Vitamin Hana serves up an escape with amenities in Terrace View, and continues their tradition of making cute, simple-seeming games that offer more than meets the eye. There isn't much around you... a locked door, a painting, a TV, and a few pieces of furniture that are all locked up tight with various coded puzzles. There's no changing cursor to help you see what you can interact with, but there's also not really any pixel hunting to make that a problem... just a whole bunch of cryptic clues for a room with enough puzzle locks to belong in an early Resident Evil game. It won't take you long to play, but it also doesn't feel like it's too short either, the proverbial juuuuuust right with a few puzzles that'll kick your brain into gear and require you to connect the dots without going overboard on difficulty. Sometimes you want something heavy and perplexing, and sometimes you want something light, fun, and clever, and Terrace View fits the latter perfectly well.
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In no1game's mouthful of a title Find the Escape-Men Part 147: At the Park Part 1, you're a dirty rotten thief... or, well, at least a girl who can't resist sneaking her mom's expensive pendant to wear while she's out at the park. No blood no foul, right? At least not until you're ready to head home and you realize it's missing! Now you have to search the whole place (or at least the places you've been while you wore the necklace, since some locations are mysteriously unavailable, and of course find the iconic ten little green men hidden throughout the park along the way. Just click to interact, and make sure you hunt everywhere, since no changing cursor means you'll need to shake, scrounge, and dig wherever you can. While it's annoying to have more than half of the available map locations locked off for (presumably) part two, At the Park Part 1 is still a seriously cute and quirky game. It has a tendency to make you go back and forth between locations with indication something has changed, though it ups the weird factor considerably over some previous installments in largely good ways. Needless to say, as indicated by the title, it ends with a big, fat, "to be continued", so you'll have to wait for the conclusion another day, but for now, there's searching to be done!
Your life seems like it's about as perfect as it can get. You're engaged to a handsome jazz pianist in New Orleans, just putting the final touches on your wedding plans. But when your sweetie's former band mates start turning up dead, and mysterious smoking men are slinking about, it's time to take action before it's too late. You play as Ella in Mad Head Games hidden-object adventure Cadenza: The Kiss of Death. With nothing but a black lipstick stain as your lead, you're going to have to use all your skills, and maybe even learn some new ones (unless picking locks and diffusing bombs are already part of your skill set. Who are you, MacGyver?), as you do everything you can do to save your future husband's life.
So it has happened again, has it? You have ended up trapped in a strange room. Obvious methods to escape from this room elude you. No keys, crowbars or climbing out the window will work. On hand instead: various puzzles to be solved, done by searching the room for essential objects and various clues, using your ingenuity to decipher the riddles throughout. What's that you ask? Why not just break down the door with your brute force? Because this door is not simply locked, it's guarded by a secret code that, should you fail, threatens to dismantle the entire room—you right along with it. Which is just one of the reasons Gam.eBB's mobile game Room Escape [Secret Code] is such a kick to play!
The horse in no1game's Bored White Horse is actually a very special horse since he's the prince's noble steed, and when he hears that the prince has finally managed to slip away from his bodyguards, the horse decides to go to him for adventure... though he'll need your help escaping from the stables first... no small task considering the horse's handlers think so highly of his cognitive abilities that you'll have to bypass multiple locks and puzzles from within to get out. To play, just click to interact, though your cursor won't change when it passes over something useable, so you'll need to be diligent in your exploring. Bored White Horse isn't a particularly long game, or even a difficult one, though some of its puzzles are tricky enough that you'll need to really examine them in order to figure out the solution. It's a light, whimsical treat for escape fans who want to engage their brains without breaking them, and reunite two dear friends in the process.
Much like its predecessor, Bikas.net's latest puzzle game, Shape Fold Animals, is best described as 2D origami. This game, which is available for both browser and mobile platforms, has you folding polygonal shapes that are connected by hinges to form something that sort of resembles an animal. The resulting shape is not always clear - it could be a turtle, a chimp, a giraffe or some kind of bird, leaving you to use your best judgement about which direction each chunk needs to get folded. The game falls pretty squarely under the casual banner, since there's no lose condition and no real urgency to win, but it's still fun and extremely well-made, a fun treat for any casual puzzler on a coffee break.
Lines. Squares. Lines and squares. These are the tools you will be using in GooDMage's new puzzle game, Glow Path, available for your browser or Android device. The game is as minimalist as they come, featuring white backgrounds, simple designs, and puzzles that are quick to solve but immensely satisfying nonetheless. Simply click on the block you wish to slide in order to connect one glowing box to it s non-illuminated partner. You only have a limited number of clicks, usually only two or three, so plan things out beforehand. This is a game about perfection, not experimentation.
In his last adventure, Eyesteam's humble hero Pajama Boy braved the depths of a dark, spooky, sawblade-ridden forest and overcame his fear of the dark. With his newfound courage, he decides to leave the forest and head on home to the city... only to find out that it's been destroyed and been conquered by mechanical monstrosities. Welp. At least he chose a good time for his little foray into personal growth! Now, in Pajama Boy 3, he must save the citizens of his city from their robotic imprisonment in yet another challenging platform game. Run, jump, slide, and even wall-kick with the [arrow] keys or [WASD], and collect the shiny gold keys that will free the humans from their cages. But the metallic invaders have worked themselves into the very fabric of the city itself... They even control the rebar! For Pajama Boy, that means ever-shifting levels that are constantly morphing and changing, pushing your reflexes to the very limit. Pajama Boy's third outing is perhaps his trickiest yet, and it brings with it a healthy helping of creative level design to delight you, even as you die repeatedly on that same patch of thorns, over and over again.
Murder, kidnapping, explosions. The life of a cop is not a dull one. You play as Baltimore detective Sam Pearce in Relentless Software's latest 3D mystery release for iOS, The Trace. The proprietor of a local business is found dead, and foul play is suspected. It's your job to figure out what happened. At the beginning of the game, your lab helper Alex sets you up with a new high tech remote forensics system that allows you to instantly run fingerprints and test blood samples, which turns out to be quite handy during the investigation. Tap on objects of interest to get a description, or perhaps zoom into an important spot. Hold and swipe to look around the room. Some items you tap on will go into your inventory which you can access on the left of the screen. When you find a piece of evidence, it will fill your screen. Sometimes you can push buttons or otherwise manipulate the item and you can always deploy your forensic scanner to look for clues. Tap the scanner icon on the right to activate it and tap and hold over the evidence to scan it. When you find something of import it creates a lead for you on the investigation screen.
TomaTea is known for one thing... serene colour palettes. And mellow instrumental soundtracks. And "I have no clue how to solve this!" And... okay, so for a lot of things, basically. Let's just say they make great escape games and move on to talking about Spring Celebration, which combines puzzles and pastels all in one pretty package. To play, just watch for the tip of your cursor to glow as it passes over things you can interact with, and carefully examine your environment for sneaky hidden clues you'll need to crack the puzzles on the various locks. Don't let the lute-ish soundtrack fool you... there're no castles and courts here, but there are a whole lot of sunny Easter-themed decorations, as if any of us needed a specific date as incentive to bite the ears off a chocolate bunny. Some objects you may find a little fiddly or unintuitive to interact with, as some of them have extra functions that aren't immediately apparent unless you click on them in a certain location, and you might likewise find yourself stymied at a point that doesn't make it obvious you need to drag something rather than merely click it. Still, TomaTea's talent for crafty puzzles whose clues take a little puzzling themselves is in fine form here, and apart from a few mildly awkward implementations, they offer a great variety in difficulty and concept, and the sweet presentation is just the cherry on top. If you love escape games that seem to invite you to relax even as they make you think, TomaTea's Spring Celebration is sunny and satisfying despite a few bumps along the way.
In Alex and Eugene Plotnikov's point-and-click adventure Aldo and Gus: The Skeleton Key, you play a cat in an enchanted flying tea-kettle (no, you're ridiculous) who's trying to rescue their dear wizard who was locked up in a dungeon for, well, wizardry. You'll need to hunt for a key to help him escape, which is easier said than done given the propensity for puzzles this jail and the surrounding area appear to have. To play, just click, and your cursor will highlight yellow when it passes over something you can interact with. You can use items in your inventory by clicking them to pick them up, then clicking again wherever you think they should go. There are a surprising amount of scenes to explore here, so it's easy to get overwhelmed at first, though once you know where everything is, things start to become clearer. Most of the puzzles are fairly straight-forward, requiring you to use the proper item in the right place, or unlock doors by spotting the proper codes for them, though not every object has an immediately obvious use. What makes Aldo and Gus so charming, however, is its wonderful surreal style, using simple shapes and bright colours to create imaginative environments that feel like something out of a Tim Burton film. It's weird in an eye-catching way that makes you want to explore it, though with so much going on in some scenes, it isn't often clear at a glance what's useful, so you'll want to waggle your cursor everywhere in case you missed something. That, combined with the way the cursor's colour can get washed out in some places making the highlight hard to see, makes the game feel a little rough around the edges, but Aldo and Gus: The Skeleton Key is still a wonderfully strange little game that makes us hope we see more of this pair down the road.
Contrary to a rumor started around the JIG office espresso machine, I do not spend all my evenings huddled up around the blue-white illumination of my laptop, empty take-out boxes strewn along the counter and a meowing band of cats my only company. I mean, alright, maybe in theory it's possible that could have happened. In the realm of possibilities, anything could be possible yet it's best to remember: Rumors spread rapidly on social networks. Even if it sounds like a good idea or goes viral, getting bunches of likes, snoop around a bit before assuming its verity. But shoot, I won't get all rhetorical with ya when there are escape games waiting to be played. Since there's also much to be said for ignoring cynicism and letting your heart wear a great big smile for all the world to see. Having some fun and playing games always makes sense, and this Weekday Escape game trio is an actual thing happening right now...
By now you're no doubt well-acquainted with the dungeon crawler format. Hero goes in, steamrolls through various monsters, and pops out the other end with a princess and/or box of treasure in hand. Well Jinmann Kim and Jaewon Yoo's Dungeon Warfare, currently playable in Alpha and still in development, flips that formula on its head, casting you as the world's most insidious interior decorator tasked with designing all manner of traps to keep the hordes of greedy heroes at bay. This defense game has you using the mouse to place various spike traps, dart shooters, blockades, snares and other fiendish obstacles in the path of the heroes as they march towards their goal. Copious amounts of retro-style slaughter ensue as the crowds of treasure-seekers march blindly into each trap. These little guys aren't big on self-preservation, it seems.
Wacky Pirate is a new reflex game for both browser and mobile platforms. You're the titular wacky pirate, as described to you by an adorable bit of voice over narration, who's fallen on hard times and needs to fill up the old coffers with as much booty as possible. This is accomplished through the expedient use of clicks. Here's the breakdown of the operation: you need to click the bombs at the bottom of the screen to release them so that they connect with the boats that come whizzing by. Pirate ships will also pass along your coast line, and for them you need to destroy the ice bergs that crop up before them with a few good clicks. Tokens also appear that give you money after a few good clicks, as do treasure barges that leave tons of clickable gold just laying out in the open where anyone can click them. There's a lot of clicking going on is the point, so you'd better get good at it fast. Things are going to get frantic really quickly in Wacky Pirate.
Cloak and Dagger Games have served up some supremely creepy point-and-click adventures before, but now they're paying homage to one of the masters with spooky short The Terrible Old Man, an indie freeware homage to H.P. Lovecraft's classic tale made in just 30 days. A group of shady characters are getting ready to leave town and take their gang elsewhere, when they hear about an old man living alone in town who's supposedly sitting on a fortune. They aren't put off by the strangeness surrounding the stories the townsfolk tell about him... all they know is he's frail, isolated, and apparently packing gold dubloons in a time where most people can't even scrape together the money for a drink or three. Are they about to bite off more trouble they can handle? Well, let's just say Lovecraft isn't known for stories where everything turns out sunny and all parties are merely involved in harmless misunderstandings. To play, just click to interact with something or someone, and right-click to merely look. Move your cursor way, way up to the top of the screen to have your inventory drop down, and click an item to pick it up so you can try to use it somewhere. You can also save your game from the inventory drop down, in case you need to take a break... you know, in case the ten minutes this game should take is too much.Everything about The Terrible Old Man's atmosphere drips unease and subtle wrongness, much like the work of the iconic writer it was adapted from, and the big reveal is executed cringingly creepily. Don't expect any real answers, as The Terrible Old Man sticks to the original's plot like glue, and most of the puzzles are a simple matter of talking to the only people available and then giving them or saying what they want. While it isn't particularly long or challenging, however, it's still a fine interactive adaptation that's a nice fit for an eerie evening when you want to give yourself the shivers without devoting too much time to it.
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Pudding, marbles, fingerprints, and soda are just a few of the things you'll need to escape Yonashi's weird but cool Yonashi Escape 17, where you'll definitely need to think outside the box and experiment a little if you want to make any progress. The cursor will change whenever it passes over something you can interact with, but otherwise you'll be given no real help at all, so it's up to you to figure out how to use the frequently very odd assortment of items in each room in order to open the doors to move forward. As strange as Yonashi Escape 17 is, however, a lot of it actually makes its own sort of sense in context, so nothing is ever really unintuitive or illogical. It's still not particularly long or difficult, but it still manages to capture that feeling of tactile exploration and wonder in a way that more straightforward and "serious" escapes don't really have, making the "ah-ha!" moments rewarding. It's silly, sweet, and more than a little cute, make it a great break-sized escape for players who like their games whimsical and weird.
The Calm Room Escape by Tesshi-e definitely lives up to its name, as you find yourself trapped in this soothingly soundtrack'd room after being invited there via letter by someone who hasn't shown up herself. Naturally you want to escape, but there are far worse atmospheres for you to solve puzzles in, don't you think? To play, after of course making sure to choose "English" when you start the game unless you read Japanese, just click to interact with things, though there's no changing cursor to help you figure out what's useable and what isn't. In addition to cryptic clues everywhere, you'll find your fair share of inventory items you can use or examine for further secrets with the "About Item" function, though you'll need to pay careful attention to your surroundings, exercise a little patience, know how to combine information... and, of course, fight the urge to just follow the instructions on the bed for an hour or three...
Idengames proved their talent with Royal Warfare, a truly exceptional defense strategy game that managed to cram all the thrills of real time combat in. Well the sequel, Royal Squad, is where the studio really gets to test their mettle. Simply put, the game is a stellar little adventure in arrow-shooting, goblin-stomping, magic-casting goodness. You select your roster of soldiers before each encounter and watch them chop down some truly impressive hordes of enemies as they march towards you in waves. For some added micromanagement, simply click to command your archers to rain arrows on a specific spot, or deploy some lightning bolts, bear traps, or swordsman onto the field for maximum effect. Chopping through the masses of necromancers, soldiers, and goblins as they come pouring towards you is supremely satisfying but be warned: this game isn't afraid to throw some curve-balls when you least expect them.
Did you notice that sudden chill in the air? A cat just yowled in the background and all the cockroaches suddenly seem more nervous. Yes, that's right, Drawmaneater is back with Nekra Psaria 3. Johnny Boy's train comes to a stop and he's told to "go back home," but to get there you must help him travel through this surreal world. This point-and-click escape game keeps its creepy vibe right up to the end, and also keeps the story going from the first and second games of Johnny Boy trying to find his way around this blue-tinted world. If you haven't played those, you'll be a little more confused than those who have, but just a little. Even though this installment feels a little rushed compared to its predecessors, the twisted art work and creepy feel is still alive and pulsing in this unsettling adventure.
Two feuding Louisiana towns. A mysterious mythical owl man. Creepy swamps. A missing boy. Crocodiles. All in a days work if you're a Mystery Tracker detective. When sightings of the local legend are at a peak and young boy goes missing, the townsfolk don't know what to believe. Piece together clues, question suspects, and find the link between things in Mystery Trackers: Nightsville Horror, a hidden-object adventure from Elephant Games. Use your sleuthing, your brave little dog Elf, and your puzzle solving skills to track down the missing boy Oliver before it's too late.
Rose Engine's eerie platformer ascend features a silent girl trying desperately to make it to the top of a dark and deadly maze, where moving platforms, pits of spikes, and crushing traps await around every corner, and mysterious text dogs her steps. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, and the [spacebar] to jump, while hitting any key will make you respawn back at the last brazier you lit when you die. You can respawn forever, essentially, though if you want to see the alternate ending, you'll need to make it to the top with more than one life, as evidenced by the bars in the bottom left corner. You get another life every time you find a new flower, but once a flower has been drained, it's gone forever, so don't get too cocky. The hardest part about ascend might be that the controls seem a little too responsive, so that every jump and movement has a little extra zip in it that can easily make you overshoot what you were aiming for if you don't account for it, and since when you fall, you can fall far depending on where you are, working your way back up can be frustrating... you can't just die and respawn back up, after all, if you want that alternate ending. You're also left to your own devices to figure out where to go other than, as the title implies, up. If you have the patience for the climb, however, and you love subtle storytelling and a great, uneasy atmosphere, ascend is still worth checking out.
no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 146: Fully Packed Train is less an escape game, at least at first, than it is about you desperately trying to find your way onto a train that's already been (literally) pushed way, way past capacity... and of course finding the ten little green men in the process. To play, just click to interact, though since your cursor won't change you'll need to sleuth around on your own for things to click on. As usual for a no1game, you might find yourself needing to click on things more than once, sometimes a lot more, or even hang around on some screens waiting for something to happen. Most of the puzzles are logical, and there are a few surprises in store, and your expected dose of silliness makes this a perfect example of why so many people love this series... it's campy, creative, and doesn't take anything too seriously, on top of being the perfect size for a short break from the daily grind. Give it a play, and then give thanks if your daily commute doesn't look anything like that.
