Adventures on Edwards’ Island

Field Notes
My adventure kicks off onboard of a ferry with a group of friends—Ren, Nona, Clarissa, and Jonas. The latter, we soon learn, is our new stepbrother. As the boat approaches a nearby island, the friendly banter filled up my screen with a comics-style, cute conversation bubbles.

The journey to Edwards Island felt somehow soothing but eerie at the same time. Ren tells us that the island housed a military base at one point. There’s also mention of a woman named Maggie Adler. Our objective appears to be camping on the island’s beach, followed by exploring the nearby caves.

Alex—my character—has a knack for radios it seems. I have a nifty-looking small device that I can tune into and change its frequency while navigating the island. At times I stumble across blitz-from-the-past music stations. It reminded me so much of Fallout’s Pip Boy vintage stations. This added a nice backdrop to some of the deserted locales.

In other parts of the island, I came across “tune-in” billboards, next to what appeared to be sight-seeing destinations. Tuning into frequency 140.1 triggered a guided tour of the nearby construction, how cool is that?!

My radio isn’t your run-of-the-mill gadget. It also seems to have weird powers. The inhabitants of the island developed this interesting technology, where the WAL signals of the radio can trigger and open locked doors and vaults.

After snooping around the island for some time, consulting my trusted and adorable hand-drawn map, I learned that the U.S. army used this place to train troops in communication and radio technology. Their objective was to educate their members with state-of-the-art code breaking, to aid during times of war.

One woman in particular, named Margaret Adler, trained here with a friend of hers at the Fort Milner school. It looks like not many people liked this island, and due to some hole in national security, the government took control of the island, on-and-off.

Maggie Adler used her family’s fortune to buy off as many locations as she can on the island. But why was she doing that? After gathering her letters, I learned that things are not what they appear to be. There’s a dark secret behind this island, which is the reason why Adler was trying to seal off access.

Oblivious to this fact, we made our way to the nearby caves, and while fumbling with the radio, our friends triggered open a rift in the caves, which instigates a series of paranormal activities in the area.

The radio immediately began picking up various conversations by people on the island. Were they inhabitants at some point? Many questions remain unanswered. The only way to find out is to backtrack our steps and follow the notes of Margaret Adler to unravel the mystery.

Impressions of the Game
Everything from how the game is drawn to the way it side-scrolls and unravels graphically, adds to the charm of this game. It’s very unique. Not your typical intense horror game, aside from the handful hair-rising incidents here and there. In fact, it could be described as meditative. There’s plenty of space and ambience to explore and learn suspense-free, meanwhile making you feel like there’s something very unsettling going on.

The voice acting is superb. They’ve also done a fantastic job with the world building. The game isn’t exceptionally large, but the lore was rich just enough to support the narrative.

I also liked how none of it is forced on the player. You’re very capable of finishing the game without paying much attention to the background story. In this sense, finding Adler’s scattered notes around the island is fully optional. But the inevitable curiosity stimulated will most likely make you want to find each and every note.

The game isn’t perfect. The long loading was my least favorite part. I found myself wanting to eagerly go back-and-forth between locations, but I dreaded the loading time. Conversations sometimes run over each other, not to mention the controls can feel funny sometimes. Overall; however, the game is very well done.

I’m not usually a fan of heavily scripted games, but I found myself drawn to characters’ interconnections. I enjoyed their conversational exchanges, though at times they delve into heavy topics.

Station S., Bainbridge Island. Source: Historylink.

Real Life References
Interestingly enough, I found out there are some real life parallels to Fort Milner. A real-life secret radio station, known as “Station S”, which could be the inspiration behind the game. You can read more about this here

FWA Annex, Station S, Fort Ward 1943. Source HistoryLink.

Final Thoughts
I’m not the biggest fan of political themes in games, and at times I do feel like perhaps the game tries to address an over-arching story inconsistent with its scale. That being said, it was an enjoyable journey.

I’m also excited for the sequel, sometime this year.

MSW II: Return to Cabot’s Cove

Murder She Wrote II: Return to Cabot’s Cove is a mystery point-and-click game that follows the mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. It is based on a classic TV show of the same name from back in the 80’s. Jessica Fletcher and her adventures were a childhood favorite of mine so I was excited try this out.


