You can move away from people, you can lock yourself inside to hide from nature, but you can't ever escape what's in your head. Or at least that is what the premise is for Nyctophilia by Cat in Jar Games. This free indie game follows our protagonist as he tries to recover from something he'd rather forget. Fighting his way through nightmares he must do everything he can to stay sane. But when you're staying in a house where the last owner may have not had all his marbles himself there is only so much you can do. While it plays like a point-and-click adventure, this is a "mouse free" game where you move with the [arrow] keys and inspect, pick up items, or makes choices with [X]. The [Tab] key lets you into your inventory, see the notes you've collected or view what your main task at hand is. This slower paced mystery has two endings, a few puzzles and an unnerving atmosphere from start to finish.
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Before you fire up Chocolala Studio's Chocolate Shop Escape, I'm going to need you to clamp down tight on your sweet tooth, because otherwise you're never going to escape from here. As the title implies, you've been locked inside a small, trendy chocolate shop, and to find a way out, you'll need to solve some puzzles and gather some items, and resist the urge to lay underneath the chocolate fountain once you get it going. There's no changing cursor to show what's interactive, but the design is clean enough that you shouldn't need one. Just click on things around the room, and pay attention to your surroundings... even if a clue seems to be sitting right out in plain view, it might need a second look to make sure you're using it correctly. Chocolate Shop Escape is short, sweet, and just clever enough to make it a nice, light treat for escape fans. Make sure you have everything before you go!
Also free for iOS and Android, AumGames' simple sim Blacksmith Lab is an incremental clicker game designed to give you the big, burly muscles of a blacksmith... at least, in a finger. The goal is to mine ore, turn it into weapons, and then sell those to fulfill orders and unlock higher levels, as well as generate sweet, sweet cash you can spend on upgrades, or invest in the bank or the stock market. Click the material to generate ore, then, when you have enough, click the piece of weapon or armor below to create it, and then the button below that to sell. As you unlock more materials and things to make with higher requirements, you'll be able to buy upgrades that can help you automate the process or improve your clicks or prices. Periodically you'll be given special orders to fill, and if you can do so in time, you'll graduate to the next level. Blacksmith Lab is simple for its genre, and perhaps too clicky for some, but its clean, sleek presentation and voice overs let me pretend I'm on How It's Made, so that's alright by me.
Wakey wakey, there's games to escape-y! You've survived a whole seven days. That's no small feat... just ask the mayfly! To celebrate, the developers have been hard at work turning out three finely crafted escape games for you to glut yourself upon. Vitamin Hana thinks if you're so smart, you can make your own way out. Nagamochi Games knows you've always wanted to play with an old man's facial hair. And Sarameya is worried you haven't been getting enough fresh air, but might have gone a bit overboard.
Matthew's grandmother wants him to take on the family business she left behind, something Matthew is surprised to hear considering he just came back from her funeral. In Carmel Games' spooky point-and-click adventure The Gatekeeper, Matthew's going to become a ghost hunter like his grandmother whether he likes it or not, starting with an evil spirit haunting a hotel. To play, just click on things to interact, and click two items in your inventory to try to combine them. The cursor will change when it passes over something you can use, so don't worry about pixel hunting. Or haunting, for that matter, since despite the game's morbid subject matter it's not particularly scary, though there are a few attempts at jump scares to be had. Carmel Games rarely try to play it straight when it comes to subject matter for their games, and they've managed to craft a sufficiently creepy atmosphere here. Most of the puzzles make sense, though some small items are hidden in the dark a bit too often, and while it's over too soon, hopefully Matthew's adventures will be even bigger and scarier from here on out.
Uh oh, you guys. Uh oh. Cookie Clicker, the absurdly addictive, funny, and weird incremental idle game from Ortiel has finally gotten its long-awaited 2.0 update, which includes new buildings, a revamped ascension system, new features and mechanics, and much, much more. Check out the changelog on the official wiki to see what's new. What's Cookie Clicker, you say? Superficially, it's a simple webtoy where you click a huge cookie to generate cookies that can in turn be spent on upgrades that generate more cookies, as well as some other surprises. If it sounds silly, well, it is. If it sounds strange, well, it also is. Cookie Clicker's charm comes not just from its absurd concept, however, but from how chock full of easter eggs, random occurrences, secrets, and other surprises it is. It runs by itself once you've clicked your way to a few autonomous cookie-crafting purchases, but you'll want to keep an eye on it in case anything... odd happens. So warm up those ovens and limber up your fingers as we discover what's new, and remember... watch out for the grannies.
Making games is good. Free, professional software that allows you to make and sell or share your games across multiple platforms? Niiiiiice. Amazon has just released Amazon Lumberyard, a 3D game engine currently available in beta for developers who want to make things for PC and consoles, with mobile and virtual reality platforms coming soon. It's based on CryEngine, though in addition to a complete lack of any subscriptions or fees (unless you decide to use any of the Amazon Web Services) and full source code included, Lumberyard makes a pretty good case all on its own. It's also geared towards being Twitch-friendly, with features that allow you to let players chat or otherwise interact through Twitch with their viewers, or even invite others to play in multiplayer set-ups through it. Though still in Beta, any potential tool to allow more people to create games is a good thing, and there are already plenty of tutorials on the forums, though time will tell how well Amazon Lumberyard actually stacks up against its competition once developers really start digging into it. It's a 10GB file, not including some free asset packs, so clear some space. If you need me, I'll be over here getting a head start on dreaming up all the projects I want to make that are far beyond the reach of my current skillset and experience. You, though? Get started!
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I'm trying to think of a game that better encapsulates my childhood than OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo and I can't quite do it. Free for iOS and Android, it's an action-packed brawler filled with evil robots, aliens, punching, and a whole lotta neon. See, the eclectic folks of Lakewood Plaza shopping center have been fending off the evil Lord Boxman, who wants nothing more than to take the place over and put everyone out of business, including exciteable kid dynamo K.O. and his butt-kicking mom, Carol. When a mysterious energy drink leads to the destruction of the plaza and scatters his friends across town, K.O.'s got to bring them home and rebuild the only way he knows how. With punching. And kicking. Throwing, too. Probably smashing. Simple to play and full of (weird) personality, OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo piles on the old school charm with a heaping helping of enjoyable silliness for a simple but fun classic punch-em-up.
Running Zombie's The Hunt is a supremely creepy and otherworldly short point-and-click adventure where the subject matter sadly isn't as scary as its clunky pixel hunting, though superb atmosphere still makes it worth checking out. In it, you're hunting down the legendary Elk King, a demon that's cursed the forest and all who go after it. To play, just click on things to interact. While some objects will display text when you mouse over them, not everything that's interactive will, and since the cursor won't change, you'll need to click everywhere... especially given the game's tendency to hide things along the very edges of the screen. You can click on items in your inventory, and in most cases they'll be used automatically if you're in the right place for them, but others may require you to click a specific part of the scenery. It's this awkward gameplay that keeps The Hunt from being the immersive experience it might otherwise be, with its beautiful imagery and spooky audio. The Hunt could use some more polish, but we hope this isn't the last time the developer experiments with the genre!
The Great Forest Studio has dug up a cozy adventure RPG for you with plenty of resource mining and survival game elements! In The Great Underground you play a lone miner out to seek his fortune with just his knapsack, pick and a few provisions. Your digging skills improve with practice for each terrain type along with your ability to survey valuables within them at a distance. Retrieve them and sell them at the shop to earn money for better supplies as your skills improve! Different foods and teas each provide their own enhancements and you'll want to be sure to stop by the Inn to get the latest info and storyline plot points from the local villagers in this endearing game with soothing music and hand-painted graphics that's more about character development than utilitarian grinding. The Great Underground is free to play on your Android with hours of play and gorgeous artwork, and has a code available as a single in-app purchase which releases everything in the game, with more to discover and more storyline to encounter. This one is great for digging and exploring on your Android whether for short, relaxing adventures when you just have a few minutes to spare or for long, planned crawls to the depths where the greatest valuables can be found.
Goody Gameworks blends action and defense in Arc of Templar, a game about purging evil from a castle by filling demons full of lead, and dropping the odd chandelier on them. To play, use the mouse to aim (you'll fire automatically), and [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move around behind the barricade, keeping the demons at bay. You can activate special skills with the number keys when they've cooled down, and stepping on triggers behind the wall can activate traps when available. Slain enemies drop experience points, and when you level up, you can choose to enhance your Templar's abilities, or gain a new power altogether. You'll also gain heroes who will fight automatically to keep enemies at bay... don't worry if they get knocked down, they get back up again! (Sorry kids, that's as current a reference musically as you're going to get out of ol' Auntie Dora.) Just watch out, since if they get close enough, enemies can target you, too, and if you get taken out, you'll have to try the level again.
Ever wondered what it would be like to have a whole bunch of little squares in different colours, and to be able to play with them and paint them any way you like? And if those squares jiggled about like the happy little quadrilaterals they are? If the answer is no, feel free to step right up and see what you've been missing. Coloruid is a lovely little puzzle game where the goal is to turn all the squares the same colour in a limited number of moves. Think you can handle it? Alright, let's get jiggly with it!
It's good to be bad in Amaranth Games' very funny casual RPG Aveyond 4: Shadow of the Mist, where you play the wicked Boyle Wolfbane, whose plans for world domination... don't go so well. Three years after being soundly defeated by a group of sniveling heroes, Boyle and his loyal storm wolf Fang are sullenly scraping by in a dingy little shack in the monster town of Wyrmwood, and looking down on all the other has-been retired villains. But while Boyle might consider himself above it all, when he gets roped into something threatening the world (and the safety of his beloved pooch), Boyle's got to roll up his sleeves and undertake some heroism, or as he calls it, the "H word"... whether he likes it or not. Aveyond 4: Shadow of the Mist is a wonderfully funny and cheeky indie RPG that's positively perfect for anyone looking for something to kick back with.
In Ichima's Room 12, you're trapped in a perfectly pleasant little room with locks on virtually everything, and a trick or two up its sleeves. If you want to escape, you'll have to solve puzzles that require you to be observant, and even a little clever. There's no changing cursor to show what's interactive, and unfortunately you may run into some pixel hunting here, so if you're stuck, make sure you've examined every surface from every angle. If you want to examine something you're carrying, click it once to highlight it, and then click the big blue button in the menu. Some clues might be a little vague, so you might have to experiment with implementing them in different ways to make them work, and there is one interactive spot that is tucked away in a somewhat intuitive place. But while Room 12 isn't as smooth as some of Ichima's other escape games, it's still enjoyable, with a cute surprise or two inside.
When some researchers get lost in a vast cavern the army calls on the perfect man for the job. That's you of course because um ... you've got a ship? Deep Underground by BenGAMEn, may not have all the most detailed story, but it does have plenty of upgrades, physic-based puzzles, and dangers around every corner. Fly your ship with ease using the [arrow] or the [WASD] keys and use your mouse to aim and fire. Not only does this keep you safe from the enemies, but you can carve pathways through the softer sand, and break apart boxes to free the treasured contents. Don't be too greedy though as you'll need some boxes to hold down switches or block lasers. But your main goal is to rescue the men in the orange jump suits. When you've collected all on the screen the exit will open up so you can go even deeper and claim the rightful title of hero.
Ah, the Tempala. So mysterious. So graceful. So elusive. Such... A JERK! In this tricky action game from Guy and Suvrik, you're chasing the Tempala into a temple full of tricks, traps, and other danger while it mocks you every step of the way. To be fair, you were trying to murder it! Use the [arrow] keys to move, and the [spacebar] to perform a dashing roll, trying to figure out how to reach the key to open the door in each stage without getting splattered! Move quickly to earn bonus points to unlock different costumes, but, well, move quickly in general because this place is dangerous! Tempala is a relatively simple game, but it plays well and earns high marks for its cartoonish cheek and charm, making it a wacky romp where death is always just around the corner.
B... Bianco-Bianco? Is that you? It's a miracle! Magical Sphere 2 is an odd little escape game with two different endings, set in what appears to be one seriously mystifying museum. The cursor will change when it passes over something you can click on to interact with, and the arrows at the edges of the screen can be used to move around the room. One of the biggest challenges might actually be accidentally missing something simply because its hotspot is tucked in at an odd location, so be sure and comb over every nook and cranny if you get stuck! It's not actually a particularly long or difficult game once you've found everything you can click on, but it's an appealingly odd escape that'll fit inside a coffee break without taking all of it up.
From January 29th to the 31st, across the globe developers came together to make games with their own unique interpretations on a theme in a very short time. During January 29th to the 31st, I was... uh... probably playing X-Com or Borderlands in my jammies. It's no small task to make a functioning game in just a few days, and yet for Global Game Jam 2016, a whopping 36,000 creators in 93 countries did just that, crafting almost 6800 games! This year's theme was "ritual", and while we obviously haven't gone through all the games yet, here are a few of our favourites that are playable free online in your browser right now. Play or download all the Global Game Jam 2016 games at the official site! Have one you think is awesome too? Post it in the comments!
Neither rain nor snow nor dark of night will keep Weekday Escape from your waiting hands... spiders are another matter, though. Also, I don't really like it if it gets muggy out? And sometimes you just aren't feeling getting out of your jammies, you know?... but hey, we're here today! This week! Esklavos and a canine friend with a troubling name send you sky high after a giant. MayMay wants you to go on a vacation, but you'll have to earn it first. And Afro-Ninja is going to make you feel all nostalgic (and maybe a little old) with a remake of one of their oldest games.
In Stolen Couch Games' adventure island sim Castaway Paradise, available free with optional in-app purchases on Android and iOS or for a flat fee via Steam, your grungy, kelp-covered self washes ashore on an island full of animals who look and act like people. No, it's not Doctor Moreau, cease your screaming! It's a cute and casual little game designed to give you a place to kick back and get away from it all. And by "get away from it all", we of course mean "perform countless tasks and heavy lifting for animals who never ever ever help out ever". But we also mean "catch bugs, donate to museums, dig for shells, fish for... um... fish, decorate a mansion, farm crops, and more". That'll do!
The game is afoot!... or, um, a-wheel? In Pegas Games' point-and-click puzzle game Wheely 7: Detective, our little red car is on the case when the local bank has been robbed! To play, just click on things in each level to help clear a way forward for Wheely. Click him once to start him moving, and again to make him stop. You may need to click and drag to manipulate some objects, such as doors, or hunt for hidden mechanisms. Turns out Wheely is quite the amateur criminal catcher, and in no time he's on the hunt across town for the robbers. Wheely 7: Detective isn't a particularly long game despite some clever levels and challenges, but if you're looking for something light and fun, it's big on charm and is easy on the eyes to boot.
