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June 25, 2017 6:42 am  #31

Re: StuSue's Reviews

The Great Gatsby - Secret Treasure - SE

Developer:    SoDigital

Date of Review:    25 June 2017

Genre:    HOPA

Released:    BFG:  25 December 2013   -   GH:  16 June 2017



The once glamorous Gatsby Mansion is now wrecked and seemingly deserted. Judy, a talented architect, is given her dream job when she is asked to restore it to its former beauty. Just as she is about to begin, Gatsby's criminal past intrudes and she finds herself caught up in a kidnapper's scheme to discover the notorious socialite's secret treasure. Immerse yourself in an adventure full of puzzles and hidden object scenes entwined with Gatsby’s devoted love and criminal dealings in The Great Gatsby: Secret Treasure!

  • Free Judy's friend from a kidnapper's grasp
  • Find the whereabouts of a lost treasure
  • Solve cryptic puzzles and uncover a dark past


In The Great Gatsby - Secret Treasure, you immerse yourself in a film-noir adventure full of puzzles and Hidden Object scenes. Entwined with Gatsby’s devoted love and criminal dealings, steel your nerves as you put the clues together, and rescue your kidnapped roommate in The Great Gatsby - Secret Treasure!

  • solve cryptic puzzles
  • uncover a dark past
  • uncover the whereabouts of a hidden treasure
  • free Judy's friend from a kidnapper's grasp


Touch:    Double Click on the menu page - but One Touch in the game
Icon Changes:    Can't turn off but doesn't matter when playing with touch
Helpful Messages:    Can't turn off but they aren't too bad ie. they don't give too much info
Plus-Item Indicators:    There aren't any in the game
Difficulty Modes:    Only 2 - Casual and Expert
Screen:    Fullscreen but no widescreen  (old-fashioned)
Voiceovers:    Very good
Lip-Syncing:    Only 1 character!  Pammy, Daisy's granddaughter
Graphics:    Rough, dark and minimalist (almost like concept art) but I liked them
                     HOPs almost like real life
Animation:    Very little but good (eg. rain and leaves falling)
                       I loved the way the wires moved in the minigame when I was fixing the electricity box
Music:    Very good - and constant, unlike the recent trend of almost silent games (which I hate)
Ambient:    Very good - eg. the rain on the roof was 100% like in RL
BBTs:    Not bad at all and some funny comments!
Tasks:    Look in diary
Inventory:    Straight in - but can't be locked (with touch, just click to open - no problem)
Conversation:    Auto forward
Extra Scene Clicks:    Lots of comments about notes, photos, objects, the past
Diary:    Objectives
              Objectives with more info
              Materials - pertaining to the mystery
Map:    Map for current location
             Double click on the car keys (located above Hint) to change location

HOPs:    at least 16

    -  all very crowded
    -  everything is life-sized
    -  all interactive lists - either objects are hidden or slide one object to another to interact
    -  you have to slide and drop interactive items, just like when you use inventory items
    -  some interactive items need 2 interactions, eg. slide candle to holder then matches to candle
    -  challenging - either objects small and hidden in shadows in the background
                           - or hidden very well in plain sight - sometimes perfectly camouflaged
                           - or in drawings, or tiny, or part of something, or peaking out from from something
    -  about half were repeated, 2 you play 3 times, each time the objects already found are gone
    -  sometimes there's no way to know that they need to be played again (used hints)
    -  if you replay the game, a few of the list items change (I restarted)

Minigames:    at least 19

    -  most very, very, very original!
    -  you use the map in one MG!
    -  fun labyrinth on a map of the house - you get stuck if you go into rooms with only one door
          -  easy but fun and different
    -  very different MG trying to find the waiter with the chess piece  -  follow the sparkles
          -  like following the pea under 3 cups - but not so easy!


    -  I tried to use an incorrect inventory item and sometimes got funny messages:
          "I could use a cup of coffee right now" and "Seriously? Why didn't that work?"
    -  other times I got less funny messages:
          "I'll try something else"
    -  about 20 locations but no jump map!
    -  you get a whole cutscene ending and then another one 3 months later that ties everything up
          -  thus you get a proper Happy Ever After ending!

Play Time:    about 3.5 hours, maybe a little more

I played in Expert Mode with touch (thus no cursor) and only used hints when I was absolutely stuck (like when I needed to replay a HOP scene and there was no way to know this).  I also didn't skip any minigames.

The game seemed a lot longer, not because it was boring but because I was so involved in the game and the story.

Recommendation   a resounding YES! 

I really liked this game!  It seems very old fashioned but it was fun and different, with some very original minigames and some challenging HOPs.  The story was also very interesting. 

It isn't the Great Gatsby story, but rather set in modern times and you discover things about the characters in the book as you play, and meet the granddaughter of Daisy (Gatsby's love in the book), who knows things about what happened back when the events in the book took place (she's now very old).  You have to try and rescue your room mate, who's been kidnapped, by trying to find Gatsby's secret treasure in his old, abandoned and derelict house, often seeing a scene from Gatsby's time when you enter rooms.  It was a really good mix of a modern-era story intertwined with the story of The Great Gatsby which, in this game, isn't a book but rather history.


What you're doing today is important
because you're exchanging a day of your life for it.

June 25, 2017 9:20 am  #32

Re: StuSue's Reviews

Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child - SE

Developer:    World-Loom  (Artifex Mundi - publisher)

Date of Review:    25 June 2017

Genre:    HOPA

Released:    BFG:  Not yet   -   GH:  not yet   -   Android:   6 June 2017  (bought from


From an early age, Scarlett Everitt displayed a gift for the paranormal, as ghosts and spirits accompanied her every step. Desperate to protect her from an encroaching darkness, her father, Johnathan, placed her in an orphanage run by nuns. Years later, Scarlett returns to find her dad, and finds a clue that leads her to the Victorian mansion of a baronet named Steameyer.

As the protagonist tries to locate her missing father, a clue leads her to the train station next to Baronet Steameyer's mansion and factory.

Scarlett possesses a remarkable gift that enables her to see where her father resided and traveled in the past.

Scarlett hopes to find her father while exploring Steameyer's mansion. However, the huge house hides terrifying secrets and dreadful mysteries.

What connects the heroine to the Steameyer family, and what dramatic fate befell the mysterious heiress to their fortune? Help Scarlett learn the truth!

    *   Use your psychic abilities!
    *   Visit nearly 30 Victorian locations!
    *   Immerse yourself in interactive gothic horror!
    *   Test yours skills with 36 puzzles and HO scenes!
    *   Experience a Steam Age adventure unlike any other!
    *   High-end, immersive gameplay, optimized for tablets and phones!
    *   Amazon GameCircle support!


  6  HOPs  (not all - none of the fun, original ones!)
  6  MGs    (not all - all the easy peasy, boring ones!)
  6  Wallpapers
  5  Music
  6  Concept art
  6  Cutscenes
13  Achievements
29  Collectibles  (morphing objects - traces of father - 6 different ones, repeated)


Touch:    One  (on Android)
Icon Changes:    Can't turn off
Helpful Messages:    Can't turn off
Plus-Item Indicators:    Can't turn off
Difficulty Modes:    The usual 4
Voiceovers:    Very good
Lip-Syncing:    ?
Graphics:    Very good but not crystal clear
Animation:    Good
Music:    Beautiful - and constant, unlike the recent trend of almost silent games (which I hate)
Ambient:    Very good - especially the birds!
BBTs:    TMI - way TMI!
Tasks:    White text on black - pops out/back auto from left - can ignore
Inventory:    Straight in
Conversation:    Auto forward
Extra Scene Clicks:    Some comments
Diary:    None

Collectibles   29

    -  29 morphing objects - your father's things
    -  6 different objects, eg. pocketwatch - you never know which one is in the scene
    -  they appear and disappear, rather than actually morph
    -  there's an indicator

Achievements   13

    -  all earned
    -  I missed out on one - watching all cutscenes in the first hour
    -  I watched them all but maybe because the battery ran out in the first hour?

