Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “playfirst”

Vampire Saga: Pandora’s Box (Bigfishgames.com)

Tyler’s grandfather calls him for help.  Before his grandfather tells him what it’s about, he reveals a secret he has kept from his family for many years.

The story flashes back to the 19th century while having interludes in the 1950s.  In the 19th century, Tyler’s grandfather fled the war in Spain by becoming a stowaway on a ship called Pandora.  After a while, he wishes he boarded a different ship.  Tyler’s having trouble believing this but goes along with what his grandfather tells him.

This is actually realistic because no matter how crazy a loved one may sound, we still want to give them the benefit of the doubt.  One thing I don’t get is that in the second segment Tyler tells his grandfather that he believes him and in the last segment writes in his journal that he should be calling the police.  It seems like they screwed up the timing on that.

This is the classic hidden object game.  You collect random crap just to add one item to your inventory.

Then you play a few mini-games and press hint or skip when you’re having trouble.  There’s a journal in the corner that will give you access to the character’s thoughts.  The further you get in the story, the more you discover.

The game is addicting and spooky at times.  I give it 7 out of 10, back when the Vampire Saga games were actually good.  I swear that made me sound like an old woman.

Dairy Dash (Bigfishgames.com)

When Mr. Smith gets a farm from a relative, he thinks it will change his family’s life.  If only he know how much he was getting into.

The story’s quite simple; a family moves to a farm and has to work hard.  Therefore, there’s nothing special to mention except that Flo shows up.  In this game, you have to feed the animals, give them water, clean some of them and then you get the produce to sell.  After a while, you grow plants to sell.

Sometimes Flo will call and ask for some of your products.

If you’re having trouble, you can drink a glass of lemonade to speed up.  Sometimes you play mini-games at the county fair.

This game is fun and addictive.  I give it 5 out of 10, a typical Dash game.

Zodiac Prophecies: The Serpent Bearer Beta Test

A young ghostly girl appears in your home.  Her message, save a world you didn’t even know existed as the serpent bearer.  Can you do what she asks before the dark force swallows the mysterious kingdom?

The story does have that mystical fantasy approach that I usually love.  It also has some mystery.  At the end, it leaves you hanging.

The game play is your basic point and click.  You find objects, add them to your inventory, and use them in certain locations.  You will have to backtrack quite a bit but you have a map to help you.  The further you progress, the more the protagonist writes in her journal.  You have an unlimited number of hints you can use if you’re stuck.

The plot’s a little cliché and the game play’s somewhat boring.  I have no interest in getting the full game.

Pet Shop Hop (Bigfishgames.com)

Cassie wants to take over the family business but Minerva Mink (Mr. Big’s daughter) wants to buy it out.  In order to convince her family not to sell the pet shop, Cassie has to run it and double their profits.

First, let me just say that there are some misconceptions about pet shops in this game.  When you can sell hedgehogs, the description says that they’re very easy to take care of.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Read this article to see that you need to be prepared to care for one.  Many people that aren’t abandon the poor hedgehog.  Owning one is actually illegal in some parts of the United States and Canada.  Another thing is that when you can sell dogs and cats, the game says that they come from animal shelters.  While some pet shops take in rescues of these animals, ordinary pet shops like the one in the game get them from brutal practices such as puppy milling.  You might think playing this game makes me a hypocrite but all it says is that I can separate fiction from reality, something many people can’t do.

The story is quite simplistic like every game in the dash series.  I don’t get why Minerva’s last name is Mink if she’s Mr. Big’s daughter but it’s not important.  Before each level, you have to purchase pets for the shop.  Then you have to sell enough to reach the required goal.  Try for expert if you feel up to it.  There are some levels where Flo will visit your shop and make your customers happy.  In other levels, Minerva will visit and have the opposite effect.  In addition to purchasing pets, you can also buy upgrades for your shop.

The game is fun and addictive.  I give it 8 out of 10, another game for animal lovers.

Cate West: The Velvet Keys (Bigfishgames.com)

Cate West is back and this time she has to stop a murderer.  Each victim has their soul incased in a device that you have to unlock by using the Velvet Keys.

The plot is quite intriguing and makes some references to the first game as well as biblical ones.  It also tries to provide a reason for hunting objects instead of just telling you that you need to get random objects.  Some parts I don’t really understand but I can’t really say what they are without giving away spoilers.

Once again, the game play is completely repetitive.  You have to hunt down certain objects in order to form a key.  Then you have to collect objects that connect to the victim’s memories.  I will say one thing, what you do there differs in each chapter.  After that, you have to play a mini-game in order to unlock the device required for each key.

Again, the higher your score the better your ending.

It’s intriguing, but also repetitive.  I give it 6 out of 10, not a bad use of biblical references but I’ve seen better.

