July 2005 Archives


(14 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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BMX Backflips 2Arguably one of Teagames' best and most popular games gets the one-up treatment with BMX Backflips 2.

You can expect to find the same silky-smooth motion, animation and physics in this version, as well as new tasks to complete for each new level. What has changed is there is now a level selection screen with which to choose the level you wish to play in any order, and even repeat the ones you enjoy most.

Control is still with the arrow keys: up and down for peddling forward and back; left to lean back; right to lean forward. Use space to brake.

To master these excellent BMX Flash games, you must learn to lean back while peddling just enough to lift the front wheel slightly off the ground. Doing so gives you the added speed necessary to jump over chasms and climb up steep inclines. Balance is key, as you don't want to wind up on your head and lose a life. You begin with five (5) lives, and when you have used them all the game is over.

Analysis: I found only minor complaints with this version. First, a player may not exit a level once it has begun. There were times that I found myself beginning the same level again when I thought I had chosen differently. An exit button would have been nice to allow the player to correct the error before continuing. Secondly, the high score table is rendered meaningless by players' scores that are no longer comparable. Since a player may now play any level of choice, achieving a high score may be as easy as repeating a single level one has mastered until a high score is achieved.

David has made one of his greatest games even better by opening up the levels and granting freedom of choice. This has the added benefit of making the game accessible to the casual gamer not interested in completing the whole game. Pair that with all-new levels of brilliant design and what you end up with is an all-new BMX Backflips game that surpasses the original in almost every way. Click.

If you enjoy this BMX game, be sure not to miss the original, BMX Backflips, and a variation on the theme, BMX Star, and all the rest of Dave's excellent games on his Teagames.com website.


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Rating: 4.5/5 (53 votes)
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The talented David Thorburn continues to churn out games on his Teagames.com website at an alarming rate and with amazing physics implementations. So many, in fact, that I can't keep up with everything he creates. His latest two are particularly noteworthy, however.

Funky TruckFunky Truck puts you in the drivers seat of a funky yellow monster truck on a mission to get from beginning to end of each level as quickly as possible. Anything goes in this race to the finish, but don't tip over!

Use the arrow keys to navigate the very hilly terrain. Once you get the hang of it, you will be jumping over bumps with style and earning extra bonus points. Click.

Funky Truck 4WDAnd if you liked Funky Truck but had trouble keeping the truck rightside-up or even finishing a level, be sure to check out it's big four-wheeling brother: Funky Truck 4WD. While Funky Truck is likely to appeal to the hardcore gamer, this one is a bit more forgiving and therefore just right for a more casual audience. Click.


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(4 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Grim Fandango soundtrackFor those who enjoyed playing the classic adventure game, Grim Fandango, and for those who simply enjoy listening to the timeless sound of big band instrumentals, do yourselves a favor and head on over to the Grim Fandango Network and download the excellent soundtrack to the game. Although neither the game nor the soundtrack is new, while on the topic of good music I wanted to share the link with anyone whom might be interested. Click.

This post is an effort to reel-in the current topic back to games. Just a day has gone by since my last review, and already the email is beginning to come in asking: "Where are the games?"

In case anyone is unaware, I emphasize quality over quantity here while highlighting and examining games from the perspective of a graduate student focusing on game design and development. There are already plenty of sites out there who offer gajillions of games to play, but you may be hard-pressed to find one worthy of the time you have to spare over your lunch-hour break.

I will do my best to get another review up soon. =)


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Good Experience GamesAnd while on the topic of quality over quantity, recently I came across another site with a similar focus toward games. Mark Hurst specializes in usability issues from the perspective of customer experience, and he has put up a web page that highlights some of the best Web games available.

Since Mark and I both share a similar perspective as far as games are concerned, there is a fair amount of overlap between our sites. However, as with anything subjective as someone's recommendations, there is always room for a second opinion. Click.

Cheers, Mark! =)


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(1 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Mercedes Benz Mixed Tape 08

In case you haven't yet put yourself on the mailing list to be alerted each time a new one becomes available, Mercedes Benz has just released their eighth Mixed Tape online.

Just surf on over to their website to listen via a very nice Flash player interface. Or, download all 15 tracks in mp3 format to burn onto a disc, import into iTunes, share with a friend, or whatever. These completely free, no-guilt mixed tapes are a rare find. Click.


(15 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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A couple of brand new games being offered by Tonypa on his website that features other excellent casual Web games, as well as tutorials for those interested in creating games in Flash.

Gemsmith comes in two varieties: Ruby and Diamond. Both games feature similar gems and hexagonal play fields, and yet the gameplay for each is unique thus offering two very different experiences.

