Come forth, spirits of the Dark Time

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Try-It Tuesday CATS IN TIME

CATS IN TIME is a 2021 relaxing puzzle game from Pine Studio that I bought on Steam for only $4.99. It’s kind of a combination hidden object puzzle and escape room, though you’re not really stuck in any particular place and it’s possible to leave a level and go back to it later. But some of the puzzle mechanics are a lot like common escape room puzzles.

Players are not only looking for cats, they must find keys, levers, codes, puzzles and other objects, in order to locate all of the cats hidden throughout history. In one level, for example, I had to find a crowbar and pry open a crate to release the cat inside.

Areas include ancient Egypt, medieval Germany, the Wild West, 1990s New York and future Tokyo. There are seven different areas, with four levels in each area, plus some bonus seasonal levels.

Unlike most hidden object games, CATS IN TIME doesn’t have 2D scenes or side-scrolling images. Each level is based around a 3D tower that can be rotated and zoomed in or out.

There are little secrets, too, like pieces of postcards hidden in every level, and random crazy things to uncover for special trophies.

I can’t find the ESRB rating for this game but it seems like an “E” for everyone, to me! Great game for all ages.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Kaylee Frye cosplay jewelry reference page

Over the years, I’ve made a lot of jewelry for cosplayers and the most-requested item was Kaylee’s pink bead necklace, even though she never actually wore it in any episode of Firefly or the movie Serenity. But it appears in this popular promotional photo of actress Jewel Staite, so a lot of people want to wear it with their Kaylee costumes.

With careful examination and extensive online searching, I found the closest possible pink bead to be a Venetian or Murano glass millefiori tube bead, which was previously sold under SKU EM-9299-71 Millefiori Tubes 26mm EM-9299 71 Pink/Blue Center at

Unfortunately, it’s no longer carried on that website and I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else. Similar beads might be found on Etsy or other crafting sites when searching with various combinations of keywords such as pink, floral, flower, millefiori, tube, lampwork, venetian, murano, glass and bead.

See the Kaylee parasol I painted for Can’t Stop the Serenity…

In episode 2, “The Train Job,” Kaylee wears a diamond-shaped pendant. The image on the pendant looks different in two different scenes, so it’s probably double-sided and got flipped over during filming.

The beige or off-white color might be bone or horn, possibly wood or ceramic, but it looks a bit like a scrimshaw sort of butterfly carving to me, hanging on a cord of dark brown or black leather. The closest thing I ever found was an owl (shown inset).

We see Kaylee wearing a necklace in episode 8, “Out of Gas,” during Mal’s flashback to when they met. This one appears to be another carved pendant, possibly bone, stone or wood, but round this time, with a flower or sunburst in the center, hanging from a cord of light tan or beige colored leather.

I’ve used a variety of round, carved pendants to make similar necklaces, but have never found one exactly like hers.

It appears to have a blue or green bail (the little loop at the top where it hangs on the leather cord). This might be made of thread, beads or wire, I can’t tell, but I used to add a blue-green bead to my pieces as a nod to this little element of the design.

There’s a necklace Kaylee wears in episode 9, “Ariel,” that spells out her name in tile letters. These might be glass, fimo or ceramic, I can’t tell from the screenshots. I’ve never made a replica of this one because I’ve never found any letter beads close to that size (1/2 inch x 1/2 inch?) and color (light blue or gray? white and red striped borders?).

Kaylee wears a necklace in episode 12, “The Message,” which appears to be a rectangular, domino-sized, carved pendant, with possibly a dragon design. These sorts of large focal beads and pendants are usually made in China, which would be in keeping with the show’s aesthetic. This one looks like bone to me, but could be animal horn, soapstone, wood, plastic, resin or shell.

I assume the pendant is actually a large bead, drilled through the center, because we can see that there’s a small red bead at the top and bottom of the dangling pendant. They probably used a headpin to make the pendant, and then added it to a string of beads.

It’s hard to tell, but it looks like the necklace is made with alternating round and/or cylinder beige beads (possibly wood or bone) and then occasionally more red beads like the pendant.

