August 2005 Archives


(10 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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MazeMaze is another delightfully simple and accessible casual Web game by GameDesign of Japan.

The object of this action puzzle game is to find the exit to each increasingly larger maze level within the time limit. However, before you can get out of a maze, you will first need a key for the exit door.

Keys and other special items are hidden about the maze to help you along the way. Hammers are useful to break down walls; clocks add ten (10) seconds to the timer; maps show you the entire maze at once including the locations of all items present; and keys open exit doors. Each item is single use, which means that once you use it you lose it.

Control in the game is with the keyboard. For movement up, down, left and right, use the arrow keys. To begin a game, click on the game with the mouse and press the [Enter] key. To use a hammer on a wall, face the wall you wish to break and press the [Enter] key.

The game is challenging since only a small portion of the entire maze is visible at once. Other than when viewing the map, you can only see what is close by. Finding the map can be especially helpful, but only for the moment you spend viewing it. The timer becomes the real problem as the size of each randomly generated maze grows larger. Finding an exit becomes difficult enough, but then you must also have a key in order to get free.

Not a deep game, though it's quite enjoyable and a perfect diversion for an afternoon lunch or coffee break.

Play Maze

Be sure to try GameDesign's Domino Pressure, previously reviewed here.


(5 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Rocket Cat-girl gameTime for another charming and quirky Japanese Flash game, and this one I have fellow RIT alum, Paul "Willoughby Jackson", to thank for the link and for translating the story behind the game.

Bania Kururin is an action arcade game in which you play as an anime-style cat-girl character with a rocket-pack on her back. The author of the game has kidnapped your little cat-friend and plans to eat him, and your task is to rescue him by collecting stars. At the loading screen, click the large picture of the cat-girl to get to the main game screen.

There are two modes of play: Practice and Normal. Practice mode is the top button on the main game screen. This mode gives you infinite energy and is a good place to start when first playing the game. Normal mode, the second button from the top, utilizes the energy gauge on the left side of the play field. As you hold down the mouse button to fire the rocket, energy is depleted. Releasing the mouse button slowly refills the gauge.

Control the rocket-pack by moving the mouse relative to the girl and click. The longer the button is held down the longer the rocket fires. When the mouse is positioned above the girl, the rocket will propel the girl up; likewise, when the mouse is positioned to the right of the girl, the rocket will propel the girl to the right. Inertia causes the girl to continue to move even when the mouse button is release, and gravity will cause the girl to eventually fall to the ground.

The game consists of 10 levels of increasing difficulty with a few bonus levels thrown in as a reward. A timer counts down each level giving you 60 seconds to collect as many stars as you can. A few of the levels test your dexterity by awarding points only when cat-girl is kept within a particular target area, such as with the electric field and the moving heart. When cat-girl is hit by the electric field or by enemy objects, such as the bombs, time is reduced for the level.

You are given five (5) tokens—shown along the right side of the play field—with which to re-try any of the levels for a higher score, though you are not obligated to use them. The game culminates with a boss fight against the 'author'. Unfortunately, the cat-girl takes too long, the cat-friend is boiled and its ghost chides the girl for the delay in rescuing him. There may be an alternate ending to the game, though I have only seen the one.

Mastering the control is key to getting higher scores. It takes a little practice to get the hang of it, though the game is not difficult to play and have fun with immediately. Start with Practice mode to get a feel for the game, and then advance to Normal mode for an increased challenge.

An excellent production with charming graphics and exceptional gameplay. There is lots of fun wrapped up in this quirky Japanese Flash game.

Play Rocket Cat-girl game (Bania Kururin)


(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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A good movie is worth watching. Spin is a good movie. Well, it is not really a movie. It is more like a short film, but that is not the point. Just go watch it.

Spin starts out with the main character coming across the scene of an accident. He stands off to the side and controls the scene via his portable turntable setup. Unfortunately, messing with fate has its consequences. I can't say more without giving away some of the interesting twists in the film. The premise of the story is interesting enough that I would enjoy seeing more episodes involving the same character.

It should be noted that there is no spoken dialogue worth mentioning. However, there is a large amount said through looks and body language. The main character in particular is able to convey a wide range of meaning just through his eyes. Everything from casual indifference mixed with confidence to disbelief and determination is shown solely through his eyes. The music also plays a huge role in setting the mood and moving the film along. I still have some of the tune stuck in my head.

It is good to see an independent film made with this high of quality and still maintain its original edge. Many independent films have a tendency to shock and disgust the view in a lame attempt to appear original. This one does not do that. It is original and feels good to watch it.

Since it is shown in a flash player it is viewable across platforms. The high bandwidth selection is unfortunately just a larger version without an improvement to the quality. It therefore comes out grainy looking where the normal version does not. It would be nice to have the option of downloading a file that could be stored and played at anytime, but I understand that continuing traffic to a site is its lifeblood. Overall: a USDA Grade A quality movie created by Double Edge Films. Click.


  • Currently 4.8/5
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Rating: 4.8/5 (506 votes)
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Cave StoryCave Story, or Doukutsu Monogatari, is a superb 2D platformer created by Pixel and released at the end of last year. The downloadable game—for Mac or PC—is reminiscent of early NES platformers such as the Megaman series. The game is discussed in detail on the site, but I'll summarise it here. It will probably take you around 4-6 hours to complete, longer if you're inexperienced with these sort of games.

