May 2006 Archives


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Noahinformation.jpgGetty Images has enlisted five artists and designers to produce ten (10) interactive Flash and Shockwave pieces, collectively known as 10 Ways.

Each uses Getty's extensive collection of stock photography and is based around a related concept, such as light, space or transformation. While none of these projects are games by any stretch of the imagination, the site is worth a look if only to experience Sumona's "Information", an ingenious take on photo mosaics that has been burning up the Web of late.

Beautiful, creative and perfectly suited for its medium, Information is everything digital art should be. Don't miss it.

Update: Looks like this is no longer available to play on the Web. Previously tagged as: browser, free, linux, mac, newmedia, rating-y, photography, shockwave, windows


Rating: 4.7/5 (37 votes)
| Comments (18) | Views (50)

echogenesis.jpgEcho Genesis is another digital media feast for the senses with a heavy emphasis on aural stimulation. Let your mouse guide you as you float dreamily through five (5) unique environments while interacting with the elements contained within. A simple click, drag or mouse-over is all you will need to explore the variety of ways in which each environment may be dynamically affected.

Created in Flash for a senior project at Drexel University by a team of five (5) very talented students, including Bell Brothers John and Dan, Kevin Becker, Nick Zorio, and music composer, Ed Bagden.

Truly an immersing experience that surrounds you with pleasant sights and sounds while you play. Stereo headphones strongly recommended.

Play Echo Genesis

Cheers to Nikola for the link. =)


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As it is a holiday today here in the US, all of the JIG reviewers are outside barbecuing and having quaint little get-togethers with friends and/or family. We'll resume things on Tuesday. Cheers! =)


  • Currently 4.8/5
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Rating: 4.8/5 (196 votes)
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Huntywithinadeepforest.gifDynamite Headdy. Cave Story. Hitogata Happa. Why are so many of the most difficult video games also the cutest? Maybe my brain just automatically forgets games that are both ugly and frustrating.

Added to the "cute but evil" list comes Within a Deep Forest, a completely free downloadable game for Windows that casts you as a little blue ball, bouncing around a delightfully whimsical little world filled with the most frustrating jumping puzzles known to man.

According to the plot, the evil Dr. Cliché has attempted twice to build a world-freezing ice-bomb; the first attempt was a total failure, and resulted in a sentient, bouncing blue ball (that's you). The second attempt succeeded, and now the clock is ticking, and only you can save the world. Even though "the clock is ticking" according to the plot, there is no time limit, so you have plenty of time to take breaks now and then to watch the adorable creatures and Fraggle-like people who decorate most screens, going about their daily lives more or less oblivious to your presence.

Surprisingly, the game was created with Multimedia Fusion, but shows no signs of it, and has none of the problems that usually plague games made with game creators. The graphics are equally adorable and beautiful, the soothing music goes a long way toward keeping you from destroying all humans when you die for the 900th time, and the sound effects are perfect, with each of the 10 different types of balls you can become making a different and wholly appropriate bouncing sound. There's exploration, there are power-ups (in the form of getting different types of balls), there are plenty of secrets; I'd even be tempted to call it "Metroid-like", although there is no mapping feature and there are no bosses. Unfortunately, it's also incredibly frustrating. The cuteness goes a long way toward compensating for the frustration, however, and in the end it just barely won out enough to encourage me to complete it; despite the cuteness, this is certainly not a "casual game". If you're "hardcore", though, and live for frustration, then this is definitely the game for you, and it even has a "Speed Run" feature with an online scoreboard so you can show the world just how absolutely superhuman you are.

WindowsWindows:
Download the free full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.


  • Currently 4.8/5
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Rating: 4.8/5 (23 votes)
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AndrewMaster of Defense is a real-time strategy (RTS) game, downloadable for Windows only. If you are the sort of RTS player who really gets in to the whole base defense thing, then this is the game for you.

masterofdefense.jpgCreated by the talented duo at Voodoo Dimention, Master of Defense is a simple strategy game about defending your townspeople from the dangerous monsters that lurk just beyond the town gates, and these monsters wish to do them harm. Fortunately for you, not only do the monsters opt to follow the road laid out for them towards the town gates, but you have a wide array of towers at your disposal with which to defeat the beasts. With careful and clever placement you should be able to destroy the menace and keep your innocent townsfolk safe.

