October 2007 Archives


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Rating: 4/5 (22 votes)
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JayCircle ChainContinuing the recent theme — no, not Halloween games, though perhaps we'll have another phantom or zombie game for you before the stroke of midnight tonight — of games based on a simple idea, Emanuele Feronato of Italy has created this addictive little action puzzler of chain reactions called Circle Chain.

Just click the mouse to explode the red circle, which then causes a series of chain reactions to occur. You will have to meet the goal conditions indicated to advance through all 20 levels of the game. Yes, much of the gameplay is based on luck, and yet there are a variety of different circle types introduced that serve to change up the strategy just a bit, thus keeping things feeling fresh throughout.

It's a no-frills game production inspired by Danny Miller's Boomshine, and yet it manages to be a somewhat different game altogether. It is also the product of an experiment to monetize a Flash game, which is also an interesting article to read.

Play Circle Chain

Cheers to Emanuele for suggesting his game. =)

Click here for more chain reaction games.


  • Currently 4.5/5
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Rating: 4.5/5 (162 votes)
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JayMass AttackMass Attack, by kbaum games, is an enjoyable action puzzle game based on the very simple idea of balancing weights on a scale. Each of the 7 increasingly more difficult levels have 4 parts that must be balanced within the maximum difference allowed to advance. Just press the mouse button to create a counter balance weight. The longer you hold down the mouse the larger the weight that is created. Mass Attack is a good distraction and worth a few minutes of your time.

Play Mass Attack

If you enjoy balancing weights, you might also enjoy Sean Hawkes' Weight game from our very first game design competition.

Cheers to Drondh and Gregory for suggesting this one. =)


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Online survey of online games

The department of Media Management at the University of Ilmenau in Germany is conducting an online survey about online games and they need your help. The survey should take approximately five to 25 minutes, depending on the types of games you use.

Your participation is of great help and importance for their academic research of online games. All information you give is collected anonymously and will be used for academic purposes only. There is no commercial provider involved in the research. Take the online survey.


(15 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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PatrickAlarmingly These Are Not Lovesick ZombiesJason Nelson, the creator of game, game, game and again game (GGGaAG), is back with Alarmingly These Are Not Lovesick Zombies (ATANLZ), his latest attempt to dissect abstract ideas through gameplay. Your reaction to that sentence should tell you whether or not to click away. If you're still with me, you should buckle up, its a zany, interesting ride.

The game itself is a basic shooter, you aim with the mouse, move around with the arrow keys, and shoot with a click. Your enemies are "zombies" of various types, spider heads, number trays, hubcaps; though for all their cosmetic variation they play alike. Each level, likewise is only distinguished by its background, the gameplay doesn't really change, which is something of a step back from Nelson's first "game". (It's important to note that Jason has a lot of work that is interactive, but doesn't qualify as a game.) What ATANLZ does do as well or better than GGGaAG is provide a smooth flow of sensory overload coupled with more coherent thoughts.

Each level uses the theme of its background, zombie art, bullet art and background, but very rarely its actual gameplay, to make some kind of statement about an aspect of how the game industry uses cheap mechanics to manipulate people into feeling good and want to buy their product. It is cynicism delivered on a plate of suitably shallow gameplay with a nice garnish of wit. Personally, I dig it, because it tickles my cynical game designer funny bone — but for the largest audience I still recommend giving it a play for the educational value. People talk about games having the power to teach by using specific processes, but here's a game that uses very general processes to teach about game design. I think that's interesting and worth ten minutes.

It also has a very pretty kaleidoscope effect to it.

Play Alarmingly These Are Not Lovesick Zombies


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Weekend Download

JohnBIt's time for adventures in Halloween Land! The ghostly holiday is just a few days away and we're pouring on the spooky games like cold eyeball goo in a bowl (don't worry, it's just grapes and gelatin). This special installment of Weekend Download showcases a handful of adventure games that get the Halloween atmosphere just right. There's intrigue, there's suspense, there's ghosts, and there may even be some candy tucked away somewhere. Paired with our Halloween-themed Link Dump Friday and sprinkled with a few Halloween-style reviews in the coming days, you should have no excuse not to don that Super Mario costume and head out on the town.

5daysstranger.gif5 Days a Stranger (Windows, 1.3MB, free/donationware) - The first in a four-part adventure series, 5 Days does horror storytelling oh-so-right. You play Trilby, a "gentleman thief" who finds himself trapped in a mansion he thought was empty. It's old-school adventuring from there on out, but with a decidedly scary atmosphere.

loonyland.jpgLoonyland: Halloween Hill (Windows/Mac, ~5MB, demo) - Ok, so I'm bending both the Halloween and adventure themes here, but it's worth it. From Hamumu, creator of Dumb: The Game, the action/adventure/RPG Loonyland puts you in the pre-megalomaniac shoes of Dr. Lunatic on his first adventure. Explore the land, upgrade your abilities and discover what particularly strange brand of madness is going on in Halloween Hill.

spooks.gifSpooks (Windows, 6.7MB, freeware) - In this Sierra-style adventure you play as Mortia, a cynical ghoul girl on a very normal trip to the Carnage-Val. After playing a game of darts Mortia wins a puzzling prize: a goldfish that's "alive". Mortia must figure out how to save her little fish, after she learns what being "alive" means, of course. It's a surprisingly entertaining adventure game with great dialogue and simple gameplay, perfect for casual gamers and adventure fans alike. You might recognize team member Erin Robinson's work on the equally mysterious Blackwell adventure games.

knyttcustom.gifKnytt Stories custom maps (Windows, various sizes, freeware) - The Knytt Stories community continues to churn out beautiful and challenging levels for Nifflas' atmospheric game. Forum user chiefemu has released the extremely difficult Manic Mansion that is all but guaranteed to induce hair pulling within seconds of starting the stage. Also check out Eric's It Waits, a stunningly cinematic experience in an empty world filled with intrigue. Many more levels can be found on the Knytt Stories forums.

fatebynumbers.gifFate by Numbers (Windows, 0.8GB/1.2GB, freeware) - Fate by Numbers is another classic-style adventure game, but this one has a huge twist: it's filmed against a green screen and presented with over an hour of full-motion high-definition video. Think film noir meets an old Lucasarts adventure game (sans the humor) and there you have it. It's a big commitment to actually download and install, but once you jump in it's a great new experience on the classic genre.

mysterycasefilesMystery Case Files: Ravenhearst on sale for 99¢ (Windows/Mac, 72MB, demo) - Even though many of us have had our fill of hidden object games, BigFishGames has a special Halloween sale that can't be ignored. From now through October 31 you can pick up Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst (see our review for more info) for a paltry 99 cents. It's one of the original seek-and-find games and is available for both PC and Mac.


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Weekend Download

JohnBGene is shorter than Bruce but taller than Imhotep. Imhotep is taller than Gene but shorter than Lord Scotland. Lord Scotland is twice the height of Gene and Brutus combined, but only 1/10 the height of Millsy. Millsy is at a constant height of X-Y. If Gene stands exactly one nautical mile away from Lord Scotland, how tall is Imhotep?

Find out with these games below! Or not!

nuclearball2.jpgNuclear Ball 2 (Windows, 12MB, demo) - Games are always more fun when flavored with a little destruction. Nuclear Ball 2 is one part Breakout, one tiny part pinball game punctuated with explosions, breaking glass, crumbling boxes and exploding... everything! It's surprising how entertainment value carnage can add to a game, and Nuclear Ball 2 features destruction of the good kind. The usual battery of paddle-altering power-ups fall from broken crates, but cool items such as power and exploding orbs make it far more interesting. A good variety of weapons and unique stage design puts it in the same category as games like Professor Fizzwizzle. You know, just with bombs.

exolondx.jpgExolon DX (Windows/Mac, 13MB, freeware) - A remake of the classic run and gun game from the late 80s, Exolon DX falls squarely in the "remake done right" category. The controls are tighter, the visuals are better, but the core gameplay remains virtually unchanged. Take control of a futuristic soldier as you fire a gun and rocket-propelled grenades to defend yourself against aliens and robots of all kinds. Perhaps the game's homepage sums up the experience best: "Shoot stuff, jump over other stuff, avoid further stuff."

synaesthete.gifSynaesthete (Windows, 90MB, free) - Nothing short of a brain-altering experience. Synaesthete is an isometric action shooter welded onto a musical game akin to Frets on Fire. You play a stylized hero named Zaikman who travels from zone to zone vanquishing foes. Move with the [WASD] keys while hovering your right hand over the [JKL] buttons. A music meter appears when enemies arrive and you must tap the right-hand key set in time with the tune. You don't have to hit every beat and can concentrate on just one column, but the more accurate you are the more powerful your attacks. It's a work-in-progress being developed by four students at DigiPen University, but already it's got my vote of "fun".

puzzlequest.jpgPuzzle Quest (Windows, 35MB, demo) - Finally, PC gamers can enjoy the hyper-addictive Puzzle Quest without walking across the room to pick up a DS! Just released for Windows, Puzzle Quest blends a Bejeweled-esque match-3 game with an RPG. As you swap tiles and make matches you'll damage your enemy, collect mana to cast spells, and gain gold and experience points to level up your character. It's the pinnacle of addictiveness and is blazing its way across nearly every gaming system currently on the market. You can buy Puzzle Quest in some retail stores or purchase online at Big Fish Games.

shellblast.jpgShellblast (Windows, 23MB, demo and freeware) - Vertigo Games brought us the free Acidbomb ages ago. The team released a souped-up retail sequel called Shellblast earlier this year that is now available for the extra low price of $4.95! The object is to diffuse each puzzle (which is a bomb) by detecting which tiles are pistons and which are safe. The game plays a lot like picross where you must use clues to narrow down possibilities. It's a tense cerebral experience that really heats up when the bomb timer starts ticking down to zero.