These are some versions of the Kaylee “Message” pendant I’ve made. Apologies for the photos, they were taken several years ago and aren’t great quality, but you can see how I used various pendants and combinations of beads.

At the end of the movie Serenity, Kaylee wears a large “double happiness” 囍 pendant, which is associated with marriage, possibly indicating her new relationship with Simon. I’ve never made a replica of this one, but I’ve used charms and pendants with this symbol in some of my jewelry for Browncoats.

I made these Kaylee-inspired bracelets with kimono fabric, pink flower and brown teddy bear charms, and “double happiness” hearts.

As far as I know, from watching the movie and TV show about 100 times, this is all of Kaylee’s jewelry. Hope this is helpful to cosplayers and crafters! If you have a moment, please check out my crafting and gaming channels on YouTube, and my shop Thanks!

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday ABYSS: THE WRAITHS OF EDEN (again)

I played a free demo of ABYSS: THE WRAITHS OF EDEN on PS4 back in 2018 but never got around to finishing the game, until now, and I’m glad I did. I think it’s one of Artifex Mundi’s best hidden object puzzle adventures.

I recently discovered that, for some reason, my oldest daughter had ABYSS in her Steam library. She doesn’t usually play HOPA games and when I asked her about it, she had no idea how it got there. But, lucky for me, we do family game sharing.

ABYSS seems to be inspired by BioShock. There’s no lighthouse, but there’s an underwater Art Deco city called “Eden” instead of “Rapture,” and your fiancé is the man who goes missing there. Through a series of puzzles, and manipulating items in the environment, you save your lost love and unravel the mystery.

Artifex Mundi puts out a lot of point-and-click games. Some of my favorites are Dark Arcana: The Carnival and Eventide: Slavic Fable. But sometimes, their games can be a bit cheesy and slapdash, with artwork that gets sloppy as the game goes on, stories that don’t make any sense, and boring puzzles. But I found ABYSS to be consistent throughout and especially lovely if you enjoy oceanic scenes.

It took me less than five hours to complete on casual difficulty. “Advanced” and “Expert” modes are also available. Players can skip puzzles but there’s an achievement for completing everything without skipping.

Rated “T” for teens, due to blood and violence. There are several dead bodies, spooky red-eyed wraiths, scary tentacle monsters and occult rituals, which could give little children nightmares so parental discretion is advised.

~ J.L. Hilton

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GLASS MASQUERADE 3: HONEYLINES just came out at the end of May 2023. After enjoying the first Glass Masquerade and sequel Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions, I was eager to play this one.

Mesmerizing music and beautiful artwork take these games to a whole other level, and HONEYLINES does not disappoint in these areas. I think it’s well worth the US$5 price tag. That said, I don’t like some of the new features.

You can choose the shape of the pieces in each puzzle – options are shard, honeycomb and chemisty – but they’re all based on the same hexagonal cuts (thus the name “Honeylines,” I guess), regardless of the image in the puzzle. In previous games, the pieces were cut along the lines in the artwork, just as real stained glass would be cut and assembled. Standardizing the pieces probably made things faster/easier for the devs, but made the puzzles less enjoyable for me.

Puzzles start with the edges already completed. Doing the edges was one of my favorite parts of the previous games, so that’s kind of a bummer.

There are two difficulty modes – high and relax. The only difference is that you have to rotate the pieces in “high” which adds a tiny bit of a challenge but not much.

Players can now choose between game modes – flood, iris, bowl, classic and random – which determine how many pieces are provided and in what order. “Classic” is the one you want if you want to start with all pieces available, like the previous games in the series.

There’s just one ring of pieces orbiting the puzzle now instead of two, for some reason, which means you’ll see half as many pieces at a time, giving you fewer options to choose from.

You can also choose between tracking various statistics – time, accuracy or achievements – or none at all.

I’m happy to have another Glass Masquerade and I appreciate the devs trying new things, but some of these changes made it less fun for me than previous installments.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Some of my favorite YouTube channels are powerwashing, mowing, cooking and cleaning channels, so I thought it was time for me to try out POWERWASH SIMULATOR.