Need a good brain work out? How about one you can take on the go with your iOS or Android? It's time to put your thinking caps on and start stretching out the only organ that named itself, because N4games' Brain Builder is here to, well help you build your brain! With eight different puzzles you'll need to think logically in this brain-training game. It starts off easy and grows harder the more questions you get right. After cycling through the eight levels you then arrive at the 'pro' versions of them, and try again but with higher difficulty. The puzzles range from simple math, to reaction testing, to not-very-colorblind-friendly logic puzzles, and while the idea of each one sounds simple enough you'll be surprised how difficult it gets. Sixty seconds to click on as many correct answers as possible is a much shorter time than you'd expect, especially since very wrong answer takes off a couple of seconds. Brain Builder is all about helping you get your mind into shape and keeps track of your daily scores and lets you improve today you by comparing against yesterday you to let you see your brain is building.
Feeling like your wordsmithing skills need a workout? Look no further and try out Lettercraft, a fun new word game for iOS by developer Marco Torretta. The first five levels are free to try, and the rest of the game is unlockable via an in-app purchase. The goal is to make as many three or more letter words as you can before the game ends or the timer runs out. The letters you use don't have to be adjacent; you can use any letter on the board. Tap a letter and it will appear at the top of the screen. When you've spelled your word, swipe to submit it. If it's a valid word, you'll get points depending on length. The first letter of your word gets underlined, so if you determine you need to trash the word you were working on, just tap the first tile and it will disappear. Sounds easy, right? Well let me get to the twist: As you play the letters begin to heat up, eventually burning up so you can't use them. However, if you use the letters in a word, it cools them back down. But if you submit a misspelled or imaginary word, the tiles used will go up one heat level. If your board burns down to just three tiles left, it's game over.
While some thought Krutovig's Abandoned was a wee bit too Submachine-sy, others adored the clean design and air of mystery, and now the series has a spin-off in the form of escape game Abandoned: The Cube Chambers, which sees you waking up confused and disoriented in a maze-like series of rooms filled with puzzles. To play, just click... your cursor will change when it passes over something you can interact with (but not ALL the things you can interact with), and you'll want to pay seriously close attention to your surroundings, because the game issssss... ambigious. Perhaps far too much so, given the vague nature of the puzzles that lack a lot of the direction of the original game. The Cube Chambers might be even more obviously Skutnik influenced than the first game, from the user interface to the premise, which is similar to Submachine 3: The LooP. The atmosphere is largely excellent, with a a sleek design and ominous audio, and if you don't mind a game that neither holds your hand nor even so much glances in your direction reassuringly, you might find it a welcome challenge, but others might find it a little too obtuse to conquer.
Please note that Flight Rising requires a free account to play. Due to capacity issues, account registration for new players is only available during certain periods of time. Registration is currently closed.
Stormlight Workshop's Flight Rising, a free online blend of MMO adventure and dragon-breeding simulation, has been recommended to us several times over the years, but due to their limited registration periods, we never really felt comfortable writing about it. With their current registration open, however, we thought we would take the time to bring it up now for new players to register while they can and discuss the game. Due to the fact that we had to wait until, well, now to register an account of our own, please do not regard this as a comprehensive review. We will update this article at a later date.
As to the game itself, well, Flight Rising revolves around founding a clan after pledging your allegiance to one of the elemental dragon gods, and then running your lair and managing your dragons and their offspring. The focus of the game is arguably on the breeding system, which allows you to breed different dragons together for various qualities and genes, some of which you may have to work for, or trade with other players to get. At your lair, you'll need to choose the dragons you wish to breed (getting a peek at potential future offspring), and then have them lay eggs (anywhere from one to five) in a nest you'll have to incubate over the course of five real days. Not enough for you? Well, like a bigger, radder Neopets (whoa... early 2000s flashback...), you'll get to play, hunt, and even fight with your dragons, though you have a limited amount of turns per day to do so. You'll also, of course, need various resources to care for and feed your dragons, and the coins you earn from minigames and other activities can be spend on everything from expanding your lair to hold more dragons, or buying new equipment to enhance them for battles in the Coliseum. Flight Rising also has an optional currency called Gems, bought using real money or earned as a bonus if you keep your dragons happy with high energy, and these can be used to buy items as well, even those from other players. It's a surprisingly deep and engaging game, perfect for playing in short bursts, with gorgeous artwork and fun mythology, and we'll report back once we have more experience ourselves! Have you played Flight Rising?
[The following is a reader review by Aidan Randle-Conde, used with permission. Want to submit your own review for a game we haven't covered? Use our submission form!]
91 (free log-in required to save) is a community funded turn-based RPG adventure game that is still in Beta. You wake up in an alley to find that you've been mugged and the ID from your wallet has been taken. Strangely enough your money has not been touched. As you stagger to your feet and try to get your ID back you find that there are much deeper mysteries to solve and much bigger problems to face. You're in the city of Flauston in 1991 and the outlook is bleak. It's been years since the "ascent" where huge columns rose out of the ground in major cities across the world, and the psychological damage they have caused is evident everywhere. Cities are abandoned, left to the criminal underworld, and the police forces struggle to keep control. The further you venture into Flauston the more unsavory characters you encounter and realise that there's a lot more happening than just someone taking your ID.
You'd never know it to look at its perplexingly Minecraft-sy icon, but Naquatic's CivCrafter, free for iOS and Android, is actually an Odd Couple mashup of incremental clicker games and a simplified version of the Playver Versus Player of Clash of Clans. In the beginning, it's just you and three icons to tap on... the apple collects fruit, while the log and rock collect wood and stone respectively. Tapping on each icon gains you a single unit of that resource, and eventually you'll have enough you can spend on building things, though these resources can also be spent on upgrades down the road. When you've built enough houses to start a population, you'll need to employ your civilians to work... farmers are important for making food, of course, since the more people you have, the more food depletes, while loggers and miners gather what you'd expect autonomously. Note that unlike similar games, CivCrafter does not gather resources while you're not playing. It's simple to start off, but as you play, you'll realize things get a little more complex... farmers, for instance, can find skins, which you'll need to build a tannery for and employ someone at to convert them into leather. Eventually, you'll need this and other "secondary" resources like metal from refined ore in great quantities, both to unlock more powerful upgrades, but also to outfit your army. Yeah, that's right. You'll need to pillage and defend yourself from being pillage, and maybe even join a Clan, if you want to get all the trophies and skulls you can. Because who doesn't like trophies and skulls?
Before we get started on that thing you came here to do, you know, playing free online escape games, I thought we could spend a few minutes shooting the breeze. I'll start. The other day, a friend called and invited me to play hide-and-seek. Maybe it's silly but that's why it's so fun. "Sure!" I said and began to walk over there. Suddenly aliens attacked! All was pandemonium, panic and mayhem until a mystery figure stepped out of nowhere with some oddly pieced together rocket. Huzzah! Loves to heroism! Because I needed to unwind after so much excitement, I entered a relaxing little green room where a pink frog served tea and played a tune on her miniature piano. After relating my story, she suggested I go into the study, sit at a desk and write it all down. Which I started to do but, well, really now, writing is kind of hard. I stared at the windowpane lined with colorful pots contemplating how best to capture my strange experiences in words. I think this is how it all began. My eyelids grew heavy, the world grew dim and, when I woke up, I was locked in a room I'd never seen before...
Welcome to indie multiplaying exploration-based adventure with KWAAN, currently playable in Steam's Early Access, a beautiful and persistent online world steeped in tribal myth, natural balance, and co-operative gameplay. KWAAN is a dynamic environment where keeping the spirit of the world vibrant and alive on a daily basis is of paramount importance, and players must collaborate to do this if they want the world on their server to continue. Nurturing the living pixel environment, contributing their unique artistic touch to the branches of the world tree, hand-crafting flowers, bringing the stars together into constellations, solving puzzles, crafting offerings, exploring the realm, and summoning animals like penguins, platypi and ducks are just some of the things that will keep KWAAN, the sentient tree and spirit of the world, healthy and alive. This is a harmonious and gentle world in which aesthetics, myth and imagination reign supreme. Blue glowing maana crystals glisten overhead, bright spirits of animals waft across the sky, and ice-block jellyfish appear briefly to form oceanic platforms for safe passage. Deftly bringing together a special blend of elements from genres like role-playing and adventure games, KWAAN is perhaps best regarded as a fantastic and mystic co-operative multiplayer platformer provided by David Calvo and Maxime Plantady.
Carmel Games' Creepo is back for another ghoulishly goofy tale of mildly macabre escapery with Creepo's Tales: Friday the 13th. Pedro, a hiker, finds himself trapped in a national park and hunted by a crazed ranger who's turned into a psychotic killer after falling off a cliff... you know, as you do. To help Pedro find a way out, just click around to explore. The cursor will change when you can interact with something, and you can either combine items in your inventory by clicking first one then the other, or pick it up to use it elsewhere. Don't be too scared... despite some great atmosphere thanks to the wonderful ambient colouring and creepy backgrounds, this isn't much of a horror game. In fact, the scariest thing might be how short the game is, though by and large most of the puzzles tend to be logical, which has been an issue with some Carmel Games titles in the past. Will Pedro escape "crazy Mason"? And even if he does, well, he's not out of the woods yet! Hopefully the next installment is a little meatier... you know, something to really sink your fangs into.
[Note: This game is available in "Pay What You Want" format, including free. If you enjoy this game, support your indie developers and consider paying them what you can for it!]
[Note: Please note The Blind Griffin deals with some subject matter some people may find upsetting.
Made for NaNoReNo 2015, Asphodel Quartet's free indie otome visual novel The Blind Griffin starts off in San Francisco during the roaring twenties, and your parents would really rather you, the youngest daughter of a large Chinese family, settled down and got yourself married. That's not the life you wanted for yourself, but with few job opportunities, you're running low on funds and choices... until strange signs lead you to a candy shop that happens to be a front for a very special speakeasy. You start off bartending, but you quickly discover there's something a little magical afoot, not just about your bewitching coworkers, and soon you find yourself with a surprising challenge... prove you have what it takes to be a magician, something you had no idea you were until that night, and take the exam administered by the Grand Council, or have your memory, and your newfound magic, stripped away. You'll need to choose a mentor from three of your fellow coworkers (who all happen to be eligible bachelors, of course), and work hard to take your exam in a few months time. With snappy writing, gorgeous visuals, and welcome diversity (though unfortunately all romantic options are hetero only), The Blind Griffin is cheeky good fun with polish that belies its short development time.
Way, waaaaaaay back in the ancient annals of time known as 2012, Kotorinosu released a challenging little escape game called Sphinx. Now, apparently, it's time to revisit that classic with Sphinx (2015) (Android and iOS versions coming soon!), which keeps the Egyptian setting but provides you with an entirely new place to explore and set of puzzles to crack. There's no changing cursor, so if you want to find everything you need to interact with, you'll have to put on your Sherlock hat and scour every dusty inch of this place, and if you expect the game to give you any hints and direction, well... looks like you're going to be entombed for quite some time. This update of the original game concept strikes a solid balance between simple "use item X on space Y" style puzzles and more complex offerings that require a lot of logic and attention to detail. Whereas the original kept you facing a single direction, not counting any close up examinations, this one lets you move around a lot more, and thus feels complex in a different way. Pixel hunting isn't really an issue, but some puzzles require more thinking than others, and with some inventory items needing to be combined or used more than once, you have your work cut out for you. As of this writing, I'm unsure if this web version will vanish after a while as happened with Kotorinosu's last update of a classic and subsequent mobile release, but for the moment, it's freely available for all to attempt to unlock. B Y O Explorer Hat, and maybe give Brendan Fraser a call... he was always good with ancient temples.
Sure, frantic action arcade mobile games have their place, but sometimes you just don't feel like competing to see how fast your fingers can fly across the touchscreen. You know you're on to something different when you find a game that's a delight to look at and listen too, is relaxing yet at the same time makes you think. Many Monkeys zen like puzzle game Breath of Light, with a soundtrack from Winterpark, is all of this for your iOS device, and more. Each level has light emanating from one blossom. The goal is to manipulate the light with different objects until it hits all of the flowers, causing them to bloom. This is mostly done with various rocks, which of course every good zen garden has.
Steven Universe is one of those cartoons people keep recommending to me, and it turns out, it's for a good reason. The series, which follows the superpowered guardians of Earth, the Crystal Gems known as Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, as well as their half-human charge/bestie/party-starter Steven, is not only ruthlessly adorable and nostalgic, it's also brilliantly plotted with fantastic character development and a lot of heart and much needed diversity and representation. So, naturally, the release of Grumpy Face Studios' Attack the Light as a turn-based strategy RPG for iOS and Android with a Mario RPG-sy flair, has a lot of fans very happy. At the start of the game, Steven accidentally unleashes a swarm of powerful enemies from an ancient Gem weapon, and tags along to provide support and Hambuger Backpack-ery for the others while they travel the world trying to return the corrupting light to the prism Steven accidentally released it from. Though it focuses mainly on dungeon-crawling combat with an eye on strategy, Attack the Light does so with all the style, charm, and heart that fans of the series have come to love.
In Denis Vasilev's cute but very grindy action game The Power of Love, a knight and a princess are smitten with one another, but the king isn't having any of it. So what's a lovestruck knight to do? Why, beat down the castle, using the coins the king hurls in distaste to buy new upgrades to further increase your punching prowess. Just click and hold to swing your weapon (initially just the very lute you used to serenade your lady love), and move the cursor to move the knight, walking over coins to pick them up. Move alllllll the way to the left to enter the shop and purchase speed and power improvements. Cute and simple? Sure. Fast? Not so much, as initially the knight moves so painfully slowly you'd be forgiven for getting frustrated before your first speed upgrades. Your goal is to eventually destroy the castle, thus freeing the princess to love as she wishes, though one could argue maybe the princess should get off her frilly butt and do something herself if she were really in love. Still, while it could definitely have been streamlined, once you start unlocking new equipment and thus the king starts hurling more types of treasure, things get a lot faster.
Awww....who's the cute widdle headless zombie? You are? Why, yes you are, in Zombonarium, a super-cuddly zombie physics puzzler from Bite Lemon Games. Your zombie loses his head at the beginning and it will take you 30 levels, including a boss level, to finally keep that thing in place. Using your shovel cursor, you aim the zombie head at a key, a bone or a sticky platform and click to launch your head, all the while trying to avoid killer falls or fire traps. Friendly rotating skulls can help you along the path, and bats can help or hinder.
MayMay's name is quickly becoming synonymous with fast, cute, and fun escape games, and Fixed Unfixed Escape is no different, though sadly this time there are no baked goods to devour. Instead, you're trapped in a small room with a bed, a balloon (we all float down here), a door that opens onto a tiny balcony, and not much else... y'know, aside from a bunch of puzzle locks. The cursor won't change as it passes over things, so you'll need to click around and figure out what's interactive for yourself, and remember to use "About Item" to view and play around with the items you're carrying up close. One of which will be a dirty and torn piece of laundry, for those of you who have been desperately wishing for more games about complicated solutions to household chores. The biggest challenge here will definitely be trying not to overthink things, as Fixed Unfixed Escape is definitely a straightforward game, but while it might last less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee/iced tea/ginger ale/the tears of your enemies, it's still cute and fun in a way that makes it perfect for a little nibblet of an escape game.
Lo.Nyan is playing around a bit with their latest escape game Lo.Nyan's Room Escape 14, although if you think being trapped in a colourful, soothing room filled with toys, crayons to colour with, and a place to nap peacefully is a bad thing, you clearly overestimate my maturity. There's no changing cursor, so you'll have to click on everything if you want to find all the items and clues needed to solve the game's many puzzles, though bars will appear at the edges of the screen when you mouse over them if you can change direction. Remember to check out your inventory with the "About Item" feature if you want to view it up close to see if you can manipulate it, and go ahead and use the save function if you want to take a break. Perhaps more usefully, however, you can use the camera you find early on to take photos of pertinent clues so you don't need to constantly run back and refer to them as you play, though you should note some clues need to be photographed in some fiddly ways. Though the descriptive text is in Japanese, you don't need to know the lingo in order to play.
These days, it seems like everyone is getting into the high-difficulty smartphone arcade game genre, and Bart Bonte's tap tap tap, free for iOS and Android, takes things in a very Bop It! direction with all the quirky, clean style you've come to expect. All you have to do is follow the directions of the voice... tap on some circles, double-tap others, drag coloured circles to matching outlines, and more. The twist, of course, is that the game keeps adding new elements and speeding up as you play, and you have a narrower and narrower window of time to execute each action before you lose. It's a simple concept that sounds easy, but can you keep your eyes, brain, and hands all working together long enough to beat your high score?
