Halloween puzzles for GLASS MASQUERADE

I played GLASS MASQUERADE at the beginning of 2020 and I loved it.

For more info see JLHilton.com/2020/01/glass-masquerade

The bonus puzzles and sequel, Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions, were not available for PlayStation 4, so I bought the game again on PC and played through the beautiful Halloween DLC, with stained glass puzzles for Ireland (Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkins), Poland (Witch), Romania (Vampire), Japan (Obon) and Mexico (Dia de Muertos).

The entire Halloween expansion is only 99 cents if you own the main game, which is currently $4.99 on Steam.

~ J.L. Hilton
aka “Jewelsmith”

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Halloween “Guess Who?” Character Sheets

I made these Halloween-themed printable inserts for my kids’ Guess Who? game back in 2014. They work with the kind of game that has a 4×6 grid of little windows that open and close.

This set features jack-o-lanterns and nothing scary (no witches, vampires, zombies, ghosts, etc).

Halloween page 1 (pdf)

Halloween page 2 (pdf)

 

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Try-It Tuesday: WITCHER 3

SPOILER ALERT: A few plot points are mentioned but I try to be vague and speak in generalizations. 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of my favorite games of all time, so THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT has been recommended to me many times since the game came out in 2015.

I watched a few gameplay streams and let’s play videos, read a bit about it, but WITCHER 3 just didn’t grab me. It should have, since I like fantasy and open worlds. I prefer first-person games and creating my own characters, but that didn’t stop me from absolutely loving God of War. I didn’t want to devote hundreds of hours of my life to another game… but ended up doing that with Fallout 4, anyway.

I don’t know exactly why I avoided WITCHER 3 for so long. I guess I just had a gut feeling about it. But after watching The Witcher on Netflix, PlayStation had the game on sale for $15 and I finally gave it a try.

The above video is from my first Try-It Tuesday livestream of WITCHER 3 on Twitch. After that, I streamed about a hundred hours, which I edited into highlight videos on my YouTube channel.

<<See my WITCHER 3 playlist here>>

WITCHER 3 is a very rich game and I can understand why people like it. There is a massive amount of stuff to do and I enjoyed exploring the maps. Much of it is very well-written with depth, detail and emotion.

I appreciate that the protagonist isn’t a savior. He’s not The One. He’s not the only Dragonborn or the sole survivor. He’s disliked and distrusted by many. Geralt is just one of several exterminators who specialize in supernatural pests, like a Ghostbuster.

“Who ya gonna call? The Witchers!”

But the more time I spent with Geralt, the more I disliked him, too. Henry Cavill was great in the Netflix show, but when I don’t like a video game protagonist, it’s hard for me to enjoy a game. (Same problem I had with BioShock: Infinite and to a lesser extent, Horizon Zero Dawn.)

As I played WITCHER 3, I sometimes enjoyed it, sometimes hated it, but I kept going.

After all the hype I’d heard about WITCHER 3 being “perfect,” I was surprised to encounter so many glitches, quests that wouldn’t progress or didn’t make sense, confusing dialog, characters sinking into the ground, messed up merchants, and rewards not received.

Many “choices” seemed to provide only the illusion of choice. For example, I detested one of the “sexy” characters in the game and tried to avoid her, but the game seemed designed to make Geralt fall for her charms, regardless. Ick.

Clunky controls felt like a game designed for PC then later mapped to a console controller, and not very well. God of War was not an easy game, but I never felt like the game itself got in my way. In WITCHER 3, I felt like I was constantly fighting the game controls, not just fighting enemies, and no amount of getting gud would overcome that.

After awhile, the gameplay loop of fight, loot, repair, repeat, got me thinking I would make a lot more money, with a lot less effort, if Geralt gave up witchering to became a florist or an herbalist. I could gather flowers and herbs, and sell them, without wrecking Geralt’s weapons and armor for… what? I wasn’t getting rich. I wasn’t earning goodwill. Everyone I tried to help seemed to be doomed, anyway.