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Link Dump Fridays

JessHello, faithful readers, and welcome to a special spookified edition of Link Dump Friday! In honor of the season, I've chosen a few of my favorite previously-reviewed games (including a few new ones) with a spooky edge. We've got ghosties, beasties, sleepy vampir-ies, tentacle monsters and, naturally, Garfield! So get out that bowl of candy corn, put on the "Monster Mash" and settle in with one of these fun titles.

  • exmortisExmortis and Exmortis 2 - Designer Ben Leffler's pair of truly creepifying point-and-click titles. You wake in the woods with no memories and a terrible headache, and find shelter in a dark, seemingly-abandoned old house... What could possibly go right?
  • bashingpumpkinsBashing Pumpkins - Similar to the Nest of Moai games but with a Halloween theme. Move the cursor over jack-o-lanterns as they pop-up from behind famous landmarks or slide out of a statue's nostril. Plus: Godzilla!
  • transylmaniaTransylmania - After a long, hard night of sucking the blood of innocent maidens, all a vampire wants to do is take a nice, long nap in his coffin. But nooo, those no-good villagers insist on invading your castle, lighting torches and threatening to turn you to ash! Nothing to do but turn them into the walking dead themselves...
  • deanimatorDeanimator - Based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Deanimator is a grim, gruesome and ultimately futile battle against zombies that still manages to be scarily entertaining.
  • scaryscavengerhuntScary Scavenger Hunt - One for the kids, though almost any casual gamer will probably enjoy it. Guide Garfield around the haunted house to find sweet treats, but watch out for the monsters that will jump out if you click on the wrong things!
  • anchorheadAnchorhead - An absolutely superb piece of interactive fiction steeped in Lovecraftian mythos. Worth a play even if you've never tried the genre.
  • thehouseThe House - An amazingly atmospheric interactive narrative/game created by Thai designer Sinthai Boomaitree. Enter the abandoned house to discover the tragic truth behind the suicide of an entire family.
  • industrialzombiegrowIndustrial Zombie Grow - A dark riff on the classic Grow games, complete with puddles of goo and industrial-type buildings. Note: May contain zombies!
  • freericeAnd, in a decidedly unspooky note, we have Free Rice, a vocabulary testing game that adjusts itself to your level of knowledge. That's not the good part, though; for every word you get right, 10 grains of rice will be donated to a hungry person by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). So click away, and the combined might of JIG just may do some significant good.

Visit this page for even more Halloween game fun.


  • Currently 4.7/5
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Rating: 4.7/5 (135 votes)
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thetallstump.gifJohnBIt's got action. It's got puzzles. It's got zany... everything. And most importantly (for the competition), it makes extensive use of ball physics. The Tall Stump scored exceptionally high on all of our judges' radars, edging out the other entries in our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition for the top spot. Created by three talented individuals who form Team MAW — Adam Wilkinson (Australia), Alex May (US) and Handre DeJager (South Africa), The Tall Stump is an action platformer that feels like an adventure game laced with short puzzles. As you travel through the game you find strange items and learn to use them in even stranger circumstances, all in the name of working your way deeper into the stump.

Competition first place award winnerUse the [A] and [D] keys to move the character left and right while [W] serves as a jump button. To pick up and switch items press the [S] key, and to use whatever is in your hands, just tap the [spacebar]. Or, if you prefer, you can use the arrow keys for movement instead. You begin with empty hands but very quickly get something to start your inventory: a potted cactus. Along the way you'll grab many strange items you'll need to use at the appropriate time in order to open a door or gain access to the next area.

Competition audience award winnerHelping you solve puzzles in The Tall Stump is a handy little item that looks like a bazooka but fires balls that activate switches as they bounce around the stage. Not only is this a clever way to incorporate the competition theme, it also adds another layer of strategy to the genre-bending game. Many times you'll have to bounce a ball through a tiny gap in order to progress. Sometimes you'll have to hop on a moving platform, aim, and fire all within a few seconds time. Thrilling!

The Tall Stump has an in-game save feature that lets you play through in more than one sitting. There is, however, a good reason to do it without leaving your computer: an online high score table. Complete the game as fast as you can without saving/resuming to have a chance to put your name on the board. Collecting all of the hats and coins shaves precious minutes off your score.

Analysis: From top to bottom (and probably left to right as well), The Tall Stump is a superb game. Great music and sound effects and a polished visual style draw you in right from the start, while the game's zany sense of humor keeps you begging for more. It blends puzzle solving and platforming action quite well, giving just enough challenge on each front to keep you driven to beat the game. Add to that loads of fun extras and you have a game that can't be ignored.

A great game on all levels and a fantastic entry from Team MAW!

dancemonkeydancemonkey - This is the game in every competition that I can't wait to play, but I just don't realize it until I play it. The charming artwork and simple story lulled me into thinking it would be a brief and breezy romp, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the challenge of many of the puzzles. I was also impressed by the simplicity and intuitiveness of the control scheme. The ball physics theme implementation wasn't the strongest in the competition. Heck, it wasn't even the second strongest, but it was creative and integral to the gameplay. I would love to see further development of this game and this game world.

JayJay - Wow. The Tall Stump excelled in every category we scored on this competition. It might be an easy game to pass off as too frustrating or too difficult by someone giving it only a cursory play test to see if it's something worth diving into. But those that approach it from the perspective of a brilliant puzzle game rather than one that requires split second perfection in hand-eye coordination will be handsomely rewarded. Oh, you'll need good hand-eye coordination to get through it, but if something you're trying seems near impossible, chances are there's an easier solution to the puzzle. It's an exceptional game that is polished, well balanced, loads of fun, and not a bug or glitch to be found, proving that its designers really know their stuff. Congratulations Team MAW on this fine game you've made, and on one well deserving of the grand prize.

Play The Tall Stump


  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (33 votes)
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PatrickIndestructo Tank 2IndestructoTank 2, to some the name might evoke feelings of dew eyed anticipation, the return of the indestructo-king. This is, in a manner similar to Pillage the Village, a refurbishment of an early Flash classic, back when Newgrounds was the only portal. You have at your disposal a nice smorgasbord of modes — three — for free, which is a way better deal than in Vegas.

The first mode is a graphical re-skin of the original, which is worth repeating here. You pilot an indestructible tank, which you might have guessed, and can control it simply by moving left and right. Instead of trying to avoid bombs and other projectiles, you want to run into them, because their explosions propel you into the air where you're able to hit helicopters and planes. Each enemy you hit bounces you further, so its possible to bounce in succession many times over, racking up higher and higher combos. This was the kind of clever inversion of tradition that you'd see in the early days of Flash become stuff like Line Rider or Dolphin Olympics. You lose when you run out of fuel, which is always draining but slowed when you kill, and your fuel is refilled when you accumulate enough experience to level-up, which allows you to spend points increasing the frequency of different types of enemies. This puts you on a feedback loop of more points and bigger combos.

The enhanced version has incorporated player feedback to come up with a new feature, the boom meter, which fills up as you destroy enemies and allows you a jump. This is a really useful addition that lets you continue a combo in a pinch, making it a key resource to save for that break when there's nothing on screen.

The story mode is an attempt to take the game beyond the open-ended Valhalla of the high-score board and strap some meaning and level design onto the experience. And when I say "meaning" I mean it, I think, at least there's a sense that they're trying. The writing is hackneyed with the protagonist, Dirk Danger, voice acted by a guy giving a bad David Hayter impression. The story is both vague and explicitly stereotypical — a sample line "wait Whiz Kid, are you a Hacker?" — and accompanies a set of level designs that can only really play with adding gaps to the ground, since the game design isn't really oriented towards varied questing and whatnot.

The adventure offers some risque innuendo; a former lover you kill by jumping on her machine five or six times; a boss who is also your father, and then the ending, hah, I was speechless. The whole story up until the end is completely facile, one-dimensional, stereotypical, and at the end you start to seriously wonder if they were being ironic or not. When he starts talking about combos, you might experience the feeling of eating an ice cream cone made of cognitive dissonance.

But hey, its IndestructoTank... 2!

Play Indestruct 2 Tank


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Ballistic Wars team

Hi Jay

On behalf of the Ballistic Wars team, I would really like to thank you and your reviewer-judge panel for giving us the opportunity to show our potential in casual gaming. On top of that, you have ranked us in third place, so I really can't thank you enough.

To show how impactful this competition is to my life, I have changed the business direction of my company. I've been in advertising for years and I thought that I would just make games for advertising purposes, but from now on, I want to dedicate my time doing games for the masses, rather than just to satisfy clients.

I'm sure the other entrants are thinking the same thing. Your website and ideals have rekindled the passion in all of us!

The attached picture is our way of showing our most sincere gratitude to Jayisgames. That's me in the center, the character designer and animator Daim on the right, and the interface designer Leenyin on the left. Naturally, the characters in the scene were drawn by Daim.

Really big thanks. See you in CGDC 5! :)


regards

Wan Hazmer
Easy Only! Games


(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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slingoween.jpgJohnBA short-but-sweet release from Ezone kicks off the Halloween season with Slingoween. Sling Fire hit less than a week ago, so it's surprising to see more goo-flinging so soon! Slingoween combines the rubberband-flicking action of Sling with the familiar climbing theme found in games such as Winterbells. It's a simple game with little more than earning a high score as a goal, but the flying pumpkins, ghosts and Halloween candy help kick off the impending holiday with style.

The jack-o-lantern Sling creature hangs from pegs placed around the screen. Click and pull back to stretch the Sling in any direction, then release to send it flying through the air. The goal is to collect as much candy as you can while avoiding the various spooks that saunter across the screen. Work your way higher into the night sky to rack up the highest score you can!