A long time ago six great heroes saved the land, so when they're called for again, it puts them in a bit of a sticky situation, since one of them very recently had an unfortunate run-in with a dragon, and now they're one member short. Luckily for them in Dragonfly Studios' free indie visual novel April Was A Fool, you just happen to bear a striking resemblance to their dearly departed party member, April. Too bad you're just a local server who really has no business running around with high-level legendary heroes, and while they assure you all you need to do is show up at the castle to fool the king into thinking all six of them are still around, you've always wanted to be a hero anyway despite lacking the qualifications, and thus begins a tale of magic, romance, adventure, and a bunch of screw-ups who can barely get their acts together and aren't as close as they once were. With a fantastic, polished presentation, eleven endings, five unique plot lines, and a loveable cast of quirky, heroic maniacs, April Was A Fool is a fun, funny, and engaging visual novel that's an absolute joy and worth replaying again and again despite many points of the narrative feeling rushed.
When you're that special sort of blue that only one hundred brightly coloured eggs will cure, Pencilkids' perpetually pouting primates know how you feel, and in the latest installment of their point-and-click puzzle series, Monkey GO Happy Eggs, you'll have to turn every leaf, stone, and suspicious part of the scenery upside-down if you want to find all the eggs you need. The yellow arrows transition you from one area to the next, and your cursor will change when it passes over something you can click on to interact with. Want to try using something from your inventory at the top of the screen? Just drag it where you want it to go. While one hundred eggs seems like the sort of thing that would keep you busy hunting for a long time, especially if you were like me when you were little and were bad enough at finding a half dozen or so, Monkey GO Happy Eggs is definitely not that gargantuan a task. Like the rest of the Monkey GO Happy games, it's designed to be a short break, and it's as weirdly whimsical as you've come to expect with its candy-coated environments and creepy-cute characters. Its puzzles are fairly logical, but you'll need to pay attention to your surroundings to crack them, so keep your eyes peeled and hop to it!
Thanks to Nicosite for sending this one in!
You've been dreading this. It's really not that you've been putting it off: in fact you saw your mom before you went to sleep yesterday. But now that you've moved home, it's like it's expected that follow all the rules you had as a kid. As if letting her know where you are at all hours of the day will help you get back on your feet as an independent adult. Sometimes, even when you don't have anywhere to go, you just need to get away. Not even away from anything. Not like, from Dad or Mom or Ben. Just... away. You even found this cool guitar pick. Maybe David will like it. But now, one of those classic Nebraska storms has burst open the sky and it's time to head back. But you'd can take this call while you drive. Three Fourths Home is a piece of indie interactive art by [Bracket] Games that's been newly re-released in an extended edition with some cool extras. In it, you play as Kelly, a part-girl part-woman driving the rural stretch between her grandparent's dilapidated barn and the old home that's recently become new again.. It's an interesting piece of narrative presented in quite the unique way
The escape game scene may be crowded nowadays, but there's always room for more. New developer SARAMEYA has entered the scene with Lodger, a curious white and black room the likes of which no ordinary house would contain. If the strangely patterned door, the pipes sticking out of the opposite wall, and the row of unusual paintings don't set the mood, the three eccentric characters waiting behind the three shutters certainly do. As delightful as your company may be, you'd really like to leave the room, so get your thinking cap on and keep an eye out for clues that could lead, directly or indirectly, to your egress.
At least some thieves go and make a name for themselves by stealing priceless artworks, legendary cultural relics, or jewels the size of fists. But the lowlife band of ruffians in Vitalii Zlotskii's Juicy Bazooka apparently have nothing better to do with their time than harass a poor, beleaguered homeowner by stealing his groceries. The nerve! Luckily for him, they didn't nab his watermelons... Or the specially-modified bazooka he fires them with! Shoot melons at felons and help him reclaim his stolen groceries in this puzzle shooter game. Just make sure no innocent bystanders get a face full of fruit! Gameplay-wise, it's a familiar song and dance, but it's hard to resist a game with such a good-naturedly goofy pretense... and such cute voice clips!
Dear loyal JIG readers, welcome to a very special edition of Weekday Escape today, with exclusive first coverage of a breaking story: Escape games, a multinational gaming obsession that has taken a worldwide audience captive and captured the attention of major corporations, legislators and research firms. As it was JIG that reported on escape games' humble beginnings, and it was here that certain celebrities would get their escape game fix, it is only fitting that we should report on new emerging data regarding the health benefits of playing these popular diversions. While this early on sources cannot be revealed or confirmed, when it's news this good, we don't want to lose precious moments not playing escape games through such time-consuming formalities as "fact checking" do we? Already the clock is ticking while we prattle on about details. All you really need to know is: This is a BIG DEAL. Already Google is inventing a new way to use self-driving cars in globalized escape games (an early prototype shows there's still much progress to be made). Rumors have surfaced on the streets of The Capitol, according to a witness who would only identify himself as "Bub", that lawmakers are now considering what, if any, limits should be put on escape game production. Our best advice: Stock up now...
R-LO is a very fuzzy escape game from no1game, and as usual, you're trapped somewhere and surrounded by cryptic clues and puzzling mechanisms. The cursor won't change if you can interact with something, so you need to go about it the old fashioned way and click everywhere to make sure you find everything you need, though pixel hunting is mostly non-existent. Instead, you'll be required to solve puzzles that need logic more than anything else, and know how to spot a clue when you see it. R-LO may be short, but it's also smart, with some appealingly sneaky puzzles and tidy (though, really, so fuzzy) design, making it an excellent warmup for escape fans of all kinds.
Ah, the gun. Versatile, loud, deadly. How many games have made use of the firearm for gameplay purposes? Seriously, how many? Our shooter game tag is getting dangerously full. Well, here's another title to add to that venerated list. The Gun Game Redux by Flashchaz and Marsh Games pares the genre down to its basics: you have a gun, targets exist, and it's time to introduce one to the other with as much efficiency as possible. Move your firearm through the air with the mouse, being sure to keep it within the green zone so you don't suffer a penalty, and start popping targets like targets insulted your mom. There are three main competition types... Defense, which has you blasting away targets before they can reach the green, Efficiency, in which you have to drop the target while aiming through a small hole, and Offense, which drops the targets altogether and puts you against an AI-controlled gun that's not shy about fighting back. A wide variety of unlockable guns keeps the game interesting as you blast your way to greatness.
The brothers from Meowbeast's puzzle platformer Money Movers may have busted out of the slammer once before, but in Money Movers 2 they're busting back in to rescue dear old dad who's also gotten himself locked up. As before, you'll control the two bros simultaneously with the [WASD] and the [arrow] keys, making them work together to flip switches, collect money bags, and deal with turrets, guards, locked doors and more to reach the exit together. The smaller brother can jump higher and fit into narrow places, while big brother might be too slow to avoid lasers or too heavy to jump high, but can make up for it in brute strength. The game might spend a bit too much time teaching you the basics from the original, so if you've played that, then you'd be forgiven for feeling like the sequel is dragging its feet. Eventually, however, they start getting more complicated and demanding more timing. It never really does anything significantly different from the first game, but it does up the complexity and challenge significantly, making it a great fit for fans looking for something a little meatier, all wrapped up in the bright colours, clean design, and swanky soundtrack that makes a Meowbeast game so polished and fun.
Akkad's Impossible Rush, free for iOS and Android, serves up the latest in addictive high-score arcade action for as long as your reflexes can handle it. To play, just tap the screen to rotate the square to the right, the goal being to catch the incoming coloured balls on the matching side of the square by having it face upwards. Miss even once, which gets a lot harder in a hurry since things start to speed up, and it's game over, but you can create "clans" to compete for top rankings in scores once you've logged in with Facebook, or join our clan under jayisgames. Don't want to compete online? You don't need to! Games like Flappy Bird, Atomas, Crossy Road and more have proven that many players love using their phone to play the sort of challenging games that ruled the arcade decades ago (you whippersnappers), and Impossible Rush's simple yet frantic gameplay makes it fit right in. Though it could use a few extras, like perhaps a snappy MIDI soundtrack that slowly speeds up with the gameplay, or a one-time in-app purchase to disable the occasional ads, Impossible Rush is still a great addition to the library of fast, fun-yet-frustrating high score endless games smartphones seem to be a perfect fit for, and hopefully gets expanded even more in the future. Just... don't blame it when you end up spiking the phone off the sidewalk the next time you're one tap away from beating your best score when you fail.
Impossible Rush (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
Get Impossible Rush
There have been a lot of free-to-play games put out for big franchises, and to be frank, most of them tend to be muddled messes of shallow gameplay, timers, and in-app purchases, so I was a little concerned and skeptical about FINAL FANTASY Record Keeper, free for iOS and Android by DENA Games and Square Enix. In it, you play a young scribe who learns all of the records of the great heroes from the iconic Final Fantasy series are vanishing, being devoured by a strange darkness, and you're tasked with restoring them by your Moogle professor... a task which naturally involves going inside paintings representing battles from all of the classic games and stories, and recruiting a roster of all the characters you know and love along the way. Make no mistake, FINAL FANTASY Record Keeper is solely a turn-based RPG focused entirely on combat and party management, and the inclusion of timers and randomized loot that makes crafting slow going may give you pause. Despite this, it's a surprisingly satisfying little game with tons of fan-service and sufficiently strategic combat that's worth checking out... perhaps doubly so if you're the sort of person for whom party micromanagement is a great time.
It is generally agreed upon that puppets, much like clowns or doing your taxes, are creepy and scary no matter how many times you come across them. Luckily for ERS Game Studios, some of us hidden-object adventure lovers like to be spooked from time to time. This is why the PuppetShow series is so popular that it's celebrating its seventh birthday this year with a new installment, The Price of Immortality. You find yourself in the delightfully steampunky town of Immortale (the "e" is silent), looking for your friend, Enrique, who went there to investigate the disappearances of a number of journalists, all somehow connected to the Theater of Emotions. Now, the Theater of Emotions sounds like it puts on audience-participation productions where everyone ends up holding hands, weeping and going out for cupcakes afterwards. That alone would be a good reason to save Enrique, but the theater turns out to be a place where snoopy reporters come to die. Turns out the theater holds a sort of murder lottery, where townspeople lucky enough to have their number drawn get to throw knives at the unfortunate reporters. On top of that, Immortale used to be famous for its beautifully crafted puppets, but lately they have been as abused and tortured as the visiting reporters. Just what is going on in this twisted town?
If you've ever wondered where the three adorable cats who star in Choko-Chai's escape games come from, play the insanely cute The Three Bamboo Princesses and wonder no more, as it explains these beautiful kitty girls are in fact magical bamboo princesses, whose foster parents lock them up out of love to try to avoid losing their beloved cats. To help them escape, just click around to interact, keeping an eye out for certain twinkles and watching when your cursor changes if it passes over something you can click on. If you're really stuck, you might need to use one of the cats to help you... press the kitty icon in the lower-left corner while looking at what you're trying to interact with, and if she says "leave it to us", you can usually click a navigation arrow to back out of the current viewpoint to see the cats sitting in a row. Just click all three of them until you find the one who tells you she can help, then click on whatever you were trying to interact with before. It's a little clunky, to say the least, but it's also super cute, as we may have mentioned. The Three Bamboo Princesses may be a little rough around the edges, but Choko-Chai's puzzles and sweet stories are always a welcome delight, and there are a few clever conundrums to conquer here as well. With two endings to find, The Three Bamboo Princesses will cure what ails you, provided what ails you is a serious deficiency in royal fairytale cats solving puzzles through teamwork.
You're a professional room escaper who just received a new challenge by mail. A helicopter air-lifts you to a remote island where the room is waiting, but getting in may prove to be as difficult as getting out! Such is the setup for Gatamari Escape 24 (by Gatamari, who else?). Navigate around the game world with the mouse, keep your brain in gear, and cross your fingers, because it's going to take luck and/or use of the game's save feature to get the best of the game's four endings.
Please be aware that this game contains graphic, heavy violence, as well as sexual violence some players may find upsetting.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number opens with a tutorial were you brutally slaughter everyone inside a house in the most graphic fashion possible and then assault a woman. If any part of that sentence made you wince, Devolver Digital and Dennation Games' follow-up to their 2012 ultra-violent, ultra-challenging indie action game probably isn't for you. That the whole scene turns out to be part of a movie's filming doesn't necessarily lessen the blow when the rest of the game is every bit as gut-wrenchingly gory, with all of it wrought by your own hands. In every level you're bashing, blasting, slicing, or otherwise decimating your way through places filled with people armed to the teeth, and even a single hit will take you down, forcing you to move fast and react faster. Kick the door down to knock the man behind it to the floor, grab his gun and blow away his partner and the reinforcements who come bursting in while dodging to the side to avoid the gunfire through the windows and then take out the first guy before he gets to his feet and comes after you. Fail, and you'll have to try, try again, and all of it happens in the space of a breath. It's fast, stressful, and, yes, incredibly, lavishly, unstoppably violent, but it's packaged around a challenging and rewarding combat system, and one of the trippiest stories, soundtracks, and visual styles you could ever encounter. Despite significantly increasing the premise and complexity of its story as you play multiple different characters over the course of the game, a significantly more structured approach to the way levels are designed removes enough of the need for quick-thinking versatility to make the game something more of an action-based puzzler... with levels of violence that might make Tarantino raise an eyebrow.
If you've ever wanted to be mayor, manager, and a master city planner of your very own town, you might want to give Cities: Skylines, a simulation game for your desktop by Colossal Order a look. When a map is chosen, you're presented with a blank slate, and it's up to you to connect yourself to the outside world and develop the city of your dreams. Most of the initial play is building a basic structure for your town by building roads and zoning them according to need for residential, industry, or business. Once zoned, buildings pop up on their own and citizens begin to move in. You also need to generate electricity and make sure your residents have clean water. Your choices start out limited, but grow as your town grows. If you want to pause while you build, hit the [spacebar]. Don't like what you built? Use the bulldozer tool. Eventually you will generate enough taxes to get in the green (or decide to take out a loan) so you can start expanding and adding other services such as health and death care, police protection, and garbage pick up, among other things. You've also got to be aware of pollution (both environmental and sound), traffic flow, and the happiness of your residents, all of which (and more) can be managed by using the pop-up menu that opens on the top left of the screen.
Please note that Lakeview Cabin Collection is an episodic game. As of this writing, only the first installment has been released. Purchasing the game gains you automatic access to all other episodes in the future.
Roope Tamminen's Lakeview Cabin was a surprise hit in 2013, a deceptive little browser game without dialogue or direction where you played a man at a peaceful lakeside cabin who discovers the place gets very different, and dangerous, when the sun goes down. Players adored not only the campy, old-school horror themes and styles, but the free-roaming gameplay... it was entirely up to you to figure out what to do, and there was a lot you could do just for the heck of it, like skinny-dipping. Now you can go back for more with Lakeview Cabin Collection, a paid indie download over at itch.io, which, as of this writing, contains the first of several planned "episodes". (You'll automatically gain access to the other three chapters when they release!) The premise is the same, though the set-up isn't, this time framed around a movie theater showing a variety of horror films you end up taking part in. Though you can explore the theater as different characters and find secrets there, the bulk of the game resides in the cinema showing Lakeview Cabin III, where you suddenly find yourself in control of a group of people partying it up lakeside at a sprawling campgrounds. They're actually the new counselors, ensuring everything is ready for guests, but there's just one small, murderous problem...
How low can you go? Roofdog Games' wildly successful action mining game is back and better than ever for iOS and Android! Tap to dig your way down as far as you can collecting increasingly-precious metal ores, gems and priceless artifacts, but don't let the game scroll you off the top of the screen! Redeem your loot for cash you can use to upgrade your pickaxe and get to the better goodies stashed further below, and complete your artifact collections for better upgrade cards. Pocket Mine 2 brings the frantic digging action with all the features of its predecessor -- bombs, exploding gas, crafting, and the crowd-pleasing Crate Radar -- along with new powerup crates like Chain Lightning, Explosive Drills, and Worm Crates. This time there are also new islands, each with their own artifacts, which you can unlock sequentially as you dig ever-deeper. But the biggest innovation in this double-your-fun installment has got to be the clothing and accessorizing feature! Y'see it's not just about looking your best while swinging your pickaxe around in tunnels a hundred meters below the earth's surface, although there is that. Whether it's Diamond Boots (chic and comfy!), Trainer Gloves, or a Brain Parasite hat many of these items grant you special mining abilities when you don them. You can mix and match, and even designate customized sets. It's time to play Princess Dress-Me-Up and get on down to the mines in your 16th-century powdered wig, boxing gloves and bunny slippers!
You Have 8 Bricks. That's it. That's all. Just eight. And with these eight bricks, at least one must make the daring climb up and out to the surface and to the world that awaits you there. Rarykos's avoidance platform game is a short, high difficulty, tower climber controlled by either the [arrow] keys or [WASD]. In the beginning, you must mash any key to break lose and start your climb by jumping up. Pressing the up [arrow] or [W] in the air lets you perform a double jump which helps as you climb the floating platforms. There are three ways for you to die, with blue lasers that shoot up from the bottom (they don't hurt until fully charged), and white squares shot straight up (a pink glow will show you where they are coming from), and of course rising lava wanting to claim all four of your corners. It doesn't seem too hard and the climb is short, but the path is narrow. It's easy to get knocked back to your doom. One hit kills and you'll soon find eight lives may not be enough.
