You've been dreading this. It's really not that you've been putting it off: in fact you saw your mom before you went to sleep yesterday. But now that you've moved home, it's like it's expected that follow all the rules you had as a kid. As if letting her know where you are at all hours of the day will help you get back on your feet as an independent adult. Sometimes, even when you don't have anywhere to go, you just need to get away. Not even away from anything. Not like, from Dad or Mom or Ben. Just... away. You even found this cool guitar pick. Maybe David will like it. But now, one of those classic Nebraska storms has burst open the sky and it's time to head back. But you'd can take this call while you drive. Three Fourths Home is a piece of indie interactive art by [Bracket] Games that's been newly re-released in an extended edition with some cool extras. In it, you play as Kelly, a part-girl part-woman driving the rural stretch between her grandparent's dilapidated barn and the old home that's recently become new again.. It's an interesting piece of narrative presented in quite the unique way
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The escape game scene may be crowded nowadays, but there's always room for more. New developer SARAMEYA has entered the scene with Lodger, a curious white and black room the likes of which no ordinary house would contain. If the strangely patterned door, the pipes sticking out of the opposite wall, and the row of unusual paintings don't set the mood, the three eccentric characters waiting behind the three shutters certainly do. As delightful as your company may be, you'd really like to leave the room, so get your thinking cap on and keep an eye out for clues that could lead, directly or indirectly, to your egress.
At least some thieves go and make a name for themselves by stealing priceless artworks, legendary cultural relics, or jewels the size of fists. But the lowlife band of ruffians in Vitalii Zlotskii's Juicy Bazooka apparently have nothing better to do with their time than harass a poor, beleaguered homeowner by stealing his groceries. The nerve! Luckily for him, they didn't nab his watermelons... Or the specially-modified bazooka he fires them with! Shoot melons at felons and help him reclaim his stolen groceries in this puzzle shooter game. Just make sure no innocent bystanders get a face full of fruit! Gameplay-wise, it's a familiar song and dance, but it's hard to resist a game with such a good-naturedly goofy pretense... and such cute voice clips!
Dear loyal JIG readers, welcome to a very special edition of Weekday Escape today, with exclusive first coverage of a breaking story: Escape games, a multinational gaming obsession that has taken a worldwide audience captive and captured the attention of major corporations, legislators and research firms. As it was JIG that reported on escape games' humble beginnings, and it was here that certain celebrities would get their escape game fix, it is only fitting that we should report on new emerging data regarding the health benefits of playing these popular diversions. While this early on sources cannot be revealed or confirmed, when it's news this good, we don't want to lose precious moments not playing escape games through such time-consuming formalities as "fact checking" do we? Already the clock is ticking while we prattle on about details. All you really need to know is: This is a BIG DEAL. Already Google is inventing a new way to use self-driving cars in globalized escape games (an early prototype shows there's still much progress to be made). Rumors have surfaced on the streets of The Capitol, according to a witness who would only identify himself as "Bub", that lawmakers are now considering what, if any, limits should be put on escape game production. Our best advice: Stock up now...
R-LO is a very fuzzy escape game from no1game, and as usual, you're trapped somewhere and surrounded by cryptic clues and puzzling mechanisms. The cursor won't change if you can interact with something, so you need to go about it the old fashioned way and click everywhere to make sure you find everything you need, though pixel hunting is mostly non-existent. Instead, you'll be required to solve puzzles that need logic more than anything else, and know how to spot a clue when you see it. R-LO may be short, but it's also smart, with some appealingly sneaky puzzles and tidy (though, really, so fuzzy) design, making it an excellent warmup for escape fans of all kinds.
Ah, the gun. Versatile, loud, deadly. How many games have made use of the firearm for gameplay purposes? Seriously, how many? Our shooter game tag is getting dangerously full. Well, here's another title to add to that venerated list. The Gun Game Redux by Flashchaz and Marsh Games pares the genre down to its basics: you have a gun, targets exist, and it's time to introduce one to the other with as much efficiency as possible. Move your firearm through the air with the mouse, being sure to keep it within the green zone so you don't suffer a penalty, and start popping targets like targets insulted your mom. There are three main competition types... Defense, which has you blasting away targets before they can reach the green, Efficiency, in which you have to drop the target while aiming through a small hole, and Offense, which drops the targets altogether and puts you against an AI-controlled gun that's not shy about fighting back. A wide variety of unlockable guns keeps the game interesting as you blast your way to greatness.
The brothers from Meowbeast's puzzle platformer Money Movers may have busted out of the slammer once before, but in Money Movers 2 they're busting back in to rescue dear old dad who's also gotten himself locked up. As before, you'll control the two bros simultaneously with the [WASD] and the [arrow] keys, making them work together to flip switches, collect money bags, and deal with turrets, guards, locked doors and more to reach the exit together. The smaller brother can jump higher and fit into narrow places, while big brother might be too slow to avoid lasers or too heavy to jump high, but can make up for it in brute strength. The game might spend a bit too much time teaching you the basics from the original, so if you've played that, then you'd be forgiven for feeling like the sequel is dragging its feet. Eventually, however, they start getting more complicated and demanding more timing. It never really does anything significantly different from the first game, but it does up the complexity and challenge significantly, making it a great fit for fans looking for something a little meatier, all wrapped up in the bright colours, clean design, and swanky soundtrack that makes a Meowbeast game so polished and fun.
Akkad's Impossible Rush, free for iOS and Android, serves up the latest in addictive high-score arcade action for as long as your reflexes can handle it. To play, just tap the screen to rotate the square to the right, the goal being to catch the incoming coloured balls on the matching side of the square by having it face upwards. Miss even once, which gets a lot harder in a hurry since things start to speed up, and it's game over, but you can create "clans" to compete for top rankings in scores once you've logged in with Facebook, or join our clan under jayisgames. Don't want to compete online? You don't need to! Games like Flappy Bird, Atomas, Crossy Road and more have proven that many players love using their phone to play the sort of challenging games that ruled the arcade decades ago (you whippersnappers), and Impossible Rush's simple yet frantic gameplay makes it fit right in. Though it could use a few extras, like perhaps a snappy MIDI soundtrack that slowly speeds up with the gameplay, or a one-time in-app purchase to disable the occasional ads, Impossible Rush is still a great addition to the library of fast, fun-yet-frustrating high score endless games smartphones seem to be a perfect fit for, and hopefully gets expanded even more in the future. Just... don't blame it when you end up spiking the phone off the sidewalk the next time you're one tap away from beating your best score when you fail.
Impossible Rush (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
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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!
There's a tornado heading your way in Pine Studios' Catastrophe Escape, but your car has broken down in the middle of nowhere next to a deserted gas station, and if you want to escape the incoming storm, you'll need to scavenge for repair supplies and everything you need for the road. To play, just click to interact... the cursor will change when you mouse over something interactive, and display the name of whatever you're touching at the top of the screen. Items in your inventory can also be combined by clicking on first one object, and then the other. Most of the puzzles you'll encounter revolve around simply figuring out which item to use where, which does take a little creative thinking, and at least one of the item uses could stand a little subtle prompting to clue you in to what the game wants you to do, as opposed to what you might, y'know, rationally do. The ending is a little anticlimactic, and once you figure out what the game wants you to do the whole thing won't take longer than a few minutes, but a great sense of style and atmosphere make this a bite-sized escape worth checking out... though you might want to deal with any oncoming tornadoes first.To Be or Not To Be (Android)
Clash of Clans has been played by more than 100 million people for iOS and Android! Check out our best tips in our top ten "Must Know" for advice on how to keep your resources safe from other players, how to make the most out of an army (for the least cost to you!), the advantages of joining a Clan, and much more! Have a tip YOU think is a "Must-Know"? Share it in the comments below!
It's good to appreciate the little things in life. Like dandelions, or the sound of rain, or the age-old story of spiky-haired young men with swords the size of their own bodies fighting to keep the world free of evil. Lethal RPG: War Begins is a bite-sized bubble of browser-based RPG goodness from EyeSpyda Games, full of all the classic RPG standbys: impossible hairdoes, impossibler weapons, giant rats, evil mushrooms, item crafting, and sidequests, sidequests, sidequests! War Begins is actually just a small snippet... a teaser, if you will... of the full Lethal RPG: War, which is available for Android devices via Google Play, iOS on the App Store, and PC via Desura. But War Begins is more than just a glorified demo. It's a meaty and deep browser RPG in its own right, with plenty of challenge, strategy, and sidequests for your monster-battling pleasure. Did we mention sidequests? Because there's loads of those. Lethal RPG: War Begins thrusts you directly into its world with only a modicum of introduction, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it's refreshing to see a fairly deep and complex browser-based game that doesn't insist on railroading you through its first fifteen minutes, but on the other hand...
Here we are again: Gathered together by this intangible connection through the interwebs and, although not something we can put a finger on, it's no less real nor is it insubstantial. I think (and forgive me if I'm being too forward but) we have something special between us—you, me, everyone. It's not just like. We don't simply like these escape games. This is a considerably more poetic, personally resonating and meaningful thing. We're not on the fringe of society, either. Escape games got the Hollywood spotlight, albeit with a bit of parody, in a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. But to explain too much explains away part of the coolness of it, eh? Still, I don't want to march in here without preamble and just toss out a few games and say: "Uh, here. Give them a try." That'd be far too...what. Dismissive. Abrupt. Unappreciative of our unique bond. Right? Right. So, now we're all in symbiotic accord on the matter, let's skip formalities and get on to it: Everybody, here is this week's Weekday Escape...
We've briefly discussed Cornfox & Bros' lovely iOS action adventure Zelda-alike Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas before, but now that it's finally made the leap to PC on Steam, I thought it was time to take a little more in-depth look at it. The game follows you, a young lad in a world taken over by a vast sea, when your father goes missing while hunting the titular legendary monster. You quickly discover, through the influence of a magical pendant (as you do), that only you can stop the evil beast, but to do so you'll need to sail the ocean far and wide, finding magical crests, heart pieces, and more while solving puzzles with bombs and arrows... and pots. Stop me if any of that sounds familiar. But while Oceanhorn undoubtedly borrows very heavily from a lot of classic Zelda mechanics and themes, its beautiful style and breezy casual gameplay makes it a rock-solid addition to any action-adventure fan's library.
Ryan North and Tin Man Games' To Be or Not To Be, also available for iOS and Android, is Shakespeare's iconic "Hamlet" taken to glorious, chaotic extremes. Presented in the form of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you're given the chance to not only play as someone other than Hamlet (why shouldn't Ophelia and Hamlet's dad get in on the action?), but also to take the story in directions the legendary playwright likely never even conceived. To play, all you need to do, once you've chosen who you want to play as, is just click to advance text and make choices whenever they become available to you, with the choices that follow the original tale marked with a very well known skull. Combining the talents of everyone from Kate Beaton and Anthony Clark and more, including an optional narration from Ryan North himself, To Be or Not To Be has piles of different endings, each stranger than the last, and a fantastic sense of humour and style, though some clunky mechanics mean the road isn't entirely a smooth one.
There's just something about a TomaTea escape game that calls to mind lazing around and being perfectly content with everything around you, and Spring Hotel is no different with its warm colour palette and mellow guitar soundtrack. The hotel room you find yourself trapped in is small but in a comfortably cozy way, albeit with puzzles and coded locks on every conceivable surface, which I hope was disclosed in the amenities list. The tip of your cursor will glow when it passes over something you can interact with, and as usual for TomaTea, if you're faced with a puzzle that has a clue to its solution you haven't seen, you'll be informed that you have no idea how to solve it. Don't forget to examine your items by clicking the tiny "i" icon that appears when you mouse over them! Doing so may let you manipulate them in a way that reveals more secrets.
Yikes! Goblins are amassing an army and attacking Asgard! The war has begun, but we have teleporters that can zap our troops right to the front lines for just a smattering of gold. Too bad the enemies have the Yetis on their side, and every other evil creature under the sun. But with plenty of upgrades and the strongest of gods on our side, surely the kingdom is in good hands. Asgard Attack, by AnnieandMark, is an action defense game where you need to deploy units to save the day. You can choose to summon in warriors, archers, mages, and healers, and direct them where to go with a simple click of a button to stop the fiends from following the path to your kingdom, marked by blue flags. You can select individual units or click and drag a box to gather them all up and send them all over the map. Each unit is upgraded individually, as is their armor, weapons, and special abilities. When all three are maxed out after four upgrades apiece, you can then choose what powerful god to change them into, unlocking more spells and powerups. Create buildings in town to get even more upgrades using stars earned by finishing levels in different modes.
Combat is hungry work. A full day of orc-slaughter can really bring on an appetite, you know? Well, Goody Gameworks' newest title, Sword & Spoon, gives some much needed respect to those unsung heroes of warfare: the cooks. This strategy game has you defending your castle from an encroaching horde of nasties, with able-bodied (and empty-bellied) men at your disposal. In addition to constructing ranged and melee units, you also need to build potato farms and create servants who deliver the delicious tubers to your men when they run out of health and come jogging back into the castle. You can control where your units stand on the battlefield, as well as deploy some cooldown-inducing powers like summoning spearmen or burying the enemy under potatoes (seriously, is there anything potatoes can't do?), but much of the game is spent managing your food production behind the scenes, giving everything a time management feel. Seriously, you can run a war, and you can run a kitchen, but can you do BOTH at the same time?!
There's been a murder! Yes, one of your simple, salt-of-the-earth kinfolk bit the big one last night and it's up to you all to find out who's responsible and bring him to justice. The problem? It could be your friend, or your neighbor, or the milkman, or the local drunk. This is how BlankMediaGames' new indie multiplayer strategy/puzzle title keeps the suspense ramping up. Town of Salem, free in your browser or as a paid indie download via Steam, is an electronic update of the popular "Werewolf/Mafia" party game, featuring cute little pilgrims trying to out-witchhunt each other while keeping their own sorry hides above suspicion. By day you bicker and argue with each other, hurling accusations in the chat box, trying to determine who's been doing the killings and put them on the gallows to stand trial by their peers. By night, you huddle in fear, waiting to see if you're on someone's hit list. Or maybe YOU are the one who's on the prowl, and you need to do some killing of your own. Things are about to get messy in Salem, that's for sure.
If you like your escape games short and sweet, Vitamin Hana's Hana's Room 1 definitely fits the bill, but while it doesn't present a head scratcher, it does present smart, intuitive puzzles wrapped up in a cute and cheery style. The cursor won't change when you pass over something you can interact with, but largely there's no pixel hunting to be had. To examine an item up close, first click it in your inventory to pick it up, then click the "About Item" button while holding it. For the most part, Hana's Room 1 is all about locks and codes, and all of it is logical, if not particularly difficult. Though it's very much a ten minute escape at most, it's an excellent warm-up for any fan, and its colourful style makes it something we hope is just the tip of the iceberg from its creator in the future.
Play Hana's Room 1
So you're an alien. Well, not just one alien. You're three aliens. In a temple. Filled with robots. Let's start over. Flashrush Games' latest title, Transmorpher 3, is an action platform game with just a bit of puzzle smattered on top. You're a green cycloptic blob of adorably moldable alien with a penchant for absorbing the locals and transforming (sorry, transMORPHING) into them at will. Move with the [arrow] or [WASD] keys and press the ]1], , or  keys to turn into two other shapes: that of a round blue orb that can roll and stick to walls, and a big orange bruiser-type who can't jump but can break through barriers and push blocks. Together the three of you (er, one of you?) must travel into the depths of this inexplicably tech-savvy ancient temple, dodging lasers and robot guards and solving door puzzles along the way. It makes sense when you're doing it. Trust us.