HOPs:    13  (if I didn't forget any)

    -  some very novel ideas!
    -  I think one was finding climbing points up a cliff  (could have been a minigame?)
    -  have zoom-in areas
    -  MUCH harder than the minigames!!!!  - the latest trend in HOPAs
    -  great variety and originality
    -  1 was repeated but a different sort of list

Minigames:    10  (if I didn't forget any)

    -  all ridiculously easy
    -  there's an arcade minigame where you have to cross a plank over to the attic
          -  I chose to use the tilt option on my tablet, which was so cool! and not at all easy


You use a pendant to have "visions" of events in the past.  In one of these visions I discovered how my father had put the ectoplasm in the walking stick that I'd already found and used in the present!  I loved that.  I found something, wondered how and why it was there, used it, then later found out how it came to be there!  And, if I remember correctly, this happened more than once. 

As the game progresses, you spend more and more time playing the the "vision" scenes, ie. the past, as other people (your father and Iris).  That is, when you're in a "vision", you don't play as you but rather as another character, someone who was present in that vision.  And, if you can't remember what the visions told you you needed, just click on the pendant again.

Play Time   about 4 hours

I played in Custom Mode with touch (thus no cursor) and only used hints when I was absolutely stuck.  I also didn't skip any minigames.

Recommendation   Yes  -  especially with a PCC

I liked the game but the story was just okay with nothing terribly new.  The adventure had some challenge, also the HOPs, some of which were also very original, but the minigames were 95% super easy peasy.  The helpful messages also gave way too much information and you can't turn off the plus-item indicators.  However, you do get a lot of extras for an SE (replay 6 HOPs and MGs, 13 achievements, 29 morphing collectibles, as well as the usual things like music, wallpapers - just the SG and bonus chapter are missing, hence not a CE).


What you're doing today is important
because you're exchanging a day of your life for it.
     Thread Starter

June 27, 2017 10:26 am  #33

Re: StuSue's Reviews

Factory Katz - The Grand Banquet  -  SE

Developer:    Factory Katz Games and Liquid Dragon Studios

Date of Review:    27 June 2017

Genre:    HOPA

Released:    BFG:  Not yet   -   GH:  26 November 2016


Step into Factory Katz - The Grand Banquet and discover a world of fantastical creatures. Help factory manager Otto organize a great feast for Victoria Katz, the daughter of the factory founder. She'll have you running around the factory fixing everything in time for the banquet - but can you keep her happy? Find out in Factory Katz - The Grand Banquet.

  • find out if you have what it takes to organize a banquet
  • discover all the hidden flying pigs in the game
  • play many challenging hidden object levels
  • get creative and discover which tools to use

On Factory Katz Games' Facebook page:

"A adventure hidden object game that takes place in a strange elaborate factory that creates fantastical little creatures."


Concept art  -  9
Concept Code - Game Loop & Final Mouse Cursor  -  gotta read them, really funny!
Collectibles  -  17 flying pigs  (see later)


Touch:    One 
Icon Changes:    ?  (played with touch)
Helpful Messages:    Can't turn off
Plus-Item Indicators:    Can't turn off
Difficulty Modes:    Only 2 - Easy and Normal - I played Normal (no HOS penalty and quick hint)
Voiceovers:    None - conversation boxes you have to read
Lip-Syncing:    None
Graphics and Animation:    Beautiful - but HOSs blurry
Music and Ambient:    Beautiful - some Mozart
Inventory:    Straight in and it auto opens when you need something!  And you keep all tools to re-use!
Conversation:    Must click to end
Extra Scene Clicks:    Some comments
Diary:    None

Collectibles   17  Flying Pigs

    -  they can be in scenes or HO scenes
    -  shown if you've found one on map
    -  not too hard to spot but different and well camouflaged
    -  you have to look for them - if you forget to look you won't see them
    -  you need them all to open the boiler near the end
    -  but you can use the map to collect any you've missed
    -  you click on any rooms on the map that don't have a pig
    -  once I had to use an inventory object to open something when I'd finished a HOS
          -  and out popped a Flying Pig!!!!  LOL


You have a journal and information is constantly added that gives background info about the Katz family, the mansion/factory, and their mechanical animals - eg. the first - Flying Pig.  This info is just for interesting reading; it isn't needed in the game.

If you want to read the entire journal when you've finished, either click on it before you click on "Continue" when you're in the last scene with the cat in the boiler, or restart the game, clicking on Play, and you're taken to that last scene, then click on the journal and you can read it.

Oskar The Cat:

If you click or hover your cursor over the cat you'll get some really funny comments, eg. "You again? Can't a cat get a nap around here?"  Don't forget!

Attention to Detail:

I loved the way you could pick up any of the crab covers and place them in the scene - you don't just click where they were to be placed.


HARD!!!!  Boy are some things well hidden!!  Red on red, or super small!  Or very well hidden and/or camouflaged, eg. tiny bit sticking out above the Hint!!!!

Varied - silhouettes but always list, or "zodiac signs", or so many of 1 or several objects.

Always related to what you're doing in the game, eg. if you're cooking something, you may have to find 30! ingredients, but you only ever get about 6 objects listed at one time, so you can't just go around clicking on all the food. 

Sometimes you may have to find 2 or 3 objects - maybe 10 of one, 8 of another, 2 of another. 

Sometimes FRAGs - maybe find all parts of a machine to fix it.

Sometimes what you find you won't need straight away but will go into inventory.

There was 1 interactive HOS way into the game - hours into the game - so who would think that you have to open 2 niche doors in the desk to find the last 2 zodiac signs when there hasn't been a single interactive HOP beforehand???  Very tricky!

Scenes are photos with maybe a few things added and are generally very clear - HOSs on the other hand are also photos but the photos are very blurry and the things you have to find are added in and perfectly clear so that the objects that aren't super hidden or super camouflaged are easy to spot.

One task required 3 or 4 HOSs!!!! to get the objects you need (bouquet).

Each one gives you your time - but they're not timed.

Sometimes there are 3 levels in a HOS - either as you slowly remove cobwebs/plants to get below, or as you move into a room then open a gate to get to the room behind - in each case, after 1 HOS you move forward.


There are a few minigames, eg. some jigsaw puzzles, but some are novel takes on old minigames, eg. follow a track from one thing to what has to go on top of it - but you have to follow moving, glowing trails that cross others - all at the same time - and you often lose the trail and end up following another.

Some really easy and some are OMG!!!!

One jigsaw puzzle really easy, another - OMG, where do I start????????

But all are much easier than the HOSs.

Ending:    beware spoilers!

Bummer!  I loved that Oskar the cat had a family in the boiler and that that's why it wasn't working properly and we had to move them ... but why didn't we actually move them?  A HOS or MG would have been great.  Or at least see them settled somewhere else.

