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JayI've been playing a lot of games lately trying to find something to sink my teeth into enough to write a review for. And while some games definitely look promising, the time required to play through each one enough to write a decent review is the bottleneck for me right now.

So, here are links to a couple of games I'm currently evaluating; please help me by indicating in the comments which one(s) deserve(s) a review more than the others, and why:

  • Glider Web - the latest game from Mark Arenz of Ridiculopathy is 100% oldschool fun, and still in beta. Fly a paper airplane through a house and collect stars. All levels are created and rated by the community. The editor needs some work, however, so be careful or you may lose your work.
  • Bill the Demon - A great little platformer with an oldschool flair. You play as Bill the demon, out to earn the respect of your colleagues by descending the Nine Circles of Hell and getting the devil's autograph.
  • Onamis 2 - a really great looking point-and-click puzzle game from France. Got stuck early on.
  • Cultivation - a unique 'game' about social interaction in a gardening community, which features dynamic graphics that are procedurally generated. This game is for those looking for something a bit different. Downloadable for Mac, PC, and Linux.
  • Mafia Returns - DHTML RPG about the mafia. No idea how this one plays, though, as I couldn't get past the complicated registration screen. That, and RPGs are not really my specialty.
  • Snake Classic - the latest game from Arseniy of Gamebalance. Control the snake with the mouse. Simple, classic fun.
  • Subpoena Power - a well-made political platformer from NoEvil Productions that lampoons the corruption in Congress. The objective is to serve subpoenas to senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill and sort out the good from the bad. While playing I discovered some equally well-made and very amusing animations by NoEvil. Not to be missed if you enjoy political satire.
  • Darfur is Dying - A game with a purpose to educate the world about the genocide that is happening in Darfur.

Cheers for your help! =)

42 Comments

For the binary door puzzle in Onamis 2...

Think rotation

The game seems a little slow.

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Glider and Bill the Demon are my favourites. I enjoyed Glider for the same reasons as block action; it is a simple, creative, and constantly changing environment. Bill the Demon offers all the nostalgia of early atari games, but is unique enough to still be worth putting in the time to complete it.

Snake classic is a fair clone in which the different skins are a nice touch, but I think that the mouse control makes the game too simple.

Onamis 2 gave my browser (firefox) a heartattack, although it might be due to all the background programs that are currently sucking up my virtual memory.

Darfur is Dying was a decently made game for what it is. I disliked the well level especially after getting to the well.

I disliked subpoena power because of the cluttered gameplay, there was just a constant stream of characters which prevented me from doing much, especially when they overlapped. The animations didn't make up for the frustration of not being able to move because there were too many things (on multiple floors) preventing me from doing so. I did discover that hiding in the bathroom was a useful tactic.

I didn't have time to play cultivation of mafia, so i'll leave those up to others.

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After freeing up some memory, I did get to play onami 2. As much as i enjoy point and clicks, I don't see myself playing this one, as the constant loading is just a pain.

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Darfur is a neat game (sort of a cousin to the advergames, but instead of advertising a product it's designed to raise awareness of a problem), but when I'm in the camp, how do I do things? Do I just click Space when I'm nearby certain structures?

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Hi Jay! Greetings again from Romania... I already sent a comment, but as I forgot my password for TypeKey, I sent it without signing in, so I guess it will take a while.

But now, about Onamis 2: pretty cool game, a little too short for my taste, maybe Onamis 3 will be longer... Anyway, the only bugging think about it is that it takes too long to load every screen. Otherwise, it has my vote.

I managed to beat it, by the way.

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Onamis has me stuck once I

have the fan on. There appears to be a

binary puzzle in the panel next to the (now) green light, but I don't know what it means.

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Subpoena Power: Cool idea for a game, but the Judge doesn't come nearly often enough and it is a pain to catch him (and the lobbyists with money) sometimes.

Mafia Returns: This link should help anyone interested in this game immensely as to figuring out whether to try it or not. Suffice it to say that this isn't exactly designed to be "casual" (which kind of makes me shy away because I prefer to play a lot of good games than a single game designed to use up my free time), but it looks pretty decent otherwise (though the interface looked like it could use a good polish).

Mafia Returns help

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Yay, I solved Onamis 2!
It was _just_ the right amout of difficulty!
The beginning was hardest, then I got to all the nice puzzles and they were challenging, but not at all impossible.
I enjoyed that one, but theay are a bit short. I loved Demon Bill, by the way, nice platform, you should review that one.