Skyrim has its dark corners and twisted tales, too, but it also had opportunities to make meaningful choices and to do good in the world. Try to do the right thing in WITCHER 3, and it’s always fucked up. You are always damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Plague, war, rape, misogyny, suicide, domestic violence, miscarriage, injustice, oppression, kidnapping, slavery, cannibalism and torture aren’t my ideas of fun. The excessive violence against women in WITCHER 3 made me uncomfortable. Women killed by lovers, husbands, angry mobs. Every dead wraith had a sad story.

I’ve dealt with enough darkness in real life. I play video games to forget about that for a little while or to enjoy the fantasy of defeating and dealing with it.

WITCHER 3 seemed to wallow in its misery and I couldn’t take it any more. The suicide of a major character was the last straw for me, making it too emotionally overwhelming to enjoy.

May 10, 2020, was my last livestream of this game, and I won’t be going back. “Tragic End” (below) is the final highlight video from that stream.

THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT is rated “M” for mature audiences, ages 17+, due to blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content and use of alcohol. It’s available for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Wanton Wasteland: Home Run

* * WARNING: ADULT CONTENT * *

Fiona takes Mac to her house in Diamond City to play with his bat and balls, but things get serious. Based on my first playthrough of Fallout 4, this story takes place after MacCready’s Wooden Soldier and before Wanton Wasteland: Hangman’s Alley 

If you’d like to see Fiona and my Fallout 4 videos, check out my YouTube channel.

2,000 words.

 

Home Run

On the outskirts of Diamond City, a guard wearing a catcher’s helmet and chest pad called out. “Hey, MacCready, long time, no see. You still an asshole?” 

“Hey, Pete,” Mac sassed back. “You kiss your mother with that mouth? Or just your sister?” 

At the gate, a guard stopped Fiona. “Sweetheart, you got something stuck to your shoe and it’s trailing along behind you. Want me to remove it?” 

He guffawed and brandished his wooden bat as they walked away. 

“You have a lot of friends here?” she asked Mac in a low voice. 

“Haven’t been to Diamond City in years, but I guess I made a lasting impression.” 

The town looked more like a scrapyard than a settlement, built in what used to be a baseball stadium. Mac paused to look over the jumble of flashing lights, crooked signs and muddy baselines. He seemed pensive and melancholy. 

“Why so sad, Slim?” 

He’d probably gained ten pounds since she hired him because she was constantly making him eat. But she still used the nickname because it still fit. 

“Last time I was here, I was with Lucy. It just feels weird, you know?” 

“Yeah, I know. I was here with Nate over two hundred years ago. We sat up there.” She pointed to the stands above third base. “First time I came back, after leaving the vault, this all felt like a bad dream. But now, the past, my past, the distant past… That’s the part that feels like a dream.” 

Mac heaved a heavy sigh and followed her to Power Noodles, where she bought two bowls of ramen and some cold Nuka Cola. 

He inhaled his food and asked the robotic chef Takahashi if seconds were free. They weren’t. Under his breath, he murmured. “At fifty-five caps a bowl, they should be.” 

She bought him a second bowl. 

He wiped his mouth on his sleeve. “You keep buying me dinner and you’re going to be stuck with me for a long time.” 

“That’s the idea, handsome.” She smiled, clinking her soda bottle against his. “Cheers.” 

After dinner, Fiona took him to a door just a few paces from the food stand and invited him inside. She yanked the chain of a hanging bulb, illuminating two large rooms connected by a wide corridor. Very spacious by wasteland standards, but the rooms were currently crammed with a bunch of shit left behind by the former occupant. 

“Whoa, wait a minute. You’ve got a place right by the market? Who’d you have to kill to get this?” 

She closed and locked the door behind them. “Nelson Latimer’s son. I intercepted his drug shipment and made a load of caps off of it. This seemed like a solid investment.” 

“Damn. I don’t know whether to be terrified or impressed.” 

“A little of both?” 

They dropped their packs in a shopping cart and disarmed, arranging their weapons on a broken table propped up by cement blocks. 

Mac kicked some tires and dug around in a box of tools. “Is all this crap yours?” 

She struggled with a stuck drawer in an old bureau. “Yeah, I gotta sort through it and get a provisioner to haul the useful stuff out to the settlements that need it.” 