The game begins with a scientist trapped in a room sending a distress call to somebody named Sue. You then take control of your character, whom you know nothing of at the time, but gradually find out about.

After a brief introduction level, and the acquiring of a basic gun, you find yourself in Mimigas village, which will later turn into a hub of sorts. You discover that a Mimigas named Toroko is sheltering Sue, against the wishes of the other Mimigas. You also discover that 'The Doctor' has been coming and taking Mimigas from the village, leaving only six behind. After a brief encounter with the Doctor's minions, you begin the game proper.

There are lots of things to find and discover aside from the main story. There are a large number of Life Capsules scattered around, much like the in the Metroid games. These are used to increase your initially abysmal maximum health.

As well as the Life Capsules, there are also a number of optional weapons that can be gained, mainly by simple exploration. The weapon system itself is extremely interesting and noteworthy. When an enemy is defeated, they either drop hearts, used to increase health, or a number of orange triangles. When orange triangles are collected, your weapon's energy increases. When enough triangles are collected, your weapon gains a level, with a usually very notable change in firepower. The weapons can be built up to their maximum level of three very easily, but taking damage decreases your weapon's energy, so keeping all your weapons at their maximum levels can get somewhat tricky.

The controls are fairly simple and easy to use. Z is used to jump, X to fire, A and S to change weapons, Q to display the item screen and W to display the map if you have the Map Tool.

Unfortunately the game is download-only, but well worth it. Getting the game is fairly simple, but can require a number of downloads. Windows users must first download the game itself. Then, if you want you can download the game's music player. These two files are .lzh, but WinRAR can handle these files easily. The English translation patch is a thoroughly recommended .zip file. Mac users can follow the instructions found on this page.

Overall, Cave Story is excellently made and highly polished, with a superb storyline, brilliant gameplay and generally very enjoyable to play.

Update: Thanks to a recent article over at TIGSource, someone has made an English translated Mac version all ready to go. I've uploaded it here for easy access to JIG visitors.


(13 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (12) | Views (9)

Iso-InfectedIso-Infected is an action arcade Flash game created by Thorsten Diessner of Germany. With gameplay similar to the classic arcade sensation, Marble Madness, the object of the game is roll a ball around to collect all 15 blue gems hidden throughout the many areas of the game 'world'. Doing so unlocks the gate to the final 'boss' areas.

Control is with any directional keys of your choosing. Simply click on the controls of the main game screen to begin selecting the keys you prefer to use for each of the four (4) directions: north-east, south-west, north-west, and south-east. In a 3D iso-metric perspective game such as this, movement is generally restricted to diagonals. This is because instead of squares, the tiles of these 'worlds' are made up of diamonds. It seems a bit awkward to get used to at first, but once you find a set of keys that is comfortable for you, it will become easier the more you practice.

The game world consists of ramps, channels, bridges, jumps, and a variety of special blocks that function in unique ways. For example, there is a block that turns like a fan, which makes the ball float up to a higher level. There are also blocks with an arrow that constantly switches direction. These blocks will cause the ball to roll over it in the direction the arrow is pointing at the time.

Like Marble Madness, there are generally no guard rails in the game that protect the ball from falling off any of the ledges. If you fall too far, your energy is reduced for the current ball. Medi-kit power-ups are hidden throughout the multiple areas of the game for replenishing ball energy. If the energy becomes depleted, you will lose the current ball and must start a new one. You have only five (5) balls with which to complete the game.

Discovering how to get to each of the 15 gems is a puzzle within itself, as many of the various channels and ledges cross area boundaries thus making it a challenge to find the correct paths.

And if all that weren't enough to make the game difficult, the author has implemented a timer that counts down from the second you begin the game. Collecting blue gems awards you additional time, so you will need to be consistent in your progress to make it to the end.

Analysis: I've been a fan of Marble Madness since it was released in 1984, and this game provides a similar experience to enjoy. The physics implemention of the game's 3D iso-engine is very nice, the graphics are very pretty, and the controls are tight. It looks and feels good to play. The timer mechanism is a little annoying, and it will surely frustrate those without exceptional coordination skills. Also, the game does not save your control configuration, and having to re-enter your preferences for each new game becomes tiresome. Still, there's a lot of great casual gameplay packed into this lightweight game, and it will surely please even the more discerning gamer.

Created more than three (3) years ago, Iso-Infected features classic style gameplay in a browser-friendly package.

Play Iso-Infected

With thanks to Josh for the link. =)


  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (57 votes)
| Comments (51) | Views (159)

FishyFishy is a Flash game that's been floating around the web for quite some time. What's remarkable about it is that it is incredibly simple, yet nerve-wrackingly difficult to master.

The premise is so simple you could pick up the game without instructions. You, a fish, are dropped into a tank. Fish swim by—some big, some small, some HUGE, some tiny. Your job is to eat any fish that are smaller than you, which makes you grow. As you grow, you can therefore eat larger fish.

Controls are with the arrow keys, but beware that the game has a sense of inertia and resistance—it takes a second or two to accelerate to full speed, and you will slow down and stop without pressing any keys. Hitting the left or right edge of the tank will cause you to appear on the opposite edge.

Fish eat other fish merely by touching each other; it doesn't matter which direction a fish is facing, or which part of the other fish it touches. When two fish collide, the larger survives.