Play Slingoween


(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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puzzpinball.jpgJohnBWait a second. Pinball isn't supposed to be hard, is it? With PuzzPinball you're given control over placing the flippers, bumpers and ramps — not bouncing the ball whenever it comes near. It turns a game of reflexes into a game of thinking and will probably catch you by surprise with its ability to draw you in.

Just like any "editing" game such as Rubicon, Launchball, Eets, or Armadillo Run, you start each level of PuzzPinball with the action frozen and the pieces lined up at the bottom waiting to be placed. Click on an item and place it on the grid, rotating with the icons if necessary. The goal is to bounce, blow and roll the pinball across the stage to collect stars and points before guiding it to the exit. When you're ready to go, click "start" and watch what happens. You can always reset the action and move pieces to tweak the setup, which you'll be doing many times for each stage.

The most intruiging part of PuzzPinball is the game's level of unpredictability. It takes some time before you get a feel for what the ball will do when it hits the items you place. Will this bouncer send it over the blocks or under them? Does this ramp leave the ball with enough momentum to make it to the blower? It adds a little excitement not knowing just what will happen, letting you experiment and gradually master the game's physics.

Analysis: A simple handful of dark colors is all PuzzPinball needs to create its almost futuristic look. While the palette of blues does get a bit bland after a while, it makes running the ball through gates (which flash orange or yellow) even more satisfying. The only sounds are the clicks and pings you'd normally hear from a pinball game, but for some reason they're remarkably satisfying. Maybe I'm just hard-wired to feel good when a pinball game goes right?

Unique but familiar, PuzzPinball is an excellent marriage of a retro game with a great new puzzle interface.

Play PuzzPinball


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JayThe Tall StumpFour times we have made a call for entries to a competition that celebrates and rewards excellence in casual gameplay, and four times we have been, ourselves, rewarded by the Flash game development community. The level of quality shown in the entries submitted continues to impress and delight us, and we are very pleased to be able to share these quality interactive experiences with the world.

Choosing a small group of entries to represent the best of those submitted, whether for the selection of finalists or for the top awards, is not an easy task. We wish we could reward everyone who submits an entry, but for every competition there must be a winner.

Fortunately we have more prizes to award this time than ever before, and we have our kind and generous sponsors to thank for giving us this opportunity: Sierra Online for taking the helm as lead sponsor and for the competition theme (Thanks to Ed, Amy, Kat, Joe, and Jose Maria!); Arcade Town (Thanks, Joe!); Armor Games (Thanks, Dan!); Free World Group (Thanks, Frank!); and Adobe (Thanks to Simon, Michelle, Jennifer, and Kristan!); and to Mat of Nitrome for designing the UI graphics. It is due to the efforts of all these people that we have the following prizes to award, so please show them all your kind support as well.

We would also like to thank everyone who voted by contributing to the Audience Award. The success of these competitions hinges on your continued participation, not only in the comments with your feedback and constructive criticisms, but also with your kind donations to the designers and developers for the fantastic experiences they provide us with each time. Thank you for continuing to raise the bar each time with the level of support we see.

And now, to the people who have made this competition very special: the designers, developers, magicians and architects of the prize winning entries. The panel of 7 reviewer-judges—zxo, Dancemonkey, JohnB, Harukio, John Beaver, Jess, and myself—scored one game higher than the rest by a healthy margin. The rest of the field was very close:

  • First Place
    ($2500 + Adobe Flash CS3 + Switchball game):
    • The Tall Stump by Team MAW (Adam Wilkinson, Alex May and Handre DeJager)
  • Second Place
    ($1000 + Adobe Flash CS3 + Switchball game):
  • Third Place
    ($500 + Switchball game):
  • Best Use of Theme
    ($500 + Nintendo Wii + Switchball game):
  • Audience Prize
    ($281.75 + Switchball game):
    • The Tall Stump by Team MAW (Adam Wilkinson, Alex May and Handre DeJager)

With 10.38% of the popular vote, Team MAW's game proved to be the favorite among the JIG community as well (not by much, though, the voting was very close). Team MAW will be awarded the Audience prize of $200 to go with the donations their game received, for a total of $281.75!!

For full disclosure, I have made available a spreadsheet listing all proceeds received and how they were distributed based on the voting. We will be in touch with each game designer to arrange for the transfer of all respective voting donations. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go out to everyone who voted.

Most of all, congratulations to everyone who submitted an entry! Just being able to complete a game within a short development period is quite an achievement, in and of itself. Moreover, your continued participation in these competitions makes future competitions like this possible, and we can't thank you enough. We consider ourselves very fortunate, again, to have received such an excellent response to our call for entries, as the entire collection of entries are all quite deserving of our praise. To show our appreciation, we will be featuring a review for each of the competition finalists, complete with our own feedback and constructive criticisms, in the days and weeks ahead.


  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (56 votes)
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viasol2.jpgPatrickVia Sol 2 is the latest from scratchware auteur Helmi Bastami, whose Flyborg Games site champions the slogan "New Media, New World". It's appropriate considering the subject matter of Via Sol. You play the president of a colony of human refugees who have escaped the calamity of Earth to create a new home on a planet whose orbit keeps it on the opposite side of the sun. Hence the name "Via Sol", which means "through the sun" in Latin. The game is a casual-ified Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri-type management game, which is so much more fun than it sounds.

In Via Sol 2 you try and maintain housing, food, material and electrical supplies to keep the population from becoming upset. If everyone gets too unhappy they revolt and depose you, but if they're content you'll be hailed as a savior. Gameplay is extremely simple: just build the right stuff to maintain the balance and keep up population growth. Simply click on a square next to one with a building then choose which construction to start. Every building carries a cost in electricity or ore, creating a very intricate cause and effect web.

Analysis: The game is deep for a web-based title, a testament to what you can do with good design. Each building has a futuristic mystique that makes you want to build them simply because they look good arrayed around the world. Your own little pet utopia. Of course the temptation to install a police state always looms as well as mass-starvation and sweeping brown-outs.

For all its compulsively fun gameplay, Via Sol 2 isn't content to simply entertain, it's also a satirical game with a political message. Text dialogues are thrown at you from time to time that touch on cynical notions of corporate corruption and shadow government.

Basing the game on manufactured happiness, where a "Faux News" company can be more useful to your survival as a leader than a nuclear power plant, flavors Via Sol 2 with a decidedly anti-establishment notion that deceit rather than genuine interest in the population's well-being is the fuel behind the fires. Also consider that it's possible to avoid building any houses while you climb the tech tree and get your industrial base in order. The unhappiness caused by homelessness isn't too great for an extra toy factory to counter.

Via Sol 2 is a sarcastic, witty and sometimes poignant look at society hidden behind gameplay that blends deep strategy with simple mechanics. If you aren't careful, you'll lose many hours to this little gem.

Play Via Sol 2


  • Currently 4.5/5
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Rating: 4.5/5 (46 votes)
| Comments (112) | Views (338)

strategydefense.jpgJohnBTaking a light-hearted approach to a normally serious and complex genre, Strategy Defense by Belugerin Games is a casual tactics game along the lines of Ogre Battle or Tactics Arena Online. It's your job to defend the king from the incoming enemy. Move your character on the field, attack enemies, raise your stats and buy new weapons with an easy-to-use interface. It's a bare-bones tactics game that is inviting enough even for non-strategy fans to enjoy.

Each time your turn rolls around you can do one of several actions: move, cast a spell (if available), or use an item/attack. The order doesn't matter, which is actually very important for basic strategies. Take your turn, damage your foes, then wait while each enemy does the same. Depending on the goal of the scenario you might have to eliminate all of the enemies, take out the leader, or simply maneuver yourself to a point on the field. Sometimes your task will have several steps that must be completed in a certain order. Either way, it's never a straightforward job.

As you defeat enemies and complete stages, you earn gold and experience points that allow you to buff up your stats and buy new equipment. There are 24 short scenarios to work your way through, each with its own strategies and goal. You won't have too much trouble felling your foes, but a save feature lets you record your progress to resume at a later time. Just in case.

Analysis: Strategy Defense does a great job drawing in non-tactics-game players thanks to its inviting visuals and clean interface. Once you dive into the game itself you won't be disappointed, either. The simple attack options only get more complex later in the game, giving you plenty of time to become comfortable with the game's mechanics. New items are introduced at a slow pace, though, which is an unfortunate side-effect.

On the down side, Strategy Defense does suffer from a bit of repetition, especially early in the game. Until you buy interesting weapons and magic skills it's mostly click, attack, repeat. Enemy AI is surprisingly good, but don't expect Genghis Khan or Sun Tzu to try and outwit you. And waiting for loads of enemy troops to shuffle around and fire can be a slight nuisance.

Can a serious tactics game be cute? If it's Strategy Defense, it can be. This game does a respectable job translating the thrill and challenge of a strategy game to the world of browser-based casual gameplay.

Play Strategy Defense

Play Strategy Defense 2

Play Strategy Defense 3

Cheers to Wouter for sending this one in!