Greenie 2 is a big fat liar. It claims to be "a sequel to a mediocre game, but with more levels..." which is a dirty lie. Greenie 2 shouldn't be anywhere near the word "mediocre", and Letmethink should be ashamed for making a platform game with such false conceptions of modesty. Much like its titular hero, Greenie 2 is a tight little bundle of fun and efficiency, a no-frills jumping game with a little puzzle sprinkled on top. Move with the [arrows] or [WASD] keys and press the [spacebar] or [Z] to shift those translucent blue blocks from solid to non-solid and back again. There's the odd spike patch, or button pushing puzzle, and occasionally there are short little color-coded enemies that can be manipulated into pushing switches for you. Call it spare, call it retro, call it more fun than a basket of kittens, but "mediocre" is one thing this series is not.
Mr Jump by 1Button SARL is the latest in a long line of those free brutal platformers iOS players apparently can't get enough of. In it, your goal is to navigate the titular character through levels were a single mistimed jump will force you to start again, since touching spikes, falling into water, hitting walls, or any other obstacle is considered a one-hit KO. Mr Jump runs forward automatically, and all you have to do is tap to jump... quick taps for light hops, and extended presses for bigger leaps. Unlike other games in this category, Mr Jump isn't randomly generated... all of the levels are predesigned, and they're finite as well, so finishing one unlocks another. Different levels even have other tricks in addition to a (mercifully) different soundtrack and style, such as tokens you need to nab in mid-air to perform an extra jump.
Things aren't going so well for the locals when a bunch of frost giants show up and take over, freezing everyone solid. Luckily, a group of vikings has returned home just in time, and with your help, you'll be able to free them all in Deqaf Studios' Frozen Islands, which combines action with light strategy and defense elements. You'll form your viking army out of the units you have available and then sally forth against an island under frost giant control. Your troops will fight automatically as they go, but you can help them out by triggering their special attacks and launching support from the ship when your timers are full. If they succeed, the island will come under your control, allowing you to tax its inhabitants (not too much or they'll riot!), as well as earn glory and cash to upgrade your army and its capabilities. Some islands are even holding your companions hostage, and by freeing them, you'll be able to add them (and thus their unit type) to your army. Though its mechanics are simple, knowing how to configure your army and when to activate their abilities are the difference between great victory and crushing loss... though even if you do lose, just try again, especially since you keep any gold you earned before you were killed. It's a fairly simple concept, though the different unit types and their abilities make it more than just a game of numbers, though it still might not have enough depth if you're looking for a really meaty strategy game to massage your brain. If you want something more casual, however, Frozen Islands might just be your cup of tea. ... do vikings drink tea? Mead?... eh, just drink it out of the skull of an enemy and you'll be fine.
Have you ever been so unhappy that only solving a bunch of point-and-click puzzles and finding 70 tiny monkeys dressed as ninjas would cheer you up? That's the problem in Pencilkids' Monkey GO Happy game, Monkey GO Happy Ninjas, so it's clear you have your work cut out for you if you want to turn this simpering simian's frown upside-down. The cursor will change when it passes over something you can interact with, so just click to move around, pick up items, and (literally) leave no stone unturned, because as is the norm for a Monkey GO Happy game that involves tracking down large numbers of something, those itty-bitty monkeys are everywhere. In addition to finding the little ninjas, most of the people in the area need help of some sort, and there are coded locks to crack. Finding seventy tiny monkeys sounds like an impossible task, but Monkey GO Happy Ninjas likely won't take you very long at all, and it's a lovely game with a ton of areas despite an apparently random mishmash of scenery and imagery, making for a light snack to start your day off right... everyone knows you need the proper amount of monkeys in your entertainment diet, after all!
There's a tornado heading your way in Pine Studios' Catastrophe Escape, but your car has broken down in the middle of nowhere next to a deserted gas station, and if you want to escape the incoming storm, you'll need to scavenge for repair supplies and everything you need for the road. To play, just click to interact... the cursor will change when you mouse over something interactive, and display the name of whatever you're touching at the top of the screen. Items in your inventory can also be combined by clicking on first one object, and then the other. Most of the puzzles you'll encounter revolve around simply figuring out which item to use where, which does take a little creative thinking, and at least one of the item uses could stand a little subtle prompting to clue you in to what the game wants you to do, as opposed to what you might, y'know, rationally do. The ending is a little anticlimactic, and once you figure out what the game wants you to do the whole thing won't take longer than a few minutes, but a great sense of style and atmosphere make this a bite-sized escape worth checking out... though you might want to deal with any oncoming tornadoes first.To Be or Not To Be (Android)
Clash of Clans has been played by more than 100 million people for iOS and Android! Check out our best tips in our top ten "Must Know" for advice on how to keep your resources safe from other players, how to make the most out of an army (for the least cost to you!), the advantages of joining a Clan, and much more! Have a tip YOU think is a "Must-Know"? Share it in the comments below!
It's good to appreciate the little things in life. Like dandelions, or the sound of rain, or the age-old story of spiky-haired young men with swords the size of their own bodies fighting to keep the world free of evil. Lethal RPG: War Begins is a bite-sized bubble of browser-based RPG goodness from EyeSpyda Games, full of all the classic RPG standbys: impossible hairdoes, impossibler weapons, giant rats, evil mushrooms, item crafting, and sidequests, sidequests, sidequests! War Begins is actually just a small snippet... a teaser, if you will... of the full Lethal RPG: War, which is available for Android devices via Google Play, iOS on the App Store, and PC via Desura. But War Begins is more than just a glorified demo. It's a meaty and deep browser RPG in its own right, with plenty of challenge, strategy, and sidequests for your monster-battling pleasure. Did we mention sidequests? Because there's loads of those. Lethal RPG: War Begins thrusts you directly into its world with only a modicum of introduction, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it's refreshing to see a fairly deep and complex browser-based game that doesn't insist on railroading you through its first fifteen minutes, but on the other hand...
Here we are again: Gathered together by this intangible connection through the interwebs and, although not something we can put a finger on, it's no less real nor is it insubstantial. I think (and forgive me if I'm being too forward but) we have something special between us—you, me, everyone. It's not just like. We don't simply like these escape games. This is a considerably more poetic, personally resonating and meaningful thing. We're not on the fringe of society, either. Escape games got the Hollywood spotlight, albeit with a bit of parody, in a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. But to explain too much explains away part of the coolness of it, eh? Still, I don't want to march in here without preamble and just toss out a few games and say: "Uh, here. Give them a try." That'd be far too...what. Dismissive. Abrupt. Unappreciative of our unique bond. Right? Right. So, now we're all in symbiotic accord on the matter, let's skip formalities and get on to it: Everybody, here is this week's Weekday Escape...
We've briefly discussed Cornfox & Bros' lovely iOS action adventure Zelda-alike Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas before, but now that it's finally made the leap to PC on Steam, I thought it was time to take a little more in-depth look at it. The game follows you, a young lad in a world taken over by a vast sea, when your father goes missing while hunting the titular legendary monster. You quickly discover, through the influence of a magical pendant (as you do), that only you can stop the evil beast, but to do so you'll need to sail the ocean far and wide, finding magical crests, heart pieces, and more while solving puzzles with bombs and arrows... and pots. Stop me if any of that sounds familiar. But while Oceanhorn undoubtedly borrows very heavily from a lot of classic Zelda mechanics and themes, its beautiful style and breezy casual gameplay makes it a rock-solid addition to any action-adventure fan's library.
Ryan North and Tin Man Games' To Be or Not To Be, also available for iOS and Android, is Shakespeare's iconic "Hamlet" taken to glorious, chaotic extremes. Presented in the form of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you're given the chance to not only play as someone other than Hamlet (why shouldn't Ophelia and Hamlet's dad get in on the action?), but also to take the story in directions the legendary playwright likely never even conceived. To play, all you need to do, once you've chosen who you want to play as, is just click to advance text and make choices whenever they become available to you, with the choices that follow the original tale marked with a very well known skull. Combining the talents of everyone from Kate Beaton and Anthony Clark and more, including an optional narration from Ryan North himself, To Be or Not To Be has piles of different endings, each stranger than the last, and a fantastic sense of humour and style, though some clunky mechanics mean the road isn't entirely a smooth one.
There's just something about a TomaTea escape game that calls to mind lazing around and being perfectly content with everything around you, and Spring Hotel is no different with its warm colour palette and mellow guitar soundtrack. The hotel room you find yourself trapped in is small but in a comfortably cozy way, albeit with puzzles and coded locks on every conceivable surface, which I hope was disclosed in the amenities list. The tip of your cursor will glow when it passes over something you can interact with, and as usual for TomaTea, if you're faced with a puzzle that has a clue to its solution you haven't seen, you'll be informed that you have no idea how to solve it. Don't forget to examine your items by clicking the tiny "i" icon that appears when you mouse over them! Doing so may let you manipulate them in a way that reveals more secrets.
Yikes! Goblins are amassing an army and attacking Asgard! The war has begun, but we have teleporters that can zap our troops right to the front lines for just a smattering of gold. Too bad the enemies have the Yetis on their side, and every other evil creature under the sun. But with plenty of upgrades and the strongest of gods on our side, surely the kingdom is in good hands. Asgard Attack, by AnnieandMark, is an action defense game where you need to deploy units to save the day. You can choose to summon in warriors, archers, mages, and healers, and direct them where to go with a simple click of a button to stop the fiends from following the path to your kingdom, marked by blue flags. You can select individual units or click and drag a box to gather them all up and send them all over the map. Each unit is upgraded individually, as is their armor, weapons, and special abilities. When all three are maxed out after four upgrades apiece, you can then choose what powerful god to change them into, unlocking more spells and powerups. Create buildings in town to get even more upgrades using stars earned by finishing levels in different modes.
Combat is hungry work. A full day of orc-slaughter can really bring on an appetite, you know? Well, Goody Gameworks' newest title, Sword & Spoon, gives some much needed respect to those unsung heroes of warfare: the cooks. This strategy game has you defending your castle from an encroaching horde of nasties, with able-bodied (and empty-bellied) men at your disposal. In addition to constructing ranged and melee units, you also need to build potato farms and create servants who deliver the delicious tubers to your men when they run out of health and come jogging back into the castle. You can control where your units stand on the battlefield, as well as deploy some cooldown-inducing powers like summoning spearmen or burying the enemy under potatoes (seriously, is there anything potatoes can't do?), but much of the game is spent managing your food production behind the scenes, giving everything a time management feel. Seriously, you can run a war, and you can run a kitchen, but can you do BOTH at the same time?!
There's been a murder! Yes, one of your simple, salt-of-the-earth kinfolk bit the big one last night and it's up to you all to find out who's responsible and bring him to justice. The problem? It could be your friend, or your neighbor, or the milkman, or the local drunk. This is how BlankMediaGames' new indie multiplayer strategy/puzzle title keeps the suspense ramping up. Town of Salem, free in your browser or as a paid indie download via Steam, is an electronic update of the popular "Werewolf/Mafia" party game, featuring cute little pilgrims trying to out-witchhunt each other while keeping their own sorry hides above suspicion. By day you bicker and argue with each other, hurling accusations in the chat box, trying to determine who's been doing the killings and put them on the gallows to stand trial by their peers. By night, you huddle in fear, waiting to see if you're on someone's hit list. Or maybe YOU are the one who's on the prowl, and you need to do some killing of your own. Things are about to get messy in Salem, that's for sure.
If you like your escape games short and sweet, Vitamin Hana's Hana's Room 1 definitely fits the bill, but while it doesn't present a head scratcher, it does present smart, intuitive puzzles wrapped up in a cute and cheery style. The cursor won't change when you pass over something you can interact with, but largely there's no pixel hunting to be had. To examine an item up close, first click it in your inventory to pick it up, then click the "About Item" button while holding it. For the most part, Hana's Room 1 is all about locks and codes, and all of it is logical, if not particularly difficult. Though it's very much a ten minute escape at most, it's an excellent warm-up for any fan, and its colourful style makes it something we hope is just the tip of the iceberg from its creator in the future.
Play Hana's Room 1
So you're an alien. Well, not just one alien. You're three aliens. In a temple. Filled with robots. Let's start over. Flashrush Games' latest title, Transmorpher 3, is an action platform game with just a bit of puzzle smattered on top. You're a green cycloptic blob of adorably moldable alien with a penchant for absorbing the locals and transforming (sorry, transMORPHING) into them at will. Move with the [arrow] or [WASD] keys and press the ]1], , or  keys to turn into two other shapes: that of a round blue orb that can roll and stick to walls, and a big orange bruiser-type who can't jump but can break through barriers and push blocks. Together the three of you (er, one of you?) must travel into the depths of this inexplicably tech-savvy ancient temple, dodging lasers and robot guards and solving door puzzles along the way. It makes sense when you're doing it. Trust us.
There probably aren't a lot of video game characters who deserve a vacation more than Emily, the non-stop restaurant managing dynamo of Gamehouse's beloved Delicious series of time management games. She and her new husband were expecting a low key honeymoon before her brother-in-law turned up with his newly acquired cruise ship and offered them the trip of a lifetime. But with Emily's entire family and circle of friends on board and her best friend forever Francois in charge of serving the ship's customers, will Emily really get a chance to relax? Delicious: Emily's Honeymoon Cruise is yet another gorgeous, funny, smart and lovingly polished gem that will delight fans and woo newcomers.
If you enjoy word puzzles and appreciate a good, clean design, then BorderLeap's Alpha Omega for iOS is coquettishly fluttering its eyelashes in your direction. It's a simple but oh so stylish spin on a crossword puzzle, where the goal is to swap tiles horizontally and vertically to unscramble the words in each level. Often the first and last letters of each word are already locked in place, but you'll need to suss out where the rest of them go, and remember that letters at crosspoints can be swapped horizontally or vertically. Rather than having clues for individual words, all of them are themed around a certain concept, like "the farm" or "cooking", with a few gameplay twists tossed in to spice things up. The first is that each letter can only be swapped once per level, and the second is that eventually even the level's theme will be obscured, filling in while you play, while later the game will even begin introducing spaces within certain words. If you're stuck, the game comes with a few hints, which will randomly swap two letters to their correct position, but unfortunately after you've spent the ones you're given, the only way to get more are through optional in-app purchases.
no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 143: First Pitch is arguably more of a straight-up point-and-click puzzle game than it is an escape game, taking place at a ball game where the pitcher, one of the series' iconic Escape-Men, disappears, prompting you to go look for him. As usual, you'll also need to find ten of the little green men, too! Click everything and everywhere to explore and hunt for items... some objects may be hidden in places that don't give any indication you should click on them. Also remember that you can combine items (or use one on another) by examining the first one with the question mark below its icon, then clicking the item you want to use once to highlight it, and then again on the object you're checking out up close. Most of the puzzles here are fairly logical, with the biggest difficulty being finding all those unindicated interactive zones or area transitions no1game seems so fond of. Still, there are a few genuinely sneaky and clever ways of implementing codes, and the game's sense of humour makes Find the Escape-Men Part 143: First Pitch a welcome little diversion no matter what your favourite sport it.
If you know zillix's games at all, then the surreality of odd little puzzle game juxtapose isn't going to come as much of a surprise. In it, you control travelers stuck on opposite sides of a mirror world with only a few strange devices to interact with. The [arrow] keys moves you around the small area, while the [spacebar] interacts with things, and holding the down [arrow] will cause whatever character you're controlling to rest and the world to rotate back to the other. Doing so causes the world to change subtly depending on the things you have or haven't done, and to uncover all of the game's thirteen endings you'll need to do some serious creative thinking, especially since the game's narrative and setting are more than a little disorienting. What if I... what if I put this thing... on that thing? And then do the thing to the... hmmmmm.
OhNoo Studio's new indie point-and-click adventure game brings us a look into a dark unsettling world. With the art inspired by H.R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński, you know you're in for an unsettling ride. Tormentum: Dark Sorrow is a tale of a nameless hero trying to find redemption for a past he cannot remember. All he knows is the cage that is transporting him to the halls of torture and a faint dream of a female statue in between hands reaching towards the sky. Our hero must escape his prison and find this statue that haunts him so. Along the way there are puzzles to be solved, items to be gathered, and major moral decisions to make. Plus plenty of creepy people desiring you to solve their problems. He was told that his soul was filled with evil, will he clear his conscious or prove them right?
At first glance Dig a Way, a frantic puzzle game by Digi Ten for your iOS device, looks like it stepped out of an old Saturday morning cartoon, with it's cute mustachioed man with his helpful and loyal mustachioed dog. But things get real when you realized those adorable fluffy pink bunnies are actually foaming at the mouth and will pounce on you without hesitation. But treasure awaits, and with it, danger. Your goal is to collect gold and treasure chests from the caves. Once you choose your level, three arrows will appear near the bottom of the screen. Tap once on an arrow to move or dig in the direction you desire. Press and hold an arrow to continuously move in that direction, and double tap the left or right arrow to dash, which allows you to hop over a single tile sized hole. Tap, hold, then drag to scroll up ordown so you can plan your next move. You can dig any brown dirt tile, and keep in mind you can always go down, but there's no way back up. There are four maps, the first of which is free, with the option to purchase the rest for a very reasonable price.