RubyRuby will seem familiar to anyone who has played Sudoku. The object of the game is to place the colored gems within the cells of the hexagonal play field such that no two gems of the same color appear within the same continuous row. Each hexagonal cell can be part of three (3) different rows, so the challenge is in placing the gems in the correct places as each level has only one solution. You may swap the current gem with one already placed on the board, and there is no time limit imposed.

Analysis: Ruby differs from Sudoku in that the player is not free to choose what symbol to place next on the board. I see this choice of interface as both a strength and a weakness to the game. It is a strength since a player may quickly pick-up and get started with the game simply by clicking on a free cell and placing a gem. The weakness being this same interface may result in a no-win situation and therefore force the player to reset the board and start over.

I like the idea of a hexagonal Sudoku game, and playing with colored gems has proven to be quite popular with the casual games audience. If you like Sudoku, be sure to check out Tonypa's Ruby game.

DiamondDiamond will be familiar to anyone who has played games like Net. The object of the game is to rotate the gems such that connectors form a continuous circuit throughout the play field thus turning all gems from brown to yellow. Each level is randomly generated and there is only one solution that leaves no connector unused.

Simply click on a gem to rotate it clockwise, or press Shift while clicking to rotate counter-clockwise.

A bit easier to play than Ruby, and with levels that increase in size as the game progresses, Diamond is a wonderful game for anyone with even a minor case of OCD.

Note: Since I am unable to link to his games directly, I have not provided my usual "Click" links that open the respective game in a pop-up window. Tonypa's games had previously been looted and appear illegally all over the Web. As a countermeasure to the piracy, he has added scripts to his site that require you to enter 'through the front door' each time you play. Here's the front door: Click.


  • Currently 3.7/5
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Rating: 3.7/5 (26 votes)
| Comments (64) | Views (192)

The Wand HouseFor all you point-and-clickers out there: You know who you are! =)

The Wand House is a mysterious point-and-click adventure game with puzzles so difficult, I was unable to get through it all before posting it here for you to try. Again, please go easy on the spoilers, though hints are welcome as I need help with this one!

What are you waiting for?

Play The Wand House


(3 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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SwarmBrent Silby has created another fast-paced and addictive arcade game developed entirely in DHTML—generally a combination of JavaScript and CSS—which means there is no additional plug-in required to run the game, just a browser that supports JavaScript (and most of them do nowadays).*

Swarm is an action arcade game that is similar to Brent's other bug-blasting game, Replicator, though it has a unique gameplay design all of its own. Bugs swarm onto the play field single-file, as in the classic arcade game Galaga, and begin infecting the solar cells. Protect the cells by shooting the bugs to kill them off. You may also shoot the cells to disinfect them and earn additional points.

Use the I, J, K, and L keys to move your ship forward, back, right and left in a circle around the play field. Your ship will always point in toward the center of play. Keep the Z key pressed to rapidly fire at the bugs that swarm, and at the solar cells.

Additional lives are awarded based on accumulated points: The first one at 50K, and each additional life every 100K thereafter.

Brent is definitely tuned-in to what makes arcade games fun, and Swarm is yet another testament to that. His expertise with JavaScript is impressive indeed, and it's always great to learn of a new game he designs. Like his other games, Swarm will take you back to the golden days of classic arcade shooters. Click.

*Note: One caveat that is important to know before playing: even though the game should run in any browser, truth is that Brent does some amazing things that push the JavaScript implementations of the browser you use. Therefore, the recommended browser to play his games is still IE. Firefox's JavaScript support is getting better, though you may not get the same performance that IE will give you.

Be sure to check out all of Brent's games at his Def-Logic website, and my previous reviews of two of his games, DNA and Replicator.

Thanks, Brent, for the heads-up about the new game. =)


  • Currently 4.7/5
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Rating: 4.7/5 (319 votes)
| Comments (203) | Views (20,073)

Grow RPGAnother one of my favorite games gets an update! Oh happy day! =)

Grow has to be one of the best Flash games ever. Created by ON of Eyezmaze, the original Grow game is a brilliant and original puzzle game in which the player drags items, one-by-one, in a chosen sequence to a large red sphere. Every item has rules with which it levels-up and interacts with the other items. Fascinating animations unfold as each item 'grows'. The object of the game is to get all items to their maximum level by dragging them in the correct order.

I have been checking the site often since first discovering the game over a year ago, hoping for an update.

Grow RPG takes the classic formula that made the original so compelling to play, and adds additional RPG-like elements, such as enemy combat, a shop to buy health and weapons, and even a dungeon with hidden treasure.