Recommendation   Yes! 

Great story and everything is related to it - HOSs and MGs, etc.  It's fun, fun, fun with some great laughs (eg. the Oskar the cat).  It has some very difficult HOSs with great variety, as well as some novel minigames.


What you're doing today is important
because you're exchanging a day of your life for it.
     Thread Starter

June 29, 2017 11:00 am  #34

Re: StuSue's Reviews

Endless Fables: Frozen Path - CE

Developer:    Sunward Games

Date of Review:    29 June 2017  (played 28 June 2017)

Genre:    HOPA

Released:    BFG:  15 April 2017   -   GH:  Not yet  (also doesn't have the first in the series)


  1.  The Minotaur's Curse CE  (released BFG 12 March 2016)
  2.  Frozen Path CE  (this one)

More Games:

   1.  The Secret Order: The Buried Kingdom CE
   2.  The Secret Order: New Horizon CE


Sunward Games presents the newest addition to the Endless Fables series!

Your friend has gone missing while researching Norse Myths. Your search for him quickly takes a dark turn as you encounter a man with the ability to freeze people and objects! Will you be able to find your friend in time, or will your ice-cold adversary be your downfall? Find out in this chilling hidden-object puzzle adventure!

  • Defeat the legendary Kraken in the bonus chapter!
  • Never get lost with the strategy guide.
  • Search for cleverly-hidden collectibles.
  • Challenge yourself with replayable HOPs and mini-games.
  • Enjoy concept art, wallpapers, and more!


18  wallpapers  (have logo)
12  concept art  (no logo, can't save)
  0  screensaver
12  videos
10  music  (can save)
32  minigames  (and I loved them!)
14  HOPs  (these were also great!)

Collectibles:    a lot were very challenging  -  you can't go back to find any you missed once you've finished

28  Flamblings  (7 each - Orange, Blue, Purple & Turquoise (BG))
20  morphing objects  (all different objects)

    -  some of both were easy to spot, some were tricky, but some were OMG where is it????
    -  they got harder to spot as the game progressed
    -  some of both were often hidden behind things and you could only see a little bit peaking out!
    -  not in every scene - either one or the other, both, or none
    -  there's a pop-out box you can click on to see if there are any in the scene
    -  but weird as it told you how many of each were still to be found - but there was never more than 1 of each!

Morphing Objects:

    -  they morphed very quickly but there was a long time between morphs, so you had to really look!
    -  you can only click on them when they're in their morph mode
    -  a few were so small and hidden in little corners that I thought I was going to go blind looking for them
    -  but what a fantastic feeling when I finally spotted them!
    -  they can be an object of part of something (eg. the face on a statue changes slightly)
    -  they can be anything (eg. part of a design)
    -  and sometimes a very subtle morph (eg. a deer will face another direction)
    -  they can almost be totally hidden behind something!

Achievements:    21

12  Skill based
  9  Story based

I got all of them except 1 - collecting all the collectibles as I somehow missed one of the Orange Flamblings.  I think it must have been right at the beginning as I thought I checked every scene to see if I'd missed something but I don't think I did that right from the first few scenes.

I thought I'd never get some of the Skill-Based ones as they seemed impossible - there's one for 8 MGs in 60 secs - 3 HOPs in 45 secs without hints (because the HOPs were really complicated with lots of interactions) - but, even though most of the MGs and HOPs are really hard and time consuming, there were also some really easy ones, enough to get those 2 achievements.


Touch:    One  -  but every time I touched the screen there was a 1-cm-wide, brightly coloured circle!
Icon Changes:    Can't turn off
Helpful Messages:    Can't turn off  -  sometimes not too bad, sometimes give way TMI
Plus-Item Indicators:    Can't turn off  -  both indicated and when active
Difficulty Modes:    The usual 4
Voiceovers:    Very good  -  you can turn them off in Options - turn off 'Dialogue'
Lip-Syncing:    Excellent  -  and you even see the tongue moving when they talk!
Graphics:    Absolutely beautiful  -  crystal clear, very colourful but not garish
Animation:    Minimal blurring, sometimes excellent!
Music:    Beautiful and very atmospheric  -  and a lot  -  not a silent game but not constant
Ambient:    Very good
Tasks:    Large box auto pops in/out from left  -  I did my best to ignore it
Inventory:    Straight in
Conversation:    Auto forward
Extra Scene Clicks:    The odd comment but nothing really
Diary:    ?


    -  LOTS of variety!  -  FRAG, silhouette, list, 100% interactive with nothing shown (no list, silhouette, etc)
    -  LOTS of interaction!
    -  interactive objects don't first go down the bottom - you click on them, they hover, you click to use them
    -  I loved them as there was so much interaction and you really have to work out what's interactive
    -  but it helped that I was playing with touch and therefore had no cursor changes to help
    -  none are repeated


    1.    NO LIST GIVEN  -  I loved the way that you're only told that there are 12 interactions, that's all!  There's no list and you have no idea what objects you're actually for.  It's like a big puzzle.  You have to work out all the interactions and a lot of the interactions (in all of the HOPs) require several steps - eg. first put the candle in the lamp, then use the matches to light the candle - but the best thing is that, given that there's no list or silhouettes down the bottom, the interactive objects don't first go down the bottom then you have to click again to use them; you click on them, they hover there in the scene, then you click where you want to use them directly - I loved that!  It's also the same in the zoom scenes.

    2.    FRAG  -  with some of the objects hidden - red until they're uncovered as lots are hidden

    3.    ONLY 4 OBJECTS TO FIND  -  this one was very similar to the first one but this time you're given 4 objects to find.  However, the whole HOP is once again interactive and you have to work out all the interactions.  These were also all multi-step interactions - eg. use a knob to open a drawer, to get a corkscrew, to open the jar, then use the tongs to remove the eye, to put into the empty eye socket of the skull, to get, "Skull with eyes".

    4.    INTERACTIVE LIST  -  but super interactive  -  lots of interactions with some multiple steps  -  HARD!

    5.    SILHOUETTE  -  find and use all in the HOP  -  this time all go down the bottom as you find them as you don't use them all immediately but have to wait until you've located where they can be used.

    6.    ONE OBJECT TO FIND  -  in the BONUS GAME  -  you only have to find 1 object but you have to work out what you have to do to find it  -  one huge interactive HOP to find 1 object!

Minigames:    From easy... to OMG!

There are so many minigames - you get to replay 32!!!! so I imagine that's how many are in the game.  And the difficulty ranges from really easy to head-scratching.  I loved them all, just like the HOPs. 

Quite a few of the minigames were quite easy but, with 32!!!!, there were also a LOT of hard ones!  There were 2 triangle-swap jigsaws (one of my fav MGs) - the one at the beginning was really easy, with at least half of the pieces already in the correct places, and a lot of the others just had to be swapped with a neighbour; only the top-left corner had to be sorted out - I was SO disappointed.  But then there was another one near the end of the main game.  And OMG!  It was lots of tiny flowers or intertwined vines.  You have no idea what the picture is, given that it's just tiny flowers and a confusion of intertwining vines, so you have to start from the side, matching up perhaps one little flower, and work your way from there.  And no pieces were in their correct places or in the neighbouring spot.  I LOVED it!  It was much harder than the first one!

