Big Fish Games ... which ones are worth the time?
October 26, 2012 5:00 PM   Subscribe

Which Big Fish games are worth playing? And within that group, which are fun to play on a laptop with only the touchpad?

I've just discovered that I have a bunch of game credits with Big Fish Games. Awesome, because I've been looking for something new to play. But Big Fish games themselves seem so uneven. Most of them look like shovelware. But I've had a genuinely great time with many of them - the original Mystery Case Files was a thrill, and I've spent more time than I care to admit playing Fairway Solitaire on my mobile.

So, then, which games within their very large catalog are really good, and rise above the level of being just time-wasters? Bonus points: I'll be playing on a Macbook Pro with no mouse, just the touchpad, so any games that work well in that format are much appreciated.

Just downloaded "Drawn: The Painted Tower," which got outstanding reviews, so you can take that one off the list. Thanks!
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like they have the PopCap games in their catalog. "Peggle" is mostly turned based and would work well with the touchpad.
posted by Gary at 5:19 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

And if you haven't already: Plants vs Zombies is so, so good.

(Interested in this question too as think I have a few credits there; their top 100 is pretty much dominated by the "hidden object" genre which doesn't really grab me.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:32 PM on October 26, 2012

Drawn is amazing. It was recommended on MeFi and is great. There are now three of them and at least the most recent is in iPad format.

MeFi also loves World of Goo.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:47 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you've only played one Mystery Case Files game, you have a lot of fun ahead of you! Generally, the games get better and the puzzles get more complex as they go along. Roughly in recommended order:

- Return to Ravenshearst
A sequel to Ravenshearst, but you don't have to play the original first.
- Madame Fate
Very fun abandoned carnival theme.
- Dire Grove
The first MCF game with video, but fewer puzzles. Blair Witch-style found footage.
- 13th Skull
Great atmosphere, gameplay is so-so.
- Ravenshearst
- Prime Suspects

The Mystery Case Files games spawned an entire genre of hidden object/adventure hybrids, most of which are terrible. But there's a couple that I'd recommend:

- The Drawn series
Just included for completeness, as they're excellent.
- Phantasmat
Incredibly polished; probably the best MCF-style game not made by Big Fish themselves.
- Penny Dreadfuls: Sweeney Todd
- Youda Legend series
- The Serpent of Isis series

Adventure games:

- The Tiny Bang Story
Just fantastic. Clearly influenced by the PC/Mac game Machinarium (which I would also highly recommend) but stands on its own.
- Emerald City Confidential
A noir take on the The Wizard of Oz.
- Kaptain Brawe series
Old school adventuring, some dodgy translations but otherwise solid.
- Dream Chronicles series
Gorgeous Art Nouveau-style graphics but the games get shorter and less satisfying as they go along.
- Avenue Flo series
If you have kids, these are really fun introductions to the adventure genre.

Time-management games:

- Royal Envoy series
- Farm Frenzy series
- Ranch Rush series
- The Great Chocolate Chase

You are God! games:
Games where you're in control of a small island where you organise the villagers/creatures, build structures, perform tasks, do quests, etc.

- Wandering Willows
Charming. Reminds me of the Nintendo game Animal Crossing but has a finite goal/ending.
- Gemini Lost
Similar to the Virtual Villagers games, but better.
- Westward series
More adult, more complexity, less humour.


- Chocolatier series
Running a chocolatier business, opening stores, travelling the world for ingredients, etc.
- Plants vs Zombies
aka The only tower defence game I've ever liked.

I've played all these on either a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air, so they're touchpad approved. (And yes, I've played them all! I'm a big fan of casual games.)
posted by Georgina at 5:59 PM on October 26, 2012 [14 favorites]

What genre games do you like? You can sort by genre at Big Fish, and if you like Time Management, I can recommend a bunch!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:51 PM on October 26, 2012

Also came to recommend the Drawn series. Tiny Bang Story is also great.
posted by jorlyfish at 7:05 PM on October 26, 2012

Emily Short recommended Miss Management, which I enjoyed. She mentions a few others in the comments here.
posted by paduasoy at 7:36 PM on October 26, 2012

I feel like I should have a sock puppet for this or something, but if you happen to like hidden object adventure games, you'll love Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club and Phantasmat, which also has a match-three mode.
posted by brina at 7:56 PM on October 26, 2012

If you like Time Management games you might enjoy Airport Mania and My Kingdom for the Princess.
posted by ljesse at 8:07 PM on October 26, 2012

I really like the Echoes of Past and Dream Chronicles series. For both series the first two games are the best. They're a mix of hidden object and puzzles. Seconding Peggle as really fun and cute.
posted by entropyiswinning at 10:48 PM on October 26, 2012

I really like the Awakening series and anything by Blue Tea: Exiled Prince, Macabre Mysteries, etc.
posted by hmo at 1:23 PM on October 28, 2012

Confirming that Drawn 3 is iPad-friendly - there are a lot of actions that are actually more cumbersome with a mouse than with touch. Also, there are complaints it isn't as good or as long as the first two but I got it on sale today for $4.99 with code TRICK and it kept me engaged and amused for several hours.

Feh to the naysayers, I tell you. Feh.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:52 PM on October 28, 2012

I play the crap out of Fairway HD on the iPad. And I think it was just called Fairway Solitaire on the macbook
posted by DigDoug at 8:19 PM on October 29, 2012

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