“Or just sell it to Percy and make a small fortune.” 

“Or Myrna.” 

“Screw Myrna. She still think everyone’s a synth?” 

Fiona got the drawer open far enough to reach inside. She pulled out a Grognak comic and handed it to him. “Here. I wanted you to have this.” 

His blue eyes widened. “Jungle of the Bat-Babies? I didn’t even know this one existed. Where did you get it?” 

“It was Nate’s. One of the few things I found in our house after I left the vault.” 

As he flipped the yellowed pages, his face seemed to transform, losing its tension and perpetual sneer, and the creases around his mouth and eyes vanished. He suddenly looked very, very young. 

“How old are you?” 

“Hm?” He didn’t look up. “Uh… twenty-two, I think. Give or take a few months. I don’t know my birthday.” 

“Jesus. I thought you were closer to my age.” 

“Two hundred and thirty?” 

“Two hundred and forty.” 

“You don’t look a day over a hundred.” 

“Thanks.” 

He closed the book and returned it carefully to the bureau. With a crooked, playful smile, he slipped his arms around her waist and said, “Don’t worry, grandma, I still think you’re gorgeous.” 

“I wasn’t fishing for compliments.” 

“Well, I’m going to give you some, because you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m being serious, now. You want to talk about dreams, I keep thinking I’m dreaming because nothing in my life has ever been this good. I’ve got the Gunners off my ass, I’ve got a cure for Duncan, I’ve got someone who cares about me and… I’ve got Jungle of the Bat-Babies!”  

Fiona smiled. She hugged him close and whispered in his ear. “We should finish what we started at the Castle.” 

“The mutants?” 

“No, the other thing.” She unbuttoned her top. 

“Riiiiiiiight… that thing.” 

Taking hold of her chin, Mac guided her mouth to his. He tasted like a soda-drenched ashtray and smelled like dirty laundry but she didn’t give a shit. The things she did give a shit about were having a light-footed sharpshooter watching her back and a companion who understood what it meant to be a parent and how it felt to lose a spouse. 

She removed the scarf around his neck and kissed the sweaty, dusty skin at his throat. He shrugged off his one-armed coat while she unbuttoned his shirt from top to bottom. Then she dropped to her knees to unbuckle his pants. She kissed the thin trail of hair below his navel, but when she tried to go further, he squirmed away. 

“Whoa! Hey, you don’t have to do that.” 

“I want to.” 

He pulled her to her feet. “People do that kind of stuff when they’re desperate. Sometimes the Gunners force people to do it. It’s just… wrong, okay? Chowing down on somebody’s rank case of feral crotch. You don’t ever have to do that to me.” 

“Okay, Mac, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Didn’t you and your wife ever–?” 

“I would never treat anyone like a chem whore or a captive, let alone my wife.” 

He obviously had some negative associations, so she didn’t press the issue. “Is using my hand okay?” 

“Sure, if you want t– ohh…” He gasped when she grasped his rock hard shaft. 

“Am I squeezing too much?” 

“N-no… it’s…” He cleared his throat. “It’s fine. Better than fine. It’s g-good, actually.”  

She went on kissing and touching him while he fumbled with her bra, gave up, pushed the straps down her arms and grabbed her tits. 

They moved closer to a bed in the corner, which she’d covered with a patchwork blanket made of scavenged scraps and some fabric from Fallon’s Basement. 

Fiona stripped and laid down but he just stood there, staring at her, his pants sliding down his ass. He took off his hat and ran a hand through his messy hair.   

“I want to…” He shuffled toward the bed. “God! I want to be with you more than I want to shoot a deathclaw between the eyes at five hundred paces. But what if… What if we make a kid?” 

“I don’t know if that can even happen. I mean, maybe, but my cycle’s been weird ever since I left the vault. Might be the cryofreeze process or the radiation out here or something.” 

He sat on the edge of the bed. “But if it happened…” 

“If you’re worried, we can do other things. Things that don’t make babies.” She rubbed his shoulders and nibbled his ear. “Or you could pull out before you finish.” 

He growled but it sounded more like frustration than arousal. 