In the BONUS GAME  -  I was playing the BG late last night and got stumped and boxed in in a minigame.  It was a slider but like nothing like I've come across before.  It's a slider with tangram puzzle pieces!  The board is a drawing in black and white, with the pieces in colour.  Naturally, the whole board isn't covered in tangram pieces as then they wouldn't be able to move.  Rather, the areas where the pieces go are in black and white, and you have to work out where the bit of the drawing that's on each piece goes, and there areas where there are no trangram pieces is already in colour.  But you should try to move tangram pieces around a small, tight board!  I finally got all bar 2 or 3 pieces in their correct places but then there was no way I could move the last couple of pieces to the other side of the board without moving every other pieces away from their spots.  It was late and I was tired and I'd already spent a long time on this slider puzzle, so I cheated with the SG, planning on replaying it in Extras once I'd finished.  Thank heavens the next 2 minigames were super easy peasy!!!!

Bonus Game:    Took me a little under 1.5 hours

I played using touch (so no cursor icon changes), didn't skip any HOPs or minigames (but did finally cheat with one, mentioned above), but used the Hint quite a lot to move around as it was late and I was tired.  So the time could be longer or shorter for you.

The story follows on directly from the main game - you're saying good bye after the main game and your goodbyes are interrupted and the bonus game takes off (the story: the Kraken you thought you'd gotten rid of right at the beginning of the main game comes back in the bonus game - it hadn't returned to the Underworld - and you have to deal with it) - but it's a totally different story and so isn't necessary, just very good!  It's quite long, I think a tad more challenging than the main game, and of the same very high quality of gameplay, graphics, music, HOPs and MGs.  The collectibles also continue in the BG.

The Ending:  The BG ended well but I was really disappointed.  After such a great game, and lengthy bonus game, the ending cutscene was really short - way too short.  It was very abrupt and it was like, "Okay, then, I guess it's over!"  It ended well; it just needed a longer cutscene so it wasn't so abrupt.


    -  great game!
    -  fantastic graphics and music
    -  not too short - MG about 4 hours  -  BG about 1.5 hours
    -  great collectibles - boy were some hard to find!
    -  good bonus game - equally great quality, just disappointing short cutscene at the end
    -  fantastic variety of HOPs and MGs - a lot very original
    -  HOPs weren't easy - most were very interactive - only 2 or 3 were interactive lists
    -  MGs were also great - 32! - ranging from easy peasy to "OMG, where's the SG?"
    -  good bonus game

    -  When I entered one scene - the scene with the Druid's house - I was gobsmacked by the clarity and beauty of the scene - crystal clear, colourful and dark.  Then the next scene - inside the Druid's house - was drab by comparison with lots of browns, and covered in a "film" to represent light coming through the window.  It was like they were done by 2 different artists.

Play Time   MG = about 4 hours   -   BG = about 1:5 hours

I played in Custom Mode, playing with touch and so no cursor changes, don't skip any MGs, and try to keep using hints to a minimum, just using them to move around if I can't remember where I need to do something, or I'm stumped and often find out I've missed an active area.

Recommendation   Definitely the SE  -  the CE depending on whether you think the extras are enough

I can definitely recommend the game.  I thought it was great and fun to play!  I also loved the fun, highly interactive, challenging HOPs, and the equally fun MGs that ranged from easy peasy to OMG.  Both also have quite a bit of originality.

Extras or CE versus SE:

I thought the collectibles were great, both the Flamblings and different morphing objects, as they seemed to get harder and harder to find as the game progressed, with both being hidden behind things.  The Flamblings also blended in very well with the background and sometimes were super camouflaged - eg. an Orange Flambling was the flame in a fire! - and you never knew which colour was in any scene - except all the ones in the bonus game were turquoise (except you get the pop-out saying that you'd collected all the green ones(?).  And some of the morphing objects were very subtle or hidden behind things or very small and hidden it tiny, dark corners.  Every morphing object was different and could be separate objects that morphed, or could be part of something - eg. the face on a statue could change slightly, or could be part of a design, etc.

However,  all you get if you find all the collectibles is an achievement.  You can see all your morphing objects in a book in the Achievement room but there's no information about what they are or why they were in the game.  You can just see a picture of each one.  You don't collect them for any bonus - no info, no bonus game, nothing.  So, unless you love looking for some challenging collectibles, I don't recommend the CE for the collectibles.

The only other extras - apart from the usual wallpapers, etc - are replayable HOPs and MGs.  I loved them and would love to replay them, but I don't recommend the CE just to replay them as there aren't enough other extras.

The bonus game is also great but, as it is a totally separate story that follows on from the main game, it isn't needed and doesn't give you any more insight into the game or the characters, so I don't recommend the CE just for the bonus game.

So I can't recommend the CE as I don't think there are enough extras to warrant the extra expense  -  but I'm not sorry I got it as there are some great replayable HOPs and MGs and I liked finding all the collectibles. 

If you like challenging collectibles, like being able to replay some fantastic HOPs and MGs, and like a good bonus game, then I can recommend the CE.  I just always like some other bonuses, like a reason for collecting any collectibles - maybe some bonus minigames, or some background info.


What you're doing today is important
because you're exchanging a day of your life for it.
     Thread Starter

March 27, 2018 9:49 am  #35

Re: StuSue's Reviews

Darkheart - Flight of the Harpies - PE

Developer:    Lazy Turtle

Date of Review:    27 March 2018

Genre:    HOPA

Released:    BFG:  27 March 2018   -   GH:  22 December 2017   -   Android:   Not yet


​Challenge an evil presence in this chilling hidden object adventure and save your loved ones before it's too late!

​Legend spoke of an evil magician who possessed the secret of eternal life which required that he steal the souls of unsuspecting villagers.  It seemed as if no mortal soul could stand against this dark power but, according to an ancient prophecy, one day there would be someone brave enough to face it!   The dark mage sent his Harpies to seize a fresh supply of souls.  This time they took your parents!  Can you save them in time?

​    -    Save your parents and defeat the dark mage.
​    -    Find beasts to display in your Bestiary.
    -    Collect dozens of Achievements.
​    -    Find out druid's story in Bonus Chapter.
​    -    Enjoy beautiful wallpapers and concept art.

Extras:    very minimal

       HOPs  -  None!
       MGs  -  None!
​       Music  -  None!
​       Cutscenes  -  None!

  8   Wallpapers  -  all with large game logo
  8   Concept art  -  lovely!  Can't save but can set as wallpaper in game files.
10   Achievements  -  incl. playing in Hard Mode and finishing game with No Hints!
  ?   Collectibles  -  6 Figurines (hidden! in zoom scenes, and in scenes)
​                           -  Morphing Objects and Hearts (different forms) in each scene
​                           -  can't go back to collect any you miss and no idea how many
​       Bestiary  -  this is where you find your 6 Mythical Creature Figurines and info re each


Touch:    Two Click in scenes, Mouse in zoom scenes, One Click for collectibles
Icon Changes:    Can turn off
Helpful Messages:    Can't turn off - sometimes TMI, sometimes just state the obvious
Plus-Item Indicators:    Can't turn off - Cu-coloured when active, shadow 4 what's needed
Difficulty Modes:    The usual 4
Voiceovers:    Very good
Lip-Syncing:    Very good
Graphics:    Great - like very good concept art - but not crystal clear
Animation:    Good animation but a bit blurry and pixelated
Music:    Very atmospheric but very little - mainly ambient sounds
Ambient:    Good - eg. cicadas, bees
BBTs:    Sometimes TMI, sometimes just states the obvious, like the tap is rusty
Tasks:    Auto - huge white text in the middle with swirling purple smoke around it
Inventory:    Must click to close box
Conversation:    Auto forward - yay!
Diary:    None
Map:    Pretty drawing of locations

Extra Scene Clicks:    ?

