Not Secretive, but Weirdly Addictive- The Secret Society: Hidden Mystery

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This free “The Secret Society: Hidden Mystery” is an I-spy type find the object game with a twist.   It’s not just another game in which you find stuff; there’s a whole storyline to it (I can’t tell you what the storyline really is because I’m still playing the game- I guess revealing a little bit each time you play keeps you addicted, no?), which concerns your uncle Richard, who has disappeared. You have a fixed amount of maximum energy for each level you attain, but depleted energy replenishes with time.  I kind of like this mechanism, because it keeps me from playing them too much : P  You’ll get different photos to search in, and each will cost your different amounts of energy.  You won’t get all the photos at the start; you’ll have to complete quests to get them, so the game gradually expands.

If you pay with real money, though, you can get all sorts of items which you’ll need for completing goals.  But then again, as I have mentioned before, I don’t really find that fun.  I enjoy accumulating my own items without using money.image

The graphics are wonderfully made, and very pleasing to the eye.  One major problem for me is the background music.  Although there is supposedly a button for you to turn off the music, it doesn’t.  So basically every time I play the game I have to pretty much mute my phone first.  I wonder if it does the same weird thing to other players.image

This is one of the photos you can search through.  As you progress in the game, it gets harder, and the searching mode is different too each time.  Sometimes you get words, sometimes shadows, sometimes you have to search in darkness (of course, you can purchase a torch).  Just bear in mind though, several things:

1. You can zoom in.  If you don’t, you will likely never find everything in the photo.  I used a Samsung Galaxy Note LTE and I usually zoom the photos to the max and scroll through it.  If you use a smaller phone you’ll unlikely have enough time to do so.

2. You can pause the game.  I love, love, LOVE this feature, which many free games don’t seem to provide.  Especially with these games which takes up a lot of concentration, it sucks when you see the clock ticking and you suddenly have to do something else (for me, it’s usually when my bus arrives, because I tend to play games while waiting for my bus).  So, pause if you need it.  Otherwise you’ll have wasted your energy, and if you don’t complete the mission, you don’t get any objects.

3. Don’t click repeatedly for no reason.  It’s tempting because you can probably find stuff that way (like how you press “tab” in room escape games).  But don’t, because you will get time deducted as a punishment.  image

And the wonderful thing about this game is that it’s not just about finding items.  There are other puzzle games involved too, like the one above, which is a Rush Hour-type puzzle game (with incredibly rendered wooden blocks), and the one below, which is a “Pipes” puzzle.  image

All in all, it’s a great game to pass some time, if you like casual puzzle games.  Since there are so many puzzles of different sorts, it will take a long time before you complete everything.  Just bear in mind that you’ll probably need at least a phablet-sized phone to play it, or else it will frustrate you to no end.

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I May Just Get Addicted To… Dior Addict Lip Glow

I haven’t been on this blog for a very, very long time.  I’m sorry.  I also haven’t been trying anything worth talking about.  But mostly I have been lazy.  Anyway, I’m back now, and I hope to update more often, even if I can’t do so regularly.

If you know me, you’ll know that I am kind of addicted to lip products.  I am, and have always been.  I have tried dozens over the years, and have only found a handful that I love.  One of my obsessions is tinted lip balms, because they’re part makeup and part skincare and you convince yourself it’s actually good for you.   I have finished up several tubes of Fresh’s Rost Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment, which is an extremely rare occurance for me.  To finish up a product is rare enough; to re-purchase it when there are countless choices out there is almost unheard of.  So there you go.  It tops my list as one of my favourite go-tos.  But as of now, I don’t own one.  So I thought it’s time to try another.  The contender is Dior Addict’s Lip Glow (in pink, as the limited coral one is no longer available).  Actually I meant to try it long ago, but it’s just way too expensive.  It still remains the most expensive lip product I own to date.  I can’t tell you whether or not it’s “worth it”, but I’ve never had anything quite like it.

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The balm itself is slightly pinkish, but it goes on clear, then morphs according to the heat on your lips, apparently.  It becomes a pink tint that is MLBB (actually, MLBMB, My Lips But Much Better), because it literally glows, like it’s lit from within.  Not glossy, not shimmery, but glowy.  Result: supple and healthy-looking lips that brightens up your complexion.  It’s a tad sticker than normal balms, but I wouldn’t call the consistency sticky at all.  If anything, it adheres to your lips better and moisturises your lips better.  And the colour transfers less than your ordinary lippie, because it is basically a clear balm.  Okay… so I don’t get how it works either.  But it does.

