I've mentioned that I'm pretty behind on my game-playing, but here is the list of the games that I feel are the best of the best - the ones I look forward to playing again:
HOG-genre and Adventure-lite:
in alphabetical order
Amanda Rose: The Game of Time - The graphics are quite lovely and though the story is a bit flimsy, the gameplay makes up for it. Slightly formulaic, yet varied enough to keep it interesting, this game deserved honorable mention.
Blood Oath - The gameplay and story are immersive and compelling, and the addition of achievements add to the overall enjoyment of the game. I will be replaying this again, soon.
Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome - What a surprise this was. The voice acting, music, and sounds are amazing, so I highly recommend playing with the sound ON -- you'll be missing out on an important aspect of the game if you have it turned off. The very highest quality in every way, I would say that this game is superb, and one of the best I've played.
Chimeras: Tune of Revenge - This is a fantastic game with a captivating storyline, engaging gameplay, and light on the HOG scenes. When we DO have a HOS, we must always do some sort of action to reveal it, and HOS do NOT repeat! Kudos to the devs on this one!
Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby - As far as straight HOG's go, this is one of the best of the best. I have waxed poetic about the nuances of movement that really brings the graphics to life (in my review), and the variety of bonus games within the game make this an outstanding offering.
Cruel Games: Red Riding Hood - While not a "superb" game, I really enjoyed this twisted tale. The gameplay was very enjoyable, and the graphics were beautiful. This is one of those (nowadays) rare SE's that is really VERY good.
Dark Dimensions: City of Fog - I found this game to be quite immersive, with an interesting story and atmospheric graphics. I absolutely enjoyed it.
Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose - This is a gorgeous game, and though I don't generally like FROG's, this is still one of the best of the best in the HOG-genre.
Deadtime Stories - This is one I wanted to start again the moment I finished it, as it was so different than the games we were used to getting at the time. My eldest has played it through at least three times.
Department 42: Mystery of the Nine - This is an excellent IHOG-lite, and one that I've played more than once. They really did a beautiful job on it, and kudos to the devs for being one of the first to offer brightness control! You have 9 cases to solve, and everything is tied together very nicely. Definitely a game to try!
Dream Chronicles - I started with game #2, and I was entranced by the game. It was so magical, so immersive... The first three were just wonderful. I have not played the others, yet.
Dream Day 7: True Love - I really enjoyed the touching story of a couple's 70-year marriage, and the gameplay was interesing and varied, as well. Kudos for bringing their story to life, devs.
Dreamland - It's not something I will be playing again soon, as some of the items are very hard to find, but I feel that this game definitely deserves mention on this list, as the gameplay is just that good.
Dreamscapes: The Sandman - What an amazing adventure-lite this is. All of the elements I love so much about IHOG's, but without any hidden object scenes! The story, graphics, and gameplay are highly immersive, so much so that the few localization problems I noticed weren't really bothersome. Loved it!
Elementals: The Magic Key - Those of you who have been part of the Pub from the beginning may remember how strongly I reacted to this game when I discovered it The gameplay is great, the graphics are gorgeous, and despite the overly-cartoonish familiar, I still feel that this game deserves more attention than it received.
Elixir of Immortality - I didn't play much of the demo before I purchased this, and I set the game aside for a long time before I finally played it. I really ended up enjoying the game all the way through. It has good graphics, an interesting who-dun-it story and immersive feel to it, so definitely give it a try if you haven't yet!
Enlightenus - This game deserves a nod for simply being different than most games in the genre. This really is an interesting play, and I recommend trying it if you haven't done so, yet.
Exorcist - I'm happy to see that a sequel is out now, as I really enjoyed the varied gameplay and story of this first game.
Forbidden Secrets: Alien Town
- This is an excellent IHOG all the way around. Great story, music, graphics... the graphics! Some of the best nuances of movement that I've seen since The Great Gatsby. Gorgeous, and beautiful cutscenes, as well. Truly enjoyed every minute of it.
Ghost in the Sheet - I never have finished this game, as it's NOT easy, but I absolute LOVE the humor in this game! If you like Adventure games, give it a try!
