adventure


Have I ever mentioned that I’ve played adventure games since the first King’s Quests? I’ve literally played every single one of them that was worth playing. Heck, I even played Y2K. (Which, by the way, was not worth playing.) So when Dream Chronicles was first announced, I was quite excited. An adventure game for casual gamers!

Dream Chronicles (DC) is a typical first person adventure game, except that it is completely linear, and all the objects that you need to solve a given puzzle is usually near or on the same screen of the puzzle so there’s never any backtracking. Adding to the game is a number of “fairy jewels” that you have to pick up along the way that represents themselves on screen as colorful marbles. That would add to a “score” at the end of the game.

Puzzles in DC are a mixture of logical inventory puzzles (such as attaching wheels, washer, and nut to a spoke of a wagon) and riddle puzzles. What I mean by “riddle” puzzle is anything that doesn’t involve putting an inventory object on another – kind of like the 7th Guest. There’s a lot of “put this bunch of icons in sequence” as well. Mostly they are very logical.

Most of the time, however, you’d be spending object hunting. You’d be given a hint as to what you’re looking for, and off you go to look for it. Until you find every single last item, you can’t solve the puzzle and move on to the next screen. If you’re stuck long enough, the object will twinkle. These things are hidden adventure game style versus what casual gamers are used to; there’d be a corner sticking out of a book or a scrap coming out of the bushes. If you happen by them, however, the tooltip will come up letting you know what you mouse just moved over.

Some things are extremely small. Other times you’d find yourself peering into the darkness of the monitor thinking “what the heck am I looking at?” Since there is no setting to adjust brightness, you could end up with the dreaded adventure scenario of “pixel hunting.” Which I had to do many times. Most of the time when I found something I wouldn’t notice any change in the scene from before.

Another note is the linearity – once you finish a room, you can’t go back to it, and once you’ve finished the game, there’s really no point of playing it again aside from raising your score. That’s one thing about adventure games that doesn’t mix well with the casual game genre – there is little, if any, replayability in adventure games. Since DC also dumbed down the adventure part of the game by making all objects for a puzzle available in the same room as the puzzle, the game also goes absurdly fast. You could easily finish this in a couple of hours or less.

The art in DC is absolutely stunning for a casual game, and typical for an adventure game. The music is lovely, and the sound effects doesn’t stick out. There’s definitely a whole lot of production value here – beautiful adventure games are costly to make. That’s what makes casual games so lucrative – one puzzle with many difficulty levels = one game. Adventure game? Many scenes, many puzzles, many items … = one game.

As more casual games developers are looking to revive the adventure gaming genre by making them casual, I can’t help but feel that this is taking two steps back. Instead of spending $20 on a game you could finish in a couple of hours, why not pick up The Longest Journey at Staples for $9.99? It lasts for hours and hours, and the art is just as beautiful, if not more os.

Thought I’d update this walkthrough to include full size images. So here they are!

Basement

Boiler Room

Boiler Room

Cellar

Cellar

Ground Floor

Guest Saloon

Saloon

Kitchen

Kitchen

Lobby

Lobby

Guest House

Clock Room

Clock Room

Entry

Entry

Homestead

Homestead

Spare Bedroom

Spare Bedroom

Garden

Backyard

Backyard

Garage

Garage

Porch

Porch

Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar

East Wing

Balcony

Balcony

Drawing Room

Drawing Room

Gallery

Gallery

Pantry

Pantry

West Wing

Library

Library

Indian Room

Indian Room

Music Room

Music Room

Nursery

Nursery

Trophy Room

Trophy Room

Second Floor

Bathroom

Bathroom

Billiard Room

Billiard Room

Corridor

Corridor

Master

Master

Study

Study

Attic

Attic

Attic

East Tower

East Tower

West Tower

8_attic_west_tower.jpg

Not a perfect game, but you get the idea.

This is a bit of a request. All the pipes puzzles are randomly generated, so this isn’t so much a walkthrough as it is a bunch of examples. Some of these I just did from beginning to end. When that didn’t seem to work, you want to go from the obsolutes to the relatives; what I mean is to move the things that have NO choice as to their positions – straight pipes at the edge has to be parallel to the edge, corners at the corners can’t stick out. Then you work on the straight and curved pipes that attach to those, then lastly twist the rest of them into position.

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Known as Tangrams, a puzzle game from China. Azada treats it pretty hard-headed; there are almost always multiple solutions, but it will only take one. If you’re stuck, just drag a big piece into the puzzle to see when starts changing color just that little bit. Let it go and if it’s in the right place it’ll change color and snap in. These are all the ones I encountered – after that they started repeating themselves.