In Rotten Mage's arcade tower-defense-bolstered shooter Spacejacked: Endless Mode, it's just you, your weapon, and whatever turrets you can build against the enemy aliens swarming your ship. You'll need to teleport from one area of the ship to another, making sure the defenses you craft from metal resources are holding off the aliens after vulnerable cores, and getting your hands dirty with your own weapon if need be. Use [WASD] (or one of the other control schemes) to move and invert gravity in lieu of jumping, while [K] interacts with things and [J] fires in the direction you're facing. You can only fire so much before your weapon needs to recharge, so blast in short bursts to make sure you're not caught without ammunition. Turrets automatically attack anything within range, and different turrets have different strengths and abilities, so keep that in mind when you're building or upgrading them. If any of the rooms has their core destroyed, it's game over, so it's up to you to last as long as you can! Spacejacked: Endless Mode is a sort of demo/prototype for a planned larger project, and what's there is pretty intriguing, blending tower-defense elements with the chaos of an arena shooter and gravity-swapping to boot. The controls might take a bit of getting used to until your muscle memory kicks in, and the gradual ramping up of difficulty will keep you on your toes. With its appealing retro style and fast-paced gameplay, Spacejacked has a lot of promise and potential, so make sure you check out its development blog and vote for it on Steam Greenlight if you want to see more!
S. Woodson's Magical Makeover is a short Twine text adventure about getting ready for a very fancy ball, where only the beautiful may attend... which is a bit of a problem for you, at least so you believe. With the help of a condescending magical mirror, you'll need to use the oddball assortment of cosmetics you have on hand to address each of your "problems" as the mirror points them out. Just click the dark bolded pink text to choose whichever you'd like, but beware... different combinations of items net vastly different results, and set you on unique paths once you leave home. Largely, all of the interaction in Magical Makeover takes place at the beginning, with the rest of the game unfolding as a story that follows whatever paths you triggered during your bathroom rituals. It was made as a sort of response to the "Girl Games" eating up so many portals these days... you know the ones, where you have to "fix" the ugly, dirty characters by cleaning them up for dates, school, and so forth, but here takes the basic concept and spins it into adventure. Very well written adventure at that, with wonderful bits of humour, strange creatures, and magic and even just the right amount of introspection to make for cozy reading. With seven very unique routes/endings to uncover, your night at the ball is likely to turn out far stranger than you could ever have imagined.
Let's face it: we just don't know why groups of archetypal anime-style characters keep deciding to get together for vacations at locations cut-off from the surrounding world, or, at least, why they always seem so friggin' shocked when someone ends up dead. If you ever show up at like, a secluded mountain cabin, and the first people you meet are a clumsy maid and the gregarious dad of a disaffected slacker, I would probably just hop back on your Ski-Doo. That having been said, even if The Misadventures of Detective Butler, a free indie mystery visual novel by Goldbar Games, sticks pretty close to the model perfected by Ryukishi07, it's still quite entertaining. In 1962, a popular cruise ship shuts down after the accidental deaths of two of its passengers. Now, a half-century later, the CEO of a wealthy company has purchased tickets for his closest employees and son Gilligan to sail on the first cruise of the relaunched and remodeled relaunched ship.. On board, Gilligan happens to meet the mysterious Detective Butler and, when the two of them delve deeper into the ship's history, another incident occurs. Will our sleuths crack the case of the Maiden Voyage Murder? And more importantly can you crack it before they do?
What ho, noble readers, it's time for another installment of your favourite grab-bag of random escape games and mine, Weekday Escape! I was, uh. Kind of tapped to write this thing at the last moment, so I'm not really sure what to say. Getting my head in a proper "escape game" mindset takes work, you know? But it's cool. I've got on my Scorpius shirt and leopard print workout pants, and I've shut and locked all the doors to my office and replaced all the obvious things I'd use to get out with a bunch of torn-up notes, cheerful coins and be-hatted birdies, and a random assortment of items I could theoretically use as tools. Ready? Let's do this.
[Please note that Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic series. Purchasing the game grants you access to all episodes as they become available. Currently only the first and second episodes have been released.]
While I play and love a lot of video games, it's rare that I replay one, let alone several times in a five month period, so let that show you how much I loved TellTale Games' first installment of Tales from the Borderlands, which I played twice by myself and then again, forcing my husband to watch, so I would, theoretically, stop quoting it at him. (Without context, anyway.) Based on the wildly popular ultra-violent and ultra-hilarious shooter from Gearbox Software, the series follows Rhys, an employee for the villainous company Hyperion who gets tired of being jerked around but bites off more than he can chew when he tries to pull a fast one, and Fiona, a conwoman who's just trying to get by on the planet Hyperion has been ruining by taking care of her family the only way she knows how. As the series opens, we found Rhys and Fiona prisoners, each blaming the other, and we've since been treated to some very conflicting stories of who-ruined-everything-for-who as they recount the events leading them to now. At the start of the first episode, Rhys finds himself saddled with an apparently permanent new friend who has his own plans, while Fiona, after performing some experimental surgery, discovers something called the Gortys Project could mean big things for everyone... too bad she doesn't know what it is. With some of the funniest pitch-black humour around and exciting action sequences, Episode Two: Atlas Mugged breathes new life and depth into old characters and places, and delivers one of the best adventures around.
Fifty years ago a new order was established in a land of chaos. The Blood Brothers, once nothing more than a band of mercenaries, now watch over the land and guard the rulers of the Citadel. Through them peace was kept, until a new foe appeared. Things were in disarray once again. Former allies turned traitorous, new foes rising out of long forgotten pasts, but new friends are ready to help bring order back to the land of Arnashia. Blood Brothers 2, by DeNA, is a new free-to-play strategy roleplaying game for iOS and Android devices where you are a commander in the Blood Brother army. Organize your troops (you can have three squads with five troops each) and lead them to victory on the battle field in this harrowing tale of betrayal arising from an new evil. Winning over more heroes to gain them all, unlocking souls to use as power-ups, and fighting in the arena against other players, is just the start of all this game has to offer.
You know what your life has been missing lately? A good sliding block puzzle game, that's what. The Kieffer Bros. bring us a gorgeous one for Android and iOS called Blockwick 2. The goal is to manipulate the blocks until all like colors (aside from white, which isn't really technically a color anyway) are touching. The controls are very responsive--just slide the blocks around with your finger. You will also notice runes on the playing field. If you can solve the puzzle while also covering all the runes with a colored block, you achieve illumination. While this is not needed to continue, it does make you feel pretty smart and adds an extra challenge to an already challenging game.
Love Burger by Carmel Games is a short point-and-click puzzle game that will ring true for anyone who's ever had to work customer service. When a demanding customer comes into a fast food joint and won't take no for an answer, even when they're clearly wrong, one employee has to come up with a way to serve them... a bit of revenge, that is. Just click around to interact, and remember you can try to combine items in your inventory if necessary. Even for a Carmel Games title, which are usually pleasantly break-sized, Love Burger is short and can literally be solved in less than five minutes, but while we're certainly not advocating any creative comeuppance the next time you're faced with a fire-breathing customer who can't admit they're wrong, it's still nice to see one get their just desserts in this quirky and very silly little game.
In one night, Jacqueline Brown's life was flipped upside down, someone tried to kill her, and a close friend was killed. Things would be much smoother for her in this visual novel if it wasn't for the fact that as a result of a car accident she is left blind, mute, and paralyzed. All her friends and family members think she is in a coma, but she can still see light and hear every guilty word her visitors say. Locked In, by Lucky Special Games, is a free indie "whodunnit" mystery where we see, hear, and remember everything Jacqueline does. While most of this game is reading, in the end you are given the choice of who you should show you're still listening to... by wiggling a single finger. The entire game is played with the mouse, clicking to get through dialog faster and selecting what choice you make in the end. With eight different endings can you make sure justice is served or be forever trapped in a prison of yourself?
MayMay is back with another tasty escape game in Find 10 Cookies, where you have to do exactly what the title says if you ever want to get out. The cookies are everywhere, some sitting out in plain sight while others will require you to crack some pretty clever codes. Hey, cookies are serious business! There's no changing cursor, but most of what you can interact with is obvious, apart from one or two things that have more than one "hot spot" that makes them behave in different ways, or inventory items that need to be placed on juuuuuust the right portion of the screen to work. Despite this, Find 10 Cookies is still far more sweet than sour, and MayMay's ability to cook up smart, satisfying little escapes makes them one developer whose rapidly turning into a favourite treat.
Despite what they say, in short bursts war can be exceptionally fun. For proof, check out Matthew Hydman's 10 Second War, a unique little topdown puzzle shooter game with a time-bending main mechanic. You play as a little squad of soldiers tasked with eliminating the opposing turrets and bots, but you only have ten seconds to get the job done. Fortunately, you get to select each unit individually and control them with the [WASD] keys and your mouse through the ten second span, and then hit [F] to "finish" the unit. Then you can do it all again with the next guy, creating a tiny little ballet of violence as your previous soldiers go about their choreography. A robust level editor gives the game some great replayability but be warned: you might find yourself playing each level ten or tweny times trying to perfect each shot and dodge for maximum efficiency.
The meddling, passive-aggressive mother-in-law who constantly finds fault with the bride is such a ubiquitous trope in pop culture that I thank Celestia for my own sweet, not-as-crazy-as-I-am mother-in-law. In Delicious: Emily's Wonder Wedding, part of the beloved Delicious series of time management games from GameHouse, cafe owner Emily is finally about to tie the knot with boyfriend Patrick, but the road to wedded bliss isn't a smooth one. Not only does Emily have to contend with dress problems, mailing invitations, and, of course, managing her popular eatery, she's also got to win over Patrick's mother who's just flown in from Ireland and seems to pick on everything Emily does and says. With a run of bad luck a mile wide, Emily begins to convince herself that maybe Patrick's mother is right and the wedding is cursed, but that's nonsense... right? GameHouse proves once again they know the time-management trade almost better than anything else, and delivers a fun, funny, and gorgeously polished game that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
I admit, I'm a little wierded out by the endless procession of random things Pencil Kids' Monkey Go Happy simians need to perk up... in point-and-click puzzle game Monkey GO Happy Leprechauns they want a whopping 20 leprechauns (... for... what?... ), and you'll have to explore to find them all. Click around to pick things up and interact, and use the big yellow arrows to move to different locations. Monkey GO Happy Leprechauns follows the usual formula of finding keys and X number of random item Y in addition to the usual puzzles solved by bringing people whatever they ask for, though it's more a matter of simply opening one lock after another this time around while the music feels like it's gearing up for an Enya song that never quuuuuuite happens. Cute, short, and just puzzle-y enough to make it worth your while, Monkey GO Happy Leprechauns is another great addition to the series.
I've never gotten trapped in a bathroom before, but I guess that's because the ones I frequent are apparently low on the "complicated puzzle locks and little green men tucked into every nook and cranny front", unlike the commode in no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 142: A Typical Bathroom. You're locked in, as you'd expect, and to get out you will, as usual, need to find the ten green Escape-Men hidden around the room. Also as usual, there is no changing cursor, so you'll need to really be diligent about searching everywhere (sometimes even after you've changed the environment) in order to succeed. This isn't as complex or lengthy as some of the entries in no1game's long and popular series have been, but it's just clever and tricky enough to make for the perfect break-sized game.
Brave adventurers, are you ready for a challenge? A mysterious cult has begun infiltrating the land, and it's up to you to get to the bottom of it in Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic, a rogue-like RPG for iOS or your desktop from The Bitfather. Start by choosing three heroes from those milling about at the inn. Tap on them to see their stats, special abilities, and hilariously random back story. Once you've done that, hit the "go" button near the bottom right to set off into town. Talk to the colorful cast of characters, check the shops, arrange your hero order and equipment to your satisfaction, and accept a quest. Though danger is lurking everywhere, you might agree to fetch someone's favorite comb, or a crucial missing piece of a super suit. Once you leave town there's no going back until you conquer the dungeon or die, so make sure you're ready to go. Empty your bag as much as possible as it's a bit small to fit all the loot you're likely to find. As you walk to your designated dungeon, you'll engage in several randomly generated encounters along the way, which can lead to treasure, fights, or nothing. The turn based battles start in earnest when you reach the dungeon.
Arnold Rauer's strategic card game Card Crawl for iOS is Solitaire for those of us with dice in our bones and Bags of Holding in our hearts, albeit on a much, much more simplified scale. The object is to clear the deck of cards the big monster dealer Hoerni lays out for you... your character has 13 hitpoints, two equipment slots, and a backpack to store an item. There are potions that heal you, coins that add to your total wealth, weapons and shields, special abilities, and, of course, monsters. Each round Hoerni deals four random cards from his deck, and you need to remove at least three of them before he deals more. So, even if all the cards available are beneficial, you'll still need to get rid of three of them to proceed... do you discard a spell? Waste a potion? Sell equipment to the shop to earn its value in coin? If you drag a monster directly on top of your hero, she'll slay it, but her hitpoints will decrease by the monster's total remaining life. Dragging an equipped weapon on a monster card damages it by the weapon's point value, while dragging the monster itself onto an equipped shield will subtract the shield's point value from the damage the monster does. There is always a fixed amount of cards and their types in each deck, you just don't know when they'll be dealt, so surviving 'til Hoerni's hand is clear takes planning, thought, and a bit of luck. Win, and you can keep your gold to be spent on unlocking more cards at the shop. Celebrate by attacking the darkness and cracking open a Mountain Dew.
Definitely simple but undeniably adorable and cheery, Nerd Herd Production's action arcade game The Comet's Calling is about a trio of "monsters" living in a junkyard who need to amass all the food and supplies they can before the place is shut down in one month's time. Each day you're given a different list of items to collect, and as the monsters race in their shopping cart and toss junk in the air, it's up to you to catch items by clicking to open your mouth, and avoid the things that you don't want by releasing the mouse to shut your trap, as it were. If you accidentally swallow something not marked with a star from your list, click rapidly to spit it out. The Comet's Calling isn't particularly hard and it definitely isn't that complex, being repetitive in a way that may put some players off, but where it shines is its sunny sense of humour and sweet cast of characters throughout the game's many story cutscenes. While a little more variety would have helped flesh out the gameplay significantly, the endearing story and style infuses The Comet's Calling with charm and personality to spare.
Mike Morin's point-and-click puzzle Myosotis games get even stranger with Myosotis Chapter 5, which you shouldn't even bother trying to play unless you've played the others since you'll have no idea what's going on in the story of PI Rick and the mysterious letter that lead him to an even more mysterious box. Now you're dealing with a variety of puzzles, from anagrams to spot-the-difference, and once you've figured out what the object to each level is, just click around to create the solution. Though its as gorgeous and atmospheric as its predecessors, Myosotis Chapter 5's random mish-mash of puzzles don't really feel like they fit the theme or overall plot particularly well, and the ending to the series feels abrupt in an unsatisfying way. Still, the neon-soaked visuals and moody soundtrack makes Myosotis Chapter 5 a treat for the eyes and ears, and if you want a handful of stylish puzzles, it's worth firing up.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
In Meaka's surreal free indie horror adventure Living Playground, Octavio, Tony, and Pablo are just your average kids who also happen to turn into playground equipment, out to hunt up the best snails they can find at an old factory. When a shadowy figure attacks, Tony finds herself trapped inside and separated from her brothers, and following pieces of a story that might be even stranger than a bunch of kids who can turn into playground equipment. To play, just use the [arrow] keys to move and the [spacebar] to interact. While all items are used automatically wherever they're needed and you can only save the game in certain places, opening the menu with [ESC] allows you to access the Skills submenu, which lets you transform Tony to and from her slide form, which can help in certain situations. While there are no battles, Tony and the others can still take damage from certain things, and they have limited hit-points, so be wary of danger. Living Playground's odd premise may raise an eyebrow, but expressive artwork, loveable characters, and a story that combines classic fairytales with a look at family and identity makes it an impressive, engrossing game adventure fans should definitely check out.
I almost forgot it was Wednesday! I got a little too caught up in something new I've been trying: "being in the moment." Apparently, people who study these kinds of things have come up with the idea that all this modern lifestyle—internet, phones, social media, and the like—have abbreviated our attention spans and evolved our brains to constantly need new stimuli. That could be why stories like Cheryl Strayed's Wild are so compelling; staking out a "peace" of the wild, escaping the trappings of modern life, is not an uncommon dream although fewer do it than dream it. Still, who wouldn't feel a little anxious leaving home without a phone in hand? How comfortable would you be without internet for a month? Sure it's important to be aware of surroundings and appreciate a slower pace. Yet, as I'm always saying around here: Escape games? They're the good way. Folks who escape-the-room on a regular basis, you're used to looking closely at your surroundings, noticing small details and perhaps even a few clues. You already have immense appreciation for a more relaxed, touristy pace through life just as you usually prefer relaxing, mediative games. So it's okay to get lost in thought as you play these next three escapes from Tototo Room, FunkyLand and No1Game. There's no hurry, no time limits, and no finish line: Just an open door into the world...
