Monday, May 19, 2008

Casual news

Those who follow my blog regularly will already know I’m somewhat addicted to casual games. They’re fun to play, don’t take ages to be completed, can be learned easily enough and are to be found all over the internet. Four newer games will be in the spotlight in this post. So let’s get started:

“Airport Mania: First Flight” is the first one. As you can see from the starting screen (to the left of this post), it’s about planes. But the title alone should be a big hint, then, shouldn’t it? What I like about the game are the graphics and the basic idea. The game play is quite fun, too.

This is a picture of the first airport and one of the first levels. As you’re still learning while playing the first missions, there’s a tip on the lower half of the screen (I took the screenshot before playing that level, because in game I wouldn’t have had the time). The airplanes are kind of cute with their huge eyes - but that should not make you think the whole thing is too easy to win.

“Build-a-Lot 2” is the sequel to a game I’ve played before already. It’s a business simulation in which you build or buy houses to sell them later on (preferably after updating) or rent them out. In the long run, by the way, renting them out is far more profitable.

There are various neighbourhoods in which you build and rent your houses (and various goals to achieve in each level). This is the second neighbourhood which is sunny, not as green as the first one, but nevertheless nice. The empty lots there actually belong to me, but I still have to build on them (and for this I need workers, materials and blueprints). It’s quite challenging in the higher levels, just like the first one, and quite funny.

Another business simulation is “Fairy Godmother Tycoon” in which (slightly inspired by “Shrek 2”, perhaps?) you lead a potions shop, have to keep your ingredients stocked, your customers happy, the research going, the marketing up to par ... and your opponents out of business, with all means available.

In this first village, there isn’t another shop around (and the Magic (Hippie) Dragons in the second one aren’t that dangerous), so you can learn how to play. Later on, it gets much more interesting when you’re up against Goldilocks and her bears or even a Bull mafia. But, as I pointed out already, with the Goons you can hire you don’t really have to play fair. Your opponents surely don’t.

The Hidden Objects Show” on the other hand falls into my favourite category of ‘search games’. My posts about various “Mystery Case Files” and other search games like that should have made this quite obvious, I guess. I love those games and they have helped me to both train my mind and improve my English (after all, as a German, I do not necessarily know all the English names for various objects you have to find in those games).

In this case, though, there’s more than one type of search screen. The one to the right of this paragraph, for example, doesn’t feature the names of the objects, but a short description. Others feature shadow silhouettes, only leave you little time to find everything and so on. It’s quite funny and challenging (though I wouldn’t have wanted to play it as the first game of that kind). And it’s long, I’ve won the first round and am right in the middle of the second one now. A third is still to come, before I’ve won (digital) millions of dollars.

As you can see, I’ve still got quite a choice of games to play while writing or working at my computer.

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