“I don’t want to do other things. I don’t want to pull out.” He turned and looked in her eyes. “I want to have a baby with you. I want us to be together. You, me, Duncan… Shaun, when we find him. I want a family again.” 

He said “when.” Not “if.” When we find Shaun. 

Her eyes welled up with tears. “We would have a very cute baby.” 

“Really, Fi?” 

“Yeah.” She sniffled. “Sorry, I’m being stupid.” 

“It’s not stupid to cry.” He wiped a tear from her cheek. “You know what’s stupid? Stupid is FIFTY-FIVE CAPS for a BOWL OF RAMEN. Sheesh.” 

She laughed. 

“I should give up killing people and open a noodle stand in the Third Rail,” he said, yanking off his boots and pants. “What was I thinking?” 

He got on top of her and she wrapped her arms and legs around him. His bony hips dug into her thighs as he ground his dick against her clit. She shifted her hips and he slid inside, but he didn’t pump. 

He took several deep, ragged breaths that made her wonder if he was trying not to come too soon. Grunting and gritting his teeth, he pulled out and slid in again, slowly, but with each stroke, he thrust faster and harder. 

Grasping his tight ass in her hands, she wasn’t just fucking Mac, she was fucking the idea that they would rebuild the lives they’d both lost to tragedy. It felt so good. She felt happier than she’d been in months. 

“Yes, yes, yes, give it to me, yes…” She dug her fingers into his skin, moaning as sexual tension built and then surged through her, like a dam breaking. 

With a final, deep thrust, he shuddered and collapsed, gasping like he’d just run all the way from the Capital Wasteland. She could feel his rapid heartbeat against her chest. He groaned and rolled onto his back beside her, wiping the sweat from his forehead. 

“God da– I mean… heck.” 

It was the most ardant “heck” she’d ever heard. She cuddled up to him and played with the curls of hair around his nips. “You don’t have to curb your language for me. Especially not when we’re fucking.” 

“When we’re what?” 

“You heard me.” 

He smiled his wicked mischievous irresistible smile. ”No, I’m sorry, what were we doing?” 

She climbed on top of him, straddled his crotch, cupped her tits in her hands, and hammed a breathy, seductive voice. “You were fucking me with that long sniper rifle you call a cock and shooting a load deep into my hot, wet target.”

“You know it’s a good idea to shoot twice, just to make sure.” He grabbed her ass, grinding against her, and she could feel him getting hard again.  

“Wow, you really are twenty-two, aren’t you?” 

*

Later, they sat on the roof, listening to the radio and watching the night market. Arturo, Polly and Moe closed up their shops. Geneva walked home from the mayor’s office. Piper’s sister Nat hawked copies of the local newspaper. Percy took over for Myrna. 

Mac wore his pants and shirt again, but he’d left the shirt unbuttoned. Fiona was more interested in watching the wiry merc than Diamond City. She reached for his hand and his fingers entwined with hers. 

“We could live here when Duncan arrives. He could go to school.” 

The red ember of his cigarette brightened with his inhale, then dimmed. Mac shook his head, exhaling a white cloud of smoke. “Bill and Maria are coming with him. That ghoul couple I told you about, who’ve been taking care of him for me. They wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the green walls.” 

“That’s such bullshit. This place ever needs the Minutemen, I’m going to send every ghoul we have in our ranks.” 

“It’s what got the mayor elected. The wall is there to protect the decent people of Diamond City from synths, ghouls, vagrants and other ‘filth’ of the wasteland.” 

“All the types that Hancock takes into Goodneighbor.” 

“Yep.” 

“What about that big house, near Covenant? Preston called it Taffington House or something like that. We found it when we went to Med-Tek for Duncan’s medicine. Had a stove, a garden and a water source.” 

“Yeah, that place was nice. We’d just need to fix the roof and bury the bodies.” 

* * * 

~ J.L. Hilton

MacCready’s Wooden Soldier <– Previous story

Next story —> Wanton Wasteland: Hangman’s Alley

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Try-It Tuesday: DARKARTA A Broken Heart’s Quest

I didn’t find out about DARKARTA: A BROKEN HEART’S QUEST until a representative from Tutti Frutti Interactive offered me a review copy earlier this month. The game came to PC in 2017 but mobile versions in eight languages are now being released for Android and iOS.