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Weekend Download

JohnBThree new hidden object games have recently hit the web, each one with a different setting and storyline wrapped around familiar seek-and-find mechanics. From pirates to wizards to messy family homes there's no shortage of variety in theme! Unlike games such as Azada and Forgotten Riddles, these titles don't try bending the item-hunting mechanics too much and instead opt for entertaining settings and unique mini-games. If you're one of the many people who can't get enough of these games, these should keep you busy (and entertained) for a while!

thescruffs.jpgThe Scruffs (Windows, 48MB, demo) - Certainly the quirkiest of the lot, The Scruffs hidden object game enlists you to save the Scruffs' family home from being sold. Grandpa Scruff's solution is an elaborate scavenger hunt around the home to uncover valuable artifacts. Grandpa also reveals he's hiding a shocking family secret! The presentation is top-notch and features great voice talent along with smooth animation and nice music. The chapter-based storyline keeps the plot moving while your eyes keep searching the game's 20 different scenes. It's a much more light-hearted take on the item hunting genre, and the presentation is loads of fun, so you won't lose interest in this game anytime soon.

abracademy.jpgAbra Academy: Returning Cast (Windows, 75MB, demo) - In a setting that gives more than a few nods to the Harry Potter novels, Abra Academy is set in a wizard's school under attack by mysterious creatures. The story is told through cut-scenes that break up the intense eyeball item hunting action. The scenery is remarkably imaginative and a treat to look at as well. Unfortunately the difficulty isn't very high and experienced item hunters will likely breeze through the 25 levels in this title. With the wizard setting and more forgiving gameplay, however, Abra Academy is a great choice for the kids.

pirateville.jpgPirateville (Windows, 25MB, demo) - Pirateville puts you in the sea-shoes of Sharpshooter Jack, a pirate who has more than a little lust for gold. Searching for the greatest treasure in the land, Jack travels from location to location talking to natives and gathering clues. The scenes and mini-games are well-integrated into Pirateville's storyline, which is a nice change of pace from the rather plotless item hunters of yore. In the end, Pirateville is an adventurous take on the hidden item genre with a fun set of tasks to complete across 33 stages and an enjoyable storyline.


(8 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (20) | Views (22)

zxotChuSixteen-year old developer Noobjam, in collaboration with The Game Homepage brings us tChu, a clever puzzler inspired by Chu Chu Rocket.

Your goal is to guide all the Chus to a portal by placing arrows on the playing field. Complicating this endeavor is the fact that there are two kinds of Chus — red and blue — that can never be allowed to meet. And if you think you can rely on the walls to guide both types along the same path, think again! Red and blue Chus turn opposite ways when they hit a wall. Even worse, there are evil Chu counterparts, the green and yellow Nyans, which must be kept clear of all Chus as well as the portals.

tChu is most definitely a planner's delight. Once you place the arrows and start the Chus, that's it — if you want to make changes you'll have to start the level over. You'll probably have to do that a lot anyway. The early levels aren't difficult, but it takes a while to get used to the Chu behavior, and the later levels will have you resetting constantly as you encounter many unforeseen collisions. Usually, levels are designed to take advantage of the different handedness of the two Chus, but the more devious ones turn it against you and make you overcome the natural Chu tendencies.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of an oversight which interferes in the planning of your solution. If you do allow red and blue Chus to meet, or to be eaten by a Nyan, or if a Nyan reaches a portal, the level resets immediately. Sometimes this forces you to deal with the smaller problem of avoiding collisions first, rather than focusing on the larger problem of planning your path. Maybe it's just the way my mind works, but I'd prefer the Nyans and Chus to keep running even if I've already failed a level, in order to see they will behave later on. Still, it's not a deal-breaking problem, and it doesn't overshadow the many difficult but great levels just waiting to be solved. With 90 of them plus a level editor, it's enough to keep a person busy for quite a long time.

Play tChu

(Gesundheit!)


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Weekend Download

JohnBIt may surprise you to know that each and every Weekend Download article is written by a team of highly trained elves adept at both gaming and making waffles. This week, however, the elves have been replaced.

By gnomes.

The gnomes do a comparable job with words, links and images. But let me tell you, the waffles aren't nearly as good. It's like that old saying that neither I nor anyone else has ever heard before: If you want waffles, better get the elves. Regardless of food quality, enjoy the gnome-inspired games* below!

prism.jpgPrism: Light the Way (Windows, 13MB, demo) - A polished take on the old faithful light-reflecting puzzle games. A greedy space monster has stolen all of the light (gasp!), depriving the GLOWBOS of their precious source of happiness. Help the poor chaps see the bright side of things by sliding mirrors, splitters, color-dividing prisms and more around the grid to reflect beams to the colored GLOWBOS around the screen. It's a familiar concept that isn't new to the world of casual games (see Reflections for a similar (but more complex) web example), but Prism: Light the Way offers an easy to control, extraordinarily well-crafted game. You'll stay plenty busy with 120 unique puzzles, many of which are quite challenging, as well as several extra modes of play.

doomcottage.jpgTIGSource B-game Competition (Windows, various sizes, all free) - The film industry has B-movies, so why can't the indie gaming scene have B-games? That was part of the inspiration behind The Independent Gaming Source's recent B-Game Competition. Developers used all of their skills to create the cheesiest games mankind has ever seen. Over two dozen titles were entered, and after the fog of voting cleared, one game came out on top: the zombie survival game Cottage of Doom. Be sure to check out the other competition entries, as there's some really great B-game material in there.

kingmania.jpgKing Mania (Windows/Mac, ~22MB, demo) - Wage war, and for no particular reason! Well, actually, there is a reason: the neighboring kingdom has more room to grow potatoes than you. What's a king to do other than round up the knights and villagers for a good old fashioned pillage 'n plunder? King Mania is a simple RTS-lite game married with an action title. Send soldiers to take over villages and use the food and gold automatically harvested in your controlled areas to build spiffy upgrades. King Mania is surprisingly captivating and has a good sense of humor to boot.

h2o.jpgH2O: Heaven2Ocean (Windows, 54MB, freeware) - A fun, off-beat little action game that uses water physics to guide a drop of water through a crowded construction area. Use the mouse to tilt the game world left or right, guiding the water through pipes, up slopes and across obstacles. Touch fire and you become vapor, flipping the physics upside down, and go near the air conditioning unit and you'll turn to a block of ice! A light-hearted game created over the course of nine weeks for Dare to be Digital.

narobiyu.jpgNarobiyu (Windows, 25MB, donationware) - A unique puzzle game unlike most titles floating around on the interwebs. The goal is to connect groups of similar-colored blocks to form matching patterns anywhere on the screen. Yes, the description doesn't make much sense, and it will take you some time to get into the swing of the game. But once you do, it's actually a refreshing and tense puzzle experience.

narbaculardrop.jpgNarbacular Drop (Windows, 26MB, freeware) - With the recent release of Valve's Portal and the 2D Flash platformer inspired by the same mechanics, why not try the original game that started it all? Control Princess No-Knees (she can't jump!) with the [WASD] keys and use the mouse buttons to create entrance/exit portals. You won't find the same level of polish as in Portal, but you can easily see why Valve snatched up the programming team to work on its spiritual successor.

* Note: Games have little or nothing to do with gnomes.


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Rating: 4.5/5 (181 votes)
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covertfront2.jpgJohnBJust released by Mateusz Skutnik, creator of the excellent Submachine games: the second installment in the spy-themed Covert Front point-and-click series, Covert Front 2: Station on the Horizon. You play the role of Kara, a spy in an alternate reality where World War I begins in 1901 and technology is much more advanced. Physicist Karl von Toten is on the verge of a great discovery and it's your task to uncover his secrets. This is the second of four chapters and begins with Kara inside von Toten's mansion with key intelligence in hand. Now she must escape with her life to inform her superiors of the shocking truth.

Play the entire Covert Front series:
Covert Front 1Covert Front 2Covert Front 3Covert Front 4

The beauty of the Covert Front series (and the Submachine games) is the art direction and sense of mystery. Mateusz wraps rich environments around intruiging storylines and sprinkles puzzles that are just tough enough to make you want to see them through. Not too difficult, not too easy, but just right.

Play Covert Front 2: Station on the Horizon

Read all our Covert Front series reviews and walkthroughs...


| Comments (52) | Views (74)

Link Dump Fridays

John BeaverWe're sorry to announce that today's Link Dump Friday is delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. We hope you don't mind waiting. In the mean time, here are some other links to try.

  • Inward HelixInward Hellix - There are a lot of Internet riddle games to choose from. Several good ones have even been featured here on JIG before. Inward Hellix provides more style than most.
  • Le CourageLe Courage - an advergame (well actually a series of simple mini advergames) for a beer company but it has some stylish use of video. Note: You should be over legal drinking age in your country to play.
  • Reverse EngineeringReverse Engineering - It sounds complicated, and the interface doesn't really do it justice. Still, there may be a fun game in there if you take the time to wade through the muck.
  • Cryptic Movie TriviaCryptic Movie Trivia - A movie quiz with cryptic pictorial clues? Ahhh...Perfect Friday brain-food. It's another advergame, but nicely produced. (Thanks, Ms.45)
  • Dance OffDance Off - Upload a photo, pick a suitable background and music, and then create your very own dance. Just one of several PlayWidgets available from Large Animal. Note: you will be punished if you emulate the Macarena.
  • Mega HoopsUltimate Mega Hoops - Basketball is fun. Especially when the basket moves around. For some ultimate mega-fun, shoot some ultimate mega hoops.
  • School WarsSchool Wars - A simple real-time strategy game of territory supremacy on the school yard. Choose a color and then seek out the card suit symbols to occupy. Engage in battles to level up when successfully beating opponents. Another new game from Taro Ito.
  • Cart PlayerThe Cart Machine Simulator - A webtoy strictly for radio geeks who remember the days before iPods and digital audio when radio jingles were played out from satisfyingly solid carts. UK visitors may recognize old Radio One jingles from their childhood!

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation to Mat Annal of Nitrome for designing the smashing new banner for our Link Dump Friday feature that, had it not been postponed, we would be enjoying right now.

Normal service will resume next week.


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Rating: 4.8/5 (226 votes)
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Bloons TD 2Hot on the heels of the original Bloons Tower Defense game comes a sequel, appropriately named Bloons Tower Defense 2, that delivers more of the same explosive fun the original packed, and yet with 3 new difficulty levels and more tower types than ever before. Like the new Road Spikes that you can use to pop any remaining bloons if it looks like some will escape. The difference between the difficulty levels lies in the number of lives you start with and the cost of the towers, with the fewest lives and the most costly towers available on the hardest level. And the update promises to provide a greater challenge than the first one did.