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Thought the Darfur game was a really clever idea as it was much more than just an awareness advert... kinda puts the point across much more with the interactive side to it

Loved the animation in Subpoena Power, n previous review right about the judge being scarce

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Maybe it's just me, but I thought Glider was an absolutely horrible game. I played some of the pre-made houses and made my own and did not like any of it. Make it go away. The plane just seemed overly difficult to control.

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Snake classic is a awesome take on the old classic game. My favorite part is the fact that there are levels instead of just how big you can make the snake. each level introduce a new obsticle that you have to avoid while growing longer and longer. The skins for the snake is an interesting addition, that adds to the game. My favorite is the color changing skin.

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ridiculopathy's Glider Web - intresting little fun. There is level editor with voting system.
Bill the demon - seems a great game in a spectrum or other old computer style. Intresting enough.
I can't suggest my own game but quatation from fregamesnews:
"Everything was developed very carefully in this game: graphics, animations, sounds, music, everything is very polished and nothing's missing. By far the best Flash Snake game ever made."

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I like the glider game, but there is not enough good content.

There are some interesting things that you can do with the editor, but it is all quite non intuitive.

Have a look at my levels (search for Jarak)
Not that great yet, but playable :-)

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I tried Onamis 2.

I accomplished something on the wall behind you as you start the game. After I did that, the game forced me to turn around and face that door again, and suddenly the ability to turn around is gone? Feels like a bug, or annoyingly unrealistic gameplay. And the load time between screens... ugh. Pass.

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Cultivation has potential, but I don't think that it has enough to it to be review worthy.

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Onamis:

The loading is a problem. Takes forever; to see the three lights on the indicator panel requires 3 zooms in and each takes ~20 seconds. Maddening. It's a shame, because the graphics are really nice.

The puzzle has me stumped, though:

the given numbers are
41 82 37
44 88 49
104 81 35
11 22 44
So it seems that there's a doubling thing going on, but the third line doesn't fit, and the fourth entry line only allows 4 digits. I can't see any other pattern

Hints?

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Never mind. Mark's hint got me there.

One note

if you press return between lines it counts as a character and you run out of space to enter numbers - enter them as a continuous string.

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Wow, Glider Web looks exactly like an old Mac game called Glider Pro - even the intro screen is the same. That was such a cool game. :) I'll have to check it out more and see if it really is an exact copy.

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The Glider game is definatly growing on me.

A couple of things to keep in mind.

1) If you make a level give it a name and an author name or you will never find it again

2) Give it a password that is not pass, or your level is effectivly open source for anyone to adapt (or destroy)

3) When playing levels remember to vote, it does not seem to count zeros so give 1/2 a star to the bad ones.

4) if you are looking for a level just play the best rated ones, and even then check the score board, if it is all zeros, don't bother.

Jarak

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Please don't write a review for Darfur...

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Well Jay I've made my decision. Review them all... just kidding.
First one that I'd do is Onamis 2 because I for one love point and click games and having people help me get the game done right the first time in the comments so I son't have to wait for aaall that loading is priceless.
Second one I'd do is Mafia Returns because we could all use a little help figuring out what to do after we log in to the site.(I'm pretty sure nothing really happens until the second day you play. Though you can still stock up on money.)
I won't go into details of what game next because the top 2 is all that matters.

pz. from Ohio
-Hoffy

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I like Cultivate a lot, though it killed my fingers without hotkeys, and took a bit of time to figure out. Also, SPP looked fun, but I wasn't able to load the 4th screen or so. And my sound has stopped working on Safari, or with flash: I don't know. It works with iTunes and iChat but not in Safari as far as I can tell. Please

someone HELP ME!!!

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In fact, it seems to stop working after I start up Cultivate...

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I love Subpoena Power. The only qualms I have are that the mud-slingers spawn far too often and the lobbyists and Congresscritters move faster than the special prosecutor -- although I guess that's how it works in real life, too!

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Thanks for all your input so far. I agree that Bill the Demon should get a review, and that will likely be up next from me.

Also, I anticipate that Glider will be pretty special once the issues with the editor get worked out. While trying to create a level, I inadvertently added a door that was impossible to delete, thereby ruining my entire level and I had to start again from scratch.

I also found the load time between scenes unbearable in Onamis 2. A shame really, as it looks like there is a great little point-and-click game in there.