The game is played exactly as before: Simply drag the items onto the large green "GROW" sphere. The order you choose determines your success in defeating the flying winged devil.

I haven't yet seen everything to this game, though I didn't want to wait to post it for anyone else who might be as giddy as I am to learn of this new Grow game. Click.

Update: Just finished it, and I must say that I enjoyed the additional elements that make this Grow game more meaningful than the previous one. A little animated story unfolds once you place all of the items in sequence, with some actions occurring even before you finish.

As with the original, the author has done a remarkable job with managing the complexity produced by the permutations with which the various elements may be combined, thus producing different results depending on the sequence chosen.

Unfortunately, once you learn that you have maxed out all items, watching the little story unfold is a bit anti-climactic since you know the little devil will be defeated. It would be better to withhold showing the levels attained until after the story has ended.

Another excellent game design by ON of Eyezmaze. More games like this, please.

Still want more Grow? Play the entire Grow series of games (in order of release)...


  • Currently 4.8/5
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Rating: 4.8/5 (49 votes)
| Comments (104) | Views (495)

The AsylumProbably one of the greatest Flash games ever created and made available for free on the Web, The Asylum is a surprisingly rich interactive narrative experience and it continues to surprise and delight gamers of all ages from all over the world. The creator of the game, Dr. Kinderman, has just taken in a new patient for you to cure: Sly the snake. Won't you please help Sly overcome his dark and distressing past? Now available in several languages.

Play The Asylum

Previously introduced here. Thanks go to Dorothy for the medical report on Sly's recent admittance.

New Patient: Dub is now available!


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Rating: 4.4/5 (29 votes)
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StackopolisThanks to all the wonderful submissions coming in, I have found myself backlogged with reviews to post. Hopefully I can get caught up today and throughout the weekend, so check back if you've been waiting for something new to play. =)

And while this next game is not new, the talented folks at Bloc Media have recently changed it from a limited 3-level demo to a fully playable, free Web game.

Stackopolis is surprisingly simple to play: Just click on blocks to move them into the target configuration for each of the 20 unique levels. A 3-dimensional view is provided as well as a top-down blueprint that identifies the number of each block that is required for each cell of the play field grid.

To add some tension and a bit of challenge to the mix, a timer counts down the seconds you have to complete each level. If you fail to meet the target configuration within the time limit the game ends.

Stackopolis features elegantly simple gameplay, gorgeous pixel graphics and animations, and a delightfully dramatic soundtrack that pushes this game over the top into highly addictive territory. You've been forewarned.

Play Stackopolis

With thanks to Timothy and Capuchin for suggesting the game. =)


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Rating: 4.4/5 (48 votes)
| Comments (37) | Views (317)

Eight Letters in Search of a WordAnother great word game from East of the Web, this one combines the word finding frenzy of Boggle with the scrambled word anagrams of Jumble.

8 Letters in Search of a Word is a race against the clock to score enough points to move on to the next level. Points are awarded by finding words within an 8-letter anagram, established at the beginning of each level. Simply click (or type) letters to form a word and press the Submit (or [return]) button. Rinse. Repeat.

If you run out of time during a level, the game ends. A Bonus round every five (5) levels gives you one (1) minute to guess the 8-letter anagram without penalty for failing to identify the word.

The game combines the best elements of Boggle and Jumble and packages it into an exceptional single-player experience.

Play 8 Letters


(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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CodeWordJust found this excellent collection of word games created in Flash and published by East of the Web. There are currently eight (8) different games to choose from, and each one offers a unique gameplay experience than usual games in its category.

CodeWord blends components of guess-the-word games like Hangman with that of Mastermind to create a challenging and fun new game. The game presents you with spaces to guess a 5-letter word, which you enter by clicking on a square and then click on a letter along the left side of the game board. Once you have entered a word, press "SUBMIT" to get clues about your guess.

The clues you receive will be either light or dark filled circles and represent the same type of information as you receive when playing games like Mastermind. Light filled circles mean that you have guessed a correct letter, but it's in the wrong position. Dark filled circles mean you have guessed a correct letter and it's in the correct position. You have 10 chances to guess the correct word. Click.

If you are fond of games like WEBoggle, Jumble, and even Mastermind, then you will likely enjoy playing these excellent word games, too.


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Today the ESRB changed its rating for Rockstar's controversial Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game, slapping it with an Adults Only (AO) rating after investigating the source of the "hot coffee mod" that surfaced only recently.

"Considering the existence of the undisclosed and highly pertinent content on the final discs, compounded by the broad distribution of the third party modification, the credibility and utility of the initial ESRB rating has been seriously undermined." Patricia Vance, President - ESRB

Production of the current version of the game has been suspended, with a new version of the game expected to be released later this year with the controversial code removed.


