New PC Games: Timebuilders, Puppies and Witches

Explore a forgotten time when dinosaurs ruled the earth in The Timebuilders: Caveman’s Prophecy, a fun Time Management game! Guide your tribe out of their cave and into the world. Discover new lands filled with dinosaurs, carnivorous plants, and mischievous saber-toothed kittens. Use all your skills to manage your people, build houses, and gather resources while creating awesome inventions to help your people!

Strange alien traps are popping up all over Puppy Island! Rescue the trapped puppies before the aliens have a chance to retrieve them! Keep your rescued pups safe, warm, and happy in your Puppy Sanctuary. Use collected gems to buy toys and decorations for different locations and search for food and firewood supplies within the ancient island ruins. Use your Match 3 talents to save all the adorable animals in this fun game!

Life’s not always a fairytale when you are a witch, especially in a world that is full of suspicion. Explore this magical world in The Witch and The Warrior! An uncomfortable truce is only just forming between the magic and non-magic folk after years of war, but the message is spreading slowly. Experience the trials of a teenage witch in this fun and exciting Strategy game.


Hotel Dash 2: Lost Luxuries

Hotel Dash Suite Success must have been a big enough success to warrant Hotel Dash 2: Lost Luxuries. I’ve lost count how many games Flo appears in, but PlayFirst has a winning character in its hands and it’s smart to take advantage. Even after playing many games starring Flo, I never tire of her. She’s just one of those likable people. I’m talking about her like she’s real, aren’t I?

Restore five nature-themed hotels in Hotel Dash 2: Lost Luxuries, a fun and exciting Time Management game! Help Flo excavate themed hotels and turn them into exotic resorts in hopes of hosting the International French Fry Festival! Glide down zip lines to prep rooms, cater to guests’ requests, and renovate hotels with unique accents. Will DinerTown finally win the honors of hosting the festival? Find out in Hotel Dash 2: Lost Luxuries!

Alien Hallway

Talk about a strange name. “Hallway” evokes images of walking down many a bland hallway. Some felt sterile with all white walls, lighting and floors. Some felt heartwarming with family photos and color on the walls. So I’m seeing aliens fighting in a white hallway. The reality is you defend the planet from alien invaders. Wait. Men in Black? Independence Day? Scores of other alien invading movies?

Control the entirety of Earth’s army and defend the planet from the green invaders in Alien Hallway, a fun Action and Strategy game! The fate of all mankind is in your hands as you try to destroy the evil aliens before they demolish Earth! Upgrade your base and units to improve your troops and give humanity a fighting chance! Blast your way through countless enemies and save the day in Alien Hallway!


World’s Greatest Places Mahjong

How I miss playing mah jongg every Wednesday morning with a rocking group of gals. Occasionally, I’ll see announcements for mah jongg games or tournaments (that don’t occur on a weekly basis), but I never join them because I’m not fast. My Wednesday group has taught me a lot about the game, but I have a lot more playing to do before I can play in tourneys.

These games are nothing like solitaire mah jongg, which I played many times before the kids came along. I had one edition that came with a zillion tile themes ranging from sports and flags to cartoon characters and cars. World’s Greatest Places Mahjong (yes, different spellings) combines the Seven Wonders with the tiles. Not original, but still enjoyable when you add power ups.

Dive into a world of Mahjong and learn about the new Seven Wonders of the World in World’s Greatest Places Mahjong! 100 million people have voted, and seven new locations have been chosen. Use your Mahjong talents to clear the boards and discover which locations were picked by people all over the world!


This is the third Farm Frenzy 3. I appreciate the developer for keeping the numbering at three because it shows there’s not much difference in terms of game play. The main difference is the setting, so there’s no misleading anyone claiming it’s a whole new game with enhancements. The series has many fans who are happy to keep playing the same game with new challenges.

Farm Frenzy 3: American Pie: Manage five different farms around the world and try your hand at penguin breeding and jewelry making in Farm Frenzy 3! Enjoy outrageously fun levels, wacky animals and more upgrades than there are ears in a field of corn! Grow crops, feed animals, collect produce and manufacture goods, while you enjoy zany animation! Help Scarlett become the president of the Farmers` Union by earning the votes of the people she helps.