Solitaire may be pretty simple, but PC owners and office workers throughout the world will always have a soft spot for it. And yet, sometimes you might want to spice things up a bit and play something fancier than your garden-variety card game. Introducing Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons, a fantasy solitaire game by The Revills Games. Dragons are on the loose, your kingdom is in danger, so hop on your mighty steed and shuffle some cards!
I.C.S or Instantaneous Combustion Syndrome is one heck of a syndrome. Stand in direct sunlight for too long and poof! Up you go in flames. With this kind of disease it would seem it would be best to stay inside with your favorite game system and spend your days in the dark. But our little hero doesn't have it so lucky. Instantaneous Combustion Syndrome 2 is a puzzle platform game that has you either running for the caverns or using your blazing self to take out bad guys before quickly diving into some water to put yourself out. Each level has its own secret box to find and open, but your main goal is to reach the doorway without turning into a pile of ash. This challenging game has you using your curse as a blessing, while also trying to avoid self-combustion at all cost. Run with either the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, jump with [Z] or use it to slide when you're crouching, and use [X] to open boxes, flip switches, and drink potions. But above all make it to the doorway when you're not consumed with flames and make it to your next little adventure.
Hosted here with kind permission by creator Eric Vaughan, Strange Magic Escape (also playable at the official site) is, as the title might imply, an escape game that's just a little weird... in a good way. You find yourself in a small room with two locked doors, though only one leads out, and you'll need to solve the puzzles around you to find the clues needed to open the final lock. There's no changing cursor to show what's interactive and what isn't, but there's also no pixel hunting either. Just click on things to examine them or pick them up, and use the arrows that appear at the edges of the screen to move around the room. If an item can be combined with another you're carrying, it'll happen automatically, and if you want to try using something, just click it to highlight, and then click again wherever you want to try to use it. Some items may take a little time to take effect, so take a step back and nose around the room a little from time to time.
Despite having restrained its initial captivating weirdness in subsequent installments, Elephant Games' Mystery Trackers has always been a hidden-object adventure series that's near and dear to my heart. In Mystery Trackers: Paxton Creek Avenger, the villain comes with his own bishi-sparkles, so you know it's going to be at least a little pleasantly crazy. Turns out he's upset at you, or at least your organisation, and as he believes the Mystery Trackers have gone about unpoliced for too long, he's abducted the leader's daughter... well, I mean, what else did you expect a Phantom of the Opera knock-off bad guy to do? Much less one uses "rascals" as a vicious insult and who sounds like he's two steps away from shouting "TUNNEL SNAKES RULE" before vanishing into the night. Solve puzzles, use powerful theater spotlight bulbs in puny handheld flashlights, and complete hidden-object scenes as you track the so-called Avenger to foil his doubtless dastardly plot!
Twofold Inc, available for iOS and Android from grapefrukt games, the creator of rymdkapsel, combines some of my very favourite things... cute robots, a sleek and simple design with a funky-cool soundtrack, and really cunning puzzles in a high-score style format. All you need to do is match coloured tiles in unbroken lines to meet the requested amounts from your robot helper for as long as you can to get the highest score possible without running out of lives. Sound simple? Well, it's actually quite a bit more tricky than its sweet and stylish appearance would imply, and every bit as rewarding and strategic as any puzzle fan looking for an addictive game with a swank soundtrack for their mobile device could hope for
One day we'll have everything we need to finally be ready to go out on the town, but for now it's Funkyland's escape game Girl's Room No. 17: Hair Clip, and no hairstyle is complete without five clips to make you look like an early '90s child star. As usual, to find what you need you'll have to solve puzzles and turn this opulent room upside-down, and in this instance, try not to get distracted by that sweet roll cake on the table. (Well, you'll try not to get distracted. I'm going to sit there and eat it and shout encouragement through a mouthful of crumbs while you search.) As we've come to expect from Funkyland, Girl's Room No. 17: Hair Clip falls into the short but satisfying category, with some clever puzzle mechanics and just the right amount of whimsy to make playing through a delight rather than a serious mental chore. So roll up your sleeves, and lets find those hair clips together... I'll even do your hair for you when we're done! It's been, like... at least several years since I've seriously injured someone with a curling or straightening iron. You'll be fine.
[The following is a reader review by Ken Mo, used with permission. Want to submit your own review for a game we haven't covered? Visit our submission page!]
Fireberry Studios' adventure game The Splitting: Chapter 1 starts out with a strange dream of which your character only remembers the end. As you explore his house, you find that he is unable to see his reflection in the mirror, and that because of his lack of a reflection, he is able to travel through into a mirror world. With the help of a mysterious man named llehctiM, the split reflection of a man named Mitchell from your own world, you now embark on an adventure to figure out where your reflection has gone and why he has split from you. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, and the [spacebar] to interact.
Take a sprinkle of Don't Starve and stir in with generous amounts of madcap science-fiction, oddball humour, and a whole lot of smashing, and you've got indie action adventure Crashlands Butterscotch Shenanigans, available for PC or Android and iOS, with cross-platform play when you own both desktop and mobile versions and sign up for a free online account to transfer saves. The game stars Flux Dabes, the cheeriest little space-faring delivery truck driver/barbarianess you ever did see, whose mission to deliver some packages goes awry when an evil giant head rips her spaceship apart for his own uses. Now Flux, together with her trusty robotic sidekick/supervisor/sass-maker JuiceBox, must survive on the planet while figuring out how to send a message to the Bureau of Shipping to get her packages delivered. With fantastic humour and character design, randomly generated terrain, and an entire alien world to craft, fight, tame, and eventually even mod your own stories in, Crashlands is a powerhouse of an adventure that's worth every second of your time.
It is Wednesday, and it... has... RISEN. Summoned by an offering of changing cursors, door locks, and random items with seemingly random purposes, Weekday Escape oozes forth from the bowels of the Earth! This week! Vitamin Hana locks you up with a dubious and demanding companion. Primera at least leaves out some refreshments to go with your puzzle solving. And Nagamochi Games puts a dragon under glass somewhere pretty in pink.
Utopix, available free online through Facebook or on iOS and Android with cross-platform play to save your progress from mobile to desktop and vice-versa, is a stylish little puzzle game about flipping tiles and matching pictures. The goal in each level is to make the playing field look like the grid on the left by clicking a tile to flip both it and all other immediately adjacent ones. Doing so will swap the colours of those tiles according to the progression on the right side of the screen, such as from green to orange and back again. The kicker is that you only have a limited amount of moves per level to make your grid match up with the goal, and when multiple colours to cycle through get added in, well, it's not as easy as it seems!
TomaTea's escape game Miro Clue isn't sad, but it sure is blue. To open the locked door and make your way to freedom, you'll need to solve your fair share of puzzles, and of course use the items you pick up and spot the clues hidden around you. If a puzzle informs you that you don't know how to solve it, that means there's something you haven't seen yet to crack it, and the tip of your in-game cursor will glow when it passes over something you can click on to interact with. Miro Clue has a very abstract art feel to it, apart from its stately soundtrack that makes you feel like the king is about to burst in and demand some hossenfeffer any moment, though the puzzles themselves are pure TomaTea through and through. There are puzzle pieces to assemble, a whole host of coded locked drawers to solve, and some clues to corresponding puzzles that are juuuuust a bit maddeningly vague when compounded with the silent judgement of wooden models. Just remember to pay close attention to your surroundings, examine items in your inventory by clicking the little "i" when you mouse over them, and if you get stuck, well, try looking at the bigger picture.
Our famous thief... er, um, treasure hunter, is back to try again! Super Dangerous Dungeons has some old, some new, and a much tighter control system that will have you rage quitting purely because of the difficulty and not any flighty controls. The "third" in this small series is not really a sequel to Tiny Dangerous Dungeons, but more like a version 2.0 of the original Dangerous Dungeons. Adventure Islands' new action puzzle platform game is a solid improvement on the first with just enough tweaking that even the levels that taken from the previous game are different enough you'll notice. Work your way through the dungeons using only the right and left [arrow] keys and your steady jump that goes higher the longer you hold the [spacebar]. Get the key and then get to the door to go deeper into this dungeon. Race against bosses to win the treasures and do everything you can not to die. With new levels spread throughout you'll be happy to know as well that this high difficulty challenge can go with you wherever you go as it's also for iOS and Android. So now you can find secrets, collect treasure, and rage quit all to your heart's desire while waiting in line or, let's be honest, sitting on your porcelain throne.
One of the saddest things to hear is a young voice calling out for their beloved, missing puppy. What's even sadder is to find out all the puppies in your neighborhood have gone missing. But what tops all of that off is finding a delicious smell coming from your neighbor's house only to discover it's Puppy Stew! But hey, not to worry. Eva, your neighbor, is still in the process of cooking and all the pups are still yapping around. Now your witch of a neighbor (not an insult, she's an actual witch) is hankering for some puppy stew or some sweet tears of defeat from your other neighbor Vila. Vila is the Queen of the Witch Games, but for every minigame you defeat her in, Eva will release one of the puppies to you. This platformer by Justin Leingang is all about the minigames which vary from you stomping on poor squirrels, playing keep away, racing to the top of the highest tree, and many many more. Defeat Vila thirty times to gain all the puppies and become the Heroine of all dogs around.
[Mica: Apoptosis is still in development. As of this writing, the prologue and first three chapters are available, with more coming soon.]
[This game contains subject matter that may be upsetting to some individuals.]
There once was a Goddess who saved Man from the evil Things. She was kind and gracious and full of power. When the children of the Goddess show that they have control of her power is it seen as a blessing or a curse? Soyasushi Productions' Mica: Apoptosis is a free indie horror adventure game told from three different points of view of our main heroes. Each one seems so vastly different from the other yet it seems their lives are fated to intertwine. Princess Micaiah holds the power of the Goddess and must use it to keep her people safe from the Things that roam outside her castle walls. Lenine is her right-hand man and head servant in her household. Mika is a young girl also blessed with the Goddess' power, though in her mind and those around her it is a curse. With a corrupted church trying to gain control, foul zombie like beasts always trying to destroy human flesh, and mysteries surrounding every character, all three of them must find their inner strengths. But are these heroes we are watching be born or villains?
Why is it that whenever the protagonist's car breaks down in the middle of the night they go to the only house with no lights on? And then they just invite themselves inside as if they owned the place. Serves them right when the door snaps closed behind them. Forgotten Hill: Fall has you in such a predicament, but even a rude person like yourself doesn't deserve what's awaiting you in this house. FM Studio's point-and-click escape horror game doesn't waste any time giving you the chills as you solve puzzles to venture deeper into the house hoping to find the way out. Death could be, and is, one click away so be careful where you go poking your nose. Sadly, that's a must for escape games, so be ready for some jumps, deaths, and a very appreciated automatic save system.
When the world relies on one hero to save them all from a terrible beast you had better hope he's got more to his arsenal than just jumping and swinging his weapon. Well, that's all this one has got, but in these different colored worlds, some helpful creatures show him some new powers that will help him bring hope and light back to his people. Imperil, by Henrik Sahlin and Erik Swahn, is a platformer where each new area comes with a new weapon in your arsenal. Whether it's building platforms under your feet or altering the world around you, you can guarantee it's going to be the exact skill you need to win against this nameless blight. Move and aim spells with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, and use [Z],[X],[C] or [K],[J],[H], respectively, for jump, attack, and your special. With really not too much story to focus on your goal is to kill, find the many hidden secrets to buy health upgrades, and enjoy the retro feel in this action packed game.
Funkyland's beloved escape game series almost feels a little more regal than usual with Alice House 2 No.06: Humpty Dumpty, where you're searching a courtyard for five items with Humpty Dumpty on them. There's no changing cursor to show what you can click on, but because of the small area the game takes place over, diligent Wonderlanders shouldn't have much difficulty finding what they need. Funkyland has basically perfected the snack-sized escape game, and Alice House 2 No.06: Humpty Dumpty is no different, with just the right amount of puzzles and whimsy to brighten your day, and no frustrating pixel hunting or illogical solutions... as long as you remember some objects can be used more than once. So go ahead and crack this one open... just let all the Kind's horses and men know when you're done.
Save the world, one tile at a time, in Red Winter Software's turn-based roguelike strategy game Dungelot: Shattered Lands, available for iOS and on Steam later this year. In this continuation of the addictive Dungelot saga, unchecked mana mining has made the world unstable and caused it to split apart, while monsters appear from strange portals across the land. Packed with a wide variety of challenging encounters, useful items, surprises, satisfying strategy, and some eye-catching visuals, Dungelot: Shattered Lands is one formidable roguelike that will monopolize your free time in a big way.
Do you like mahjong? Like... a lot? Then with nearly a thousand levels, Legendary Mahjong is fluttering its handkerchief coyly your way. Angry about being forgotten, the gods have set out to punish humankind, but luckily the "God of Unbridled Happiness" is going to help you restore their temples and avoid their sullen wrath. Legendary Mahjong is low on bells and whistles, but full to bursting with simply satisfying levels, different game modes, special tiles and more that will keep you busy for a long time.
This title is available in Pay What You Want format, including free. If you enjoy this game, please consider paying the developer what you think it's worth!
Of all the mysterious things that could suddenly appear in your apartment and be the cause of worry, a potted plant isn't that high up on the list. But that's because you've never seen a plant like this before. The Ceramic Uncertainty, a Crazy Knuckles Production, is an interactive fiction game about how you deal with such an anonymous gift. With loads of branches to the story, a simple choice can drastically change your narrative from a lighthearted adventure to a daring fight to stay alive with terror possibly around the corner. How it goes depends on which choices you select as you read. With over a 40,000 word count and 80 different endings, this Twine game will for sure show you there is a lot more to this little curious plant than just watering it daily.
In Dancing Dragon Games' indie RPG Echoes of Aetheria, knight Lucian, the adopted son of a Duke, is caught in the middle of a bizarre conspiracy... specifically, kidnapping the royal bride-to-be at a wedding ceremony that was supposed to bring peace between two warring nations. Lucian's been branded a traitor and a terrorist, but with the help of clever mechanic Ingrid and the not-so-damsel-in-distress-y princess Soha herself, he might be able to prevent a plot to incite war... provided they can all clear their names and avoid getting assassinated in the process. Echoes of Aetheria is a gorgeously presented and professionally polished JRPG-style adventure with engaging combat and snappy writing that may have some familiar tropes, but seeks to elevate them rather than merely dress them up or call it "good enough".
