Natalie Brooks: Mystery of Hillcrest High (

Natalie has just received a hidden message from an old friend wanting her help.  Apparently, the Black Cat Gang is committing a heist and it’s up to Natalie and her friend to stop them.

The plot is a little darker than the last two games.  In this one, Natalie’s life and her freedom is on the line.  Not only that, but a character from the first game is also unwittingly involved in the crime.

In this game, there is more freedom to move around.  While you still travel from various locations, you explore the place in its entirety in order to advance throughout the game. 

You collect items to add in your inventory, some requiring you to partake in hidden object scenes for you to use in certain areas. 

Sometimes, you have to partake in a mini-game in order to advance in the story.

The game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; the best in the series.

Natalie Brooks: The Treasures of Lost Kingdom (

After receiving her rightful inheritance, Natalie Brooks visits her grandfather for his birthday.  Unfortunately, a bandit has kidnapped him and sends Natalie on a mission in order to save her grandfather’s life.  She must find the lost treasure of the Mayans.

This game not only explores ancient Mayan culture, it also connects real people to the Mayans, such as Al Capone and President Herbert Hoover.  Natalie can be a little self-absorbed in her quest, but Geoffrey usually calls her out on that.  One problem with the storyline was when Natalie talked about taking some of the Mayan treasure for herself.  Apparently, the writer forgot that Natalie received a large inheritance from her grandmother in the last game.

The game play is a little different from the last one.  You still go from various locations to collect items but sometimes you have to participate in a hidden object scene to find one.  You also have to solve mini-games in order to advance throughout the game.  Feel free to skip a mini-game or use a hint, which is unlimited in this game.

This game is intriguing and addictive.  I give it 6 out of 10; there were some continuity issues.

Empress of the Deep 2: Song of the Blue Whale (

After escaping the destruction of her underwater kingdom, Anna arrives on a mysterious island.  Her task, go to the Sky Temple and restore it to its former glory.  Her only guides are Jacob and a mysterious blue whale.

The whole reason I even started playing these games is because this one had blue whale in the title and I’m fascinated with the ocean.  The plot is like the first game, simple and predictable.  You free the children and the guardian animals of the temple.  Then you have to discover a mysterious plot and embrace your destiny.

The game play is just like in the last game.  You go from area to area collecting items and playing mini-games.  In the collector’s edition, you can collect diary entries from the nemesis in the last game.  As for how they read, let’s just say that her character is similar to Scar from the Lion King.  After that, you put the heads in certain areas, play a few hidden object scenes and then you get to play zem, a matching game involving gems.

This game is beautiful and addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10; two extra points for the animal drawings.

Empress of the Deep: The Darkest Secret (

A young woman has awakened from a long slumber.  Her task, find three imperial relics and save this mysterious underwater kingdom.

The plot is quite cliché, mysterious woman with no memory of who she is wakes up and has to save the kingdom.  That doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining.  Anna has two voices to guide her, one of a little girl and one that belongs to an old man.  Anyone who’s seen this kind of plot can easily figure out who the evil one is.

The game play is simple yet fun.  You travel around the kingdom and collect objects to use throughout your journey.  Sometimes you have to play a mini-game that you can skip if you want to.  You can also activate ten purple orbs along with the three imperial relics.

This game is beautiful and fun.  I give it 5 out of 10; not the best and not the worst.

Avenue Flo: Special Delivery (

Quinn’s expanding her wedding planner business to include baby showers and her first one is for Victoria Big, Mr. Big’s daughter.  Unfortunately, a pack of dogs destroy Quinn’s food and decorations and she has to call Flo for help.  Can Flo save Quinn’s business a second time?

The plot in this game is very similar to the one in the last.  Flo has to come to Quinn’s rescue while helping everyone else in DinerTown.  Some of the problems, like the squirrel, could’ve easily been solved without Flo if the owner wasn’t too stupid to realize that acorns would distract him.  Still, it is quite amusing to see what troubles the citizens of DinerTown get themselves into.  The only one who doesn’t seem to need Flo’s help is Karma, who just gives her the hat without asking for anything despite the traffic jam which is the only problem Flo can’t solve.