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The one concern I had before purchasing was, how on earth is it different than, say, the colour-changing balm from Lip Ice, which is about a tenth of its price?  First off, the Lip Ice one turned bright pink, which is ok when you want bright pink, but not when you want MLBB and have no control over how the colour will morph.  It has the potential to get scary.  Also, this is Dior.  I suppose a lot of money goes to buying the brand name (there’s actually very little product, I hope my tube doesn’t run out so soon), but it makes me happy to use a lipbalm from a pretty tube.  Well, packaging isn’t everything, but it is important.

The bottom line is, it’s a very decent, multitasking (moisturises & colours) product in a cute case.  It’s probably not worth the money, but I can see myself using it a lot on days when I’m not wearing makeup, or when my face is in desperate need for some subtle perk-me-up.  Oh, and I’d also like the coral one if it ever reappears : P

Create monsters to kill monsters- Fort Conquer

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I’d like to share with you a free smarphone game I’m kind of addicted to recently: Fort Conquer.  It’s a tower defense game, but not just any tower defense game.  With two game modes and the option to evolve monsters (good monsters, to help defend your fort/ castle/ whatever that is), this game provides hours and hours of entertainment and endless possibilities.

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First, the gameplay.  There are two modes: Local and Arena.  For Local mode (the mode you get first), you get to buy monsters (which are really just animals: mammoths, roosters, unicorns that sort of thing), and then you produce them with an aim of attacking the opponent’s monsters, like this:image

You can upgrade the production speed of your monsters using “crystals”, which you gain when you win a level.  They’re surprisingly easy to earn, although you can also buy them with real money.  When you win, you also win gold, which you can use to buy more monster cards (you can choose which ones to use for every level of the game.  You can also sell your cards but of course they rip you off and lose a lot of gold.).image

For the arena mode, you compete against other players.  You choose your cards, and instead of actual fighting, the cards “fight” against each other automatically.  You also get gold and crystals when you win, but there’s no harm in losing because you don’t lose gold nor crystals when you lose.  In fact, you still get some gold, just less than when you win.  I love it that when you lose, you still win!

Pretty as a petal- Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treament

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I’ve tried a fair share of lip balms, and I especially love a tinted balm because it adds a bit of colour to your pout without having you worry about the colour bleeding, transferring… that sort of thing.  Fresh’s Sugar lip balms are pretty hyped up, but I think they deserve every bit of their popularity.  They now have lots of colours to choose from (aside from the non-tinted version), but Rose is by far my favourite.  It is a soft but very moisturising lip balm in a petal pink shade, housed in a sturdy metal tube (actually the inside is plastic).  Each tube contains 4.3 grams of product.image

Here’s what the balm looks like when the tube is twisted open (twist caps are the best.  They may not be the most convenient but they won’t get loose inside your bag).  It originally contains a full tube of product, but mine is down to a few millimetres.  It looks pretty bright in the tube but is a sheer wash of colour on your lips.  If you want a deeper shade you can get Plum or Passion.  I’ve read that if you put the tube in your pocket it melts, which makes sense as the balm is quite soft.  I would suggest you to only twist it up a little bit when you use it, and also don’t press too hard on your lips, otherwise you’ll smash the lippy up.  image

As you can see, the colour is a very barely-there tint.  It’s natural enough to use without other makeup on.  And, coming from me who’s got dry lips, it’s also super moisturising.  The texture is somewhere between Vaseline (too slippery, doesn’t mositurise my lips at all) and Eight Hour Cream (too thick and gooey).  It doesn’t have much shine,  but just enough to minimise the appearance of lines on your lips.  And you get SPF 15 as well, without the yucky feel of sunscreen. 

A great all-rounded lip balm, the only downside being the price (on the company website it’s advertised as USD $22.5, but being in faraway Hong Kong it costed a bit more for me).  However, it didn’t stop me from purchasing it over and over again- I’ve used up about 3 tubes in all, which shows how lovable this product is.  Have you tried Fresh’s lip balms and which shade is your favourite?

Creme of the creamy lip colours- Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream

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First of all, sorry I haven’t been reviewing nor recommending anything for so long.  I have been snowed in with work and haven’t got time to try anything new!  Anyway, here’s something I tried recently- Too Faced’s new (not so new) lippy.  It claims to be moisturising, creamy and drenched in colour.  It’s also pretty expensive (17 GBP for 1 lipstick!), but since reviews on other sites and blogs seem to rave about it, I got one to try.  And I wasn’t disappointed.image

The colour I got is called “Spice Spice Baby”.  It comes from the “Spice” family and is a creamy brick/ mauve/ latte shade with a kick.  Some people describe it as MLBB (my-lips-but-better, if you aren’t familiar with this type of makeup language), but I find it more MLBD (my-lips-but-darker, and this one I just made it up).  And bear in mind that I have medium skin, so on pale people it would look pretty solid.