Analysis: This game certainly has a unique design, and one which I was really getting into by the end of the demo. It can be tricky to figure out initially, but there is a certain depth and strategy that emerges from the variety of towers and abilities at your disposal, as well as from the path of the road itself. My primary recommendation would be that you try to upgrade each tower as much as possible first, then only build another tower once the first one has reached its capacity; check out the tips and tricks page on the main site for more detailed strategies. If you can get over the somewhat short duration of the demo, and the unfortunate need to download this game, then you will be sure to experience a unique game with great potential for depth of strategic game play.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.


(5 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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ringmania2.gifJP of Pepere.org recently released a new version of his Ringmania game, creatively called Ringmania 2.

In this latest update to the connect-three game based on magnetism, control is now with the mouse allowing more freedom of movement as you try to eliminate all of the colored rings from each level's initial configuration.

Black spheres are magnetic and the floating colored rings will stick to them, as they will to other colored rings already attached. Tan spheres are not magnetic causing the rings to bounce off. Clear all the colored rings from the magnetic black spheres to move on to the next level.

The play field will begin to narrow making it more difficult as you progress, so try to clear a level as soon as you can. If it narrows too much you will lose a life. Three (3) lives is all you get to play in this refreshing new take on this familiar genre of casual game. Good fun!

Play Ringmania 2

JP has built an excellent website to promote the work of aspiring independent game developers. Be sure to check out the other games available at Pepere.org.


  • Currently 4.8/5
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Rating: 4.8/5 (65 votes)
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Armadillo Run

JohnBArmadillo Run is a downloadable physics-based puzzle/building game for Windows. Your job is to create structures to safely guide a rolled-up armadillo to the goal. Assemble materials such as sheets of metal, ropes, cloth, elastic and more to create a path across the stage. The physics in Armadillo Run are remarkably accurate, making building (and destroying) things far more entertaining than it should be.

armadillorun.jpgYou have a limited budget and each material costs a certain amount of money. Anchor points are placed on each stage so you can attach objects to a stable point and build from there. Some levels have pre-built structures, but some are completely bare. Once you figure out how to get the armadillo to the goal, trim your materials to get the expenditure down to a minimum.

As if working with realistic materials wasn't enough, Armadillo Run also lets you play with tension, put destruct timers on objects, and use the occasional rocket or two. The possibilities for what you can build are limitless. If you can think it, you can probably build it, and that kind of power can really make you drunk with happiness.

The game comes with over 50 levels of varying degrees of difficulty and a level editor that lets you create anything you like. An active community of Armadillo Run players upload their best level solutions and user-made stages, so the challenge never really ends. Be sure to check out the eternal motion machine, it's a testament to how accurate the physics are for this game.

armadillorun2.jpgAnalysis: I love building games and I get all giddy playing around with a game's physics. Armadillo Run gives you the materials and the environment to let your creativity run wild. It's challenging, it has a good user-base who have made some unique stages, and it's absolutely riveting to play around with. The editor alone is worth the price of admission.

Switching between materials and mouse-modes sometimes feels clunky, but with practice I could use keyboard shortcuts to smooth the process a bit. Also, the levels must be completed in order, so if you get stuck on a puzzle you'll just have to muddle your way through it. The level solutions on the official website help, but it would have been nice to be able to skip a few levels, sort of like the Eets interface.

Armadillo Run is a great puzzle game to play and an even more fun physics/building toy to use. It's one of the benchmark games in the genre that other titles strive to live up to.

Thanks to L0ser for sending this one in!

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.


(3 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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bubbles2addicted.jpgYou may remember the name Hannu Pelkonen as the creator of the infectiously addictive typing games, Letters and Words, both of which were previously reviewed here. He now has a new game that was recently added to his collection at 2addicted, and this one is based on a familiar classic arcade hit from days gone by.