There probably aren't a lot of video game characters who deserve a vacation more than Emily, the non-stop restaurant managing dynamo of Gamehouse's beloved Delicious series of time management games. She and her new husband were expecting a low key honeymoon before her brother-in-law turned up with his newly acquired cruise ship and offered them the trip of a lifetime. But with Emily's entire family and circle of friends on board and her best friend forever Francois in charge of serving the ship's customers, will Emily really get a chance to relax? Delicious: Emily's Honeymoon Cruise is yet another gorgeous, funny, smart and lovingly polished gem that will delight fans and woo newcomers.
If you enjoy word puzzles and appreciate a good, clean design, then BorderLeap's Alpha Omega for iOS is coquettishly fluttering its eyelashes in your direction. It's a simple but oh so stylish spin on a crossword puzzle, where the goal is to swap tiles horizontally and vertically to unscramble the words in each level. Often the first and last letters of each word are already locked in place, but you'll need to suss out where the rest of them go, and remember that letters at crosspoints can be swapped horizontally or vertically. Rather than having clues for individual words, all of them are themed around a certain concept, like "the farm" or "cooking", with a few gameplay twists tossed in to spice things up. The first is that each letter can only be swapped once per level, and the second is that eventually even the level's theme will be obscured, filling in while you play, while later the game will even begin introducing spaces within certain words. If you're stuck, the game comes with a few hints, which will randomly swap two letters to their correct position, but unfortunately after you've spent the ones you're given, the only way to get more are through optional in-app purchases.
no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 143: First Pitch is arguably more of a straight-up point-and-click puzzle game than it is an escape game, taking place at a ball game where the pitcher, one of the series' iconic Escape-Men, disappears, prompting you to go look for him. As usual, you'll also need to find ten of the little green men, too! Click everything and everywhere to explore and hunt for items... some objects may be hidden in places that don't give any indication you should click on them. Also remember that you can combine items (or use one on another) by examining the first one with the question mark below its icon, then clicking the item you want to use once to highlight it, and then again on the object you're checking out up close. Most of the puzzles here are fairly logical, with the biggest difficulty being finding all those unindicated interactive zones or area transitions no1game seems so fond of. Still, there are a few genuinely sneaky and clever ways of implementing codes, and the game's sense of humour makes Find the Escape-Men Part 143: First Pitch a welcome little diversion no matter what your favourite sport it.
If you know zillix's games at all, then the surreality of odd little puzzle game juxtapose isn't going to come as much of a surprise. In it, you control travelers stuck on opposite sides of a mirror world with only a few strange devices to interact with. The [arrow] keys moves you around the small area, while the [spacebar] interacts with things, and holding the down [arrow] will cause whatever character you're controlling to rest and the world to rotate back to the other. Doing so causes the world to change subtly depending on the things you have or haven't done, and to uncover all of the game's thirteen endings you'll need to do some serious creative thinking, especially since the game's narrative and setting are more than a little disorienting. What if I... what if I put this thing... on that thing? And then do the thing to the... hmmmmm.
OhNoo Studio's new indie point-and-click adventure game brings us a look into a dark unsettling world. With the art inspired by H.R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński, you know you're in for an unsettling ride. Tormentum: Dark Sorrow is a tale of a nameless hero trying to find redemption for a past he cannot remember. All he knows is the cage that is transporting him to the halls of torture and a faint dream of a female statue in between hands reaching towards the sky. Our hero must escape his prison and find this statue that haunts him so. Along the way there are puzzles to be solved, items to be gathered, and major moral decisions to make. Plus plenty of creepy people desiring you to solve their problems. He was told that his soul was filled with evil, will he clear his conscious or prove them right?
At first glance Dig a Way, a frantic puzzle game by Digi Ten for your iOS device, looks like it stepped out of an old Saturday morning cartoon, with it's cute mustachioed man with his helpful and loyal mustachioed dog. But things get real when you realized those adorable fluffy pink bunnies are actually foaming at the mouth and will pounce on you without hesitation. But treasure awaits, and with it, danger. Your goal is to collect gold and treasure chests from the caves. Once you choose your level, three arrows will appear near the bottom of the screen. Tap once on an arrow to move or dig in the direction you desire. Press and hold an arrow to continuously move in that direction, and double tap the left or right arrow to dash, which allows you to hop over a single tile sized hole. Tap, hold, then drag to scroll up ordown so you can plan your next move. You can dig any brown dirt tile, and keep in mind you can always go down, but there's no way back up. There are four maps, the first of which is free, with the option to purchase the rest for a very reasonable price.
In Rotten Mage's arcade tower-defense-bolstered shooter Spacejacked: Endless Mode, it's just you, your weapon, and whatever turrets you can build against the enemy aliens swarming your ship. You'll need to teleport from one area of the ship to another, making sure the defenses you craft from metal resources are holding off the aliens after vulnerable cores, and getting your hands dirty with your own weapon if need be. Use [WASD] (or one of the other control schemes) to move and invert gravity in lieu of jumping, while [K] interacts with things and [J] fires in the direction you're facing. You can only fire so much before your weapon needs to recharge, so blast in short bursts to make sure you're not caught without ammunition. Turrets automatically attack anything within range, and different turrets have different strengths and abilities, so keep that in mind when you're building or upgrading them. If any of the rooms has their core destroyed, it's game over, so it's up to you to last as long as you can! Spacejacked: Endless Mode is a sort of demo/prototype for a planned larger project, and what's there is pretty intriguing, blending tower-defense elements with the chaos of an arena shooter and gravity-swapping to boot. The controls might take a bit of getting used to until your muscle memory kicks in, and the gradual ramping up of difficulty will keep you on your toes. With its appealing retro style and fast-paced gameplay, Spacejacked has a lot of promise and potential, so make sure you check out its development blog and vote for it on Steam Greenlight if you want to see more!
S. Woodson's Magical Makeover is a short Twine text adventure about getting ready for a very fancy ball, where only the beautiful may attend... which is a bit of a problem for you, at least so you believe. With the help of a condescending magical mirror, you'll need to use the oddball assortment of cosmetics you have on hand to address each of your "problems" as the mirror points them out. Just click the dark bolded pink text to choose whichever you'd like, but beware... different combinations of items net vastly different results, and set you on unique paths once you leave home. Largely, all of the interaction in Magical Makeover takes place at the beginning, with the rest of the game unfolding as a story that follows whatever paths you triggered during your bathroom rituals. It was made as a sort of response to the "Girl Games" eating up so many portals these days... you know the ones, where you have to "fix" the ugly, dirty characters by cleaning them up for dates, school, and so forth, but here takes the basic concept and spins it into adventure. Very well written adventure at that, with wonderful bits of humour, strange creatures, and magic and even just the right amount of introspection to make for cozy reading. With seven very unique routes/endings to uncover, your night at the ball is likely to turn out far stranger than you could ever have imagined.
Let's face it: we just don't know why groups of archetypal anime-style characters keep deciding to get together for vacations at locations cut-off from the surrounding world, or, at least, why they always seem so friggin' shocked when someone ends up dead. If you ever show up at like, a secluded mountain cabin, and the first people you meet are a clumsy maid and the gregarious dad of a disaffected slacker, I would probably just hop back on your Ski-Doo. That having been said, even if The Misadventures of Detective Butler, a free indie mystery visual novel by Goldbar Games, sticks pretty close to the model perfected by Ryukishi07, it's still quite entertaining. In 1962, a popular cruise ship shuts down after the accidental deaths of two of its passengers. Now, a half-century later, the CEO of a wealthy company has purchased tickets for his closest employees and son Gilligan to sail on the first cruise of the relaunched and remodeled relaunched ship.. On board, Gilligan happens to meet the mysterious Detective Butler and, when the two of them delve deeper into the ship's history, another incident occurs. Will our sleuths crack the case of the Maiden Voyage Murder? And more importantly can you crack it before they do?
What ho, noble readers, it's time for another installment of your favourite grab-bag of random escape games and mine, Weekday Escape! I was, uh. Kind of tapped to write this thing at the last moment, so I'm not really sure what to say. Getting my head in a proper "escape game" mindset takes work, you know? But it's cool. I've got on my Scorpius shirt and leopard print workout pants, and I've shut and locked all the doors to my office and replaced all the obvious things I'd use to get out with a bunch of torn-up notes, cheerful coins and be-hatted birdies, and a random assortment of items I could theoretically use as tools. Ready? Let's do this.
[Please note that Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic series. Purchasing the game grants you access to all episodes as they become available. Currently only the first and second episodes have been released.]
While I play and love a lot of video games, it's rare that I replay one, let alone several times in a five month period, so let that show you how much I loved TellTale Games' first installment of Tales from the Borderlands, which I played twice by myself and then again, forcing my husband to watch, so I would, theoretically, stop quoting it at him. (Without context, anyway.) Based on the wildly popular ultra-violent and ultra-hilarious shooter from Gearbox Software, the series follows Rhys, an employee for the villainous company Hyperion who gets tired of being jerked around but bites off more than he can chew when he tries to pull a fast one, and Fiona, a conwoman who's just trying to get by on the planet Hyperion has been ruining by taking care of her family the only way she knows how. As the series opens, we found Rhys and Fiona prisoners, each blaming the other, and we've since been treated to some very conflicting stories of who-ruined-everything-for-who as they recount the events leading them to now. At the start of the first episode, Rhys finds himself saddled with an apparently permanent new friend who has his own plans, while Fiona, after performing some experimental surgery, discovers something called the Gortys Project could mean big things for everyone... too bad she doesn't know what it is. With some of the funniest pitch-black humour around and exciting action sequences, Episode Two: Atlas Mugged breathes new life and depth into old characters and places, and delivers one of the best adventures around.
Fifty years ago a new order was established in a land of chaos. The Blood Brothers, once nothing more than a band of mercenaries, now watch over the land and guard the rulers of the Citadel. Through them peace was kept, until a new foe appeared. Things were in disarray once again. Former allies turned traitorous, new foes rising out of long forgotten pasts, but new friends are ready to help bring order back to the land of Arnashia. Blood Brothers 2, by DeNA, is a new free-to-play strategy roleplaying game for iOS and Android devices where you are a commander in the Blood Brother army. Organize your troops (you can have three squads with five troops each) and lead them to victory on the battle field in this harrowing tale of betrayal arising from an new evil. Winning over more heroes to gain them all, unlocking souls to use as power-ups, and fighting in the arena against other players, is just the start of all this game has to offer.
You know what your life has been missing lately? A good sliding block puzzle game, that's what. The Kieffer Bros. bring us a gorgeous one for Android and iOS called Blockwick 2. The goal is to manipulate the blocks until all like colors (aside from white, which isn't really technically a color anyway) are touching. The controls are very responsive--just slide the blocks around with your finger. You will also notice runes on the playing field. If you can solve the puzzle while also covering all the runes with a colored block, you achieve illumination. While this is not needed to continue, it does make you feel pretty smart and adds an extra challenge to an already challenging game.
Love Burger by Carmel Games is a short point-and-click puzzle game that will ring true for anyone who's ever had to work customer service. When a demanding customer comes into a fast food joint and won't take no for an answer, even when they're clearly wrong, one employee has to come up with a way to serve them... a bit of revenge, that is. Just click around to interact, and remember you can try to combine items in your inventory if necessary. Even for a Carmel Games title, which are usually pleasantly break-sized, Love Burger is short and can literally be solved in less than five minutes, but while we're certainly not advocating any creative comeuppance the next time you're faced with a fire-breathing customer who can't admit they're wrong, it's still nice to see one get their just desserts in this quirky and very silly little game.
In one night, Jacqueline Brown's life was flipped upside down, someone tried to kill her, and a close friend was killed. Things would be much smoother for her in this visual novel if it wasn't for the fact that as a result of a car accident she is left blind, mute, and paralyzed. All her friends and family members think she is in a coma, but she can still see light and hear every guilty word her visitors say. Locked In, by Lucky Special Games, is a free indie "whodunnit" mystery where we see, hear, and remember everything Jacqueline does. While most of this game is reading, in the end you are given the choice of who you should show you're still listening to... by wiggling a single finger. The entire game is played with the mouse, clicking to get through dialog faster and selecting what choice you make in the end. With eight different endings can you make sure justice is served or be forever trapped in a prison of yourself?
MayMay is back with another tasty escape game in Find 10 Cookies, where you have to do exactly what the title says if you ever want to get out. The cookies are everywhere, some sitting out in plain sight while others will require you to crack some pretty clever codes. Hey, cookies are serious business! There's no changing cursor, but most of what you can interact with is obvious, apart from one or two things that have more than one "hot spot" that makes them behave in different ways, or inventory items that need to be placed on juuuuuust the right portion of the screen to work. Despite this, Find 10 Cookies is still far more sweet than sour, and MayMay's ability to cook up smart, satisfying little escapes makes them one developer whose rapidly turning into a favourite treat.
Despite what they say, in short bursts war can be exceptionally fun. For proof, check out Matthew Hydman's 10 Second War, a unique little topdown puzzle shooter game with a time-bending main mechanic. You play as a little squad of soldiers tasked with eliminating the opposing turrets and bots, but you only have ten seconds to get the job done. Fortunately, you get to select each unit individually and control them with the [WASD] keys and your mouse through the ten second span, and then hit [F] to "finish" the unit. Then you can do it all again with the next guy, creating a tiny little ballet of violence as your previous soldiers go about their choreography. A robust level editor gives the game some great replayability but be warned: you might find yourself playing each level ten or tweny times trying to perfect each shot and dodge for maximum efficiency.
The meddling, passive-aggressive mother-in-law who constantly finds fault with the bride is such a ubiquitous trope in pop culture that I thank Celestia for my own sweet, not-as-crazy-as-I-am mother-in-law. In Delicious: Emily's Wonder Wedding, part of the beloved Delicious series of time management games from GameHouse, cafe owner Emily is finally about to tie the knot with boyfriend Patrick, but the road to wedded bliss isn't a smooth one. Not only does Emily have to contend with dress problems, mailing invitations, and, of course, managing her popular eatery, she's also got to win over Patrick's mother who's just flown in from Ireland and seems to pick on everything Emily does and says. With a run of bad luck a mile wide, Emily begins to convince herself that maybe Patrick's mother is right and the wedding is cursed, but that's nonsense... right? GameHouse proves once again they know the time-management trade almost better than anything else, and delivers a fun, funny, and gorgeously polished game that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
I admit, I'm a little wierded out by the endless procession of random things Pencil Kids' Monkey Go Happy simians need to perk up... in point-and-click puzzle game Monkey GO Happy Leprechauns they want a whopping 20 leprechauns (... for... what?... ), and you'll have to explore to find them all. Click around to pick things up and interact, and use the big yellow arrows to move to different locations. Monkey GO Happy Leprechauns follows the usual formula of finding keys and X number of random item Y in addition to the usual puzzles solved by bringing people whatever they ask for, though it's more a matter of simply opening one lock after another this time around while the music feels like it's gearing up for an Enya song that never quuuuuuite happens. Cute, short, and just puzzle-y enough to make it worth your while, Monkey GO Happy Leprechauns is another great addition to the series.
I've never gotten trapped in a bathroom before, but I guess that's because the ones I frequent are apparently low on the "complicated puzzle locks and little green men tucked into every nook and cranny front", unlike the commode in no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 142: A Typical Bathroom. You're locked in, as you'd expect, and to get out you will, as usual, need to find the ten green Escape-Men hidden around the room. Also as usual, there is no changing cursor, so you'll need to really be diligent about searching everywhere (sometimes even after you've changed the environment) in order to succeed. This isn't as complex or lengthy as some of the entries in no1game's long and popular series have been, but it's just clever and tricky enough to make for the perfect break-sized game.