I have really enjoyed playing Snake Classic, and therefore look for a mini-review of that one up soon, too. Yes, it's fairly simple to play, and I find that to be a refreshing contrast to all the games that are impossibly hard. Thanks Arseniy for all the great games you've created. Keep up the great work! =)

Subpoena Power is just too cool a game not to get a review, though I tend to avoid politics as much as humanly possible. So, if someone that's a bit more politically saavy wants to take a crack at a review for this one, please do step forward.

If Cultivation had identifiable goals or a reward structure in place, I would certainly review that one, too. It's very creative and I love what Jason has done with the game. I'd really love to encourage him to take the idea a bit further.

Again, my thanks to everyone that provided feedback on these. Sometimes I get torn about what to feature and what to pass on; hearing directly from you helps a lot. =)

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FYI, the Santa Claus level is mine (and I put a kudos in to here!). In addition to the advice that Jarak gave, I would recommend looking first at those levels with names and authors. Especially those which Jarak did - they're quality.

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My two cents:

Bill the demon is kind of difficult and maybe just a teensy bit repetitive. I like the sound and the art style, which make the game pretty creepy despite their minimalism.

I remember playing the original Glider back when I was in third grade. While the web version certainly tries to be a faithful copy, it doesn't really seem to have the same charm as the original. It is a good game, although it is limited by the quality of the user-created levels, which are often a bit difficult.

Snake Classic is really good. I'm saying this despite the fact that I'm pretty tired with the "snake" category of games in general. Snake Classic does everything right. And it's a very pretty game. When playing, I found myself trying not to move in straight lines or make very sharp turns, instead kinda waving from side to side--much like a snake--just because I liked the way it looked.

Subpoena Power is neat, although I can't imagine playing it to the end. Congressmen kinda got scarce after a while; I'd have to walk around for a minute or two before I even ran into one. Other than that, it is a pretty amusing and sorta challenging game.

Haven't played any of the rest.

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Glider Web is indeed a descendant of Glider Pro, although there are some differences (or bugs?) - notably, rubber bands don't seem to last as long as they did in the original. I ran out after only a few shots.

The single biggest omission in Glider Web is Slumberland, the default house in Glider Pro. It should afford the user the option of playing that before moving onto user-contributed houses. It's a large, difficult house, but it's well-made and does a good job of showing off everything in the game.

Also, the level editor really needs to not accept any default values. It should require some kind of descriptive name ("My house" doesn't cut it) and any user name (even a fake one - again, "Me" doesn't cut it). This, obviously, is to avoid the growing pile of unidentifiable houses at the bottom of the rankings.

And some prefs (or at least help) would be nice. The arrow keys are obvious; space is obvious to anybody who has used rubber bands before; but who knows how to turn on the battery?

And I think the author shortened the beautiful Glider Pro theme. Please don't do that. :\

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While I appreciate the message that the Darfur game is trying to get accross, I found the collecting water 'game' deeply disturbing and didn't play again once I'd been captured.

I watch the news and read newspapers to find out what is happening around the world - I play games to escape for a while : (

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hat santa one is good :-) Congrats.

The editor is not that hard to use, but is still somewhat clunky.

There seem to be some better levels comeing on line now, the worst part is people who just stuff a load of items in and then leave it. It does take some effort to build a working level. I think that there should be 2 states for levels, testing and published. (there should also be a requirement for published that there is a win condition)

I have not had jay's problem with deleting objects, just click on them and then hit delete.

Some things are qurky, like switches, you must "ok" changes to them before you move them or the change is lost.

And there is no "save as" option, it always over writes.

The lack of cut and paste (either in a level or between levels) is also a pain.

But you can make levels that work, just takes a little effort.

Jarak

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Glider was ok though it didn't keep me interested for long

Bill the Demon was entertaining for a while and I loved the old game feeling to it

Onamis 2 I really disliked. I usually like point and clicks but the loading on this game was so frequent, though quick it really interrupted the flow of the game.

You can never go wrong with snake...

Subpoena power... wow I played it for about an hour.. although it was a bit cluttered, and the people were hard to catch up to, the animations were amazing.. I just got addicted. I thought that the judge being scarce was fine because he always seemed to show up when I only had one or two subpoenas left. I got up to 67 honest and 66 scoundrels. The part that I disliked the most was when you became covered in mud, the security guard took ages to find a restroom.

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Blast it all.. thanks for fixing my post, Jay, but unfortunately it seems it's not possible to see the bible without being logged in. Why the site creator(s) have no publically viewable explanations of how the game works or even just a blurb that gives some minor information of what to expect as opposed to just a login screen is beyond me. I'm not sure how exactly to get it out.. putting it up on a webpage seems time-consuming for me, sending it in an email would make some work for you, and putting information on bugmenot.com is ethically murky.