Collectibles:    3 different ones  -  only in main game, not bonus chapter

    -   Figurines  -  6  -  mythical creatures
​            -   hidden! in zoom scenes, not just lying there, as well as in scenes
​            -   when found, you can read info re these mythical beasts in the Bestiary

    -   Morphing Objects  -  no idea how many  -  in scenes  -  morph quickly
    -   Hearts  -  no idea how many  -  in scenes  -  all different forms (yay!)
​    -   sometimes scenes have both MOs and hearts  -  sometimes only 1 of them
​    -   not easy as the scenes are very busy

Beastiary  -  6 Mythical Creature Figurine collectibles

​Manticore:    A winged creature with the body of a lion and a venomous scorpion's tale.
​Cerberus:    It's the monstrous three-headed dog guarding the gates of the Underworld.
​Hydra:    A serpentine water monster with many heads.
​Wyvern:    A creature with a dragon's head and wings and a reptilian body.
​Dragon:    A legendary fire-spewing winged creature.
​?:    I missed one - possibly a troll?

Helpers:   3

    -   first you get a Druid, then a Dwarf, then an Automaton
​    -   all are shown on the Task Bar as they're added
​    -   an outline on the screen will show you whichever helper you need to use 

Achievements:    10

    -   all earned
    -   including one for playing in Hard Mode  (everything is turned off)
​    -   including one for playing the entire game without using any hints at all

    -   I missed 4:
​            -   any MG in under a minute, which is impossible to get!
​            -   collect all hearts, and collect all morphing objects, and find all figurines
​            -   I thought I'd checked each scene in the SG but still missed at least 1 of each!
​            -   and you can't go back to find any you missed!

HOPs and MGs:    

    -   some original
    -   all fun!
    -   none were easy peasy
​    -   some needed thought
​    -   most were medium difficulty
​    -   some of the HOPs are multi-layered


    +    I loved the animated maze puzzle where you have to work out which route to take through the maze to get the correct object you need to destroy/remove each obstacle - only 1 correct order.

​    +    there are some timed puzzles eg. you fly on the back of an eagle and have to avoid obstacles.  This one is long and you have to time avoiding the obstacles perfectly as the peaks that stick up are very close together.  You have 3 lives and once they've gone you have to start right from the beginning.  I had to restart several times.  There's also an M2 that's timed - with 3 levels - to defeat the mage.

​    +    very good sound effects, eg. the stone grating

Bonus Chapter:

     +    has a very unique HOP  -  a griffon (half lion, half eagle)  -  you first have to get the scroll with the code, then when you go back to the griffon, she squawks out 3 symbols at a time, they go onto the 3 areas on the scroll, and then they're changed into 3 sketches of objects that you have to find in the scene behind the griffon, who takes up half the screen!

​     +    you get 4 "skills"  -  fire, air, earth, water  -  which you use when you need help, eg. fire to light a torch, air to blow something down from above

​     +    you play as the wizard (druid?) as a prequel  -  I think it's his life leading up to the main game  -  you find out how he became the wizard and how he got his skills  -  he's one of the 3 helpers you have in the main game

​     +    every time you use one of these "skills" you play the same minigame - and you use these "skills" a lot in the bonus chapter!  - a line-M3 where you have to remove all the cubes from the board  -  and it's HARD!  I had to play nearly every level many times  -  I had to keep resetting when I realised wasn't going to be able to clear all the cubes from the board  -  and every time you reset the board changes!  -  so you can't apply what you used in the previous attempts as it's a brand new layout!

​     +    it seemed really short but it was actually over an hour  -  so okay but not really long, or at least sure didn't seem very long

Play Time:    MG = about 4:40 hours, BG = about 1:10 hours

I played in Hard Mode (thus with no Hints or Skip), using touch (thus no cursor), and I like to take my time, so your playing time will vary.

Recommendation:    Yes  -  but SE, not CE, especially with a PCC


   +   graphics
   +   music
​   +   sound effects
   +   HOPs
   +   MGs

​Pro/Con:  collectibles

   +   there are 3  -  figurines, hearts, morphing objects
​   +   they're hard to spot
​   +   you get info re mythical beasts when you collect the figurines

 ​   -   it doesn't tell you how many there are
    -   you can't go back to find any you missed
​    -   only in the main game; don't continue into bonus chapter
​    -   you only collect the hearts and morphing objects to get achievements


​    -   no touch  (partial - I had to use mouse in zoom scenes, just like ERS/AMAX games)
    -   not many extras
    -   bonus chapter not worth double the price
​    -   repetitive MG in second half of bonus chapter
​            -   line-M3 where you have to remove all pieces from the board
            -   difficult and I sometimes had to replay several times to remove all pieces
​            -   I liked it but a lot of people don't like that sort of M3


What you're doing today is important
because you're exchanging a day of your life for it.
     Thread Starter

June 16, 2018 1:33 pm  #36

Re: StuSue's Reviews

I actually played a game this week!   

An Adventure/Simulation/Horror game that I bought in the GOG sale that's on at the moment.

And I HIGHLY recommend it!  And there's even a demo so you can try it first!

Stories Untold

Released on GOG:    27 February 2017

Current price in the GOG sale (until 18 June 2018):    2.49 euro  -  around $3?  (which is -75%)

Developer:    No Code Studios

Publisher:    Devolver Digital


It's really difficult to describe the gameplay in this game as each episode is totally different and it's unlike any game I've ever played before.

Half the game is played by typing things, either like the old games when you typed to play - eg, "Look around yard", "Use key" - or typing instructions into equipment - eg. when you're carrying out an experiment.  You also have to use a microfiche machine, just like using a real one, which really brought back memories for me.  Episode 1 is totally text driven, where you type instructions as to what you should do, and then the story is typed above.

The other half of the game is wandering around in FPP, trying to work out what the heck's going on.  Eg, in the second half of Episode 2, you wander around outside in a blizzard in Greenland, and in Episode 4, you wander around a deserted hospital. 

You wander around using your mouse and arrow keys at the same time and, for anyone who has problems with FPP games like me, ie. feeling sick, I managed this game without any problems, unlike every other FPP game I've tried.


Sorry, but the whole point of this game is that you have absolutely no idea what's going on!  All for episodes are totally different.  And I mean totally different!  You have no idea what's going on until the last episode, when it all suddenly falls into place.  I loved not knowing what was going on or why the heck I was doing something. 

It's a horror game and in the first episode, which is entirely set in an abandoned holiday house belonging to your parents, it's entirely text-driven with you entering instructions.  It's really creepy - well, it is a horror game - and you don't know what's going on, especially as every time you do something again, it changes.  For example, every time you click on the note your dad left for you it changes, eventually becoming illegible as it drips blood.

And you're alone for the entire game, never seeing a single other person or living thing.  However, you do communicate with people over loud speakers, etc.

However, I didn't read a single review where someone liked the ending.  The ending is done well but no one liked the way the story ended, including me.  But don't let that put you off; the rest of the game more than makes up for it and I will definitely replay this game, even knowing how it ends.  I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks, should anyone play it.