Brave adventurers, are you ready for a challenge? A mysterious cult has begun infiltrating the land, and it's up to you to get to the bottom of it in Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic, a rogue-like RPG for iOS or your desktop from The Bitfather. Start by choosing three heroes from those milling about at the inn. Tap on them to see their stats, special abilities, and hilariously random back story. Once you've done that, hit the "go" button near the bottom right to set off into town. Talk to the colorful cast of characters, check the shops, arrange your hero order and equipment to your satisfaction, and accept a quest. Though danger is lurking everywhere, you might agree to fetch someone's favorite comb, or a crucial missing piece of a super suit. Once you leave town there's no going back until you conquer the dungeon or die, so make sure you're ready to go. Empty your bag as much as possible as it's a bit small to fit all the loot you're likely to find. As you walk to your designated dungeon, you'll engage in several randomly generated encounters along the way, which can lead to treasure, fights, or nothing. The turn based battles start in earnest when you reach the dungeon.
Arnold Rauer's strategic card game Card Crawl for iOS is Solitaire for those of us with dice in our bones and Bags of Holding in our hearts, albeit on a much, much more simplified scale. The object is to clear the deck of cards the big monster dealer Hoerni lays out for you... your character has 13 hitpoints, two equipment slots, and a backpack to store an item. There are potions that heal you, coins that add to your total wealth, weapons and shields, special abilities, and, of course, monsters. Each round Hoerni deals four random cards from his deck, and you need to remove at least three of them before he deals more. So, even if all the cards available are beneficial, you'll still need to get rid of three of them to proceed... do you discard a spell? Waste a potion? Sell equipment to the shop to earn its value in coin? If you drag a monster directly on top of your hero, she'll slay it, but her hitpoints will decrease by the monster's total remaining life. Dragging an equipped weapon on a monster card damages it by the weapon's point value, while dragging the monster itself onto an equipped shield will subtract the shield's point value from the damage the monster does. There is always a fixed amount of cards and their types in each deck, you just don't know when they'll be dealt, so surviving 'til Hoerni's hand is clear takes planning, thought, and a bit of luck. Win, and you can keep your gold to be spent on unlocking more cards at the shop. Celebrate by attacking the darkness and cracking open a Mountain Dew.
Definitely simple but undeniably adorable and cheery, Nerd Herd Production's action arcade game The Comet's Calling is about a trio of "monsters" living in a junkyard who need to amass all the food and supplies they can before the place is shut down in one month's time. Each day you're given a different list of items to collect, and as the monsters race in their shopping cart and toss junk in the air, it's up to you to catch items by clicking to open your mouth, and avoid the things that you don't want by releasing the mouse to shut your trap, as it were. If you accidentally swallow something not marked with a star from your list, click rapidly to spit it out. The Comet's Calling isn't particularly hard and it definitely isn't that complex, being repetitive in a way that may put some players off, but where it shines is its sunny sense of humour and sweet cast of characters throughout the game's many story cutscenes. While a little more variety would have helped flesh out the gameplay significantly, the endearing story and style infuses The Comet's Calling with charm and personality to spare.
Mike Morin's point-and-click puzzle Myosotis games get even stranger with Myosotis Chapter 5, which you shouldn't even bother trying to play unless you've played the others since you'll have no idea what's going on in the story of PI Rick and the mysterious letter that lead him to an even more mysterious box. Now you're dealing with a variety of puzzles, from anagrams to spot-the-difference, and once you've figured out what the object to each level is, just click around to create the solution. Though its as gorgeous and atmospheric as its predecessors, Myosotis Chapter 5's random mish-mash of puzzles don't really feel like they fit the theme or overall plot particularly well, and the ending to the series feels abrupt in an unsatisfying way. Still, the neon-soaked visuals and moody soundtrack makes Myosotis Chapter 5 a treat for the eyes and ears, and if you want a handful of stylish puzzles, it's worth firing up.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
In Meaka's surreal free indie horror adventure Living Playground, Octavio, Tony, and Pablo are just your average kids who also happen to turn into playground equipment, out to hunt up the best snails they can find at an old factory. When a shadowy figure attacks, Tony finds herself trapped inside and separated from her brothers, and following pieces of a story that might be even stranger than a bunch of kids who can turn into playground equipment. To play, just use the [arrow] keys to move and the [spacebar] to interact. While all items are used automatically wherever they're needed and you can only save the game in certain places, opening the menu with [ESC] allows you to access the Skills submenu, which lets you transform Tony to and from her slide form, which can help in certain situations. While there are no battles, Tony and the others can still take damage from certain things, and they have limited hit-points, so be wary of danger. Living Playground's odd premise may raise an eyebrow, but expressive artwork, loveable characters, and a story that combines classic fairytales with a look at family and identity makes it an impressive, engrossing game adventure fans should definitely check out.
I almost forgot it was Wednesday! I got a little too caught up in something new I've been trying: "being in the moment." Apparently, people who study these kinds of things have come up with the idea that all this modern lifestyle—internet, phones, social media, and the like—have abbreviated our attention spans and evolved our brains to constantly need new stimuli. That could be why stories like Cheryl Strayed's Wild are so compelling; staking out a "peace" of the wild, escaping the trappings of modern life, is not an uncommon dream although fewer do it than dream it. Still, who wouldn't feel a little anxious leaving home without a phone in hand? How comfortable would you be without internet for a month? Sure it's important to be aware of surroundings and appreciate a slower pace. Yet, as I'm always saying around here: Escape games? They're the good way. Folks who escape-the-room on a regular basis, you're used to looking closely at your surroundings, noticing small details and perhaps even a few clues. You already have immense appreciation for a more relaxed, touristy pace through life just as you usually prefer relaxing, mediative games. So it's okay to get lost in thought as you play these next three escapes from Tototo Room, FunkyLand and No1Game. There's no hurry, no time limits, and no finish line: Just an open door into the world...
Think Little House on the Prairie mingled with Star Trek and you've got an idea of the feel of Our Personal Space, a thoughtful sci-fi visual novel by Metasepia Games, free as a download or for your Android device. Would you be willing to give up your family and friends, basically your whole life to colonize a distant planet? What skills would you need to have? How much could other futuristic technology make up for the lack of indoor plumbing? Could you handle it? Could your relationships handle it? You get to step into the shoes of the protagonist and her new husband (you get to choose their names!) as they embark on a journey of a lifetime to the distant garden planet Talaam. As you progress in the story you'll get to choose your profession and your hobbies, all which open up different scenes and options as you go.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
In Bevel's Painting, a free indie horror adventure by Maninu and translated by vgperson, you play an artistic young girl who winds up inside one of her own paintings one day when she discovers the canvas aglow. You know. As you do. Inside, things look magical, with fairy servants and teddy bear chefs, but there's something strange going on. ... well, stranger than getting sucked into a painting where everyone speaks gibberish. There's danger hidden around every corner, and this world doesn't exactly seem to follow logic our heroine would understand, though making the wrong choice could have... unfortunate consequences. Use the [arrow] keys to move and the [spacebar] to interact, while [ESC] opens the menu. You can only save at the little paint boxes you find, and most items will need to be used manually, so open the main menu and select an object from your inventory when you want to try to use it. Additionally, as you explore you'll find paint colours that can be used to change the world around you, though using a brush makes it dirty, and you'll need to find clean water to wash it before you can use it again. There are nine different endings to find, and the way to unlock all of them isn't necessarily obvious. Save frequently, and in different slots. Though on the short side compared to some freeware horror adventures and possessed of some chase sequences that may annoy more than anything else, Bevel's Painting crafts an unsettling and intriguing atmosphere with a story more implied than implicitly told. Note that while most of the text is in "Bevelese", it can be translated manually once you've worked out the alphabet... there's a clue as to how to do so in one of the "worlds".
Buh-hwaaaaaaaaaaa? Unlike no1game's other cute point-and-click puzzle games, My First Flower Viewing stars a little boy instead of a girl, what madness is this? He and his mother want to go see the cherry blossoms, but before they can go, you need to help him find all the items they need for a relaxing picnic. To play, click around to hunt for clues and interact, keeping an eye out for the rather baffling amount of code clues for the locks peppering this apartment. (Is Mom trying to raise the next Professor Layton?) My First Flower Viewing definitely falls into the short and sweet category, with a handful of puzzles that all make sense and most of the difficulty coming down to finding the occasional item or clue in an odd spot. no1game's "My First" titles always feel like they might be mostly aimed at children with their cheery premises and simpler puzzles, but they're fun and light enough to be enjoyed by just about anyone... apart from the odd disparity of how whiny the little boy makes his little girl counterpart seem. My First Flower Viewing will kick your brain awake just enough to make a nice break, and maybe the next time you go on a picnic, you'll have a few things to add to your list, too!
Max Gittel's science-themed zen-like puzzle game Atomas, free for your iOS, is the sort of sneakily simple looking game that's a perfect fit for smartphones and tablets... something clean and elegant looking you can pull out and play for a few minutes, but clever and addictive enough that you'll probably catch yourself fiddling with it for a lot longer. The goal is to create the highest score possible by placing and combining elements around the edge of the circular playing field. Each element has a value, and if you place a Plus element between two identical ones, they'll combine to create a new, higher value element. If there are matching elements on either side of the pair you just combined, you'll start a chain reaction where they (and any other pairs bracketing the point of combination) are added in as well. Occasionally, you'll be granted a Minus element, which will let you remove any element on the board and place it elsewhere, or, if you prefer, convert it into a Plus. When the board is completely filled, the game is over, so trying to plan out how your elements are arranged as you place them is crucial to getting a high score! Lucky Charms are awarded as you progress, and when you equip one from the main menu, it'll grant you a passive bonus, like an increased chance of receiving Pluses or Minuses. If things are really desperate, you can use an Antimatter blast to partially clear the board, though as of this writing it appears the only way to gain those is to buy them through in-app purchases.
One again, witches are causing a ruckus in puzzle platformer Shape Shifter 2 by FlashTeam... or, well, one specific witch anyway. As in the original Shape Shifter, a mouse, a rabbit, and an elephant have all been bewitched into sharing the same body, and you'll need to swap between all of them in order to use their special skills to get through levels. Use the [arrow] or [WASD] keys to move and jump, and the , , and  keys to swap between forms. Each critter has unique abilities to help them deal with obstacles, like the rabbit's extra-high jump and the elephant's... ability to wear mitts and handle hot objects, as elephants do. Shape Shifter 2 unfortunately shares the same floaty controls as the original game, making quick and precise platforming a pain, but the creativity of most of the levels and the charm in its character animations still makes Shape Shifter 2 a fun. endearing franchise we hope gets some polish in the future.
Lastronaut, free for iOS by Darrin Henein and Stephan Leroux, is the best sort of casual endless runner/arcade game... fast, chaotic, flashy, addictive, and, yes, completely free with no ads or in-app purchases whatsoever. The concept is simple... you're an astronaut racing down a road filled with all sorts of hazards and enemies, and you're given a random weapon. You run forward automatically, so tapping the left side of the screen makes you jump, while tapping the right side of the screen fires. It's up to you to last as long as possible to get the highest score you can... easier said than done since a single hit knocks you out in glorious slo-mo-o-vision, and then you have to start again. Different weapons descend in capsules with parachutes, and you'll face everything from evil robotic drones to a variety of other explosive dangers. Though it definitely gets repetitive, Lastronaut's fantastic style and aesthetic makes its simple, just-one-more-run gameplay a pleasure to play and behold, much like classic Canabalt. If you want something complex, this isn't it, but Lastronaut's twitchy, satisfyingly explosive gameplay is perfect for a few minutes of fast-paced, chaotic action whenever you need it.
In Apanda's surreal arcade game Cloudventure, little Cloudia has to pass one more test to become a weather mage, but when all you can do is make clouds, how are you suppose to survive a gauntlet of mines, lightning, and other tricky obstacles? To play, just click the screen. Cloudia is constantly moving forward, and each click makes a cloud that boosts her up, allowing you to "fly" up and down the screen. Collecting coins gives you cash to spend on upgrades at the store in case you get knocked out, which is probably going to happen a few times since in the beginning bumping against a single thing will make Claudia fall and force you to restart. The game isn't actually that long, and a few upgrades will get you far, especially since there are power-ups you can pick up to help along the way, with twelve stars netting you a random one as well. Cloudventure is simple, but its cute, dreamy style and storybook setting, complete with strange creatures and encounters, makes it a fun little arcade game that will brighten your day, even if it isn't much of a challenge.
Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt by Remar Games and Ludosity is a very retro free indie action RPG made in four days for the Games Against Ebola Jam. You, as the titular princess, descend to Hurtland in search of your missing friend and healing people of various ailments as you go. See, as the name might imply, the folks of Hurtland are in a bad way, but lucky for them Princess Remedy can duke it out with the things making them sick. To play, just use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, and [spacebar] to interact. In a fight, Princess Remedy fires automatically in the direction she's facing, so it's your job to maneuver her around the battlefield to blast enemies apart while dodging their attacks. Tapping the [spacebar] will throw a flask... you only get one of these per battle to begin with, but they let out a big blast! The more people you heal, the stronger you get, and there are plenty of treasure chests to find to upgrade the princess' power as well. It's on the simple side, but fans of sweet, silly humour and classic old school gameplay will want to add this one to their to-do list.
Things get seriously surreal in Monkey GO Happy Talisman, the latest game in the Monkey GO Happy series of point-and-click puzzle adventure games from Pencil Kids. You and the monkeys are stuck in Swampville, which is filled with all manner of creepy inhabitants and the most ominous music in the world, and you're looking for a magic talisman... though finding it means doing a lot of favours for the locals. Just click around to play and interact, and make sure you pay attention to the scenery for clues. At one point the game may appear to be bugged when it comes to picking up a specific item needed to travel back and forth between two locations, but everything is functioning the way it's supposed to. Despite the excessively oppressive soundtrack and oddball characters, there's actually nothing to be afraid of in Monkey GO Happy Talisman, and in fact the whole design is weird in a very appealing way. It's still a short snack of a game, with a nice balance of inventory puzzles and coded locks that are perhaps a bit more obvious in this installment than they have been in previous Monkey GO Happy games, but fans of tracking down tokens and helping out animal people will enjoy this one for the welcome break it is.
Please note LongStory is an episodic game. Currently, only episodes one and two are available. The first episode is free, while episode two is an optional in-app purchase.
Bloom Digital's iOS and Android LGBTQ-friendly episodic visual novel LongStory is about high school. Well, people, actually. You've just come back to the States after spending time abroad in France, and adjusting to school is hard enough thanks to the return of your old antagonists, a trio of girls you call Hanniferjane, nevermind the strange notes you just found in your locker. It seems like the locker's previous owner left under unhappy circumstances, and while everyone seems to know something, nobody wants to talk about it. Of course, whether you pursue the mystery or just focus on your life is up to you... it's not like you don't have friends of your own to think about. Like homeschooled Nora, who you only know from long chats online, or taciturn Marcel, who just wants to go home to Dubai. And then there's that person in the weird costume who never seems to talk, and yet always knows just what to do. Your choices will determine the outcome of not only the story, but your various relationships, as they carry over from episode to episode. Choose not only your appearance and preferred pronouns (limited to he, she, and they), but whether to pursue friendship, romance, or simply find out what happened to the girl who came before you in this funny, sweet, and earnest game.
I'm not big on large bodies of water at the best of times, but even in my most dramatic moments (of which there are many), when I think of things that could go wrong on a cruise, "Entire ship and passengers getting sucked into an alternate dimension by vengeful frozen desserts" somehow never made the list, and yet that's exactly what's befallen everyone in Flipline Studios' action-packed platformer Papa Louie 3: When Sundaes Attack. You begin the game as the ship's captain, determined to rescue the other people, presumably because "lost all crew and passengers in an alternate dimension" doesn't look real good on a resume, and you're going to need to get your hands dirty to do it. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, jump, and swim, while tapping [spacebar] attacks, though the controls are completely customiseable from the pause menu. Each area is filled with coins and more to collect and baddies to wallop, and though some itty-bitty enemies can be taken down with a single whack, others will need more to bring them down. Each customer you rescue is then unlocked to play as, and since they all have their own different abilities, replaying levels as someone else can help you unlock new areas or reach something you previously couldn't!