Think Little House on the Prairie mingled with Star Trek and you've got an idea of the feel of Our Personal Space, a thoughtful sci-fi visual novel by Metasepia Games, free as a download or for your Android device. Would you be willing to give up your family and friends, basically your whole life to colonize a distant planet? What skills would you need to have? How much could other futuristic technology make up for the lack of indoor plumbing? Could you handle it? Could your relationships handle it? You get to step into the shoes of the protagonist and her new husband (you get to choose their names!) as they embark on a journey of a lifetime to the distant garden planet Talaam. As you progress in the story you'll get to choose your profession and your hobbies, all which open up different scenes and options as you go.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
In Bevel's Painting, a free indie horror adventure by Maninu and translated by vgperson, you play an artistic young girl who winds up inside one of her own paintings one day when she discovers the canvas aglow. You know. As you do. Inside, things look magical, with fairy servants and teddy bear chefs, but there's something strange going on. ... well, stranger than getting sucked into a painting where everyone speaks gibberish. There's danger hidden around every corner, and this world doesn't exactly seem to follow logic our heroine would understand, though making the wrong choice could have... unfortunate consequences. Use the [arrow] keys to move and the [spacebar] to interact, while [ESC] opens the menu. You can only save at the little paint boxes you find, and most items will need to be used manually, so open the main menu and select an object from your inventory when you want to try to use it. Additionally, as you explore you'll find paint colours that can be used to change the world around you, though using a brush makes it dirty, and you'll need to find clean water to wash it before you can use it again. There are nine different endings to find, and the way to unlock all of them isn't necessarily obvious. Save frequently, and in different slots. Though on the short side compared to some freeware horror adventures and possessed of some chase sequences that may annoy more than anything else, Bevel's Painting crafts an unsettling and intriguing atmosphere with a story more implied than implicitly told. Note that while most of the text is in "Bevelese", it can be translated manually once you've worked out the alphabet... there's a clue as to how to do so in one of the "worlds".
Buh-hwaaaaaaaaaaa? Unlike no1game's other cute point-and-click puzzle games, My First Flower Viewing stars a little boy instead of a girl, what madness is this? He and his mother want to go see the cherry blossoms, but before they can go, you need to help him find all the items they need for a relaxing picnic. To play, click around to hunt for clues and interact, keeping an eye out for the rather baffling amount of code clues for the locks peppering this apartment. (Is Mom trying to raise the next Professor Layton?) My First Flower Viewing definitely falls into the short and sweet category, with a handful of puzzles that all make sense and most of the difficulty coming down to finding the occasional item or clue in an odd spot. no1game's "My First" titles always feel like they might be mostly aimed at children with their cheery premises and simpler puzzles, but they're fun and light enough to be enjoyed by just about anyone... apart from the odd disparity of how whiny the little boy makes his little girl counterpart seem. My First Flower Viewing will kick your brain awake just enough to make a nice break, and maybe the next time you go on a picnic, you'll have a few things to add to your list, too!
Max Gittel's science-themed zen-like puzzle game Atomas, free for your iOS, is the sort of sneakily simple looking game that's a perfect fit for smartphones and tablets... something clean and elegant looking you can pull out and play for a few minutes, but clever and addictive enough that you'll probably catch yourself fiddling with it for a lot longer. The goal is to create the highest score possible by placing and combining elements around the edge of the circular playing field. Each element has a value, and if you place a Plus element between two identical ones, they'll combine to create a new, higher value element. If there are matching elements on either side of the pair you just combined, you'll start a chain reaction where they (and any other pairs bracketing the point of combination) are added in as well. Occasionally, you'll be granted a Minus element, which will let you remove any element on the board and place it elsewhere, or, if you prefer, convert it into a Plus. When the board is completely filled, the game is over, so trying to plan out how your elements are arranged as you place them is crucial to getting a high score! Lucky Charms are awarded as you progress, and when you equip one from the main menu, it'll grant you a passive bonus, like an increased chance of receiving Pluses or Minuses. If things are really desperate, you can use an Antimatter blast to partially clear the board, though as of this writing it appears the only way to gain those is to buy them through in-app purchases.
One again, witches are causing a ruckus in puzzle platformer Shape Shifter 2 by FlashTeam... or, well, one specific witch anyway. As in the original Shape Shifter, a mouse, a rabbit, and an elephant have all been bewitched into sharing the same body, and you'll need to swap between all of them in order to use their special skills to get through levels. Use the [arrow] or [WASD] keys to move and jump, and the , , and  keys to swap between forms. Each critter has unique abilities to help them deal with obstacles, like the rabbit's extra-high jump and the elephant's... ability to wear mitts and handle hot objects, as elephants do. Shape Shifter 2 unfortunately shares the same floaty controls as the original game, making quick and precise platforming a pain, but the creativity of most of the levels and the charm in its character animations still makes Shape Shifter 2 a fun. endearing franchise we hope gets some polish in the future.
Lastronaut, free for iOS by Darrin Henein and Stephan Leroux, is the best sort of casual endless runner/arcade game... fast, chaotic, flashy, addictive, and, yes, completely free with no ads or in-app purchases whatsoever. The concept is simple... you're an astronaut racing down a road filled with all sorts of hazards and enemies, and you're given a random weapon. You run forward automatically, so tapping the left side of the screen makes you jump, while tapping the right side of the screen fires. It's up to you to last as long as possible to get the highest score you can... easier said than done since a single hit knocks you out in glorious slo-mo-o-vision, and then you have to start again. Different weapons descend in capsules with parachutes, and you'll face everything from evil robotic drones to a variety of other explosive dangers. Though it definitely gets repetitive, Lastronaut's fantastic style and aesthetic makes its simple, just-one-more-run gameplay a pleasure to play and behold, much like classic Canabalt. If you want something complex, this isn't it, but Lastronaut's twitchy, satisfyingly explosive gameplay is perfect for a few minutes of fast-paced, chaotic action whenever you need it.
In Apanda's surreal arcade game Cloudventure, little Cloudia has to pass one more test to become a weather mage, but when all you can do is make clouds, how are you suppose to survive a gauntlet of mines, lightning, and other tricky obstacles? To play, just click the screen. Cloudia is constantly moving forward, and each click makes a cloud that boosts her up, allowing you to "fly" up and down the screen. Collecting coins gives you cash to spend on upgrades at the store in case you get knocked out, which is probably going to happen a few times since in the beginning bumping against a single thing will make Claudia fall and force you to restart. The game isn't actually that long, and a few upgrades will get you far, especially since there are power-ups you can pick up to help along the way, with twelve stars netting you a random one as well. Cloudventure is simple, but its cute, dreamy style and storybook setting, complete with strange creatures and encounters, makes it a fun little arcade game that will brighten your day, even if it isn't much of a challenge.
Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt by Remar Games and Ludosity is a very retro free indie action RPG made in four days for the Games Against Ebola Jam. You, as the titular princess, descend to Hurtland in search of your missing friend and healing people of various ailments as you go. See, as the name might imply, the folks of Hurtland are in a bad way, but lucky for them Princess Remedy can duke it out with the things making them sick. To play, just use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, and [spacebar] to interact. In a fight, Princess Remedy fires automatically in the direction she's facing, so it's your job to maneuver her around the battlefield to blast enemies apart while dodging their attacks. Tapping the [spacebar] will throw a flask... you only get one of these per battle to begin with, but they let out a big blast! The more people you heal, the stronger you get, and there are plenty of treasure chests to find to upgrade the princess' power as well. It's on the simple side, but fans of sweet, silly humour and classic old school gameplay will want to add this one to their to-do list.
Things get seriously surreal in Monkey GO Happy Talisman, the latest game in the Monkey GO Happy series of point-and-click puzzle adventure games from Pencil Kids. You and the monkeys are stuck in Swampville, which is filled with all manner of creepy inhabitants and the most ominous music in the world, and you're looking for a magic talisman... though finding it means doing a lot of favours for the locals. Just click around to play and interact, and make sure you pay attention to the scenery for clues. At one point the game may appear to be bugged when it comes to picking up a specific item needed to travel back and forth between two locations, but everything is functioning the way it's supposed to. Despite the excessively oppressive soundtrack and oddball characters, there's actually nothing to be afraid of in Monkey GO Happy Talisman, and in fact the whole design is weird in a very appealing way. It's still a short snack of a game, with a nice balance of inventory puzzles and coded locks that are perhaps a bit more obvious in this installment than they have been in previous Monkey GO Happy games, but fans of tracking down tokens and helping out animal people will enjoy this one for the welcome break it is.
Please note LongStory is an episodic game. Currently, only episodes one and two are available. The first episode is free, while episode two is an optional in-app purchase.
Bloom Digital's iOS and Android LGBTQ-friendly episodic visual novel LongStory is about high school. Well, people, actually. You've just come back to the States after spending time abroad in France, and adjusting to school is hard enough thanks to the return of your old antagonists, a trio of girls you call Hanniferjane, nevermind the strange notes you just found in your locker. It seems like the locker's previous owner left under unhappy circumstances, and while everyone seems to know something, nobody wants to talk about it. Of course, whether you pursue the mystery or just focus on your life is up to you... it's not like you don't have friends of your own to think about. Like homeschooled Nora, who you only know from long chats online, or taciturn Marcel, who just wants to go home to Dubai. And then there's that person in the weird costume who never seems to talk, and yet always knows just what to do. Your choices will determine the outcome of not only the story, but your various relationships, as they carry over from episode to episode. Choose not only your appearance and preferred pronouns (limited to he, she, and they), but whether to pursue friendship, romance, or simply find out what happened to the girl who came before you in this funny, sweet, and earnest game.
I'm not big on large bodies of water at the best of times, but even in my most dramatic moments (of which there are many), when I think of things that could go wrong on a cruise, "Entire ship and passengers getting sucked into an alternate dimension by vengeful frozen desserts" somehow never made the list, and yet that's exactly what's befallen everyone in Flipline Studios' action-packed platformer Papa Louie 3: When Sundaes Attack. You begin the game as the ship's captain, determined to rescue the other people, presumably because "lost all crew and passengers in an alternate dimension" doesn't look real good on a resume, and you're going to need to get your hands dirty to do it. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, jump, and swim, while tapping [spacebar] attacks, though the controls are completely customiseable from the pause menu. Each area is filled with coins and more to collect and baddies to wallop, and though some itty-bitty enemies can be taken down with a single whack, others will need more to bring them down. Each customer you rescue is then unlocked to play as, and since they all have their own different abilities, replaying levels as someone else can help you unlock new areas or reach something you previously couldn't!
AJ Ordaz's puzzle platformer A Pretty Odd Bunny is about a little rabbit with... unusual dietary needs. Specifically, while every other bunny happily chomps down on carrots, our fluffy-tailed friend craves meat. As you might imagine, being a red-eyed carnivore in a species of soft, defenseless herbivores doesn't go over very well, so our bunny is going to have to learn to be stealthy if he wants to indulge his appetite without getting caught. Use the [arrow] keys to move and jump, and hold the down [arrow] to sneak. In each level, your goal is to reach that sweet, sweet piggy dinner without being spotted, so you'll want to hide from the bunnies who are awake by ducking into bushes and waiting until they look away to move past them. When dealing with snoring rabbits, you'll need to sneak so you don't wake them up. Eventually, you'll also need to avoid carrots, since those nasty things make you break out into a rash. A Pretty Odd Bunny is a simple but extremely quirky little game, turning a morbid premise into something surprisingly cute thanks to the pixel presentation and the way the bunnies emote. It feels like it needs a little polish, since having to hold down the key to sneak instead of using a toggle is tedious, and some jumps require perplexingly pixel-perfect positioning (as well as apparently alliteration) compared to others. The increasing demand for reflexes may put off some players who were initially sucked in by the stealthier initial stages, but A Pretty Odd Bunny's ghoulish charm and clever premise makes it worth checking out.
There have been many studies done showing how to strengthen a family. Eating at least one meal together, giving each other nicknames, fighting off a horde of evil creatures that have arisen from the depths of... well, all right. So not a lot of studies have been done on the last one, but in the case of Family Rush you can see the family bonds binding even stronger as they blow these monstrous critters off of the face of the planet. It all starts, in this different kind of rail shooter by Denis Vasilev, when a demon needs a real child to complete his spell. Not wasting time, his minions swipe a little baby straight from his/her crib, but not only did that family of six have a little infant, but they also each have a weapon of choice. And so the showdown begins. You start off with only the father, an universal soldier, but after you advance enough you soon unlock his wife, two grandparents and even the family dog, all who are ready to help with their own special weapon. Your little group slowly walks forward. You're not able to control their movements but you aim with the mouse on where you want them to shoot. They all have separate health so if Granny takes too many hits, she'll wheel herself off the screen but the rest will keep trucking forward. You have to plan your strategy carefully on what to eliminate first and purchase the upgrades that will really give you the upper hand.
Hi! How are you doing? Excited, stressed, relaxed or just a little bored? Well, okay, there's a few things we can do about that: You could waste a bit of time reading the scientific explanation for what boredom is (perhaps thereby enhancing that feeling). Or, stick around here as we indulge our urge to entertain our brain. Yes, again, it is that portion of the week when worries are washed away, troubles are turned around, and boredom is busted. Ehem. Might this even be claimed, in its most meta essentialness, your way to escape the everyday. (Heh. It's a line that never gets old!) Lucky for us, escape games are far from being in short supply lately. Which surely means the need to get away—via the metaphoric breaking loose from one's confines—is also in constant supply (which I'm quite glad about and not just for things like job security). This week, Esklavos, FunkyLand and Yuri bask in the WE spotlight...
Content Warning: This game deals with some subject matter that may be upsetting to some people.
And now for something completely different. Shy by Jacob Prytherch is a Choose Your Own Adventure style horror story available only for Kindle (use the free iOS, Android, Mac and PC Kindle apps if you don't own one!) with a very old school style. In it, you receive a phone call from your brother Kenji, who begs you to find him, telling you he only has five hours left. He's always been a little eccentric, with a keen belief that there's more to the world than you can see, but he's not really given to jokes, and when you arrive at his apartment to discover evidence of a troubling investigation into a local legend. It's clear Kenji is serious trouble, but you don't even know where to look, and the entire city and surrounding countryside is teeming with darkness both human and otherworldly you may not be prepared to face. To play, just read the story and then navigate to the page you want when presented with choices. Be warned that you will need to keep track of your own inventory and other bits of information, so pen and paper is advised... told you we were rocking it retro.
Alto's Adventure by Snowman for iOS isn't exactly going where no action arcade game has gone before, but gosh ain't it gorgeous? In it, you play a young boy named Alto whose herd of llamas escapes one day from their mountaintop pen, forcing Alto to pick up his snowboard and chase them down. It's a simple premise, with simple gameplay, where tapping the screen makes Alto jump over obstacles, and holding your tap causes him to try to perform a backflip in midair... just make sure you land on your feet! In addition to picking up your precious llamas, which adds to your high score, there are coins to be spent on upgrades, and various tricks you can perform, such as grinding along lines. Even if you fall and find yourself back at the beginning, the terrain is always randomised, keeping each new play fresh. But while it's definitely on the simple side and following in the footsteps of games like Canabalt and Solipskier, Alto's Adventure manages to be both soothing and breathtaking in a way few casual high-score based arcade games ever manage.
Anita's Job is tracking down the missing luggage of a local tourist who arrived on a cruise ship, and in this point-and-click puzzle adventure by Carmel Games, you'll need to help her scour the island to find it, unless you want to be held financially responsible... or, well, give up your tacky desktop hula girl souvenir in compensation, apparently? You'll travel to several different locations around the island looking for not only the luggage, but the items you need to solve puzzles and even grease the wheels, so to speak, since not everyone is able or willing to help Anita out. As you might expect from Carmel Games, Anita's Job is on the very short side, but weird in a good way, with eccentric characters and a kooky bent to its mostly logical puzzles, and a groan-worthy pun to round things out in the end.
If there was ever an escape game creator whose name inspired the exact opposite feels as it described, Neutral has got to be them, and Morning Room is here to pick you up... though despite never running around or deserting you, you might miss it if you blink. To play, just click to interact, though the cursor won't change to tell you when you can do so, and frustratingly some objects you need to interact with won't actually give any visual or aural feedback that doing so is correct. This is very much a mini escape, with just one screen to contend with (not counting various viewing angles), and some of the puzzles aren't quite as intuitive or inventive as you might be hoping. Still, Neutral's tidy design and the deceptively simple presentation hides one puzzle you'll need to wake up your brain for, so get cracking, and whet your appetite for a bigger game down the road!
Minecraft Dig Dug, gamers everywhere have had the desire to go deeper and deeper below the surface of the digital earth. In Deeply Absurd Chain, a free strategic match-3 game by Lumarama also free for iOS and Android, the goal is to delve into the endless depths by drawing a line to connect three or more of the same item. Taking a tip from games such as Triple Town, if you join three of a kind, the item then ugprades, creating something new. Your depth, which goes up every time you clear some of the board, and points are noted at the top of the screen. Points are gained by making chains, and are used to purchase items that will help you increase your depth in later games.
Chacha's Game One Escape has a whole lot of locks and a whole lot of codes, all designed to keep you trapped for as long as possible, which would be inhumane if not for the big screen TV, the comfy couch, and the coffee maker. Chacha, you... fiend, I guess? There's no changing cursor, so to play just click on everything to interact and move around. A large part of escaping will actually come down to finding the clues you need to crack a bunch of codes, and most of it is actually quite clever, though the mildly clunky interface might get in your way whenever you accidentally click past the number or letter you wanted and have to cycle back through all the others to get to it. Even if the ride isn't perfectly smooth, there's still a lot to appreciate in the way Game One Escape makes you use your head instead of relying on pixelhunt or MacGuyver-y, which is totally a professional game term. Need to warm up your noodle and solve a couple puzzles to really make your day complete? This is the escape game for you.