Other than the free review copy, I was not offered nor given any form of incentive, compensation or payment to play this game. As with all of my Try-It Tuesday posts, these are my honest opinions. 

I’ve played a lot of hidden object puzzle adventures over the years and this is one of the best. The scenes are beautiful and the puzzles are incredible to look at, as well as being challenging, engaging, complex, fresh and fun. The music fits the game, especially the tune in the memories room that made me want to burst into tears.

DARKARTA is not only a story about a love triangle that spans lifetimes but is also very much about a mother’s love. Mary must find and rescue her little girl Sophia from an evil immortal. She discovers ghosts, magic, treasure, and the dark secrets from her past life along the way.

A helpful in-game journal provides character descriptions and information, in case the player ever misses anything or feels confused by the story. I noticed a few minor typos and grammatical errors but I thought, overall, the story and voice acting were much better than other HOPA games I’ve played.

There were moments near the end that seemed like they were supposed to be dramatic revelations, yet the information had already been explained by the journal or provided earlier in the game. The conclusion felt a bit rushed and incomplete but the real resolution comes at the end of the bonus chapter, Rising of the Phoenix, so make sure to play that, too.

DARKARTA has four difficulty modes, including a “custom” difficulty where you can adjust several different aspects of the experience, such as the hint recharge rate and the appearance of sparkle clues. I wish every point-and-click puzzle game had this.

Puzzles can be skipped but I didn’t take that option. I found the hidden objects, locks and other mini-games challenging but not impossible.

Inventory items can be used more than once! Hooray! If you’ve watched me play other HOPA games, you’ll know how frustrated I get when knives, axes, scissors, matches and other useful objects just disappear. I know that’s how these games usually work but I’ve long wanted a more realistic experience. At least in DARKARTA, when Mary loses her inventory, it’s because she’s had a boat accident or something that makes sense.

Speaking of making sense, in many puzzle games, the things you have to do with the objects and environment are just crazy. I once played a game where I had to put a corked gourd on some lava so the cork would shoot across a ravine. WTH? In DARKARTA, the environmental interactions aren’t so bizarre. An ax chops wood, stones are thrown to knock something down, a pocket knife cuts a cord, etc.

The only technical problem I had with DARKARTA is the fact that hovering the cursor near the bottom of a scene or puzzle gives the “go back” prompt, when I’m just trying to click a hidden object or pick up something. This got a bit annoying after about the tenth time I accidentally left a puzzle or location. Usually, my puzzle progress would be saved and I wouldn’t have to do it over again, but it was still frustrating.

The collector’s edition comes with several bonus features. Mini-games and hidden object puzzles can be replayed. You can listen to the soundtrack or download wallpaper images. There’s even a full-length prequel comic book that tells the story of the main characters’ childhoods.

I think the developers put a lot of love and attention into DARKARTA and I look forward to playing more games from Tutti Frutti Interactive.

DARKARTA is rated “E” for everyone on GooglePlay but I couldn’t find an age rating on the ESRB website. I think it’s best for ages 12+ as the violence (stabbing and fighting in flashback scenes), spooky aspects (skeletons, ghosts, etc), child abduction and frequent visions of Sophia crying for her mother may be distressing to young children.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: MODERN TALES Age of Invention

Despite its name, MODERN TALES: AGE OF INVENTION is set in the year 1900. As one might expect with steampunk, there are steam trains, airships and crazy gadgets.

Emily Patterson is a headstrong, independent and educated female protagonist, who ditches skirts and corsets in favor of men’s clothing. She uses a parachute, understands chemistry, and repairs pipes, flat tires and telegraph lines. When presented with a freshly-caught fish, she says, “I’m no housewife!”

When her father and his colleagues go missing from the Paris expo, Emily pursues a suspicious character named d’Albignac who blackmails inventors and steals their inventions. This reminded me a little bit of the 2015 movie April and the Extraordinary World, which is also a steampunk story about a daughter’s adventure with disappearing scientists.