Bubbles is a clone of Pang, which involves moving an on-screen character back and forth avoiding bubbles that bounce around the play field while trying to eliminate them from play. Although you cannot touch any of the bubbles, you can shoot them with a harpoon-like weapon. The harpoon shoots straight up and forms a temporary barrier that causes any bubble to pop that touches it. Some bubbles contain power-ups that are released when popped. Collect them to score additional points, slow down the action, or activate a temporary weapon upgrade.

Controls are the arrow keys for [left] and [right]. Press [space] to fire.

Analysis: While the original game of Pang was level based, Hannu's Bubbles is open-ended, meaning that the bubbles just keep falling without pause. This accentuates the arcade quality of the game tremendously and makes this version significantly more challenging. Oh, and another difference is you only get once chance to get as high a score as you can; once you are hit by even a single bubble, it's game over.

Kicking it up a notch, Hannu has integrated the same exceptional high-score table into this game as he did for his typing games, which adds a compelling incentive to the game play. How many bubbles can you pop?

Play Bubbles

NOTE: offensive language is not filtered from the high score table at 2addicted; you are forewarned.


  • Currently 4.3/5
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Rating: 4.3/5 (32 votes)
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warpforest.gifFollowing on the success that Arseniy Shklyaev enjoyed with his two previous action puzzle games, Orbox and Orbox B, his latest game is a rather odd combination of action and puzzle elements that will challenge both sides of your brain.

The objective of Warp Forest is to collect all of the keys to activate the exit, and then make it safely to the exit to advance to the next puzzle/level.

Take control of the vehicle that can move using the arrow keys. You may also press [D] to straighten the car onto the closest horizontal, vertical, or diagonal path. Look for special deformed trees and treasure boxes that hide additional power-ups. Press [A] to fire the car's laser to reveal the hidden items. Move the car over the item to collect it. Press [S] to fire the special charges picked up.

You will also find keycards that open locked doors, though some keycards are single use, which means you will need a keycard each time through; while others remain unlocked once you have the keycard. There are other subtle differences between items that you get acquainted with as you go.

Analysis: The game offers exceptional level design for a unique and original puzzle experience that seems to be just about right in terms of difficulty level for a casual game audience. Some may be put off by having to control the car around the screen, and yet it does add a layer of depth to the gameplay when the alien animals begin to give chase or fire back. While Warp Forest is not quite as compelling as the Orbox games, it does offer an entirely different kind of experience, which is refreshing. The graphics look nice and the background music, although the same for each level, was actually pleasant to listen to even after playing through several levels. Thankfully the sound effects and music can be controlled independently via the main menu. Another welcome feature is multiple save slots with which to save your progress so the game may be picked up where you left off in a later session. Decent, unique, and fun, give Warp Forest a try. You will be glad you did.

Play Warp Forest


  • Currently 4.3/5
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Rating: 4.5/5 (30 votes)
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somniumorbis.gifAlthough quite short and not much of a game, I just could not pass up posting a quick entry highlighting this exceptional effort that won the grand jury prize for best multimedia design in Rockstar's Upload4 online digital media competition.

Somnium Orbis is "an exploration of alternative means to progress through a surreal, otherworldly scene." In other words, you must figure out how to progress through each scene of the piece. The gorgeous and mesmerizing (and only slightly disturbing) work of art was created by Nate Horstmann and Peter Schmalfeldt.

Play Somnium Orbis

(Remember, I said it was short, so no complaining about length(!) Enjoy it for what it is. ;)

Cheers to Garret for the link. =)


  • Currently 4.7/5
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Rating: 4.7/5 (52 votes)
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Jayclickdragtype.gifCertainly one of the most popular types of Flash games we see today are of the point-and-click or escape-the-room variety, both of which fall within the first-person adventure-puzzle genre. Their popularity can be traced back to when Myst first arrived on CD-ROM in 1993, which itself contained puzzles similar to those often found in today's Flash games. The most appealing features of these games are the puzzles they contain, which is why I am excited about this next one.

Like eating the middle of an Oreo first, ClickDragType skips past the plain cookie outside to deliver only the sweet puzzle center in a collection of 10 intriguing, mind-bending puzzles for your pure and uncompromising enjoyment.

