Developer: Sweet Tooth Games
Publisher: Reflexive Entertainment
2007 has been a banner year for the find-the-hidden-object genre, and the very best of this year’s lot is The Scruffs. Here, you try to help the Scruff family save their beloved family home from being sold by recovering grandpa’s valuable artifacts. In the process, you also get to discover a startling family secret that changes their lives forever. You explore a quaint house full of obscure objects, encompassing 20 locations chock full of thousands of items and 15 artifacts. Along the way get to play several types of entertaining mini-games; for example, after finding family pictures, you try to identify in the right order 20 minor modifications added as you play, and after completing an entire chapter, you tackle a jigsaw puzzle to reveal a retrievable artifact. You get to choose between timed and relaxed modes of play, and can access to a unique hint system involving a cute hungry family pet. Enhancing the gameplay is highly amusing British humor.
Developer and publisher: Kampo Interactive
Remember the classic wooden board game Labyrinth, where you tilted the container to steer a steel ball through an intricate maze? Balance is the best implementation of this concept on the personal computer, requiring both puzzle solving and hand-eye coordination skills. Using the mouse with perfect sensitivity, you tilt the virtual maze to get your ball around and between various 3D obstacles to its destination. Without any time pressure, you struggle with the truly fiendish challenges which await you, and as you progress through the over 75 levels, things get increasingly difficult. The level design is both creative and well presented. These obstacles include various walls, magnets and springs, increasing the challenge of getting multiple balls to land in exact spots. There is network and community support to share your records with replays, as well as online competitions and tournaments.
Developer and publisher: Axysoft
If you like 3D arcade action with a get-to-exit objective, you’ll love Azangara. In this game, you traverse a vertical maze replete with palatial splendor. You traverse seven full castles, each with its own unique style, and along the way you earn great treasure as you uncover a centuries-old mystery. You move around not only on floors but also on pipes, ladders and chains. At the end of each castle, you get to teleport to the next one. There are both tutorial and training levels, and you may save and load your progress. In addition to precious gems, among your pick-ups are keys to open locked doors, torches to light up dim rooms and weapons to use against your foes. Your path is full of such obstacles as moving floors, disappearing bridges, power fields, burning abysses, flashes of lightning, elevators and grotesque monsters of all varieties. You end up gasping for breath when you finally make it past them.