Alphabeats: Master Edition

Alphabeats: Master Edition

Alphabeats offers a new spin on word games by challenging your vocabulary as well as your reflexes. Creating the longest and most complicated words using letters dropping from the top of the screen is harder than it sounds, especially when tied to a fast beat. The game requires some quick reflexes as you must also dodge unwanted letters, so don’t expect a completely tranquil experience. However, if you have a good vocabulary and decent selection of songs to import into the game, it can certainly keep you busy for a while.

Gameplay: Challenges your word knowledge as well as reflexes.

Graphics: A little more bland than we would have liked to see.

Sound: Includes a nice selection of music tracks as well as the option to import your own

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

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

Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek

Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek

Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek is definitely starting to show its age in terms of visuals, but the story still remains compelling. The game is also stuffed to the gills with challenging hidden object scenes, although the puzzle scenes are nothing to write home about. The game is still a great example of the genre though, and well worth checking out before moving on to more recent entries. Just be prepared to put up with some annoyances, such as a lack of fast travel option.

Gameplay: Plenty of challenging hidden object scenes although the puzzles are a little weak.

Graphics: Plenty of varied and well-drawn locations to explore.

Sound: The soundtrack and ambient effects are very atmospheric, but the voice acting could have been better

Crime Secrets: Crimson Lily

Crime Secrets: Crimson Lily

Crime Secrets: Crimson Lily is a hidden object game with some interesting clue hunting scenes and a story that, for once, isn’t steeped in the paranormal. It is however also a very short game and can be completed with ease by anyone familiar with the genre. Provided you don’t mind the lack of challenge there is still fun to be had with the game, but unfortunately there is nothing really remarkable about it.

Gameplay: Hunting for clues and not just hidden objects is a nice feature.

Graphics: The locations are detailed, but a little limited.

Sound: Average music and the voice acting could also have been better in spots

Sonicomi

Sonicomi

Step into the shoes of a gravure photographer and help the adorable model Sonico to kick-start her career. Sonicomi is more than just a typical visual novel as it also places a camera in your hands and requires you to take photos of Sonico according to the briefs of clients. Thanks to 18 different endings, interesting characters and a multitude of clothing options for the shoots the game has more than enough replay value to keep players busy for ages.

Gameplay: An interesting mix of visual novel and 3D photography scenes.

Graphics: Sonico is the only 3D model in the game, but she looks great and has plenty of charm.

Sound: Good music and sound effects along with two different voice actress options for Sonico

Resette’s Prescription ~Book of memory, Swaying scale~

Resette’s Prescription ~Book of memory, Swaying scale~

Help the short tempered Resette and her feline companion Gaede as they enter the mind of a young boy suffering from a sleeping sickness. This point & click adventure features charming chibbi character designs and beautifull hand drawn watercolor backgrounds along with an interesting storyline. It is quite a short game though, and the puzzles pose little challenge, so it might not appeal to everyone.

Gameplay: Short and easy, but certainly very entertaining.

Graphics: We love the beautiful and unique visual style.

Sound: Unfortunately there is no speech, but the music is very good

Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride

Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride

Face dangerous creatures and evil spirits in this engaging hidden object game from Artifex Mundi. The game features their trademark polish when it comes to visuals and presentation, but the story is actually very good as well. It features 14 hidden object scenes to complete, but these can be substituted for a domino mini-game if players prefer. Add to that 24 varied mini-games and plenty of interesting locations to explore and you’ll find that this is an adventure not to be missed.

Gameplay: Nothing too out of the ordinary for the genre, but the domino mini-game is a nice touch.

Graphics: Beautiful hand-painted locations with plenty of detail and nice use of color.

Sound: Decent voice acting and a great soundtrack

Mythic Wonders: The Philosopher’s Stone

Mythic Wonders: The Philosopher’s Stone

Join Emma as she searches for her missing uncle in a couple of elemental based realms while outwitting the guardian that is intent on stopping her. Mythic Wonders: The Philosopher’s Stone features great visuals and entertaining puzzles as well as decent hidden object scenes that make up for the rather generic storyline. Thanks to the robust customization options it is also an adventure that can be enjoyed no matter what your skill level is.

Gameplay: The puzzles are enjoyable and the hidden object scenes well done.

Graphics: Beautiful hand drawn visuals that show a lot of imagination.

Sound: The soundtrack is quite enjoyable, but the voice acting is average at best