Cat Manning's Invasion, with art by Kerstin Hall, is an unsettling text adventure about a young woman on the run at the end of the world. Pursued by creatures able to imperfectly imitate other humans and out to devour her, she's doing what she needs to in order to survive, scraping by day after day with only her memories for comfort... if only the things on her heels didn't want to glut themselves on those, too. To play, just click the words that appear bold and slightly larger than others. This can advance the story, but you may also need it to make decisions from time to time. Invasion is short, but still manages to paint an intriguing and thoroughly unsettling snapshot of the apocalypse through the use of solid writing that conveys its imagery and desperation very well. In between feverish running and scrabbling to survive, you learn a little more about our heroine through brief but evocative flashbacks to the people important to her, while the tidbits of life after the invasion itself, and the creatures within it, though you'll likely be left wanting more no matter which of the abrupt endings you get. It won't take you very long to read through, though there's room to replay and try out other options, most of which unlock other memories or are largely cosmetic, but if you prefer your science fiction and horror to be grounded with people, Invasion is more than worth the time.
Divided into two worlds with their own set of rules, test subjects must find a way to pass the test and accomplished their shared goal. Isolated Subject, by Crneumre, is a platform puzzle game where you must figure out what is the special action in each of the worlds, and then switch between the rules to succeed. Nothing is explained to you, and you must experiment to find out what the secret action is. You only have movement keys of [W] for jump and [S] and [D] to go left or right respectively. In some worlds you can double jump by pressing [W] twice. In others, you can remove blocks by walking into them, and in still others even more clever and diverse tricks exist. Within these worlds is the exit door that must be powered by the glowing blocks. This is a case of a team effort that is spread very far apart in complete isolation. Are you clever enough to figure out the tricks?
Rise and shine, my little escaperinos! The world didn't end while you slept, and that means another week filled with bug bites, mixed up coffee orders, ATM fees, and bills. But it also means another week on this beautiful blue ball with friends, family... and escape games, naturally, which I think is all anyone really needs. This week! I'm starting to think Vitamin Hana doesn't actually want these dogs out, because they keep getting locked up again. Esklavos sends you sailing through the sky, after you've corralled your hot air balloon, of course. And Detarame Factory brings a little colour into your day with an escape that's as cute as it is weird... and it's really weird.
Franceso Del'anna Muja's interactive comic tale about the undead gets a revival with Zombie Society - Death After Death 1/3, a remake of the original peppered with more interactivity, though the story remains the same. In it, the dead are walking the Earth, but, well, that's okay, because we're following zombie sleuth Detective Margh. Even though everyone is dead, that doesn't mean there isn't any crime, and when Margh's friend Acka loses a portion of their farm in a mysterious explosion, he's on the case! Just click to advance panels and text, and click the dialogue balloon of your choice when given options. When magnifying glasses pop up, click them before they vanish to spot clues that may open more choices. The game feels like it moves a little more smoothly now, allowing players to read at their own pace, and some of the text has been cleaned up as well to flow better, though the biggest change is that you feel more active in the story by being able to make more decisions and spot clues. Zombie Society - Death After Death 1/3 is a fun, cheeky little zombie adventure where the dead guys are all right, and well worth reading through.
Alice seems aptly named for a blonde little girl who finds herself in a strange wonderland. Except there is a lot less wonder and a lot more terror. But our brave little heroine is a lot more confident as she strives to find a way out of this horror story. Red Book: Discordia Tales, a remake of a game made three years ago, is a free indie game that has you solving puzzles and on your toes as everything here seems ready to kill Alice. Inspired by The Witch's House and Grimms' fairy tales, you can bet there are going to be a lot of jump scares, deaths, and gore for all those daring enough to open this book. The [arrow] keys are your source of movement, [Z] is interact, [X] is to cancel, and your inventory is found with [ESC]. Oh and [shift] is dash, which you'll soon find a very useful button to press if you wish to make it out alive.
After years of peace, the evil Queen Amethyst has called her minions (everything from giant eyeballs and mushrooms, to your more typical zombies) out from under whichever rocks they were hiding under to try to take over the realm of FellCrest. Call the heroes out of retirement to fight with weapons and spells in BattleHand, a strategic card battle game by Another Place Productions. I hear out of work heroes like to hang out at taverns, so maybe you can recruit some there?
In Bad Viking's point-and-click adventure The Curse of the Mushroom King, also free for iOS and Android, Bad Viking himself as run afoul of the titular Mushroom King, and unless he can gather the (eclectic) items he needs to break the curse, he'll never enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again! To play, just click on anything to interact, or anywhere on the ground to walk there. Many items you find can be combined, so drag them on top of one another in your inventory to experiment. If you get stuck, well... try to think outside the box! And maybe that box's box, too. It's a weird one, but that's why we like it.
Villainy is afoot in FlashChaz and CKP Entertainment's randomly generated strategic puzzle game Welcome to Winkletown, where there's new crime to solve every day. Using a series of clues, it's up to you to pick out the guilty party from a bunch of Winkles. The information you're given probably won't be enough on its own to figure out who dunnit, so you'll need to question Winkles. Doing so costs you one Action Point, which you have a limited number of, forcing you to figure out what clues you're given are reliable enough to figure out the culprit's identity. You don't want to accuse the wrong person, after all. Figure out the guilty party before you run out of Ability Points to keep your successful crime stopping career going. It's a relatively simple game of deduction and logic, though its difficulty will depend on the clues you're given. Once more map locations open up, you'll have a lot more Winkles to choose from in different places, making picking the right one even harder! Cuter than a whole box full of buttons, Welcome to Winkletown proves crime doesn't pay, but it's still pretty fun.
Adult Swim's definitely-not-for-the-childrens cartoon series Rick and Morty is one of those shows that will leave you either aghast, horrified, and repulsed, or aghast, horrified, repulsed, and delighted. The misadventures through the multiverse of a brilliant but self-destructive scientist and his perpetually sweaty and put-upon grandson have proven themselves funny, unapologetically violent and profane, but also smart, touching, and insightful when you least expect it. And, well, now it's on your phone, in a way, in Pocket Mortys, free for iOS and Android thanks to the talents of Adult Swim Games and Big Pixel Studios. It's an interdimensional RPG adventure that looks fantastic and is easily accessible by just about everyone, though fans of the series might long for a little more meat on its bones thanks to some seriously toned down content and a simplified RPG formula.
Whether you're rising and shining, or just shuffling around while making inarticulate grunting sounds, you know that the only way to start your Wednesday off right is with Weekday Escape... but I mean... if you want to hit a girl up with some waffles for breakfast, that's pretty cool too. This week! Amajeto celebrates the New Year with a handful of puzzles and a familiar aesthetic. Vitamin Hana locks you up but arms you with a pretty useful tool. And Esklavos strands you somewhere warm you'll need to build your way out of... if you can find everything to click on.
[1/12/2016: The Room Three is now available for Android!]
It starts with a box of a very ordinary sort, at least as ordinary as a box that appears out of nowhere on your train ride can be, but what's inside is, oh, so much more than that. In The Room Three, a stunning puzzle adventure from Fireproof Games for newer iPads and iPhones and Android, it seems you've attracted the attention of someone calling themselves The Craftsman, and they'd like your help unraveling the secrets of what lies between the cracks of the world... if you can prove yourself, of course. What follows is an immersive and atmospheric trip down the rabbit hole, as, challenge after challenge, you are drawn deeper and deeper into curious places filled with curiouser mechanisms. You'll need to think hard in order to overcome the obstacles in your way, exploring each new area with the sweep of a finger to look for clues as to how to solve every new puzzle you come across. With multiple endings and hours of gameplay, The Room Three is just begging for you to pick up and play, but be warned that if you do, you might not be able to put it down until you're finished.
Allen Jay Roldan's short free indie horror game I'm Alright will probably make you flinch, and that's the point. As it opens, when you wake up in what appears to be a quiet and comfortable hospital, the sun is streaming through the windows and birds and singing outside, but things go wrong in a hurry. Suddenly, you have to escape, but with quick reflexes needed to sneak by enemies who can kill you with a touch, you'll find the game's handful of levels a definite challenge. Use the [arrow] keys to move, jump, and crawl, and hold [S] to hide in certain places. You'll need to figure out how the creatures you're trapped with work in order to get by them, but if you die, you'll just respawn at the entrance to the level you're in.
Eilo Landa has brought us some great logic games, like Sum Tracks and Finite Moves, and their newest simple twist is Wise Turn holding all the great puzzle logic we love, but without the math some of those other games require. Wise Turn is all about knobs and turning them in the right direction... that direction being "up". You'll know you got it right when the little arrow is glowing all warm and fuzzy like. Set up on a grid system, the puzzle part comes in when turning one will turn the whole row or column. Red turns clockwise, blue turns counter-clockwise, and some will take more than one click to move. You'll need to think a few steps ahead or end up turning in circles. With its invigorating soft music, relaxed feel, and all levels open to play so you're free to skip around, Wise Turn is the casual gameplay great to have to unwind from a long day.
Most bullet h-e-double-hockeysticks style action games have you firing back against the hail of seemingly impossible bullets, but in Rhete's challenging platformer Bullet Phaze, all you can do is dodge. You control a little pixel out to save his friends after they were sucked into a portal, and while every level is full of dangerous traps, lasers, projectiles and more, all you can do is switch your colour. See, if you're blue, red things won't hurt you but blue objects are dangerous, while the reverse is true when you're red. Use [WAD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump, and the down [arrow] or [S] to swap between red and blue. If you get hit, you'll need to start the whole level over again, so quick reflexes are a must. You may need to use springs to bounce, alternating colours quickly between hails of bullets, or find keys to unlock the door, though rescuing your friend on each stage is optional. It goes without saying that you'll need to enjoy a challenge to get behind this game, and while I experienced zero lag myself, if you're encountering any you may want to try closing any extra windows and programs. The levels are vicious but cleverly designed, so if you don't mind exploding a few dozen times, fire up Bullet Phaze!
Volch's new resource management incremental simulation Endless Expansion lets you start out mining stone and hewing trees, gradually working your way to facilities enabling you to produce technologically-advanced goods and materials like plastics, solar panels and power transmitters. Unlike Factorio and certain other games we could mention there are no hostile aliens, creature mobs or indigenous peoples to come between you and perfect idyllic planetwide resource-processing efficiency. Slap a few basic resource-gathering facilities where appropriate, connect them up to a storage unit or something that uses whatever it produces, attach power where appropriate, and you're ready to gather enough resources to build the next, more advanced, construction types. There are even Outposts that let you expand your available territory but you'll soon find that it's not how far you can spread out your empire that's important, it's how and where you prioritize your available resources that matters the most!
In Bromoco's text-based adventure Buried: Interactive Story, available for iOS and Android, an average day as a logger takes a turn for the bizarre. The last thing you can remember is an explosion, screaming... and now you've woken up, hours later, alone in the woods at night surrounded by devastation and silence. Something is clearly very, very wrong, and as you search for your fellow crew members and try to find out what happened, your choices over the course of five chapters will decide the outcome. Just tap the choice you prefer when one is offered... the rest of the time, the text advances on its own bit by bit. If you close the app, the game will automatically pick up right where you left off unless you choose to restart. Supremely creepy and well written, Buried makes for a great evening's read, though a single-file save system and an inability to manually advance the text makes it feel a little slow.
Functu knows how to bring the funky, as point-and-click puzzle game Easy Joe 4 shows. The goal is to guide our neon, abstract little bun-bun safely through each level by finding what you need to click on in the proper order to open the way forward. If you look at the world of online gaming as a buffet, Easy Joe 4 is the handful of candies you filch from the dessert bar... not particularly filling, but tasty and sweet nonetheless. It's going to be a little too easy for some, but hey, it's right there in the title, and at least this time you'll get a weird little quick-time-event arrow battle for Joe to Matrix his way through to boot, though it needs to be said... Joe is kind of a jerk.
Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas as you read this? Who cares! Fire up Eyesteam's physics puzzle platformer Mr. Splibox: The Christmas Story, and then leave it on the title screen while you dance in your chair to that infectious music for a minute or ten. When you're ready to play, you'll discover X-Mas World has been overtaken by the wicked Snow Boom, so it's up to Mr. Splibox to save the day again. Move with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, but Mr. Splibox can't jump, so you need to absorb the tiny Spliboxes (don't worry, they want to help) by pressing the down key, then tapping the up key to spawn them beneath Mr. Spilbox to boost him up. You can only build as high as you have Spliboxes to reach, but you'll find more to help as you go throughout the game. You can even throw Spliboxes at far away things by standing next to them and pressing [C] or the [spacebar]. Just watch out for enemies... use the Spliboxes to fight your battles for you, though with spikes, timed switches and more, you'll need quick reflexes to pull everything off. Mr. Splibox: The Christmas Story isn't substantially different from its predecessors, but it looks and sounds great, making it a fun little game whether you have eggnog in your fridge or not.
This title is available in Pay What You Want format, including free. If you enjoy this game, please consider paying the developer what you think it's worth!
Ever had a night out with friends in nature, enjoying the sounds of the fire, staring into the night sky and willing to talk about anything since you're so bored and the last bits of good gossip was shared an hour ago? Longest Night is exactly that as a group of friends turn towards the constellations to help pass the time with one another. While recounting the history from long ago of the very odd world they live in, we may even learn a few things about their own past. Finji's indie experimental game is more of a mix of super short stories with some semi-surrealism mixed in than a real game. Connect the stars on the patterns by using your mouse to click and drag a line between them, and then get a brief conversation with the characters below. Occasionally the character Mae will have a choice between responses as shown by arrows on their dialog, and then selected by clicking on the words you want her to speak. As a small glimpse into their full game, Night in the Woods, coming later in 2016, The Longest Night isn't there to have you achieve anything except for maybe some creativity shared and nostalgia of times past with close friends.
"Long ago, in the Middle Ages," begins Elefun Games' hidden-object adventure Witches' Legacy: Awakening Darkness, a witch straight-up shanked another witch, because things were way more hardcore back then, and they didn't have time to wait for more than ten seconds into the opening cutscene to start murderin'. In present day, or at least as present day as 1995 gets, our hero Jack is visiting his mother and little sister for dinner, but arrives to find a garden gone wild and his sister possessed, though on the upset, technically this always makes him the good sibling just by default. Turns out Nikki's body has been commandeered by an ancient witch, who was murdered by her fellow spiteful apprentice, and it's up to Jack, and a transmogrified wannabe witch, to save Nikki and put a stop to things. With the option to play a memory matching game instead of hidden-object scenes, customiseable difficulty, and a whole slew of gorgeously bizarre locations, Witches' Legacy: Awakening Darkness is refreshingly magical and creative, though... not particularly easy to take seriously.
