Hello, friends! I recently dusted off my old Steam account, and have been playing a couple of free games, because I’m too poor for the ones that cost money! Since letting my World of Warcraft account run out, I haven’t done much in terms of gaming, and my lack of money doesn’t help much either. I thought I’d take a minute to tell you about some of the games I’ve been playing recently (all free-ish), since my kiddo is asleep and I am actually able to get to my computer for a minute or two! Let’s do it!
First up is the game Emily Is Away, an interactive story game, which I had seen several YouTubers play, and thought it looked interesting. Emily is Away is a very simple, short game, about the developing friendship/relationship between friends, you and Emily, told through an old school AIM chat screen. You play the friend, and get to choose your screen name, as well as the ability to change your AIM icon each year. There are 5 chapters, which take place during their senior year in high school, and then each following year at college. You are given 3 options for steering conversation, which affects the outcome of the story, which means there are multiple endings that you can have. I had a lot of fun playing this game, even though the story was infuriatingly relatable at times, and made me feel all sorts of nostalgic feels from my time as a confused, hormonal teenager. There really isn’t much else to say, but I highly recommend it! Good game!
And now we come to my secret addiction: hidden object games. I’ve spent more money than I’d care to admit on hidden object games at Walmart, only to completely beat them within 24-48 hours. I found a handful of decent hidden object games on Steam, starting with this one. I give you, Lost Lands. The reviews were pretty mixed on Steam, but for a free hidden obeject game, I can’t complain too much. This game is beautiful, and addicting, but it does have it’s flaws. I like that each level that you unlock has three versions for you to search in, and they seem to be random (maybe?). You have the regular mode, where it lists the objects, and you find them. Then, there is a profile mode, where you are given a shadowed profile image of the object you need to find, which gets difficult when it is a picture of a black circle, but there are half a dozen circular items on the screen. And finally, a night level, where the screen is black, and your mouth has a light around it, which you need to click and drag to find items. The click and drag is a bit clunky, which makes these levels not that fun. The items shuffle a bit each time you play a level, so they aren’t always the same, which keeps it from getting too repetitive and boring.
You are given quests by the various inhabitants of the island, and there are also random beasts you can defeat with the weapons and objects you get from levels. You can also repair random buildings and locations on the map with the items you get from the levels, which help you earn additional things, like lumber, energy, and experience for leveling. Speaking of energy, that is the biggest downfall of the game. Energy is spent each time you do a level, or open a chest to do a puzzle, and it takes a looong time to get back. Unless you buy it. That’s the catch. The game is free, but if you want to play it for longer than 15 minutes every 3 or 4 hours in a day, you need to buy energy, which can cost you real money. It is a fun game, and I recommend it, but it can be frustrating waiting for your energy to fill back up so that you can play for another 15 minutes. Still, I recommend it if you enjoy pretty hidden object games with story lines and quests.
Next up, Mystic Saga, a new hidden object game, from the creators of the Lost Lands game I just told you about. In fact, Mystic Saga is basically the same game, just… a different story. Despite being the exact same type of game, with the exact same style of play, Mystic Saga is actually much better than it’s big sister game. Energy is easier to obtain, and can be gained through completing levels quickly, which means you can play the game for longer periods of time. You can also earn energy giving items as awards from levels and defeating creatures. One thing that has been a bit frustrating is that for many of the quests, you have to collect objects from levels, which may or may not drop, to give to the merchant, or the stableman, or another character, in order to get another item from them… which may or may not drop. So you end up burning through your energy to play a level 3 or 4 times, just to trade the item to the necessary character, and then they don’t drop the item you need for the quest, and you have to do it all over again. However, one thing they did improve on was the night mode, and that you don’t have to click and drag the light anymore, it just goes with your mouse.
Overall, like Lost Lands, this game is beautiful, and is a good time waster. It has some interesting story lines, and fun quests, and I recommend Mystic Saga. The creators of both of these games also have several other games, which look pretty cool, but cost money. So you should look into those as well if you have a steady source of income, unlike me!
And finally, Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons, a brand new visual novel game. I really wanted to like this game, but unfortunately, there isn’t much of it to play at this point. The game only came out in February, and after you finish the first chapter, which is free, you have to buy whatever other content is out at this point, which was disappointing, as I finished the first chapter in around 30 minutes. You play a first year college student, whose name you get to choose, who goes through some pretty crazy stuff, and ends up getting magical powers. She handles it all much better than I would have. Her school suddenly turns into a school of magic, possibly in a different realm, and you meet a handful of attractive guys who help her with various things. At least, I think they do, since I wasn’t able to play anything after the first chapter. You also have the option of playing the story lines of each of the guys in the game, which I didn’t do, mainly because I was too frustrated to continue… I think that part is free, but I don’t actually know. Sorry.
I thought that this game was going to be similar to Emily Is Away, in that you get to choose your path and outcome, but there was none of that in the first chapter of the game, so I have no idea. The story is interesting, and draws you in, making you want to spend money to play more after just a very short time. Well, we can’t all do that, so it was a bit disappointing. The graphics are cute if you like the anime style games, and it is all shiny and new. I wish there was more free content available for download, but alas, there really isn’t. If you have money to spend, I suppose I recommend the game anyway. Let me know how the other chapters go, since I doubt I’ll ever get to play them!
That’s really it! The hidden object games are my current go-to when I need to kill a little time, or just take a breather from my fussy child. Do any of you have any recommendations for free Steam games that you enjoy? I like simulation games, sandbox games, and hidden object games. Pretty casual, since I don’t have a lot of time to invest in them.
Thanks for reading, friends!