Farm Frenzy 3: Ice Age: Join Scarlett as she leaves sunshine and warm temperatures behind and travels to the North Pole to check out a farm she purchased through a newspaper ad. When she arrives, she not only finds the property in a state of disrepair, she also meets two brothers who could use her help making ice cream. While whipping up chilly treats in 90 levels of frosty fun, you’ll breed and care for penguins and other arctic animals, manufacture new products and enjoy a parade of visual gags. You’ll also meet a surprise guest who will show his appreciation for your hard work in a special way! Who is it?

Here’s the list of all the Farm Frenzys.

Farm Mania 2 is also out. Anna of Farm Mania is back again! This time she is even more enthusiastic, active and full of great ideas! Wanna have your own farm? No problems! Fruits and vegetables, animals and fishes, dairy plant and bakery – you can have it all with in Farm Mania 2! By the way, Anna got married to a strong and charming farmer Bob and now all their dreams are coming true! You can help them!

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Meryl Evans


World of ZelliansIn World of Zellians: Kingdom Builder, you take on the role master builder Zorn’s student. The city planner teaches you how to work with the kings and queens to build and fix up their kingdoms. It doesn’t take long before the student becomes the master causing the jealous Zorn to respond no-so-kindly by creating disasters and setting madmen loose to mess with your hard work.

Build-a-lot fans will recognize some similar game play, but this one doesn’t spend as much time on the building aspect as Build-a-lot does. World of Zellians: Kingdom Builder also has a different graphic style with a more cartoon and colorful design.

The citizens of the kingdom also come out of their homes and go about their day, much like in Fairy Godmother Tycoon without the humor. (Except for the madmen.) The kingdoms vary in style from the tundra and desert to the coast and the valley.

World of ZelliansYou begin every level by meeting with the monarch to find out the kingdom’s needs. You also run into politics side as several have feuds going on that it becomes a game of one-upmanship. Some of the lands have tricky requirements because of barriers, spacing issues and things that you can’t demolish because they’re sacred — the ruins and the trees in the prairie — or unbreakable.

Gold, materials, population. Every shop, social building (homes), production and special building types give you at least one of the following: gold, material and population. Some buildings require you to build others before you can build it.

For example, the grocery store requires a grain farm, orchard and four people. A grain farm requires water and eight people. It sounds disorienting, but the game does a great job of providing you with the information you need.

Experienced players will find the game too easy and unchallenging with all the time in the world and no consequences. If you mess up, you can restart the level. While this could be a drawback, it makes for a more fun and relaxing experience from the other building games  that tend to get stressful.

World of ZelliansI couldn’t help but want to keep on playing World of Zellians: Kingdom Builder to see the next kingdom and theme, to see what new shops appear and to see what will stand in my way. The buildings vary all the way to the end, so you never get tired of the scenery. If anything bores, it’ll be the lack of challenge. Go on and give it a try. The free time will be enough to help you decide whether to buy or deny.

Free Download


Plants vs Zombies
If I could only say one thing in this review, it’s this: Go get Plants vs. Zombies now. The only people exempt from this rule are those who don’t like look of the zombies. Plants vs. Zombies oozes innovation in all parts of the game including game play, game modes, humor, length and rockin’ music. The game gives you a big spudow (exploding potato) for your buck and then some. Furthermore, Popcap Games may have blown away the massively popular Bejeweled 2 and Chuzzle with this one.

You have various plants at your disposal with different super powers to help you prevent the zombies from reaching your house and eating your brains. The thought of zombies sounds creepy, but they don’t scare my six-year-old who instead giggles at their funky movements and traits. You might even think they’re cute and funny.

Like people and animals, the zombies have different personalities. One is a football player and harder to attack, another wears a traffic cone on his head (maybe he was a construction worker in a past life) and another loves his newspaper and gobbles things faster. Their characteristics give you an idea of how hard it will be to fight them. Watch out for the singer zombie that brings an entourage with him!

Plants vs ZombiesOnce you meet a certain zombie for the first time, it goes into your almanac. The suburban almanac describes defines every zombie and plant along with its strengths. If you haven’t encountered a plant or zombie, it won’t give you a heads up. So be prepared for whatever comes your way.