Ugh, weekdays. Ugh, responsibilities. Ugh, not being able to play three free online escape games in a row handcrafted by three different developers. ... wait, that last one doesn't apply to us at all! Muahaha, take that, productivity, procrastination wins again! This week! Nagamochi Games gets very tricky with an escape game where you can't take anything at face value. Vitamin Hana is so over doors and wants you to get a workout to break free. And Choko-Chai gives the kitties a rest for a wintry little treat.
As someone with a deep and abiding terror of large bodies of water and a healthy fear of the dark, playing Lazy Monday Games' indie horror puzzle platformer Reveal the Deep, also available on Android with iOS coming soon, was maybe not the best idea. You control a little deep sea diver, exploring a creaking, groaning, sunken hulk, with your only illumination coming from your diving helmet. If you're playing on Android, as I was, then you swipe left or right to start moving in that direction, tap anywhere to stop, and swipe down and up to crouch and jump, respectively. Double-tapping anywhere turns your light on and off, which is not just unnerving, but a key mechanic. See, some areas don't just look different with your light off... they are different, and swapping back and forth between the two can help you move forward. Deeper...
In Daily Magic Productions' hidden-object adventure Sable Maze: Soul Catcher, twenty years ago people went missing in the little town of Sullivan River, your brother being one of them. You've been having dreams of him "trying to tell you something" (pointing repeatedly at a big sign is actually pretty clear as far as Signs From Beyond go), and on the 20th anniversary of his disappearance, you've come back to town to fix up his memorial, though getting sucked into the Underworld probably wasn't on the itinerary. Either way, you've got nowhere else to go but forward, stumbling through an enormous maze in hopes of reaching the Tree of Life at the center, and hopefully finding your brother along the way. A mysterious but totally trustworthy stranger promises to help you, but an even mysterious-er stranger seems determined to thwart you at every turn. With stunning art design and top-notch production values all around, Sable Maze: Soul Catcher is one comely little adventure through strange lands, though chances are many will find it far too easy.
Simple arcade game Agar.io, created by Matheus Valadares and also free for iOS and Android, is one of those weird little games that's hard to really pitch to someone. You're a dot. You eat little dots to grow bigger. You want to be the biggest dot you can! But everyone else, because this takes place online, is also a dot, eating other dots, in a quest to become the biggest dot... and they're trying to eat you! Avoid other, larger dots while eating other, smaller dots, and try to get the highest score you can. Your dot follows your cursor, and since the smaller you are, the faster you move, so if you need to zip off, consider hitting [W] to poot out some mass. You can split your dot in twain with the [spacebar], and all dots created like this will move with you in unison, and though this makes you much more vulnerable, crafty players can use the size change and numbers to their advantage... or their downfall if they get cocky. The big, green spiky dots (the word "dot" has now lost all meaning to me) are viruses, and if you're bigger than them, they'll split you apart if you collide... something that you may be able to use to save yourself if you're being chased by another, bigger player. You can play in a free-for-all against other players, choose team mode to work together, choose party to generate a link to play with your friends, or try experimental mode, which offers new gameplay elements. The game does offer optional microtransactions, which allow you to buy more of the coins you earn by leveling up, and these in turn can be spent on cosmetic skins or temporary experience point or starting mass boosts. Agar.io is one of those games you either find fiendishly addictive like a good chunk of the population, or just don't get the appeal of. If you've ever craved an action game that'll leave you breathlessly racing from a giant pink dot painted to look like a banana, this is the game for you.
In Dragosha Games' action-packed platformer Baron's Door, which follows Baron's Gate and Baron's Gate 2, and presumably eventually to be followed by Baron's Foyer and Baron's Kitchenette, you're busting out of prison and fighting your way through a castle packed with evil creatures to give the local wicked baron a good stabbing. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump, and click to attack, swapping between weapons with [Q] and [E]. Your health is represented by the red bar, and once that's gone, you'll have to respawn from the start of your current room with all enemies reset, though the blue shield bar will absorb incoming attacks as you replenish it. You can find all manner of helpful automatic spells and potions by smashing crates and barrels, or from dropped enemies, but don't destroy too much of the environment... you may need to use something to weigh down a switch! Most of your time is going to be spent hacking monsters into mulch, though you'll want to keep an eye out for stars to make sure you can unlock all the stages. So watch out for spikes and fireballs, don't let too many skeletons skewer you, and make your way through Baron's Door to Baron's... Throne Room? Baron's En-Suite? Baron's Crawlspace? Hm!
Made in just three days for Ludum Dare, Jezzamon's Tamamystery is a deceptively innocent throwback to older, Tamagotchi-er days as you handle the care and wellbeing of a tiny virtual critter. The are only two buttons... left can be triggered with [A], [Z], or the left [arrow], and the right button with the [S], [X], or [right] arrow. Hit both buttons at once to enter or leave buildings. There's more to Tamamystery than its clever papercraft design, as the title implies, but talking about what, exactly, would definitely spoil it even though the big twist comes a few moments in, though you may take a clue from looking at the game's rating if you're concerned about content. Though a little clunky to handle, Tamamystery is creative and clever, not to mention a fun spin on the "two button" and "growing" themes of the competition. Check out the official Ludum Dare page here, and when you're done, you can join me over here being crushed beneath the guilt of all those Tamagotchis we all begged for as kids, swore we'd take care of, and left to starve until their batteries died years ago after a week. Yaaaaaaay.
Ah, GameHouse's casual time-management Delicious series. How whimsical. How cheerful! Entrepreneur and restaurateur Emily is always working hard but having fun, like the time she built a new business while renovating her home, or went on a cruise, or planned her wedding. What lighthearted shenanigans will she get up to in Delicious: Emily's Hopes & Fears? Let's see... uhhh... hm. Seems Emily and her husband Patrick are having marital problems, while their little girl is... stricken by an incurable disease. Wow! Okay! Sounds... cheerful! But if you know Emily, you know she isn't going down without a fight, and she'll travel the world to find a cure for her baby girl with the best family and friends a woman could want at her back... and of course run a mean restaurant while she does it, too!
How does a helmet with no visible extremities of any kind move and wield a sword? You might call it magic, but I call it Nitrome, and they call their free iOS and Android turn-based puzzle game Rust Bucket. Our hero, a tiny horned helmet, is out to rid the world of badness, one swipe at a time, for as long as you can last in Endless Mode moving from room to room. The game has a handful of fun and well-designed tutorial stages to walk you through the finer points, but the basics come down to swiping up, down, left, or right to move a single space in that direction, and planning your movements so that you don't get swatted. See, Rust Bucket is turn-based, and when you move, so do enemies. If you move into a square within range of an enemy during the same turn, they'll smite you in an instant. But, if you can use the terrain to your advantage and make them come to you, you'll be able to strike them down instead. Throw in locked doors, peasants in peril, fire traps and more, and you have a simple but addictive and strategic puzzle game that fits in your pocket.
Wild Wastelands, by Crionuke Games, Anised Games, and Kirill Kashur, takes the arena shooter to the post-apocalyptic battleground, as you fend off waves of mutated baddies and big bosses. Your character automatically follows your cursor, and fires at whatever is closest, with the [spacebar] being used to open the upgrades menu to spend your valuable radioactive waste on enhancing your abilities or unlocking new characters, and click to activate your special ability. Each time you die, you'll have to start the assault over from the beginning, making it a bit of a grind since you only have a single hit point until you unlock a new character, so prioritize upgrading Loot drops to get more for upgrades faster. The crazy chaotic boss fights are the best part of it all, so it's a shame there aren't more of them, and an optional checkpoint system to allow players to start from anywhere they've already cleared would not have gone unappreciated. Still, if you're looking for a bright but simple shooter that gets more chaotic as you go, Wild Wastelands is a solid bet.
"I Object?!" Nobody ever really expects to hear that at a wedding outside of cheesy rom-coms, but in this short free indie adventure from Indrah, MakioKuta (April Was a Fool), and Racheal, the Dark Lord's son has gone off to elope with his true love, and as an iron-fisted overlord, naturally this disrespect cannot stand. Sasha, Nikka, and Dimitri are sent to bring the lovesick lad back home, but they're, um... not exactly tactful. Or stealthy. Or... well, let's just say I'm sure they have other talents outside of crashing weddings. But there's a magical barrier keeping them from their task, so our intrepid trio will need to scour the castle for a means to bring it down. Use the [arrow] keys to move, the [spacebar] to interact, and [ESC] to open the menu where you can save the game. It's a gleefully silly, funny little adventure that definitely deserves your RSVP.
The cat is back, and you know what that means... it's time for a Lo.Nyan's escape game, Lo.Nyan's Room Escape 15! The room you're trapped in this time seems pleasantly mellow, with relaxing decor and beautiful sunny windows, though of course we're not here to admire the aesthetic. Just click on things to interact with them, and use the transparent bars that appear at the edges of the screen when you mouse over them to move around the room. Don't worry, you don't need to be able to read Japanese to solve the game, but you will need to keep an eye out for clues, because this seemingly ordinary and fashionable room hides plenty of puzzles and secrets. You may have to look at something a different way, and as usual, once you find the camera, you'll be able to use it to take photographs of any clues you find so that you can refer to them in your inventory whenever you need to. Handy! So resist that urge to curl up on that cozy couch in a sunbeam... we've got a room to escape from!
Made in just three days for Ludum Dare, Sort the Court! by graebor, Amy Gerardy, and Bogdan Rybak is a simple sim about a king making all the hard choices to raise your kingdom to a population of 250 by presiding over the decisions people bring to you each day, though you can only answer Yes or No (type [Y] or [N]) to each of them, and you won't always know the consequences right away. Sometimes it might be as simple as loaning some cash to a fisherman, while others might have you deciding whether to potentially gamble away some souls for the chance at some extra cash. Decisions can impact your money, population, and happiness positively or negatively, and with 37 different characters and over 150 decisions, Sort the Court! is extremely charming with its cute art filled with lovely little touches and surprises. Help your kingdom grow, and check out the official Ludum Dare 34 page for Sort the Court! to vote!
In Xaychru04's aptly named challenging action game Bloodungeon, you play a kid on a "hover"board who, in their attempt to beat their friend's best time racing through an old temple, has inadvertently awoken and annoyed the ancient force within the dungeon itself, who is super annoyed with your racing antics. Now, your board has a bomb on it that will go off after ten seconds, resetting after you clear each room, so you've got to speed through all manner of deadly traps and pitfalls before time is up. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, and stay away from anything dangerous, since a single hit will make you explode into a pulpy mess and force you to retry the room again. It's like a more violent Duke Dashington, and definitely the sort of game you need to enjoy fast-paced reflexive death to want to spend some time with, though if you experience any lag, make sure you don't have other browser windows open with resource-intensive content, since a second can mean the difference between success and literally losing your head!
Pocketwatch getting slow? Household appliances grumbling at you in low tones? It may seem a little cramped to you and me, but we have it on good authority from Charlie Oscar that there actually are 'gremlins in the works': microscopic, urbane, amoral creatures infiltrating any machine or device they possibly can and then exploiting them to enact their own nefarious schemes in their tiny steampunk towns! If Terry Pratchett picked Monopoly and morally bankrupt tycoonism as his subject and made it a board and card game rather than a novel, the single and online multiplayer Gremlins, Inc. would be the result. In their miniature world of 'civilized' chicanery and subterfuge gremlins attempt to outdo each other for prestige, influence and lucre — typically spending more of their efforts pranking and sabotaging each others' agendas than accomplishing anything of their own. Bribing officials, rigging elections, attempting to build the occasional mechanical achievement for the prestige that brings with it, robbing each other blind and setting dirty traps to ensnare their competitors, the gremlin life is anything but simple and these little guys resemble political cartoon caricatures more than anything else. Despite its multiplayer aspects and its card game appearance, Gremlins, Inc. is a full, complete indie game without any in-app purchases whatsoever. Buy it the once, and it's yours for good.
After a space anomaly you, Captain Welmu for the Spacefleet, end up on the far side of the galaxy all alone with only your A.I unit to keep you company. On your way to returning home you run into a weak signal for help coming from a planet called Hox. Decided to appease your curiosity you go down to see if you can help, only, of course, to end up getting into your own predicament. Can you find a way to get off the planet or find who needs your help or maybe find a way to kill two birds with one stone? The Captain is just a small demo of the much larger planned game by SysiacGames. But if the game is anything like this demo, we'll all be anxiously awaiting the final product. This point-and-click adventure game feels like a teaser for something big and great by being something small, but great. With three different endings and an intro to the kind of gameplay and characters we can expect to see in the future project it still feels like a game on its own.
Times are tough for murderers these days with the Investigator prowling the streets solving crimes left and right, always with a handy sidekick. There is no case that has gone unsolved since Investigator the Alligator has come along, and with his sidekicks to help him, he's sure to always have an audience to appreciate his brilliance, and all his puns, too. In Investigator and the Case of the Chekhov's Gun, a point-and-click adventure mystery by The Sky & the Sea, you investigate a fishy suicide. Playing as Bad Luck Duck, the Investigator's faithful right-hand-man for this case, find the clues scattered about and help interrogate the people of interest. You can click on items when the mouse turns into a magnifying glass, and then clicking on each interrogation room will give you your questioning options. While that's about all there is to this simple game, the mystery is still puzzling and will keep you thinking up until the time when the pressure is on to condemn someone to the crime. With its short length, it's the perfect pick-me-up for your day during your break. If a murder most foul brightens your day, that is.
I think everyone gets a little antsy when the end of the year begins to loom... after all, we've got a tradition. We all know the new year can't officially start unless Mateusz Skutnik leads us on a little point-and-click puzzle adventure to find it! Thankfully, Where is 2016? is here, and now we can stop worrying we're trapped inside some horrible temporal loop! To play, just click to interact with the scene, keeping an eye out for when the mouse changes shape to show you something is there. Don't let the ominous music scare you away... you'll need to hunt through various places to activate pieces of machinery tucked away in every nook and cranny of different scenes, all rendered in beautiful sharp photography. Where is 2016? is a bit more of a straight-forward hidden-object search than you might expect, with most of the difficulty coming from finding hotspots to click on in each area, and some of them are very sneaky. But, well... you're not going to leave us trapped in 2015 forever, are you?