Each puzzle is entirely independent of the others and none of them provide any instruction as for what to do. Just as in an adventure-puzzle game, the journey is the reward and figuring out what to do is part of the gratification one receives from playing, but often only half the battle.

Want more puzzles? Don't miss the next installment of this series Click Drag Type 3!!.

As the name implies, you will need to click the mouse, drag the mouse, and type on the keyboard to solve the puzzles contained within. Study each puzzle carefully and observe the behavior of each of its elements as you interact with them. Persevere and you will prevail.

Analysis: All too often games rely on the same or similar designs for puzzles that don't stray far from familiar territory. Not so with this collection. One of the most refreshing and enjoyable aspects of ClickDragType is that each puzzle is entirely different in concept and design than any other in the collection and from most others that I've seen. Moreover, every puzzle interface is solid and without any noticeable glitches that these types of games are prone to.

The only downside I found to the game is the short and poorly spliced main menu music loop, which, thankfully, may be silenced easily with the music mute button. (Andrew—if you send me the sound clip you're using I'll fix it so the looping is seamless for you :)

ClickDragType is a brilliant collection of puzzles created by a young computer science student at South Dakota State University, Andrew VanHeuklon. I am looking forward to seeing what other puzzles he comes up with.

Play Click Drag Type

Cheers to Childofsai for suggesting the game. =)


  • Currently 4.7/5
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(3 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Mercedes Benz Mixed Tape 12

Just in case you were not already aware... 12 is out. Enjoy.


(12 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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NoahFrom the aptly named Flash developer f1ash in Japan comes Air Support, a relentless one screen platformer with pixel perfect control.

Air SupportTry to stay alive as long as possible while deadly missiles fall from the sky and a parade of wicked monsters strut their stuff on the ground below. Unfortunately, every single missile is aimed directly at your head and you will need excellent reflexes to guide them to their targets without getting hit.

Use the arrow keys to move left or right, and press [Z] to jump. Destroy several monsters and Air Support advances to the next level of difficulty adding a new breed of monster or turning up the speed. Soon you'll find yourself in constant motion as the patterns of each monster type combine and intersect, like some unnatural living fugue, all the while avoiding the endless stream of missiles. Beautiful though that may be, I do have a small complaint: the rhythm of the missiles hiccups as each new level starts, which can seriously mess with your timing.

Play Air Support


(5 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (19) | Views (16)

DumbolfThe talented crew at Gamesheep has just released their latest Flash game, and this one is a new take on the classic gameplay of miniature golf. Dumbolf stars a club-toting elephant that needs your help to make par on each of the game's 18 unusual and tricky holes.

In place of trees and sand traps are kickers, conveyor belts and warp holes that provide fodder for the challenge of a beautiful and stylish round of golf.

Control is entirely with the mouse and is relatively easy to get the hang of. Simply move the mouse until the elephant is facing the direction you wish to swing. Move the mouse forward or back to select the power with which to hit the ball by using the arrow as a guide. Full power is when the arrow is completely filled. Click to swing.

Analysis: I have always enjoyed a good game of miniature golf, and this game does not disappoint due to excellent physics and collision detection implementations. There are lots of tricky situations and gadgets to affect play, and the outer edges of the game window is considered out-of-bounds so swinging the club will require a bit of precision and patience. The wispy Wind Waker clouds and trees look great and fit the game's airy style. The sound loop, although short and repetitive, as is the usual case with most of Gamesheep's games, is rather pleasing and also fits the theme and mood of the game. If you do tire of the music loop, press [M] to mute it.

The game is not without a couple of problems, however. One is common with Flash games that rely on mouse input for control such as this game does. When the mouse is moved outside the game window mouse events are no longer passed on to the game. In other words, the game loses track of the mouse. This becomes a problem should the ball ever come to rest on the very edge of the game window. The other problem I experienced was due to a bug where the ball actually came to rest outside the window on Hole 11 and I had to restart the game. Hopefully the game authors will fix this so that neither of these issues will affect your game play experience negatively. Update: Florin from Gamesheep just informed me they have addressed these issues in the latest version of the game.

