Autodidact: self-taught


Games of the Victorian Variety

by V. L. Craven

My current favourite distraction is Arcane Empires , a strategy game with a Steampunk feel. A pretty typical strategy game, the goal is to build a city and grow an army in order to continue building your city and growing your army. You mine and farm resources as well as learn magic in order to advance your goals. There are alliances (which are good) and a global chat feature, that takes up valuable screen real estate and cannot be shut off (which is bad). It’s free and would be fine for all ages if you could turn off the global chat. Currently I’m levelling up so I can train armoured mammoths. Very looking forward to that. Available for Android and iOS devices.

For those that prefer their Victorian a little less parallel-universe-y, I recommend Blackwood and Bell Mysteries & Gardens of Time . They’re by the same company and look extremely similar. The game play is the same, as well: you’ve just come on as a new detective and you earn coins and points by doing hidden object scenes in order to find clues. You then use those coins to buy things for your London street in Blackwood and Bell or garden in Gardens of Time. It’s the sort of game where you have to wait for your energy to refill so that can be frustrating. Also, you can’t really decorate your garden or block the way you’d like, as you have missions where you have to have a certain number of items before you can level up. So your screen winds up being cluttered with the multiples of the most high value items rather than a mix of what looks best. Still, they are a bit of fun. Both are free and can be played on Android and iOS devices, as well as on Facebook.

Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles
. I was really looking forward to this one, but there was a load screen between every scene and sometimes when trying to do something within a scene. The graphics were good, as were the hidden object scenes and minigames. The storytelling was fine from the preview I played, but the load screen issue gave me too much time to think, ‘Why am I doing this when I could be doing something productive?’ Really good hidden object games should make you regret wasting that five hours after you’ve done so, as you were too engaged at the time to notice. I opted not to purchase the full game, but it’s $2.99USD


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