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Casual Games SIGThe International Game Developers Association (IGDA) this month announced the creation of a new special interest group for casual game developers, called the Casual Games SIG: "With the massive growth of the casual games marketplace (we) recognized a need within the community for a group focusing solely on the issues unique to casual game developers."

And today, at the Casual Games Conference in Seattle, the group made available its first white paper focusing on the casual games industry. Click.

I'm sad that I could not make it to the conference this year, as GDC was quite expensive for me to attend. However, I will be keeping an eye on the new Casual Games SIG for developments pertaining to this exciting and growing segment of the industry.

And what better time than now to drop a hint about a new site I'm working on: CasualGameplay.com, coming sometime this fall. =)


(13 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Kill TimeKill Time is a short and cute Flash game in which you must keep the mouse cursor from being caught by the little guy. There is a variety of methods he will employ to grab it from you, and most of them are quite amusing. This one might not keep you busy for long, but it's a unique little game worthy of a mention.

Play Kill Time


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Rating: 4.1/5 (21 votes)
| Comments (21) | Views (40)

Bombsweeper 3DA nice 3D version of the classic Windows 'tool', Bombsweeper 3D features a variety of polygons with an increasing number of sides to test your puzzle solving and deduction skills. Although much of the game's text is in Japanese, anyone even remotely familiar with Minesweeper will be able to pick up and play this game without instruction. For everyone else, bear with me...

The object, of course, is to identify all of the sides of the polygon with 'bombs' and to clear all of the sides without. Click on a side to clear it. If there is a bomb beneath the side you choose, the game ends. If not, the side will show the number of bombs that border with that side. If no number appears, no bombs border the side.

Press the space bar to toggle on and off the cursor bomb selector (*). With the selector turned on, click a side to guess that a bomb is hidden there. If you guess wrong, the game ends.

Click and drag the mouse anywhere off the shape to rotate the polygon and to view all of the sides easily.

A simple yet effective implementation of a classic game turned 3D. Click.


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(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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LetterMazePhilip Lenssen was very kind to send word that he has a brand new game added to his collection of Games for the Brain.

LetterMaze is a sesquipedalian game in which the player first memorizes the spelling of two long words. Next, a maze is presented within which the mouse is used to simply touch spell the words within the time limit.

Games for the BrainThe game is easy to understand but not quite as easy to master. The time limit provides just the right challenge to make the game good fun. Click.

Be sure to check out all of Philip's games, many of them previously introduced here. Click.


(1 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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UFO PanicThis next game is one of a few quick posts that deserve your attention, if but for a few moments of your time.

UFO Panic is another GlobZ mini-game that is simple to play and uses only a single button to play. And while there isn't much depth to the one-level gameplay, there is just the right number of power-ups and UFOs thrown in to keep the play balanced and the action tense at times. Click.


(17 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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No. 5 Part 3If you haven't yet played the darling animated point-and-click puzzle games from 3wish, you owe it to yourself to check them out. Click.

If you have already played them, then there is still a reason for another visit: No. 5 Part 3 is now available to play online. Click.


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Rockstar vs. ESRBIn light of the recent developments involving the “Hot Coffee mod” making waves like a tsunami around the world, and the subsequent ‘call-to-action' by Senator Clinton (D-NY), I have to add my rant on the issue to the mix.

The current issue has to do with a modification that can be made to a game that has sold well over 12 million units since it first arrived in October last year. Supporters of the (M)ature-rated game—as determined by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB)—claim that since the content must be unlocked by entering secret codes, not published by people responsible for the game, there has been no wrong-doing. Furthermore, because the resulting content that is unlocked contains a sexual mini-game with a fully-clothed central character, claims that the game is “pornographic may seem extreme to some.” [Source]

I believe those points are irrelevant, and only serve to skirt around the real problem.


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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceTaking a short break from playing games until I get through my sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It shouldn't take long, but in case anyone was looking for an update, you'll know where to find me.

And if you're anything like me, while reading the latest Potter publication you may find this useful: a site that contains summaries from each of the chapters of the previous books in the series, to refresh your memory. Click.

Lastly, an author interview by a young fan that is worth the read. Click.

More games soon. =)

In the meantime, please contribute to the discussion on multiplayer games, and help spread the word on the MTV opportunities!


(4 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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The other day a visitor asked what multiplayer games are available to play on the Web:

Hey Jay, do you know of any good multiplayer games over the net, because my boyfriend and I play games together and we've run out of things to play.