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as I am the resident French I feel obliged to post a walkthrough for Onamis 2 as an apology for the long loading times.

first, you may wonder what to do with the screw which is somewhere on the floor and which slightly moves when you click it. The answer is nothing. it doesn't have anything to do with solving the game.

You need to open the panel next to the big fan. This is not the panel next to the door, but the one you see from going right (or left) twice. next to that fan you can zoom on several panels, the one we are interested in is blank. just click on the 4 screws then on the panel to open it and activate the switch.


Then, you can open the panel next to the door. Press the 3 left-most button. Just type in the solution to the puzzle, which is the series of 1s and 0s in the 3rd box, switched to the left by 1 step. that is: 10101000 => 01010001
don't type enter between the lines.Then...

the door opens! it's just the beginning of trouble.
First, notice there is a piece of paper with a series of numbers between the steps. you need to click between the steps to see it. note it down.

then, enter the door. click on the down arrow just above the C-03a plate. notice the box at the bottom of the shaft, click it open. notice the order of the colors at the center of the box:
1=red,
2=dark green,
3=yellow,
4=white,
5=blue,
6=pink,
7=black,
8=light blue,
9=light green.
Also notice the colors in the shapes, and associate a number with each shape. For instance, if the triangle is black, associate it with 7.

climb the ladder, on your way up, notice you can turn right at some point. There, you will find a piece of paper with a list of 4 shapes. That + previous hint gives you a 4-digit code. (and make sure this heptagon is not an octogon or vice-versa)

you are now just below the exit. Click on the box and enter your 4-digit code. A panel opens revealing a number of wires.

Use the series of number you found between the step. If your list begins with 4,9... then the 1st wire goes in the 4th position, the 2nd goes in the 9th position, etc.
and... that's it! done

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Subpeona Power was incredibly well-made and amusing. There are a couple of glaring flaws, though; one is that for a game this intensely long (535 Congresspeople!?), a save or password function is a must. The other is that there needs to be something other than the occasional judicial memo to spice things up. I certainly enjoyed the game quite a bit, but I do not have the patience to do all 535 Congresspeople in one sitting, especially with no new additions to gameplay or even backgrounds to reward me along the way. But I still very much appreciate the game being posted so I could play, and kudos to the maker! (Also kudos for including a character of each gender; I always appreciate having the option instead of being defaulted to male as most games do. Now if there were a non-white option, as well...)

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What do you mean by so simple to play Snake Classic? If you meant "easy" then try to put 4 speed and 100 tail length. That should be challenging enough.

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Glider web has been updated and now has a training "clasic" level.

The standard of created games is also improving.

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Has anyone else gone trough the elevator in Subpeona Power when the "go crazy" sign is there?

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Glider is rapidly improving and and becoming stable.

I reccomend anyone who does play it to post to the forum related to it. It is traffic light, but marenz updates it regularly with current progress.

Jarak

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Languidiir December 27, 2006 2:41 AM

Cultivation is awesome.

BTW, there IS a goal now. The goal is to open the gate to immortality.

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Dyslexic Q-Thief January 13, 2007 5:25 PM

I agree with the above poster. Cultivation IS awesome.

In the last game I played, about a second after the start, two gardeners to the east made huge plots that were overlapping and soon they started a war which polluted the entire northeast coast. One of those who started it then came over to MY area, and, not wanting to cause conflict, I went south. Shortly later, the war spread to my ex-area and polluted the north cost. After that, I died, and so did the warmongers.

Next generation I discovered a plant that produced around 10 fruit, more than enough to feed the entire island. And so there was prosperity, and about 6 new gardeners were born to replace the 2 who died. Then someone poisoned the plant, and everyone was forced to compete for scarce resources. The game ended Rapa Nui style, with more than half the island polluted, and no survivors.

The point of that rather long story was to show how such a simple game could produce such awesome results, and how it really deserves a review now.

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i think cultivation definetly deserves a rewiew

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Hey Jay,

I was just looking up the very first link dump (friday) ever. Would this be it? I vaguely remember this being the post I saw it for the first time too.

Thought I would pay homage to it you know? This link dump's pretty much become a staple for so many of us that I think this is Jayis' equivalent of Apple's 1984 ad.

[Yep! This is definitely the first Link Dump, the precursor to our regular Link Dump Friday feature. Friday was chosen due to the more relaxed feeling we all have on Fridays and a link dump offering a bunch of games to play is the perfect fit for a Friday! :) -Jay]

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