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Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis Giveaway

Game Giveaway of the day — Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis

Explore distant lands, solve complicated puzzles, travel through the island.
User rating: 27 (84%) 5 (16%) 7 comments

Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis was available as a giveaway on January 21, 2018!

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Jessica Pandora, a young archaeologist, has been teleported to Isla Dorada and now needs your help to return home! After making a chance discovery, Jessica causes an ancient artifact to activate and is sent to a distant land. Use your Hidden Object skills to help her in Isla Dorada – Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis!

System Requirements:

Windows XP/ Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10; CPU: 1.4 GHz; RAM: 512 MB; DirectX: 9.0; Hard Drive: 263 MB





File Size:

216 MB



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Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis
In Brief
A Hidden Object game

Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis downloads to a 216 MB zip file that unzips to three files, (a setup.gcd security wrapper, the set-up file and a read me). Those with multiple hard drives can save games on any drive they wish. The newly installed game is 258 MB in size. The game installs to the following path by default, but can be changed by the user if you prefer:
C:\Program Files (x86)\MyPlayCity.com\Isla Dorada - Episode 1 - The Sands of Ephranis
Four shortcuts are installed to the desktop. three of which can be safely deleted (Play Online Games, MyPlayCity Games and shortcuts to a free online game which vary each week). Also, if you don't like icons installed to the quick launch task bar, make sure you uncheck the box when the additional tasks window appears (after the Select Start Menu Folder window)

For those who are fond of adventures and have passion for discovering new places Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis has prepared something special. Once you come to this strange unfamiliar world you'll learn the mysterious story of Jessica Pandora who has just found herself on the island, lost and disoriented. Will you help her and start this journey? If you're ready to face all the difficulties and solve any kind of problems then make your first step. Here you'll have to explore distant lands, solve complicated puzzles, look for various objects and travel through the island. Open the magical world of Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis. Still don't forget that your task is to help Jessica Pandora leave this place as fast as you can. But you'll have to struggle for the freedom, using your skills and abilities. Various items will give you an opportunity to become closer to the aim. Collect them all and build your own way to the happy future. And when you don't know where to go just look attentively and the stars will show you the right path. A wise and clever person like you will manage to make the best decision. If you still don't know what to do just don't hesitate and download this game right now. It will be a great pleasure to play and feel the spirit of adventure travelling through the forests and walking among the trees which may hide secrets you're to learn in Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis. Nothing can be more breathtaking!
Edited reference accessed HERE. 21st January 2018


The Game:
Once Jessica finds the site she had been searching out for years, she touches a golden artefact and is transported to a mysterious distant island called Isla Dorada. She is greeted by villagers who are quite willing to help her on her quest, because what helps her also helps them. Jessica needs to find all of the artefacts to complete a magical mask that will help her return home, and that means exploring all over the island.
You navigate the world by scrolling left or right to find areas to interact with – and those are indicated by a twinkling effect. You click in to either a new area, or a hidden object scene. You interact with characters in the same way, though with them you get pages of dialogue and exposition.
The game has a hint timer, the ability to skip puzzles (and dialogues and cutscenes). The cutscenes are done in a graphic novel style showing action between chapters as you move from place to place hoping to get home. Everything is focused on Jessica’s journey through this Egyptian-themed world.
There are three major elements of the gameplay: hidden object scenes, puzzles, and locating pieces of the mask. To find the mask parts you can either search each area, or use the mask finder tool that gives a ‘cold/hot’ glow effect depending if you are near or far away from the mask piece. Once found it opens a special ‘other-worldly’ hidden object scene, which typically results in a new area being available.
Fans of hidden object games will feel right at home. You tap into the scene, and need to locate the many items on the list to complete the scene. After the first chapter each scene will have two or three ‘pages’ of items, meaning that as you find an item another one will fill in the box of things to find. As noted there are special hidden object scenes associated with the mask pieces, and in those scenes the colors are muted to the point where it is nearly grayscale.
Completing a mask piece hidden object scene almost always results in a new area being highlighted, but also in another object in the area being highlighted. These other objects are required, but not practically necessary, hidden object scenes. You get one little piece that you must have to move on through a door or to a puzzle. As a result, to make small progress often requires two or three hidden object scenes, at which point they get tedious. Also, there are sometimes multiple objects in a scene that meet the required description, so it is a matter of finding the one the developers intended. For example, at times ‘scarab’ is the beetle, other times the carved stone representation of the beetle – and almost always you will find both in a scene. If you choose the wrong items too many times too quickly the screen ‘cracks’, making you wait a few seconds before trying again.

