As a note, you may want to buy the collector’s editions and not the full version of games. Collector’s editions often give you bonus features like strategy guides and extra game play that the full games may not have. That means you need to download the free versions of the game and buy them in-app, but they are still on sale there. When not on sale, collector’s editions cost about $2 more than the full versions usually. But, they are well worth if they contain extra game play and a strategy guide.
I apologize for just screenshots of screenshots in this post, but all of these games are large and I delete them after I finish with them to make room for more. The games have gotten even larger since the iPad got the Retina screen, which necessitates even more MB.
The Top 10 (in no particular order)
Surface: Mystery of Another World Collector’s Edition
This iPad only game that was released in January tells the story of a father and son traveling by train when the son suddenly goes missing. The father (you) goes to all lengths to get his son back, even as far as leaving this world behind for another.
What sets this game apart, like many in this top 10, are the stunning graphics, fantastic puzzles, and smooth storytelling. I actually played this game 2 times in a row I liked it so much. The journal that the father keeps also keeps time as a map of the world or area you are in currently and a portal to jump to any of those times. Plus, you can watch any cut scenes that you miss through the journal as little video clips.
Surface is as smooth as can be. All rounded corners, no jagged, unfinished edges. I really can’t recommend it highly enough.
Dark Parables: Rise of the Snow Queen Collector’s Edition
Rise of the Snow Queen came out just late last week. It tells the story of an investigation led by you into the disappearance of an entire village of children. It is said that the Snow Queen steals children away during snowstorms with her supernatural powers. This time, she may have gone too far and the fate of the world rests in your hands. It is a shame I can’t tell you more about this story because it is built on a well-loved and known fairy tale told in a new and unique way. You’ll be surprised as the story unravels. I’ll say only this. Sometimes bad guys need to be saved, too.
Dark Parables is a line of games by Big Fish. This is the most recent edition for iOS. It is practically flawless in design. The graphics are sensational and the method of play is innovative. The story is not overwhelming, but it is told at a steady pace that will keep you hooked.
Haunted Manor: Queen of Death Collector’s Edition
Haunted Manor came out in mid-January and is still 1 of the scariest Big Fish Games I have ever played. I’ve played it twice, and it retained its scary grip on me even the 2nd time through.
In Haunted Manor, you do not play a detective. You play a young girl who gets a letter from her twin sister that tells of the rest of the family’s demise. You rush home to help save your sister only to find her elusive. You actually witness the deaths of each of your parents during the game, along with a postman, and your nanny. This is a harsh game in storytelling. I hesitate to say much more about the plot, but suffice it to say, you must fight hard to at least save yourself if nothing else.
Haunted Manor has great hidden object scenes with objects that must be uncovered in the scenes themselves. The puzzles are uncommonly good, and the graphics are perfect. Haunted Manor is a long game made even longer with the extra gameplay in the bonus section. It will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, but you’ll still want to play more.
Hidden Expedition 4: Devil’s Triangle
Devil’s Triangle actually came out a few days before the new year, but I had so much fun playing it that I decided it was close enough to count in this roundup. The story continues what was started in Hidden Expeditions 1-3, all of which are out on iOS, I believe, but this is by far the best of the bunch.
Devil’s Triangle is of course the Bermuda Triangle. On assignment with the agency that employs you, you venture there in search of a lost crewmate only to be stuck on an island that shows up on no maps. I’ll warn you though, this story ends on a cliffhanger.
Devil’s Triangle stresses the puzzle over the hidden object scenes, but both do exist. It’s just that using your logical skills and figuring out your next moves will play more heavily in this game than they do in some other pure hidden object games. Graphics are so stunning that this is a BIG download. You may even want to download it on iTunes and sync it to your device, but I didn’t.
If you’re a fan of the hidden object/adventure type games, this game definitely fits in and is up to snuff.
Cate West: The Velvet Keys
The 2nd Cate West game for iOS came out around Valentine’s Day. This series is highly acclaimed on consoles, but doesn’t fare too well with App Store reviewers, which is a shame. Most of the complaints have to do with there being too much dialogue and having to read too much. 1. This is part story. It can have a lot of dialogue. 2. There are voice actors to read you everything, so there’s no actual reading involved.
If you haven’t played the 1st Cate West game for iOS, I’d recommend you do that 1st. The story will make more sense. For those of you who know it, this game finds Cate and Ben on another case that will lead them closer to the truth about who they are and where they are going. The story is extraordinary!
I love the Cate West series because there are about 4-5 types of puzzles and hidden object type scenes per chapter and there are about 15-20 chapters, making this a long game. The games can be somewhat glitchy, but I found just signing off and signing back in were enough to fix them. And, it is worth doing that to play such an awesome game.