Up and at 'em, escaperinos! Wednesday waits for nobody, and Weekday Escape has arrived to make it a little more bearable through the judicious application of puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles. This week! A reader sends us an escape game with an old school feel and one whopper of a captor. A tree that isn't trimmed is no tree at all, so you'll need to wade through some cuteness to get it set up. And there are chores to be done before you can leave, because developers have given up all pretense of pretending that they really aren't making us do their grunt work for them!
When the castle is filled to the ramparts with demons, there's only one name to call in Ye Old Yellowe Pages-e, and that's you! In Eyesteam's action-packed platformer Diseviled, this particular monster-squashing job has you fighting your way to the basement to retrieve the magic book that's the source of all the castle's woes. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump, and [C] or [L] to attack. Your health and mana are represented in the upper-left corner, so keep an eye on those, and activate any flag checkpoints you find too... juuuust in case you need to respawn. Enemies drop coins to improve your score and potions to heal you, but you'll need to be spry to avoid traps and other nastiness. It's all very similar to Eyesteam's Call of Sword, though its abandoned double-jumping for much easier to use ledges. Diseviled is still a little too slow and kludgy for the fast-paced combat it wants to have, though the lack of any penalty makes respawning a snap... plus, it's cute in a blood-soaked sort of way. So get demon-stomping!
When you get some chilling omens in the middle of the night it's best to put up your guard. This farmer learned it the hard way when his prized sheep Lucy was carried away by a dragon. Now the heroic farmer is now off to save his pet with the help of his super pig and perhaps some folks he meets along the way. Though high up in these far away parts the natives here only seemed to response to violence. Beat the foes, gain new heroes and save your sheep in Wooood's Farmer Quest. In this different kind of RPG, your attacks are based on matching three or more icons to gain more attack power, build defense, heal yourself up, getting gold, or attacking the enemy. But this match-3 game is unusual from the rest as you're sharing the board with your enemy, and in this turn-based fighting system you have to think ahead and get the best match first before your opponent. Click and drag your desired shape to its match. This family friendly game is all about buying upgrades to improve your hero and unlock their secret move. Probably on the easier side of things, this game is just made to be enjoyed by all.
Need a new mobile game to engage your brain? In Fun Pipe, an engaging new puzzle game by Xuan Hu, you are presented with brilliantly colored pipes to position correctly. Just tap to rotate a tile until each colored pipe makes a continuous track. It sounds simple, and it certainly starts out that way. But before long you'll have to slow down and plan your moves very carefully if you want to come away with all three stars.
In MadPuffers' Madmen Racing 2, just like the original physics-driven racing game, you're racing across a series of chaotic tracks against other wacky characters to take home the gold to better upgrade your character or unlock new ones. Use the [arrow] keys to accelerate, brake, and turn flips in midair, use [X] to trigger any powerups you may have nabbed to waylay your opponents, hold [Z] to use your Nitro boost, and hit [C] to jump. Each level has bonus objectives to complete to earn even more cash, and the variety of courses to flip, blast, and power slide your way through will keep you playing for a long time, though bold parodies aside, not every character is all that tasteful. It's weird, silly, and over-the-top, but what else can you expect from a game where you can play as a barely disguised Star Wars reference doing flips underwater against a Playboy Bunny in a carrot?
If you're a monster, Halloween is probably the most romantic night of the year, and Frankie has his eyes set on Countess Bela... too bad she's not interested unless he can bring her something sweet to eat. In point-and-click adventure Monster Love from Carmel Games, you'll have to help Frankie search the town for some candy if he stands a chance with the ghoul of his dreams, but of course, nothing is ever simple when it comes to love. The cursor will change when it passes over something you can click on to interact with, and if you get stuck, try combining any items you're carrying. You'll need to help the townsfolk before Frankie can get his hot (or cold? can vampires get hot?) date, but this is one treat that's going to be a short bite, and that's no trick.
Funkyland has a real problem with housekeeping. I mean, I'm beginning to suspect these aren't escape games after all... they just won't let us leave until we've cleaned up and helped them find what they were looking for! In Alice House 2 No.05: Wool and Water, it's five items bearing a sheep's likeness, and as usual, it's complicated by the fact that there are sneaky puzzles everywhere... though, if you're crunched for time, don't worry, since as usual, Funkyland's games fit perfectly inside a coffee break. There's no changing cursor to show you what's interactive, so just click around the room to search yourself. If you want to try using an item you're carrying, click the object in your inventory at the bottom of the screen, then wherever you want to try to use it. Most of the puzzles here will be straightforward since there's no much to search through, so as long as you pay attention to the more obvious clues, you'll be wool gathering in no time, though some puzzles are sneakier than you'd think.
Remember Taylor? The science student turned stranded survivor in Lifeline? Well assuming you played that choose your own adventure game til you found the best possible ending and didn't leave Taylor to die a horrible death in the hands of aliens, the most pop-culture literate character I've ever encountered is back in 3 Minute Game's sequel to the original interactive story, Lifeline: Silent Night, written by Dave Justus, for your mobile device. Taylor's been rescued by a mining ship but after a few uneventful weeks, the crew is awakened by an alarm indicating an unidentified craft is heading their way. Remembering how much you helped during the last crisis, the astronaut decides to contact you for advice again. Are the newcomers friendly or agressive? Will your choices help or hurt your friend?
Ben and Elizabeth were a nice young couple who had a nasty car accident. The hidden-object adventure handbook says that one of them should wake up in some backwater town, while the other one goes missing, presumably kidnapped by a creature with vague supernatural powers. Well, this ain't that sort of game. Elizabeth dies. Ben keeps seeing her in his dreams which torture him, until, one night, a dream seeps into reality. He receives a ticket which takes him to an abandoned amusement park. Maybe he will meet his wife there? Could they somehow be together again? The Last Dream by Specialbit Studio is an unusual, surreal story of loss, grief, but also of bravery and perseverance as long as there's so much as a glimmer of hope.
Aries Escape is throwing another Christmas party for you and your good friends, but no sooner do you show up when you find yourself locked inside by yourself! After all, true friends know what you want for the holiday... an escape game to puzzle your way out of, and Aries Escape No. 21: X'mas 2015 is just the ticket. The cursor will change when it passes over something you can click on to interact with, and items you're carrying can be viewed up close by double-clicking them, which may reveal new surprises. Don't be scared of the headless torso in the bottom right corner, that actually represents you, and if you get stuck, try using items on yourself. There are two possible endings in this game, provided you can stop dancing like a maniac to the peppy soundtrack, so don't be in a hurry to leave even when you think you've found the way out. There are sneaky puzzles and cryptic clues galore scattered around this cozy bar, but as long as you leave no stone unturned and make the most of everything you've got, it'll be no match for you.
It's not every year Link Dump Friday falls on Christmas day, so if you're celebrating, have a very merry holiday, and don't shake that present from me under the tree too hard before you open it. I mean... I did get you that puppy, after all, and they get sick easily. We've got a whole bunch of clouds who just can't get along, a Santa who's determined to ring a little cheer into people to wring out some cash, a witch who's cursed a bunch of presents, and a Santa who needs some serious defense against some crazy baddies.
Feeling Christmassy? You will when you play TomaTea's escape game Escape 2015, which goes all out with holiday music, presents, gingerbread, toys, and decorations galore... not to mention a lonely Christmas tree outside. As usual, the tip of the game's cursor will glow when it passes over something you can click on to interact with, and if you haven't seen the corresponding clue for a puzzle you're looking at, the game will flat-out tell you that you have no idea how to solve it. You'll need to find a whole passel of presents, but also puzzle pieces and more, so click the little "i" that appears when you mouse over something you're carrying to view it up close... you might learn something new, or just use it to keep track of how many pieces of a particular item group you're missing. Because this is a TomaTea game, clues to solve puzzles are hidden everywhere, some of them not-so-obviously in plain sight, so if you get stuck, take another look at your festive furnishings. Escape 2015 strikes just the right balance of puzzle difficulty, making it the perfect choice to cozy up with whether you're celebrating Christmas, or getting ready to ring in the New Year...
What kind of Christmas would it be if not for the hard work of Santa's elves? Pencilkids may have hidden them away in each stage of their point-and-click puzzle game Monkey GO Happy Elves, but that's no cause for alarm... with a little help from a sniffly simian, we can find each twee toymaker and make our Monkey GO Happy! In each level, you've got to solve a different puzzle to figure out how to find the hidden elf. It may be as simple as figuring out what to click on, or it may be a little more complicated and require some more thought or fast reflexes. In general, however, this one is definitely easy enough to bring the kids in on, and as a bonus, you get to tell them they saved Christmas! Cheerful, silly, and definitely Christmassy, Monkey GO Happy Elves is 21 levels of easy but fun holiday cheer.
After over ten years, the final plot in Mateusz Skutnik's beloved, cryptic point-and-click adventure series of Submachine games comes to a close with Submachine 10: The Exit. Our review is on the way, but in the meantime you can play the game here or on the official site, where you can also buy Submachine 10: The Exit in HD to support the developer. Are you ready for the final chapter in a decade of adventure... ?
Play the entire Submachine series:
Get the HD version
Mac OS X:
Get the HD version
Can you imagine? There are some people who are able to get up and function through the rest of their week without a fresh infusion of free online escape games to get them through Wednesday. What weirdos! For all us sane folk who know puzzles are the way to go for Hump Day, Weekday Escape has arrived, and with three developers riding merrily with it. Vitamin Hana's cats have been trapped again, and before you can be freed, you need to free them. Esklavos has a bunch of presents you need to gather before you can lay a finger aside of your nose. And Twinkle celebrates Christmas with all the right decorations and a few puzzles sprinkled in to make them shine.
When life starts feeling a little bland perhaps it's time to go and look for some color to put the jazz back into your step... while at the same time letting you see where you can step. Saturated by Elliott Mahler and George Li, the latter part of the team that brought us the adorable Undivided, is about a colorless little fellow trying to move on every level by using the balls of color scattered around the large nearly empty rooms. In this platform puzzler when you touch a color, the background changes to match, and you are no longer able to see the red platforms, but the blue and green platforms now can stand out brightly. When you need the red platforms, then touch one of the other color orbs, and the color platforms that match will be saturated into the background. There are a few different types of platforms... the moving ones, solid ones you have to jump on top of, and the thin ones you can jump up through. Find the right times to change the colors and jump your way to the gate to lead you to your unknown reward. The levels are long, but there are only four of them so there isn't a reason you couldn't go help get some color back into this hatted hero's life.
Looking for a puzzle game that'll spin you right 'round, baby, right 'round? Moocho Brain's Rancho Ranch, originally conceived for Ludum Dare, has you covered. Aliens are harassing farms again, you see, and these crop circles they've beamed into the earth have trapped the critters in their loops, which is a problem since animals are happiest when they're all grouped with others of the same type. Click either half of the left or right circle to rotate the animals surrounding it back and forth, with a goal of shuffling them into order until all matching animals are touching in an unbroken line. You can take as many tries as you want to get it right, but the number beside the star at the bottom of the screen shows how many moves you can use for a perfect rating, so use the left-facing arrow button to undo your last move, or hit the dual arrows to restart the level. Though it gets a little repetitive, Rancho Ranch tosses in other elements like hawks you must keep your chickens away from, foxes that will go after goats, hunger, thirst, and more animal types, to make each of the game's 40 levels a challenge. It's simple, sure, but it's also simply smart for players of all ages looking for a polished little puzzle game that's big on charm to twist their brain.
The humans are still struggling against the alien race that conquered the earth. With poisonous air, radiation leaks, alien beasts, mecha suits, and spaceships, there doesn't seem there is much a human can do with a handful of ammo and a pistol. But if you played the original Earth Taken, or the sequel ,you know that firearms and food rations go a long way. That's right, SeethingSwarm is back with a new addition to their action adventure scifi shooter, Earth Taken 3. All of the mechanics have stayed the same. Move with the [arrow ]keys, fire with [A], jump or double-jump with [S], reload your weapon with [R] and switch between them with [Q]. There are still trash cans and dead bodies to search with the [spacebar], and cars and barrels to explode with a couple of shots to give you the upper hand when you're going head-to-head with the aliens and brainwashed humans. There are more quests to be done, upgrades to buy and achievements to figure out. Keeping with everything we love there are plenty of secrets to find, allies to join with and endless alien butts to kick. And with a new character creation, you can do it all in your own personal style.
[Note: Please be aware that this game contains themes of abuse and torture.]
It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again. There. Okay. Phew. It's out of my system, I swear. As Eipix Entertainment's hidden-object adventure Phantasmat: Behind the Mask opens, you've just arrived for a family reunion thrown by your estranged cousin Patrick, whose decision to have the party at the world's least inviting remote Gothic mansion, complete with cryptic warnings about "missing the main event", somehow fails to set off any warning bells whatsoever. Ditto the fact that the key to the place is describe as a "face in agony", and the whole place feels like it's set its soundtrack to Silent Hill, but hey, what do I know about foreshadowing. Once inside, you find yourself in odd company, with an assortment of eccentric relatives, each with their own specialty, but making awkward dinner conversation is the least of your worries when you suddenly find yourself trapped inside. All you want to do is get out, but someone has other plans for you, and it looks like this is one family tree you might want to cut yourself out of...
In Wolve Games' Metroidvania-style puzzle platformer Sprout, made in just 72 hours for Ludum Dare, you're a little mutant that's just dropped (squelched? popped?) into being. You don't have much... no eyes, not even legs... in fact, you're just a head! But if you try exploring, who knows what you'll find in this strange place full of switches, secrets, tunnels and more? Use [A] and [D] to roll left and right initially, and other controls will be explained to you as you find the parts to activate them. [W] to jump with legs, for instance, as well as activate certain things, and the [arrow] keys to shoot when you gain an eye. Though the controls can be a little clunky, or rather, navigating some of the terrain can, Sprout still manages to be pretty charming and intriguing as you explore and figure out how the various parts of your environment work, with some pretty clever interactions. Give it a try, and be sure to visit its Ludum Dare page to vote for it in the competition!
[Note: This game contains content that may be upsetting to some people. Please refer to the warnings on the official website to learn more if you are concerned.]