Puzzles are far fewer than hidden object scenes, and consist largely of arranging objects, memory games, or pattern matching. These are mostly standard game types, though one sequence matching item for opening a door made little sense in execution – and was made worse because you had to select the hammer in your inventory each time!
Edited reference accessed HERE. Originally posted by Michael Anderson on May 15, 2013. Edited by Whiterabbit-uk 21st January 2018.
Review 2:
Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis isn't one of the strongest examples of the Hidden Object genre. Instead, it's distinctly mediocre and tough to recommend over far superior titles.
Much of the problems lie in its lack of imagination. Consisting almost entirely of Hidden Object scenes, with a small selection of mini-games, it's all too predictable and unexciting. There's a brief storyline tying everything together, explaining that players are tracking down the missing pieces of a magical mask, but it's pretty lacklustre and minimal, meaning one rarely feels particularly interested in the ongoing tale. Short snippets of conversation rarely feel enough to get the player involved in the quest.

The Hidden Object scenes are reasonably challenging, although there's no great punishment to tapping too quickly (other than a glass-breaking style visual effect) or using hints, but there's little logic behind finding many of the items. Amongst the dozen or more objects will be a couple of important tools that can be used to complete a minor puzzle on the main exploration screen, but it's lacklustre stuff.
The puzzles are similarly uninspired, mostly of the jigsaw kind or occasionally a basic logic puzzle. These might mix things up a little bit, but they feel so inconsequential amongst the plethora of Hidden Object scenes, and a Skip button ensures that one is never stuck for long.

Weighing in at around 3 hours long, Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis is probably just the right length to ensure that the player isn't completely bored by the end, but this really isn't a great example of the genre. It's too cold and soulless to grip. Hidden Object games can and, usually, are much more fun than this.
Reference accessed HERE. Originally posted by Jennifer Allen on May 15th, 2013. Edited by Whiterabbit-uk 21st January 2018.
Review 3:
I was complaining a while ago that we no longer receive real hidden object games as the focus of the developers is on the adventure part. Which is an important part, I agree, but sometimes I feel the need of testing my eyes in hidden object scene after scene and not care too much about collecting items and completing an adventure. And now I have Isla Dorada – Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis just released for iPhone, ready to fulfill my wish.
The game starts extremely nice, telling us the story of the beautiful main character, Jessica Pandora, a young archaeologist who discovers an important artifact that teleports her into a new world. Of course, she wants to get back home and enjoy the success of her discovery, and it will be your job to help her solve the mystery of the strange world she is lost in and get back home.
You will do so by mixing the classic adventure mechanics (travel from area to area, collect items and solve mini games) with the hidden object scenes. Fortunately – at least for those like me – the hidden object game scenes are the main focus here and you’ll get them aplenty. Unfortunately, they are not always the best scenes you have ever played, being sometimes too difficult (in terms of objects to spot) or too easy to beat. But at least you’ll have a ton of HO scenes, and that should be enough to keep you happy.
The game’s biggest problem is the story and how it unfolds. Everything begins so nice and makes you curious, but the development lacks creativity and the story is dull and uninteresting. It is more of something you have to go through to get to your next hidden object scene and even though the developers have tried to boost it with full voice overs, they still didn’t manage to keep me interested. But I was here for the hidden object scenes anyway!
Apart from the hidden objects, we do have a set of 25 achievements to unlock, many of them based on our performance in the hidden object scenes, as well as an interesting gameplay mechanic involving a statue that has to be dragged around to reveal scenes we have to play. I don’t really see the reason for this, but it doesn’t really hurt the game.
Visually, except from the heroine of the game, there’s not too much eye candy. You can feel that the original game was launched back in 2011 and the graphics are a bit outdated and unspectacular. The voice over is also one of mediocre quality which, combined with the dull story, doesn’t bring much value to the game either.
All in all, Isla Dorada – Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis is not the best game out there, but if you are like me and you want to focus on the hidden object scenes and not on the “adventure” then you should definitely give it a try because it’s mostly about the hidden objects. Don’t expect to be blown away though as there’s nothing spectacular here.
Edited reference accessed HERE. Originally posted by Ross May 16, 2013. Edited by Whiterabbit-uk 21st January 2018.