If you're a Bloons fan, that probably spells many more hours of lost productivity that Stephen and Chris Harris of NinjaKiwi have a knack for causing with their hit-after-hit string of game releases. More addictive than a barrel of super monkeys.

Play Bloons Tower Defense 2


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Rating: 4.5/5 (25 votes)
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slingfire.jpgJohnBSling Fire from Ezone continues the physics-based goo slinging action the first game in the series introduced just over a year ago. The fire element has been stolen from the Oozeville power source, which of course spells doom for the slime-based folk. Playing as Sling or Slingette you must toss your way through 50 levels of traps and puzzles to recover the lost element!

Sling and Slingette are made of stretchy goo and can be pulled and released like a rubber band. To pass each stage, you must turn all of the white grab pegs green by slinging onto them one at a time. Breakaway pegs, spikes and even fire pits stand between you and the blue vortex exit, and every five levels you must face off against one of the fire monsters in order to continue.

Sling Fire is more of the same goo-flinging fun we've come to expect from the series. A few new grabs make an appearance in this game, including fire cannons and beetles, but just about everything else you've seen in Sling or Sling Jr. Regardless, Sling Fire is a polished and well-put-together game that will have you laughing and slinging for a very long time.

Play Sling Fire


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Rating: 4.7/5 (96 votes)
| Comments (79) | Views (500)

Chat NoirAfter a relatively long period without a new release, Taro Ito is back with a couple of fresh new games. The first is Chat Noir, a turn-based puzzle game based on a very simple idea: darken the spots to confine the cat and keep it from escaping off the edges of the play field. Each new game presents you with a random arrangement of pre-darkened spots, and the rest is up to you. While it could be argued (and perhaps even proven) that some initial arrangements are impossible to win, the game is just the kind of puzzle game I enjoy to come back to time and time again. The only thing lacking is a proper "Congratulations" animation or ending to the game.

Play Chat Noir


(9 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (6) | Views (5)

spacecapstar.jpgJohnBNew from Japanese developer Nigoro, creator of Rose & Camellia and Lonely House-Moving, comes physics-based action game Space Capstar II. You play Randolph Clark Rodriguez ("The Invincible Randy" on the space convoy circuit, but you can just call him Randy), a jack of all trades space captain who pilots his trusty Capstar II around the galaxy looking for work. His latest task is to collect a rare mineral from the four planets that make up Point K9. Carefully pilot the ship through twisty passages that lead deep into the planets' cores, avoiding obstacles and taking out lasers by bashing into them (carefully). It's a challenging action game with just enough space wackiness thrown in to make it worth trying.

Control Randy's ship with the mouse, moving it in any direction and pressing the left mouse button to fire the boosters. The spongy space physics make it difficult to move with great precision, so most of the time you'll just have to dash off into the tunnels and hope for the best. Using your rockets and damaging the ship consumes fuel shown on the meter at the top of the screen. You can bump into the walls or crash into small asteroids a few times before you're in too much danger, but avoid the lasers at all costs. They hurt. Landing by blue crystals will refill your fuel meter.

Each stage is comprised of four levels that present you with slightly different tasks. The first two levels let you work deeper into the planet, while the third level holds the item you're looking four. In the fourth level you must dock with the mother ship before moving on to the next stage. Levels often have their own unique gravity pull as indicated by the arrow at the top of the screen. Don't get too used to down being "down"!

Normally it's a bad thing to crash into objects when the only thing that separates you from a vacuum-induced end is a piece of glass. However, in Space Capstar II you can use controlled crashes to your advantage. Certain small asteroids will often stand in your way begging to be destroyed. If you oblige them, you may notice debris scatters when they explode. This debris can be used to your advantage to take out pesky obstacles such as laser cannons and mines. You shouldn't go careening around stages bashing every wall you see, of course, but controlled crashing can be a good thing.

Analysis: Space Capstar II doesn't add a lot of newness to an old genre, but its overall package is something worth experiencing. What makes it feel fresh is the slick presentation, the adventure-esque stage layout, forgiving game mechanics and, to be honest, the campy 70's-style soundtrack. You'll feel like an old TV space hero.

The most disappointing part of Space Capstar II is that it's so short on lower difficulty levels. It will take you literally just a few minutes to work your way through the game on the easiest setting, forcing you to up the challenge in order to experience more of the game.

Space Capstar II isn't a game that will blow you away on any particular front, but you will be left with a satisfied smile at the end.

Play Space Capstar II


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Rating: 4.4/5 (42 votes)
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FoldAn update to the previously reviewed Manifold, this version is the full, super-fun-happy version, promises Joel Esler, the game's author. Get acquainted with Fold via the "Easy" levels. Then advance to the more frustrating "Uneasy" levels. And when you think you finally have the mechanics mastered, give the "Doubleplus Uneasy" levels a try. A unique and original platform action puzzler just keeps getting better.

Play Fold


| Comments (30) | Views (4)

audience prizeNow that we've seen all the entries, and while the judging is underway, we invite everyone to take part by voting for your favorite(s) out of the competition finalists. Each finalist is represented by its icon along with a "vote" button next to it. The vote button will take you to a PayPal donation form where you may donate $1 (USD) or more to the respective game. (You do not need a PayPal account to vote, PayPal accepts credit cards as well.)

We are limiting voting to only those who donate as it discourages ballot stuffing. And besides, it's only a dollar and these fantastic games are all worth more than that, don't you think? No one is obligated to vote, and all we are asking for is a single dollar from each of you.

At the end of the week, all of the votes will be tallied and the game that receives the most community votes will be awarded the Audience Prize of $200! and a Sierra Switchball game!

All proceeds* from your vote donations will go directly to the game designer(s) you voted for. Of course you may donate more than a dollar when you vote, though your vote will still count as just one vote. (*Your donation less any fees PayPal deducts prior to our receiving it. For reference: PayPal takes $0.33 from a one-dollar donation, but only $0.45 from a five-dollar donation.)

The deadline to vote is this Sunday, October 21, 2007 at 11:59 PM (GMT-5:00).

To cast your vote, simply use the PayPal ("Vote") link next to the game icon you wish to vote for, and then enter your donation amount in the PayPal form and click update total. Thank you kindly for your anticipated contributions of support for this very talented group of Flash game designers. =)

Total from voting... $652.89!
We have exceeded the donations record set by CGDC #3!!! Thanks to everyone who voted. Thank you for your kind support of these competitions.

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Rating: 4.5/5 (32 votes)
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stormwinds.jpgJohnBNew from Hero Interactive, creator of Bubble Tanks and Light Sprites, is a unique combination of tower defense and role playing genres (with a little BowMaster Prelude thrown in for good measure) called Storm Winds. Defending the last fort against an oncoming enemy, you must purchase and place turrets on the structure and keep them in good working order. As enemy waves fly in, select a turret and start firing. It's an intruiging combination of game types that's both strategy-oriented and action-packed.

A tutorial session shows you the basics of Storm Winds before you start your first mission. It's really straightforward, though, and if you have even a little experience in strategy games you'll feel right at home. Before each wave of enemies attack you have the chance to buy many different weapon turrets and support machinery to place on the fort to the left. You can only have three at a time, but a storage box lets you temporarily retire purchased equipment for later use. Each item has a unique use and weapons have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the machine gun turret fires at a rapid rate but its bullets do little damage. Forming a balanced mix of guns is a key to survival, but how you stock your fort is ultimately your decision (and part of the fun).

When enemies appear, click on a turret, aim, and start firing. No automatic destruction for you! Enemies range from tiny 'copters to large airships and have a number of varied attacks between them. The end result is always the same, though: they hurt you, so you have to hurt them first. Each destroyed foe earns you some experience points and cash to buy more weapons after the round is over.

Storm Winds is free, of course, but developer Hero Interactive has included a special deluxe package that adds three new items to buy (meteor gun, anyone?), new enemies, more levels, and a second boss to defeat. You can grab the extra content for $5 and it's well worth the donation, but it isn't necessary to enjoy or beat the game.

Analysis: The first thing that drew me into Storm Winds was its visual presentation. Nice, sleek images create a very clean look that simultaneously conveys a somewhat "dirty" feel of desperation defending the last fort from seemingly endless swarms of foes. Good art direction, and the music fits the atmosphere like a glove.

One point worth mentioning is the lack of sound effects. I didn't notice it until well into the game, but guns firing and enemies exploding are all completely quiet. On the one hand it feels a bit awkward to have all this action without aural feedback, and on the other it creates an interesting separation between the player and the game, turning you into the non-participating war general who can make the tough decisions without having to feel the impact on a personal level (even though you directly cause the destruction). The game gets by just fine without the added noise, so perhaps the silent treatment was the best way to go.

As the waves of enemies get stronger, so does your arsenal. Storm Winds progresses quite nicely and without any sort of hassle, creating a very pleasant experience. For a war game, that is. The inclusion of difficulty levels is a nice touch, and being able to save and return to the game at any time makes it a winner.

An excellent blending of genres, Storm Winds gives you instant gratification and plenty of reasons to come back for more.

Play Storm Winds


| Comments (25) | Views (8)

Game Design Competition #4ArcadeTownFree World GroupArmor GamesSierra OnlineSince beginning the Casual Gameplay Design Competitions in August, 2006, each competition has presented us with an impressive collection of entries, as well as a few challenges to deal with, too. This time the unprecedented number of entries received was unexpected, and it has forced us to take steps to reduce that number to facilitate the next two stages: community voting towards the Audience Award prize, and the final round of judging to determine the winners of the competition.

