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