I had a great time with POWERWASH SIMULATOR, not so much for the cleaning aspect but for the aiming. I love ranged weapons in video games, whether it’s a sniper rifle in Fallout: New Vegas, a plasma rifle in Fallout 4, a bow in Skyrim or a pepper-box in GreedFall. If I couldn’t throw the Leviathan Axe in God of War, I probably wouldn’t have played.

But here, I’m shooting moss & grime instead of bandits & ghouls!

Some people call games like this “dad games” but anyone any age can enjoy this one. I’ve only cleaned a van and a backyard so far, but there are all kinds of creative, cruddy jobs to do, including a lost city, fortune teller’s wagon, Mars rover, mini golf course and a carousel.

There’s even a co-op mode so you can powerwash with friends and family. Now, if only I could get my family to clean the house IRL!

POWERWASH SIMULATOR was developed by FuturLab and released in 2021. I played via Steam on a Windows 11 laptop with an Xbox controller but the game is also available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PS4/PS5.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: UNPACKING

Knowing I enjoy casual puzzle games, my youngest recommended UNPACKING. The idea of unpacking boxes and put things away sounded pretty boring. After all, I’ve done that in real life more than fifteen times since I turned 18 (I’m in my 50s now).

But that’s what Try-It Tuesdays are for. I tried UNPACKING and I got hooked. The “puzzle” part of the game involves figuring out what each object is, where it belongs in the home, and how to fit those items into the available shelves, drawers and cabinets.

More than a puzzle game, though, it tells the story of a young woman through the stages of her life, as we unpack her childhood bedroom, college dorm, first apartment and so on. I won’t give away all of the locations, as part of the fun is discovering where life takes her.

There’s a bit of a voyeuristic thrill to the game. Like looking into someone’s medicine cabinet during a party or reading someone’s junior-high diary, players are handling someone’s most personal possessions, from underwear to stuffed animals to travel souvenirs. We get a very intimate glimpse into her personality, hopes, dreams and struggles.

UNPACKING was developed by Witch Beam and released in November 2021. I played on my Windows 10 laptop but the game is also available on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.

Though UNPACKING is rated “E” for everyone and has a colorful art style, it’s not a game for young children. Players need to be able to identify such items as tampons or cooking tools, and infer the “story” of the game from the objects and locations, so I recommend parents play along with children under 12.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: SUDOCATS

SUDOCATS is a single-player puzzle game released in March 2022 and created by DevCats, the developers behind Building Full of Cats and Castle Full of Cats. I played on my Windows 10 laptop but the game is also available for PS4/PS5, Xbox One/X/S and Nintendo Switch. Rated “E” for everyone.

This is exactly what it sounds like, sudoku played with cats instead of numbers. There’s an option to play with numbers, if you prefer.

My husband loves sudoku but I’d never been able to get into it before. I think playing with cats instead of numbers worked much better for me!

Players can also unlock information about the real-life cats behind the SUDOCATS game, which inspired me to turn my own cats, Zoe and Buddy, into “sudocats”!

~ J.L. Hilton

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I enjoyed A Castle Full of Cats so much, I decided to play A BUILDING FULL OF CATS from the same developers, the DevCats.

A BUILDING FULL OF CATS is a hidden object puzzle game where all of the objects are cats, with hand drawn art and lots of hidden secrets and surprises, including a reference to the Fallout games.

Some of the “cats” are little more than two pointy ears and two dots for eyes, peeking out from the scenery, or they’re hidden inside of drawers and behind objects that must be clicked to open, so it’s quite a challenge!

The game is only $1.99 on Steam and worth every penny for about an hour of cat-filled fun. It’s also available on Nintendo Switch.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Better Call Fallout New Vegas

Watching Better Call Saul s5e8 “Bagman” last night, I was reminded of that time in Fallout New Vegas when I crawled back to Novac, across the Mojave Wasteland, with 37 gold bars from the Sierra Madre casino in the Dead Money DLC. This is exactly what it felt like.

~ J.L. Hilton

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