Instead of narrowing the field first, we opted for a compromise to allow every entry to receive feedback and constructive criticism from the community. For future competitions that receive more than about 25 entries, however, you can expect that we will pre-select only the best entries to represent the competition. This is consistent with the principles on which this site was built, and is based upon our emphasis and celebration of quality casual gameplay experiences.

And now, here are the finalists for Casual Gameplay Design Competition #4 (in order of appearance):

Note: Some developers have chosen to update their entries based on feedback they received from the community, indicated by "(updated)". Please refer to each entry's comment thread (link provided) for details.

Factory Balls Factory Balls
...by Bart Bonte
Roll Roll
...by Ben Gillbanks
The Tall Stump The Tall Stump
...by Team MAW (Adam Wilkinson, Alex May and Handre DeJager)
Absolute Awesome Ball Game Absolute Awesome Ball Game (updated)
...by Felix Reidl
Day of the Bobteds Day of the Bobteds
...by Rob Allen
Mr. MothBall Mr. MothBall
...by Mateusz Skutnik
Save the Planet Save the Planet (updated)
...by Rob Gray
The Perfect Shot The Perfect Shot (updated)
...by Dan Black
Stranded Stranded
...by Bart Koning
Angular Momentum Angular Momentum
...by Robert Berrier and Roland Ariens
Kaichou Kaichou (updated)
...by Ali Maunder
Koogel Koogel
...by monsterkodi
Osmosis Osmosis (updated)
...by Phillip Reagan
Space Kitteh Space Kitteh
...by Zach Archer and Miles Johnson
Rmvblls Rmvblls
...by Eduardo Omine
Contour Contour
...by Sean Hawkes
Sky Blocs Sky Blocs (updated)
...by Tom Methven
Ballonius Ballonius (updated)
...by Aaron Cox and Graham Jans
Balancing Act Balancing Act
...by Carl Foust
Jig Easy, Sam Jig Easy, Sam
...by Matt Slaybaugh
Ballrooms Ballrooms (updated)
...by Dom Camus
Ballistic Wars Ballistic Wars (updated)
...by Wan Hazmer
Chap Hai - Way of the Dragon Chap Hai - Way of the Dragon
...by Wildsnake Software
Particle Blaster Particle Blaster
...by Gareth Thomas
Fluke Ball Fluke Ball (updated)
...by Andrew Paradise and Georg Pedersen
Bug Bug in Sky Tower Bug Bug in Sky Tower (updated)
...by Aqui Griffin
Bisection Dominion Bisection Dominion (updated)
...by Guilherme S. Töws
Entropic Space Entropic Space
...by Will Emigh, Ian Pottmeyer and Rory Starks

Congratulations to all the finalists, and we would like to thank everyone for participating. We wouldn't be able to continue providing this opportunity if it weren't for your kind support. :)

See the 'cgdc4' tag listing page for a complete list of entries.


| Comments (15) | Views (32)

MochiAds

JayToday is a special day for the Flash game development community, as it is the day that MochiAds throws open its doors to everyone. Previously an invitation-only closed beta, anyone with a Flash game and a dream can now sign-up to begin earning ad revenue through MochiAds.

You have probably seen MochiAds at work (and in play!) before when viewing any one of thousands of Flash games that use them already. They are the short image ads that are displayed while a game is loading, or sometimes that appear in between levels of a game.

Adding MochiAds to your game is very easy, and it's FREE. There is absolutely no cost to use the service. You can even use MochiAds to host your game, too! Also free. No, there are no strings attached at all.

Here are a few highlights of the program:

  • Absolutely free
  • Simple to use
  • No contracts, no exclusivity required
  • Host your games with MochiAds at no charge
  • Turn ads on or off any time you wish, even per domain. For example: Don't want to display ads on your own site, but do want to show ads when your game is hosted elsewhere? No problem.
  • By joining the MochiAds network, you will benefit also from its distribution partners that can serve to extend your reach and increase exposure for your work.
  • Here's a sample of what the MochiAds dashboard looks like

Yes, it's a very special day for Flash game developers. Head on over to MochiAds and get signed up today. :)

MochiAds is from the good people at Mochi Media, friends of the Flash game development community and the same people responsible for MochiBot, a simple to use script that you can add to your Flash games for free tracking and statistics.


(8 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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quietnight.gifJohnBBrand new from Game Pure, creators of Speed Cluster, Oshidama and Bound Bear, is a small and simple puzzle game titled The Quiet Night. It takes the familiar Puzznic/Flipull sliding blocks formula and wraps it in a stylish media package to create something familiar that's worth playing for the atmosphere alone.

Use the mouse to slide pieces left or right. When a block reaches a gap it falls, so plan a few moves ahead so you don't find yourself in a pickle. When three or more like colors meet they vanish. The goal is to eliminate all the pieces on the board using as few moves as possible. Sandwich the snake-like icon to nab a few bonus points, but don't let that distract you from the main task.

The Quiet Night only has ten stages and the gameplay isn't anything new. But as usual, Game Pure has managed to infuse great music and soothing visuals to create a worthwhile experience. Kick back, listen to the jazz, and watch the shooting stars fly by.

Play The Quiet Night


| Comments (12) | Views (11)

weekend_download.gif

JohnBGot a little bandwidth to spare? We've got a fresh batch of downloadable games to clutter up your hard drive and eat up your precious weekend time. Most of the games have what we like to call a "classic" look or feel that hails from the days when polygons were nothing more than scribbles on your high school math notebook.

dive.gifDive (Windows/Mac, freeware, 1-3MB) - Remember the blocky graphics, primitive sounds, and basic gameplay of the old Atari gaming systems? Dive is a not-so-subtle nod to the simpler days of gaming where an arcade-style idea could keep us entertained for hours on end. Control a little diver guy as he makes his way deeper into the ocean, avoiding sharks and trying to keep his oxygen supply full. Believe it or not the game does have a proper ending, and for such a small download it gives its weight worth of fun many times over.

barbieseahorse.jpgBarbie Seahorse Adventures (Windows/Mac/Linux, freeware, ~5MB) - Don't panic! This game has nothing to do with plastic dolls! Instead, Barbie Seahorse Adventure is a platformer that took one of the top spots in April's PyWeek game design challenge. You play a cute little seahorse trying to get to the moon. Isn't that beyond adorable? The visuals are breathtaking and level design consistently keeps you interested. Just one question: what's up with the purple mohawk?

msoids.gifMSOIDS (Windows, freeware, 2.8MB) - It's Asteroids... but with spazzed-out vector graphics and a hopping chiptune musical score. Aim and fire with the mouse and move around the screen with the [WASD] keys. As an added bonus, tap the [spacebar] to shift the color palette. An online high score table keeps track of who managed to keep their eyes focused the longest.

ufoalien.jpgUFO: Alien Invasion (Windows/Mac/Linux, freeware, ~260MB) - It may be a hefty download, but plunking yourself inside this deep war strategy game might be worth it. Similar to the X-COM games, UFO: Alien Invasion lets you control a secret organization charged with defending Earth from a brutal alien attack. Build bases, assemble your teams, and engage in turn-based combat against the wily foes.


| Comments (12) | Views (21)

weekend_download.gif

JohnBThis special edition of Weekend Download highlights two games that are a bit less accessible due to their large download size and lack of a playable demo. We feel they deserve some attention since each one pushes the envelope by delivering an immersive gaming experience that's both fun and engaging. We've spent a lot of time with them and are ready to sing praise from the roof (in the form of short mini-reviews), so read on to see if one could be your next slice of delicious gaming pie.

safecracker.jpgSafecracker (Windows, 316MB, full version) - Casual puzzle game, meet a Myst-like adventure. You play the role of an expert safecracker journeying through the gorgeously rendered Adams' mansion searching for clues to find the late master's will. Take in the scenery with a free-looking point of view and click to move through rooms and engage locked safes. Puzzles are brilliantly conceived and vary from safe to safe, ranging from simple tile-shuffling to more complex number/letter locks. To top it off, Safecracker is a gorgeous game with fluid controls and a deep atmosphere of mystery that constantly begs you to forge ahead to the next safe.

The overall experience of Safecracker is a bit sedated and cerebral, almost like a playable episode of Masterpiece Theater (with cool, fun puzzles). The production values are enormously high and include top-notch voice acting, a rarity in any video game. Safecracker's 35 puzzles will keep you busy for some time, and the difficulty level will stump you more than once. You'll need a little persistence to push through some of the safes, but at the end of the day it's a unique and thrilling game well worth getting your brain in a twist over.

returnmysteriousisland.jpgReturn to Mysterious Island (Windows, 913MB, full version) - Based on Jules Verne's novel The Mysterious Island, this first person adventure takes a few pages from the Myst book of game design and drenches it in a thick story filled with twists and turns. You play the role of Mina, a sailor stranded on a tropical island who discovers remnants of an ancient civilization scattered throughout the jungle. A mysterious figure seems to be haunting her and Mina suspects it to be the famous Captain Nemo. Journey through the beautifully rendered beaches, cliffs, jungles and more in search of the Nautilus as you dig deeper into the island's history to uncover its secrets.

The core gameplay in Return to Mysterious Island centers around exploration, finding items, and using those items to solve puzzles and progress to new areas. The inventory screen allows you to store and combine items to create tools, such as fashioning a spear by attaching a piece of driftwood to a knife. Puzzles usually have more than one solution, allowing you the freedom to explore and experiment. The free-looking point of view gives you plenty of opportunity to do just that.

It may have been released a few years ago, but a recent resurgence on casual gaming portals has given Return to Mysterious Island a second chance at success it so readily deserves. It's a long and satisfying adventure with all the trappings of a great puzzle game folded into a gorgeous setting with a wonderful story.