The game includes 3 episodes/cases in the form of books set in the town of Cabot Cove, Maine. Many of the characters you meet are in fact characters from the actual show. The music, graphics and voice acting are very nostalgic to someone that have watched the show. I thought that aspect of the game was well done. In fact I couldn’t help myself as soon as the memorable intro music played I had to make a little happy dance.

Another nice feature is that despite all three cases set on the same map, new locations are unlocked upon starting a new case except for the final case which is set on a completely new location.

There’s plenty of interactions between characters; however, you’re not given the chance to choose your own conversations. Instead, they unfold to keep the story going.


Much like a standard adventure puzzle game there’s an inventory with minimum item exploitation; a hint system and a journal. The puzzles are considered fairly easy. I thought the mini-games variety was decent but I was a little disappointed that they made you go back to the same puzzles which made it a little boring and repetitive.


I can see that there are plenty of features that can make the MSW game series unique. Sadly, there aren’t many of them out there. I think there are only 2 games for the computer and a few others in different formats. It’s a shame because the TV show has enough content to turn these games into a hit. It just needs someone to develop these games to make them better and create a culture behind them which would be really nice- kind of like what Herinteractive is doing with Nancy Drew.

Overall the game is average if not a little too easy, but for any Jessica Fletcher fan, this comes as a heartwarming treat!

My final score is 3.5/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 2/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 3/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): MAC, Big Fish Games.

Game link

Game trailer

Review: Bonfire Stories

It’s been a while since I played a Big Fish Game but when I saw the game Bonfire Stories: The Faceless Gravedigger selling for $2 I thought why not. Upon logging in though the price changed to $6. It seems the promotion is only valid for new subscribers.

I’m assuming the game is part of a Bonfire Stories hidden game series. One thing about me is that I’m not a huge fan of hidden object games. I prefer mini-games over hidden objects but every now and then I get in the mood to play one when I don’t want to think too much.


The story is about a group of friends who decide to camp in the forest of Quiet Grove. At night, they gather around a bonfire and tell each other spooky stories. One of the gang members tells the story of the faceless gravedigger and that’s when your game launches. As usual you’re either a journalist or a cop trying to follow the lead of a mysterious phenomenon and in this one- you probably guessed it- is a faceless cult of gravediggers.

The story is a little cheesy not to mention the transition of cutscenes can be rushed and laughable but the graphics look ok. In some parts like the Cinema & Reception the design is nostalgic and 60s style which I’m a sucker for. They tried to be inventive with the hidden object games which was nice so there’s a bit of variety. One that stood out for me was an audio-based hidden object which frankly I haven’t seen done before. A conversation takes place and you have to find the items spoken.


Aside from that item manipulation- which I usually enjoy- was average. In the beginning it was okay but eventually I noticed they make you find the same items, not sure why. You can combine the items but everything is very straightforward. There’s also no journal to refer to- only a map and a task list, which is very odd. The funny thing is that I hardly ever use the notebooks/journals in adventure hidden object games but in this one they wanted you to remember certain code combinations. In some mini games, as is customary, they’ll let you see the code clue you find side by side with the mini game, but in others you have to depend on your memory. Which is fine but with these games it’s something unexpected as the majority of the game is easy and doesn’t demand jotting anything down or trying to remember. When I clicked on the information button it laughably said “it’s the same code and letters you heard so many times in the game”. I guess the game designer was bored that day.


The mini games were fine. In fact, some of them actually made me think for a change. They weren’t exceptionally difficult but they weren’t that easy either. Overall the game lasted for about 2 hours, which is not very long but for the promotional $2 they’re offering (provided you’re a new subscriber) I think it’s fair.

I’m sure it’s even cheaper (if not free) for the iPad and iPhone. Would I play it again? Definitely not. Would I recommend it? Probably not but possibly, if I stumbled on it and someone happened to ask me about a game at that very moment in need of something laid-back to play to waste time- I might.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★

  • 2/5 for gameplay
  • 2/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 3/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): MAC, Big Fish Games

Game link

Game trailer

Note: The link provided here is for the Collector’s Edition which is $13- Couldn’t find the standard  Not sure why they have so many different prices for the same game. Aside from the collector’s edition which is usually pricier there’s also $6 and $9 and the $2 promotion. I definitely don’t think this is worth $13. 