Overall I enjoyed playing Dumbolf very much. The precision control that each hole required of me was reminiscent of another of my all-time favorite Flash games, Saltacol, so it has already won a place in my heart. And who doesn't enjoy a good game of mini-golf anyway, hmm?

Play Dumbolf


  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (140 votes)
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ChrononChronon is a brand new and unusual point-and-click puzzle game from On of Eyezmaze. The time-based puzzle takes place in the dwelling of a creature that leaves early in the morning and returns in the evening. The objective of the game is to manipulate objects at various times throughout the day to complete the story.

Click on items to act upon them, if possible, and change the time of day by clicking on the time buttons along the top of the game window.

Analysis: As usual, On delights us with yet another creative and original game featuring strange and unusual characters, and yet it is not without potential pitfalls. The design of the game depends on the player changing the time to manipulate objects that, in turn, affect the sequence of events that play out throughout the day. The problem is that since the player can change anything at any time period it becomes rather easy to create inconsistencies between time periods that are likely to confuse the player. Also, some objects behave differently depending on the time of day, and this serves to add to the confusion. For example, placing the clock on the wall at 6:15 displays the 'correct' time throughout the day (tilt your head so that the position where 3 would be on a normal clock is at the 12 o'clock position), while placing the clock on the wall at any other time will produce different results. Time plays a significant part of the game play (obviously), so I won't say more about it.

It's an ambitious design that requires careful analysis and observation to yield any results at all, and sometimes those results lead to incorrect endings, as On is often wont to do. Unfortunately, without a back story or an introductory narrative, the player is thrown into a puzzle for which there is no obvious goal to work toward, which doesn't help with the confusion factor.

Of course, the game has only been just released and carries with it a version 0 beta indicator, and so there may yet be some additions made to help the player along. That being said, the game in its present form offers a unique puzzle experience for anyone willing to struggle through the confusion and subtle inconsistencies to figure out the solution to this very original new game from Eyezmaze.

Play Chronon

Cheers to Justin, Kristina and Jordan for alerting me that Eyezmaze just released this new game today. =)


(13 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Noahinvader360.gifInvader360 is a great little Flash based tube shooter, similar to arcade classics Tempest, Gyruss or, more recently, ABA Games' downloadable Torus Trooper. Developer f1ash brings this exotic branch of the shmup tree to life with frantic action and a minimal, well defined style.

Manuever the ship with the mouse, and fire by left clicking. It can take a minute to get used to the way your bullets travel towards the center of the screen, but f1ash is generous; in addition to a gentle difficulty curve, the two lines dividing the screen into quadrants act as crosshairs which mark the point that every shot must pass through. Precision targetting pays off, as consecutive hits will quickly rack up your combo meter and earn big points. You're only allowed to have 4 bullets on the screen at once, another incentive to make every shot count.

Invader360 earns a bit of replayability with random placement of its waves of enemies. Although an overall lack of frills such as music, powerups and colors might turn some players off, Invader 360 is ideal for perfectionists and high score chasers. The game may run slowly in fullscreen for some users, which makes it far too easy. Use this link to play a smaller version.


(3 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (21) | Views (26)

JarodThose shifty (har, har) 8-key critters are cruising down the screen towards you, an intrepid, er, light bulb, as you ascend the y-axis in this evasion Flash game called Short Circuit.

Short CircuitWhile 'don't touch the sprites' is a very (very very very?) common game mechanic, this is a superb execution with twists that make it less about endurance than about nerves.

Analysis: The real quality of this game is owed to its superb visuals and sound. The visuals are clean and crisp, reminiscent of Tonypa's pastel-on-white works, and a bit of scrolling background (a la Drifts) lends itself to calm the frenetic pace of the game.

And frenetic it is, largely due to the intertwining of the game's jazzy, disco track and the behavior of the asterisk sprites on the screen. This is not a game for the hearing (or rhythm) impaired. In each stage—delineated by a shift in the color scheme of the sprites falling from the sky—your attackers will adopt a new strategy in colliding with you, but will do so in time to the beat. While at first notion, this would seem to make the game easier to handle, it in fact just adds to the tension and absorption of the game.

I suggest headphones.