  • Currently 4.2/5
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Rating: 4.2/5 (551 votes)
| Comments (153) | Views (3,832)

ArtbegottiEscape the Phone BoothImagine for a second that you're Superman. You hear a cry of distress with your super-hearing! Quick! Find the nearest phone booth so you can change into your blue and red pajamas! You find one in a local park, and you step inside to make your change.

The problem is, this phone booth was designed by Shawn Tanner.

Escape: The Phone Booth is the third installment in the popular "Escape" series that has you facing off against a phone booth. As usual, there is no plot behind your encasement. All that matters is that you need to escape! The queue of items at your disposal is extremely limited, so you need to make the best of what you can in such a tight space... Ow, my elbow!

This challenge makes good use of the telephone, which brings a new batch of audio puzzles to the point-and-click atmosphere. Unfortunately, this also means that you must be able to hear the audible content to advance within the game (negative points for accessibility).

One running factor in this series is the ticking clock in the corner, which pressures you to escape as quickly as possible. However, I'm not proud to admit that I took over twenty minutes to escape the booth on my first try! Surely, someone can escape faster? (Obviously, escape times beyond your first try don't count.)

So if you're ready to get stuck once again, step inside...

Play Escape the Phone Booth

Play the entire Escape Series...


| Comments (12) | Views (14)

JohnBTwo major events — the 13th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition and the 10th annual Independent Games Festival — are underway, sending a deluge of top-quality games right into our collective gaming laps. Interactive fiction continues to blossom as authors push the boundaries of gaming with better stories and deeper gameplay using nothing more than the written word. Most of the IGF games aren't available for download just yet, but you'll recognize some of the games/authors and immediately jump for joy. Combined, these events deliver (or will deliver) more than 200 games to the world. That's a lot of Saturday afternoons spent in front of the computer screen.

worldofgoo1.jpgThe organizers of the 10th annual Independent Games Festival have revealed the massive list of 173 entries into the 2008 competition (some of which are available to download) from developers ranging from studios to garage programmers around the world. GameSetWatch has culled a few of the most noteworthy games from the list, including titles such as Fret Nice, a full version of the Crayon Physics game titled Crayon Physics Deluxe, and the evolution of Tower of Goo into World of Goo. There are tons of exciting projects on the list showing off the designers' enormous talents.

ifcomp2007.gifThe 2007 Interactive Fiction Competition is also underway with 29 entries received and ready for download. Each year at least one game turns heads in the IF community with a surprisingly deep story or creative new gameplay mechanic. Voting ends November 15, so start working your way through the list! If you're too overwhelmed with text adventuring goodness to know where to start, IF author Emily Short (Floatpoint) is reviewing the entries on her blog.


  • Currently 4.5/5
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Rating: 4.5/5 (23 votes)
| Comments (33) | Views (33)

nanobots.gifPatrickNanobots is the latest from the web-game nanofactory assembly line that is Nitrome. While not as inventive as some of its other releases, Nanobots takes your classic shoot-em-up, wraps it in a cool metaphor of nanomachines fighting inside a cell, and polishes it to a shiny finish. The result is one of the best Flash-based shmups on the internet.

The game puts you at the helm of a little pod that you control with the mouse or keyboard. It can move forward, backward, and pivot in any direction. The ship is always firing, which is sort of de riguer for any shmup that's honest with its genre. You must blast away (with well-toned sound effects and animated explosions reminiscent of Mega Man) wave after wave of invasive machines with one major catch: the nanobots are color-coded and can only be destroyed by weapons of the same shade.

For example, the pink 'bots have to be shot using your pink bullets, yellow enemies must be destroyed with your yellow bombs, while green foes can only be eliminated if you equip the orbiting green mace. You can only possess one weapon at a time, adding another layer of prioritization ot your melee blastastcity.

Analysis: For all its charms and well-oiled tunings, Nanobots suffers from one glaring flaw — no intra-level saves. This isn't 1982 and we're not playing a quarter-munching arcade game. Put some checkpoints in-between waves so we don't have to repeat a ten minute sequence if we die just short of the level's end. That's a basic rule of core game design, much less casual game design, that should be a little more forgiving.

Shrink down for a fantastic journey into the depths of the human shmup.

Play Nanobots

The game is also available to play at the MTV Arcade.


| Comments (94) | Views (82)

Link Dump Fridays

JohnBWhew! After rolling out tons of amazing competition entries over the last two weeks, it's time to take a little breather to see what the rest of the casually-oriented internet has been up to. A small sampling of what we found: a pair of racing cacti, a prawn on ice, exploding cats, aliens fighting humans, and a guy reading a newspaper. In other words, business as usual!

  • offtherails.gifOff the Rails - Another release from Nitrome, the studio behind Skywire and Hot Air 2, Off the Rails is really about staying on the rails as you race across the tracks pumping the keyboard as fast as you can. It's a simple racer with the usual Nitrome style of visuals and presentation.
  • flashportal.gifPortal: The Flash Version - Holy copyright infringement, Batman! Just days after Valve released the physics-bending game Portal, intrepid designers at We Create Stuff have turned it into a 2D puzzle/platformer. An impressively accurate depiction of the game that's fun in its own right, even if you haven't wrapped your head around its big brother.
  • 5differences.gif5 Differences - At first it seems like yet another bland "What's different between these two pictures?" games, but then you realize it's got a little more oomph thanks to a slick design and dynamic images that change as you find the differences.
  • thevisitor.gifThe Visitor - A great looking game that blends Hapland-type gameplay with a point-and-click adventure. Help a worm-like space visitor work its way to and through the house by clicking on objects to see what they do. Interesting twist: you grow larger by... well, you'll see. May be a little too graphic for kids due to some depictions of violence.
  • starfighter.gifStarfighter: Disputed Galaxy - A free roaming space RPG that puts you in the role of Humans or Aliens as you battle your way across the galaxy, completing missions and upgrading ships along the way. You even battle against other people in the multiplayer sectors of the game. Starfighter may seem a bit too complex for most casual gamers, so be sure to read the instructions before diving in.
  • prawnwild.gifPrawn to be Wild: Chapter 2 - Another quirky clicker that borrows the Hapland-style of gameplay, Prawn to be Wild charges you with the task of rescuing the little shrimp from the certain status of a meal.
  • rebound.gifRebound - Set fences and adjust their angle to bounce the happy little ball to the goal.

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Rating: 4.7/5 (63 votes)
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zxoLaunchball(We now resume our regular programming already in progress...)

From the award-winning Preloaded design team comes a new physics-based game designed for the Science Museum in London. Launchball is a fabulously produced take on the 'guide something to the goal' family of physics games.

For each level, you are given a limited set of movable blocks. The existing blocks on the level are, of course, immobile. Drag blocks from your inventory onto the level to place them. Besides the standard ramps and springs, there are many different types of blocks for your benefit (or detriment as the case may be). For example, there are fans and electromagnets to help get your ball moving. However, these require electricity, which may come from a number of different sources, including battery power, wind power, solar power, and geothermal power. And of course, the electricity has to get to these devices somehow. That's where the copper blocks come in. Copper also conducts heat.

One nice thing about Launchball is that all of the blocks snap to a grid, minimizing the fine-tuning that you'll have to do to complete some levels. However, the flip side of that coin is that the base levels are pretty easy (despite being titled Hard, Insane, and Beyond), which is understandable, considering the target demographics of most science museums. Many of the puzzles are a simple matter of placing the missing link back into a system, and often you are given more blocks than necessary to complete the puzzle.

But here's where user-designed puzzles come to the rescue! Yes, there is a level editor and you can send your levels to all your friends and submit them to the level database. Although the database is pretty small right now, once the traffic picks up it should become quite laden with challenging levels.

As for the style and production — it's Preloaded; need we say more? There's nice touches all over the place. Personally, I really dig the iconic block symbols and the soft but dissonant chords that accompany every collision. The physics seem a little damped at times, though in actuality they are probably more realistic (if less entertaining) than similar games.

Play Launchball


| Comments (24) | Views (0)

JayGame Design Competition #4ArcadeTownFree World GroupArmor GamesSierra OnlineNow that all the entries are up, I think most everyone will agree that nearly 50 entries is quite a lot to include in a competition like this(!) And while we want everyone to have the opportunity to receive the valuable feedback and constructive criticism the JIG community is so good at providing, we must also take steps to reduce the field to a more manageable size.

Therefore, the 7 competition judges will now take the next few days to select the group of finalists that will move on to the final two stages: the Audience award voting and the final round of scoring. We hope to announce the finalists on Monday, with voting for the Audience award beginning on Tuesday.

In the meantime, we encourage each designer/developer/team to update their games, based on the feedback received from the community, and send them to us.

Although we always encourage updates and bug fixes during each of our competitions to help each game reach its maximum potential, the original submitted entries will continue to be what the judges use to narrow the field and for the final round of scoring. For Audience Prize voting, however, you are free to base your voting decisions on the original submission, the update, or whether you are a friend or family member of the designer/developer or team. It's completely up to you.

For our future reviews of each of the competition finalists, we will use the most recent update of the game that we have at the time of publishing.

We will continue to post the updates as they become available to us. A reload of the competition UI is all that is necessary to receive each update when made available. I encourage each developer to post a comment to their respective thread indicating any changes made.

Casual Gameplay Design Competition #4We wish to thank everyone who has participated by sending in an entry, or by providing feedback thus far on the entries posted. Your continued participation ensures that we will continue to host these competitions. =)


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Entropic SpaceFlash Game Design CompetitionThe final entry(!) to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Will Emigh, Ian Pottmeyer, and Rory Starks (Studio Cypher) of Indiana (US). Please give a warm welcome with your kind feedback in the comments.