The game play is just like the last one.  You travel through town and solve Quinn’s problem one step at a time while also solving everyone else’s little problems.  Some tasks require you to play a mini-game.  Fear not, this time the makers added a skip option in case you get stuck.  Now they just need to add a hint option for when you can’t find anything.

This game is addictive and amusing.  I give it 7 out of 10; not a bad waste of your time.

Avenue Flo (

Flo’s just having an average day at the diner when Quinn calls her for help.  Apparently, Quinn’s planning the biggest wedding of her career and everything’s a complete mess.  Now Flo has to explore DinerTown and fix everything before Quinn’s clients call off the wedding.

The plot is just that, simple and funny.  Flo has to go all over DinerTown to help sew dresses, make cakes and other various wedding tasks.

Sometimes she needs other people to help her but they only do so if she helps them first.  Many familiar characters, such as Jo from Fitness Dash and Bobbi from Dress Shop Hop, make cameo appearances.

In the game, you travel through three neighborhoods and help different people sort out their problems in exchange for an item.  Then you go to the person you need to and complete the given task, such as helping Bobbi make the dress.  You also collect butterflies in every neighborhood and bottles in order to earn bus tokens.  Sometimes, you have to complete an activity in order to advance through the game.

You can’t skip them but you can ask for a hint in order to proceed.  After you’re through with story mode, try your hand in activity mode to take on all the mini-games individually.

This game is addictive and amusing with good voice work.  I give it 9 out of 10; I snickered a few times.

Valerie Porter and the Scarlet Scandal (

Valerie’s just landed a job in journalism; unfortunately, it’s as the editor’s secretary.  So when she uncovers a huge affair, the woman who gives her the scoop ends up murdered in an alleyway.  Was it a crime of passion, or is there a far more sinister plot lurking in the depths?

This game takes place in the 1920s, when society would not take career-oriented women seriously.  Like many mystery stories, the plot isn’t about the main character but about the ones that go to her.  The protagonist just finds herself in a tangled mess that has been going on in the supportive characters’ lives for years.  Valerie has to find information about their pasts to solve the mystery of the story.

The game play is hidden object.  You find a list of hidden items in each scene.

If there is more than one of a certain object, you can connect each of them together to add to your score.  If you’re stuck, you can use a hint.  Find batteries in each scene in order to recharge the hint.  Some scenes have you assembling machines such as typewriters and cameras.  While others have you cropping pictures, writing articles and other various mini-games.

You can pick locations on the map and in between each one you go on a train ride where you collect enough items to fill up your hint bar.  You can also collect five bells in each scene for 100, but it has no effect on the plot whatsoever.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 7 out of 10; a fun way to kill time.

Burger Shop 2 (

After creating your own chain of restaurants, you thought life couldn’t be any better.  Unfortunately, it got worse.  Not only did you wake up in a dumpster with temporary amnesia, you also found every one of your restaurants completely boarded up.  Now you have to restore yourself to your former glory and discover who’s behind your downfall.

Just like the last game, you have a story mode and an expert mode you can play when you beat that.  The only difference is that the latter has no story whatsoever save for the interesting tidbits about the characters when you complete it.  In the former, you are trying to restore your former glory by repurchasing your old restaurants.  There’s a slight reference to Sherlock Holmes, which is a little funny.

The game play is the same as in the last one with one exception.  You serve breakfast in one level, lunch in the next and dinner in the last.  For breakfast, you serve eggs, orange juice and other meals that are associated with the morning.  For lunch, you serve everything you did in the last game.  For dinner, you serve steak, potatoes and other meals that are associated with the evening.  You gather ingredients on the conveyor belt and give it to the customer who requests it.  There are machines producing the items that some customers request, such as cereal or orange juice.  How well you serve the customers affects your star rating.

This game is amusing and addictive.  I give it 9 out of 10; even better than the first one.