In MODERN TALES, Albert Einstein is a love interest who helps Emily steal an airship from Zeppelin himself. Coco Chanel is a fashionable friend. Ferdinand Porsche sells Emily a car.

But don’t expect MODERN TALES to be a history lesson. I Googled things that appeared in the game, such as duct tape, disc records and airplanes. A non-adhesive form of “duck tape” was in use in 1900, but the sticky version didn’t actually come along until years later. Disc record players existed but many people still had phonographs with wax cylinders in 1900. And despite d’Albignac’s clever plane/snowmobile, the first airplane flight didn’t actually happen until 1903, with stable, sustained flight in 1905.

The story and voice acting are a bit cheesy, typical of games in this genre. The scenes are lovely but the characters seem slapdash at times and look as if they’re drawn by different artists from scene to scene.

The images above are all Coco Chanel. The images below are the protagonist, Emily. I like her promotional image (left) much more than her actual in-game character. Is she a blonde? A redhead? What’s wrong with her boobs?

Overall, I had a good time with MODERN TALES. I found its quirks and anachronisms amusing. The puzzles and hidden object games are fun, the game controls are easy to use, and I didn’t experience any glitches or gameplay issues. I played on expert difficulty and the challenges felt balanced, neither too easy nor too difficult.

Don’t miss the bonus chapter, unlocked after playing the main game. Things get really bizarre!

MODERN TALES is a 2017 hidden object puzzle adventure, developed by Orchid Games and published by Artifex Mundi for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. Rated E 10+ for ages 10 and up.

See all of my Artifex Mundi videos here

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday DREAM DADDY

DREAM DADDY: A DAD DATING SIMULATOR is a visual novel video game released in 2017 for PC. The expanded Dadrector’s Cut was released for PlayStation 4 in 2018 and a Nintendo Switch version in 2019.

I heard about DREAM DADDY because I’m a fan of Game Grumps, the publisher, but I didn’t get around to playing the game until May 2020.

In DREAM DADDY, you’re a single dad who moves to a new neighborhood with his high school daughter. You can create and customize your dad with a variety of options, including body hair, facial hair, glasses, clothing, binder, hairstyles and more.

You have the opportunity to meet and romance a variety of dudes, including a Goth Dad, Teacher Dad, Bad Dad, Cool Dad, Fitness Dad and others. But the story is also about your relationship to your daughter, Amanda, and you can get different endings depending on how you interact with her.

There are dialog choices in DREAM DADDY, and you can choose who you date, but there’s not much choice about who you are. The protagonist is written as a messy, sarcastic loner interested in reality TV and junk food. I don’t usually play visual novels, so maybe that’s just how they are, but it kind of sucked for me.

And I get that this is a story game so, y’know, story. But this game had an awful lot of “um” “sure” “hey” and rambling conversations that made me all too painfully aware of how much I was clicking … and clicking … and clicking to get through them. If this visual novel was just a novel, it would be in sore need of an editor.

DREAM DADDY was a unique little romp with funny mini-games but not interesting enough to play all over again. I got the good ending with Amanda and the romantic ending with Brian (Rival Dad), my favorite, then I reloaded my last save and did the romantic ending with Hugo (Teacher Dad), a close second.

I didn’t like the rivalry with Brian though. It made the protagonist seem really petty and immature. I wish they’d had Brian be Cuddly Dad or Confident Dad or something.

DREAM DADDY is rated “T” for teens due to sexual themes, language, use of alcohol and tobacco.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: THE SECRET ORDER Shadow Breach

This game is called THE SECRET ORDER: SHADOW BREACH on PlayStation, but it’s called The Secret Order 7 on Steam. It definitely felt like part of a series, with references to characters, story and events from, I assume, the past six games I hadn’t played.

But I still had a good time with THE SECRET ORDER, a hidden object puzzle adventure developed by Sunward Games and published by Artifex Mundi in February 2019. It is definitely possible to play through without having played any of the other Secret Order games before.

As the protagonist, Sarah, I collected several magical artifacts scattered across the world in secret labs, forests, mansions, and mountain ruins. There were elements of fantasy and science fiction, with dragons, druids, ray guns, aliens, knights and scientists.

