The brothers from Meowbeast's puzzle platformer Money Movers may have busted out of the slammer once before, but in Money Movers 2 they're busting back in to rescue dear old dad who's also gotten himself locked up. As before, you'll control the two bros simultaneously with the [WASD] and the [arrow] keys, making them work together to flip switches, collect money bags, and deal with turrets, guards, locked doors and more to reach the exit together. The smaller brother can jump higher and fit into narrow places, while big brother might be too slow to avoid lasers or too heavy to jump high, but can make up for it in brute strength. The game might spend a bit too much time teaching you the basics from the original, so if you've played that, then you'd be forgiven for feeling like the sequel is dragging its feet. Eventually, however, they start getting more complicated and demanding more timing. It never really does anything significantly different from the first game, but it does up the complexity and challenge significantly, making it a great fit for fans looking for something a little meatier, all wrapped up in the bright colours, clean design, and swanky soundtrack that makes a Meowbeast game so polished and fun.
Akkad's Impossible Rush, free for iOS and Android, serves up the latest in addictive high-score arcade action for as long as your reflexes can handle it. To play, just tap the screen to rotate the square to the right, the goal being to catch the incoming coloured balls on the matching side of the square by having it face upwards. Miss even once, which gets a lot harder in a hurry since things start to speed up, and it's game over, but you can create "clans" to compete for top rankings in scores once you've logged in with Facebook, or join our clan under jayisgames. Don't want to compete online? You don't need to! Games like Flappy Bird, Atomas, Crossy Road and more have proven that many players love using their phone to play the sort of challenging games that ruled the arcade decades ago (you whippersnappers), and Impossible Rush's simple yet frantic gameplay makes it fit right in. Though it could use a few extras, like perhaps a snappy MIDI soundtrack that slowly speeds up with the gameplay, or a one-time in-app purchase to disable the occasional ads, Impossible Rush is still a great addition to the library of fast, fun-yet-frustrating high score endless games smartphones seem to be a perfect fit for, and hopefully gets expanded even more in the future. Just... don't blame it when you end up spiking the phone off the sidewalk the next time you're one tap away from beating your best score when you fail.
Impossible Rush (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
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There have been a lot of free-to-play games put out for big franchises, and to be frank, most of them tend to be muddled messes of shallow gameplay, timers, and in-app purchases, so I was a little concerned and skeptical about FINAL FANTASY Record Keeper, free for iOS and Android by DENA Games and Square Enix. In it, you play a young scribe who learns all of the records of the great heroes from the iconic Final Fantasy series are vanishing, being devoured by a strange darkness, and you're tasked with restoring them by your Moogle professor... a task which naturally involves going inside paintings representing battles from all of the classic games and stories, and recruiting a roster of all the characters you know and love along the way. Make no mistake, FINAL FANTASY Record Keeper is solely a turn-based RPG focused entirely on combat and party management, and the inclusion of timers and randomized loot that makes crafting slow going may give you pause. Despite this, it's a surprisingly satisfying little game with tons of fan-service and sufficiently strategic combat that's worth checking out... perhaps doubly so if you're the sort of person for whom party micromanagement is a great time.
It is generally agreed upon that puppets, much like clowns or doing your taxes, are creepy and scary no matter how many times you come across them. Luckily for ERS Game Studios, some of us hidden-object adventure lovers like to be spooked from time to time. This is why the PuppetShow series is so popular that it's celebrating its seventh birthday this year with a new installment, The Price of Immortality. You find yourself in the delightfully steampunky town of Immortale (the "e" is silent), looking for your friend, Enrique, who went there to investigate the disappearances of a number of journalists, all somehow connected to the Theater of Emotions. Now, the Theater of Emotions sounds like it puts on audience-participation productions where everyone ends up holding hands, weeping and going out for cupcakes afterwards. That alone would be a good reason to save Enrique, but the theater turns out to be a place where snoopy reporters come to die. Turns out the theater holds a sort of murder lottery, where townspeople lucky enough to have their number drawn get to throw knives at the unfortunate reporters. On top of that, Immortale used to be famous for its beautifully crafted puppets, but lately they have been as abused and tortured as the visiting reporters. Just what is going on in this twisted town?
If you've ever wondered where the three adorable cats who star in Choko-Chai's escape games come from, play the insanely cute The Three Bamboo Princesses and wonder no more, as it explains these beautiful kitty girls are in fact magical bamboo princesses, whose foster parents lock them up out of love to try to avoid losing their beloved cats. To help them escape, just click around to interact, keeping an eye out for certain twinkles and watching when your cursor changes if it passes over something you can click on. If you're really stuck, you might need to use one of the cats to help you... press the kitty icon in the lower-left corner while looking at what you're trying to interact with, and if she says "leave it to us", you can usually click a navigation arrow to back out of the current viewpoint to see the cats sitting in a row. Just click all three of them until you find the one who tells you she can help, then click on whatever you were trying to interact with before. It's a little clunky, to say the least, but it's also super cute, as we may have mentioned. The Three Bamboo Princesses may be a little rough around the edges, but Choko-Chai's puzzles and sweet stories are always a welcome delight, and there are a few clever conundrums to conquer here as well. With two endings to find, The Three Bamboo Princesses will cure what ails you, provided what ails you is a serious deficiency in royal fairytale cats solving puzzles through teamwork.