Other Reviews and Videos of Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis:
You can see Big Fish community reviews of Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis HERE and more information in the Big Fish forums HERE. There are a few in-game videos of game play HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
After you've had an opportunity to play today's giveaway please take a few moments to give some positive or negative feedback; for example, what you liked or disliked about the game, or how it could be improved. If you don't like the genre at all, please explain why and if any, what improvements would change your mind? If you don't have time to post a comment today, please do so at your convenience, thank you. If you wish to post a review or comment about the game later, you can access the comments section by going to the game giveaways home page, then scroll to the bottom of the page where it says Archives and select the date the giveaway was live (giveaway days are in bold type). This will open up the appropriate page for you to post your comment or review. Alternatively, you can google the name of the game and include Gamegiveawayoftheday in the search. This should give you a list of links to whenever this game was given away.
If the giveaway doesn't grab you, then please move on to the next giveaway, or check out the forums HERE, HERE and HERE, where a few members of the community post details of various free games and free game sites as well as links to various indie bundle sites etc. you never know, you may find something that really interests you.

If you miss today's game giveaway you can always get the game via MyPlayCity 24/7 HERE; or, If you prefer to purchase the game you can get it HERE via Big Fish Games.
Problems getting the game to work:
If you're having problems installing or activating or getting Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis to work please visit the FAQ's Thread HERE and read through the communities comments because sometimes fixes have already been posted, for example, a common issue seen since the Themida wrapper was introduced three years ago is that some community members installation of the game are blocked by their security because Themida code has been known to hide malware, (usually an error message is flagged for example 'The executable is corrupted' even though in reality it is not); so as a precaution some anti malware programs will block and even delete the suspect installation files even though the files (i.e. the setup, read me and setup.gcd files are actually totally free from malware. This issue can be solved either by rebooting your computer in safe mode with networking or a quicker method is to temporarily turn off your security software to allow the installation. You could also try whitelisting the setup.gcd file. In the almost 11 years this game giveaway site has been operating there has 'never' been a game given away that was infected with malware.
If, for any reason you want to contact the giveaway team, for example, you have a game to offer the community, or are unable to download the latest game or other issues that the FAQ's thread or these comments don't cover or solve you can do so HERE
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank MyPlayCity for giving away Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis and also to the game giveaway team, as always, for securing other ways to get free games.

Useful Information not related to today's game giveaway:
If Isla Dorada - Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis doesn't interest you, but you still hanker for something new to play, you'll find details of some game deals whether they be sale items, indie bundles or games being given away for free HERE (I've not updated the thread in a while, but most of the links still take you to the latest deals).
The rest of the information that used to be posted in the game review can be found in the forums HERE. Finally, check out Delenns threads for details of other free games and offers HERE and elsewhere in the game discussion forums HERE, (usually on the first page of the game discussion forums).

Reply   |   Comment by Whiterabbit-uk  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+13)

It was OK, not great.