So much happens in this game — all of it a blast (literally, too). For one, it has five games:

  • Adventure: Five rounds with 10 each taking place on the front lawn, night time, the backyard with the pool and on the roof. You have a select number of plants to pick and they each come with a price. But you don’t buy them until you plant them.
  • Mini-games: 20 unique games where several are a more advanced mode of an earlier mini-game.
  • Puzzle: Two games. One contains nothing but cases. Inside the vases are plants or zombies. You put the plants wherever you think it’s best to help defend against the zombies. The other game gives the zombies a chance to practice attacking the lawn with cardboard cutouts of the plants, so no plants are harmed. You want the zombies to make it across to eat the fake brain at the end of the lawn.
  • Survival: Playing different scenarios five times and changing up the plants between each level.
  • Zen garden: Manage a garden of plants beginning with two plants. Give them water and plant food. This no pressure game only calls for feeding the plants when they need it.

You can shop for special plants and tools at Crazy Dave’s shop. He’s craazzzzyyyy and lets you get away with good deals. In his shop, you can buy another slot so you can add more plants into your arsenal for the next zombie battle.

Daytime battles require different weapons than nighttime battles. The sunflowers don’t produce as much sun, so you can rely on mushrooms. However, they only produce a little sun and produce more as they grow. Mushrooms can work in the daytime, but they’re asleep and need help to wake them. So it’s obvious you have all kinds of strategies to play with in this little treat.

Plants vs ZombiesMany games come with multiple modes. I tend to only like the main one. I took pleasure in almost every game as much as the main one — a rarity. The music will have you gettin’ down while you wear down those zombies. When you finish the main game, sit back and enjoy the surprise and hilarious ending.

Plants vs. Zombies is ripe for more brain eating sequels. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been working on this review to get it right, but it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to. Nonetheless, Plants vs. Zombies provides hours of a good time.

Download Plants vs. Zombies for PC or for Mac


PC Game Review: Youda Marina

Playing Youda Marina during Memorial Day weekend (a time when many go to the lake) has me yearning to jump in the car to drive to the nearest lake to rent a motorboat and go water skiing. That yearning didn’t last long as a glance at the window pulled me to reality as the skies are gray. Youda Marina does a better job than Mother Nature in giving me the feeling it’s a sunny day. Before I knew it, several hours flew while playing the time management and strategy game that takes place (where else?) on a marina.

You manage and run a marina complete with building docks, entertainment facilities, emergency services, lighthouses and the radio station. As you work in growing the marina, you need to do what you can to attract visitors and entertain them during their stay. The game reminds me of Build-a-Lot because it involves building structures, changing rates, deciding where to place things, earning enough money to build more structures and meeting goals. They both have similar graphics style.

The game takes time to learn. Its well-done tutorial guides you through the first round and only nudges you when you need to know something new. You need to build various-sized docks to accompany the different boat types and sizes. You can also control how much to charge for the empty docks.

Between managing boat requests to dock, facility updates (repairs, payment and emergencies), the game pace turns frenzied in campaign mode. You have to click on every boat to dock it, every event to kick it off and every emergency to send out emergency services personnel. It grows tiresome to keep clicking these things. However, clicking the boats has merit due to the several docking options available and the chances of boat’s captains accepting the offer vary. Maybe it would ease the pain of frequent clicking by offering “automated” tools as an upgrade.

Sometimes the game doesn’t recognize clicks or won’t put down a building or dock even though the area turns green (to indicate it can go where you have it spotted). When it’s time to renew an event, the game doesn’t always recognize the clicks.

The goal of the game is to complete the tasks, much like in Build-a-Lot. Tasks ask you to add a specific structure, earn X amount of money or have X visitors to the marina.

Relaxed mode is available as a calmer alternative to campaign mode. Both modes come with four types of environments: shore, bay, island and lagoon. Each requires a different strategy to succeed. Instead of handing out tasks, relaxed mode lets you do as you will with the money you have on hand. It helps to play campaign mode first to get an idea of what it takes to run a successful marina. Though the pace turns harried, campaign mode feels more purposeful and enjoyable than relaxed mode.

After completing all the tasks and earning every promotion, you’ll want to play again because the tasks aren’t identical in every game and you still need to see if you can conquer a different layout. Youda Marina has excellent replayability value. Next time you’re in a sailing mood, it’s much cheaper to play Youda Marina than to drive out to the lake and rent a boat.