AJ Ordaz's puzzle platformer A Pretty Odd Bunny is about a little rabbit with... unusual dietary needs. Specifically, while every other bunny happily chomps down on carrots, our fluffy-tailed friend craves meat. As you might imagine, being a red-eyed carnivore in a species of soft, defenseless herbivores doesn't go over very well, so our bunny is going to have to learn to be stealthy if he wants to indulge his appetite without getting caught. Use the [arrow] keys to move and jump, and hold the down [arrow] to sneak. In each level, your goal is to reach that sweet, sweet piggy dinner without being spotted, so you'll want to hide from the bunnies who are awake by ducking into bushes and waiting until they look away to move past them. When dealing with snoring rabbits, you'll need to sneak so you don't wake them up. Eventually, you'll also need to avoid carrots, since those nasty things make you break out into a rash. A Pretty Odd Bunny is a simple but extremely quirky little game, turning a morbid premise into something surprisingly cute thanks to the pixel presentation and the way the bunnies emote. It feels like it needs a little polish, since having to hold down the key to sneak instead of using a toggle is tedious, and some jumps require perplexingly pixel-perfect positioning (as well as apparently alliteration) compared to others. The increasing demand for reflexes may put off some players who were initially sucked in by the stealthier initial stages, but A Pretty Odd Bunny's ghoulish charm and clever premise makes it worth checking out.
There have been many studies done showing how to strengthen a family. Eating at least one meal together, giving each other nicknames, fighting off a horde of evil creatures that have arisen from the depths of... well, all right. So not a lot of studies have been done on the last one, but in the case of Family Rush you can see the family bonds binding even stronger as they blow these monstrous critters off of the face of the planet. It all starts, in this different kind of rail shooter by Denis Vasilev, when a demon needs a real child to complete his spell. Not wasting time, his minions swipe a little baby straight from his/her crib, but not only did that family of six have a little infant, but they also each have a weapon of choice. And so the showdown begins. You start off with only the father, an universal soldier, but after you advance enough you soon unlock his wife, two grandparents and even the family dog, all who are ready to help with their own special weapon. Your little group slowly walks forward. You're not able to control their movements but you aim with the mouse on where you want them to shoot. They all have separate health so if Granny takes too many hits, she'll wheel herself off the screen but the rest will keep trucking forward. You have to plan your strategy carefully on what to eliminate first and purchase the upgrades that will really give you the upper hand.
Hi! How are you doing? Excited, stressed, relaxed or just a little bored? Well, okay, there's a few things we can do about that: You could waste a bit of time reading the scientific explanation for what boredom is (perhaps thereby enhancing that feeling). Or, stick around here as we indulge our urge to entertain our brain. Yes, again, it is that portion of the week when worries are washed away, troubles are turned around, and boredom is busted. Ehem. Might this even be claimed, in its most meta essentialness, your way to escape the everyday. (Heh. It's a line that never gets old!) Lucky for us, escape games are far from being in short supply lately. Which surely means the need to get away—via the metaphoric breaking loose from one's confines—is also in constant supply (which I'm quite glad about and not just for things like job security). This week, Esklavos, FunkyLand and Yuri bask in the WE spotlight...
Content Warning: This game deals with some subject matter that may be upsetting to some people.
And now for something completely different. Shy by Jacob Prytherch is a Choose Your Own Adventure style horror story available only for Kindle (use the free iOS, Android, Mac and PC Kindle apps if you don't own one!) with a very old school style. In it, you receive a phone call from your brother Kenji, who begs you to find him, telling you he only has five hours left. He's always been a little eccentric, with a keen belief that there's more to the world than you can see, but he's not really given to jokes, and when you arrive at his apartment to discover evidence of a troubling investigation into a local legend. It's clear Kenji is serious trouble, but you don't even know where to look, and the entire city and surrounding countryside is teeming with darkness both human and otherworldly you may not be prepared to face. To play, just read the story and then navigate to the page you want when presented with choices. Be warned that you will need to keep track of your own inventory and other bits of information, so pen and paper is advised... told you we were rocking it retro.
Alto's Adventure by Snowman for iOS isn't exactly going where no action arcade game has gone before, but gosh ain't it gorgeous? In it, you play a young boy named Alto whose herd of llamas escapes one day from their mountaintop pen, forcing Alto to pick up his snowboard and chase them down. It's a simple premise, with simple gameplay, where tapping the screen makes Alto jump over obstacles, and holding your tap causes him to try to perform a backflip in midair... just make sure you land on your feet! In addition to picking up your precious llamas, which adds to your high score, there are coins to be spent on upgrades, and various tricks you can perform, such as grinding along lines. Even if you fall and find yourself back at the beginning, the terrain is always randomised, keeping each new play fresh. But while it's definitely on the simple side and following in the footsteps of games like Canabalt and Solipskier, Alto's Adventure manages to be both soothing and breathtaking in a way few casual high-score based arcade games ever manage.
Anita's Job is tracking down the missing luggage of a local tourist who arrived on a cruise ship, and in this point-and-click puzzle adventure by Carmel Games, you'll need to help her scour the island to find it, unless you want to be held financially responsible... or, well, give up your tacky desktop hula girl souvenir in compensation, apparently? You'll travel to several different locations around the island looking for not only the luggage, but the items you need to solve puzzles and even grease the wheels, so to speak, since not everyone is able or willing to help Anita out. As you might expect from Carmel Games, Anita's Job is on the very short side, but weird in a good way, with eccentric characters and a kooky bent to its mostly logical puzzles, and a groan-worthy pun to round things out in the end.
If there was ever an escape game creator whose name inspired the exact opposite feels as it described, Neutral has got to be them, and Morning Room is here to pick you up... though despite never running around or deserting you, you might miss it if you blink. To play, just click to interact, though the cursor won't change to tell you when you can do so, and frustratingly some objects you need to interact with won't actually give any visual or aural feedback that doing so is correct. This is very much a mini escape, with just one screen to contend with (not counting various viewing angles), and some of the puzzles aren't quite as intuitive or inventive as you might be hoping. Still, Neutral's tidy design and the deceptively simple presentation hides one puzzle you'll need to wake up your brain for, so get cracking, and whet your appetite for a bigger game down the road!
Minecraft Dig Dug, gamers everywhere have had the desire to go deeper and deeper below the surface of the digital earth. In Deeply Absurd Chain, a free strategic match-3 game by Lumarama also free for iOS and Android, the goal is to delve into the endless depths by drawing a line to connect three or more of the same item. Taking a tip from games such as Triple Town, if you join three of a kind, the item then ugprades, creating something new. Your depth, which goes up every time you clear some of the board, and points are noted at the top of the screen. Points are gained by making chains, and are used to purchase items that will help you increase your depth in later games.
Chacha's Game One Escape has a whole lot of locks and a whole lot of codes, all designed to keep you trapped for as long as possible, which would be inhumane if not for the big screen TV, the comfy couch, and the coffee maker. Chacha, you... fiend, I guess? There's no changing cursor, so to play just click on everything to interact and move around. A large part of escaping will actually come down to finding the clues you need to crack a bunch of codes, and most of it is actually quite clever, though the mildly clunky interface might get in your way whenever you accidentally click past the number or letter you wanted and have to cycle back through all the others to get to it. Even if the ride isn't perfectly smooth, there's still a lot to appreciate in the way Game One Escape makes you use your head instead of relying on pixelhunt or MacGuyver-y, which is totally a professional game term. Need to warm up your noodle and solve a couple puzzles to really make your day complete? This is the escape game for you.
When a witch hunter marries a witch, even if she's a good witch, it's a stretch to imagine their life together will be happily ever after, don't you think? Lynn and Edward have been married just a year when the nasty witch queen Morgana, set on bringing back her powerful mentor so witches can rule the world, lures the happy couple to a totally creepy fair (just what every girl dreams of doing on her first wedding anniversary, especially with her mother tagging along) where she and her lackey whisk Lynn away for use in an evil ritual. In Witches' Legacy: Slumbering Darkness, a hidden-object puzzle adventure game from Elefun, you play as Lynn's mother Carrie, along with her somewhat terrifying yet helpful imp sidekick, who are racing the clock to get Lynn back before it's too late.
Bloodrizer's Kittens Game (hosted here with kind permission) is a surprisingly deep incremental idle simulation with a deceptively adorable premise... you are a kitten in a catnip forest, and as you harvest and plant catnip, you slowly begin to build a village around yourself using other resources that become available. In the beginning, going is very, very slow... as more kittens come to your village you can assign them to various jobs that gain you more resources, but without upgrades they're not very efficient, and you'll still need to focus on making sure they have enough catnip. It's what they eat, after all, and as the seasons change, so does the rate at which catnip is generated, to the point where the winter days (each season takes 100 days) will need much more kittenpower to keep your crops from declining. As a result, Kittens Game initially moves significantly more slowly without careful prioritization of upgrades, and requires a lot more babysitting to make sure things are running smoothly... though eventually you'll soon find your kittens quite capable of thriving on their own. What's impressive is how much content there is once you get the ball rolling, with your civlization growing in some pretty neat ways, and more updates adding on to it as well. It's much closer to A Dark Room than, say, Candy Box! Though the game runs by itself in another tab, it will do so much more slowly, while putting it in its own window seems to work much better. Not everyone will have the patience or time for it to really start evolving and opening up, but Kittens Game is more complex than it initially seems, and more rewarding.
Thanks to Adam for sending this one in!
Charms of Lavender Blue by Waffrus and Clara is a sweet visual novel about a girl whose love life is a bit more complex than most. She's just discovered her family is under a curse, and without a pair of magical pendants, anyone who loves her will ultimately try to kill her. Not that she's got love on her mind now that she's back at school... but gosh her old friend Pierce sure is acting coldly to her all of a sudden. To play, just click the text box to advance the story, and click any options to make your choice when they pop up. Despite lacking some of the more basic functions of visual novels, like the ability to scroll back through text or manually save and load whenever you please (which would have been handy since at least one of the choices is poorly worded based on the text that comes before it), Charms of Lavender Blue is still a sweet little story that's well told and beautifully illustrated. Since the story jumps ahead so often, it does tend to feel rushed, so Nabi and Pierce never really get the character development they need considering the subject matter, which is all wrapped up very abruptly, making this a light snack instead of a meal of a tale even with its multiple endings. Still, the game definitely has cute and sweet in spades, and it'll likely appeal to anyone who's a fan of lighthearted romcom anime-style plots, making Waffrus someone to keep your eye on.
Almost everyone knows the story of Briar Rose, or more commonly known as Sleeping Beauty, thanks to Disney. A princess falls under a curse that puts her and her whole kingdom to sleep, thick briar bushes fill the forest leading to the kingdom, and the only way to break the curse is for a prince to awaken her with a true love's kiss. Elf Games' free indie point-and-click adventure Little Briar Rose brings us back to this tale we all enjoyed from our childhood, but takes a different look at the tale. Namely, how the Prince got to the castle in the first place. These are magical thorny vines so the good old hack and slash won't do. Thankfully the woods are full of magical creatures needing help and some talking to and your little Prince is armed to do just that. This beautiful little tale will remind you of all the magic of your childhood. Just be sure to get the puzzles right the first time, or there won't be any happily ever after for your prince.
In the grand scheme of things, match-3 puzzle games might be some of the simplest to make in their most basic incarnation, but taking that simple formula and making it feel fresh and fun takes a bit more ingenuity. Good thing Playcademy seems to have that in spades, with Runefall being one of the most relaxing and enjoyable additions to the genre to come along in a long time. In it, you find yourself in the tiny town of Riverfell, which has had difficulty making ends meet and finding enough to make their tribute to the kingdom ever since the war brought the trade routes to a screeching halt. But when you discover magical, valuable runes while out searching for the resources needed to pay tribute? Well, that's another matter entirely, and suddenly sleepy Riverfell isn't so sleepy at all. Despite some issues with repetition and variation, a genuinely likable cast and engaging story alongside addictive match-3 gameplay makes Runefall a rocksolid addition to the genre that's well worth checking out and losing a few hours to, as comforting and enjoyable as loading up your favourite light fantasy film while wearing your comfiest socks and sipping your favourite beverage.
Varagtp's Tap Heroes, also free for iOS and Android, is a simple idle/incremental RPG that will feel fairly familiar to you if you've played Clicker Heroes, but darned if it ain't pretty. You start off with a simple warrior in a forest, and you click on them to heal, while clicking on enemies deals damage. Slain enemies drop coins you can use to upgrade both your clicking strengths and your party, and after you've knocked off ten monsters in one area, you can move on to the next, where they'll be stronger, but your rewards will be even greater. Every so often you'll fight a powerful boss, and slaying it will earn you diamonds (also dropped randomly while playing) you can spend on more party members or other upgrades like the coin doubler. If you're already sick of the clicker genre, Tap Heroes isn't going to do much to win you over. It's fun in the way all of these games are, a frenetic mix of arcade clickery and the simple satisfaction of upgrading and bigger numbers, but despite elements like the way the wizard and the rogue both have different abilities, it still doesn't offer much in the way of depth. The incentive to play is largely seeing what new areas and monsters you discover, and in that the game's lovely Paper Mario-esque retro visual style is a large mark in its favour. Tap Heroes may have been done before, and likely could use some fleshing out to make it stand above the crowd, but its oddly addictive and easy on the eyes, making it a solid addition to an increasingly popular genre.
In Terry Cavanagh's Grab Them By The Eyes, you were just minding your own business, slinging burgers out of your modest food stand, when a pair of upstarts with a much flashier sign set up shop literally a few feet away and began stealing all your business. A little shocking considering they're literally called Filthy Burgers, but it turns out there's a secret to drawing in the glazed masses, and that secret is making the best flashy sign you possibly can by combining message, colour, and other punch cards at the sign shop. See, you use your cash to buy various punch cards at the start of each day, and each card has a value that determines how many customers will be brought in. You and your competitors will take turns buying cards until they're all gone, and then you'll build your sign by selecting which cards to use to try to maximize your pull, which is harder than you might think... especially since cards become less effective the more they're used, though they can only ever decrease to a minimum value of one. It makes a deceptively simple looking game into something much more strategic, and you'll need every customer you can get since the food stand with the least by the end of the week needs to leave!
Find the Escape-Men Part 140: Snow Shovel by no1game is yet another short and sweet escape game with a snowy theme as you try to find the ten little green men and clear your driveway in the process. In that sense, at least, it's actually less an escape game, and more of a simple puzzle, unless you count escaping from the cold! As usual for a no1game title, there's no changing cursor, so you'll need to hunt everywhere for interactive areas, including some that might not appear right away. This is one of those games that might not even fill up a coffee break, but uses some clever tricks for its few puzzles that will have you smacking your forehead once you figure at least one of them out, as well as a cute method of giving you a few hints. So finish it up, snuggle up somewhere warm if you aren't already, and then, well, what else? Play even more no1games titles, of course!
A Good Snowman is Hard to Build, by Alan Hazelden, with graphics by Benjamin Davis and tunes by Ryan Roth, is a simple and cuddly little indie puzzle game that you just can't help but feel good about playing. You are a "monster" (if there was ever a critter deserving of fingerquotes around that world, it's this little fellow) who has a passion for building and naming snowmen and, as it happens, snowwomen, and luckily you've stumbled across a maze-like snowy park, where each area has its own puzzle and snowperson building materials... which is, of course, to say three snowballs and more of the white stuff. Using [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, walk into snowballs to push them around. Each patch of snow you roll one over makes the snowball grow one size bigger, and if you're at all familiar with snowman anatomy, you know you need a big one for the base, a medium-sized one for the belly, and a small one for the head. Because rolling a snowball over a patch of snow both makes it bigger and removes that bit of snow for the ground, figuring out how to get each portion of your snowman juuuuust the right size, and in position to push it on top of the other pieces in the proper order, is harder than it sounds. You can only stack a snowball on a larger one, and if the opposite side is clear, you can push the stacked snowballs to knock the one on top off to the other side. Hit [Z] to undo as many moves as you like, or [R] to reset the current area you're in.
