Best Casual Games - on Amazon.com

A Great Casual Games Service

Whenever you think of the best casual games, chances are that titles such as Angry Birds, PAC-MAN, Farmscapes, Gardenscapes, Cake Mania and Jewel Quest come to mind. Yet when it comes to downloading any of the aforementioned diversions, you may not think of Amazon.com as a resource; that may soon change.

On February 3rd, 2009; Amazon introduced the digital game downloads store. Although this service promotes core choices as well, casual games make up a good portion of the selections. Based on consumer sales, casual games seem to be a welcomed change from the blood gushing, complicated, sexually overt choices that generally dominant the market.

Because I’m a big kid at heart, and an Amazon freak, I couldn't resist the temptation to investigate this event.

Who is Amazon’s Casual Gaming Service For?

Amazon is apparently targeting players who enjoy stimulating; yet uncomplicated, stress reducing games that don’t require a commitment in time.

What’s really impressive is that casual game devotees can try many of the titles for 30 minutes at no cost. At the time of this writing, there were well over 2000 games to select from. The prices range from $0.99 to roughly $99.99. In addition, many of the items are absolutely free. With the current state of the economy, it's a sure bet that gamers will appreciate that fact. The Amazon games & software downloader is required to access your selection. The categories include:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Arcade
  • Board Games
  • Break Out
  • Card
  • Casino
  • Flying
  • Mah Jong
  • Matching
  • Puzzle
  • Racing
  • Rhythm
  • Role-Playing
  • Seek & Find
  • Simulation
  • Sports
  • Strategy
  • Time Management
  • Trivia
  • Word

As a true game lover and bonafide cheapskate, I decided to try several games for myself and thereafter write a short review (game number 4 is definitely my favorite). So if you're ready to have fun at Amazon’s expense (so to speak), let’s get started.

My Choice for the Best Casual Video Games

Review #1

Build-a-lot (4 Stars) (Windows XP/ Vista)

Build-a-lot is fairly straightforward. The objective is to accumulate money while building houses, selling houses, or adding an addition to an existing house. Each task must be completed within a specified time.

What caught my attention almost immediately are the wonderful graphics, and the pleasant melody that accompanies the game. In effect, the music is so soothing that it heightens the overall game-play experience. Also, although The Sims is much more complex; I couldn't help but notice the similarities between the two games.

While this is definitely a casual game, the building process becomes more challenging as you progress. Yet, if you're accustomed to playing more multifaceted games, you may grow bored with the tediousness of Build-a-lot. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an enjoyable, easygoing game; Build-a-lot is worthwhile.

Review #2

Burger Shop (5 Stars) (Windows XP / Vista)

After playing Burger Shop in story mode, I was pleasantly surprised. The story mode level provides instructions on how to use a machine known as the Burgertron 2000. The Burgertron 2000 places various parts of a customers order onto a conveyor belt. It’s your job to complete the order, and thereafter deliver it to the customer in a reasonable amount of time. If you’re too slow, the customer will become irritated and leave.

Another interesting aspect of the game is that the Burgertron 2000 is apparently concealing some type of secret. Seemingly, the mystery unfolds as players advance from level to level. Since I didn't make it past the story mode level, I can’t confirm this (sorry).

The overall goal is to earn a predetermined amount of money during each stage of the game while providing good customer service. As a casual game, Burger Shop is deceptively easy to play but moves fast enough to keep you coming back for more. This game is very addictive. If you've ever played Dinner Dash, you’ll appreciate Burger Shop. According to the games product description on Amazon.com, Burger Shop has more than 60 upgrades and 96 trophies to win. Not bad for a casual game that has great graphics and retails for around $2.99. Burger Shop 2 and 3 are also available.

Review #3

Orchard (4 Stars) (Windows XP / Vista)

Orchard is a fairly involved farmer simulation; however, the graphics aren't especially great. Generally, I'm not keen on farming games (I’m just a simple city boy), but Orchard is interesting enough and fairly educational.

Throughout the game you're responsible for completing task such as tilling the land, planting seeds, harvesting crops, etc. and thereafter selling what you've harvested.

Although I didn't advance beyond the story mode level, Orchard doesn't seem to have a win or lose ending; the game is played according to each gamer’s level of comfort. Also, this particular title can evidently be played in timed mode and un-timed mode. While this is probably not a casual game for the masses, if you're into games like John Deere Harvest in the Heartland and Cake Mania, you'll most likely enjoy Orchard.

Note: The original version of Orchard isn't currently available on Amazon.

Review #4

Chicken Invaders 3 (Windows XP / Vista)

While this game isn't on Amazon's bestseller list, it’s definitely one of the best casual games on the market in my opinion (I'm totally addicted). Chicken Invaders 3 starts with a narration that’s reminiscent of the original Star Wars. However, you won't be battling against the evils of the Death Star space station; you'll be opposing the Yoke Star.

The objective of the game is to save the galaxy from attacking chickens. You gain points by shooting your adversary while avoiding their egg bombs. As you discharge your firearm, chicken casualties are turned in to cooked chicken parts (chicken wings, chicken burgers, drumsticks and so forth). So in this case, the chicken’s goose is actually cooked (you probably saw that one coming). You gain additional points by catching, or crashing into, the various cooked chicken parts. Although there are other forms of attacks, most of the assaults are carried out by giant chickens, chicken air strikes or chickens flying enemy spacecrafts.

This game is a comical throwback to Nintendo’s Galaga of 1981. However unlike Galaga, players aren't confined to maneuvering their ship back-and-forth (to the right and left) across the bottom portion of the screen. Players can actually move in various directions (up, down, left, right and diagonally). When the game commences, you'll have the option of playing in rookie mode or veteran mode. You'll almost certainly want to play in veteran mode, as rookie mode is not very challenging (even for casual game play).

Although Chicken Invaders 3 may not be a non-stop action fest; it certainly is a lot of fun. No blood, no guts; just wholesome entertainment. Its well worth the price as it provides more entertainment than you might expect.

My Overall Opinion of Amazon Game Downloads for Casual Gamers

If you’re interested in trying some of the best casual games on the market, Amazon game downloads hits the nail on the head in my estimation. Although violent video games currently dominate the market, I expect that conscious consumers will embrace this service with great enthusiasm. Whatever happens, it’s great to have options. Check it out for yourself!

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