The instructions for the game are brilliantly simple and to the point, exactly the kind of intro I like to see (and again, reminiscent of Tonypa's games such as Touchme). You must avoid touching anything, and you start the game with a limited, non-recharging bar of repellent: press the mouse button down to push away all of the sprites near you. The bar drains fast, though; expect no more than two or three seconds of usage per game.

My embarrassing admission: I haven't gotten past the second 'phase'. Here's a hint—just because the color changed, doesn't mean the music has changed completely.

Play Short Circuit


(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (67) | Views (63)

JohnBGwigle is an online puzzle game that actually teaches you Google search tricks as you play. Each screen shows a few search results along with the search string at the top. One word is replaced with question marks; it's your job to fill it in. It's hands-on education that feels more like you're playing a game than learning useful knowledge.
gwigle.jpg
Glancing at the search results gives you clues as to what the mystery search term is. If you're stuck, you can always hit up Google for some clues. Simply copy some of the text from Gwigle and search away.

Some of the puzzles are a little tricky and it can be difficult to find the answers, even with thorough Google research. Most of them are fairly easy, however, and won't take you too long to complete. You can always bookmark the puzzle you're on and come back to it later.

Gwigle is a great puzzle game for anyone, not just power Googlers-to-be. Give it a try and see if you accidentally learn something useful.

Play.

Thanks to Wang for sending this one in!


(5 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (7) | Views (55)

JohnBBetty's Beer Bar is a great arcade-style indie game by Gabriel Gambetta and Esteban Guelvenzu of Mystery Studios. Much like the recent "flashification" of Professor Fizzwizzle, this online version Betty's Beer Bar serves as a quick taster of the downloadable version for Windows and MacOS.

betty.jpgThe game features a very simple mouse interface where you control Betty, the small town bartender with aspirations of running her own bar on the beach. Help her raise the money to fulfill her dreams by serving beer to customers as fast as you can.

Mugs are lined up on the counters behind the bar. When a customer saunters up, grab a mug, fill it, then deliver it to the patron. Afterwards you'll need to snatch the empty mug and wash it before re-filling. It can get hectic as time goes by and customers appear, guzzle their beer and vanish only to be replaced with another thirsty person.

The flash version only last a few minutes but gives you a really good taste of what the game is like. If you enjoyed the online version, take a step up and download the demo for even more bartending action. Play.


(7 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (116) | Views (674)

JohnBThe Wicked and The Wicked Junior are two online riddle games similar to Dumb: The Game and God Tower. Created by Tay Wei Kiat, the puzzles have an uncanny knack of being so simple they're complex. The answers are usually right before your eyes, yet you'll find that each time you'll be stumped for half an hour.

While both games are structured around the same idea, the original has a distinct IT focus, meaning you'll need a fair amount of tech knowledge to progress. The Wicked Junior is filled with word riddles anyone familiar with English should be able to understand. Both will drive you batty.

wicked.jpgEach puzzle is a simple combination of letters, numbers or even an image or two. All you have to do is come up with the answer and fill it in the box. The solution may be more than one word but it always makes sense (no random strings of letters).

The maddeningly frustrating part about The Wicked and its Junior counterpart is that, other than the Wicked forums (and the lovely comments on your favorite site, JayIsGames), you're on your own. It's hard to hit up Google for answers because, well, what do you search for?

The simple HTML/Java interface is suitable for any browser and even the slowest internet connections can easily handle the load. It's a little clumsy hitting the "Back" button after an incorrect guess, but that just encourages you to get it right on the first try.

The Wicked has 55 levels of puzzles while Junior has 30. Get ready for a challenge, and get ready to be frustrated. The Wicked is all the name claims it to be.

Play away: The Wicked - The Wicked Junior


| Comments (23) | Views (40)

lostposter.jpg

Brucker writes:

"Hey, anybody playing that puzzle game that links in to "Lost"?"