Fish gulpTouching ANY fish larger than you ends the game, period. No life bar, no extra lives, no continues, the game just ends. This, combined with the less-than-instant response of the inertial controls and the random nature of the fish that sweep by make the game difficult (and sometimes maddening). After playing it for about two years, I've still only managed to beat it, oh.. twice.

Xgenstudios, the authors of this game, recently updated the game, which now starts you at level 1 and allows you to progress through the levels as you eat fish. Each level features larger fish. In theory, this would make it easier to beat, but in practice, I keep losing.

Personally, I think I enjoy Fishy Classic a little better than the new version. Also, the music and sound effects are adorable (and despite being horrifically repetitive, actually pretty catchy).

Play Fishy

Play Fishy Classic


(7 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (31) | Views (51)

WarehouseWarehouse is an online remake of an offline remake of an online game, the original of which was called the Kung Fu Packing Crate Maze, which itself was a computer generated game by Atlanta-area eccentric, James W. Stephens. Then Thinkfun, a games company, created Tipover, which was an identical game except that it was mechanical and offline. Finally, LightForce Games, specifically Nick Kouvaris, created Warehouse, which is what I am reviewing.

Fortunately, the game itself is nowhere near as complex and difficult as its history.

Warehouse is a puzzle game that consists of 23 levels of increasing difficulty. You begin on the stack of crates surrounded by a dark outline, and are trying to get the box marked "E". The numbers on the crate stacks indicate how tall that stack is—you are looking down from above.

To move, click on any adjacent square. If uninhibited by other crates or stacks, your stack will fall over in that direction and will land where you clicked. You may also move to any crate or crate stack that you are adjacent to simply by clicking on it.

Analysis: An excellent puzzle game that is perfect for coffee breaks. The music loop gets tedious quickly, unless at a low volume. Thankfully, it defaults to the off setting. Interesting. To turn on the music, click on the loudspeaker. "Undo" is a useful feature, as opposed to having to reset the entire puzzle, which can be done by going up and then down a level. The level up/down buttons are also useful for when you are really stuck, as there does not seem to be a "help" button.

Strategy: Early on, there is often only one route. It helps to think through the problem backwards (i.e., how can I get to the exit? how can I get to that crate? how can I get over to there?) until you get to the start square. Later on in the game, keep thinking one step ahead: If I knock this one over here, I won't be able to tip that one over there. Also, if you want to tip something but it is blocked by a stack, tip the blocking stack perpendicular to the way you want to tip the original stack. Beyond that, good luck!

Play Warehouse

Update: It appears this game is no longer available on the Lightforce site, so I am mirroring it here for posterity. If the rightful owner of the IP objects, please notify Jay at the email address in the sidebar and we will remove it.


| Comments (25) | Views (1)

Well, I am finished with the migration, the only problem remaining is to get the .htaccess file working to redirect my RIT traffic here. I have set up the .htaccess file with all the file mappings, but it does not seem to be working. Hopefully I can get to the bottom of this soon.

In the meantime, I have changed the main index page at RIT to redirect here, but that's not the best solution.

There may still be a broken link lying around here and there. If you find one, please bring it to my attention. I'll keep working on straightening things out here until it's done.

Cheers!


  • Currently 3.7/5
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Rating: 3.7/5 (25 votes)
| Comments (75) | Views (44)

La PieceLa Pièce is a point-and-click Flash game that is unusually common, strangely familiar, and yet offers a unique experience than other 'escape the room' type games.

The objective is simple: find the exit. However, the journey is the reward in this game.

The game was created by Jean-François Dumas, a recent multimedia communications graduate from the University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada. His previous education in sound design is quite evident in this piece with its haunting soundtrack that accentuates the somewhat disconcerting imagery. The result is extraordinary and provocative, even if a bit frustrating or unnerving.

Control is with the mouse; and while there are times when clicking is necessary, there is far more mousing-over to be done to make things happen in this game. Imagine how you might scratch with a pencil the image of a coin beneath la piece of paper to make an image appear.

Play La Pièce

With thanks to Derek for sending me the link to the game, and to Lush for helping me through it. =)


  • Currently 4.5/5
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Rating: 4.5/5 (55 votes)
| Comments (403) | Views (135)

My Diamond BabyMy Diamond Baby is another single-room point-and-click game, this one was created by Project C-Time! and Haruo Seto.

You start off as someone on a motorcycle on his way to give an engagement ring to his girlfriend. On his way he is involved in a motorcycle accident. When he regains consciousness he finds himself locked in a room without the engagement ring.

This game is unique in that there are multiple challenging puzzles within the game, that you have to solve in order to progress further. At least one of the puzzles changes each time you play.

This is by far the most challenging point-and-click game I have ever played. Imagine Crimson Room, Viridian Room, and the Blue Chamber all rolled up into one. One thing that makes this game more difficult than others is the very tiny areas you need to find and click on in order to progress. Some areas only giving you a few pixels.

My Diamond Baby is definitely for the point-and-click gaming pro's. It will test your wit and intelligence, and ability to think "outside the box". It's definitely not for those who get frustrated with the easier point-and-click games such as Escape the Room.

This game was just recently translated into English, making it a little easier to play... but not much. When I first played it, it was still in Japanese.