Cate West: The Vanishing Files (Bigfishgames.com)

When a crime wave hits the city, a novelist with a hidden ability aids the police in finding and arresting the mastermind.  Will it be enough to stop this?

Cate West is the protagonist and she put her life on hold to stop these crimes.  She also has her own agenda regarding her father’s death.  While there is a crime wave, each one involves Christianity.  Cate has to discover the connection between this and her powers.

Like I said, she puts her life on hold and has no time to make for her friends.  You might think I’m saying this negatively but I actually think it’s realistic.

The game play is the same every chapter.  First, you search for hidden objects.  Then you discover items that you have to reassemble since every crook likes to tear them apart for some reason instead of destroying them.  After that, you have to play a spot the difference game, accuse the right suspect and put the scene back together.

It’s fun at first but after a while, it gets repetitive.  You have an unlimited number of hints but using them subtracts from your score.  The ending you get depends entirely on how high your score is.

This game is fun but repetitive.  I give it 6 out of 10, a detective story with biblical elements.

Doggie Dash (Bigfishgames.com)

Walter and Scarlett have an idea of what to do with their lives but don’t have enough money to make their dreams a reality.  A chance meeting at Flo’s Diner allows Walter and Scarlett to combine their resources and open up a pet spa.

Not much to say about the plot except that it’s nice that Flo gets a cameo appearance.  There’s also a love story between Scarlett’s cat and Walter’s dog that will creep you out if you know about the birds and the bees.

The game play is that of a typical dash game.  You serve each pet trying to get them out before they run out of patience.  What you do is give them a bath, cut their fur and decorate them with ribbons.  You can also have them play before leaving, if you purchase the item and raise their happiness to five hearts.

Flo makes another cameo appearance with her dog Skillet.

This works to your advantage because pets will cheer up just by being near him.  In between levels, you purchase upgrades such as treats to make the game easier.  You can also pick between two decorations for whichever spa you are currently working at.  Getting the expert goal unlocks a third choice.  You have to reach the goal in order to advance but you can try for expert if you feel up to it.

The game is fun and addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, the dash game for animal lovers.

Youda Jewel Shop (Bigfishgames.com)

Samantha dreams of opening her own jewelry store.  In order to do so she has to graduate from school, improve her grandfather’s shop, and compete in the Designer of the Year contest.  Along the way, she has to help a few people achieve their dreams.

There’s not much to say about the plot.  Samantha’s just competing in contests and helping different people out along the way.  I guess what you can get from it is that she’s driven but she doesn’t forget all the people around her.  Other than that, it’s there to pad out the game.

In each level, you make jewelry for the various customers that come in.  Your grandfather prepares it on the conveyor belt while you connect the different pieces and give it to the people that come to your shop.  How quickly you serve them affects how well you do, which in turn can affect what heart you get for a certain level, the best one being diamond.

You also have to help different people with their shops.  After each level, you get to decide on a new jewel to add to your shop.  The only exception is when you complete tasks for friends where you decide what power-up you get.

The game is fun and addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, not a bad waste of your time.

Cooking Academy 2: World Cuisine (Bigfishgames.com)


After graduating from the Cooking Academy, you sign up for a contest to learn cuisines from different countries.  The winner receives a million dollars to start their own restaurant.

Like the last game, there’s not much of a plot.  You go to different restaurants and make various dishes.  There are parts of certain recipes where you have to cut shapes from the dough, but in this one, the mouse takes the form of a dough cutter to give you a better idea of how to do so successfully.  There is also another mini-game added that allows you to get ingredients from the refrigerator.

Many of the steps in the recipes are like the ones in the old game with a twist.

This is definitely a fun game.  I give it 7 out of 10, like the first game with a revamp.

Mystic Diary: Missing Pages (Bigfishgames.com)

Gustav once again tries to use the mystic diary to make him powerful.  This time he wants to become immortal and it’s up to Victor to stop him.

I thought this whole mess ended in the last game but I guess I was wrong.  In this one, we learn about the relationship between the two brothers, Victor and Gustav.  The former is a powerful magician while the latter is a brilliant scientist.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Gustav so he was hooked on the mystic diary.  Victor doesn’t understand why his brother can’t be happy with his own talents and I get the feeling that their parents played favorites.

This game is hidden object and it shows.  You will be going from scene to scene collecting objects and using them in various locations.  Some scenes require you to play through the standard hidden object scenario in order to add new items to your inventory.

If you can find an item in those scenes or you’re not sure what it’s for just use the hint button that recharges over time.  As you progress through the game, you add a new note to Victor’s journal.

Fun, but works better as a spinoff.  I give it 4 out of 10, not necessary to play the first two games.

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