When a witch hunter marries a witch, even if she's a good witch, it's a stretch to imagine their life together will be happily ever after, don't you think? Lynn and Edward have been married just a year when the nasty witch queen Morgana, set on bringing back her powerful mentor so witches can rule the world, lures the happy couple to a totally creepy fair (just what every girl dreams of doing on her first wedding anniversary, especially with her mother tagging along) where she and her lackey whisk Lynn away for use in an evil ritual. In Witches' Legacy: Slumbering Darkness, a hidden-object puzzle adventure game from Elefun, you play as Lynn's mother Carrie, along with her somewhat terrifying yet helpful imp sidekick, who are racing the clock to get Lynn back before it's too late.
Bloodrizer's Kittens Game (hosted here with kind permission) is a surprisingly deep incremental idle simulation with a deceptively adorable premise... you are a kitten in a catnip forest, and as you harvest and plant catnip, you slowly begin to build a village around yourself using other resources that become available. In the beginning, going is very, very slow... as more kittens come to your village you can assign them to various jobs that gain you more resources, but without upgrades they're not very efficient, and you'll still need to focus on making sure they have enough catnip. It's what they eat, after all, and as the seasons change, so does the rate at which catnip is generated, to the point where the winter days (each season takes 100 days) will need much more kittenpower to keep your crops from declining. As a result, Kittens Game initially moves significantly more slowly without careful prioritization of upgrades, and requires a lot more babysitting to make sure things are running smoothly... though eventually you'll soon find your kittens quite capable of thriving on their own. What's impressive is how much content there is once you get the ball rolling, with your civlization growing in some pretty neat ways, and more updates adding on to it as well. It's much closer to A Dark Room than, say, Candy Box! Though the game runs by itself in another tab, it will do so much more slowly, while putting it in its own window seems to work much better. Not everyone will have the patience or time for it to really start evolving and opening up, but Kittens Game is more complex than it initially seems, and more rewarding.
Thanks to Adam for sending this one in!
Charms of Lavender Blue by Waffrus and Clara is a sweet visual novel about a girl whose love life is a bit more complex than most. She's just discovered her family is under a curse, and without a pair of magical pendants, anyone who loves her will ultimately try to kill her. Not that she's got love on her mind now that she's back at school... but gosh her old friend Pierce sure is acting coldly to her all of a sudden. To play, just click the text box to advance the story, and click any options to make your choice when they pop up. Despite lacking some of the more basic functions of visual novels, like the ability to scroll back through text or manually save and load whenever you please (which would have been handy since at least one of the choices is poorly worded based on the text that comes before it), Charms of Lavender Blue is still a sweet little story that's well told and beautifully illustrated. Since the story jumps ahead so often, it does tend to feel rushed, so Nabi and Pierce never really get the character development they need considering the subject matter, which is all wrapped up very abruptly, making this a light snack instead of a meal of a tale even with its multiple endings. Still, the game definitely has cute and sweet in spades, and it'll likely appeal to anyone who's a fan of lighthearted romcom anime-style plots, making Waffrus someone to keep your eye on.
Almost everyone knows the story of Briar Rose, or more commonly known as Sleeping Beauty, thanks to Disney. A princess falls under a curse that puts her and her whole kingdom to sleep, thick briar bushes fill the forest leading to the kingdom, and the only way to break the curse is for a prince to awaken her with a true love's kiss. Elf Games' free indie point-and-click adventure Little Briar Rose brings us back to this tale we all enjoyed from our childhood, but takes a different look at the tale. Namely, how the Prince got to the castle in the first place. These are magical thorny vines so the good old hack and slash won't do. Thankfully the woods are full of magical creatures needing help and some talking to and your little Prince is armed to do just that. This beautiful little tale will remind you of all the magic of your childhood. Just be sure to get the puzzles right the first time, or there won't be any happily ever after for your prince.
In the grand scheme of things, match-3 puzzle games might be some of the simplest to make in their most basic incarnation, but taking that simple formula and making it feel fresh and fun takes a bit more ingenuity. Good thing Playcademy seems to have that in spades, with Runefall being one of the most relaxing and enjoyable additions to the genre to come along in a long time. In it, you find yourself in the tiny town of Riverfell, which has had difficulty making ends meet and finding enough to make their tribute to the kingdom ever since the war brought the trade routes to a screeching halt. But when you discover magical, valuable runes while out searching for the resources needed to pay tribute? Well, that's another matter entirely, and suddenly sleepy Riverfell isn't so sleepy at all. Despite some issues with repetition and variation, a genuinely likable cast and engaging story alongside addictive match-3 gameplay makes Runefall a rocksolid addition to the genre that's well worth checking out and losing a few hours to, as comforting and enjoyable as loading up your favourite light fantasy film while wearing your comfiest socks and sipping your favourite beverage.
Varagtp's Tap Heroes, also free for iOS and Android, is a simple idle/incremental RPG that will feel fairly familiar to you if you've played Clicker Heroes, but darned if it ain't pretty. You start off with a simple warrior in a forest, and you click on them to heal, while clicking on enemies deals damage. Slain enemies drop coins you can use to upgrade both your clicking strengths and your party, and after you've knocked off ten monsters in one area, you can move on to the next, where they'll be stronger, but your rewards will be even greater. Every so often you'll fight a powerful boss, and slaying it will earn you diamonds (also dropped randomly while playing) you can spend on more party members or other upgrades like the coin doubler. If you're already sick of the clicker genre, Tap Heroes isn't going to do much to win you over. It's fun in the way all of these games are, a frenetic mix of arcade clickery and the simple satisfaction of upgrading and bigger numbers, but despite elements like the way the wizard and the rogue both have different abilities, it still doesn't offer much in the way of depth. The incentive to play is largely seeing what new areas and monsters you discover, and in that the game's lovely Paper Mario-esque retro visual style is a large mark in its favour. Tap Heroes may have been done before, and likely could use some fleshing out to make it stand above the crowd, but its oddly addictive and easy on the eyes, making it a solid addition to an increasingly popular genre.
In Terry Cavanagh's Grab Them By The Eyes, you were just minding your own business, slinging burgers out of your modest food stand, when a pair of upstarts with a much flashier sign set up shop literally a few feet away and began stealing all your business. A little shocking considering they're literally called Filthy Burgers, but it turns out there's a secret to drawing in the glazed masses, and that secret is making the best flashy sign you possibly can by combining message, colour, and other punch cards at the sign shop. See, you use your cash to buy various punch cards at the start of each day, and each card has a value that determines how many customers will be brought in. You and your competitors will take turns buying cards until they're all gone, and then you'll build your sign by selecting which cards to use to try to maximize your pull, which is harder than you might think... especially since cards become less effective the more they're used, though they can only ever decrease to a minimum value of one. It makes a deceptively simple looking game into something much more strategic, and you'll need every customer you can get since the food stand with the least by the end of the week needs to leave!
Find the Escape-Men Part 140: Snow Shovel by no1game is yet another short and sweet escape game with a snowy theme as you try to find the ten little green men and clear your driveway in the process. In that sense, at least, it's actually less an escape game, and more of a simple puzzle, unless you count escaping from the cold! As usual for a no1game title, there's no changing cursor, so you'll need to hunt everywhere for interactive areas, including some that might not appear right away. This is one of those games that might not even fill up a coffee break, but uses some clever tricks for its few puzzles that will have you smacking your forehead once you figure at least one of them out, as well as a cute method of giving you a few hints. So finish it up, snuggle up somewhere warm if you aren't already, and then, well, what else? Play even more no1games titles, of course!
A Good Snowman is Hard to Build, by Alan Hazelden, with graphics by Benjamin Davis and tunes by Ryan Roth, is a simple and cuddly little indie puzzle game that you just can't help but feel good about playing. You are a "monster" (if there was ever a critter deserving of fingerquotes around that world, it's this little fellow) who has a passion for building and naming snowmen and, as it happens, snowwomen, and luckily you've stumbled across a maze-like snowy park, where each area has its own puzzle and snowperson building materials... which is, of course, to say three snowballs and more of the white stuff. Using [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, walk into snowballs to push them around. Each patch of snow you roll one over makes the snowball grow one size bigger, and if you're at all familiar with snowman anatomy, you know you need a big one for the base, a medium-sized one for the belly, and a small one for the head. Because rolling a snowball over a patch of snow both makes it bigger and removes that bit of snow for the ground, figuring out how to get each portion of your snowman juuuuust the right size, and in position to push it on top of the other pieces in the proper order, is harder than it sounds. You can only stack a snowball on a larger one, and if the opposite side is clear, you can push the stacked snowballs to knock the one on top off to the other side. Hit [Z] to undo as many moves as you like, or [R] to reset the current area you're in.
Warning: This game contains flashing and strobe-like elements that may be hazardous to players with certain sensitivities.
This game is available in Pay What You Want format, including free, but please consider paying the developer if you enjoy what you play!
Mibibli's Quest is a great free indie retro platformer that keeps all the great points of the old days. Well, mainly the one where the games are just ridiculously tough and you spent more time retrieving the controller you threw across the room than you did alive in the game. But there was always something about that that kept us locked in and it will be no different in this high difficulty action game. Your goal is to reach the end of each levels (using the [arrow] keys to move), shooting with [Z] all the bad guys you can and jumping with [X] over those you can't. Except in the level where you're a spaceship. Or the level where you have to dance DDR style to avoid death. Or the one where... well you'll just have to see. Ryan Melmoth's Mibibli's Quest has some of the most unique enemies and gameplay I've seen in a long time. The game gives you different difficulty options to try out, but even on easy you're going to be weeping into your smashed keyboard. Still, you'll find yourself going back again and again for its creative levels and its satirical humor.
Ah, the joys of minimalism. Who needs flashy graphics and sounds, anyway? When a game's as unembellished as Blue Box by Hamster On Coke Games, it becomes downright zen, and the soothing puzzle challenge becomes as meditative as it is fun. This game (which is still in an early build and will likely soon expand, by the way) has you playing as a little blue square, bouncing rhythmically and energetically across a white expanse adorned with blocks you have to eliminate. Use the [arrow] or [A] and [D] keys to move left and right. One bounce on a block shrinks it and the second bounce makes it grow, so you have to plot out your course carefully so you don't wind up stranded out on a limb, having bounced away your only path back to safety. Later levels involve launch-pads that shoot you up to higher levels, teleporters, and other modifiers that keep everything fresh for all twenty-three levels of smooth puzzling fun.
You're trapped in a house, and the only way to escape is to Find 10 Yellow Cupcakes and eat a few others? Just what sort of fiend are you, MayMay? Just click around to explore, and remember to try interacting with everything since the cursor won't change to tell you if something is useable. To use an item, click it in your inventory to pick it up, and then click wherever onscreen you'd like to try it, while clicking the item you're holding on the About Item button will let you view it up close, which can potentially allow you to mess around with it further! Find 10 Yellow Cupcakes is practically by definition short and sweet, with the only real issue apart from its mildly clunky item interface being occasionally having difficulty telling what an item is, or a lack of feedback as to why something isn't working... or whether it's worked at all in the place of inputting codes! Still, the sense of whimsy and light-hearted puzzles go a long way towards making this a lovely little treat to reward yourself with, no matter what else you may have eaten today.
The second month of the year may be short on days, but it stands tall and defiant against anyone wanting to squabble about its lack of length. After all, it beat the odds and with this smaller net caught the birthdays of four American presidents, a decidedly love-centric saint's day (which a friend of mine dubs "singles awareness night"), is also Black History month, all while heralding the beginning of a new season. Those are just some of its better known accomplishments, which are nothing to sneeze at. So as we start saying our goodbyes to this particular February of this particular year, lets do it while enjoying our favorite pastime—playing escape games. To that end, here are three especially selected for such an informal occasion: An unlit maze from Hottategoya, a pruny kitchen from FunkyLand and a Rose Key escape in which February somehow plays a titular role...
Entertainment Forge's Epic Boss Fighter was all about big bosses, big arcade action, and relentless bullet-h-e-double-hockeysticks gameplay, liberally sprinkled with upgrades to boot. Epic Boss Fighter 2 continues that tradition and dials it up a notch as you are called upon yet again to defend the planet from a whopping twenty huge monsters, and the kicker? You need to defeat them all in one go... die, and you'll need to start over from a certain spot depending on how many bosses you've beaten, though you can spend the cash you earned from landing successful shots on new equipment that'll boost your stats, as well as handy-dandy droids that can fight alongside you. You can play with either the keyboard or the mouse, but you'll automatically fire, and different equipment will come will various special abilities or attacks you can activate to give you an edge. As you progress through the game, more items will become available in the shop, and you can unlock more slots for equipment as well. The question remains, however... epic being one of those words that's been bandied about so often in pop culture it may have lost its impact, is Epic Boss Fighter 2 really double the epicness of its epic predecessor?... well... yes!... sorta!
no1game's POKO escape game traps you in a room that doesn't have much in the way of creature comforts... unless, of course, all you really need to relax and thrive is a bunch of cryptic clues and strange puzzles. Then you're all set! Click around to explore, and click the question mark on an item you're carrying to view it up close, which may let you manipulate it further. Some items can even be used on or combined with one another, so if you're stuck, try fiddling with your inventory. POKO is one of those games where getting the ball rolling might initially be more tricky than solving the rest of the game, and you'll need to remember that some items may be used more than once, or for, um, odd things. Despite this, there's a lot of charm to be had from the mildly offbeat way the puzzles are presented, and there's actually a nice amount of cleverness to them to appreciate. It won't take you very long, but, well, time flies when you're having fun, right?
Sanpoman's escape game Tulip Garden will have you going in circles and finding new ways to look at things as you explore a very sneaky garden and house looking for the clues to solve the puzzles that will let you find a way out. To play, just click to interact, and the cursor will change when you pass it over something you can click on. Though the text isn't in English, you'll be able to solve this one just fine without speaking the lingo... as long as you have a keen eye for detail, of course. Despite a minorly clunky puzzle or two, Tulip Garden is largely surprisingly intuitive and clever, favouring observation and perception more than anything else. It doesn't hurt that it's cute either, making it a fantastic cheery break from whatever your day brings you.
Awooga! Awooga! The Escapists has finally emerged for Windows and XBox One users in a full release version of this beloved and quirky prison break simulation role-playing game. Mouldy Toof and Team 17 Digital bring on the cheeky pixelated 8-bit goodness as you go through the motions of being a model inmate while slyly hatching your plans to make it home free. It's a unique and eerily unsettling feeling if you're one of the teeming multitudes who've played Minecraft and built massive structures of stone to now find yourself having to stealthily escape from them, but there's plenty of wry humor and action in this crisp and colorful just-one-more-day release to make it an insatiable compulsion.
Love to play games? Of course you do. Want to play games and earn sweet rewards doing it? Of course you do, and take that, mom, for saying games never get you anything! Playfire Rewards BETA is a free program that allows you to link your Steam account and earn cool rewards like store credit through our affiliate partner, Greenman Gaming, just for playing! Check out the F.A.Q. to learn more, or sign up to start earning!
The things we'll do for our favorite food. Pay lavish amounts of money. Travel to neighboring cities. Swing on ropes past dangerous spikes. Your pigs will do at least one of these things in Piggy Wiggy 3: Nuts, by Qabogames.com. This physics puzzle game has you eating acorns like, well, a pig. Similar to Cut the Rope, draw a cord from a pig to any yellow knob within reaching distance. You can also connect knobs to each other or pigs to each other. Click and drag to slice a rope and hit [R] or the [spacebar] to reset a level.
Please be aware this game deals with themes of suicide and depicts some scenes that some players may find upsetting.
Ladies and gentlemen of the JiG-iverse. I have a confession to make, that I hope we can deal with together, as a community. I... kinda like "Walking Simulators". Yes, those first-person exploration-based adventures that tend to take place in lonely houses/islands with random documents scattered all over the place, and are home to a depressingly small number of zombies or orcs. First it started with Dear Esther, then Proteus and Gone Home. One fears that soon I will be relegated to writing for JayIsThingsThatMayOrMayNotBeGames. But before that happens, let's talk about The Static Speaks My Name by Jesse Barksdale: it's a first-person exploration-based adventure, available in Pay What You Want Format (including free, but please tip your developers if you enjoy their games!), that takes place in a lonely house with random documents scattered all over the place. And while there are no ghosts or jump scares, there's no shortage of atmospheric creepiness as you step into the shoes and home of a man obsessed with a truly not-that-impressive painting.
When a game comes along with a name like Mourn, it's a pretty safe bet to assume that it's going to be challenging. Not even necessarily in sense that it's difficult to complete, although this puzzle platform game by Keybol will certainly test your skills. But "Mourn" is the kind of title that implies a certain heaviness of theme; the kind of game that wants to make you stop and think, and not just about how to solve it. The protagonist of Mourn finds himself in a place that's dark both physically and metaphorically, and the only one he can rely on to get out is... himself. Specifically, the various copies of himself who lie around, frozen in time, until you press [shift] or down to hop between bodies and animate them. He'll wander around with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, jump with up or the [spacebar], and discuss his situation as he traverses a dark mine that may or may not be metaphorical, collecting the pickaxes that will help him make his way out. And since there are only so many of him to go around, he'll have to carefully rely on the limited numbers of himself that exist to escape the dark mines. It makes more sense to play than it does to explain, which is good, because Mourn is tightly-designed to try both your reflexes and your brains.
