There is a new game in town when it comes to casual gaming; hidden object mystery / adventure. At their core these games revolve around finding a list of items in an elaborate themed scene. Generally they are timed and you are penalized for random clicking or clicking on the wrong items. To keep things interesting and flowing there will usually be a mini game or two at the appropriate timing. The beauty of these games is in their simplicity, you can go from start to totally absorb in a blink of an eye.
You might ask where is the fun in a game like this? I mean there is no gem matching, no arcade action, no shooting, no finicky customers, no virtual people to guide, I do not get it. Again I believe their secret to fun lie in their simplicity. Humans are visual by nature. How many times have you forgotten somebody's name shortly after meeting them? Of course you remember their face but not their name. It has also been reported that half of our brains are dedicated to processing visual information. In fact our vision is so detailed that we are only aware of 5% of it. I would speculate that this might have something to do with why we enjoy games like these. It requires we use a foundational level of our minds.
At a higher level these games might also be appealing if you are interested in the story line or subject matter. A good example of story line would be something like Agatha Christie: Death On The Nile . This game is based off the 1937 mystery novel of the same name. You play as Hercule Poirot investigating a murder on a cruise ship. The story unfolds as you play; there are short cut scenes that illuminate the narrative. Initially you have access to only a couple rooms in which you will start your investigation. There is a list of items you need to find in order to complete a room. Completing a room reveals more of the story and more clues to piece together. At the end of the game you get your chance to identify the real murderer.
A game like Hidden Expedition Titanic may be a good example of subject matter. In this game you are working for the Expedition Adventure League and it's your job to explore the wreckage and collect artifacts for the Titanic Museum. In between levels the game displays some interesting facts about the ship and its passengers. If you are intrigued with the Titanic this could an engaging game.
There are many other excellent games available but apparently the developers have discovered a successful formula here. For example, as of this writing four of the top ten casual games downloaded are of this genre. As long as the players continue downloading I would guarantee the developers will deliver with more and more compelling content.
While playing these games I'm routinely surprised to find the object I'm looking for right in front of me. Once your eye locates an object it shows clear as day and you wonder how you had not seen it immediately. You have to give credit to the developers and artists who have done such a nice job with the games design and art work.
So, if you are interested in a very relaxed game play with an extremely easy learning curve then look no further! The phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words." certainly applies in this case. A written description of these games really does not do them justice. You really do need to experience one for yourself to really get it.