The Gift - This one deserved much more attention that it got. There are a lot of things what would NEVER happen now because of forensic science (disturbing a crime scene), but these lapses were completely forgivable because the game is set in the early 1940's. I highly recommend trying this game for yourself -- it is one I truly enjoyed.
Gravely Silent: House of Deadlock - One gripe: There are no absurdly over-sized items on the screen during HOG scenes, but there were items that were not in proportion with the rest of the scene, making them hard to spot. Besides that, the story, graphics, and gameplay are excellent, and the devs came up with an inventive way to keep from having to do a lot of to-ing and fro-ing -- kudos for that!
Haunted Halls: Green Hills Sanitarium - I had a problem with my profile getting corrupted when I first got this game, yet I restarted it three times before I got the problem sorted out... and didn't mind restarting it for a fourth time! Eventually I did end up getting the CE version, but I don't think it added that. The SE is what I'd term exceptional, since I ended up replaying it so much, and will enjoy it again the next time I play!
Hide and Secret: The Lost World - This game was a surprise to me, since it was the fourth in a series I'd never played. Rich graphics, interesting story and gameplay created an immersive game that I really enjoyed.
Hidden Expedition: Devil's Triangle - I played this twice back-to-back when it first came out, as I really enjoyed the story and the gameplay. By today's standards, I don't know -- it's been a while since it came out -- but I look forward to playing the new one when I get the time
The Keepers: Lost Progeny - This one surprised me, though I'm not sure why. The story is gripping, and it's one of the darkest offered at Big Fish. The graphics and gameplay are excellent, and stayed that way from start to finish.
Legend of Crystal Valley: - This adventure's story drew me in so much that I played it over and over again trying to progress past a corruption spot (it was my computer's fault) 'til I finally gave up. I'm definitely going to revisit the story and actually FINISH it now that I have a computer that it's not arguing with, as it has that kind of magical feeling to it that I relate to the early Dream Chronicles games.
Lost in the City - While I won't be replaying this game any time soon (it's incredibly long!), I feel that it deserves honorable mention for having such an interesting story and atmospheric gameplay/graphics.
Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart - This game was another surprise for me, as I had long heard how boring and long the first game was, and reviews for the second weren't much better. Between the graphics, the story and the gameplay, I was hooked and enjoyed every moment of my time in the game.
Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy - This IHOG-lite is one of the games that originally drew me into the HOG genre, and to casual games in general. I'd never seen anything like it, and the atmosphere completely sucked me in. By today's standards it would not be termed an "excellent" game, but for the time it sure was. This is another of DD's favorite games, which she has played and replayed over and over again.
Mountain Crime: Requital - Here's another game that surprised me. From the screenshots, I wasn't totally enthused, but I'd heard good things about it from my friends, so I bought it sight-unseen. I'm so glad I did! This is a very immersive game, and I loved it!
Murder Island: Secret of Tantalus - A lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I really enjoyed the story and adventure-esque portions of this game. With the bonus game (collecting tiles to unlock secrets), it made this an above-average game for me, and I look forward to replaying it one of these days.
Mystery Age 2: The Dark Priests - Another surprise for me, as though I have #1, I haven't played past the demo time, yet. Mystery Age 2 is one of the best of the best, an exceptional game that I wanted to play again the moment I'd finished it. Absolutely gorgeous graphics, deeply immersive and atmospheric and a combo of FROG (which I don't tend to care for as much) and HOG, the game stayed fresh and enjoyable to the very end.
Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove - Absolutely one of the best of the best, once I got past my literal-mindedness regarding the videos and started viewing them as flashbacks/background story, the game sucked me in and kept me rapt 'til the very end. I just replayed this one and was just as enraptured the second time. Exceptional!
Mystery Case Files: Escape from Ravenhearst - Well, you've heard the hype, and many disagree, but the gorgeous graphics and the fact that you really have to think when you play this game (you really do have to write some things down, as not everything you need goes in your journal) made it deeply immersive, and I really did start it again almost immediately after I finished it... and will enjoy it again when I revisit Ravenhearst!
Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst - This is it, the game that changed it all and turned the HOG-genre into more than just hidden object scenes. The introduction of adventure-style play with our hidden object scenes, coupled with the devilish puzzles scattered throughout the game set a standard by which many games still strive to meet.