  • Symbols – How to solve Sodoku. If you’re still stuck, here’s a Sodoku Solver. Just swap the symbols for numbers.
  • Squares – Dots and boxes. The logic is simple – keep drawing lines to NOT make 3-sided squares, and keep going until the computer makes a mistake. If you’re forced to do this before the computer, choose an area where it can’t make that many combos.
  • Matchsticks – classic matchstick puzzles. My continually updated Matchstick puzzles videos.
  • The Shapes – Chinese Tangrams. It’s kind of hard to lose since the game changes the color of the tile when it’s in the right place.
  • The Towers – Hanoi tower. Hanoi Tower solver. Just let it know how many rings are in there, and it solves it for you.
  • Sequences – Figure out the next symbol in sequence.
    black moon – white moon – white square – (black square)
  • Pawns – English peg solitaire. You can find the solution right here.
  • Pipes – pipe dream, but you have to close off all the exits of the pipes, and the ooze doesn’t chase you. Working from entrance to exit and figure out the branches along the way is the best solution. Remember, eliminate the impossible.
  • Chemicals – Mastermind. Once you know the concept it’s pretty simple.

You can find my graphical walkthrough for the story puzzles here.

Big Fish Games’ first adventure debut plays something like a Room Escape game crossed with a collection of mini-games. The result is very playable and replayable – not to mention dazzling.

The storyline is the typical soul-got-locked-into-object-save-me plea of an adventure game, and it plays like a puzzle game such as the 7th Guest than it does an “adventure” game like Day of the Tentacle. All instances of hunting for objects and using them is contained in a single screen and it feels a lot like the locks in MCF: Ravenhearst.

Azada is very forgiving when it comes to providing hints. Every time you use a hint, it subtracts 5 minutes. You’re likely to only need one to two hints, so it’s pretty simple to figure things out. The alloted 30 minutes or so for each level is extremely generous – I needed maybe 2-3 minutes for each screen. Your mileage may vary, depending on your level of experience with adventure games. The fact that all the objects can be used in the same scene shortens the gameplay time by just that little bit as well – in an adventure game we’re usually juggling a full inventory and 30 or so locations to use them in. In Azada there maybe a maximum of 5 objects and 1 screen at a time.

Azada features gorgeous particle effects that seems, well, straight out of Mystic Inn. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you – animation is smooth and fluid, shading is realistic, light seems to glow right off of objects. The effect is simply stunning. Even though the game only runs at 800×600 it looks like 1024×768 full screen. The music is almost Disney-esque, or as Stu puts it, “would you turn off that Fantasia already?” It’s not bad at all. All the sound effects – and there are many – goes off without a hitch and never sound out of place.

There are 31 mini-games in Azada. Yup. You heard me. 31. That’s a lot of mini-games. There are no Diner Dash clones or Match-3’s in here like Escape From Paradise, but rather, classic puzzles such as English peg solitaire, Hanoi tower, matchstick puzzles, Mastermind and the old game that we used to play on grid paper, squares. All of these are beautifully executed, though sometimes a bit too simple. They’re likely to take you less than a minute each. When you’ve finish one you can go back to the shelves and play them any time you like, some of them randomized. Puzzles like Matchsticks have extra levels if you go back to play them.

Here’s a list:

  • Symbols – Sudoku clone
  • Squares – Dots and boxes.
  • Matchsticks – classic matchstick puzzles.
  • The Shapes – Chinese Tangrams.
  • Sliders – Traffic Jam / Rush Hour. Or you can try this Bunny Magic game I host.
  • The torn-up image – jigsaw with straight edges.
  • Connect Three – connect three to clicking. Boring.
  • The Colors – Simon. Visual and audio cues is a nice touch.
  • Butterflies – Find the identical butterfly (There is only one pair in each map that is identical)
  • The Pyramid – Swap tiles that are next to each other to form an image. Easy.
  • The Stamps – memory match.
  • Puzzle by numbers – find number by adding and subtracting the numbers in the map.
  • Round and round – move color cubes into same color boxes with a circular cursor.
  • The Towers – Hanoi tower.
  • Sequences – Figure out the next symbol in sequence. Too easy.
  • The Runes – find all same or all different…pretty interesting.
  • Pawns – English peg solitaire.
  • Building blocks – move blocks around until it looks like what’s in the reference map. Feels like work.
  • Final Approach – bounce a ball around with arrow buttons until it falls into the hole. The solutions are often so obvious it just feels like work. Reminds me of the old Castlemouse.
  • The Robot – The robot will walk straight in front of him, and you put arrows on the ground to guide him to his batteries. Clone of Tiny Worlds, without the wolves.
  • Pipes – pipe dream, but you have to close off all the exits of the pipes, and the ooze doesn’t chase you.
  • The maze – a simple maze
  • Chemicals – Mastermind.

If you enjoy puzzle games such as the 7th Guest, you will get quite a lot of enjoyment out of this game. However, if you’re a puzzle expert (such as myself) who knows how to solve the English peg solitaire down to the last peg, the Hanoi Tower in the least number of moves, grew up playing Tangrams and Traffic Jam, and passed time in class playing Matchsticks and Squares, this might be a bit of a short romp through the genre.

Overall, Azada is a great marriage between old fashion point and click adventure games and the casual game genre. I really enjoyed the room escape parts of the game, and some of the mini-games are great, while others felt like work since there’s not so much puzzling to it as there is just clicking. It’d be wonderful to see Big Fish Games tackle a classic point-and-clicker since they seem to have a knack for logical puzzles.

Azada Walkthrough

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