Every family has its problems, but Shuuki's has never been the same since the accidental death of his twin sister four years ago. The blame landed on Shuuki's older brother Natsume, who's now nowhere near as reliable as he used to be, though he tries his best to take care of Shuuki and their brother, Masaharu, even though none of them are as close as they used to be. Still, they all care for one another, even if none of them quite know how to express it or can get along for long enough to try. That all changes the day Shuuki discovers Natsume murdered, and a stranger offers him to a chance to fix everything... but nothing is ever that simple. In Cyanide Tea's gorgeous indie visual novel thriller Break Chance Memento, Shuuki finds himself not only desperately trying to save his family, but on the hunt for a time-skipping serial killer who can't be stopped by ordinary means. Using his new ability to travel through time using objects that connect to specific dates and people, Shuuki is certain he can fix everything... all he needs is enough time, and he has all the time in the world... right? A thrilling adventure with engaging characters and more than enough heart to go around makes Break Chance Memento one to catch.
Happy Link Dump Fridaymas! It comes but once a week, so make the most of it, and provided you were wishing for a trio of free online games to poke at, your wishes will even come true on this rarest of holidays! This week! Mad Puffers goes all out in an incremental idle clicker game that makes reference to almost everything. Krutovig locks you up and throws away the key behind some mysterious contraptions and pixel hunting. And Moon Monky introduces you to a family who should maybe stop fiddling with arcane arts if they can't keep imprisoning their souls in gems accidentally.
If you're ever feeling blue, just go play a Sanpoman escape game, and I guarantee you won't be quite so sad anymore, though you may need to lie down for a while to process the cuteness. In Ladybug Room, which is not as over-the-top adorable as Sanpoman's other games but is still pretty cute, as you might expect you're locked up somewhere with a ladybug motif, and a despondent ladybug in the corner. There's no English text, but there's also no language barrier to playing... your cursor will change when it passes over something you can click on to interact with, and your can examine items you're carrying by clicking the item first, and then the "?" button below your inventory. Though the room may look sparse, there are a lot of clever puzzles in it, and many of them will likely require you to take a second look at the clues you find, as the game is excellent at sneakily playing with your perceptions and hiding things... even in places you think you've already looked! It's still not a very long game, but it makes up for it by being a smart one with a great design that makes you enjoy every second. Ladybug Room represents exactly the sort of escape game we wish there were more of... just the right size for a break, cleverly designed, and cute as the proverbial button without being saccharine. Do yourself a favour and play it!
Note: Special thanks to staalmedia for providing JayisGames with an add-free version!
You'd think by now the pirates of staalmedia's Flooded Village series of puzzle games would have moved somewhere a little less arid. Maybe then they wouldn't need to divert so many rivers and lakes to float their boats and grow their Christmas trees. But I suppose then we wouldn't have Flooded Village Xmas Eve 4, also available for iOS and Android, where once again you need to click tiles to remove them and divert water to where it's needed. Water will flow into any open space it can, and you need it to be adjacent to all things that need it, such as trees and pirate boats, to win the level, though if water comes in contact with ice it'll freeze solid and won't be able to flow, and of course, you don't want to drown any hapless elves. The fewer moves you complete a stage in, the better your star rating, and as gamers we are contractually required to love stars. Though by now a familiar mechanic and concept, Flooded Village Xmas Eve 4 is a cute and fun little puzzle game no matter what the season.
When it comes to Christmas, some people aren't happy unless they go all out and blind their neighbours with dazzling lights and decorations, and if you were to, say, encounter A Christmas Blackout right as your house was about to be judged to win a decorating competition (to win all you can eat gingerbread, no less!), why, that would be the worst. Possible. THING. So help our heroine in this short holiday point-and-click adventure by Carmel Games as she tries to get the lights back on before the judging committee has to go. Just click on things to interact! The icon will change depending on whether you can pick something up or otherwise fiddle with it, and clicking an item on your inventory will make sure it tries to be used with the next thing you click on. It won't take you long to light up the night, though one puzzle may be a little unintuitive, so let's just hope she shares some of that sweet gingerbread victory with us! I'm probably not going to ask if she doesn't, though. You do not mess with people who go so far as to put up Christmas wallpaper.
Ding! Another installment of Weekday Escape is ready to come out of the oven, baked to flaky, rich perfection by three of your favourite escape game developers, and ready to be eaten all by yourself in one sitting. This week! MayMay's kitchen may be a little weird and involved more code cracking than you're used to, but there's pie in your future. Primera would like a masterpiece, though maybe they should have left the paints and brushes out for us then? And Funkyland's not going to let us open any presents or have any sweets until we track down some eyeliner.
[Note: Please be warned that this game contains some graphic violent content some players may find upsetting. Read the rest of the review for details.]
Rusty Lake, as we all know by now, is a very special place, but you might want to think twice before you check into the Rusty Lake Hotel, no matter how scenic it is, because you never know what, or who, is on the menu. In the developer's first paid title, a surreal point-and-click puzzle game available as a download for Windows and Mac, or on Android and iOS, a group of six guests have just arrived, and it's up to you to make sure their stay is... pleasant. They're all there for their own reasons and expect you to give them what they want, and that includes serving them up fine dining every day. Your toady chef is only to happy to whip up three star recipes, but you'll need to find the ingredients yourself. On a wholly unrelated note, why don't you pay a visit to your guests after hours... ?
Sometimes I like to pretend Vitamin Hana is a magical fairy who leaves little escape games everywhere to brighten the day. In Take Me By Magnet Escape, the room looks barren, so you'll need a keen eye for detail (and the willingness to track down some unintuitive hotspots given the lack of changing cursor) if you want to pick the clues out of this apparent emptiness that will allow you to escape. Just click on things to interact and move around the room, and don't forget to examine items you're carrying with the About Item button... you never know what you might see up close when you fiddle with it! You'll actually go a while before you see hide nor hair of a magnet, mostly because magnets have neither hide nor hair, but before you start lighting torches and waving pitchforks, yelling, "WE WERE PROMISED MAGNETS", patience. Vitamin Hana always delivers, and despite some fiddly hotspots, so does this short little game when it comes to bite-sized escapery goodness.
The era of mechanized servitude under the auspices of Prime Leader Bedlor were thought to be over. But it turns out to be hard to keep one of those squishy meat-sacks down. Now Bedlor is releasing a string of ever-evolving flesh creatures sure to strike fear in any robot's heart equivalent. It's up to super-fighting robot iZBOT to defeat the organic menace, once and for all. iZBOT is a retro action-platform game by Daniel Spruce and Ruxar, where you take control of a fast-moving, double-jumping, wall-sliding hero of cyber-justice as he battles to make the world safe for non-humankind.
Once thought to be all but a myth, Vikings have cropped up once again and this time they are under your command. The Last Vikings, by Springloaded, is labeled as an RPG but isn't really quite so. It has you building boats, gaining recruits, grooming your heroes, and of course crushing village walls, raiding their homes and marking your empire to be the strongest vikings around! This free mobile game can be played online where you can engage in PvP against your friends or strangers, or, if you'd rather just enjoy crushing your nonhuman controlled enemies in singleplayer, you can do that too. But in order to do either you must gain resources, upgrade your weapons and heroes by destroying the gate of any city you find, and then finishing off their armies within. Fight off cannonballs and sea monsters while keeping your men rowing strong, and then battle head-to-head with endless bosses to keep your viking ancestors proud. You'll have to be quick with your fingers because it's all about timing and reflexes with a little bit of strategy mixed in.
I know what you're thinking. Christmas escape games are nice, but what if they were also super cute? Well, wonder no more, because Yonashi has unwrapped Christmas Toy Room, and it's got gadgets and gizmos aplenty, but instead of whozits and whatsits galore, we've got all manner of teddy bears, toy trains, decorations, puzzles and more. Just click on things to interact and more around the room. Objects you can use highlight with a transparent silhouette when you mouse over them, and you can view items you're carrying close up by clicking on the little magnifying glass on their icon. Some of the puzzle mechanisms you'll encounter are pretty clever, so make sure to keep an eye on your surroundings to see if something may have changed elsewhere in the room as you fiddle with things. Christmas Toy Room is a great little holiday escape that'll entertain you and make you think without overstaying its welcome... but hopefully you won't have to be the one doing all the wrapping for these toys!
From the makers of Egg Knights and Caravan Beast comes another real-time strategy RPG where it's all about unlocking those sweet, sweet heroes, not to mention upgrading your items, finding hidden secrets and coming up with the perfect duo to take on each level. Vault of Xenos, by Goody Gameworks, is about a magical land where heroes of old have been locked away in vaults. Thankfully, someone has found at least one key, and releasing your first Xenos you can start to slay this evil that has spread across the land and gain more keys to free the others. With nine heroes to unlock (eleven if you make an account with Armor Games and play on their site) and locked up items to give your heroes a boost, you'll have plenty of keys to find. In this defense game you'll make use of the many hotkeys (thought the mouse can do the job just as well) to move your heroes around the map to keep the bad guys from making it to their nefarious goal. Every hero has their unique abilities, and you can give them items which boost specific stats to help them out even further. There is a lot going on in each battlefield, both good and bad, so you'll have to keep an eye on everything to command your Xenos to victory.
[December 2015: Now available on mobile devices!] A Good Snowman is Hard to Build, by Alan Hazelden, also available for iOS and Android, 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.
"I will pay any ship a large sum to kill that beast," said Captain Ahab in a slow monotone, gazing out the window. "The beast that killed my daughter." But that beast is actually the protagonist here, so it's... standing right behind you, Ahab! From Bearmancer, the developer who didn't bring you the first-person shooter version of Little Women, comes this must-play arcadified action RPG take on Herman Melville's American lit classic about a giant sperm whale who played by his own rules and a sea captain who couldn't get enough of him. You're splashing around crashing into ships like sushi boats, yet this time around there's plenty of innovation. Mobias is amassing enough soul energy through his capsized conquests to become an immortal ocean god, complete with upgradable skills and boatloads of special abilities. Narwal horn, huge bouncing saws, freeze and rage fields, spawning rocky spikes on splashes, head-mounted leviathan laser beams, life stealing and oodles more? Plus steampunk Tesla bots and ships that condense beams of pure sunlight at you? Yup, pretty sure this is canon. Pequod is for an American classic what Dance Dance Revolution is to the waltz and the lindsey, and you're gonnna love it. We can classic lit, and so can you!
[Note: This game contains themes that may be upsetting to some. Please see my notes in the second paragraph for more information.]
"'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved before." Sound familiar? The protagonist of hidden-object adventure Immortal Love: Letter from the Past by Friends 4 Games sure never wrapped his head around that concept... but to be fair, that quote was probably more for couples who discovered wild pizza topping incompatibilities than someone who wakes up imprisoned with their memories removed, so I guess I can forgive him for not moving on to bachelorhood after a good cry, an Adele CD, and some mint chocolate chip ice cream. See, turns out Jacques (you!) was deeply in love with Angelica, which was a problem since the wicked Count was of the "if I can't have her, no-one will" sort, and he shot her in front of you rather than let the two of you abscond. Two months later, with your memories cursed clean and awaiting execution in a cell, you're rescued on the eve of your execution by a strange masked man who tells you it's not too late to save her. But this isn't a simple story of your average jerk who can't take no for an answer. It's an unexpectedly twisted adventure with high action and some morbid leanings that will keep you guessing throughout.
Angry Bison's Gemnastix, also available for iOS, is a match-3 (well, match-2 or more, really) arcade-style puzzle game with a twist. You're still matching gems up in groups of two or more identical colours, but the screen is divided in two halves, and you have to move gems from one side to the other to make your matches... trying to make a match only on the right or left side won't work! Sound easy? Well.... it's not that simple. Though it only has one gameplay mode, with power-ups to earn and a high-score based system that will keep you matching to unlock them, Gemnastix is a fun variant on a beloved genre with an easy to pick up yet hard to put down presentation.
Mutantleg's retro-styled shooter Lab, with music by Arteria 3D, isn't all Doom and gloom!... except for maybe that first part. There's definitely a lot of Doom in this homage to old-school action, and hey, sometimes you need to blast your way through halls of mutants. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move (hold [shift] or [X] if you want to side-step while moving instead of turning), and [Z] or [ctrl] to shoot. Don't get too trigger-happy since you have limited menu, and of course you'll want to dodge enemy attacks and keep an eye on your health. As you might expect, you'll find various pick-ups, like armor, laying around, some of which are hidden inside boxes that need to be blasted open. Just shoot your way through gob-spitting mutants, giant flying bugs, hopping... thingies... and more, keeping an eye out for secrets, of course. Some may find Lab's dedication to being such a faithful homage makes it a little too simple and familiar, though it gets more elaborate after the training-wheels first stage, but if you want some good old fashioned shooting like grandma used to make, Lab is an easy bet.
Another week, another Friday. Would any of you be surprised to hear I wait here, feverishly clutching my party hats and my noisemakers, waiting for the weekend to release me? Chances are, no matter what your job or school is like, you're all about getting some well deserved R and R, and here to help with the latter is your Link Dump Friday. This week! A dinner party goes sour when a murderer is afoot... except that murderer is you, and you have no feet since you're a beholder! A priest straps on his dungeon-delving gear to hack and blast his way through infernal critters for a divine kitty cat. And a Canadian House Hippo, which I expect you all to be familiar with, learns the true meaning of Halloween... if it can figure out how to deal with this cat!
At Hogwarts they use owls to deliver mail. In the forest blue jays are the bird of choice, and you're awakened by an urgent letter from your grandma. She's sick, and needs you to travel through the mountains to find the cure and deliver it to her. Put on your red cloak and go in Lightdrop Game's darling point-and-click puzzle game and twist on the Little Red Riding Hood story, Brave and Little Adventure for your iOS device. Tap on the floor to make Red (otherwise known as Molly) walk. If you pass an item you can interact with, an icon will appear above it, which you'll need to tap in order to do so. Any item you can take with you will automatically be placed in your inventory. Tap and drag to scroll around the screen, and if you get stuck, there's a hint for every level. Can you get to grandma through countless perils, while helping others along the way?
Also available free for iOS and Android bundled with Bart Bonte's wonderfully whimsical puzzle game Where is Cat?, Christmas Cat brings the fun-loving feline back for a festive escapade as you hunt through the house for the 20 red Christmas ornaments the Bonte family cat has scattered from the tree. Just click to interact with objects and move around the house. Click an item in your inventory to highlight it when you want to try to use it on something. This isn't your ordinary sneaky kitten... the baubles aren't just batted under furniture. Some of them are hidden behind some pretty clever puzzles, too, though this is definitely a game that can be enjoyed by parents and kids. If you like your Christmas cheer groovy, then you can do no wrong with Bart Bonte's signature style and creative charm. Just... try not to get distracted grooving to that great soundtrack.