Mystery Stories: Mountains of Madness - This is a game I just recently played and finished, and I truly enjoyed it from start to finish. Perhaps not an exceptional game, but one I look forward to playing again, anyway.
Mystic Diary: Haunted Island - The HOG scenes on this game were boring, so a great many people will disagree with this game being listed here. Despite that, I feel that it deserves honorable mention for an interesting story and truly enjoyable adventure-esque gameplay.
Nightfall Mysteries: Curse of the Opera - This game may be too HOG-heavy by today's standards, but it has a wonderfully immersive story and ambiance, as well as truly enjoyable gameplay.
Nightmare Adventures: The Witch's Prison - This adventure-lite was my favorite game release of 2010. Between the immersive and atmospheric graphics and story and the wonderful humor of the game, this is still one of my favorite games, which I'd recommend to anyone.
Nightmare Realm - This is another game that I would term "superb". There's something magical about it, and can evoke emotions ranging from good cheer to horror-struck. Beautifully done, and in my opinion, a must-have.
Phantasmat - I was one of the closed-beta testers and I played this game over and over again during that process. I still bought the game when it came out, and have played it twice since then - most recently last month. This is an exceptional game, with a totally new take on adventure-HOG gameplay by adding in a match-3 option that you can switch back and forth on. Definitely CE-worthy.
PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville - Between the atmospheric graphics and the compelling story, I was entranced by this game when it first came out. I will definitely be replaying this one soon.
Redemption Cemetery: Curse of the Raven - I wasn't originally captivated by the story, but bought it anyway, as it was obviously a well-made game. It didn't take long for me to get more and more immersed in the story, and by the end, it had become a game that I was thrilled to own.
Sable Maze: Sullivan River - Deeply immersive via a combination of short cut-scenes and journal entries. The music is never overwhelming or annoying, the graphics beautifully done, and everything combines to make a truly enjoyable game.
Sacra Terra: Angelic Night - Everything about it screams quality. Interesting perspectives, great graphics, many locations, in-depth story, understated yet dramatic music... just a superb game. I highly recommend the CE on this one, as it has the best bonus chapter I've ever seen.
Sandra Fleming Chronicles: The Crystal Skull - The thing I love most about this game is not the breathtaking graphics, nor the varied gameplay - it's the fact that you actually have to think to get through the game. No hand holding on this one, and I loved ever minute of it.
Sarah Maribu and the Lost World - I want to give this game a nod for the level of enjoyment I had during gameplay. The graphics are also quite beautiful. I'd definitely recommend trying this game, at the very least.
Season of Mystery: The Cherry Blossom Murders - Another HOG with light interaction that I thoroughly enjoyed. The story is interesting, the graphics are just gorgeous, and the whole feeling of the game is just wonderfully immersive.
Secrets of the Dark: Temple of Night - This game deserves a nod for incorporating something totally different into their gameplay - rooms that morph from daylight version to something totally different in the dark. They did this beautifully, and the gameplay itself was quite interesting. This was good enough that I upgraded to the CE version during one of the extra-punch weekends.
Settlement: Colossus - Another game that deserves a nod for doing something original: Mixing beautifully-hidden objects with strategy gameplay. The game can be addictive, so be sure not to start when you're short of time! ;)
Shaolin Mystery: Tale of the Jade Dragon Staff - I've made no secret that this is one of my favorite games. The developers did such a beautiful job on the graphics and gameplay, this game really deserves more attention than it got. I'd recommend this IHOG/FROG mix to anyone who enjoys the HOG-adventure genre of games.
Shiver: Vanishing Hitchhiker - This game so intrigued me that I upgraded to the CE version, and don't regret it one bit. Immersive in every way, this is one of the best of the best in my opinion.
Silent Scream: The Dancer - This is a game that a lot of people loved, and a lot of people couldn't stand. The perspective is very exaggerated, and the story partially predictable, but also with some twists I certainly didn't anticipate, and definitely held my interest to the very end. This is another game I really enjoyed because you have to think to get through it. I love it when the game doesn't hold your hand.