Ish Games' Awesome Conquest is proof you can do a lot with a little, provided you're a deity with semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic powers of course. The blue tribe you watch over has had its amulet stolen and been overrun by the evil red army, who attack at the end of each day, which is pretty stressful given each day is only sixty seconds long and you're drastically outnumbered. During your sixty seconds, you'll need to manage your tribe... miners produce gold, which can be spend on buying more units, and monks produce mana you can spend on single-use spells. When the clock runs out, your warriors will automatically charge into battle, where they'll fight on their own... you can help them out with any spells you've purchased, or by telling some or all of them to retreat if things are looking grim. Soldiers who survive will actually earn experience and get stronger! At the end of each battle, you'll get a single upgrade you can spend on one of your structures, allowing you to get, say, more miners to produce more gold, or different types of soldier units. Awesome Conquest is a simple but addictive little game, suffering a bit by a lack of explanation of certain elements in the beginning, but a fun and clever take on incremental/idle games, and the sort of thing that would be even better if it were fleshed out further.
In addition to being a mouthful, Dark Tales™: Edgar Allan Poe's The Mystery of Marie Roget is the name of ERS Game Studios' creepy new hidden-object adventure. You and your companion, the insufferably smug Dupin (why couldn't it be Dale Cooper... just once?), are called in to investigate some strange happenings plaguing a newly married couple. Glass has been shattering all on its own, young Marie has fallen into a depressed fugue and won't tell her husband why... oh, and there's the sinister skull-laden magic mirror, too, making it rather loosely based on the original tale to say the least. You and Dupin (ugh) quickly discover there might be more going on than simple superstition, and it seems like this sleepy little burg is hiding more than its share of dark secrets. And crazy puzzle mechanisms. And elaborate gate locks. And evil one-eyed crows and cats. How does anyone get anything done around here when you need two puzzle pieces, face cream, and an old candle just to get into the local bakery? Though perhaps the scariest thing about this game is... comic sans is the default font. AAAAEEEEEEIIII!
Bandai Namco's One Piece Treasure Cruise, free-to-play for iOS and Android, is weird to talk about. On the one hand, it's a fairly simple blend of turn-based RPG gameplay and reflexes, with stamina, timers, and several different types of currency. On the other, it's a colourful riot of weirdness, with an enjoyable story that loosely follows the plot of the wildly popular anime/manga series, with tons of collectable characters, and a high degree of polish. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy, who's out to become the king of pirates and assembling the crew he needs to track down the legendary One Piece, a treasure hidden by a great pirate who was executed a long time ago. Which would seem a fairly basic premise, until you throw in the fact that Luffy accidentally ate the "Devil Fruit", and now he's a literal rubber person, and along the way he's duking it out with a seemingly never-ending parade of over-the-top villains and taking on weirder and weirder allies. Despite some frustrating monetization and ultimately repetitive, basic gameplay, One Piece Treasure Cruise still manages to serve up a vibrant, funny, and cheerfully off-beat adventure with loads of cutscenes that'll appeal to fans and newcomers alike.
Pinata Hunter is a weird concept, an arcade game centered around wildly flailing at an apparently aware pinata and collecting the candy that falls from your beatings to spend on things to make your beatings more powerful and expedient. It was popular enough to make for Pinata Hunter 2, and now Pinata Hunter 3 is here for another round. To play, just wave your mouse back and forth... as it passes over the pinata, candy will be knocked from it, and if the candy lands in your bag (which you can drag around the screen), you can convert it to cash for upgrades. Waving your weapon too much too quickly increases the pain bar on the left, and if it fills up, your hand will cramp and render you unable to do anything until the bar depletes. From the shop you can buy bigger bags, better weapons, protection for your hand, and more, and once you bash a pinata to smithereens, you'll move on to the next. If you liked the originals, Pinata Hunter 3 offers more of the same, and is at the very least a way to indulge your sweet tooth without the empty calories and wrist strain!
no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 139: Convenience Store begins, unlike the rest of their escape games, with very little fanfare, as you find yourself in a convenience store exactly as the title suggests. You can't get out for some reason, but by now you should know the drill... find the ten little green men hiding around the store, and they'll open the way forward for you. While some of the escape men are simply hiding in places that may take a bit of clicking to find, even with its few puzzles Find the Escape-Men Part 139 is still the work of a shorter break than usual. Like your average convenience store pit stop, it's short and to the point, but still a pleasantly silly little game for any time of the day.
When you hear the name Fatal Fighters, you might picture a game filled with SPIN KICKS and SPINES BEING REARRANGED and disembodied voices telling you to FINISH HIM while two characters dance sideways back and forth like little mating spiders. Deqaf Studios' newest title isn't... quite that, being more a blend of match-3-esque-ish puzzle and turn-based fighting game, like a pared down Puzzle Quest. You choose your character, then face your opponent across a board with different coloured tokens. Clicking a token causes it and any other adjacent matching tokens to be added to the percentage chance the corresponding coloured skill has of being executed. During your turn, you get to make three matches, and then you can try to use the skills your character has available, though again, their chance of success is tied to how many matching coloured tiles you accrued during your turn. Unused abilities will roll their percentage over to the next round, so don't feel like you have to risk a ten percent chance of success. You and your opponent will go back and forth like this, whittling away at each other's defenses and hit points, and provided you win, you'll move on to your next foe. Defeat four in a row and you'll win the tournament, and if you collect enough achievements, you can unlock a different character, with different abilities. Though a little slow and in need of some fleshing out, Fatal Fighters is a neat idea and a solid diversion for when you want to lay some smackdown, but, you know, without all that button mashing that's so hard on the thumbs.
Silly, sassy, saucy, and unexpectedly smart, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker from Magic Notion is the dating and matchmaking simulation you didn't know you needed for your iOS or Android device. You've just been set up with your very own dating agency by drag queen extraordinaire Kitty Powers herself, and with her guidance, you'll grow and expand your business and clientele by matching people and leading them towards their happily ever afters... hopefully. Based on their interests, personality, and more, you'll comb through your black book to try and find a suitable match, and then use an earpiece to help nudge them along on their dates, both by selecting the proper responses and choosing whether to lie when asked about something, and by playing a variety of minigames. But more than just knowing how to match people with similar interests, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is about your own observation and deduction. If your client's date pops off to the bathroom and returns asking how they like the change, you better be able to spot exactly what's different about them. You'll need to be able to remember details about the potential match's profile to properly steer the conversation. You'll need to know how to order from them based on what they say they want to eat, and also be able to pick it out of a lineup of different dishes whose names you might not recognise. Heck, if your client goes on a second date with them, not only will you need to keep track of what they've already discussed so they don't get bored, you'll also need to know when to ask to see them again, or even if you should take the next step. Throw in tons of unlockable content, no in-app purchases, unexpected depth, same-sex relationships, fantastic writing and a great sense of humour, and Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is head and high heels above the rest. Also coming soon to your computer via Steam!
I don't know about you, but when I found out the Italian plumber Mario had nothing to do with plumbing in his games it was a serious let down. Thankfully, Keygames have noticed this lack of legitimate plumber games and has brought us Plumber Game 2, a puzzle game that is also available on iOS and Android. You're hired by a horribly overheated monster named Clifford, whose pipes have gotten all rearranged. He needs that fresh cool liquid fast, so swap the pipes positions as quick as you can, by using the mouse, to connect one end to the other. It doesn't matter if you have water spraying out of unused ends of the pipes as long as Clifford gets his drink. Well, the water spraying out in unused ends wouldn't be a problem except Clifford has a collection of bombs. If any liquid sprays on them, or if their timer goes off, Clifford is out his eyebrows and you're out of a job. It's a simple take on a very classic type of game, but pulled off very well.
Did you know that doodling during class or meetings can help improve your recollection? It's true. While we can't promise that playing Aleksander Suvak's Doodle Brigade will grant you photographic memory... And we definitely don't advocate slacking off during algebra, even if this game is available on Android devices to play on the go... we can promise you upgrade-tastic tower defense game action! Your paper kingdom is being invaded by stickman zombies! How can you tell they're zombies? Because they're drawn in green ink, of course! Fight them off with a stick-army of your own, full of snipers, bombers, mines and more. Click on any empty square to draw in a new soldier or tool, keep an eye on your precious ink resources, and make sure all the rows on your graph paper are amply defended! There's no denying it's a familiar and well-worn formula, especially if you're a fan of the by-now legendary Plants vs. Zombies. But Doodle Brigade is one of those rare copycats that actually understands what made the original great, and manages to emulate it while still putting its own spin on things.
So now, this Mardi Gras 2015 business is behind us. Oh, are you not accustomed to this extravagant phenomenon? Well then, here is a brief synopsis: Mardi Gras is, in certain cultures and localities, a time to stuff yourself silly with as much beloved indulgences as you possibly can in preparation for then, during a forty-day season of lent, denying yourself said indulgences. Eh, it makes perfect sense when you think about it. As far as indulgences go, none can be better than logging into JIG and playing games 'til your fingers grow numb and your eyeballs dry out. Or at least until you have to go do more, how do you say? re-spons-ible things. Alright. Enough small talk. Let's get serious here: nobody is giving up games here and escape games ain't going away anywhere. And, as is the Wednesday tradition in these parts, we have three of them for you to escape your weekday worries with...
Little Alchemist, how does your garden grow? With ace chinchilla jet pilots, sea horses, headless horsemen and armored flying dragons all in a row! And it's a good thing too, because you'll have to master the elements and combine them to form cards like these and then some if you want to save Little Town from the villains in Chinzilla Games' action-packed free role-playing card game for Android and iOS! Collect cards, research new and better combinations to get the most out of your cards, explore Little Town and duel the bad guys for a chance to get new cards, or battle your friends and rivals in the online arena to improve your ranking on the leaderboard... because who among us hasn't wanted to become internet famous for siccing a Skeletal Dragon on unsuspecting strangers? Combine cards like Metal, Rainbows, ever-present Chinchillas and Sunshine to make Final Form cards like Bionic Chinchillas, Thor, and even Puff the Magic Dragon. Coming back each day will increase the gold bounty in the versus matches, so there's no time like the present to start
trouncing the general public for utterly obscene heaps of gold rescuing the people of Little Town from wrongdoers everywhere! You'll start out in your study with plenty of options like Research, Edit Deck, the multi-player online Arena, a Shoppe with thankfully completely optional in-app purchases, and a portal to the Adventure map. Each map area has several baddies you can defeat multiple times for a random treasure including gold or a free card. You'll take turns throwing cards from your decks at each other, each with a given Attack and Defense rating, or you can combine certain cards into even more potent cards with better stats. As you form combinations you'll accrue up to five Combo Spheres each of which can boost the stats of many of the cards you can play. Best your enemies to reap the rewards, and best all of them in an area to unlock the next map area.
Evan Rosson's Swarm Simulator is an incremental idle game about creepy crawlies with bad attitudes. In the beginning, all you have are larvae, but from them you'll create drones who can hunt for meat, which in turn can be used to breed even more powerful units, unlocking territories and more as you play. Unlike a lot of incremental games, there's no need to click here, except to spend the bugs, meat, and other "currencies" you generate to create new ones. The game's tutorial will walk you through the basics, including upgrading and more, but eventually it'll be up to you to figure out how to unlock new units and actions. Because everything you can make or, well, hatch, is done by sacrificing a number of something else (such as making queens by spending drones and meat, for example), being able to afford the staggering costs of some purchases means knowing how to manage what you have in the most efficient way possible. Why spend ten thousand units of one type to create a single of another, if those ten thousand are all you have and the new unit is initially going to produce paltry amounts of something else? Even if you cave and purchase that expensive new unit, you may actually find selling it to purchase an upgrade you can't otherwise get is the best course of action. Though a little dry, Swarm Simulator's piles of unlockables, achievements, and interesting ideas makes it a smart and welcome addition to the genre.
The little girl in no1game's cute point-and-click puzzle game My First Laundry Day may think she's too small to do laundry all by herself, but she's already several leagues ahead of a lot of people, some with decades on her, just by trying at all! Her mother's too busy to help, but she's written down some instructions, telling you what you need to gather, and then how to wash it all. To play, just click to explore the apartment, and click the question mark beneath items in your inventory to take a closer look at them. My First Laundry day is a little more elaborate than the other My First games no1game has created, taking place over multiple rooms and even consisting of multiple objectives beyond simply gathering a bunch of items in one place. Despite some finicky hotspots to find some items and angles, it's still as adorable as you'd expect, and a nice step up in complexity from other games in the series.
Though now available in early access as a significantly more complex game, Subsoap's FaeVerse Alchemy began life as the much simpler yet still addictive match-3/Tetris-styled puzzler Faerie Alchemy. The concept is easy... elements drop from the two of the screen in pairs. Use the left and right [arrow] keys to move them from side-to-side, the up [arrow] to rotate the way they're lain out, and finally the down [arrow] to drop them into place on the screen. Each group of three or more identical "elements" you make earns you points, but also combines to form an element one tier higher, and adds that element into play, making the aim of the game to unlock all available elements and get the highest score possible before the screen fills up. It's a neat, tidy twist other games have since spun off of, and though significantly lower in feature than its (pricey!) commercial cousin, still an elegant concept that's perfect for fans of match-3 gameplay looking for a slower, thoughtful game to play when you have a spare minute or ten.
If it's a Yonashi escape game you know it's going to be short and sweet in the best possible way, and Blue is no exception. One look at the decor and you'll realize the game lives up to its name, but don't let the weepy artwork fool you... if anything, this cuddly game is going to put a smile on your face. Just click to interact with something when your cursor changes, and use the transparent bars that appear when you place your cursor at the edges of the screen to move around the room. You can click the magnifying glass on item icons in your inventory to take a closer look at them, or just click the item itself to "equip" it for use. Blue isn't a game that will keep you tangled up for very long, but it's not trying to, either. It shows exactly why Yonashi is so well loved for creating cute but clever little games that brighten your day without taking a big chunk out of your time.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click puzzler Tammy Jo Superstar, the titular big-haired country belle works in a hotel that's going downhill fast, largely because Neel, the in-house singer who only got the job as a favour to his mother, is... kind of the opposite of good. Tammy Jo's convinced she could do a better job, and her boss gives her his blessing to do whatever she can to make Neel leave. Easier said than done since everyone in the hotel seems to want her to do something for them, and as you'd expect from a point-and-click adventure game, even simple tasks can get a little... weird. Just click around to interact and travel through the hotel. The cursor will change when you mouse over something you can use or talk to, and clicking an item in your inventory will highlight it for use. Tammy Jo Superstar is weird in a good way, and getting the egotistical Neel (actual show name: Kneel Before Neel) off the stage is going to take some work, but with your help, Tammy Jo can turn her dreams into a reality.
It's a mad world out there with werewolves, vampires, mutant rats and more zombies than all the others combined. But thankfully there seems to be an equal amount of bullets and endlessly flowing alcohol so at least we can join in that madness and have one heck of a time. IriySoft's Tequila Zombies 3 has our two heroes, Miguel Tequila and Officer Jaqueline, finding a third party member who convinces them to take a detour from safety to gain a powerful...thing... but the path will lead them through more zombies than ever before. And what more could you ask for in an action shoot 'em up game? How about upgrades and unique character specialties, and secrets that are hidden throughout the game? Yeah, they got that too. [WAD] or the [arrow] keys moves your character and jumps, while the mouse is used to aim and shoot. Hitting [R] will reload, while  to  or [Q] and [E] will cycle through weapons, and the [spacebar] will activate your character's special power, with [S] used to search for things. The game plays like a classic beat-em-up sidescroller, and you choose your character to play through it... zombies will come in waves from either side of the screen, and when you've killed them all, you can move on to the next area. In addition to cash you can spend on upgrades between levels, they can also drop special power-ups, like peppers that double your damage! You need ammo to use any of the weapons you find, so if that runs out, you'll default to melee until a zombie thoughtfully drops some bullets upon death.
Enlightenment isn't easy. Most of the time it can take years of dedication, study, focus, and meditation. Or you can just have the local philosopher lob you a scroll. Yes, that's your job in Flash Chaz and Bitnest Software's Age of Wonder: The Lost Scrolls, also free for iOS and Android, a physics puzzle game involving your little bald wise man bringing the gospel to the masses, one bouncy scroll at a time. Use the mouse to aim and control the power of each throw, sending the scrolls ricocheting this way and that through the sandy, ancient locales. You can also press the [spacebar] to switch to rocks, which are best used for hitting levers to activate doors and platforms. You know, typical ancient stuff.
Things are a little funky this time around for Pencil Kids' latest installment of their Monkey GO Happy point-and-click puzzle games, Monkey GO Happy Valentines. Love is literally in the air every time you look around as they hunt through a psychedelic sweetheart wonderland, solving the problems of the people (and critters!) they meet while they track down the only thing that will turn their frowns upsidedown this holiday... a whopping 70 fluffy Valentine bunnies, who are hiding absolutely everywhere, and often in everything! Just click around to interact, and drag items from your inventory at the top of the screen to whatever, or whoever, you want to use it with. It's sweet and whimsical in all the right ways, with just a dollop of puzzle solving as you try to crack the codes in your way. So go ahead. Make a monkey your Valentine.
Thanks to Cyberjar88 for sending this one in!