Warning: This game contains flashing and strobe-like elements that may be hazardous to players with certain sensitivities.
This game is available in Pay What You Want format, including free, but please consider paying the developer if you enjoy what you play!
Mibibli's Quest is a great free indie retro platformer that keeps all the great points of the old days. Well, mainly the one where the games are just ridiculously tough and you spent more time retrieving the controller you threw across the room than you did alive in the game. But there was always something about that that kept us locked in and it will be no different in this high difficulty action game. Your goal is to reach the end of each levels (using the [arrow] keys to move), shooting with [Z] all the bad guys you can and jumping with [X] over those you can't. Except in the level where you're a spaceship. Or the level where you have to dance DDR style to avoid death. Or the one where... well you'll just have to see. Ryan Melmoth's Mibibli's Quest has some of the most unique enemies and gameplay I've seen in a long time. The game gives you different difficulty options to try out, but even on easy you're going to be weeping into your smashed keyboard. Still, you'll find yourself going back again and again for its creative levels and its satirical humor.
Ah, the joys of minimalism. Who needs flashy graphics and sounds, anyway? When a game's as unembellished as Blue Box by Hamster On Coke Games, it becomes downright zen, and the soothing puzzle challenge becomes as meditative as it is fun. This game (which is still in an early build and will likely soon expand, by the way) has you playing as a little blue square, bouncing rhythmically and energetically across a white expanse adorned with blocks you have to eliminate. Use the [arrow] or [A] and [D] keys to move left and right. One bounce on a block shrinks it and the second bounce makes it grow, so you have to plot out your course carefully so you don't wind up stranded out on a limb, having bounced away your only path back to safety. Later levels involve launch-pads that shoot you up to higher levels, teleporters, and other modifiers that keep everything fresh for all twenty-three levels of smooth puzzling fun.
You're trapped in a house, and the only way to escape is to Find 10 Yellow Cupcakes and eat a few others? Just what sort of fiend are you, MayMay? Just click around to explore, and remember to try interacting with everything since the cursor won't change to tell you if something is useable. To use an item, click it in your inventory to pick it up, and then click wherever onscreen you'd like to try it, while clicking the item you're holding on the About Item button will let you view it up close, which can potentially allow you to mess around with it further! Find 10 Yellow Cupcakes is practically by definition short and sweet, with the only real issue apart from its mildly clunky item interface being occasionally having difficulty telling what an item is, or a lack of feedback as to why something isn't working... or whether it's worked at all in the place of inputting codes! Still, the sense of whimsy and light-hearted puzzles go a long way towards making this a lovely little treat to reward yourself with, no matter what else you may have eaten today.
The second month of the year may be short on days, but it stands tall and defiant against anyone wanting to squabble about its lack of length. After all, it beat the odds and with this smaller net caught the birthdays of four American presidents, a decidedly love-centric saint's day (which a friend of mine dubs "singles awareness night"), is also Black History month, all while heralding the beginning of a new season. Those are just some of its better known accomplishments, which are nothing to sneeze at. So as we start saying our goodbyes to this particular February of this particular year, lets do it while enjoying our favorite pastime—playing escape games. To that end, here are three especially selected for such an informal occasion: An unlit maze from Hottategoya, a pruny kitchen from FunkyLand and a Rose Key escape in which February somehow plays a titular role...
Entertainment Forge's Epic Boss Fighter was all about big bosses, big arcade action, and relentless bullet-h-e-double-hockeysticks gameplay, liberally sprinkled with upgrades to boot. Epic Boss Fighter 2 continues that tradition and dials it up a notch as you are called upon yet again to defend the planet from a whopping twenty huge monsters, and the kicker? You need to defeat them all in one go... die, and you'll need to start over from a certain spot depending on how many bosses you've beaten, though you can spend the cash you earned from landing successful shots on new equipment that'll boost your stats, as well as handy-dandy droids that can fight alongside you. You can play with either the keyboard or the mouse, but you'll automatically fire, and different equipment will come will various special abilities or attacks you can activate to give you an edge. As you progress through the game, more items will become available in the shop, and you can unlock more slots for equipment as well. The question remains, however... epic being one of those words that's been bandied about so often in pop culture it may have lost its impact, is Epic Boss Fighter 2 really double the epicness of its epic predecessor?... well... yes!... sorta!
no1game's POKO escape game traps you in a room that doesn't have much in the way of creature comforts... unless, of course, all you really need to relax and thrive is a bunch of cryptic clues and strange puzzles. Then you're all set! Click around to explore, and click the question mark on an item you're carrying to view it up close, which may let you manipulate it further. Some items can even be used on or combined with one another, so if you're stuck, try fiddling with your inventory. POKO is one of those games where getting the ball rolling might initially be more tricky than solving the rest of the game, and you'll need to remember that some items may be used more than once, or for, um, odd things. Despite this, there's a lot of charm to be had from the mildly offbeat way the puzzles are presented, and there's actually a nice amount of cleverness to them to appreciate. It won't take you very long, but, well, time flies when you're having fun, right?
Sanpoman's escape game Tulip Garden will have you going in circles and finding new ways to look at things as you explore a very sneaky garden and house looking for the clues to solve the puzzles that will let you find a way out. To play, just click to interact, and the cursor will change when you pass it over something you can click on. Though the text isn't in English, you'll be able to solve this one just fine without speaking the lingo... as long as you have a keen eye for detail, of course. Despite a minorly clunky puzzle or two, Tulip Garden is largely surprisingly intuitive and clever, favouring observation and perception more than anything else. It doesn't hurt that it's cute either, making it a fantastic cheery break from whatever your day brings you.
Awooga! Awooga! The Escapists has finally emerged for Windows and XBox One users in a full release version of this beloved and quirky prison break simulation role-playing game. Mouldy Toof and Team 17 Digital bring on the cheeky pixelated 8-bit goodness as you go through the motions of being a model inmate while slyly hatching your plans to make it home free. It's a unique and eerily unsettling feeling if you're one of the teeming multitudes who've played Minecraft and built massive structures of stone to now find yourself having to stealthily escape from them, but there's plenty of wry humor and action in this crisp and colorful just-one-more-day release to make it an insatiable compulsion.
Love to play games? Of course you do. Want to play games and earn sweet rewards doing it? Of course you do, and take that, mom, for saying games never get you anything! Playfire Rewards BETA is a free program that allows you to link your Steam account and earn cool rewards like store credit through our affiliate partner, Greenman Gaming, just for playing! Check out the F.A.Q. to learn more, or sign up to start earning!
The things we'll do for our favorite food. Pay lavish amounts of money. Travel to neighboring cities. Swing on ropes past dangerous spikes. Your pigs will do at least one of these things in Piggy Wiggy 3: Nuts, by Qabogames.com. This physics puzzle game has you eating acorns like, well, a pig. Similar to Cut the Rope, draw a cord from a pig to any yellow knob within reaching distance. You can also connect knobs to each other or pigs to each other. Click and drag to slice a rope and hit [R] or the [spacebar] to reset a level.
Please be aware this game deals with themes of suicide and depicts some scenes that some players may find upsetting.
Ladies and gentlemen of the JiG-iverse. I have a confession to make, that I hope we can deal with together, as a community. I... kinda like "Walking Simulators". Yes, those first-person exploration-based adventures that tend to take place in lonely houses/islands with random documents scattered all over the place, and are home to a depressingly small number of zombies or orcs. First it started with Dear Esther, then Proteus and Gone Home. One fears that soon I will be relegated to writing for JayIsThingsThatMayOrMayNotBeGames. But before that happens, let's talk about The Static Speaks My Name by Jesse Barksdale: it's a first-person exploration-based adventure, available in Pay What You Want Format (including free, but please tip your developers if you enjoy their games!), that takes place in a lonely house with random documents scattered all over the place. And while there are no ghosts or jump scares, there's no shortage of atmospheric creepiness as you step into the shoes and home of a man obsessed with a truly not-that-impressive painting.
When a game comes along with a name like Mourn, it's a pretty safe bet to assume that it's going to be challenging. Not even necessarily in sense that it's difficult to complete, although this puzzle platform game by Keybol will certainly test your skills. But "Mourn" is the kind of title that implies a certain heaviness of theme; the kind of game that wants to make you stop and think, and not just about how to solve it. The protagonist of Mourn finds himself in a place that's dark both physically and metaphorically, and the only one he can rely on to get out is... himself. Specifically, the various copies of himself who lie around, frozen in time, until you press [shift] or down to hop between bodies and animate them. He'll wander around with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, jump with up or the [spacebar], and discuss his situation as he traverses a dark mine that may or may not be metaphorical, collecting the pickaxes that will help him make his way out. And since there are only so many of him to go around, he'll have to carefully rely on the limited numbers of himself that exist to escape the dark mines. It makes more sense to play than it does to explain, which is good, because Mourn is tightly-designed to try both your reflexes and your brains.
Ish Games' Awesome Conquest is proof you can do a lot with a little, provided you're a deity with semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic powers of course. The blue tribe you watch over has had its amulet stolen and been overrun by the evil red army, who attack at the end of each day, which is pretty stressful given each day is only sixty seconds long and you're drastically outnumbered. During your sixty seconds, you'll need to manage your tribe... miners produce gold, which can be spend on buying more units, and monks produce mana you can spend on single-use spells. When the clock runs out, your warriors will automatically charge into battle, where they'll fight on their own... you can help them out with any spells you've purchased, or by telling some or all of them to retreat if things are looking grim. Soldiers who survive will actually earn experience and get stronger! At the end of each battle, you'll get a single upgrade you can spend on one of your structures, allowing you to get, say, more miners to produce more gold, or different types of soldier units. Awesome Conquest is a simple but addictive little game, suffering a bit by a lack of explanation of certain elements in the beginning, but a fun and clever take on incremental/idle games, and the sort of thing that would be even better if it were fleshed out further.
In addition to being a mouthful, Dark Tales™: Edgar Allan Poe's The Mystery of Marie Roget is the name of ERS Game Studios' creepy new hidden-object adventure. You and your companion, the insufferably smug Dupin (why couldn't it be Dale Cooper... just once?), are called in to investigate some strange happenings plaguing a newly married couple. Glass has been shattering all on its own, young Marie has fallen into a depressed fugue and won't tell her husband why... oh, and there's the sinister skull-laden magic mirror, too, making it rather loosely based on the original tale to say the least. You and Dupin (ugh) quickly discover there might be more going on than simple superstition, and it seems like this sleepy little burg is hiding more than its share of dark secrets. And crazy puzzle mechanisms. And elaborate gate locks. And evil one-eyed crows and cats. How does anyone get anything done around here when you need two puzzle pieces, face cream, and an old candle just to get into the local bakery? Though perhaps the scariest thing about this game is... comic sans is the default font. AAAAEEEEEEIIII!
Bandai Namco's One Piece Treasure Cruise, free-to-play for iOS and Android, is weird to talk about. On the one hand, it's a fairly simple blend of turn-based RPG gameplay and reflexes, with stamina, timers, and several different types of currency. On the other, it's a colourful riot of weirdness, with an enjoyable story that loosely follows the plot of the wildly popular anime/manga series, with tons of collectable characters, and a high degree of polish. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy, who's out to become the king of pirates and assembling the crew he needs to track down the legendary One Piece, a treasure hidden by a great pirate who was executed a long time ago. Which would seem a fairly basic premise, until you throw in the fact that Luffy accidentally ate the "Devil Fruit", and now he's a literal rubber person, and along the way he's duking it out with a seemingly never-ending parade of over-the-top villains and taking on weirder and weirder allies. Despite some frustrating monetization and ultimately repetitive, basic gameplay, One Piece Treasure Cruise still manages to serve up a vibrant, funny, and cheerfully off-beat adventure with loads of cutscenes that'll appeal to fans and newcomers alike.
Pinata Hunter is a weird concept, an arcade game centered around wildly flailing at an apparently aware pinata and collecting the candy that falls from your beatings to spend on things to make your beatings more powerful and expedient. It was popular enough to make for Pinata Hunter 2, and now Pinata Hunter 3 is here for another round. To play, just wave your mouse back and forth... as it passes over the pinata, candy will be knocked from it, and if the candy lands in your bag (which you can drag around the screen), you can convert it to cash for upgrades. Waving your weapon too much too quickly increases the pain bar on the left, and if it fills up, your hand will cramp and render you unable to do anything until the bar depletes. From the shop you can buy bigger bags, better weapons, protection for your hand, and more, and once you bash a pinata to smithereens, you'll move on to the next. If you liked the originals, Pinata Hunter 3 offers more of the same, and is at the very least a way to indulge your sweet tooth without the empty calories and wrist strain!
no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 139: Convenience Store begins, unlike the rest of their escape games, with very little fanfare, as you find yourself in a convenience store exactly as the title suggests. You can't get out for some reason, but by now you should know the drill... find the ten little green men hiding around the store, and they'll open the way forward for you. While some of the escape men are simply hiding in places that may take a bit of clicking to find, even with its few puzzles Find the Escape-Men Part 139 is still the work of a shorter break than usual. Like your average convenience store pit stop, it's short and to the point, but still a pleasantly silly little game for any time of the day.
When you hear the name Fatal Fighters, you might picture a game filled with SPIN KICKS and SPINES BEING REARRANGED and disembodied voices telling you to FINISH HIM while two characters dance sideways back and forth like little mating spiders. Deqaf Studios' newest title isn't... quite that, being more a blend of match-3-esque-ish puzzle and turn-based fighting game, like a pared down Puzzle Quest. You choose your character, then face your opponent across a board with different coloured tokens. Clicking a token causes it and any other adjacent matching tokens to be added to the percentage chance the corresponding coloured skill has of being executed. During your turn, you get to make three matches, and then you can try to use the skills your character has available, though again, their chance of success is tied to how many matching coloured tiles you accrued during your turn. Unused abilities will roll their percentage over to the next round, so don't feel like you have to risk a ten percent chance of success. You and your opponent will go back and forth like this, whittling away at each other's defenses and hit points, and provided you win, you'll move on to your next foe. Defeat four in a row and you'll win the tournament, and if you collect enough achievements, you can unlock a different character, with different abilities. Though a little slow and in need of some fleshing out, Fatal Fighters is a neat idea and a solid diversion for when you want to lay some smackdown, but, you know, without all that button mashing that's so hard on the thumbs.
Silly, sassy, saucy, and unexpectedly smart, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker from Magic Notion is the dating and matchmaking simulation you didn't know you needed for your iOS or Android device. You've just been set up with your very own dating agency by drag queen extraordinaire Kitty Powers herself, and with her guidance, you'll grow and expand your business and clientele by matching people and leading them towards their happily ever afters... hopefully. Based on their interests, personality, and more, you'll comb through your black book to try and find a suitable match, and then use an earpiece to help nudge them along on their dates, both by selecting the proper responses and choosing whether to lie when asked about something, and by playing a variety of minigames. But more than just knowing how to match people with similar interests, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is about your own observation and deduction. If your client's date pops off to the bathroom and returns asking how they like the change, you better be able to spot exactly what's different about them. You'll need to be able to remember details about the potential match's profile to properly steer the conversation. You'll need to know how to order from them based on what they say they want to eat, and also be able to pick it out of a lineup of different dishes whose names you might not recognise. Heck, if your client goes on a second date with them, not only will you need to keep track of what they've already discussed so they don't get bored, you'll also need to know when to ask to see them again, or even if you should take the next step. Throw in tons of unlockable content, no in-app purchases, unexpected depth, same-sex relationships, fantastic writing and a great sense of humour, and Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is head and high heels above the rest. Also coming soon to your computer via Steam!