Difficult to know what to do but not difficult to actually do it once you've worked it out (but there's a written walkthrough on Steam and there are lots of video walkthroughs on YouTube, so it's really playable no matter what level player you are). 

You'll also need pen and paper - ah, remember the good old days? - as there is absolutely no hand holding and you'll have to write everything down so that you can use it later.

For example, you have to type instructions into various machines.  One example:

Rot.x [x]
Actuate.y [y]
Point.1 [z]

where you have to work out what x, y and z are from clues you're given, clues that are to be found in something you've already done.


Episode 1  -  about 40 minutes
Episode 2  -  about 1 hour
Episode 3  -  about 1 hr 45 mins
Episode 4  -  about 1 hour 30 mins

Recommendation:  YES, YES YES!

I absolutely LOVED this game, even though I had no idea what on earth I was doing most of the time.  Well, I knew what I was doing but had absolutely no idea why, as each episode is so different in both story and gameplay.  

This game is like nothing I've ever played before and, if anyone wants something totally out of the box, this is it!  I didn't find it scary (although some reviewers said that they did), just eerie and confusing as to what the heck was going on.  The sound effects created a very atmospheric/creepy atmosphere and really added to the story.

And for the current sale price you can't go wrong.

But there's a demo so you can try it before you buy it.  Just remember that the bit you play in the demo - Episode 1 - is totally different to the rest of the game, which comprises doing things like experiments and wandering around in FPP.

What you're doing today is important
because you're exchanging a day of your life for it.
     Thread Starter

June 24, 2018 1:13 pm  #37

Re: StuSue's Reviews

Darkarta - A Broken Heart's Quest - PE    

Developer:            TuttiFrutti Interactive  (India)

Date of Review:    24 June 2018

Genre:                    HOPA

Released:               GH:  29 September 2017
                                BFG:  5 June 2018
                                Android:   Not yet


Darkarta - A Broken Heart's Quest Platinum Edition is a tale of love and loss, life and death.

Mary's life was picturesque, until a letter revealing her past surfaced.  With it came the ancient Darkarta, who kidnapped her daughter, Sophia.  

Embark on a hidden object adventure that spans 3,700 years.  

    -    conquer A Broken Heart's Quest and unlock the bonus chapter, Rising of the Phoenix
    -    collect hidden memories
    -    complete the story and unlock an exclusive comic book
    -    overcome any obstacle with the integrated Strategy Guide


17   HOPs 
32   MGs  
​12   Music  -  can't save!
​23   Cutscenes  

33   Wallpapers  -  all with game logo and you can't Set, only Save!
12   Concept art  -  all with game logo and you can't Set or Save!
35   Achievements  -  incl. playing in Expert Mode and finishing game with No Hints!
                                -  some with 2 or 3 stars  -  most earned

  2   Collectibles  -  28  morphing objects
                            -  30  Memories
                            -  can't go back to collect any you miss
​   1   Comic Book  -  this gives you the prequel story, leading up to the game
                              -  it can be read before you even start playing the game


Touch:    Double Click  -  impossible to time  -  must use mouse
Icon Changes:    Can't turn off
Helpful Messages:    Can turn off 
Plus-Item Indicators:    Can't turn off - also indicated when active
Difficulty Modes:    The usual 4
Voiceovers:    Very good and you have a voice, ie. your character!
Lip-Syncing:    OK but not synced 
Graphics:    Beautiful colours, crystal clear - absolutely beautiful outdoor scenes
Animation:    Good animation (esp. water) but a bit blurry - except people don't walk but 'jump'
Music:    Very good, very atmospheric, but not all the time - and not Indian!
Ambient:    Good
BBTs:    Can turn off
Tasks:    Auto - very quick - just text - no box - bottom left - so not too bad and can avoid
Pop Ups:    Can turn off achievement pop ups 

Inventory:    Straight in - PIIs indicated and when active
Conversation:    Must click to forward
Diary:    Has lots of tabs - Journal, Objectives, Map, Characters (broken up into groups)
              The Journal contains the entire story!
              Lots of info - the story and all the characters in the game
Map:    Sketches of the locations - shows collectibles

Extra Scene Clicks:    Lots of comments - some animation
Helpers:    None

Collectibles:    Morphing Objects and Collectible Memories

    -   Morphing Objects  -  28  -  normally one per scene
​            -   take ages to morph - then morph and back very quickly - so hard to spot
​            -   always
snake into eagle so just look for a snake
            -   ie. morphing from the animal of one clan into the animal of the other
            -   can only click when in morphed form
            -   can be in any form - eg. a statue, engraving, or the real thing
            -   some are really small, way off in the distance
            -   can also be in the middle of a minigame, or in the middle of a maze
            -   even found one in the middle of a MG!  -  very faint, bottom middle, almost missed it!

    -   Memories  -  30s  -  may be more than one in a scene, or none 
            -   can be anywhere - scenes, zoom scenes or in a maze

            -   these are things that remind you (Memories) of your missing daughter
            -   they decorate your daughter's bedroom in the extras
            -   really touching to see them and read about them and what they mean to you

Achievements:    35

    -   most are earned
    -   including one for playing in Expert Mode
​    -   including one for playing the entire game without using any hints at all
    -   1 has 2 levels, 2 have 3 levels

    -   I missed quite a few, including 1 missed collectible, playing a HOP in under 150 seconds

HOPs:    17

    -   some different and not too easy - all fun!
    -   the first was a progressive silhouette - haven't seen one of those in ages!
    -   some were straight lists but each had 2 or 3 lists - once you'd finished one another popped up
    -   even the straight lists weren't super easy as some of the objects were very well hidden!

    -   there's an M3 alternative  -  very basic  - can't slide  -  must click on each tile
            -   but you can't just play to get rid of one object as you make matches
            -   you play to the end, clearing all the coloured tiles
    -   some have minigames in them  -  some are minigames!
    -   normally for a reason, not just for finding objects eg. finding symbols on boulders to move them

 MGs:    32  -  a lot more than HOPs

    -   not very explicit instructions  -  telling you the goal but not how to get there
    -   sometimes only worked out how to play them through trial and error
    -   all this made them harder than they needed to be  -  but I liked that
    -   some are multi-layered  
    -   once I played one level, then had to return to continue once I'd found an object I needed
            -   but you aren't told that!
    -   a  Simon Says minigame where you have to click on buttons in the correct order
            -   but you have to remember all 8 at once!!!!
            -   not dumbed down like most recent games


    -   fun maze cave system (?) to go through
    -   but there are things to find and minigames to play along the way  -  so click on everything!

​Back and Forth:

    -   there's only minimal back and forth
    -   each location only has a few scenes and so not a lot of running around  -  only 1 or 2 scenes
    -   I never felt like I was running around all the time, filling in time, wearing out my shoes
    -   and this really loooooong game didn't require this sort of time filler!

Strategy Guide:

    -   always opens to the scene you're in, never wherever you left it open
    -   it's a bit confusing as it's not in chronological order but rather scene order
            -   ie. you get all the information for every scene on one page 
            -   if you visit a scene 3 or 4 times, all the info for every visit will be on the one page
            -   so sometimes it took a bit of searching to find what I needed
    -   but it gives you HOP solutions and I can't remember the last time I saw that!

Their Thanks:    TuttiFrutti thank Pond Friends, including our very own lilyr!