The beautiful artwork is the biggest appeal of THE SECRET ORDER, followed by the challenging puzzles. The story… well… the dialogue was so bad it was funny, almost like a porno.

At one point, Sarah walked into a room and said, “I’m looking for a special relic. It’s an urgent matter. There’s an evil force.”

And the dude replied something along the lines of “I don’t know anything about relics, but we have some great wine.” Then sent her to find his “secret room” in the cellar, which wasn’t a sex dungeon … but for a minute I thought it might be.

I played the entire game on “expert” mode and didn’t have much of a problem until the bonus chapter, which I found difficult and a bit weird.

I mean, games like this are always odd, in their own way, with elaborate puzzle locks on jewelry boxes, unusual ways to use every day items, and villains who somehow don’t notice me rummaging around in the piles of hidden objects five feet away. But this particular bonus chapter had some solutions that felt really random, achieved by just clicking everything, everywhere until something worked, rather than being able to think through logical connections.

Or maybe I couldn’t think straight because I was too disturbed by this purple genie creature who showed up out of nowhere to stare at me with its glowing eyes of judgment! What is this? Was it in previous Secret Order games? Why is it smiling at me like that?!

THE SECRET ORDER: SHADOW BREACH is for ages 12 and up. Available on PS4, PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and mobile phone apps.

See all of my Artifex Mundi videos here

~ J.L. Hilton

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Completing the EVENTIDE trilogy

This week I played EVENTIDE 3: LEGACY OF LEGENDS, developed by The House of Fables and published by Artifex Mundi in 2017.

I enjoyed the first Eventide game back in January 2018 and I tried the EVENTIDE 3 free demo back in September 2018. But I didn’t continue at that time because I wanted to play them in order. I played Eventide 2 earlier this year, so it was time to complete the trilogy.

Like the others, EVENTIDE 3 is a point-and-click HOPA (Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure) developed by The House of Fables and published by Artifex Mundi.

Of course, another family member is in peril and this time botanist Mary Gilbert must travel to the Cloud Kingdom to rescue her brother, a meteorologist with magical powers. She must prove her worth to the thunder god Perun and save the world from catastrophe.

EVENTIDE 3 was a fun finale to this fairy tale series. The voice acting could be better, but the music is relaxing, with lovely scenes and a good combination of story, brain teasers, and hidden object games, with the option to play in “casual” or “expert” modes.

Rated “E” for everyone aged 10 and up by the ESRB. Available on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and mobile phone.

See all of my Artifex Mundi videos here

~ J.L. Hilton

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Try-It Tuesday: EVENTIDE 2 Sorcerer’s Mirror

EVENTIDE 2: SORCERER’S MIRROR is a 2016 point-and-click puzzle-solving adventure developed by the House of Fables and published by Artifex Mundi. I had a good time playing the first game, Eventide: Slavic Fable, back in January 2018, so I wanted to complete the trilogy.

The botanist Mary Gilbert returns in EVENTIDE 2. This time, she rescues her niece from an evil wizard, with the help of an herbalist, innkeeper, gravedigger, butcher and other inhabitants of a small village surrounded by magic and monsters straight out of Eastern and Central European fairy tales.

This video is a collection of edited highlights from my Twitch Try-It Tuesday live stream of the free PlayStation 4 demo. It’s not intended to be a walkthrough but to give an idea of the story and gameplay.

I bought the full game and completed it the next day. EVENTIDE 2 took about four hours total, compared to the six hours I spent playing Eventide: Slavic Fable. There’s no bonus level to this one. Instead, it features a branching narrative where the choices you make at certain critical points affect the progression and outcome of the story. I assume it could be replayed again to make different choices and see what happens.

I enjoyed EVENTIDE 2. I think the trilogy has beautiful artwork with a nice combination of story, brain teasers, and hidden object games. There are hints, if needed, and a choice of “casual” or “expert” mode.

EVENTIDE 2 is rated “T” for teens due to violence. Available for PS4, PC, Xbox One, Android and macOS.

See all of my Artifex Mundi videos here

~ J.L. Hilton

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