Captured! Virtual Villagers 5: New Believers, the fifth entry in the Last Day of Work's popular village simulation series, begins with the player's hand-picked quintet of brave explorers being ambushed and taken prisoner by masked natives while investigating the dense jungle at the heart of the island of Isola. Acting as their god, it's up to you to help them survive the strange new village in which they find themselves and, just maybe, convert their heathen captors into true believers along the way.
- Be warned: If you have yet to play John Wizard's previous role-playing game, Lilly & Sasha: Curse of the Immortals, you'd do well to work your way through it before tackling Lilly & Sasha: Nexus of Souls. This sequel picks up right where its predecessor left off, and despite a quick recap of key scenes from the previous game, its story and characters are so intertwined with those of its forerunner that players who didn't play Curse of the Immortals will be left scratching their heads some of the time.
- Farmscapes, the latest effort from Russian game maker Playrix (Gardenscapes, Royal Envoy), tells the story of a teenaged kid who is sent to his grandfather's farm to make sure he doesn't waste his summer vacation inside playing video games. The irony of it all is that once you pick up this devilishly habit-forming match-three puzzler, you're likely to do just that: Spend plenty of prime tobogganing time in front of your computer.
- Credit where credit is due: Whisper of a Rose is nothing if not ambitious. Rose Portal Games' first casual role-playing game is a deep, sprawling fantasy experience set in multiple worlds filled with visually diverse environments. Unfortunately, it also suffers game-ending glitches, stale dialogue, and questionable interface and game design decisions. Still, there's a lot more good than bad in this atypical RPG.
- Casual RPG-maker John Wizard has only been around for about a year, but it has already released a quartet of games. What's more, in Dawn's Light 2 the fledgling studio is confident enough to assume that players are at least familiar with its predecessor (expect plenty of references to characters, places, and events from the original game). However, while returning players may get a few more jokes, there are enough new gags and personalities that the game can still be enjoyed without having experienced its forebear. That's good news, since Dawn's Light 2 may well be John Wizard's best effort yet.
- When I reviewed Echoes of the Past: Royal House of Stone I had few negative things to say about it, save that it was frustratingly short (I wrapped it in less than two hours). Heading into its sequel, I couldn't help but keep track of the time I spent playing. Would it be another fun but frustratingly short adventure? I'm happy to report that, at around the four hour mark, I stopped checking my watch and just sat back and enjoyed the rest of the game as it unfolded. Echoes of the Past: The Castle of Shadows is not just more than twice the length of its woefully short precursor, it's also very well designed and a heck of a lot of fun.
- John Wizard's latest RPG is a bit of a misfire. Jack of All Worlds sports the developers' trademark witty dialogue and strong production values, but it also has a peculiar, memory-based battle system, precious little in the way of character development, a hero we never really get to know, and an abrupt and unsatisfying ending.
- One's affinity for Slingo -- a mash-up of bingo and slots -- is likely directly correlated to one's enjoyment of games of chance. While most titles in this popular franchise incorporate an element of skill, it seems as though winning, losing, and scoring often tend to boil down to random luck. This is certainly true of Funkitron's latest entry in the series, Slingo Quest Egypt.