Lauren

Although aware of a few casual Web games that offer a compelling multiplayer experience, as I was thinking about an adequate response to Lauren's question I realized that I was coming up short. So, I would like to start a discussion on multiplayer Web games by listing some games that I know of already—some that I have reviewed, while others that have been only suggested to me—and requesting that others contribute by recommending other multiplayer games as comments to this entry.

It is my hope that we can generate enough ideas to begin a recommended multiplayer games section in the sidebar.

Conqueror - a very good multiplayer Risk clone with surprisingly rich gameplay. Shockwave.

iSketch - Shockwave Pictionary clone that offers addictive and hilarious, adrenaline-filled multiplayer fun. Enough said.

WEBoggle - more words than you can shake a stick at. If you like words, you'll love this game. DHTML.

War of the Worlds Survival Game - offers an unusual cooperative multiplayer experience in Flash.

Fantastic Four :: Clobberin' Time - another movie licensed multiplayer Flash game. Suggested by a visitor to jayisgames.

Tactics Arena Online - this multiplayer, turn-based strategy, Flash game was highly recommended to me, though I have not yet tried it. Anyone can create a free account that features nine different units with which to play. Gold accounts cost just $5 a month and offers a caboodle of additional units and features.

Settlers of Catan - recommended as one of the best board games ever, this free multiplayer online clone of the game (Windows download) is supported by its developer, Jason Fugate, and a large community of players.

Runescape - a massively multiplayer online Flash RPG that offers a limited free account, and a $5 per month subscription with additional features.

Kingdom of Loathing - a funny and sarcastic online RPG that is played with stick figures. Go figure.

Puzzle Pirates - offers a unique and compelling experience in a massively multiplayer online persistent world. Players compete in a variety of puzzle games to improve their pirate's standing. Winner of the Audience Choice Award (Web/Downloadable) at the 2004 Independent Games Festival. Subscription-based, a free trial for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms is available.

Golf - a unique multiplayer golf game for up to 4 players. Not an ordinary looking golf game, this simple and yet richly styled Windows executable features direct action swinging with the mouse rather than the usual power-bar based controls of other golf games. In-game chat and two-seater golf carts make this game an excellent choice for friends who want to play together. Capuchin promised to review this game here soon.

What multiplayer online games have you played and enjoyed lately?


| Comments (3) | Views (9)

Andrea Lewis of MTV sent word along that they are looking to fill a few senior-level positions in their online games space:

Hi Jay -
I am a recruiter at MTV - helping to staff a few positions we have in the GAMES space -- would you be able to help me spread the word? Quite a few of these positions involve casual gaming and online games, just like the focus of your site.

I have 3 positions that I would love to get the "word-out" on.... the position descriptions are a bit long, but do what you can.

best,
Andrea Lewis
MTV Staffing

You may contact Andrea at dazework@gmail.com. Following are descriptions of the positions available...


(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (15) | Views (25)

CombolingComboling is an original puzzle game that was conceived by Jérôme Lulling in the mid-80's by examining tiles on the bathroom floor. He eventually teamed up with Dmitry Irsheins to help bring his idea to life, and the result of the collaboration is this remarkable Flash game.

The gameplay is quite simple: link each of the marked tiles either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally without reusing a tile or jumping over any other marked tiles.

And while the concept is simple enough to grasp, this Flash implementation of the game is exceptional, thus proving that execution can be as important as the idea itself.

Everything about this game is polished, from the intro to the interfaces—yes, there are two 'skins' of the game available to choose from. There is even a practice mode available to get familiar with the gameplay before getting started. Once you start a game, a timer counts down giving you 25 minutes with which to solve 25 levels. And if you think you are going to memorize the solutions so that you can whiz through it a second time, you have another think coming: All of the levels are dynamically generated, and therefore every game you play will be unique.

I suggest begining with the alternate interface the first time through. The default skin shows no grid and it may be difficult at first to know when tiles are truly diagonal from one another.

What I would change: the New Game button on both interfaces is too close to the play field. I inadvertently restarted a game after having completed several levels. At the very least, a confirmation dialog is necessary to avoid losing a game in progress.

Also, the small squares that are drawn connecting the tiles as you click is a nice effect, but they serve no useful purpose. I would prefer seeing a thin solid line, begining from the tile I start with, and then connecting each tile in succession. That way I could retrace my steps easily when I needed to restart a level.

Yet another simple idea turned into addictive gameplay through its execution and its interface. Comboling is a beautiful game, and yet it is deceptively difficult. Throw in dynamic levels and a time limit to the mix and what you have is a 25 minute challenge that you can return to time and time again. Click.