You're a professional room escaper who just received a new challenge by mail. A helicopter air-lifts you to a remote island where the room is waiting, but getting in may prove to be as difficult as getting out! Such is the setup for Gatamari Escape 24 (by Gatamari, who else?). Navigate around the game world with the mouse, keep your brain in gear, and cross your fingers, because it's going to take luck and/or use of the game's save feature to get the best of the game's four endings.
Please be aware that this game contains graphic, heavy violence, as well as sexual violence some players may find upsetting.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number opens with a tutorial were you brutally slaughter everyone inside a house in the most graphic fashion possible and then assault a woman. If any part of that sentence made you wince, Devolver Digital and Dennation Games' follow-up to their 2012 ultra-violent, ultra-challenging indie action game probably isn't for you. That the whole scene turns out to be part of a movie's filming doesn't necessarily lessen the blow when the rest of the game is every bit as gut-wrenchingly gory, with all of it wrought by your own hands. In every level you're bashing, blasting, slicing, or otherwise decimating your way through places filled with people armed to the teeth, and even a single hit will take you down, forcing you to move fast and react faster. Kick the door down to knock the man behind it to the floor, grab his gun and blow away his partner and the reinforcements who come bursting in while dodging to the side to avoid the gunfire through the windows and then take out the first guy before he gets to his feet and comes after you. Fail, and you'll have to try, try again, and all of it happens in the space of a breath. It's fast, stressful, and, yes, incredibly, lavishly, unstoppably violent, but it's packaged around a challenging and rewarding combat system, and one of the trippiest stories, soundtracks, and visual styles you could ever encounter. Despite significantly increasing the premise and complexity of its story as you play multiple different characters over the course of the game, a significantly more structured approach to the way levels are designed removes enough of the need for quick-thinking versatility to make the game something more of an action-based puzzler... with levels of violence that might make Tarantino raise an eyebrow.
If you've ever wanted to be mayor, manager, and a master city planner of your very own town, you might want to give Cities: Skylines, a simulation game for your desktop by Colossal Order a look. When a map is chosen, you're presented with a blank slate, and it's up to you to connect yourself to the outside world and develop the city of your dreams. Most of the initial play is building a basic structure for your town by building roads and zoning them according to need for residential, industry, or business. Once zoned, buildings pop up on their own and citizens begin to move in. You also need to generate electricity and make sure your residents have clean water. Your choices start out limited, but grow as your town grows. If you want to pause while you build, hit the [spacebar]. Don't like what you built? Use the bulldozer tool. Eventually you will generate enough taxes to get in the green (or decide to take out a loan) so you can start expanding and adding other services such as health and death care, police protection, and garbage pick up, among other things. You've also got to be aware of pollution (both environmental and sound), traffic flow, and the happiness of your residents, all of which (and more) can be managed by using the pop-up menu that opens on the top left of the screen.
Please note that Lakeview Cabin Collection is an episodic game. As of this writing, only the first installment has been released. Purchasing the game gains you automatic access to all other episodes in the future.
Roope Tamminen's Lakeview Cabin was a surprise hit in 2013, a deceptive little browser game without dialogue or direction where you played a man at a peaceful lakeside cabin who discovers the place gets very different, and dangerous, when the sun goes down. Players adored not only the campy, old-school horror themes and styles, but the free-roaming gameplay... it was entirely up to you to figure out what to do, and there was a lot you could do just for the heck of it, like skinny-dipping. Now you can go back for more with Lakeview Cabin Collection, a paid indie download over at itch.io, which, as of this writing, contains the first of several planned "episodes". (You'll automatically gain access to the other three chapters when they release!) The premise is the same, though the set-up isn't, this time framed around a movie theater showing a variety of horror films you end up taking part in. Though you can explore the theater as different characters and find secrets there, the bulk of the game resides in the cinema showing Lakeview Cabin III, where you suddenly find yourself in control of a group of people partying it up lakeside at a sprawling campgrounds. They're actually the new counselors, ensuring everything is ready for guests, but there's just one small, murderous problem...
How low can you go? Roofdog Games' wildly successful action mining game is back and better than ever for iOS and Android! Tap to dig your way down as far as you can collecting increasingly-precious metal ores, gems and priceless artifacts, but don't let the game scroll you off the top of the screen! Redeem your loot for cash you can use to upgrade your pickaxe and get to the better goodies stashed further below, and complete your artifact collections for better upgrade cards. Pocket Mine 2 brings the frantic digging action with all the features of its predecessor -- bombs, exploding gas, crafting, and the crowd-pleasing Crate Radar -- along with new powerup crates like Chain Lightning, Explosive Drills, and Worm Crates. This time there are also new islands, each with their own artifacts, which you can unlock sequentially as you dig ever-deeper. But the biggest innovation in this double-your-fun installment has got to be the clothing and accessorizing feature! Y'see it's not just about looking your best while swinging your pickaxe around in tunnels a hundred meters below the earth's surface, although there is that. Whether it's Diamond Boots (chic and comfy!), Trainer Gloves, or a Brain Parasite hat many of these items grant you special mining abilities when you don them. You can mix and match, and even designate customized sets. It's time to play Princess Dress-Me-Up and get on down to the mines in your 16th-century powdered wig, boxing gloves and bunny slippers!