Bonus Chapter:

    -   continues on directly following the main game, completing the story
    -   you play another character
    -   this character saves the character you play in the main game from her fate
    -   ie. main game ends with an important, emotional - but unhappy - ending
    -   then bonus game ends with a happy ending
    -   you don't need the happy ending and you can guess what happens, anyway
    -   very short  -  for me only about 50 minutes, and I always play very slowly

Play Time:    MG = about 7:45 hours, BG = about 50 minutes

I played in Custom Mode so that I could turn off the helpful messages, and I like to take my time, so your playing time will vary.

Recommendation:    Yes  -  but SE, not CE, because of the super short bonus chapter

I only decided to play this HOPA because I was looking for a recent BFG release that was also on GameHouse so that I could write a review.  I found this game but, when I started playing, the first thing I noticed was that I had to play with the mouse, which is something I never do!  If I can't play using touch I won't even demo a game.   Then I discovered that I couldn't turn off the icon changes, or the plus-item indicators, or the task box.  But I thought I'd persevere and see how it went.  And I couldn't stop playing it, playing the entire main game in one session!  If I'd known how short the bonus game was, I would have played that straight away as well.

And this game ended up being one of the best games I've ever played!  It has a great story, with a really touching message.  The graphics are really beautiful, the gameplay is very smooth with originality and some fun HOPs and MGs.  The morphing objects weren't anything special but I loved the Memories.

I recommend this game with no reservations whatsoever.  It's only a personal choice on whether you think the collectibles and extras are enough to warrant double the price, as the bonus chapter is disappointingly short.


    +   super long main game!
    +   smooth gameplay  -  and fun!
    +   story  -  set in India and covering 3,700 years!  -  and really touching  -  all about love
    +   the comic book, which gives you the backstory
    +   originality
    +   graphics

    +   HOPs
    +   MGs
    +   morphing objects  -  although for nothing but an achievement  -  not very hard to spot
    +   the collectible Memories  -  lovely to read why they're so memorable in the extras


​    -   no touch  
    -   very short bonus chapter
    -   can't turn off icon changes or plus-item indicators, even when active
​    -   morphing objects and collectibles don't continue into the bonus chapter
    -   can't go back to find any missing collectibles 


PS:    I was kicked out of the game right near the end of the main game but it was no problem just restarting the game and continuing on from where I'd been kicked out.  But when I clicked on the box to send the error message to TuttuFrutti, I was shocked to get an email from them shortly after, asking me to let them know whether I was playing the BFG version (no - GameHouse FunPass) and where exactly the error had occurred.  I thought that showed how much they care about the people who play their games.

What you're doing today is important
because you're exchanging a day of your life for it.
     Thread Starter

July 6, 2018 5:33 am  #38

Re: StuSue's Reviews

Beyond the Kingdom - CE        

Developer:         Liam Games (Oleksandr Volkov)

Other Games:    Sweet Kingdom (TM)                          
                            Veronica and the Book of Dreams (M3)

Released:           GameHouse - 22 June 2018
                            BFG - Not yet

Genre:                TM - Collect resources, clear roads, etc.

Touch:                 Fortunately, one!

Graphics:            Very good with very cute workers and good animation

Music:                  There are lots of different musical pieces and I loved them - especially 2


Extra episodes (levels) = 10  -  Main Game = 38 episodes
SG  -  very helpful
Concept Art
Music  -  lots and I really liked the music  -  click to download and it’s already there

Unfortunately, there are no collectibles and I think that a TM CE needs at least one, unless it has a gazillion extra levels to warrant double the price, or 2 credits versus a PCC.

Episodes (Levels):    MG  =  38   -   BG  =  10

Native Valley      3      1.1 - 1.3
Tropical Bay       7      2.1 - 2.7
                           3      3.6 - 3.8
Skull Island         5      3.1 - 3.5
River Island         8      4.1 - 4.8
Rocky Isle           4      5.1 - 5.4
Northern Land     8      6.1 - 6.8

Bonus Episodes:

Frenzy Island       6      7.1 - 7.6
Puzzle Island       4      8.1 - 8.4

Bonuses/Powerups:    1

Only 1  -  the Bard.  When he’s ready and comes out of his tent (that you have to first build), you send someone to ask him to play his mandolin and all the workers speed up while he plays.

For other usual things like speeding up production, collecting the resources automatically, or even getting rid of huge spiders which stop you from building buildings, you have to make your way to structures and build them.  They’re not powerups that you choose to use.  I found this different and fun.  There’s no Powerup Bar to let you know when you can use your powerups.


The buildings actually get bigger and look grander when you upgrade them.  I hate it when all you get is 1, 2 or 3 stars next to a building to show that it’s been upgraded.

Cancelling Actions:

To cancel an action you just have to click on it again - you don’t have to Right click - yay!  That makes it so much easier to cancel actions when playing using touch.

Difficulty:    2 Modes  -  Timed or Untimed  -  you can change at any time and any level

In this TM you don’t have to choose which building to build on building sites (which I hate doing).  Rather, the destroyed buildings are already there and you just have to clear the way to them and have enough resources to rebuild them (or upgrade them).  The difficulty in this game lies in having to decide in which direction to head first (you may have to choose between three directions to head, or between three roads that head to the same place), which resource buildings need to be built (or upgraded) first - especially as, in order to get 3 starts, you won’t have enough time/resources to upgrade all the buildings and will have to decide which ones you actually need upgraded.  You also have to decide when to get more workers, etc.  You may have to replay levels several times, trying different directions, different strategies, in order to get 3 stars.

Main Episodes  -  I had to replay a few levels several times to get 3 stars but the main game isn’t too difficult.  I simply had to replay levels, trying different strategies, until I found the correct one (or looked at the SG).  For example, there may be three different roads to take to get from Point A to Point B and you have to work out which road to clear first, whether you need food, or wood, or the Bard first.

Until Episode 4.4, I got 3 stars for every level without even trying.  Then I tried Episode 4.4.  I missed by only a few seconds so I replayed the level and made it this time by only a few secs.  Then Episode 4.5.  I had to play this level 3 times.  You have to work out the order to access/build things, as well as which buildings need to be upgraded and which don’t.

The really hard levels begin with Episode 5.2.  What order should you do everything?  You need gold to get wood, food and stone, as well as trigger the rune stones.  You also need crystals.  But should you build the houses (where you get gold) before the rune stones?

Then Episode 5.4.  I only got 1 star on my first try!  So I had to change tactics and not order so much wood as I needed gold!  You have to get to the key to open the portal to get up top ASAP to clear the way for the soldiers (?) to get to the houses to get gold - and keep them getting gold up top while you’re doing this - and get them to clear the spiders out of the way when they have enough gold ... phew!  It took me a few tries until I got 3 stars on this level.  But I loved this episode as you have workers up top and workers down the bottom working separately until you get the key to open the portal linking the top of the cliff with the bottom.  And one hint ... make sure to clear the spider on the right before the one on the left.

Bonus Episodes  -  OMG!  It’s like the 38 main episodes are simply tutorial levels, getting you ready for the bonus episodes.  I got 3 stars - just - for the first episode, then 2, then 1, then I had to change to untimed if I wanted to get any stars!  The difference in difficulty between the main episodes and the bonus episodes is huge!  I think perhaps getting the CE would be worth it just to play these really hard levels (if you want to play them in Timed Mode), especially the last episode.  I haven’t as yet tried them again in Timed Mode to try and get 3 stars for each episode that way (you get 3 stars in Untimed Mode just by completing the level).  But you don’t need to get any stars to continue on to the next level.  You get a congratulatory message just for having completed the level, even without any stars.  But the achievement for getting all possible stars is only for the main episodes, not for the bonus episodes.