Where is Cat? (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
Get Where is Cat?
It's that time of year, when you hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling, and the escape game developers start releasing Christmas themed games, so it should come as no surprise to stumble across Ichima's Room 11: Xmas Tree. Contrary to what you may expect from the title, apart from some small statues, there's no real tree in the cozy little room you're locked in... but you can see one outside! Hm! Don't be daunted by the lack of an English text option. Just click to explore the room and interact with everything you can. Clicking an object in your inventory to highlight it, and then the big blue button in the bottom right, will allow you to view it up close. Ichima has always been great at making smart, logical puzzles that don't require language to figure out, though the "oooohhhhhhh" you make when you finally do is probably universal. Room 11: Xmas Tree is fun, clever, and just the ticket for escape fans looking for a Christmassy challenge that won't make smoke come out of their ears, but will keep them on their toes.
Pencilkids wants you to go rockin' around the Monkey GO Happy Xmas Tree... but there's just one problem... the tree isn't lit! In this very Christmassy installment of the point-and-click adventure Monkey GO Happy games, neither the monkeys nor the townsfolk will have a very merry anything if you don't find a way to get that tree turned on. Just click on objects and people to interact, and drag any items you want to use from your inventory at the top of the screen, to where you want to use them. You'll need to solve a handful of puzzles and, of course, help the townsfolk out if you want to light the tree, so get shaking every bush and tree and keep an eye out for clues, and it'll be Christmas before you know it!
Here comes Weekday Escape, here comes Weekday Escape, right down a lane they couldn't afford to get named after themselves... Hmmm, needs work. But while we work out how to break into the high-rolling world of Christmas soundtracks, why don't you enjoy these three holiday-themed escape games? This week! Amajeto's not only trimmed the tree, they've stocked it with presents for you! CHOKO-CHAI's cats are still at the school of witchcraft, but decorating their tree is part of their grade. And Aries Escape is throwing a Christmas party... too bad getting dressed for it is made complicated by some beastly puzzles!
Karuna and Aurelie used to be close, both training together to become great swordswomen, though Karuna always hoped they could become something more. All that changed the day Aurelie went missing... and though Karuna never gave up hope looking for her, she never expected them to cross paths again two years later, or the person Aurelie could possibly have become. In free indie RPG Luxaren Allure by developer Unity, formerly kind and quiet Aurelie is now Overlord Darkloft after donning a suit of cursed armor found in a castle where demonic statuary and glistening red furniture are used to decorate, as one does. Karuna's been tapped by the king to play the role of the "chosen one" and gather the artifacts needed to destroy the Overlord... no matter how she may still feel about her former friend.
In Carmel Games' short point-and-click adventure Cap'n Marcela's Winter Wonderland, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas for our favourite flame-haired pirate, which is a problem, since the merchandise she's ordered to stock the town's Winter Wonderland celebration is nowhere to be found. Turns out it's actually frozen inside a giant iceberg... but since when has that ever stopped anyone? To play, just click to interact with people and objects, and hunt through the town for items you need to solve puzzles. Puzzles that'll be fairly familiar to you if you've played a recent Carmel Games title (they sure do like those scrambled pictures), but still make for a short, happily seasonal adventure that'll let you build a snowmaaaaaaaaaan... kinda.
Turns out it wasn't nuclear fallout that brought around the end of the world... it was the simultaneous eruption of every volcano on the planet. Morgan and his family barely survived the apocalypse that plunged the world into a dangerous new era of ash and mystery, but one year later, they're still scavenging, still surviving. Until the day Morgan's entire family vanishes into thin air, and the only clue he has to go on is the cryptic final words of his father, "The Eighth Continent". In this massive text-based RPG adventure written by Patrick Garrett, with illustrations by Kate and Ben Garrett as well as music by fErDi0nE, that's free for iOS and Android, your decisions will guide Morgan through this strange and dangerous new world in search of his family. With a card-based combat system, minigames, (both optionally skippable) and over two thousand pages of branching storytelling with multiple endings, it's a meaty Choose Your Own Adventure style narrative with serious depth, though players should be warned it ends rather abruptly as it's the first part of a planned trilogy.
Whether it's Christmas time or not, there's always time for Tesshi-e, and this time underneath the tree you'll find The Happy Escape 8 Remake all wrapped up, just for you. As the name implies, it's a remake of The Happy Escape 8, and you've got yourself locked up in one very merry room. Just like in the original game, Santa's looking for something to help him relax before Christmas really kicks off, and that means he'd like you to brew him a cup of your famous coffee... and find all ten Happy Coins, of course. This is a Tesshi-e escape game after all. Making sure to set the text to English from the main menu if you can't read Japanese, playing the game is as simple as clicking on things to interact, and solving the puzzles hidden throughout the room. Being a remake, you can expect it to share a lot with the original game, of course, but aside from the new look, you may find yourself solving puzzles you remember in different ways. Besides... when have you ever needed a reason to play a Tesshi-e game? 'Tis always the season.
In ERS Game Studios' creepy hidden-object adventure Haunted Legends: The Secret of Life, the quest to cure your incurable illness leads you to a house with a dark secret, as ramshackle manors overlooking dark medieval villages backlit by lightning frequently contain. See, if any healer can complete a totally not suspicious at all ritual at the house, they'll earn the Secret of Life. You're desperate, with only a week left to live according to doctors, and after four years spent traveling the world looking for a cure, you've finally come to your last chance. Too bad the house and its occupants have other plans for you and all who enter it...
NCR Games made some pretty brassy claims when they contacted me about their upcoming indie match-3 RPG Oafmatch, whose demo is currently free to download with hours of gameplay (and does NOT require Steam to install), and even though the full version is sitting in limbo pending Steam Greenlight success, I still wanted to check it out, especially since its demo has enough content for players to really dig in to. In it, you guide Knuckles the Oaf on his secret quest for Oaf kind, and help him gather "easily impressed, literate companions" along the way. Knuckles likes to fix problems with violence, and that means taking part in Puzzle Quest-style combat where you match three or more adjacent gems of the same colour to attack your foes and unleash special abilities. With a whimsical yet snarky tone and a few twists on a familiar formula, Oafmatch looks promising... with some caveats.
Carmel Games tends to be known for short, happily silly point-and-click adventures, but Skip Around the World - Finland was a surprisingly educational romp through actual real world locations that paid homage to local culture and landmarks while having fun with itself. Skip Around the World - India has now arrived, and a familiar fellow has just landed in the country and is desperate for a taste of some local cuisine from one of the best restaurants in the area. Too bad he ignores the sign out front and winds up getting the owner's samosas eaten... and those samosas were to be presented to the Prime Minister! Skip promises to set things right and save the owner's reputation, and he's off looking to gather all the ingredients to make new ones. If only the markets weren't all closed...
How to Escape? It's both a question of existential navel gazing to be pondered as you listen to bongo drums at your local dimly lit indie coffee house, and the title of Vitamin Hana's latest escape game. As usual, you're locked up somewhere and, also as usual, you have to try to find a way out by solving puzzles and gathering items. Just click around to explore and interact, and remember to examine your inventory up close by clicking something you're carrying, and then the "About Item" button. Though its title might imply desperate futility as you scrounge for an exit, like most of Vitamin Hana's games, How to Escape? is definitely not going to monopolize your time longer than it takes to shotgun a cup of your favourite beverage. It's short, well designed, and just the right thing to give you a break from your work... and if you figure out how to escape from that, let us know.
[Note: This game is available in Pay What You Want format, including free. If you enjoy this game, please support the developer who made it by paying them what you think is fair!]
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist is the finest adventure game you've ever played. I mean, look at that perfectly crafted and not-at-all-pretentious title. Surely an opportunity like this presents itself but once in a lifetime! So download the game and get ready for a magnificent journey to the very depths of... What? Someone is already playing the game? I'm frightfully sorry, but we are somewhat understaffed, so we can only run one game at a time. Just sit tight and someone will be with you shortly. Created by Crows Crows Crows, a studio directed by William Pugh (the brilliant mind behind The Stanley Parable), this is one game where absolutely nothing can go wrong, and the staff is most definitely not on strike because they fear for their lives.
The cats in Deqaf Studio's new action-centric sim StrikeForce Kitty League ain't pussyfooting around... they're out to defeat the raccoons in the arena, and prove that cats rule, and the procyon genus drools!... or... something catchier than that, since you're going up against other animals, too. They've charged through legions of enemies and handled cute and clicky defense, so now they need you to train and manage them to hold their own in the arena. During battles, they'll mostly take care of themselves, apart from needing you to click to activate their special abilities. But between bouts, they'll need you to order them around to train up their statistics, all while keeping their energy up of course, to make them strong enough to beat the next day's opponents... and earn enhancing costumes to dress them up in. It'll take a lot of grinding, upgrades, and a lot of inspirational '80s montages, to claw your way to the top of the league... so get cracking!
I've always thought "weekend warrior" was a pretty grandiose term for the modern person, who probably spends their days off lying on the couch, staring at a marathon of Parks and Recreation, and desperately wanting to not be an adult for a while. But hey, even if you're out there seizing the weekend by its throat and squeezing every drop of fun and productivity you can while roaring like a mighty bear, this Weekend Download has something for you! We've got a creepy visual novel about waking up dead and struggling to control an insatiable need, a retro-tastic action adventure about a young girl trying to save the world in classic Zelda-style, and, well, hazardous post-apocalyptic sports, which, I have to admit, is way more interesting than normal sports. And did we mention they're all free, courtesy your friendly neighbourhood indie developers? Awwwww, yeah.
Even the Bah-Humbuggiest amoung us may find it hard to resist Elephant Games' very merry hidden-object adventure Christmas Stories: Puss in Boots, also available for iPad. On Christmas Eve you come home to find a stray kitten curled up on your front porch in the snow, and of course you can't resist taking him in. But later that night, you're awoken by a strange voice, and discover it's none other than the kitten himself, who you've named Simon, standing on his hind legs and talking to you. Seems by taking him in, you've proven yourself kindness personified, and as one of Santa's Helpers, Simon now knows you're who they need to help save Christmas. See, Christmas can't happen without the magical star on the North Pole's tree, and someone's stolen it. Someone... wearing boots. Hmmmmm. But why would anyone want to stop Christmas? Gosh, you don't suppose there's secretly a heart-wrenching motive behind it, do you? It's an adorable, sweet, and fun holiday adventure that makes up for low challenge with stunning production values and a relentless sense of spirit.
Funkyland always knows how to live up to their name when it comes to escape games, and Alice House 2 No.04: Tweedledum and Tweedledee lives up to that in spades as you wander through a weird house full of strange objects, puzzles, and decorations trying to find five items bearing the image of the iconic Wonderland duo. Just click around to interact with things and move through the house, though there's no changing cursor so you'll need to make sure to click on everything you can think of. Like most of Funkyland's games, it's the sort of thing that's perfectly sized for a short break... say, between courses at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. So if you want something weird and whimsical, with just an appetizing handful of puzzles, call on Tweedledum and Tweedledee!
Danil Zhuravlev's Absorbed is a physics puzzle platformer about science... the weird kind. You've been given a gun to test that can absorb whatever you point it at, and spit it back out. Handy for moving heavy objects around, but there's that whole teeny-weeny "accidentally causes a cosmic chain reaction and teleports you to a strange and hostile place" problem. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump, and hold [X] or [K] to either absorb something in front of you, or spit it back out. You can do this to create stairs, defend yourself against enemies, and more, but make sure you activate the blinking checkpoint beacons so you can respawn in case something... unpleasant happens to you. Like blowing yourself up with a case of dynamite. Happens to the best of us.
Surprise, surprise! The weekend is almost here, and that means it's time to get yourself ready for it by playing a pack of free online games to get you in the right mindset. You might, for example, need to be ready in case an evil computer digitizes you and puts you on a race course, and also you are a spider. Or maybe you'll be lucky enough to get three wishes from a benevolent spirit, but haven't though about the consequences. Or, oooh, you could suffer from unrequited love, day after day, as the object of your affections remains oblivious. Or maybe you're going to be blackmailed by a so-called friend and you need to know what to do to make sure the coppers don't find nothin', if you get my drift. Whatever the case, Link Dump Friday has you covered!
Business a flop? Just start up another! That's what happens when our heroine finds her little bookstore failing in The Revills Games' casual card game Chef Solitaire USA. She realizes her talent for cooking might help her turn a pretty penny, and now she's off across all the country. But instead of flipping flapjacks, you'll be flipping cards, as you strive for a perfect score across dozens and dozens of levels.
Originally conceived for Ludum Dare 32's "An Unconvential Weapon" competition and since polished up for commercial release, Kitsune Games' darling indie puzzle game Ultra Hat Dimension is all about hats, and getting punched. See, there was a great ball at Spluff Castle, but for some reason the normally peaceful Spluffs have gone a little bonkers, and are taking swings at our poor heroine whenever she comes near. She'll need to find the Spluff responsible to set things right, of course, but if she can't bring herself to fight back at the Spluffs happily hitting away, what's a girl to do? Well... I suppose you could try dressing up? I mean... whoever heard of someone punching somebody else wearing the same hat, after all? Clever, cute, and fun, Ultra Hat Dimension is an utterly charming and challenging indie puzzle game that does a lot with a little.
Typically when a mortal person gets whisked away to save a magical land in peril, you're dealing with your stereotypical heroic, handsome and/or beautiful, youthful protagonist type. But in Bad Seed's stunning action platforming adventure The Beggar's Ride for iOS, it's actually an old homeless man who finds the portal to another world, and however unlikely a savior he may seem, he'll still have to step up to the task. You'll guide him through a beautiful realm filled with strange creatures, mystical masks that bestow godlike powers, and of course, puzzles aplenty. Despite some frustrating controls, The Beggar's Ride is still a lovely, charming, and engrossing adventure with hours of content and secrets to find.
You'll need to be the rootin'-est, tootin'-est clicker in the West to get these criminals into the slammer... provided here "rootin' tootin'" actually translates to physics puzzle solver. The squares in Crabroid's Cubestern 2: Night Shift are up to no good, and it's up to you to drop them into jail where they belong. Usually this is accomplished by clicking parts of the scenery to remove them and letting gravity take its course, but some objects can be transformed from circle to square and back again (WereBox-style), allowing you to roll things around or bring them to a halt. If the cubed criminal falls offscreen, he escapes, and you'll need to reload the level to try again. It's a simple concept with a pack of levels that won't tax you, presented in a clean and tidy cartoon format, so get clicking... you've been deputized!