I don't know about you, but when I found out the Italian plumber Mario had nothing to do with plumbing in his games it was a serious let down. Thankfully, Keygames have noticed this lack of legitimate plumber games and has brought us Plumber Game 2, a puzzle game that is also available on iOS and Android. You're hired by a horribly overheated monster named Clifford, whose pipes have gotten all rearranged. He needs that fresh cool liquid fast, so swap the pipes positions as quick as you can, by using the mouse, to connect one end to the other. It doesn't matter if you have water spraying out of unused ends of the pipes as long as Clifford gets his drink. Well, the water spraying out in unused ends wouldn't be a problem except Clifford has a collection of bombs. If any liquid sprays on them, or if their timer goes off, Clifford is out his eyebrows and you're out of a job. It's a simple take on a very classic type of game, but pulled off very well.
Did you know that doodling during class or meetings can help improve your recollection? It's true. While we can't promise that playing Aleksander Suvak's Doodle Brigade will grant you photographic memory... And we definitely don't advocate slacking off during algebra, even if this game is available on Android devices to play on the go... we can promise you upgrade-tastic tower defense game action! Your paper kingdom is being invaded by stickman zombies! How can you tell they're zombies? Because they're drawn in green ink, of course! Fight them off with a stick-army of your own, full of snipers, bombers, mines and more. Click on any empty square to draw in a new soldier or tool, keep an eye on your precious ink resources, and make sure all the rows on your graph paper are amply defended! There's no denying it's a familiar and well-worn formula, especially if you're a fan of the by-now legendary Plants vs. Zombies. But Doodle Brigade is one of those rare copycats that actually understands what made the original great, and manages to emulate it while still putting its own spin on things.
So now, this Mardi Gras 2015 business is behind us. Oh, are you not accustomed to this extravagant phenomenon? Well then, here is a brief synopsis: Mardi Gras is, in certain cultures and localities, a time to stuff yourself silly with as much beloved indulgences as you possibly can in preparation for then, during a forty-day season of lent, denying yourself said indulgences. Eh, it makes perfect sense when you think about it. As far as indulgences go, none can be better than logging into JIG and playing games 'til your fingers grow numb and your eyeballs dry out. Or at least until you have to go do more, how do you say? re-spons-ible things. Alright. Enough small talk. Let's get serious here: nobody is giving up games here and escape games ain't going away anywhere. And, as is the Wednesday tradition in these parts, we have three of them for you to escape your weekday worries with...
Little Alchemist, how does your garden grow? With ace chinchilla jet pilots, sea horses, headless horsemen and armored flying dragons all in a row! And it's a good thing too, because you'll have to master the elements and combine them to form cards like these and then some if you want to save Little Town from the villains in Chinzilla Games' action-packed free role-playing card game for Android and iOS! Collect cards, research new and better combinations to get the most out of your cards, explore Little Town and duel the bad guys for a chance to get new cards, or battle your friends and rivals in the online arena to improve your ranking on the leaderboard... because who among us hasn't wanted to become internet famous for siccing a Skeletal Dragon on unsuspecting strangers? Combine cards like Metal, Rainbows, ever-present Chinchillas and Sunshine to make Final Form cards like Bionic Chinchillas, Thor, and even Puff the Magic Dragon. Coming back each day will increase the gold bounty in the versus matches, so there's no time like the present to start
trouncing the general public for utterly obscene heaps of gold rescuing the people of Little Town from wrongdoers everywhere! You'll start out in your study with plenty of options like Research, Edit Deck, the multi-player online Arena, a Shoppe with thankfully completely optional in-app purchases, and a portal to the Adventure map. Each map area has several baddies you can defeat multiple times for a random treasure including gold or a free card. You'll take turns throwing cards from your decks at each other, each with a given Attack and Defense rating, or you can combine certain cards into even more potent cards with better stats. As you form combinations you'll accrue up to five Combo Spheres each of which can boost the stats of many of the cards you can play. Best your enemies to reap the rewards, and best all of them in an area to unlock the next map area.
Evan Rosson's Swarm Simulator is an incremental idle game about creepy crawlies with bad attitudes. In the beginning, all you have are larvae, but from them you'll create drones who can hunt for meat, which in turn can be used to breed even more powerful units, unlocking territories and more as you play. Unlike a lot of incremental games, there's no need to click here, except to spend the bugs, meat, and other "currencies" you generate to create new ones. The game's tutorial will walk you through the basics, including upgrading and more, but eventually it'll be up to you to figure out how to unlock new units and actions. Because everything you can make or, well, hatch, is done by sacrificing a number of something else (such as making queens by spending drones and meat, for example), being able to afford the staggering costs of some purchases means knowing how to manage what you have in the most efficient way possible. Why spend ten thousand units of one type to create a single of another, if those ten thousand are all you have and the new unit is initially going to produce paltry amounts of something else? Even if you cave and purchase that expensive new unit, you may actually find selling it to purchase an upgrade you can't otherwise get is the best course of action. Though a little dry, Swarm Simulator's piles of unlockables, achievements, and interesting ideas makes it a smart and welcome addition to the genre.
The little girl in no1game's cute point-and-click puzzle game My First Laundry Day may think she's too small to do laundry all by herself, but she's already several leagues ahead of a lot of people, some with decades on her, just by trying at all! Her mother's too busy to help, but she's written down some instructions, telling you what you need to gather, and then how to wash it all. To play, just click to explore the apartment, and click the question mark beneath items in your inventory to take a closer look at them. My First Laundry day is a little more elaborate than the other My First games no1game has created, taking place over multiple rooms and even consisting of multiple objectives beyond simply gathering a bunch of items in one place. Despite some finicky hotspots to find some items and angles, it's still as adorable as you'd expect, and a nice step up in complexity from other games in the series.
Though now available in early access as a significantly more complex game, Subsoap's FaeVerse Alchemy began life as the much simpler yet still addictive match-3/Tetris-styled puzzler Faerie Alchemy. The concept is easy... elements drop from the two of the screen in pairs. Use the left and right [arrow] keys to move them from side-to-side, the up [arrow] to rotate the way they're lain out, and finally the down [arrow] to drop them into place on the screen. Each group of three or more identical "elements" you make earns you points, but also combines to form an element one tier higher, and adds that element into play, making the aim of the game to unlock all available elements and get the highest score possible before the screen fills up. It's a neat, tidy twist other games have since spun off of, and though significantly lower in feature than its (pricey!) commercial cousin, still an elegant concept that's perfect for fans of match-3 gameplay looking for a slower, thoughtful game to play when you have a spare minute or ten.
If it's a Yonashi escape game you know it's going to be short and sweet in the best possible way, and Blue is no exception. One look at the decor and you'll realize the game lives up to its name, but don't let the weepy artwork fool you... if anything, this cuddly game is going to put a smile on your face. Just click to interact with something when your cursor changes, and use the transparent bars that appear when you place your cursor at the edges of the screen to move around the room. You can click the magnifying glass on item icons in your inventory to take a closer look at them, or just click the item itself to "equip" it for use. Blue isn't a game that will keep you tangled up for very long, but it's not trying to, either. It shows exactly why Yonashi is so well loved for creating cute but clever little games that brighten your day without taking a big chunk out of your time.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click puzzler Tammy Jo Superstar, the titular big-haired country belle works in a hotel that's going downhill fast, largely because Neel, the in-house singer who only got the job as a favour to his mother, is... kind of the opposite of good. Tammy Jo's convinced she could do a better job, and her boss gives her his blessing to do whatever she can to make Neel leave. Easier said than done since everyone in the hotel seems to want her to do something for them, and as you'd expect from a point-and-click adventure game, even simple tasks can get a little... weird. Just click around to interact and travel through the hotel. The cursor will change when you mouse over something you can use or talk to, and clicking an item in your inventory will highlight it for use. Tammy Jo Superstar is weird in a good way, and getting the egotistical Neel (actual show name: Kneel Before Neel) off the stage is going to take some work, but with your help, Tammy Jo can turn her dreams into a reality.
It's a mad world out there with werewolves, vampires, mutant rats and more zombies than all the others combined. But thankfully there seems to be an equal amount of bullets and endlessly flowing alcohol so at least we can join in that madness and have one heck of a time. IriySoft's Tequila Zombies 3 has our two heroes, Miguel Tequila and Officer Jaqueline, finding a third party member who convinces them to take a detour from safety to gain a powerful...thing... but the path will lead them through more zombies than ever before. And what more could you ask for in an action shoot 'em up game? How about upgrades and unique character specialties, and secrets that are hidden throughout the game? Yeah, they got that too. [WAD] or the [arrow] keys moves your character and jumps, while the mouse is used to aim and shoot. Hitting [R] will reload, while  to  or [Q] and [E] will cycle through weapons, and the [spacebar] will activate your character's special power, with [S] used to search for things. The game plays like a classic beat-em-up sidescroller, and you choose your character to play through it... zombies will come in waves from either side of the screen, and when you've killed them all, you can move on to the next area. In addition to cash you can spend on upgrades between levels, they can also drop special power-ups, like peppers that double your damage! You need ammo to use any of the weapons you find, so if that runs out, you'll default to melee until a zombie thoughtfully drops some bullets upon death.
Enlightenment isn't easy. Most of the time it can take years of dedication, study, focus, and meditation. Or you can just have the local philosopher lob you a scroll. Yes, that's your job in Flash Chaz and Bitnest Software's Age of Wonder: The Lost Scrolls, also free for iOS and Android, a physics puzzle game involving your little bald wise man bringing the gospel to the masses, one bouncy scroll at a time. Use the mouse to aim and control the power of each throw, sending the scrolls ricocheting this way and that through the sandy, ancient locales. You can also press the [spacebar] to switch to rocks, which are best used for hitting levers to activate doors and platforms. You know, typical ancient stuff.
Things are a little funky this time around for Pencil Kids' latest installment of their Monkey GO Happy point-and-click puzzle games, Monkey GO Happy Valentines. Love is literally in the air every time you look around as they hunt through a psychedelic sweetheart wonderland, solving the problems of the people (and critters!) they meet while they track down the only thing that will turn their frowns upsidedown this holiday... a whopping 70 fluffy Valentine bunnies, who are hiding absolutely everywhere, and often in everything! Just click around to interact, and drag items from your inventory at the top of the screen to whatever, or whoever, you want to use it with. It's sweet and whimsical in all the right ways, with just a dollop of puzzle solving as you try to crack the codes in your way. So go ahead. Make a monkey your Valentine.
Thanks to Cyberjar88 for sending this one in!
2-13-2015: Regency Solitaire is now available from Big Fish Games!
Grey Alien Games' Regency Solitaire is as lovely and elegant as you'd expect an indie card game to be, which is quite lovely and elegant indeed. The game follows Bella, desperate to escape an arranged marriage to her less than desirable neighbour after her layabout brother gambles the family fortune away. Bella has dreams of marrying one very particular handsome suitor, but with the restrictions of regency society, that can't happen unless she restores her family wealth and reputation. Which you accomplish, naturally, by playing lots and lots of solitaire. Nothing weird about that. That's how we paid off our house. With 180 levels spread across 20 chapters, a beautiful, hand-drawn art style, and a few twists on the familiar solitaire formula, Regency Solitaire is an absolute pleasure for slow, relaxing card game strategy from start to finish.
Martin Kool's 0h h1 was the very best kind of puzzle game... simple yet smart. 0h n0 has now arrived, also free for iOS and Android, and it's every bit as elegant and addictive as its cousin. The object of the game is to mark which circles on the board are blue, and which are red, using logic to figure out their positions. See, blue circles will tell you how many other circles they can "see" in their own row and column by displaying a number atop themselves, while red circles block their view. Click an empty circle once to make it blue, and again to mark it red, clicking the little arrow in the menu at the bottom of the screen if you need to undo something. The game can generate several different sizes of the puzzle for you, making sure you always have just the right amount to sate your appetite, and its clean, minimalist design and easy to pick up, Minesweeper-esque concept means it can be played by just about anyone... and, well, it probably should be!
It seems in many platform games the narrative is what makes it so amazing. We wouldn't have been moved about the love between zombie and human in I Saw Her Standing There if it wasn't for the floating text on each level, and goodness, what would Thomas was Alone be with out its brilliant story? But Zhuravlev's game Prophet has no story. It has no voice over, no hovering text to fill you in. All it has is a little pixel man and some beautiful atmosphere. There is a story there, but it doesn't let you in on it. Are you running from something? Why is the world in chaos? It's never really told. All you know is you must run, jump, and bounce off walls to cross the treacherous landscapes to find some oddly flickering doors that are standing in the middle of nowhere. It's not an easy trip and rough land is not a jumpers friend, but the smooth spots let you dash, slide, and leap to your unknown goal. Just watch out for bubbly spots, crumbling platforms, and falling debris that want to halt you to your mysterious goal. Use the left and right [arrow] keys or [A] and [D] to move, and tap [spacebar] to jump!
Good seafood can be so hard to find. Cyberkat has a hankering for some digi-fish, and this electronic, supersonic feline isn't going to sit around waiting for his next meal to just fall into his bowl! Instead, he's going fishing with rockets and lasers in Adventure Cat's new shooter game, available for Android, iOS, and the browser you're reading this in right now. The big twist is not that the fish he's aiming for are in barrels, but that his entire adventure is controlled entirely with one button! Click (or tap) and hold the left mouse button (or your screen) to fly up, and release it to descend; Cyberkat takes care of the gunning on his own. This gives his buttery, shoot-'em-up adventures the extra, lemony zip of a jump-and-run game or an avoidance game. The streamlined control makes for a shooter that's incredibly simple to play, but make no mistake! There are some real lunkers waiting for Cyberkat on his fishing trip, and reeling them is no picnic. Cyberkat is one of those ever-so-elusive "easy to learn, hard to master" games, and that fact alone tends to be a pretty strong recommendation whenever it appears!
There's a lot to be said for horror that leaves things up to your imagination, and RAC7's Dark Echo, a supremely unsettling sound-based stealth-game for your iOS, takes that to the extreme by making you rely entirely on the way noise interacts with your environment to navigate... and escape. Originally conceived as a game for Ludum Dare in 2013, in Dark Echo you control someone lost, unarmed, and blind in a hostile environment. To find your way to the exit in each level you need to use the sound of your footsteps to find your way around and avoid hazards. Tap and hold on an area and you'll see the footprints move towards it, while white lines radiate out from beneath them. Those lines will travel around and bounce off walls and other obstacles, giving you an idea of what your surroundings look like. Press and hold on your character's footprints and release to tap loudly and send out a great circle of sound from wherever you're standing, but beware... you're not alone. See, while dangerous spots are marked with red and should be avoided, some danger comes looking for you, and the more noise you make, the easier it is for you to be tracked down. You can quickly and repeatedly tap to make yourself creep and make as little sound as possible, but that makes it harder to navigate since you're making much less noise to echo off your surroundings. You'll need to be both quick and cautious to survive, and with 80 increasingly deadly and unnerving levels, your nerves may never be the same even if you make it out. Be sure to play with headphones, and turn the lights down low!
If you don't know Zachtronics, my friend, you have a wonderful journey ahead of you. Known for developing some of the smartest and most satisfying logic-based programming puzzles around, like The Codex of Alchemical Engineering and SpaceChem, they're creators of games that challenge you in the best possible ways. Currently available in Steam's Early Access is their latest title Infinifactory, which takes all those clever, cerebral puzzle concepts somewhere out of this world. No, I mean... literally. While driving home one night from work, after spotting a bright light in the sky you find yourself aboard a spaceship, outfitted with a suit and a nifty jetpack, the apparent prisoner of a bunch of aliens who want you to... do... something... for... reasons? Surprisingly, being burbled at in alien lingo isn't particularly enlightening, though the fate that could await you if you fail should provide sufficient motivation to learn. So, hey. You're stuck in a tiny room with nothing to eat but food pellets, and nothing to do but solve the various puzzles and problems you're presented with from your monitor, which in turn zaps you to various alien locations to do so. It might sound like a bad situation, but look on the bright side. Infinifactory is fun, morbidly funny, and mentally engaging in the way few games ever manage, making it a fantastic puzzle experience for new fans and old.
