It struck me the other day that although we play RPG's of all sorts for a number of hours, probably all of us have played casual games. We may while away an hour or two, or perhaps play them over a coffee break, or (like me recently) play them when not feeling too well as an immersive RPG feels a bit much to cope with. Consequently, I thought it might be fun to mention a few that I've enjoyed.
Plants Vs Zombies
It all starts so simply with a strip or two of lawn to defend in order to prevent the zombies from reaching your house. You begin by planting a few pea shooters and end up with a lawn filled fury of plant chomping, butter splatting, spudtastic explosive fun. It's fast and furious but very strategic in what to plant where and Dave, your local carboot salesman is well...... Craaaazy. To balance this you have the calm of your Zen Garden. Terrific fun and totally addictive. I've got the grandchildren hooked on this one.
The Timebuilders: Pyramid Rising 1 & 2
In each of these games you are building monuments, statues etc., to honour the Gods. The challenges start easy, but really step up as the game develops. You are racing against time on each level and your construction works have to begin with homes that supply rents which fund the major builds. You also have market traders and ports to deal with, plus thieves which assume a number of disguises. For me, what lifts these two games above others of a similar nature is the humour. This is especially true of the first which is a simpler game than the 2nd, but I have enjoyed and replayed both.
I thought this would be total rubbish, but there's more to this than first meets the eye. You use a catapault to fire birds at the pigs and their constructions, but each bird follows a different trajectory which alters again according to how it is fired. The birds also produce different effects if you click whilst they're in motion. So you need to examine how the pig's structures are engineered to make the most of each bird you catapault and click across the screen. My husband is not a gamer, but he has an engineering background and I couldn't get him out of my chair until 1am in the morning. He normally likes to be in bed soon after 10pm.
The Blackwell Legacy Bundle.
There are 4 episodes, each of which can be bought as a seperate game, but I would recommend looking out for an offer that combines all 4. These are short point and click adventures involving a medium and her spirit guide. Together they solve mysteries surrounding ghostly spirits, assisting them to accept death and move on. The writing is terrific and the Voice Acting good - especially from the central characters. Although each episode is linear, there are dialogue choices that can alter what happens to some of the characters our medium and guide interact with. This is not a graphic orientated series, although the graphics do improve with each episode. These games are about solid story telling that involves the player. In addition there are elements that link each independent episode. I found it best to play them in order
Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold Bug.
I'm certain Poe is turning in his grave, but this is one game in quite an extensive a series and I found great fun. You play as a detective who needs to find and solve clues in order to track down a pirates treasure. Clues can be found in puzzles and hidden object searches. One thing I really enjoyed was that the hidden object sections were not straightforward, so at times you had a combination of problem solving and object finding. This meant some of the puzzles were more challenging than usual. The story was a bit daft, but fun.
That's all I've got time for right now, but I'd love to hear what casual games you've enjoyed.