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Rating: 4.2/5 (21 votes)
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Flea WorldLately I have been enjoying this cute little platformer with a twist. Generally, a platform game puts the player in control of a game character that is moved throughout each level toward a goal at the end. The term 'platform' comes from the many varied platforms that the player must run, climb, and jump over to make it to the end of each level.

Flea World is a horse of a different color. Although still a platform game, Flea World puts you in control of an increasing number of fleas, all of which you must safely get to the end of each level to move on to the next.

Control is with the mouse, as the fleas with follow where you move the mouse cursor. Click the mouse button to make the fleas jump. Using these controls, move about each level to collecting flowers and coins for points. You will also need to trip switches to open doors, and land on various other devices to help you reach the end of the increasingly more difficult levels.

The game's pixel graphics are simple and yet get the job done nicely. I did notice a small problem on my Mac Powerbook with the dialogs that appear between levels, as the text is missing that explains new items being introduced in the level. This did not present a significant problem however, since most of the items and levels are self-explanatory. The game may appear different on a PC.

Another excellent game hosted by Miniclip, this Shockwave game was created by Numbat Studios and is a delightful adventure filled with puzzles and platforms to while away the hours. Click.


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Rating: 4/5 (40 votes)
| Comments (169) | Views (350)

TravelogueIn Travelogue, another Flash escape-the-room game, you find yourself in a hotel room far from where you'd like to be. Use what resources are available to navigate around the area and locate items and clues that you can use to help you escape.

Most of the puzzles are logical in design, though I anticipate that many players will have a difficult time with the game. In particular, the navigation requires some careful steps to access all areas of the room. For example, even though you may be able to see a closet from where you are, you simply cannot get to it while sitting on the bed.

In terms of gameplay, Travelogue is a fairly ordinary game of its kind. As you move the mouse around the screen, the cursor will change to indicate any action possible. Clicking on an item when the cursor is in the shape of a hand will add that item to your inventory. Click the small tab on the bottom right of the game window to view or hide the inventory screen.

Graphically, the game features a somewhat low-resolution, 3D rendered, photo-realistic environment that is plain, and yet believable. And while there is nothing truly remarkable about it, significant production went into the making of the game and it is one of the better ones I've seen. If you enjoy escape-the-room games, you will likely enjoy this one, too. Click.

With a nod to Moe of FlashGamez for the link.


| Comments (8) | Views (11)

A friend and collegue from RIT is currently studying abroad in Japan this summer. He has asked if I would post this request for information about any North American game developers who are currently developing, or planning to develop, for Nintendo's platforms:

"I'm thinking about companies to apply to. I really want to make games for Nintendo, I like their corporation and I like their games. Unfortunately, my Japanese isn't good enough to work for them directly yet, and I'm not sure I'd want to work in Japan anyways. So what I'm really looking for is companies based in North America that make games mostly for Nintendo. Any ideas, folks?"

If you know of any, please post a comment. Thanks!


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Rating: 4.4/5 (29 votes)
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Dona RoomDona Room is a game that has been around for just a few weeks, and yet I have received many suggestions to include it here. It is another of the 'escape-the-room' variety of point-and-click Flash adventures, and it is very good. As with other games like it, look around the various objects in the room to collect items and find clues on how to escape.

The game was created by Naoki Nakashima, and contains a small amount of Japanese writing that explains the story behind being stuck in the room. These details are not necessary to solving the game as all of the major clues are given as symbols and Arabic numerals (1,2,3...).

A couple of hints to save you some frustration: in a world of symbols, a filled symbol is not the same as a non-filled one; and a triangle pointing up is not the same as one pointing down. Also, you must find all items and view all of the clues before the safe will open—even if you enter the correct code. When you finish the game, be sure to read the comments to learn what all the numbers mean, as Maiko has so generously provided a translation of the game's amusing ending.

Play Dona Room

Thanks go to Karina, Evan and everyone else who suggested this one. =)


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Foolish it is to believe ours is the only planet in the universe that is home to intelligent life. I have always believed that we are not alone. But what hope do we have against any potential hostilities from another planet if we are still killing each other here at home? Regardless of our external differences or beliefs, underneath our skin we are all the same.

War of the WorldsLast evening I saw Steven Spielberg's latest movie, War of the Worlds. It is an adaptation of the classic novel by H.G. Wells written in 1898. Although I never read the book, I have read about it and therefore had a general idea of the story. The movie is very good. I especially enjoyed the scenes showing enormous alien crafts walking about the cities and towns destroying everything in their path. It all seemed very ominous and real, though there were many details that required a willing suspension of disbelief.