You Have 8 Bricks. That's it. That's all. Just eight. And with these eight bricks, at least one must make the daring climb up and out to the surface and to the world that awaits you there. Rarykos's avoidance platform game is a short, high difficulty, tower climber controlled by either the [arrow] keys or [WASD]. In the beginning, you must mash any key to break lose and start your climb by jumping up. Pressing the up [arrow] or [W] in the air lets you perform a double jump which helps as you climb the floating platforms. There are three ways for you to die, with blue lasers that shoot up from the bottom (they don't hurt until fully charged), and white squares shot straight up (a pink glow will show you where they are coming from), and of course rising lava wanting to claim all four of your corners. It doesn't seem too hard and the climb is short, but the path is narrow. It's easy to get knocked back to your doom. One hit kills and you'll soon find eight lives may not be enough.
Greenie 2 is a big fat liar. It claims to be "a sequel to a mediocre game, but with more levels..." which is a dirty lie. Greenie 2 shouldn't be anywhere near the word "mediocre", and Letmethink should be ashamed for making a platform game with such false conceptions of modesty. Much like its titular hero, Greenie 2 is a tight little bundle of fun and efficiency, a no-frills jumping game with a little puzzle sprinkled on top. Move with the [arrows] or [WASD] keys and press the [spacebar] or [Z] to shift those translucent blue blocks from solid to non-solid and back again. There's the odd spike patch, or button pushing puzzle, and occasionally there are short little color-coded enemies that can be manipulated into pushing switches for you. Call it spare, call it retro, call it more fun than a basket of kittens, but "mediocre" is one thing this series is not.
Mr Jump by 1Button SARL is the latest in a long line of those free brutal platformers iOS players apparently can't get enough of. In it, your goal is to navigate the titular character through levels were a single mistimed jump will force you to start again, since touching spikes, falling into water, hitting walls, or any other obstacle is considered a one-hit KO. Mr Jump runs forward automatically, and all you have to do is tap to jump... quick taps for light hops, and extended presses for bigger leaps. Unlike other games in this category, Mr Jump isn't randomly generated... all of the levels are predesigned, and they're finite as well, so finishing one unlocks another. Different levels even have other tricks in addition to a (mercifully) different soundtrack and style, such as tokens you need to nab in mid-air to perform an extra jump.
Things aren't going so well for the locals when a bunch of frost giants show up and take over, freezing everyone solid. Luckily, a group of vikings has returned home just in time, and with your help, you'll be able to free them all in Deqaf Studios' Frozen Islands, which combines action with light strategy and defense elements. You'll form your viking army out of the units you have available and then sally forth against an island under frost giant control. Your troops will fight automatically as they go, but you can help them out by triggering their special attacks and launching support from the ship when your timers are full. If they succeed, the island will come under your control, allowing you to tax its inhabitants (not too much or they'll riot!), as well as earn glory and cash to upgrade your army and its capabilities. Some islands are even holding your companions hostage, and by freeing them, you'll be able to add them (and thus their unit type) to your army. Though its mechanics are simple, knowing how to configure your army and when to activate their abilities are the difference between great victory and crushing loss... though even if you do lose, just try again, especially since you keep any gold you earned before you were killed. It's a fairly simple concept, though the different unit types and their abilities make it more than just a game of numbers, though it still might not have enough depth if you're looking for a really meaty strategy game to massage your brain. If you want something more casual, however, Frozen Islands might just be your cup of tea. ... do vikings drink tea? Mead?... eh, just drink it out of the skull of an enemy and you'll be fine.
Have you ever been so unhappy that only solving a bunch of point-and-click puzzles and finding 70 tiny monkeys dressed as ninjas would cheer you up? That's the problem in Pencilkids' Monkey GO Happy game, Monkey GO Happy Ninjas, so it's clear you have your work cut out for you if you want to turn this simpering simian's frown upside-down. The cursor will change when it passes over something you can interact with, so just click to move around, pick up items, and (literally) leave no stone unturned, because as is the norm for a Monkey GO Happy game that involves tracking down large numbers of something, those itty-bitty monkeys are everywhere. In addition to finding the little ninjas, most of the people in the area need help of some sort, and there are coded locks to crack. Finding seventy tiny monkeys sounds like an impossible task, but Monkey GO Happy Ninjas likely won't take you very long at all, and it's a lovely game with a ton of areas despite an apparently random mishmash of scenery and imagery, making for a light snack to start your day off right... everyone knows you need the proper amount of monkeys in your entertainment diet, after all!