Download and try the game.


Dinertown TycoonAdding “Tycoon” to the Dinertown Tycoon name is a smart move. This way people don’t confuse this game with Diner Dash even though Flo appears in it. Plus, many gamers know what it means to be a tycoon game. A tycoon game involves running a business, making decisions and running the day to see how your decisions make out.

I loved Fairy Godmother Tycoon (FGT). If you don’t like FGT or tycoon games, this isn’t for you. Dash fans will recognize many of the 25 customers from the various Diner Dash and Wedding Dash games. This one doesn’t quiet measure up to FGT, but provides enough entertainment for a rainy day afternoon, or in my case, fighting a cold.

In this one, Flo goes up against Grub Burger, which has a secret sauce containing the mysterious Ingredient X (I think it’s the same ingredient that makes a lot of us Sonic drink fans keep coming back. Except Sonic is a good company. Grub ain’t.). Flo manages the menu with 90 dishes available for the buying, stocks up ingredients, set prices and buy new signs to attract the public.

Flo manages various types of restaurants as she makes way through five neighborhoods in an effort to run Grub Burgers out of town. The game leaves room for mistakes as I am guilty of a few. For instance, I accidentally click to buy a new dish, when I meant to close the window. I wish Dinertown Tycoon had an undo feature.

Like most tycoon games, you need to strategize before starting a new day. Where do you spend the money? Ingredients? Advertising? Signs? You also get a newspaper so you can see what’s hot as you prepare for another day. The newspaper has one hot ingredient and a Daily Chef Challenge. Beating the challenge will help you drive down Grub Burger’s takeover. More on that in a moment.

Start the day and watch the people eat at the restaurants. Sometimes you’ll notice a bubble over their heads with their thoughts. They could be unhappy with the prices, a satisfied Grub customer, a happy Flo customer (hearts) or coming to your restaurant because of an ad. You’ll be able to identify what kind of ad influenced them to come so you can figure out if you put it in the best place or not.

Some customers come out of your restaurant with a coin over their heads. Click to receive the tip. It’s a clever idea to encourage interaction with the stimulation, which is usually hands-off. However, clicking the coin products a fountain of coins and blocks your view as others may have coins.

Customers also disappear behind some of the game’s features or the restaurant is near the edge, making it harder to see the customers. On top of it, you’re looking for Flo. If you find and click her, she’ll send people your way. It’s a frenzy trying to watch for coins and Flo especially if you own more than one restaurant.

At the end of the day, you’ll see the totals for each customer. The goal is to sell 50 or 100 dishes (depends on the neighborhood) to each customer to complete the neighborhood and push out Grub Burgers. If Grub sells too much Ingredient X (there’s a test tube with green goo to measure its progress), you’re out of business. If you meet the Daily Chef Challenge, you’ll lower the Ingredient X meter.

You can also conduct market research to get to know a customers’ likes. These consist of three ingredients. When you offer a dish with at least one of those, you’ll improve your chances of meeting your 50 to 100 customer goal for that customer type. Oh, and it costs money to do the research. So Dinertown Tycoon is a balancing act of buying the right amount of ingredients, new menu items, ads and all that.

One thing I don’t realize for more than half the game is the Daily Chef Challenge telling me to sell 12 sale dishes or 12 premium dishes. Whenever I fiddle with the price, nothing happens until one time I decide to go way low and discover the price name changes from “regular” to “sale.” Go high enough and it turns into “premium.”

Also, I wish the game would let me know how close I come to meeting the Daily Chef Challenge. I sold at least 12 premium-priced dishes, but I didn’t win it. Why? It needs to clarify these things.

Dinertown TycoonIt only takes an afternoon to get through all five neighborhoods even with my losing one neighborhood. The ending also disappoints. At least, the game lets you replay the neighborhood in hopes of making every dish to earn the associated trophy. Considering there are many routes you can take in your decision-making, it’s a challenge to play the game twice, thrice or many times as you try different approaches.