Today I came across this Flash game on the movie's website, and it looks to be well-produced with a unique cooperative multiplayer component. The object of the War of the Worlds Survival Game is to gather food, water and medical supplies while looking for other survivors (non-playing characters) to rescue and lead them to safety. Collaborate with other players to save even more surviors to earn more points and raise your standing.

The site allows you to register and create your own account, or to simply play as a guest. You can either join a game that another player has started, or you can create your own. You can play by yourself by starting your created game right away, or wait for others to join.

Once playing, use the arrow keys to move your avatar around the top-down oriented map. You will have to navigate around obstacles to find supplies and to rescue survivors. Avoid the bright ground explosions and the direction from which they appear, or you will be vaporized.

While most games seem to pit players against each other for survival, this game is a refreshing and welcome change to that formula. I believe we need more games that emphasize cooperation, coexistence and compassion rather than competition, crime and cut-throat survival of the fittest. But I'm probably in the minority with that idea. Click.

Update: The game may no longer be available, as recent attempts to connect have failed. Previously tagged as: advergame, flash, free, game, macpclinux, mmo, movielicense, multiplayer, pg13


| Comments (1) | Views (11)

Terrorism serves no ‘higher purpose'. It is a scourge that must be dealt with no differently than starvation and disease, the extinction of which our very humanity depends upon.


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Rating: 4.5/5 (54 votes)
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PlanarityCase Western University student, John Tantalo, created this elegantly simple game with gratifying and addictive gameplay.

Planarity is a Flash puzzle game that is played by clicking and dragging the vertices of a 2D geometric shape to rearrange them such that no lines cross. It's just that simple. While the premise is straightforward, actually straightening things out is quite another story. In later levels the task becomes maddeningly difficult, and yet oh so sweet when you finally untangle the mess. It helps, of course, if you have even a mild case of OCD as I do.

Simple to understand, difficult to put down.

Play Planarity


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Rating: 4.7/5 (49 votes)
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HanamushiI just now stumbled upon Enu's gorgeous Japanese website, Hanamushi, and discovered his beautiful artwork and even a couple of Flash point-and-click adventures. Simply amazing. And yet there is a dark side to the shapes that lurk in the shadows, so watch where you step..

Most of the site is in Japanese, so if you have a hard time finding your way around, be sure to see Wheat Straw Girl and especially the combination picture book and adventure game, Pock's Friend. Just click through the text to get to the game.

Enu (Akira Noyama) says his favorite game is ICO, and he even has a page of artwork that was inspired by Nintendo games.

Strange, disturbing and beautiful.

Play Pock's Friend

With thanks to Maiko for translating "Pock's Friend" and parts of the story in the comments. =)

Update: Be sure to read our review of an all-new interactive experience from Hanamushi: Flower Insects.


(8 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (50) | Views (205)

Toby Godden, of Vibration13.com, has made available two different games that are both worth playing: Virus and Treasure Hunt.

VirusVirus is composed of several puzzles that you must solve separately and together to win the game. In other words, the answers you gain from one may be used to solve another.

Virus reminded me of The Machine in the artistic and stylish way each of the puzzles was designed and presented. Immersion is affected negatively, however, when a new browser window is opened up for each new puzzle. However, through an email exchange last week, Toby said he plans to merge them all into one game window sometime soon.

Play Virus

Treasure HuntIn Treasure Hunt, you use the clues found in a captain's log book to find the location of a mysterious treasure island. The log book is all encrypted in code and you must use whatever resources available to decipher it, which then grants you access to even more maps and clues.

Neither puzzle is easy to solve, but they are worth the while if you put the time into the effort.

Play Treasure Hunt

Nice work Toby, keep 'em coming. =)


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Rating: 4.6/5 (58 votes)
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Featuring original and commercial-quality graphics, animation and sound, Mink of 3wish.com has created these cute, point-and-click, cartoon puzzles in Flash. Each episode is rather short in length—just right for some lunchtime fun or a coffee break—and all of them contain humorous, inventive situations and puzzles to solve.

No. 5 Intro movieDivided into three (3) unique series, each one contains a different character: a boy, a rat, or Mr. Zhong Kui. But probably the most remarkable of them all is the one about the boy, which begins with an excellent intro movie resembling a pop-up storybook that provides a little background info while leading into the game.

No. 5 Part 1Oddly referred to as "No. 5", there are presently two (2) episodes starring the little boy, with a third one promised as "coming soon." Prepare to help him as he attempts to escape the clutches of the alien(s) who abducted him in these wonderful little adventures.