The ending to this game is, in my opinion, one of the better endings to many point-and-click games. I know it's hard to create a good ending to these type of games, but I think My Diamond Baby does a good job, especially if you watch all the way through the credits until the end.

Play My Diamond Baby


(7 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (19) | Views (42)

Sea3DSince Jay and I have been so hopelessly busy playing Cry Wolf, I offered last night to write a review for a game that was mentioned in passing in a previous post, Sea3d, also known as Settlers of Catan.

Settlers is a board game that's been around for a number of years, but a fan of the game later created an online clone version so people could play over the internet. After great success, he later removed all references to 'Settlers of Catan' and renamed his game Sea3d, although the rules and gameplay are, to be honest, identical.

Lots of rules and a fantastic, free, and clutter-free interface make this a game that has a casual feel, but a professional presentation.

Sea3d's biggest asset, however, is its intuitive nature; despite all the rules, they all seem to fit together once you start playing, and the controls in the interface and website are easy to pick up without any preparation at all. In addition, the community of players is very friendly, and is likely to give you tips while you play.

[Edit Update: This game requires a software download for Windows!]


| Comments (24) | Views (5)

Yes, it's true. It may be an innocent looking Web game on the surface, but underneath it is really a monsterously addictive, massively multiplayer online game (MAMMOG).

I have been hopelessly addicted to playing Cry Wolf these past few days and therefore do not have a review to post today. And while the game's servers experience some trouble from time to time, that hasn't stopped me from having a lot of fun with it. And it has been really great to play with so many people who had found out about the game here. You're the best! =)

I'll be back soon with more reviews.


  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (21 votes)
| Comments (140) | Views (395)

Avoid suspicion. Lie to your friends. Eliminate your enemies.

Cry WolfCry Wolf is a multiplayer Web game created to promote a movie of the same name coming to theaters this September. And if the movie is executed as well as the game has been, it will likely be a hit at the box office.

"Cry Wolf, the game, pits two groups of unequally informed players against one another in a discussion-centered contest of survival."

The Flash-based game makes use of AOL Instant Messenger by logging you into the game using your AIM screen name, no other registration is required to play. The lobbies and in-game chat utilize the Flash Comm Server for multiplayer communication, and yet the game encourages the use of AIM to communicate privately with other players to form alliances and gather information. Hotlinks that open external AIM chat windows are included on every player's avatar.

Cry Wolf: the gameA new game is formed with a flock of between 7 and 15 players. The multiplayer game server secretly assigns most of the group to be sheep, and only a few to be wolves. The sheep do not know wolves from sheep, and yet the wolves know of each other. The exact number of wolves is dependent upon the number of people playing. In a 7-person game there is only one (1) wolf; whereas a 15-player game begins with three (3) wolves.

If you are a sheep, your job is to figure out who is a wolf, and vote them out out of the flock. If you are a wolf, you are trying to help your fellow wolves make it through the game undetected, devouring sheep in the process.

There are three (3) phases to the game: daytime, sudden death, and nighttime. In daytime, everyone chats together and tries to form alliances however they can to sleuth out and expose the wolves. During this time each person selects someone whom they believe to be suspicious. Sudden death ends the daytime phase with the two (2) most suspicious players being voted on by the remaining players as the one to be ousted from the flock. After one is ousted, nighttime takes over with all the sheep going to sleep, and the wolves free to decide who to eat, thus reducing the number of sheep by one (1).

The game ends when all the wolves are driven away, or when the number of wolves outnumber the sheep.

The game server is represented by a faceless character called the "Shepard", which is responsible for maintaining flow throughout the game. Periodically, the Shepard will provide clues to the group, and will sometimes whisper only to certain players about another player with whom to trust. At nighttime when the sheep are 'sleeping', some will be given 'dreams' about other players who can or cannot be trusted. These visions and clues must be discerned carefully however, since other sheep are often included in the visions.

Apparently the characters in the movie play a similar game, and the game itself is not a new concept. I have heard from more than a couple of people who have experienced something like it before played in groups (called Mafia or Werewolf). It works surprisingly well as an online multiplayer Flash game, so well in fact that I couldn't stop playing it for hours once I started. Terribly addictive. Excellent fun. Click.

The writer/director of the film, Jeff Wadlow, has been maintaining a blog about his experiences creating the movie, and the game.


(18 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (38) | Views (5)

InfectThanks to everyone who came to my aid with the many suggestions for games to review posted in the comments. Hopefully those who come here daily for something new to play were not disappointed and found something fun to play amidst all the links.

Next up is the latest Flash game from Manuel Fallmann of MINDistortion, the same author who created the infectiously addictive Bubbles game.

Infect is an action arcade game in which you play a virus. Your mission is to survive by infecting red blood cells while avoiding white blood cells and antibiotics.

The game takes place in a blood stream as red blood cells pass by from the top of the play field to the bottom. White blood cells will occassionally pass by in a zig-zag pattern of movement and, in later levels, clouds of antibiotics will also pass by at random intervals.

Control is entirely with the mouse: simply click on a virus then drag and drop it onto a red blood cell to infect it. If a virus comes in contact with a white blood cell or antibiotic, and if your defense against them is low, the virus will be eliminated. The game ends when you lose all your viruses, or if you run out of time.

Each level presents a goal of an increasing number of cells that must be infected within the time limit to move on to the next. In between levels, you may spend the points acquired previously to evolve your virus by upgrading any of its four (4) characteristics: latency, damage, immunity, and reproduction rate.