Sprill and Ritchie: Adventures in Time - This game deserves a nod for being truly enjoyable to play. It's quirky and fun and not the slightest bit dark or eerie - nice for a change.
Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story - This is a solidly-made game, and while the graphics are not beautiful, they are beautifully-done, creating an atmospheric, dark and creepy game, which is quite immersive.
The Clockwork Man 2 - What a breathtakingly beautiful game this is. I am not fond of scrolling HOG scenes, but this game is so beautifully done that I look forward to playing it again. TCM2 has the best soundtrack I have ever heard in a game, and that alone would make this game worth getting the CE version for, but the strategy guide is also a work of art. They put a lot of work into the strategy guide (which is a standalone, not integrated), with video solutions, easy transfer of the soundtrack, extra story, concept sketches and more, I just can't recommend the CE version enough.
The Missing: A Search and Rescue Mystery - I really enjoyed this game. Immersive in story and graphics, the interaction with the people you find is seamlessly done. I absolutely recommend trying this to see for yourself what a good game it is.
The Mystery of the Mary Celeste - Definitely not one of the best games ever made, but I enjoyed it very much. The ambiance and HOG-heavy gameplay reminded me of Vampire Saga: Pandora's Box... as it should, since they're made by the same company. I really enjoyed the story on this one, so I'm giving it a nod.
The Treasures of Mystery Island: The Ghost Ship - Here's another surprise for me. I was underwhelmed by the first two games in the series... probably because I don't care much for FROG's. This game, though, was a real pleasure to play, and is a game I would term the best of the best, an exceptionally good game.
Tiger Eye - Part I: Curse of the Riddle Box - This is more of a story-driven puzzle game than anything else. I loved the story, the puzzles and the general gameplay. If not for the too-well-hidden objects, this would be a 5-star game for me. Either way, it's a truly enjoyable gaming experience.
Tornado: The Secret of the Magic Cave - A lot of people were put off by the to-be-continued ending, but the end came at a logical stopping point, and I really hope they continue the story, for this was an enjoyable game, and I look forward to more.
Trapped: The Abduction - Here's one of the early games (for me) that I think still stands up to good gaming standards. From reading the description, I thought this was going to be too "realistic" to play - too disturbing - but this was not the case. It's a good suspense game, and the heroine's spunky n'er die attitude really worked well in the game.
Twisted Lands 1: Shadow Town - So many people were frustrated with the confusing cut-scenes that they steadfastly refused to buy a sequel (which, it turns out, is actually a prequel that I haven't played yet). As for myself, I loved the game, and it's one I restarted the moment I finished. The game is heavy with story if you take the time to read everything (of course I did!), and I loved every bit of it... Well, except for the confusing parts, but it gave us all something to talk about...
Twisted Lands 2: Insomniac - Gorgeous graphics, excellent gameplay, good music/SFX choices, and intriguing story combine beautifully to create an immersive, spooky and fun game that I'll definitely be replaying at some point. Absolute thumbs up from me
Twisted Lands 3: Origin - An excellent prequel to the first TL game (Shadow Town), it explains a lot of things that were totally confusing in the previous games. It might be good to start with this one, then go back and play #1 and #2.
Vampire Saga 2: Welcome To Hell Lock - This sequel to Pandora's Box was beautifully-made, with rich graphics and an immersive atmosphere.
Vampire Saga 1: Pandora's Box - This game jumps back and forth in time, from one person's perspective in the past, to the grandson's perspective in the present. The story is intriguing, and I like that I had to think and figure things out - always a plus for me. It is very HOG-heavy, but that did not bother me in the slightest when I played it through. The localization errors aside, I really enjoyed it.
Voodoo Whisperer: Curse of a Legend - Ahhh, yes. Another game that made players mad because of the cliffhanger ending. And yes, it IS a cliffhanger! Still, the gameplay was really enjoyable, and the story was, as well. I definitely will be replaying this game.
Written Legends: Nightmare at Sea - I really feel that this game did not get the attention that it deserved when it was released. I found the game deeply (no pun intented) immersive with a good story, beautiful graphics and very good gameplay.
Last edited by genkicoll on Wed May 29, 2013 6:55 pm; edited 11 times in total