Play Lost game


| Comments (9) | Views (3)

Yes, I am still here, though I am busily working on finishing up my last quarter at RIT, and for which I have just one more paper to write. Sorry for the lack of updates recently, I promise to have a couple of new reviews for you very soon. Thanks for your patience! =)


  • Currently 4.8/5
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Rating: 4.8/5 (43 votes)
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NoahTucked away in a secret corner of Sega's Japanese website is the dangerously named Woody Pop, a Shockwave adaptation of a particularly well-executed Game Gear Breakout clone.

woody.gifMove the mouse to move the paddle, a smiling piece of wood. The levels in Woody Pop include a number of surprises, such as enemy-releasing trick blocks, ball-warping tunnels on the side of the screen, and a ball-deflecting train. As in Arkanoid, you must choose a direction after each level, opening up a great deal of replay value for completists. Powerups include an unstoppable diamond ball, the familiar sticky paddle, and a fiery ball that burns blocks and, if held too long, can even damage Woody.

Almost twenty years old, Woody Pop isn't as visually stunning or innovative as recent titles such as BreakQuest, but the collision detection and level design is solid, and the bright, chunky pixels still look good.

Play Woody Pop


  • Currently 3.9/5
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Rating: 3.9/5 (43 votes)
| Comments (64) | Views (433)

JohnBNightmare EscapeNightmare Escape is a horror-themed room escape game created by Robert Mac Nelly. It combines a macabre and bloody setting with some tricky riddles that will scare you and puzzle you at the same time.

You begin the game staring at a message written in blood: You are the next. Guess that means it's time to skedaddle. Of course the only possible exit is sealed, so it's time to explore the nightmarish basement to see what you can discover. Pick up items and search for clues and just maybe you can escape.

The first key element of playing Nightmare Escape is combining objects. You'll need to make several new tools in order to proceed, so feel free to experiment. Take a close look at the things you find, then try clicking on items in succession to see if they can work together.

The stumbling point for most players will be when the two "riddles" come into play. Gathering items is straightforward enough, but there are two instances where you'll need to follow some cryptic clues in order to progress. Be observant, know your surroundings, and think literally to find the answers.

Play Nightmare Escape


  • Currently 4.1/5
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Rating: 4.1/5 (26 votes)
| Comments (40) | Views (61)

JohnBjeuonamis.pngJeuOnamis is a short room escape game perfect for a coffee break. It takes place in a single black-and-white room that appears to be in the depths of a nuclear power plant (cue Mr. Burns). There is no narration or story, just the implied goal of trying to leave through the big locked door in the center.

The walls are lined with control panels, conduits and fun flashing buttons, while the floor holds pieces of paper and a few other objects. Somehow you have to piece together clues to find your way out. You'll need to jot down a few notes and assemble a few passwords in order to proceed. It all leads to one final code that opens the door to freedom.

If you're looking for a quick-fix for your point-and-click games, this one will hold you over. JeuOnamis jumps right into the game and lets you discover everything on your own, perfect for when you only have a few minutes to spare.

Play.


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Rating: 4.5/5 (27 votes)
| Comments (69) | Views (122)

Il Destino R

JohnBJayIsGames reader Gabriel recently pointed us to a new version of the room escape game Il Destino, appropriately called Il Destino R. It isn't a sequel, but the puzzles are different, items have moved around, new items make an appearance, and there are a few extra nooks and crannies to uncover. The layout and visuals are identical in both games, but R offers more challenge and features a completely different car on center stage.

Your father, a famous car designer, created a vehicle based on your boyhood drawings. He sold it shortly after it was built. You thought you'd never see it again. Years later your father hands you the keys to his showroom and says the car is yours. If you can get it out of the building.

Navigating the game is as simple as clicking the mouse. Use the on-screen arrows to move and click on objects to interact with them. Items will often need to be used in conjunction with each other, so keep trying different combinations to see what you can come up with. If you played Il Destino (which you should), you'll know your way around the room, but then you're on your own. It's a good challenge and a great way to squeeze more fun out of a sharp-looking title. Play.


(12 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (9) | Views (330)

ColorboxJohnBThe online game Color Box by eyehook takes the familiar puzzle formula and tosses in a little color theory to brighten things up. Slide and drop squares of color to pile them on the bottom of the screen. Your goal is to make them vanish, but your methods will be a little different. Instead of matching like-colors you must use color theory to change the blocks to white. Fortunately you don't need an art degree to pull this one off.