Latency is the time required to infect a cell. Once the cell has been infected, the virus is then released back into the blood stream.

Damage is the relative damage that a virus does against a white blood cell. Once a white blood cell takes enough damage, it is eliminated.

Immunity is the percent chance of survival against coming in contact with antibiotics.

Reproduction rate is the number of viruses that are released back into the blood stream after a red blood cell is infected.

Special power-ups that contain free upgrades may also be seen floating by at random intervals. Also included in the power-ups is a special one called Biohazard, which will cause red blood cells to die simply by coming in contact with a virus for a short duration of time. During Biohazard, simply drag a virus around to kill off red cells very quickly. Additional time may also be found floating by in a power-up.

The number of cells that must be killed increases rapidly, as does the number of white blood cells and frequency of antibiotics. Unfortunately, this makes success in later rounds more dependant upon luck than strategy, since the appearance of power-ups becomes crucial to survival more so than any combination of upgrades the player has chosen. The game has the potential to be much more fun than it already is, if only the player didn't have to click, drag and drop every virus onto a red blood cell to infect it.

Still, Infect is yet another fun and refreshingly unique, original game by Manuel Fallmann.

Play Infect


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Just a quick update to say that I've been playing a few games, though nothing compelling enough to create an entry for just yet. I'll keep looking until I find something.

In the meantime, if you know of something I don't, then please send the link my way. =)


(10 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (19) | Views (18)

OshiroAt first glance, it appears to be a Towers of Hanoi puzzle, and maybe that is why I did not play this game the first time it crossed my path. Not because I view Towers of Hanoi unworthy, for it's a classic puzzle game and one that is often used to teach recursive algorithms in programming. I passed on it because I thought it was unoriginal.

However, I continued to see people reference this game, the last time being at Alice's Wonderland games blog a few days ago. So, I finally decided to give it go.

Oshiro, which is Japanese for "castle", is played with similar rules as ToH, though the similarities end there. The game makes use of various sizes of blocks that form building stacks. You pick up and move entire stacks at once, distributing the blocks to adjacent pegs. You may pick up and move a stack if it has a block of your color on top, though you may not pick up a stack of only one block.

To move, you may only move a stack to an adjacent peg that isn't already full, onto which the bottom-most block gets dropped. You may not drop a larger block onto a smaller one. Continue by moving the remaining stack to another adjacent peg. This is repeated until all blocks have been distributed.

Using these fairly simple rules, several different games have been created: Puzzle mode, Survival mode, Head-to-Head, and Oshiro Online.

Puzzle mode is where anyone just learning the game should start. The demo features puzzles of increasing difficulty, with the early ones being very easy and the later ones rather difficult. It is presented as a tutorial with instructions and diagrams explaining the goals each step of the way.

Survival mode is a time-based game in which you must clear an increasing number of completed stacks by moving them using the rules stated above. As the interval timer hits zero, additional blocks are dropped onto the pegs of the play field.

Head-to-Head is a chess-like game played against the computer or a human opponent at the same computer. Each player begins the game with the same number of stacks, and then takes turns to gain control over the board. One point is awarded to each player for each stack with a block of their color on top. The game ends when a player cannot make any more moves. The winner is the player with the most points.

Oshiro Online this mode was not functioning in the demo version I played. However, I am willing to bet that in the full version this mode will allow you to play Head-to-Head matches against human opponents over the Internet.

The online demo version of the game is rich with features. Several different modes help to keep the gameplay fresh, while its appealing graphics and soothing soundtrack make this game an excellent choice for a casual game break.

Play Oshiro

Oshiro board gameOshiro is a new game idea from Walking Ideas, a San Francisco Bay area company composed of Shawn Chiao and Rick Hou. Together they create new game ideas and pitch them to toy companies around the world, while implementing online versions of them, too. Oshiro is the first of their ideas to come to fruition with the availability of this limited online demo version, with the full version to follow as well as a physical board game.

Thanks also to Nick for suggesting the game. =)


(18 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (215) | Views (71)

CarnyvilleOne more game to leave you with to sweat it out over the weekend. Mark Arenz over at Ridiculopathy.com, author of the previously reviewed Swinger game, has just released his latest creation and it's a unique combination of point-and-click puzzles with arcade mini-games thrown in for good measure.

Carnyville is a uniquely stylized adventure game that makes use of a monetary structure, health meter, and scoring system to increase replay value, but they also add some frustration to the mix as well.

The object of the game, as with most clicky games, is to find and collect various objects that will allow you to progress through the game. It all leads up to a final encounter with the evil carnival boss.

The addition of a monetary structure limits the number of times you can play the various mini-games to acquire necessary items. Some actions will cause you to take damage to your health meter. If you use up all of the health meter, you may continue playing at a cost of 200 points off your final score.

An unusual game for its type, Carnyville offers something slightly different for those who have become jaded with the point-and-click genre. Still, the addition of arcade elements may be disappointing for some who enjoy these types of games. Overall, a very good effort that can be enjoyed more than once.

Note: the servers that the Ridiculopathy website is hosted on are extremely slow, which may be due to this game being brand new and is therefore getting lots of traffic. Be patient. The game will load, though it took about 15 minutes the first time I tried. Beware of the loud carnival music that begins playing once the game is fully loaded.