The tube is metal, and a luxurious gold colour.  It’s heavy to hold.  It also has a transparent plastic stopped on the inside of the tube cover to give it some grip.  Initially I found the feeling weird (when you close the tube it feels like you’re squishing the lipstick), bu I’ve since got used to it and I like it because it keeps the cover from undoing itself.   

The lipstick itself is indeed very creamy and the colour comes out quite solid, although you can easily apply it over lipbalm or just use your fingers to dot it on and it will become sheer.  I personally can’t be bothered to apply lipsticks with my fingers so I apply it over balm sometimes and just press my lips together and that works fine as well.

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This is the product on my lips.  You probably can’t tell from the picture, but my lips are usually quite dry, and for the benefit of this photo I haven’t applied any lip balm beforehand, just the Lip Cream.  It works decently in covering wrinkles on the lips, although I still prefer wearing it over balm.  The staying power is decent but I can’t really tell as I normally don’t go hours with drinking or eating anything.  But it kind of fades into a softer stain, then eventually all fade away, which I think all lipsticks should be like (but most aren’t, instead choosing to collect in clumps on your lips).

All in all, a lipstick which balances out colour and comfort.  With more than a dozen shades to choose from, I’m sure you will find some one you like.

Massive genre review: Room Escape Games

My reviews here are usually about single products/ items, but today I would like to share with you one of my passions in life (ok, maybe that’s too strong a word; but it’s definitely one of my interests): room escape games! 

What it is

Escape games, which came from a genre of “point-and-click” games, is a type of browser games (usually made by Flash) which requires the player to escape from an environment (when the environment is a room then it becomes a “room escape game”) using the clues and tools hidden in the scene (or scenes).  The games may or may not come with a storyline, but usually involves the protagonist (“me”) trapped in an environment due to whatever reason.  The aim of the game is simple: to get out.  Some of the games come with elaborate introductions, cut-scenes and endings (like the wonderfully complex “Trapped”), but this doesn’t really change the gameplay.  What you have to do is simple in theory: find items, use them (or combine them for using), find clues, get out. 

A very short history

In room escape games, your aim is to exit the room.  In some other escape games, you have to escape more than that, so it’s like many room escape games combined into one (think “The Doors”).  The first escape game ever invented is probably MOTAS (which stands for “Mystery of Time and Space”), released in 2001.  It may be the first of its kind, but it’s not the easiest.  It also has an interesting storyline which captivates the player, and which sadly many of its descendants lack.  The game which popularised the genre, however, is definitely the Japanese game “Crimson Room”, created by Fasco-CS in 2004 in the US (the Japanese version was probably around earlier though). 

Developments

In the past, when the games were not written on Flash (sorry for my lack of computer knowledge), you could press the TAB button to find out all the suspicious bits in the room.  This was considered cheating but it was very helpful for players who could not escape the room.  Nowadays, much more sophisticated programming means that TAB buttons no longer work, and players will have to resort to user-generated walkthroughs for cheating purposes.  However, these walkthroughs may not always work perfectly, as some games have randomly-generated content which changes in every game (usually safe codes, lock combinations or places where certain items are hidden).  The most user-friendly addition to many games though, in my opinion, is the “save” button, which proves extremely helpful in many of those elaborate games (completing 20 levels of MOTAS in one go is a luxury not everybody can afford). 

Elements

Elements in room escape games usually include (but are not limited to): alpha/numeric codes (which are either hidden somewhere, found on the back of photos/ paintings or deciphered from other codes), colour codes (which may be deciphered by observing colour combinations in the room, or words in books or random notes), rubbish bins (lots of goodies to be found under and inside the bins), keys (usually hidden in corners of carpets or paintings, or behind sofas and cabinets), screwdrivers (on many occasions found when “using”- opening up an umbrella/ walking stick once you collect it), and many other items which can be combined to form things you would never imagine in real life.  The games are called point-and-click games for a reason- you can click crazily at the screen and get items you never thought would appear there, then click some more to see how they can be used.

Recommendations

I have been an earnest follower of the genre ever since the MOTAS days.  Here are some of my favourites (not in any particular order, I suggest you to check them all out!):

 MOTAS

Mystery of Time and Space http://www.albartus.com/motas/

Where the genre began.  Worth playing if only for a pilgrimage purpose.  Besides, it is humorous and not too difficult, so it will give you plenty of encouragement to continue with the genre.