To get an idea about how things work in Color Box, take a look at the screenshot. If we drop the blue square straight down it will mix with the green and yellow squares on either side, turning them cyan and white respectively. White spaces vanish, letting the blocks on top fall and combine with new squares. It's possible to set up huge chain reactions if you play with this in mind.

When you first start playing Color Box you will do a lot of glancing from the playing field to the color reference chart at the bottom. Fortunately the game isn't timed and puts absolutely no pressure on you to make your next move. You can play with several different color pallets or throw the whole mix in there for an intense challenge.

colorbox1.png

Analysis: Color Box is just enough like your typical puzzler to be interesting, but because of the color mixing properties I had to significantly alter my strategy. Think of the block mixing as eating. Dropping a purple block at the base of some green blocks might remove a few, but throw it on top of the pile it will devour the whole stack, munching its way to the bottom one adjacent square at a time.

While it isn't designed to directly teach you color theory, you'll walk away with a little knowledge of how it works. It may be about as useful as calculus to a pop music singer, but artists and web designers will certainly appreciate the help.

Play Color Box


(14 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (12) | Views (27)

Noahsheep.gifAnyone who has ever attempted Sega's chaotic masterpiece Chu Chu Rocket will feel right at home with this little Flash game from Stimunation. Puzzled Sheep is a slower, gentler (and predator-free!) take on Chu Chu's familiar arrow-dropping action. Direct the clueless sheep back to their pen by dragging an arrow from the toolbar at the bottom of the screen and placing it somewhere on the map. To the left of the toolbar is the number of sheep on the screen and to the right is the total number of arrows allowed onscreen at once.

There are two ways to play. In Puzzle Mode, place the arrows on the map before the sheep begin to move. The sheep start immediately in Action Mode, and you're free to add and remove arrows at any time. It can occasionally be difficult to predict where arrows will end up, as they snap to an invisible grid. While not a huge issue, it can cause some unlucky sheep to slip away unnecessarily and could have been prevented by also snapping the mouse cursor to the grid.

Puzzled Sheep's cute graphics and proven concept make it a joy to play but, with only 20 levels to the demo, the fun doesn't last as long as you might like. I would have appreciated a note or popup informing me that the demo levels were up; after clearing the tenth level of either mode the game just stops responding to the next level button, which at first gives the impression that you've encountered a bug or are being forced to sit through an ad.

Play Puzzled Sheep


| Comments (14) | Views (8)

Brain BusterWith the recent success of Nintendo's brain training series of games for its dual-screened handheld, it's not surprising to find other brain-themed casual games appear that take advantage of the increased attention being paid to the genre. GameRival jumps on the bandwagon with its latest Flash game: Brain Buster, a game designed to give your brain some exercise while you play.

The challenge of Brain Buster is a unique mix of four (4) different mini-games strung together in a sequence. Each game tests your ability in a particular area: reflexes, music (memory), probability, and spatial recognition. Your performance for each is scored and graded with an itemized detail report delivered at the end of the game.

You may select from three (3) difficulty levels for each task with a bonus multiplier awarded for each increase in challenge. A practice option allows you to play each mini-game separately at your leisure.

Analysis: This game is both well-made and fun to play. I enjoyed the variety of the mini-games and that each seemed simultaneously fresh and familiar. I especially liked the music game since I haven't seen many games use ear-training as a basis for gameplay, and it is an idea I have been tossing around myself ever since taking Music Theory a few school terms ago. It was great that the developers added the "view as music score" option that makes it accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing players.

The difficulty levels seemed to offer a well-balanced risk vs. reward, and the creative assets, graphics and sound effects were all nicely polished and matched the game well.

Although the game was fun and moderately interesting, I didn't find the experience compelling enough to play more than a couple of times. If the game were to keep track of my progress versus my previous scores, or versus other players (give me the option to choose, perhaps?), then it would provide a reason to come back and try again. Nintendo's latest game, "Brain Age" for the DS, keeps track of the player's progress over time via a graph chart. Brain Age succeeds where this game fails in providing the player with a compelling reason to come back to play again.

Overall, a decent addition to a genre that we will no doubt be seeing more entries for in the very near future.

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