The Painscreek Killings

The Painscreek Killings is a 1st person, point-and-click, free-roaming, mystery game. You begin the adventure as a journalist who wants to find out exactly what has happened in Painscreek to write a compelling story. Upon arrival; however, you find out that the town has been abandoned, gated and many investigators before you were tasked with similar missions but for one reason or another ended up unheard of.


As soon as the main menu came up, I felt very pleased with what I was seeing. The music is soothing and the graphics look like they’ve been filtered with a vintage lens. In a way the game resembles a walking-simulation but eventually you realize there’s a lot to tackle beyond the surface. I play PLENTY of adventure and mystery games and I consider this game probably the closest I got to a real detective-experience.

The village is very charming and immensely enjoyable to explore. This is a good thing because you’ll find yourself going back and forth through many of its locations. The layout, design and lore were carefully laid out. The various locations are interconnected and will definitely require you to write things down.


The game doesn’t depend on AI interactions, neither is it a straight-forward puzzler like most detective adventures these days. It heavily depends on visiting each destination, reading journal entries, letters and notes left behind by the village inhabitants and forming a picture. Eventually each location will augment pieces missing in another place until you draw a clear map of who the killer is, what weapon was used and where did the incident take place. In fact, you aren’t bound by a set of events taking place in this game to the point where you could end the game at anytime and immediately solve the mystery if you think you’re ready.


I truly loved this game. It felt pleasantly immersive and from the moment I started the game to the very end it kept me hooked. The horror factor in the game isn’t associated with goblins and monsters but there is a very prominent creepy theme going on. I consider games with subtle touches of horror far more effective than those that deliver it to your face.

While playing this game the weather wasn’t that great and we encountered a big storm that left us staying at home for days. This game was the perfect companion. I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters and following up with their leads. I also had a lot of fun experimenting with different note-taking apps to help me organize my thoughts & solve the investigation. Google Keep & Simple Mind mapping helped a great deal. The following is a mind map that I created for the game and it really helped to keep track of who’s who and who’s related to what. Although it doesn’t include the answer of the mystery, you might not want to zoom in too much to avoid spoilers.


My final score is 5/5 ★★★★★

  • 5/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 5/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 5/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): PC, Steam

Official Site

Links: Trailer

The Review: The Silent Age

The Silent Age is an indie point-and-click adventure game by the Danish developer House on Fire. The story takes place in 1972 and centers on a character names Joe who works as a janitor in a company. One day Joe meets a strange man from the future and receives a device that enables him to travel back and forth between two realms– Joe’s current day in the 70’s and a post-apocalyptic version of his world. In order to solve the mystery and find answers Joe must toggle back between his realms to manipulate items and solve puzzles.

The Good 

The Silent Age is visually stunning. The graphic style of the game is trendy and unique. The colors are vibrant and the characters are amusing. The narrative of the story is well written and is deeper than what is initially expected. By the end of the game all loose ends are met and you get an overall sense of understanding of how everything was brought together. I also found myself actually caring about Joe despite how short the game was.

The Bad 

The game is sold for $10 on the Apple store. On the iOS, the game is divided into 3 episodes, each selling for around $5. On steam, the price tag is $9. The game is divided into 10 short chapters. I do feel for the price offered the game is shorter than what it should be.

The game is categorized as a ‘puzzle’ game but there weren’t really any puzzles per se. The game is purely dependent on item manipulation. I also think the overall difficulty of the game is not to my liking. For instance, at any given time you aren’t given more than 3 items (for the most part even only 2). Eventually it becomes very predictable where these items will be used. A more challenging experience would have been to either allow the gamer to carry more items making it difficult to decide what is to be used where or to limit it to few items but expand the area of exploration (similar to Thimbleweed Park). By the time I reached the last 4 or 5 chapters, I found myself getting bored. My motivation to continue was to find out what was going to happen.


For an indie game I think The Silent Age is decent. I would imagine the game isn’t best suited for Adventure game veterans though. For a lesser price, I would have thought the game is a must try.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★★

  • 4/5 for originality
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 2/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 3/5 for overall experience

Game platforms: Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems

Links: Official WebsiteVideo Trailer,  Steam, iTunes/Apple