure, Puzzle and Classic game modes along with leaderboards and editors to get creative with.

Graphics: The Voxel visuals are a perfect match for the game.

Sound: Nothing spectacular, but not too obtrusive either

Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child

Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child

Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child is a new hidden object puzzle adventure where players take control of a young woman with psychic abilities. The game starts out as a quest to find her father who abandoned her at an orphanage when she was a child, but quickly turns into a paranormal mystery. There seems to be much less of a focus on hidden object scenes and mini-games in this title, while your exploration is also confined to gloomy areas such as train stations and factories. However, the Gothic style visuals look great and, while very short, the game remains interesting throughout.

Gameplay: The story is interesting, but the puzzles quite easy and the overall game is very short.

Graphics: The Victorian setting allows for some moody visuals, but most of the locations are not very imaginative.

Sound: Standard voice acting and nice, albeit limited, tunes

Queen’s Quest 3: The End of Dawn

Queen’s Quest 3: The End of Dawn

The End of Dawn is the third title in the Queen’s Quest hidden object puzzle adventure series and the second starring an alchemist instead of royalty. This time you have to go on a quest to protect the world from an evil dragon, which obviously means plenty of hidden objects to find, puzzles to solve and mini-games to conquer. The hand drawn visuals are quite detailed, but the story offers nothing new and despite multiple difficulty settings the game can be completed rather easily. It is a title that newcomers might appreciate more, but anyone who has played a couple of hidden object games before will find that Queen’s Quest 3 has very little to offer that is new or innovative.

Gameplay: Plenty of hidden object scenes and puzzles, but everything can be completed rather easily.

Graphics: Detailed hand drawn visuals, but the fuzzy cut-scenes are a disappointment.

Sound: Neither the music or voice acting really stand out

Lode Runner Legacy (Tozai Games, Inc.)

Lode Runner Legacy (Tozai Games, Inc.)

From Donkey Kong and Dig Dug to Gauntlet and Gradius, the 1980s were a golden era for classic video-game franchises. One of these franchises is Lode Runner, which was first released for the Apple II in 1983 and quickly moved on to other platforms. Its action-packed, yet puzzle-oriented gameplay made it an instant hit and even people like Alexey Pajitnov counted it amongst their favorite puzzle titles. Although there hasn’t been a shortage of new releases over the years, the last appearance of Lode Runner was back in 2012 on Android and iOS. Thankfully, this is about to change with the upcoming release of Lode Runner Legacy for PC

The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker

The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker

The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker is an FMV game where you get to play as a psychiatrist questioning a host of patients about their problems and the murder of your predecessor. This is all done via a keyword based text input, but the high definition, full screen video responses will quickly draw you into the mystery. Add in some superb acting along with a genuinely fascinating story and you are looking at a surprisingly good title. It’s not perfect and the genre obviously has a lot of limitations, but overall this is one not to be missed.

Gameplay: The keyword based questioning obviously has some limitations, but makes for an engrossing experience.

Graphics: The quality of the full motion video responses are very good.

Sound: Features an atmospheric soundtrack and the quality of the acting is also of a very high standard

Rescue Quest Gold

Rescue Quest Gold

Rescue Quest Gold is a Match-3 puzzle game with plenty of levels and gameplay that requires a bit more strategy than what is typically found in the genre. It is a very enjoyable experience and one that manages to keep things interesting. While it was originally a free to play title, it is definitely worth shelling out for this newly remastered premium version thanks to a host of enhancements and improvements. If you are a fan of the Match-3 genre in particular or casual games in general, then don’t miss out on this title.

Gameplay: Challenging and very addictive.

Graphics: Detailed, colorful and very polished.

Sound: A perfect match for the game

A Butterfly in the District of Dreams

A Butterfly in the District of Dreams

A Butterfly In The District of Dreams doesn’t quite live up to its mysterious premise, but as far as visual novels goes it still has a lot to offer. The pace of the story is very slow and relaxing, which is great for players in search of a calming experience. It is refreshing to play a title that doesn’t rely on fan service as a crutch, but due to the slow pace it is also a title that some players will find a little boring. With three main heroines, each with multiple routes and different endings, this visual novel is definitely not lacking in content.

Gameplay: The pace is fairly slow, but the slice of life drama still manages to be captivating once you get hooked.

Graphics: Beautiful character sprites, but the backgrounds are fairly limited.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting and a great soundtrack

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a great update of the free visual novel released by ebi-hime in 2014. In addition to some stunning new artwork and a great soundtrack the story is still as unique as it is captivating. Don’t let the visuals fool you, this novel is not as lighthearted as it first appears and thanks to some great writing the story is a lot more memorable than expected. The game is short enough to complete in a single sitting, but still manages to have a bigger emotional impact than stories that are ten times longer.

Gameplay: Pretty much a kinetic novel with only a single choice, but the story is so good that it is hard to stop playing.

Graphics: The updated artwork looks really nice, but the option to play with the older visuals is a nice touch.

Sound: The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack is definitely a highlight