Although not tops, Dinertown Tycoon is a fine tycoon game.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Meryl Evans


Make yummy chocolates during Valentine’s Day with Chocolatier on mobile! Verizon customers Text CHOCO to GAME (4263) to play Chocolatier anytime, anywhere on your cell phone.

Text CHOCO to 4263.

Man, it’s a shame I don’t have Verizon mobile. I’d love to see how this looks and plays on the small screen. If you know — please share.


Chocolatier Decadence by DesignYou have to hand it to PlayFirst for the company’s impeccable timing in releasing the third Chocolatier right before Valentine’s Day. Yes, you heard right — third. It doesn’t count as a fourth because The Great Chocolate Chase is a time management game, not a traditional Chocolatier one. The three games fall into the simulation category, and it’s still delicious.

Whether the game brings new things or not, I’m happy to see it back in the fold knowing it’ll have a new story, characters, ingredients, and products. Those will always occur with every new release. Nonetheless, new features shake up a game to give it a fresh look. As expected, Chocolatier Decadence by Design adds all of these, coffee products and a new ingredient mini-game for coffee products.

You work with the Baumeister family as with all the previous editions. This time it’s after WWII and the story includes love, drama, competition. All the factors that go into an engaging story with a variety of characters. Some characters won’t stand out and others will. You travel the world to find the finest ingredients — to manufacture bars, truffles, infusions, exotics and more — as Baumeister expects nothing less. Thank goodness, this one contains no bugs as ingredients.

Still, you discover fruits such as mangoes and strawberries, spices like saffron and peppers, dairy, nuts and much more. I appreciate the game makes it take a long time to discover all the ports and ingredients so something new comes along almost the whole way through the game.

The ingredient mini-game remains the same for the various candy products. The ingredients flow through the machines and you shoot them into moving containers that must match the primary container. For instance, a truffle requires two cacaos, truffle powder, flavor, and spice. Make sure each container has these five ingredients.

Chocolatier Decadence by DesignTo make it harder, containers can be red or blue. You get more servings when you put all red ingredients in red and blue in blue. If you mix red and blue, you’ll only get one serving for putting all the ingredients in the container. The factory adds a recycling bin so you can move ingredients you don’t need in there instead of wasting them. But not all factories have the bin and it’s tough to get it in there when you have a red container getting in the way of a blue ingredient.

The additions of colors and a recycling bin aren’t enough to shake up this mini-game. The coffee mini-game, on the other hand, brings something new. You still shoot ingredients, but this time you need to make matches of three or more to get a serving. Make a match of four or more and your servings increase. I’m glad the game doesn’t use this one in all of the factories, but it would be nice to see something different.

The world map shows locked ports that you won’t open until later in the game when you meet the right people. Not all ports will have shops. Several ports only sell one ingredient and there’s nothing else to do there. These places have exotic items. Of course, you’ll have to get special cacao from specific locales and the same goes for coffee. It’ll involve a lot of traveling. Chocolatier Decadence by Design prepares players for the frequent and longer trips by providing more transportation upgrades.

I appreciate the game tracks all the agreements I make because I get carried away at times. The screen that tracks all the things you need to do is a vast improvement with a larger and clearer screen. A couple of font choices, however, need improvement as they’re barely readable.

Chocolatier Decadence by DesignChocolatier Decadence by Design introduces the ability to develop and name your own creations in the test kitchens in Iceland. Another superb idea for enhancing the game. The product creation screen graphics quality remains subpar and clunky. After you make your new product in the kitchen, you move into marketing where you select the looks, colors, design, and name. Well, this screen gives you no reminder of what ingredients you have added to your new product to help you come up with a name. The game won’t let you back up.

The new features and additions enhance to the game, but I would like to see a couple of more new features especially for the ingredient mini-games. Nonetheless, Chocolatier Decadence by Design occupied an entire weekend including a couple of late nights — something I don’t do often. I look forward to the next adventure. Until we meet again, Baumeisters.

Download Chocolatier Decadence by Design.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Meryl Evans


PC Game Review: My Tribe

My Tribe came to my rescue during winter break. I can’t play fast action games like diner-style games because of hand surgery. My Tribe and hidden object games kept me entertained as I couldn’t do much else including typing and laundry (staring at a pile of laundry racks up the guilt, so it’s not a good thing though it gave me a valid excuse not to do laundry).