Not convinced you'll ever make a million? Hyper Hippo's incremental idle game AdVenture Capitalist will have you rolling in dough in no time flat thanks to donuts, car washes, newspapers, and... lemons? Well, you know what they say about life and lemons. Click 'em! When you click an item, its progress bar begins to fill, and when it reaches the end, you'll be paid based on how many of that item you own. You start with lemons, and as time goes by you'll be able to afford other business ventures, or simply more of the ones you've got. Since you might not want to sit around clicking forever, you can also hire managers to run things for you, purchase or unlock upgrades to increase your earning capabilities, and even get a little heavenly investment help. (Click and drag or simply use your mouse scroll wheel to navigate through menus!) AdVenture Capitalist is cheek-tastic, with puns absolutely everywhere and nods to all manner of pop culture icons, and its vibrant, clean art style is easy on the eyes... though if you want to mute that soundtrack, make sure you visit the Swag and Stats screen! It doesn't have quite the unexpected charm or surprises of Cookie Clicker, but its practically oozing professional polish, and has come a long way from its initial incarnation thanks to frequent updates by a devoted team, and an equally devoted fanbase. It even calculates your earnings when you're offline! Now that's a part-time job I can get behind.
Don't get me wrong, I've been on some bad dates, but never really "accidentally doomed the world with Lovecraftian horrors from beyond the veil" bad. In MorbidWare's arcade shooter Nether Runner, it's just you and an itty-bitty helpful elder god against the seemingly endless horde of monsters standing in the way of rescuing your date, who is probably seriously reconsidering dating someone who goes poking at clearly sinister ancient tomes. Chose your control scheme by selecting the controller icon on the main menu, and then set off with your Cthulhu chum atop your head. He can carry you until he runs out of fuel, allowing you to fly around the enemies and projectiles hurtling at you, but when the fuel runs out you'll have to be satisfied with simple jumping... oh, and you never stop running either. While you will die, since every hit knocks a heart off the meter in the upper-left corner of the screen, you can spend the cash you earn from slaying monsters and your score on upgrading your abilities and even unlocking new skills. Eye-catching production values and challenging arcade gameplay liberally dosed with big boss battles makes Nether Runner a lot of fun, though the tremendous amount of grinding for upgrades and cash may wear off some of its appeal. Besides, everyone knows what works best when it comes to evil books, right? Klaatu... verata... n... Necktie. Nectar. Nickel. Noodle... ? Oh well. I'm sure it wasn't important.
In Tesshi-e's plinky-plonky-soundtrack'd escape game Escape from the Knight Room, you're just looking to take it easy when you get a note from your old friend Mr. K about a strange room he's found, and wouldn't you know it? Now you're trapped inside, and all you've got to keep you company are a few suits of armor, some fine art... oh, and puzzles and secret mechanisms, of course. To play, just click around and explore! Without anything so fancified as a changing cursor, it's up to you to discover what's interactive and what isn't by combing every surface... seriously, there's some sneaky things going on here. To make progress, you may need to be persistent, or even a little rough, but hey, you don't play an escape game without breaking a few eggs... or... omelets... or... something. Somebody really needs to create a list of escape game proverbs. A Happy Coin in the hand is worth a pixel hunt in the bush... ?
The cyclopean robotic protagonist of Martin Magni's Android and iOS physics puzzler Odd Bot Out may have just gotten rejected from its factory and dropped down a garbage shoot for not meeting standards, but it's still going to waltz right into your heart. Or, well. Pitter patter awkwardly into it like a nervous budgerigar. In each level, your goal is to get Odd Bot to the exit, which is easier said than done. Tap on Odd Bot and drag in the direction you want it to move, and it'll totter in that direction until you let go, though it can only step up onto obstacles one block high. As a result, to get Odd Bot safely through, you're going to need to get creative... literally, since many objects onscreen can be combined or manipulated. Red blocks can be stacked and snapped together, for example, or even onto Odd Bot itself, making stairs or weighing things down, while some buttons can be wired to different robots or contraptions to activate them when pressed. It's up to you to figure out how things function and interact with one another, especially since there's no tutorial or text to help you!
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
Please note that this game is currently incomplete. Future chapters will be released, also for free, as updates as they are completed.
A long time ago, in the magical land of Equestria... No, wait. Sorry. Got confused. In the first chapter of Miwashiba's free indie RPG adventure 1bitHeart, translated by vgperson, you play the reclusive but good hearted boy Nanashi, whose days spent shut in playing games, sleeping, and eating pizza, just like everyone else, are interrupted by the arrival of a strange girl. The girl, Misane, doesn't remember how she got into his apartment, or why he found her asleep in his bed, and she also doesn't really seem to know much about all the technology that's commonplace for everyone else. What she does know, however, is that she's seriously troubled by Nanashi's lack of friends and his willingness to let everyone walk all over him and call him whatever terrible names they like, and so to Misane the goal is clear... help Nanashi make friends! But something strange is happening in town, and odd as it may be, everyone's safety may wind up depending on Nanashi and Misane. With a fantastic soundtrack, gorgeous stylized artwork and environments, 1bitHeart is cute, funny, and professionally polished to a remarkable degree, though the friendship-making "battles" a la Phoenix Wright-esque format might be a bit rough around the edges.
Created in just five days for Nitrome's Game Jam by Ryan Carag and Bill Kiley, A Kitty Dream is a sweet and not-so-sleepy little Metroidvania-esque platformer about a kitten exploring a strange and surreal world while unlocking new abilities as you find them. The [arrow] keys move, with [S] is jump, which is your only real "skill" in the beginning. Take damage from something and you'll be zapped back to your last save point, which you can activate by tapping the down [arrow] when standing in front of one. The charming retro style and initially sleepy atmosphere may feel too at odds with the somewhat exacting platforming required later on for some players who pick it up in hopes of something as mellow and relaxing as it presents itself to be. As a result, A Kitty Dream probably won't be for everyone, but if you don't mind getting your paws dirty and think you can handle some pixel-perfect leaps, it's still a seriously cute little game that's just the right size for a Metroidvania-flavoured snack.
Originally made in just 48 hours for Ludum Dare and then tweaked and polished, Wolve's Hanoka is a simple yet gorgeous action-packed game of acrobatics and arrows, as you control a young woman who bravely dives beneath the waves her village sits atop to lure giant spirits to the surface. There, she can leap above the water and fire her bow at the creatures chasing her, before she plummets back down to try again. Use [WASD] to move, and the mouse to aim and fire, though initially you can only do so when our heroine is above water. As you slay the spirits, you'll gain experience points you can spend on opening new chakras, which can give you new abilities, or enhance the ones you already have. Available upgrades start from the bottom of the menu where they're displayed, with more options becoming available as you unlock others on the tree. The blue bar in the top left corner of the screen represents your experience level and how close you are to opening another chakra, while the red bar above it is your health. Health regenerates automatically overtime, but if you die, you'll lose a little experience (but keep your chakras!), and if you were in the middle of fighting a big spirit, you'll need to lure it back up and start the battle again. Don't forget to hit [P] to pause if you need to take a breather or want to change the volume!
A wise man once made this rather astute musical observation about human behavior and it got me to thinking: You'd think people have had enough of silly love songs. But have they? Nope. Seems people are kind of suckers for all these love related things like sappy tunes, banners made of red hearts, bouquets of flowers, and random lines of sugary words that also happen to rhyme. They even came up with a holiday to celebrate it. Well, I understand. Sort of. Although I do not have three love-themed escape games this edition of Weekday Escape, I thought I'd at least write some poetry for you. They're not great poems. In fact, they're truly horrible. So how 'bout I try distracting you from that point by including these lovely snapshots from the games...
Failbetter Games' Fallen London is best described as Welcome to Night Vale meets alternate-history Victorian-Gothic, a strange combination of horrifying, hilarious, and mysterious that takes players on a bizarre tour through a dangerous and strange world where London exists underground (it was stolen by bats... long story), and with that comes a host of surreal creatures, characters, and customs, where whispers and secrets can be currency, and playwrights make pacts with demons. Sunless Sea, set in the same world, is the team's first commercial product, and one that expands on the beloved series mythology by placing you in command of a vessel on that vast subterranean sea, the Unterzee, where new cities, cultures, monsters and more lurk across the dark depths. Part choose-your-own-adventure style text story, simulation, part nautical RPG and player-driven narrative, you'll craft a character, decide their background, and give them an ambition... maybe you'll want to write the next great masterpiece, or find your father's bones. It's all up to you, and a vast world filled with intrigue, wonders, and horrors awaits you, but be warned... the zee is a dangerous place, and anything can happen. Sailing darkened waters and encountering strange events can increase your crew's terror, and leave you dealing with mutinous, panicked fools, while supplies and fuel can run out and leave you stranded. Even if you die, well, that's not really the end. The zee is endless, and you can just create a new captain, one who can have a variety of ties to your last, or even pick up their inheritance.
No matter what time of day it is, it's always a good time for TomaTea, so why not kick back and relax with Early Evening Escape? I mean, not that I can think of a reason why you'd actually want to escape from this picturesque little cafe, with its cakes, flowers, presents, and even a well-stoked bar. Assuming it has free Wi-Fi, you're all set. To play, just click around... the tip of your cursor will glow when you mouse over something you can interact with, and if you're presented with a message claiming you have no idea what to do, it means you're faced with a puzzle whose particular clue you haven't stumbled across yet. Though it initially looks rather simple, TomaTea proves yet again with Early Evening Escape how great they are at packing in a lot of smart puzzles in a relatively small space through clever design, so get ready to sharpen your brain even while you take a break and unwind.
It doesn't matter if you have a special someone because no1game choo-choo-chooses you with My First Valentine's Day, a cute point-and-click puzzle game about a little girl who desperately wants to give something to someone she likes. First, however, she's going to have to assemble all the ingredients to make a truly magnificent Valentine's chocolate box herself... even if she is just a kindergartner! To play, just click around to explore the room and interact with items, trying to find what you need from the list your mother left and solving the puzzles in your way. When I was little we just cut up red construction paper, but hey, I've always been a slacker. If you want something cute and light to make you smile, and maybe make you feel better about your own organizational skills (seriously, who puts chocolate there?), fire this up and prepare to be twitterpated.
We live in a fascinating age. Interest in science and the universe is growing, physicists and educators like Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson are bona fide celebrities, sharing the same couches on talk shows as A-list actors. It's about time some of that wide-eyed curiosity with the nature of our universe made its way online. Enter Rebuild the Universe, a fun and popular incremental and educational game that uses the very fabric of the universe as its currency. You start with "quantum foam", the absolute basest concept our current model of physics can conceive of, and gradually work your way up through the subatomic particles, making neutrinos and protons and all those other bits and bobs you half-remember from high school science class, until even cells and life forms become part of your journey. If you find yourself scratching your head trying to tell a prion from an angstrom, the game offers short, fascinating blurbs describing each particle you create. There's also a black hole you can dump your universe into for a permanent increase in atom production efficiency. Because when you want to make a cosmic omelette, sometimes you have to break a few cosmic eggs.
Blink and you'll miss it, but if you love simple yet clever point-and-click puzzle games, you'll still want to fire up Sean James McKenzie's What Do We Do Now? Made for the 2015 Global Game Jam in under 48 hours, each bite-sized level tasks you with figuring out what you need to do in order to advance to the next level without any directions whatsoever. Each stage is a different sort of puzzle, and simply by clicking around (sometimes dragging things with your mouse), you'll gradually figure out the goal of the level and how to go about achieving it. Though some might feel it ends just as it's really getting warmed up, it still showcases some smart ideas and encourages you to play to puzzle them out. Hopefully it's a concept that gets expanded on in the future, but as it stands, if you only have a little window to play, What Do We Do Now? is a great choice.
At first it's just you and a white cube on a table in an otherwise empty room. To play, click the areas on or around the deceptively plain box. While it seems basic to begin with, turning to the sides of the cube reveals small buttons, switches, and compartments all with various interconnected functions. Any objects you find by discovering and dismantling the box's secrets are added to your inventory at the bottom of the screen. Just like the hidden caches sprinkled around the box's surface, Tsure Game 5.2 has surprising depth. Its elegantly simple design that conceals a handful of engaging puzzles may remind you of similar titles like The Room or Dismantlement series. When one side has a puzzle that might seem confusing or obtuse, tinkering with another side often gives you just the item you need to unravel the mystery. At its essence, this is an escape game that rewards experimentation... you need to think "outside the box" to get inside the box!
Someday, instead of kids playing Oregon Trail to see how easy it was to die of dysentery back in the day, or playing Organ Trail to learn how easy it was to die from a zombie bite, they'll be playing Orion Trail, a prototype of a game currently being Kickstarted by Schell Games, to learn how easy it was to die because your ship ran out of fuel during early intergalactic travel. In this fun resource management choose your own adventure simulation, there are four resources you need to keep track of... food, fuel, crew members, and hull damage. If you run out of any of these, it's game over. Plan on that happening a lot. Start by selecting a mission you'd like to undertake, which involves getting to the end of the trail with high numbers of one of the resources. Next you'll go through a selection process where you chose a captain, a ship, and three officers. Each come with a skill set that will be added to your overall effectiveness in one of five categories indicated on the bottom of the screen.
They say there's gold in them thar hills, and in Monkey GO Happy Western 2, the latest rootin', tootin' installment in Pencil Kids' point-and-click puzzle adventure series, it's up to you and your posse of primates to track it down. And with that, I have officially exhausted my supply of Western-sounding verbage. To play, just click to interact and move around the different locations. As usual for a Monkey GO Happy game, you'll find a lot of obstacles in your way, from people who want you to bring them things, to coded locks whose solutions are cunningly hidden in the backgrounds of the areas you can visit. It's just the right size for a puzzley pick-me-up, packed with all the colour and charm you've come to expect from the talented developer.
In Artogon's creepy hidden-object adventure Shiver: The Lily's Requiem, you play Dr. Thompson, returning to the sleepy town of Blackwill after 17 years. Things get weird in a hurry when, on your way to your first night on the job, you stumble across a girl passed out in the street. She begs you for your help, claiming to be the daughter of a former patient of yours who has been comatose for years, but there's something hunting her that doesn't want you interfering. Lured off into the night by a strange siren song, she needs your help before it's too late! So go collect a bunch of pearls to decorate your office. And find some items for your fish tank. And crack open this random tin to solve a puzzle to enter your own office. And play Battleship with this mechanic. But other than that, saving her is your priority. Despite suffering from an abundance of backtracking and having shed most of the horror elements fans of the previous games in the series might be hoping for, Shiver: The Lily's Requiem still blends urban legends and classic mythology in new and intriguing ways for a gorgeous adventure with a diverse and meaty amount of puzzles and hidden-object scene variants.
It's a simple life being a knight guarding the border of the land of Ederra. The lands are generally at peace, everyone tends to have their paperwork, and the most contentious situation is the daily sparring session. That all changes when a group of mysterious, armed men claiming to have "business" with the King charge past your station (apparently you forgot to make sure that the enemy gate was down). With their destination the kingdom capitol, it's a race against time as you make your way cross the continent, determined to see what their "business" is, and if it needs to be stopped. It's Ender Story: Chapter 1, a retro-styled turn-based RPG by Jordan Allen, Cat Hoang, and Matt Jones (some of the team behind Land of Enki 2).