These little friends are inseparable. They literally light up each other's world. But when their plain of existences holds some precarious situations they have to use each other to make it through together. Literally, as both of them have major faults that only the other can make up for. In Undivided, an absolutely adorable puzzle game, there are two heroes, one green who can only move left and right with the [arrow keys], and one who is blue that can only move up with [W] and down with [S]. Thankfully neither of them are above taking a little tough love and will allow the other to push them towards the warmly glowing orange squares that is their exit. It's meant to be played with two players and a different experience is promised if you do, but if you are alone for the time being this game is more than enjoyable to play by yourself. These brightly colored heroes have enough friendship to go around. Made by a group of MFA students at USC's Interactive Media & Games Division, Undivided may not be the most challenging or the most advanced game in the puzzle genre but it's surely one of the cutest.
Why would you ever call Wednesday hump day? I mean, I get it... you're over the hump of the work week, and now it's downhill towards Friday, but that's something to be endured, not celebrated. Call it Weekday Escape day instead! This week, Esklavos strands you in a serene but empty forest whose leaves hide some familiar puzzles, Tototo Room drops you off at a temple to pay your respects, while also locking you in, and then it's time for a trip in the Wayback Machine to a collaboration between no1game and Cogito Ergo Sum, where two of the cutest escapers around have a new friend.
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So maybe your life hasn't turned out the way you expected, but, well, other people have it worse, right? So what if your husband seems distant or even irritated by you, or if you have difficulty conversing or connecting with people, or if your house feels far emptier than it used to? At least you have a home, right? But in Ade McT's interactive-fiction title Map, that home is... changing. You've noticed doors where they never used to be, you're sure of it, despite your husband Derek's dismissal, and one day... you decide to explore. Lacking any real puzzles, Map is a narrative-driven adventure about life and choices, and the decisions you make, and the ones you wish you had.
Has everyone pretty much had enough of physics puzzle games by now? Click to remove the geometric shapes, launch balls in the right trajectory to bash a structure, stack geometric shapes according to spec. It's all a bit... samey, right? Yeah, let's just put all these derivative games awaaaaitaminute waitaminute, what's this? untame brings us the weirdest gameplay formula we've encountered in a while. In Mushroom 11 you play an amorphous colony of intelligent regenerating fungus, and maneuver it through a jaw-droppingly exquisite post-apocalyptic environment to the atmospheric soundtrack provided by - appropriately enough - none other than trip-out chill room adepts The Future Sound of London.
I want you to imagine you're lying on the floor, struggling to go on, weakly crying, "If only I had a short, cute escape game... if only... if only!" Vitamin Hana might bust in through the window like one of the really dreamy masked crusaders, and bring you something like Escape Through the Bamboo to soothe your troubled brow. As the title implies, you're trapped in a room, and the way outside the door is barred by a wall of health green bamboo. There's no changing cursor to show what's interactive, so click on everything as you explore the room to find what you need to solve the puzzles and escape. Maybe next time you'll think twice before you underestimate that tricky greenery!
War. War never changes. But since its inception almost 20 years ago, the post-apocalyptic action-adventure RPG series Fallout sure has. When Fallout 3 was released in 2008, it dazzled players with its enormous, dangerous open world of mystery, mutants, and radiation poisoning, and in the years since, Vault Dwellers have been champing at the bit to get back into it, even after a very successful and engaging entry from Obsidian in the form of Fallout: New Vegas. And now? Fallout 4 has finally arrived, and despite some puzzling changes in design and new mechanics, it's still the same massive, post-apocalyptic open-world action RPG you remember, though I've already taken several mushrooms off its rating for refusing to let the decrepit detective robot be my husband.
In free indie horror adventure Chelsea by Yūrei Darling, In free indie horror adventure Chelsea by YureiDarling, Daniel's finally ready to propose to his girlfriend and childhood sweetheart... only he seems to have misplaced the ring. There's nowhere left to look but their hometown of Angel Grove, but things have changed since they moved away a few months ago. To play, just use the [arrow] keys to move, the [spacebar] to interact, and [ESC] to open the in-game menu. You can save whenever you come across a glowing pot of flowers, and you'll definitely want to, since it's very possible to get a fatal GAME OVER at certain points. What lies within this foggy, quiet town? How did Daniel's ring get lost? To answer that, you'll need to brave the unknown, and face the truth.
Awesome Happy Heroes, the new simulation game from Little Giant World, enjoys a refreshingly simple philosophy: heroically saving the day equals making people happy. When marauding villains threaten various scenic vistas in their fair town, the Awesome Happy Heroes decide it's pummeling time and emerge from their subterranean base underneath the local park to quell the menace. The citizenry are happy, and the citizenry then pay the Heroes so they're happy too, but the bad guys? Not so much. So presumably these heroes are out to save the day for everyone but the villains. Whatever you may think of the notion of improving your town by having themed costumed gang fights in public in broad daylight, and whatever history's great philosophers may have to say about using happiness as a substitute for righteousness, Awesome Happy Heroes is a superhero training and combat simulator with plenty of ZOOF!, KERPOW! and SPLAT! for anyone who's ever read comic books and thought, 'What if?' Or for those of you who've actually gone through with it professionally and could use some advice on designing your underground secret hideout.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
Craig is your average potions maker. This timid and fretful fellow overthinks most things, but when he wakes up one day to find that his door has been blocked by some hooligans, he can't overthink enough to find a way out. Craig by Pai is a free indie game that's more of an escape the room style game. Pai's game only encompasses two screens, but has enough witty remarks and clever adventuring it stands strong even with its shorter length. Moving with the [arrow] keys and examining items with the [spacebar], you are given a list of options on how to interact with said object. You can also double-click to move and right-click (or use [ESC]) to gain access to the menu where you can view the items you have picked up. Make sure you explore everything, not just for winning the game, but enjoying the humor that makes Craig the warm game it is.
Mystery Case Files is one of the oldest and most beloved hidden-object adventure series around, and fans know to expect one very highly anticipated new release a year... so it comes as a bit of a surprise that Eipix Interactive has released Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst Unlocked only one month after Key to Ravenhearst. Following directly on the heels of the previous game, in Ravenhearst Unlocked, you've been rescued from the waves of the ocean where you were found battered and delirious, and ultimately transferred to an asylum for care. But when you finally come back to yourself, you find this place is anything but up to code... and one of your oldest foes will stop at nothing to complete his plot no matter who gets in his way. Once you escape, the game is still just beginning! With a decidedly more morbid bent than its predecessor, Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst Unlocked is a gleefully bizarre game with a lot of content and entertainment, though perhaps not as well-plotted as the rest of the series. Be warned, if you haven't played the rest of the Mystery Case Files titles, Ravenhearst Unlocked will make very little sense to you.
The enemies are getting smarter and smarter these days. No longer are they following a set trail heading right for your kingdom. Oh no, they are much sneakier. This time they are coming from below. Thankfully, your kingdom is even sneakier, and has found out their plan ahead of time. Start digging downward, set up your towers, and and blow them back down into the earth in Mugshot Games' Digfender. This tower defense game, free for iOS and Android, is like a rebirth of Castlemine with better graphics and more enemies. The gameplay is still the same, however, as not only do you need to figure out which towers work best for the current level, but also dig up the path for the enemies to crawl along.
Qaibo's bad eggs are back, and this time they've got some superpowered help. In physics puzzle game Disaster Will Strike 6, they've used super sekrit lab techniques to make armored eggs, and now they're menacing the good yolks once more to boot! In each level, you'll need to use the power of natural disasters like meteorites and more to smash through defenses and crush the bad eggs, while leaving the good ones intact. Some of the new disasters can be a little finicky to use, but experiment with them and you'll figure out how to bust your eggs soon enough, and remember the armored eggs need extra firepower to crack! With new levels and mechanics and the same smashing gameplay fans enjoy, Disaster Will Strike 6 may be full of bad eggs, but that works in its favour!
Aquatic Rescue, also free on iOS and Android and available for a small fee on Windows Phones, is a cute game by OZDY that wants to show you when it comes to physics puzzles, darlin', it's betta down where it's wetta. Click and drop sea creatures to reunite them with their matching baby, though doing so usually involves manipulating the environment. There are a lot of things your creatures can touch that will change either them or the level itself, like switches that start or stop mechanisms, and even buttons that make them grow or shrink, and it's up to you to figure out how and where to drop them all to set off the proper chain reactions... and get all three stars on each level, of course! All sea creatures need to wind up safely on platforms, so if they fall, you'll need to try again. It's a familiar concept, but with a lot of neat mechanics and a sunny presentation (not to mention a soundtrack that makes you feel like you're in the starting village of a Final Fantasy game), Aquatic Rescue is light and sweet physics puzzle fun.
Most Thanksgiving dinners go off without a hitch, give or take an extra toasty pie or some lumpy mashed potatoes, but in Pencil Kid's point-and-click puzzle game Monkey GO Happy Turkeys, the village is missing everything it needs for its Thanksgiving feast... including the bird! Click around the village to find items and solve puzzles, not to mention track down a whole mess of apples. I'd better get some cobbler out of this! With its very sparkly and serene soundtrack, not to mention its bright and cartoony visuals, Monkey GO Happy Turkeys is a cute, light game with just the right amount of puzzles and difficulties to keep kids happy, or any adults looking for some simple, festive fun.
Randall Munroe's webcomic xkcd has been around for well over a decade, touching on everything from pop culture to science, love, and beyond, and it's garnered a pretty huge audience. To celebrate the launch of his new book, Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe has released Hoverboard, a very simple little platformer where you gather coins from a small playfield and drop them in a box. The end!... or is it?! Using the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move and jump, you'll find your hoverboard can jump an infinite number of times and take you beyond the designated play area to explore a surprisingly huge black and white world with secrets aplenty. There's not much to do other than take in the sights and collect more coins, but with so much to find, all rendered in a simple but lovely black-and-white stickman style, Hoverboard is worth a romp as a great piece of interactive art full of secrets and references to everything under the sun.
Pine Studio's escape game Rock 'n' Roll Escape, also free for iOS and Android, technically does not star Jack Black, but you also can't prove it doesn't. Your goal is to find your way out of this dimly lit little venue, presumably because you are at dangerous risk of rocking yourself to death with all the air guitaring and head-bobbing you're about to do to the funky soundtrack. Just click around to interact with things... the cursor will change when it passes over something you can click on, and it'll display some text at the top of the screen to tell you what it is. Don't forget to try combining items in your inventory if you get stuck, and remember you can pick up some items again to use them more than once. Think you can escape? Rock this way and prove it!
Happy Wednesday, everybody! The it's all downhill from here... which, of course, is a good thing, because that means it's an easy coast into the weekend, where you can do weekend-like things! But to get you to that glorious promised land of extra sleep and pajama daywear, let's ease the way with a few escape games. This week! Vitamin Hana wants you spinning in circles, but at least you've got a hula hoop. MayMay has some garden pests that need to be taken care of, plus a few puzzles. And no1game takes an unorthodox approach to gameplay that's going to involve some clever computer tricks.
With great power, comes great responsibility. Most of the time. However, when a super hero is off the clock, and wants nothing more than to get back home and booze it up for the night, an alien space pig blasting their bottle of wine can really make him forget the words of his deceased uncle, or whatever. Suddenly, all the fragile civilians he spent the entire day protecting look so... flingable. And it's all for the greater good, y'know? Or, at least for the personal greater good of Supermuzhik. Supermuzhik (which the internet tells me roughly translates as "Super Strong Russian Peasant Guy") is an arcade-action sorta-shooter game by Aimar where the titular hero proves to be much better at "defeating evil" than "protecting the innocent."
Galaxy Siege first got a sequel, and now it has turned into a trilogy. Galaxy Siege 3 is here with more planets to clear from the evil alien scum, more gems to collect, and another ship to build in some of the most unflattering shapes yet. Denis Vasilev's arcade game has some minor improvements on the first but is still the upgrade filled, action packed game. With over 100 levels you'll have plenty of chances to gather gems to buy your weapons and other supplies needed to make it to the boss and send it flying out into the great abyss. Galaxy Siege 3 keeps the core elements of the game, but some alterations that build on this scifi series. Now less of a rail shooter, you move your ship at the speed you want to go using the [arrow] keys, [WASD], or even the mouse, making it easier to collect gems and crystals which help your scientist build bigger and better guns so you can keep your onslaught going.
For centuries Taoists have been telling us all how a harmonious dynamic between universal forces is fundamentally important, but the full extent of this hasn't always been appreciated. In Kid Kozmik, the new platform puzzle game created by Ian Sundstrom in under ten days for the 2015 Procedural Generation Game Jam, the stability of all space and time absolutely depends upon maintaining proper color balance. It's up to you to warp through various sub-realms collecting color crystals to restore the color alignment of the universe! This of course is just the sort of thing career counselors typically describe as 'a worthwhile and meaningful career choice'. Push platforms, flip switches, toggle blocks, and find the color crystal in each sub-realm and make it back through the warp pipes back to the main realm, but don't take too long! Each realm is rapidly destabilizing for want of a proper color balance, and as the hourglass at the lower-left of the screen ticks down the world's colors begin to distort, the music starts to go wonky, your environment fills up with particle effect shapes and when your time's up you'll have to start that world over again!
Also free for iOS and Android, laFunkhh's idle RPG Idle Sword lets your fingers do the walking. And the stabbing. You're loosely in control of a hero who will move, fight, and gather treasure on his own, while you can click on enemies to help slay them, or on your hero to heal him a little. The treasure he gathers can be equipped on your party (what, you didn't think you'd be stuck on a solo dungeon delve did you?), or sold for more cash to unlock additional dungeons and upgrade your clicking power. Everything is randomly generated, and if you die, well, you'll just start from the top with all your cash, levels, and equipment intact. If you're playing in your browser, make sure to put the game in a new window (NOT a new tab) if you want it to run by itself! Idle Sword is heavy on the grind and on the simple side, but if you like hands-sorta-off dungeon crawling, load it up and loot away.
Idle Sword (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
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A great person once said, "When a man is tired of pandas, he is tired of life." It may have been Samuel Johnson, or it may have been me, but that's irrelevant. The point is that pandas are the best, and now you can play with three of them! 3 Pandas in Fantasy is a cute-as-a-button point-and-click game by FlashTeam with a fairy tale plot. You've got your dragons, wizards, faeries and, um, a house with wings, and our three furry friends have to traverse the fantasy land and defeat a bunch of villainous goblins. The pandas even have some special abilities to help them along the way, as if they weren't awesome enough.