Redemption Cemetery: Children’s Plight Collector’s Edition
In early January, Redemption Cemetery 2 was released. It is better than the 1st 1, in my opinion. The story told is different than in the 1st, but the actions taken to get things done are the same. You must help put to rest the concerns holding the deceased to their resting places in 1 cemetery.
The fantastical places you’ll visit seem like you’re visiting other worlds. The play on light and dark, both literally and figuratively, give Redemption Cemetery a wonderful look. The hidden object scenes are interactive and the puzzles are well worth playing.
The Fool just came out yesterday, but I have already finished it (that’s why this is being published today and not last night). I wasn’t sure what to think of it at 1st, but by the end, I was in love.
You play The Fool, who is hardly a fool at all. Your character enters a town that has been beset by a dragon. The king has promised the princess and half the kingdom to anyone who can kill the dragon and bring proof. That’s all I’m going to tell you, but do let me say that the journey your character goes on is a long 1 that seems as it it is coming to an end many times only to be extended.
The hidden object scenes are both beautiful and interactive. The graphics are gorgeous. The story is original. There’s really no reason I can think of that you should not try The Fool. Plus, it’s only $3.99 on the iPad for the next few days.
Elixir of Immortality
Elixir of Immortality, which was released about 2 weeks ago, is kind of sci-fi meets the dragon age. You play a detective (surprise, surprise) who has been assigned to investigate the mysterious goings on of a group of “scientists” working for the castle owner on an island. Someone in the bunch is a murderer, and you have to figure out who it is without being discovered as a detective.
This is not your usual suspense/adventure game. It is full of fun and fancy. The hidden object scenes are beautiful, but the puzzles are so much fun. So many of them are just completely original.
If you’re looking for something new and original that doesn’t scare you much at all, Elixir of Immortality is definitely a game for you.
Dark Strokes: Sins of the Fathers Collector’s Edition
This addition is another little cheat of mine on the date part, because it was released New Year’s Eve, but close enough.
Dark Strokes (besides having a kind of, um, well, interesting name) is a stunningly beautiful game all around. You play Ethan, who is trying to save his fiancé from something known as the Faceless Ones. The journey takes you all over a completely destroyed city that is teeming with supernatural forces.
This Collector’s Edition does get you extra game play, which is great, because recently not all Collector’s Editions have had it. Sometimes they just include stupid things like wallpaper and music from the game.
Phenomenon: City of Cyan
Phenomenon came out at the end of February. I had a hard time picking a 10th for this list, because although I loved so many other games, including this 1, they all seem to have some drawback or something that just didn’t sit well or play right.
City of Cyan is a great game, though. Particularly because the story it tells is so original that you will not feel like you’ve heard this 1 before. The puzzles and interactive hidden object scenes are just as original.
Oh, the story. You play Monica, who has returned to the City of Cyan to try to uncover the secrets surrounding her childhood in the city and find her parents. You are alone in the city, almost, because 20 years ago a dangerous experiment destroyed much of the city and turned the citizens into strange creatures.
2 Games I’ve Already Reviewed This Year
There are 2 games I have already reviewed this year, or they would’ve made the top 10 list. So, I thought I would send you to their full reviews for more information.
- Bronze Horseman is Fabulous New Game by Big Fish
- Royal Family Secrets a Relief After Weeks of Weak Games by Big Fish
2 Games I’d Avoid
There are 2 games that were so awful I either didn’t buy the full game (G.H.O.S.T. Hunters: The Haunting of Majesty Manor) or bought but soon deleted (Escape the Museum: The Complete Series). Both of these games had graphics so horrendous they made my eyes hurt trying to play them. They had weak stories and even weaker design sense.
What Did I Miss? and Assorted News
Did I miss any of your favorite games from this year? Let me know in the comments section what you liked and didn’t like or if you disagree with 1 of my selections.
Just because I didn’t mention every game that came out on this list, doesn’t mean that almost all the others lacked some redeeming quality. Except for the 2 games I mentioned, I have played every single game that came out this year (forever, I think). If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
2 games I didn’t mention but that I will do full reviews on at a later date are Fetch and Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. I’m in the midst of playing both games and they are absolute winners! Fetch was even an Editor’s Choice app of the week in the App Store. However, neither game is a hidden object game, so they seemed a little out of place in the Top 10 I wrote today.
By the way, if you’re waiting for the next Big Fish sale, I think it will be Mother’s Day weekend. I will Tweet and post here as soon as I know.
That’s it for me today. Until later, …
Related Links on iOS Affairs:
- Top 5 Best Big Fish Games
- Best Big Fish Games: Summer Roundup & Review
- 2 New Big Fish Games to Play
- More Big Fish Games You Should Play: Part 1
- More Big Fish Games You Should Play: Part 2
- Dorian Gray Hidden Object Game Gets a Rethink