Reply   |   Comment by FILIPPOS  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)


It took awhile to downloaded and opened easy. Game progress is fairly easy, but you have to do activities
exactly as game expects or you can't move forward. The puzzle has to be in the outline etc. The graphics are okay, as with most toon type. When doing certain activities it seems to get stuck, but have to combine and finish task or can't move on. It does highlight areas, so can eventually figure it out. Thanks for another good game and have a great week! Lee

............................Moderator Comment...........................

Thank you for your feedback Lee. :)

Reply   |   Comment by Lee  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-1)

I do kind of like the 'lead you by the nose' aspect of this HOG — none of that "something's missing here" that means endless backtracking until you find the fourth of four thingummajigs to open/lock/operate the hoozit.
I have found the click areas not to be 100% accurate all the time, haven't found the spelling errors yet, and 100% agree about the kick-the-door-in "puzzle."
But my biggest gripe is that turning off the Custom Cursor (I hate those things: why do game designers feel they need to add one?) has to be done EVERY TIME I open the game. Other HOGs remember my preference: why not this one? Grrr!
But thanks to the developers for letting us try this one: please in future games DON'T have a Custom Cursor, but if you must, at least remember the player's preference! And do give hints if a puzzle isn't obvious (like that door!).

............................Moderator Comment...........................

Thank you for your feedback CAD, appreciated. :)

Reply   |   Comment by Cad Delworth  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

The game downloaded and installed ok on windows 10. I played through some of the levels but found it frustrating in places as it wasn't clear how to progress. Some of the hidden objects didn't move when you clicked on them and some didn't look like the object that you were looking for. I won't be keeping this but it is worth trying as some people may find it ok. Thank you for offering this game today.

............................Moderator Comment...........................

Thanks Ros

Reply   |   Comment by ros  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+3)

Nope, can't recommend this one even though I'm probably the biggest sucker for HOG/adventure games :). I will definitely play it through as long as I can, so it's not a scathing review and fine to kill some time when you're in the mood for HOG rather than real thinking puzzles (which I sometimes am.) Some specifics:

Starts out kinda boring, and I found the "accent" of the native kind of offensive and certainly not African, more like urban Brooklyn :). The HOGs are okay, not much thinking and of course, the spelling errors mentioned by so many reviews on line. And like those reviews, I have to say I'm disappointed that it's mostly one HOG after another (so far with none you have to manipulate to get the object, like pulling a curtain or uncorking a bottle, which at least adds some interest). And like them, I found the door puzzle early on ridiculous. Kick in the door in a specific order? But never found any hint what that order might be---there should have been some sort of code somewhere. And using the skip (which I almost never do) didn't show the solution (which at least would have interesting) but just opened the door. Basically, I've played for about 15 minutes and am bored, echoing all the bad reviews over at Big Fish.

On the plus side, though, I will keep this for when I'm just in the mood for some mindless HOG action (which is more often than it probably should be :)). I don't find the spelling errors to be egregious so far; there was another game here, Apothecarium World, in which the language problems completely messed up the entire game, numerous objects were unclickable because they were too close to reset button or off the edge of the field, etc. THAT I now use for my rare "total thumb down" review, so this is rated "eh, okay" :)

............................Moderator Comment...........................

Thanks for your feedback Neme, p[please excuse the very late reply. Been really busy of late. Your comments are always appreciated. :)

Reply   |   Comment by neme  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+11)

Thank you for your insightful review, Whiterabbit. Spot on! I'm inclined to agree...it's pretty lackluster and uninspired. I also had trouble at one point where the game seemed "stuck." Map and menu worked, but there was an instruction on the screen that wouldn't close for anything, and as a bonus, as I played the game in later levels the rope that had been stuck as a cursor earlier when it was stuck kept showing itself. So I doubt I'll keep this, probably will play until the end, then will delete.

Thanks again, Whiterabbit, for giving so much helpful info about this game. :)

............................Moderator Comment...........................

Thanks Beadmaster. Scuze the late reply, was really busy yesterday.

Reply   |   Comment by Beadmaster  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+6)
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