No. 5 Part 2While basic point-and-click type Flash games, the situations they present will force you to think about how to make best use of the resources around you to solve the puzzle at hand. Some will find them easy to get through, while others will no doubt be stumped, though the solutions are generally logical, if not obvious.

RatThis is especially true for the puzzle featuring the rat. Exceptional in design though potentially frustrating, this one will surely annoy you before you're done. The reason is because every time you make a wrong click on something, the rat squeaks at you. And the rat will squeak at you a lot before you're done. But persevere, and you will be rewarded with a very cute and ingenious little clicky puzzle.

Mr. Zhong KuiBe sure to try them all since every one of them is charming and offers something slightly different. The ones starring Mr. Zhong Kui are probably the easiest of the bunch, but they will likely make you chuckle with delight when you figure out their simple solutions.

Great artwork, funny characters, and inventive puzzles make these casual games something special. We'll have to keep an eye on Mink and 3wish.com for future episodes. Click.

Update: The 3rd game in the No. 5 game series is now available! Click.

Update: The 4th game in the No. 5 game series is now available! Click.


| Comments (4) | Views (11)

To celebrate the holiday today I'm posting this image sent to me with a note from a recent visitor of this site:

I found your website at some point recently. It is great. I know you hear that alot, but still. Anyway, here is a Lite Brite pic I did of Lilo from Asylum. It is not my best work, but it is on a virtual Lite-Brite for gosh shakes. Thanks for posting so many fun and interesting games in one place. Your site has made my work week fly by (and I work seven twelve hour shifts in a row).

Thanks again,

Preston

The image was created with DHTML Lite Brite that I reviewed here last year, and it still remains a popular destination for Web browser creativity and fun.

Lilo is a character from The Asylum, a captivating Flash game about three (3) abused cuddly toys in which you decide on various therapies to correct their mental illness. Along the way you are rewarded with exceptionally well-made animated cut scenes that tell the story of each adorable, and yet troubled, character: Lilo, Crocko, and Dolly.

If you have never enjoyed either of these two excellent casual games, do yourself a favor today. =)

And thanks so much for that, Preston. I never tire of hearing what visitors think of the site. Positive comments motivate and inspire me to continue, and negative constructive comments provide me with valuable feedback regarding what I may need to change.

Do you have something to say, or to contribute? Please share it with me by using the email link next to my picture in the sidebar.


| Comments (1) | Views (13)

For anyone interested in viewing an alphabetical listing of all the games I've reviewed here*, you can find it easily by clicking the "[all]" link in the recommended section of the sidebar. Click.

*Note: I finally got around to updating the list as it had previously included only games through the end of 2004. Also, I've tried my best to list only the games that are still available to play on the Web.


(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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RobotoNext up is another great little mini-game from GlobZ that offers addictive gameplay with the press of only a single button. Rotobo is a top-down platformer where the object is to find and land on a green ore block hidden in each level through a succession of jumps.

When each level begins, Rotobo will continuously rotate its head. When the eyes are pointing in the direction you wish to jump, simply click the mouse button—alternatively, you may press the space bar. The longer you hold the button down the higher (and farther) Rotobo will jump, up to a maximum height. Release the button to land.

There are power-ups hidden throughout each level, and completing a level under a minute awards a time bonus. Complete all levels for a high score.

The only problem that I noticed with the game is when you want to start a new game after finishing, or losing, a previous one. The Flash app seems to get stuck re-loading itself. So, if you want to play again, you will likely have to reload the window manually.

Rotobo is yet another charming, simple one-button mini-game from the very talented folks at GlobZ. Click.


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Rating: 4.5/5 (43 votes)
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Raiden XThere have been a lot of good games that have come to my attention recently, so many in fact that I am a bit backlogged. Since the thought of creating an in-depth review of each is a bit daunting to me right now on my summer vacation, I have decided to create only brief introductions to each and leave the analysis to everyone else via the comments. Let's see how well that goes.

First-up is a top-down vertical shmup—that's a technical term meaning shoot'em up—created by Googley.

Raiden X is an excellent Flash game that is a lot of fun to play, though it was a bit easy for me to complete on Normal difficulty. The trick is in the power-ups, which are many. Small squares that change in color from Red, to Blue, to Purple will float around the screen after blasting certain enemies. Each color represents a different weapon. My favorite was the Purple shocker that emits a powerful arc of electricity that seeks out enemies on-screen and zaps them until they are fried. Wait until the power-up is the color of your choice to upgrade its power, otherwise your weapon will change.

Tons of enemies and larger boss-types in this game. Excellent Flash work by a talented, young (age 13!) game developer.

Play Raiden X

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