Play Carnyville


  • Currently 4.2/5
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Rating: 4.2/5 (24 votes)
| Comments (32) | Views (9)

Domino PressureI can remember sitting on the living room floor with my grandmother playing games for hours. Nan, as she was affectionately called, always made me feel as though I were her favorite grandson, and she loved to play games with me. And it didn't matter much what game we played, whether it was marbles, cards, board games, or dominoes, we always had the best of times together. In fact, it's probably due to her love for playing games with me that I grew up loving to play games. I will always have her to thank for that.

And it was that same fond reminiscence that came to me when I first played Domino Pressure. Created by Taro Ito, a Japanese game developer whom publishes his work under the name GameDesign, this domino-toppling game transported me back to Nan's living room floor where rows of dominoes and blocks often stood, precariously on end, awaiting destruction.

The object of the game is to find the one domino that, when pushed, will cause the entire set to topple and squash the tomato.

You begin the game with 20 seconds on the timer, which is the time limit you have for finding, and clicking on, the correct domino. If you select the wrong one, you lose one (1) second off the timer for each domino you leave standing. The new timer then carries over to the next stage. If you lose all seconds off the timer, or if you do not click on a domino before the timer runs out, the game is over. You may skip up to three (3) stages in a game simply by clicking on one of the tomatoes in the bottom right of the play field.

As a bonus for selecting the correct domino, you will gain a few seconds to your timer if you had previously lost any seconds from it. How many you receive seems a bit arbitrary, though 20 is the maximum you can have at any time.

While it sounds fairly easy, configurations appear at random and many of them have been designed to give you trouble locating the one starting domino. Twenty seconds is not a lot of time to begin with, and it is very easy to pick the wrong domino and lose several seconds off the timer.

The graphics for the dominos, blocks, and shadows are simple yet effective in conveying perspective. Configurations can be easily rotated to give extra mileage to them. The implementation of the timer is a brilliant way to increase tension and provide additional reward.

Overall, it's an elegantly simple design, very easy to pick-up and play, and an excellent casual Web game. The only score in the game is the stage number you can reach. My best so far is 17. What's the best you can do?

Play Domino Pressure

My sincere gratitude to Remister for introducing me to this wonderful game. =)


  • Currently 4.2/5
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(4 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (126) | Views (6)

Jamie KaneGone, but never forgotten.

As the world mourns the passing of this great pop icon, one cannot help but wonder why he was taken from us at such a ripe young age. For someone whose life had enriched all who came to know him, and whose music had filled so many hearts with love, the sudden death of Jamie Kane will echo tears of sadness throughout eternity.

Just this week, the BBC has launched a site that pays homage to this fictitious pop star by way of a unique alternate reality game that is played over the Web.

Anyone 14 and older may play the game, which consists of a variety of media that together form the game play experience. Players will visit secret websites, receive personalized emails, and use specialized Flash applications that have all been ingeniously woven together to form this innovative game. For example, players will 'chat' with characters in the game by launching a custom Flash app made to simulate an instant messaging (IM) client.

This is no ordinary Web game, and it is very different than anything previously reviewed here. Expect that it will take about 20 minutes a day to play, and there are 15 days worth of puzzles to solve.

You may begin the game by setting up a free account at the BBC website linked here, and entering some personal information that is used solely for the purpose of personalizing your game play experience. You may unsubscribe from the game at any time.

This extraordinary and ambitious game was created by the very talented folks at Preloaded in the UK, and the many sites in the game were all produced by the BBC.

The BBC has taken the game offline and it is therefore no longer available to play. Sorry. :(

  • Currently 4.3/5
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Rating: 4.3/5 (489 votes)
| Comments (329) | Views (603)

Dr. Stanley's HouseI know this next one has been available for a couple of months now, but it comes very highly recommended and, after playing through it, I have to agree that it's a quality title.

Dr. Stanley's House was created by James Li and is a point-and-click adventure game. It has a mysterious plot with some twists and turns that is very creepy at times. The lush colored graphics provide a striking contrast to the moody atmospheric soundtrack, with several cut scenes that develop the story as you play.

Note: Some text in the game is written in Mandarin Chinese, though it is possible to figure out the game without it. Use the inventory by clicking on the magnifying glass first, then the item you wish to examine. Some items need to be combined by examining one, then clicking on another.

Play Dr. Stanley's House


  • Currently 4.7/5
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Rating: 4.7/5 (32 votes)
| Comments (17) | Views (32)

A Dog for all SeasonsAnyone familiar with Ferry Halim's Orisinal collection of games will immediately recognize his characteristic style of art in the image to the right. Those who are not yet familiar are in for a treat: These playful pups are the main characters in his latest Flash game.

A Dog for all Seasons pits you and four (4) puppies against an array of red balloons of increasing number. The object of the game is to coordinate all of the puppies so that they jump over all of the balloons.

Easier said than done, since coordinating them all grows ever more difficult the further you get in the game. And besides, have you ever tried to keep your eye on four real pups at the same time? You get the picture.

Controls for this game require two hands: one on the mouse, and the other on the space bar. You may click the mouse in front of or behind any of the pups to move that puppy forward or back respectively. To realign all pups together vertically, click and hold the mouse button down where you want all of them to line up.

Press the space bar to make all of the puppies leap in the air simultaneously when a red balloon gets close.