Generally, I try to avoid comparing games in a review. As a Virtual Villager fan, I must compare My Tribe and Virtual Villagers (VV).

Both games call for patience especially the start where you need to build up on science points that can get you places later. But once you have all the science points in the world, you don’t need them anymore.

Innovative in My Tribe is the use of moondust and stardust. These help you with potions, building, increasing villager strength, hair style changes (whoopee di doo) and more. I like the way you mix potions using the potions screen instead of having a tribe member fetch everything and mix it up.

I’d rather hunt for one moondust or stardust at a time than for VV‘s collections, which make me dizzy. You can also build lunar and celestial towers to receive a shower of dust all at once. Although it’s tiring to keep your eyes open for flying dusts, you can build an observatory that lets you know when one lands. Well, I can’t hear the sound it makes over the music and other sound effects. I’ve tried playing with the sound controls, but nothing worked. The game should have an option for visual notification.

Trees and flowers are available for planting. Flowers don’t do anything except add color. Trees provide wood. The tree feature should work like the flower feature — keeping the plant window open until you close it. I often plant more than one tree at a time and have to keep opening the plant window. The flower window stays open and lets you spray flowers.

The potions screen has three types of potions: element, liquid and catalyst. Elements include solid things like mushrooms, rocks, wood. Liquid is seawater, rain water, and fountain water. Catalyst consists of stardust, moondust, and golden relics. Pick one item from each category, mix the potion and pour it on an object, ground or person.

The game’s marketing materials say you can mix loads of potions. Half of them are cosmetic, so no sense in wasting moondust to give a villager a new hairdo or color job.

Both tribe games involve earning points so you can upgrade science, construction, etc. Well, one of the four categories is art. I don’t see much difference between level 2 and 3 art (clothing design and nothing else).

Art lets you build a clothing hut and make clothes. Males and females get three tops and three bottoms plus you can customize the color. After two or three outfits, it loses excitement unless you were big on Barbies and dolls as a kid. Well, in Virtual Villagers, science points help you buy clothes. Not exciting there either.

Both provide skills for each tribe member. My Tribe goes overboard in including rock and wood gathering skills. I’d lump these under construction. I’d also blend farming and fishing so the villager can do both as he or she pleases.

My Tribe does a better job of increasing a villager’s point earning capability. VV would sometimes take ages even when you keep pushing the villager to do something.

Barrels also show up at sea on occasion. They might provide recipes, ingredients or change a person. Or they might destroy buildings or explode.

Both games let you produce babies. My Tribe, gratefully, doesn’t take women out of commission until they’re babies are two-years-old as they do in Virtual Villagers. Instead, the mama goes right back to work.

In Virtual Villagers, only children under age 14 can pick up stuff. In this one, anyone can pick up stuff except babies. It was annoying that adults couldn’t pick up anything in VV. If they could build buildings, they should be able to pick up things.

My Tribe limits the population to 50 (you can get 52 if you manage to have two couples produce twins at the same time as I did). I prefer the limited population so you don’t make yourself crazy trying to give everyone a preferred skill. It forces you to control your population’s age.

I love that you can build a dock and ark so your tribe can sail to one of millions or billions of islands. Don’t be impressed by that number. They look alike after you’ve solved all eight of the mystery items. Each island holds three mystery items. You also work to collect 25 trophies. Once you do all that, you might not be motivated to play the game again unless you simply like to hang out with the tribe.

The game lacks keyboard control. Yes, arrow keys can move you around the island, but not as well as it could. You can use the Map view to see the island from a higher perspective, but it pauses the game. Map view doesn’t open very fast. Virtual Villagers provides plenty of keyboard options for easier management and traveling around the island.

The game has a bug as of this writing — if you have tree saplings that haven’t bloomed into trees and you hop into the ark, the game crashes. It sets you back a little, not much.

My Tribe is neither better nor worst than Virtual Villagers. It provides another addicting experience for those craving a new world of villagers. Once I get pass the slow start, the game captivated me that I checked on my tribe too many times even with fast speed (you can do pause, slow and normal speed as the game keeps going when you exit unless you pause, of course). Speaking of which, I need to check on ’em as I want to set sail for another island to earn the five island trophy.

Download the game from Big Fish Games.