And the last bonus episode!  Wow!  I’ve never seen anything like it in a TM.  And, after playing it and replaying it over and over again, the only way I could even finish it was with the help of the SG!!!!  All you have to do is free 3 or 4 workers, that’s it.  However, the entire level is lots of little, interconnecting roads and bridges everywhere, with not a single resource building.  There are a few - very few - nests with eggs (food) and lots and lots and lots of obstacles!  You have to decide in which direction to go - and you have to continually decide in which direction to go when you clear one obstacle and get to the next intersection.  I kept on running out of food and then got stuck with nowhere to go as I had no food to clear any more obstacles.

It’s like a huge labyrinth and there are so many ways to go!  You have to work out how much food you’ll need for each route you could possibly take, working out if you’ll have enough food to clear all the obstacles along the way (so put on your maths thinking cap!).  For example, at one point near the end, I needed 8 more wood and had to work out how to get the 8 with only 5 food.  Depending on which direction I took, there were wood obstacles with different amounts of wood, requiring different amounts of my precious food to clear.  So, if I cleared the 2 wood obstacles that each gave 4 wood, it would require 2 lots of 3 food = 6, but I only had 5.  So I worked out that I needed to clear 2 obstacles each giving 3 wood (needing 4 food) and 1 obstacle giving 2 wood (needing 1 food), which would only require the 5 food that I had.  You don’t clear all the obstacles - you don’t have enough food for that!  You have to work out the most economical way to make your way through, getting to all the treasure chests and egg nests and freeing all the workers without running out of food - which obstacles do you clear and which not?

After many, many, MANY tries, my patience ran out (it was after midnight, after all) and I ended up looking at the SG just to see how they got to the first treasure chest with its goodies, and then continued on from there on my own.  I think I got stuck once (maybe twice) more then managed to finish on my next attempt.  I LOVED this level!

Differences to other TM games:

These are the ones I noted; there may be others.  And, except for the huge eyes, all the things listed here are found on more than one level.

To clear big, huge boulders, instead of needing lots of workers, you have to clear the way to a man with a huge cannon and pay him to blow up the huge boulders.  I thought that was fun.

There are temporary workers who can be hired in the Tavern (drunk workers, anyone?).

Further into the game you get an Alchemist who, after you’ve built the applicable buildings, can make more resources from those you have.  For example, in the Bakery, with 2 wood (collected from either obstacles or the sawmill) and 5 food (collected from the roads or farms), you get 15 food in the form of bread.  The same for all the other resources.

Once you build some huge Pink Crystals (on pedestals), all the resource buildings that surround them are speeded up.

Once you build some Scarlet Flowers, they automatically collect all the resources from the buildings around them (my fav bonus as I hate having to click to collect all the resources).

Some of the obstacles are a bit different to other TM games.  For example, there are giant crabs that cover the resource buildings you need to build.  You need a special poison for the arrows found on the previous island (I can’t remember another TM where you have to find something on one island that you don’t use until you’ve gone to the next one).  You have to build Towers to get archers to shoot the arrows at the crabs. However, each crab has a nest next to it and, as each crab is killed, it’s replaced by another crab from the nest.  You have to destroy all the crab nests so that there are no more crabs before you can build each resource building.  There are also giant spiders on giant webs.  And giant eyes on stalks that waft around until you destroy them.  They’re creepy.

Different resources/obstacles are collected/destroyed by different people, eg. workers, druids, soldiers, the canon man, archers.

The Bard (see Bonuses/Powerups above), who speeds everyone up (the workers, druids, soldiers, etc.) - both running and working, like building and clearing obstacles.  You have to clear the road to get to his tent (caravan?) and build it, deciding when to do that, and then, if you ask him nicely (and pay him?) he’ll play some music for you.  While he’s playing everyone speeds up - workers, druids, soldiers, etc - both running and working. When he’s finished playing (there’s a bar below that shows shows how much longer he’ll be playing), he goes back inside and has a rest and you have to wait until he comes back outside to ask him to play again.  So you have to watch carefully so you don’t miss any time in speeding up your workers.  It’s a pity that you don’t actually hear him play, as the music never changes when he’s playing.  If you could hear him play, you’d know, without having to look, when the speed bonus finished.

The last Bonus Episode (see above directly above under Difficulty), where there are no resource buildings to help you.  All the wood and stone you need will come from obstacles you clear, but you only have a finite amount of food.  You need to find your way through the ‘labyrinth’ to free workers, but you must find the correct route to take or else you’ll run out of food and not be able to continue.

Bonus Episodes (Levels):    10

There are 10 levels on 2 islands and these levels are SO much harder than the 38 in the main episodes!!!!  And the last level is impossible unless you’ve got unlimited patience (I didn’t and eventually resorted to the SG to see how to get to the first food without running out of food first and getting stuck with nowhere to go (which happened every single time I played the last level (see above under Difficulty).

I turned off the timer after the 5th bonus level when I couldn’t even get 1 star!  You continue without getting a single star but I just changed mode to take away the stress and get 3 stars on every level.

I got 3 stars quite easily for all 38 main levels (although I had to play some levels at least 2 or 3 times) and so got the achievement for getting all stars on all levels as the 10 bonus levels don’t count.

A few of my fav episodes (levels):

Episode 4.6  -  Really fun!  There’s a circular road that winds up around a mountain and the little guys had to run around and around until I was eventually able to build 2 ladders.  It was fun watching them take the shortcuts up and down the mountain.

Episode 4.7  -  Loved it!  Once you’ve reanimated the 3 Scarlet Flowers (by the Druid), they collect all the resources for you as soon as they’re produced.  So, apart from upgrading the buildings when you have enough resources to do so, you just sit back and watch!  :o)

Episode 5.3  -  Loved it!  You have to build towers to keep the crabs at bay - you don’t have to get rod if the crab nests like previously!  And it’s really cute - tiny little arrows shoot out to kill the crabs each time a new one covers a building.

Naturally, the last bonus episode (details above).

Recommendation:    YES!

SE  -  definitely!

CE  -  if you want those 10 extra super hard levels (esp. the last one) and the SG to help

And I can recommend this TM for any level player.  As there's an Untimed Mode, and you don't need any stars to complete a level and continue, it's perfect for Beginners or for those who just want a relaxed game.  However, in Timed Mode, there are some levels that may take several replays as you try different strategies to complete all goals within the time allowed, especially the bonus levels!  So it's also perfect for those who want a challenge in trying to find the correct strategy, especially the bonus levels!  The main episodes aren't particularly difficult, other than finding the correct strategy, but the bonus levels are much more challenging.

I loved this TM!  It starts out really slowly with super easy, normal, boring TM levels.  Then it starts getting interesting at Episode 4.4, when it starts getting harder.  So, if you demo it, make sure you play the full demo and get to where the difficulty ramps up and the fun stuff starts.

There may only be 38 episodes in the main game and 10 bonus episodes, but the episodes are long and one reviewer actually complained that the levels took too long!!!!  How can that be a negative?  I didn’t time how long I played (I just wanted to demo the game but then didn’t want to stop) but it sure isn’t a short game by any means, no matter how few levels there are.


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