Eventually multiple balloons will begin to appear for which a puppy will need to long-jump to clear them all. To long jump, press space then click where you want the puppy to land beyond the balloons.

For every balloon a puppy fails to jump over, you lose a balloon marker. Lose all eight (8) markers and it's game over.

The best strategy for playing this game is to watch the sequence and pattern of the balloons that appear, and then position the puppies appropriately so that you can make all of the necessary jumps. Remember that all puppies jump at the same time, and you will want to save enough recover time for the next pup to jump.

This game has one of the more complex control schemes of any of the Orisinal games, and yet after just a few times playing the controls feel natural and intuitive. The gorgeous art and animation, as well as the tranquil soundtrack make this another wonderful addition to Ferry's amazing collection. And with the release of Nintendogs just two (2) weeks away, what better time than the present for a brand new Orisinal game to promote playing with puppies.

Play A Dog for all Seasons


| Comments (10) | Views (0)

From Start to FinishJust a small game from the website of The Observer Sport Monthly, a publication over here in the UK. From Start to Finish combines fantastic art design with old-school gameplay, this is one for the button-mashers among you. The game is a timed race through 5 different sports: hurdling, football, swimming, basketball and motorcycling. The controls are simple: alternating quickly between z and x increases your speed, whereas space avoids certain obstacles on each level which are designed to invariably slow you down.

Each of the 5 levels boasts a unique graphical style, from pixelated graphics resemblant of those on the Commodore 64, to a stylized blue ink sketch. The ambient sound affects in some areas are a pleasure to behold.

There isn't much to the gameplay, and yet I found myself going back to it again and again to try and better myself, my best time so far being a little over 38 seconds. Depending on your time, you can enter a prize draw to win an iPod or a digital camera, however the prize draw is only open to those of us over 18 and who live in the UK.

Play From Start to Finish

Update: The Observer Sport Monthly has officially closed this game, therefore it is no longer available to play.


  • Currently 4.3/5
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Rating: 4.3/5 (26 votes)
| Comments (40) | Views (27)

KretaMaurizio Brancaleoni brings to life the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in this online Shockwave game played with special cards, but with an added twist.

According to the myth, Theseus goes into the labyrinth to slay the minotaur. Inside, he uses a piece of yarn that was given to him by his love, Ariadne, to mark his trail so he is able to find his way back out in the dark. In Kreta, however, you must enter the labyrinth as Ariadne and save Theseus before he becomes Minotaur feed.

The Minotaur is controlled by the computer, and its goal is to catch and kill you before you have a chance to free Theseus and escape. How both Ariadne and the Minotaur move are decided by special cards, of which you have 4 in your hand at all times. When a card is played, a new one is drawn from the deck, and the same goes for the Minotaur. There are several different types of cards, from simple movement cards to others with which you call on other figures from Greek mythology to aid you. For example, Medusa appears on a card who will cause the opposing player to turn to stone, thus making it unable to move. Each of these special cards also has a similar card that will reverse its effect. In the case of Medusa, you call upon Perseus—the Greek warrior in mythology who killed Medusa with his mirror shield—to set you free once again.

There are two (2) powerful cards available only to Ariadne: Zeus, who enables her to move one space in any direction, even through walls; and Aeolus, the Keeper of the Winds, who transports her to a point in the labyrinth of his choosing.

Knowing when to play your cards is important if you want to win, although the luck of the draw sometimes determines your fate. The game is original, well implemented, and features dynamically generated mazes to ensure a unique game play experience. And yet I found it to be fairly easy. It still kept me busy for a good 20 minutes or more as it is very enjoyable to play.

The game is in Italian as its primary language, but you can switch it to English on the first screen by clicking "English" in the lower left corner. Although I wish you the best of luck on your quest, I warn that maybe Theseus isn't the hero you thought he was.

Play Kreta


(4 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (6) | Views (24)

GalagaAnother one for the classic games section, I made a reference to this game when reviewing Swarm due to the way the enemies swarmed onto the play field.

Galaca is a Java applet 'clone' of the classic action arcade game Galaga. Originally created by Namco and released as a coin-op amusement in 1981, Galaga was a sequel to the very popular Galaxian (1979), which was Namco's answer to Taito's mega-hit Space Invaders (1978).

And while this Java applet features similar gameplay as the original, there are significant features missing, such as the tractor beam and bonus stages, that keep this from being a game for the purists out there. Still, it's a fun casual game for anyone looking for a quick retro arcade action fix. Click.

Created and hosted by Smilie games.


(8 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (17) | Views (19)

Shadow of the HamunaptraI was glad to see so many give the logic puzzle a try that was posted yesterday, as there's nothing like a good mind bender to keep one thinking sharp. And good luck to everyone who entered a solution into the contest. I actually have the Dead Can Dance "Selections From Europe" 2-disc set they are giving away as part of the prize, so I know you're in for a treat.

To give you all a break from thinking, I found this rather old—for a Web game that is—circa 2001 platformer that looks like it was handmade out of wood. It's a gorgeous little game that will give you about 15 minutes or so of mindless fun.

Shadow of the Hamunaptra is a pretty fancy name for a simple game without a real story. Just get the little adventurer through each of the eight (8) levels by jumping on platforms while avoiding enemies and hazards.

Controls are the arrow keys. Press [esc] to pause the game.