Currently available in Steam's Early Access program, Red Hook Studios' Darkest Dungeon is a misery simulator masquerading as a dark turn-based strategic RPG. You've been called back to your ancestral home after a relative dug too deep beneath it in search of rumoured riches and instead awoke something evil and foul that tainted not only your sprawling manor but the land for miles around. As you delve into dangerous places to search out and destroy the darkness within, the expeditions take a toll on the heroes you've hired, both psychologically and physically. Their sanity will begin to gradually erode due to the horrors they encounter, not only making them weaker, but also warping them as they despair. They'll gain quirks that impact them and those around them, turning on one another, growing more cowardly or irrational, and even time at rest in town between quests might not be enough to make them recover, and of course if they die on a quest, they're gone forever. With a gorgeous visual style and grim, claustrophobic atmosphere, Darkest Dungeon is a striking and immediately engrossing game with a fantastic premise, though its relentless difficulty may at times border on the unreasonable.
Indie developer Aleksandr Solovyev has brought us and absolutely gorgeous modern take on the brick breaking genre for your iOS device. Impulse! is an arcade game with beautiful graphics and sound and innovation at the same time. Tap near the bottom of the screen to release the ball, then tap and swipe to move the paddle. If you need to pause, tap the top of the screen. Though the mechanics are basic the bricks are something different. They range in shape from your ordinary rectangles to circles, to hexagons, arranged in all sorts of clever designs, including a pool table and a space invader game. The game is free to try, with an in-app purchase to unlock it all!
Being royalty isn't necessarily hard, it's just tedious, as the protagonist of no1game's Bored Prince Escape can attest to. He's sick of never having a moment to himself, of having every minute of his day planned out, so one day he plans to escape during one of the brief times he isn't under watch. With bodyguards stationed outside the room, getting out is a little more complicated that sneaking out the door. To play, just click to interact, though keep your eyes peeled and search everywhere since the cursor won't change when you mouse over something even if you can use it. The prince's escorts aren't messing around with keeping him under his thumb... there are plenty of locks and codes, as well as a tricky hidden item or two. But hey, when you need some "you" time, you gotta go what you gotta do!
How much keep would Kram Keep cram if Kram Keep could cram keep? As it turns out, it can, and the answer is "an awful lot." Ryan Ledohowski, also known as metaknight3000, began work on this platform game for Ludum Dare 31 so this entire Metroidvania adventure is squeezed and smushed into single screen! Emphasis on the "Vania" portion of that portmanteau, as this exploratory, power-uppy quest draws a lot of inspiration from the classic Castlevania series. Jump into the shoes of a blue-haired vampire hunter, and rid this labyrinthine citadel of the bloodsucking menace who lives on the top floor! You'll start off with a single, basic jump on the [X] key, and the ability to throw knives with [C]. But since this is a Metroidvania, as you make your way into the depths of the keep, you'll soon discover new skills that will help you explore deeper and fight more dangerously. Oh, and you can change the controls too, if [X] and [C] don't suit your fancy. Don't be caught off-guard by this adorably teeny-weeny castle... It's only too happy to claim its next victim!
There are artists and then...Well, there are those who critique. I'd like to think there can be an amalgamation of both in anyone who loves art, in all its forms, but that can be argued another day. As Anton Ego puts it: "The work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But...the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so." Thusly I'm often hesitant to lay in too heavily in my own critiques as what makes games enjoyable is very subjective. Perhaps the loudest criticism I offer, though, is silent: Those games which don't often make it into the Weekday Escape lineup. Well, it's not that they're not enjoyable or rendered through talent and cleverness, it's just that there are quite a few new escape games born each week. Why did I pick this week's trio from FunkyLand, MayMay and Amakuchi Game? Well, good question. I'll answer that soon enough but for now, I've talked enough. Besides, I'd rather know what you think...
In Psionic's jumpscare-tastic horror escape game Ghostscape 3D, you've always believed in the paranormal, despite the best efforts of a local reporter to paint you as crazy in his column. You're a little surprised and suspicious, then, when you get a letter from him inviting you to come see "something the likes of which you've never seen before, or ever will again", and cautioning you to come alone. Armed with only your trusty camera, you soon find yourself trapped inside... now who could have predicted that? To play, just click to interact... your cursor will change when you mouse over something you can look at, use, or move to, displaying helpful text, though sneakily some things you can interact with won't do change your cursor or show text at all. Open your inventory by clicking the big "i" in the upper right corner, which allows you to read any notes you've found, check on your progress for collectibles and objectives, and equip items for use by clicking on them. Your camera is going to be a pretty valuable tool... while sadly you can't use it to photograph puzzle clues, taking pictures of certain things like paintings or the glowing white orbs will check things off your list of objectives. Just be careful... this place has more than a few skeletons in its closet. Well... bodies, really. Parts of them. Maybe you should have worn gloves.
Still in development, Marc-André Toupin's SPOINGS, aside from being fun to shout and presumably snack food for Mr. Saturns, is a minimalist turnbased roguelike RPG that's all about luck. You move your little avatar with the [arrow] keys, jumping from one quadrant to another, but the catch is the square you land on in each area is random, and moving out of a quadrant causes it to be replaced with a completely new one. Figuring out what each different icon represents, and what they do, is part of the challenge since the game offers no instructions. It's sort of like if someone dumped a bunch of unassembled IKEA furniture at your feet without instructions, and you had no idea what any of the tools were or what they did, and also you might be a little on fire. Run out of hit points, as indicated in the top-left corner, and the game will inform you that U ARE DED, prompting you to start anew, hopefully a little wiser for having had your nose bloodied. (Was this game designed by Q?) Some will find it infuriating for lacking any instructions and leaving so much up to chance, while others will find it addictive for the same reasons, especially since once you learn the ropes you'll realize it's not nearly as baffling as it seems. (Or you can just cheat and read the official TIGSource development thread for more clear instructions.) SPOINGS is planned to eventually land on mobile devices once more work has been done, so give it a spin, and drop the developer some feedback when you're done!
If you've ever unwittingly come upon ninjas while shooting picturesque photos on vacation, only to have your camera stolen because you may have inadvertently taken a photo or two of said ninjas, then you can relate to the plight of 3 Pandas in Japan, a charming point-and-click puzzle game by FlashTeam. And despite the unwritten rule that you should never ever try to take on a ninja, the panda friends are determined to get their camera back by working together to figure out what order to click things in order to reach the exit on each screen.
Roundabyte's iOS exclusive Dwelp is exactly the sort of simple yet oh so sweet puzzle game that makes my heart go pitty-pat and my free time fly out the window. Conceptually, it's a straightforward mechanic, where the goal is to link up all matching coloured dots in a limited number of moves. Drag and drop to place one dot near one of the same colour (don't worry, they have colour-blind mode!), and they'll link up, but other matching dots will become faded, and from them on only linked dots can be moved. As a result, you need to figure out how to move your linked dots around the field to collect all the others, which gets harder when you consider your linked shape has to fit within the grid of the field, without overlapping any dots either. I've probably made that sound more complicated than it actually is, which is probably the least helpful superpower anyone has ever conceived of, but despite changing up the rules a little in later levels by giving certain dots special rules, Dwelp really is a breeze to pick up and play. Put down? Not so much.
By far the hardest part about being a hero is schlepping your way through all those dungeons. Yes, the dragons, skeletons and bats are hard too but c'mon, walking?! Ugh. Fortunately, this game made in 48 hours for Ludum Dare, One Screen Hero by Wes Selken, Izzy Aminov and Brian Bunker, brings all the action right to you in one convenient screen. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move and [Z] or click to attack the various mobs that pursue you through each level. There are four portals on the screen in each corner, and a timer counting down right in the center of the screen. You've got to scamper about collecting coins, open treasure chests, and doing battle with all manner of ghouls before the timer gets too low. When it hits zero, the level reshuffles into a new format, so you'd better make sure you're on the right portal so all the madness can start again. This turns the game into a mad dash of collection and combat. Maybe it's not so convenient after all.
Prepare to vanquish hordes of mighty foes in valiant battle in Altairworks' medieval high difficulty tactical role-playing game! The catch? You're playing as the slimes, which just begs the question, If you fight and win, but have to be a repulsive transparent creature made entirely of goo to do it... did you really win? Only if you're good enough! While you're menaced by swordsmen, archers, martial artists, riflemen, ninja and more all ready for battle, these guys will apparently just throw back their heads and obligingly swallow your gelatinous askeletal mass to enable you to take them over! And you'll need to do just that, as slimes aren't exactly known for their ability to take damage very well. Even then you're not out of the woods yet. Perhaps it's the slack-jawed look, the slow mechanical movement or the preternatural red glow to their eyes, but any unit you've taken over is instantly regarded as a threat to their former comrades who will proceed to dogpile them immediately and pummel them without remorse. Not only tactics but strategy are needed in spades if you're going to make it through Ambition of the Slimes, free for iOS and Android!
Part of the magic of video games is how they can make what is mundane and bland somehow joyously addictive. Surgery isn't what you'd call a laugh riot, nor is food service considered a thrill, yet somehow clever game designers can turn tedium into delight. Well here's a weird one for you: furniture assembly. Yes, that's right. Studio TheStorkBurntDown's new title, Home Improvisation (also playable on itch.io), manages to turn the dreaded task of building your cheap bit of IKEA nonsense into a gleefully daft puzzle game. Left click to select each piece of furniture, use the mouse wheel to adjust elevation, and right click to control its orientation to fit each peg into each hole. The game's exceptional Unity-based physics system can sometimes cause parts to scatter as they knock into each other, but rest assure, this is a game that's just as fun to fail as it is to succeed.
Those vile eggs are always coming up with some way to bunk up the place. Apparently in the first, second and third games your efforts weren't enough and now the population of dino eggs is at an all time high. Time for you to thin the crowd and save us all from the over population of eggs with faces, in Qiabo's new Disasters Will Strike: Ultimate Disaster. In each round it's up to you to crack those eggs using quakes, floods, plagues, bees, and sinkholes in this physics puzzler game. In each level you have a certain number of natural disasters that you can call down, such as earthquakes that can shake the screen and shatter glass, or wind that can blow round objects left or right, and you need to figure out how and where to use them in order to manipulate the structures on each level to bring these eggs their doom. Don't forget to make use of the environment, like large boulders and the very touchy 100%-natural bundles of explosive (Yep. Pretty sure those were normal back in the day.) So bring out your sadistic side and get egg-cited (Sorry. I'm l-egg-ally obligated to put in at least one egg pun. But that one was just for fun.) for this wee-bit-morbid adventure.
In Five-BN Games' hidden-object adventure Lost Lands: The Four Horsemen, after a boring shopping trip on your way home to make boring dinner for your boring kid, you suddenly find yourself whisked away from the parking garage to a strange world where you're told by a sexist hermit mage that, though he was praying for the "Chosen One" to come defeat the evil plaguing the land, you, despite being a "fragile female", are responsible for saving the world. Which seems like a lot to ask for someone wearing red pleather and shoulder pads, regardless of gender, but hey. What's this "great evil" you ask? Well, it might have something to do with the fiery destruction you glimpse being rained down on the very cottage you find yourself standing in front of, though that's a future that will only come to pass if you can't find a way to stop the flaming swordsman who caused it. With mermaids, halflings, portals through space and time, and much more, Lost Lands: The Four Horsemen is a satisfyingly epic and lavish fantasy adventure that's perfect for casual fans looking for a lot of magic.
ScriptWelder's Don't Escape was, as the title suggests, a sort of anti-escape game where you had to figure out a way to lock yourself in to a place as securely as possible, with puzzles to match, and its unique concept proved itself very popular indeed. In Don't Escape 2, it's two weeks after a zombie outbreak, and you and your friend Bill are holed up in an abandoned building... maybe just a little too late for Bill himself, who got bitten in your most recent escape. Still, you're not quite ready to abandon your friend, and you've got more pressing matters on hand... namely, the massive horde of zombies headed your way. You figure you've got until sunset to figure out how to lock this place up snug as a bug, and it's going to take more than just shoving some furniture in front of a door. To play, just click to interact when your cursor expands its crosshairs and turns yellow. Mousing over the top of the screen will drop your inventory down, and also show you the clock. Unlike the original game, you really are on a limited time schedule here. You have eight hours, and since you can travel to more than one place in the surrounding area, time is deducted whenever you travel away from the abandoned building. So explore areas thoroughly, combine items in your inventory, and, well, here's hoping you live to see another sunset!
Please note that this game deals with themes some may find upsetting. Please see my comment below the review if you need further details to make an informed decision about whether to play.
The first episode of Life is Strange, the new episodic action adventure from SquareEnix and DONTNOD Entertainment, starts off with a literal bang as our heroine, school student Max, wakes up on a dark and thunderous coast that's being ripped apart by a tornado that looks big enough to swallow the world. When she snaps to and finds herself in photography class moments later, she's more than a little rattled... she didn't fall asleep, after all, and that didn't feel like a dream, so maybe she's losing her mind? Or maybe she's just having trouble adjusting to prestigious private school Blackwell Academy, which hasn't turned out to be the glorious dream school she thought it would be... Max has never been comfortable around people, and the teasing of school snobs combined with her loads of homework and an unexpectedly sharp difficulty curve isn't making things any easier. Especially since Max grew up in the sleepy town of Arcadia Bay, and she's trying to work up the courage to speak to Chloe, the best friend she hasn't spoken to in the five years since she moved away. But there's something strange about Arcadia, like the missing girl everyone is talking about... and there's something strange happening with Max, too. She's just your average eighteen year old girl who discovers she has the ability to rewind time and change the past... something she can use to help people, but also, she thinks, make all the right decisions for her life. Guided by your choices, Life is Strange is a gorgeously rendered and acted tale about growing up, identity, power, and what you choose to do with it.
Also free for iOS and Android, Homeworld Arts' Pixel Staff is a very classic feeling action-based adventure where you control a wizard who senses something is amiss one dark night... maybe not that impressive a feat since the skeletons shambling around outside should be enough to clue anyone in, but hey, maybe we shouldn't backtalk the guy with a magic bolt shooting staff. Use the left and right [arrow] keys or [A] and [D] to move left and right, [Z] or [O] to fire, and [X] or [P] to jump. If that sounds pretty simple, it's because it is, though you'll have to deal with enemies, bosses, find heart pieces, and more. Pixel Staff looks great and perfectly captures the feeling of retro console games in style and play, but might prove too easy for most players. Just be warned that while if you die, you'll restart at the beginning of the room you died in, but there is no save feature, and closing the game or exiting to the menu means you'll have to start from the beginning. So pick up this one when you're looking for a nostalgic trip down classic gaming lane, and take your time doing it... there's no need to rush. A wizard is never late.
In Tesshi-e's Escape to Mr. Y's Office Room, the titular Mr. Y, who as you know is a fan of both escape games and the Detective Conan anime, has sent you a letter inviting you to check out his newly renovated office. Turns out just getting in is a puzzle in itself, but would you expect any less? To play, just click to interact, and make sure you check everywhere and anything since there's no changing cursor to nudge you along. Check items you're carrying with the About Item function, just in case they have secrets to reveal, or use them by highlighting them with a click, and then clicking on the main game window. True to Mr. Y's passions, this escape game requires some good old fashioned deductive reasoning, making paying attention to your surroundings a necessity. There are some seriously cunning puzzles hidden throughout this game, with an emphasis on using your brain over your inventory, though the latter will present its own challenge in several places. If the swanky soundtrack doesn't make you feel like a detective, the challenges you'll need to overcome in this top-notch escape game will!
Welcome to Metro City, where streets are busy with gangs, vigilantes, cleaning droids, police drones and one very busy hitman who is just itching to get out of the city. With everyone having twitchy trigger fingers and cops shooting first then asking questions, you can't blame the assassin-for-hire for wanting to get in and out as fast as they can. Flatearthgames' Metrocide is a high difficulty, bird's-eye view, stealth game where you take on jobs, find the mark, and put them out of their misery without getting spotted by drones and humans. A normal civilian will rat on you to the cops and that's all, but other civilians think they are some sort of hero and start shooting at you to paint the streets with your blood. They have good aim too, because one shot and you're dead. Being a roguelike game, death results in a new, penniless you. It's a rough life, but every hitman has got to work to get food on the table or in this case, papers to travel to get far, far away from such a mess.
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