Crimson

Crimson Room, Viridian Room http://www.fasco-cs.com

The father of all room escape games, although the site is down at the time of writing.  Simple graphics, but sometimes that’s easier for gameplay. 

Neutral

Escape games by Neutral http://neutralxe.net/esc/

Pretty and soft graphics, pleasant gameplay.  I like how they have different difficulty levels for your to choose.  The games are rather puzzle/ code focused, which is good for those who enjoy IQ puzzles.

 Gotmail

Gotmail games http://www.gotmail.jp/

Dozens for very fun escape games (many with a storyline).  The site is in Japanese but you can choose English for most of the games.  My favourite is probably “JOBPICO”, which is basically a job interview/ escape and “The Daydream”, which happens in a child’s playroom.  Graphics are beautiful too.  Most of them are rendered in 3D.

Bear

Escape games by Robamimi http://robamimi.fuyu.gs/index.php

Absolutely beautiful escape games with touching storylines.  Like Neutral, their games have difficulty levels indicated, so you can choose it depending on how challenging you’re feeling up to.  I especially loved “Bear’s Life”, which has 2 endings depending on how you play the game.  The storyline brought tears to my eyes (and so do others like “Smile for me”).  Games of medium length but an awful lot of depth.

Trapped

Trapped series http://www.rabbittell.com/games/trapped_classic/part_1_white_rabbit.php

Technically speaking, this is not merely an escape game.  It’s an animated story which you walk through by escaping.  Gameplay is very different from other games, but the storyline is compelling and philosophical.  You move through a large amount of rooms and do an awful lot of things.  What can I say, it’s an amazing game.  And by the way, it’s got three parts.  Three very wonderful parts which come together to form a massive story.  So you have to start from the beginning.  How you play can possibly change your ending as well.

2keys

Escape games from 2keysgames http://www.2keysgames.com/

Fun but very annoying games.  Lots of them.  For some of the games you have to collect something like 100 pieces of jigsaw, then piece them together.  It’s fun if you have the patience, but I don’t think it has a save button.

Loom

Akarino-Arika escape games http://akarika.net/index.htm

Fun and beautiful, the games make a bit of logical sense.  The graphics are somewhere between the Neutral and Gotmail ones.  A lot of their rooms are called “Loom __”, which is odd, and which I suppose comes from the Japanese pronunciation of the letter “R”.

Night Before

The Morning After/ The Night Before http://www.mousebreaker.com/games/themorningafter/playgame#bad

You’re in a student dorm, there has been a party and you meet different people, complete different tasks while collecting things to leave the house.  Feels like you’re walking in an animated movie, lots of fun!  (But there’s some adult content involved)

… and that concludes this wordy genre review.  Hope you’re had a nice time trying out the games I recommended, and tell me which other ones you like!

Bursting with goodness- Innisfree Jeju volcanic pore clay mask

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This is a clay mask, but no ordinary clay mask.  The clay comes from volcanoes in Jeju Island in Korea, which is a scenic place with funky looking stone people (Google it for yourself.  I visited the place almost 20 years ago and I still remember the live octopus that we ate… anyway.  Enough of this.), or so I’m told by the packaging of this mask.  The tub looks kind of little but actually holds 100mL of product. 

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Judging from the appearance, it’s quite similar to most of the clay masks I have tried- slightly greyish tone, in a paste, slightly watery looking but undoubtedly will dry to a cracking texture.  But alas, I was wrong.

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The first thing that struck me when I first put it on was how smooth it is.  You’d think that volcanic clay would be slightly gritty, but it isn’t.  It feels really smooth and pleasant on.  It also doesn’t dry into a cracking mess.  I have used it several times, sometimes in a thin layer and sometimes I just slather it on.  It does dry up slightly but won’t overly draw water from the face.  It’s also easy to wash off.  All you need is a wet washcloth to wipe your face, and it comes off easily.  Finish off with water, and it doesn’t leave your face tingling and dry.  It does, however, draw out minor impurities.  I feel that my blackheads come out more easily after using this mask.

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And here’s the Korean written on the tub, for those of you who can read Korean (I can’t)!  For the price I paid ($110 HKD, which is about $14 USD), I think the mask is good value for the money.  Although it is a bit hard to scoop it out from a tub, I don’t mind using a spatula (or fingers… hehe), and I’d purchase it again, in a heartbeat!