Analysis: What makes this game delightful is there are no lives to lose, and therefore a level may be retried until done correctly. This takes the pressure off the player and thus creates a pleasant casual game experience. The pleasing natural-looking graphics fit this theme well.

The game is not difficult, though a couple of levels are sure to mildly frustrate some. The simplistic gameplay mechanics are well-constructed with the controls fairly tight and responsive. However, I did notice one collision detection bug in which the little guy went through a solid wall that was designed to force him to go around. Also, the mummy in the level pictured preferred moonwalking rather than turning about-face to give chase. These errors did not seem critical, nor did they affect my enjoyment of the game.

Created by Zdenìk Schneider of the Czech Republic.

Play Shadow of the Hamunaptra


(4 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (51) | Views (18)

Whose Fish?Remember those logic puzzles that I raved about recently? Well, here is one with which you have a chance to win concert CDs by the Pixies and Dead Can Dance!

And for those who enjoy a good challenge, they claim that this logic puzzle was written by Albert Einstein himself, and that 98% of the people in the world could not figure it out. Which percentage are you in?

The contest is being run by Coudal Partners, the same people behind The Show, who are responsible for recording the latest live tours of both the Pixies and Dead Can Dance.

But hurry, you must solve the puzzle and send in your answers to the Coudal Partners website by Monday, August 8th. Click.


(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (92) | Views (56)

The CasinoAlways hot or cold, feast or famine around here while in search of those hard-to-find and yet worth-the-effort casual Web games to satisfy one's need for escape.

Anode and Cathode, that very talented French duo responsible for many hours lost inside their previous point-and-click adventures, have done it again.

The Casino is the latest of their efforts to put your clicky finger to the test. And while I found this one to be just slightly disorienting as compared to their previous efforts, the quality of workmanship appears to have been left intact.

So, if you're looking for a puzzling yet rewarding adventure, look no further than The Casino.

Play The Casino

I would write more, and still may, but I have only just begun and didn't want to delay in posting this fantastic find. =)


| Comments (26) | Views (15)

PeekaboomFrom the same Carnegie Mellon people who came up with the ESP Game comes another image-identifying multiplayer Web game.

Peekaboom pairs you heads-up with a partner with which to alternate turns being both Peeker and Boomer on a greater quest to train computers to see.

As Peeker, your job is to use the clues your partner provides via the hint system to guess the keyword assigned to the image being revealed. As Boomer, your job is to locate and reveal parts of the image, simply by clicking on it, that will allow your partner to guess the keyword. You may also provide valuable hints on whether your partner is hot or cold, and whether the keyword is a noun, text, related noun, etc.

You have just four (4) minutes to identify as many images as both you and your partner can. Since you are both earning points for each correct answer, the best strategy—as well as the greater good of the game—is to hone in on the parts of the image that best convey its meaning, as it relates to the keyword given, to provide the best clues to your partner.

I like this game a bit better than the previously reviewed ESP Game, though neither of them is very exciting in terms of gameplay. Still, considering that (what may prove to be) valuable research data is being collected with every game played, Peek-a-Boom is another unique new casual Web game with an ulterior motive: "Not just wasting your time." Click.

Peekaboom requires version 1.4 of the Java runtime environment. Macintosh users can download Java directly from Apple: OS X or Classic. Otherwise, use this link to download it if you don't already have it installed. Then choose the appropriate install for your operating system/platform.


  • Currently 3.7/5
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Rating: 3.7/5 (29 votes)
| Comments (100) | Views (31)

Dr. MetroMore point-and-click mystery goodness for you from Xylo, the same developer that created The Wand House.

Dr. Metoro is an escape-the-room type game that should please anyone interested in games of this type, though it's not a very long game at all. (Shouldn't it be called Dr. Metro?)

You start out in the dark and it may seem as if there is no place to go. Persevere and you will find a fairly good challenge awaiting you at the other end of the tunnel. Hint: While in the dark, if you see Japanese writing appear when you try to move, assume it's saying that you cannot move any further in that direction. Back up and try something else.

I managed to solve the game in about 15 minutes without any hints or cheats at all. So, if I can do it, you can too.

Play Dr. Metoro

With thanks to Maiko for the link. =)


(18 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (74) | Views (34)

No BrainerNo Brainer is a fast-paced quiz game that asks what seems to be a never-ending string of questions, all of which require a simple yes or no answer. Hosted on Shockwave.com, it's a fun and hilarious game that is sure to put a smile on your face.

While playing, the game presents a category such as: Things with a Brain, and then begins to list nouns (person, place or thing) that either do or don't fit that category—ice cream, babies, Britney Spears, and so on. Answer "Yes" by giving the mouse a simple forward and back motion as you would nod your head in the affirmative; answer "No" by giving the mouse a simple side-to-side motion as if you were shaking your head.

You have but a second to answer correctly or get penalized with a wrong answer. Three (3) wrong answers and it's game over.

What makes this game work is that it scrambles the order that the categories are presented in, as well as the order of the nouns, and yet it uses the same list of nouns for all of the categories. There's little time to think of whether a noun fits the category, and then translate that into the proper hand movement to answer the question.

This game is a delight to play, and even more fun when playing with some friends. And if you get bored with the main game, there are two (2) variations that throw additional rules into play that are designed to trip you up. Excellent fun. Click.

Thanks, Anita, for sharing this one with me. =)

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