Entropic Space is an action game of colliding planets to collect the debris they leave behind while avoiding black holes and white holes. The "ball physics" theme is well represented and integrated within the gameplay.

Play Entropic Space

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=48

Yes, we've reached the end of all the entries. Please be sure to check back later this evening, as we will post an important announcement about the schedule for the remaining stages of the competition.

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Entropic Space review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (14) | Views (1)

NightmareFlash Game Design CompetitionThe penultimate entry(!) to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from wonderwhy-er of Latvia. Please welcome wonderwhy-er with your kind feedback and constructive criticism in the comments.

Nightmare is an action game of fighting monsters with your bare hands. The "ball physics" theme has been implemented within the underlying game engine rather than in the gameplay itself.

Play Nightmare

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=47


(3 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (13) | Views (6)

UFootballFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Luís Lampreia of Portugal. Please welcome Luís with your kind feedback and constructive criticism in the comments.

UFootball is a single-player game of soccer ("football" to most everyone else) that implements the "ball physics" theme well within the ball-based gameplay.

Play UFootball

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=46


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

BounceFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Jerry Liu and Charles Zinn from Ontario (Canada). Please provide your kind feedback for Jerry and Charles in the comments.

Two Ball is an open-ended action game in which the objective is to hit the grey ball with the orange swirl ball using the mouse. Alternative control methods are also available. The "ball physics" theme is represented well within the gameplay.

Play Two Ball

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=45


(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (16) | Views (3)

BounceFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Daniel Vandali of Australia, and this is Daniel's first competition with us so please give him a warm welcome.

Bounce is an arcade-style action game in which the "ball physics" theme is well represented by the ball objects in play. The objective is to activate all orange balls in play by knocking into them. Your means of control is a grappling hook, and a few different power-ups to aid you. Avoid the walls. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Daniel in the comments.

Play Bounce

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=44


(8 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (23) | Views (3)

Bubbles 2Flash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from Manuel Fallmann of Austria. If you're a regular visitor here, then it's likely you have played a variety of Manuel's games before.

Bubbles 2 is an arcade-style action game of collection and avoidance that incorporates a bit of "ball physics" within the bubbles themselves. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Manuel in the comments.

Play Bubbles 2

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=43


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Bisection DominionFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Guilherme Töws of Brazil, another fresh name to the CGDC.

Bisection Dominion is an arcade-style action game that uses gestural input to split bubbles (incorporating the "ball physics" theme) in two until they are so small they are eliminated from play. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Guilherme in the comments.

Play Bisection Dominion

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=42

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Bisection Dominion review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


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Bug Bug in Sky TowerFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from Aqui Griffin of Washington (US). You might remember Aqui from our "grow" themed competition back in March with his entry, enQbate.

Bug Bug in Sky Tower is a platformer in which the "ball physics" theme can be seen within the player character itself as well as in other elements of the game. Please leave your kind and constructive feedback for Aqui in the comments.

Play Bug Bug in Sky Tower

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=41

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Bug Bug in Sky Tower review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(8 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (58) | Views (5)

Mathematigolf: The CGDC OpenFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from David Beers of California (US). David is also new to our competitions, so please give him a warm welcome by providing your feedback in the comments.

Mathematigolf: The CGDC Open is a golf game that includes 3 courses of 10 holes each with terrain that affect "ball physics" in unique ways not usually seen in golf games.

Play Mathematigolf: The CGDC Open

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=40


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Fluke BallFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is a game designed by Andrew Paradise with art and characters by Georg Pedersen. The game's authors are from Massachusetts (US).

Fluke Ball is a turn-based strategy game in which players take turns tossing common office objects toward a microwave and the strange phenomenon that surrounds it. The game includes a creative interpretation of the "ball physics" theme. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticisms for Andrew and Georg in the comments.

Play Fluke Ball

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=39

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Fluke Ball review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(0 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (34) | Views (3)

Explode Ball for High ScoreFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Ian Barber and Ben Gray of the UK, and it is their first competition with us.

Explode Ball for High Score is an aptly named action game based on a very simple idea and in which the "ball physics" theme is represented well within the gameplay. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Ian and Ben in the comments.

Play Explode Ball for High Score

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=38


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Particle BlasterFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from Gareth Thomas ("Gaz") of the UK. Gaz may be new to the competitions but his games are familiar here at JIG: Square Divide was featured in a recent Link Dump.

Particle Blaster is an arcade style geometric shape shooter that integrates the "ball physics" theme within the gameplay. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Gaz in the comments.

Play Particle Blaster

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=37

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Particle Blaster review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


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Chap Hai - Way of the DragonFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from Wildsnake Software of Russia. Although new to the CGDC, you may remember reading about another Wildsnake game here in a recent review of Shuffle.

Chap Hai - Way of the Dragon is an action strategy game of skill in which "ball physics" plays an important role in gameplay also similar to pool. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticism in the comments.

Play Chap Hai - Way of the Dragon

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=36

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Chap Hai - Way of the Dragon review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


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Ballistic WarsFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Wan Hazmer of Malaysia, with character design and animation by Megat Daim. Hazmer is new to our competitions, so please give him a warm JIG welcome.

Ballistic Wars is a turn-based strategy game in which the "ball physics" theme is represented by gameplay similar to pool. Please provide Hazmer with your kind feedback and constructive criticism in the comments.

Play Ballistic Wars

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=35

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Ballistic Wars review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


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BallroomsFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Dom Camus of the UK. You may remember Dom from our 3rd competition with his entry, The Turtles of Time.

This time Dom delivers a pinball game with a twist in Ballrooms, an entry that incorporates the "ball physics" theme in a straightforward implementation. Please leave your kind and considerate feedback for Dom in the comments.

Play Ballrooms

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=34

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Ballrooms review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Comments (0) | Views (0)

Jig Easy, SamFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is from Matt Slaybaugh of Delaware (US), and this is Matt's 3rd competition with us. You may remember playing Frog and Vine, a fine collection of parlor games from CGDC #2, as well as Parley from CGDC #3.

Jig Easy, Sam is an action game of bouncing household products falling from an apartment complex into a moving truck by strategically placing various items that act as bumpers. The "ball physics" theme is represented by stuffing every item and bumper into a plastic bubble. Please leave your kind and considerate feedback for Matt in the comments.

Play Jig Easy, Sam

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=33


(3 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (19) | Views (6)

LynzFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry (number 32 in case you're keeping track) is from Eric Whitmire of North Carolina (US). It is Eric's first competition with us, so please give him a warm welcome.

Lynz is an action puzzle game with drawing-based gameplay that encompasses the "ball physics" theme. Please provide your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Eric in the comments.

Play Lynz

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=32


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Balancing ActFlash Game Design CompetitionNext up is an entry from Carl Foust of Indiana (US). You may remember Carl's highly imaginative entry from CGDC #3, the Super Earth Defense Game!

Balancing Act takes the theme of "ball physics" and translates that directly into gameplay in which you must keep balls (and other objects) in a state of balance. Please leave your kind and considerate feedback for Carl in the comments.

Play Balancing Act

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=31

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Balancing Act review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (1)

BalloniusFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Aaron Cox and Graham Jans of British Columbia (Canada), new participants to the CGDC.

Ballonius is an action arcade-style game of collecting energy while avoiding bubbles with elastic "ball physics" properties. Please post your kind and constructive comments for Aaron and Graham about their game.

Play Ballonius

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=30

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Ballonius review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (29)

Sky BlocsFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is a game from Tom Methven of the UK, participating in a CGDC for the first time.

Sky Blocs is a block tumbling, chain reaction puzzle game that includes an implementation of "ball physics" within elements of the gameplay. Please leave your kind and constructive feedback for Sky Blocs in the comments.

Play Sky Blocs

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=29

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Sky Blocs review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (8)

ContourFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from Sean Hawkes and Brian Mooney of Louisiana (US). You may remember Sean from our first competition as he was responsible for 3 of the entries: the prize-winning Clack, as well as Weight and Houses. Sean is also the designer behind Orbit from CGDC #2.

Contour is an action puzzler in an isometric pseudo-3D perspective that integrates "ball physics" within the gameplay. Please give Sean your kind and constructive feedback on his game in the comments.

Play Contour

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=28

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Contour review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (0)

RmvbllsFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is a game from Eduardo Omine of Brazil, another newcomer to our CGDC festivities.

Rmvblls is a goal-based action game in which the objective is to remove the required number of balls from play. The "ball physics" theme is present here in a straightforward implementation. Please provide Eduardo your kind and constructive feedback on his game in the comments.

Play Rmvblls

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=27

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Rmvblls review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(1 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (31) | Views (1)

Break IntoFlash Game Design CompetitionJust past the half-way point, the next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Derek Brandao of Washington (US).

Break Into is an action arcade-style game in which you must hit balls into a goal to move on to the next level. The "ball physics" theme in this game is a straightforward implementation with a Gimme Friction Baby twist. Please offer up your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Derek in the comments.

Play Break Into

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=26


(8 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (41) | Views (10)

DeconFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is another game that comes from Texas (US), this time from Kevin Mintmier and Mutizwa Chirunga representing LTD (Living the Dream) Studios.

Decon is a game of chain reactions with a unique twist that implements the "ball physics" theme. Please give Kevin and Mutizwa a warm JIG welcome by providing the valuable feedback and constructive criticism that you do so well in the comments.

Play Decon

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=25


| Views (2)

Space KittehFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Zach Archer and Miles Johnson from Oregon (US), both new to the JIG competitions.

Space Kitteh is a platform game of planetary jumping and saving kittens that implements the "ball physics" theme in an outer space adventure. Kindly give Zach and Miles a warm JIG welcome by leaving your feedback and constructive criticisms in the comments.

Play Space Kitteh

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=24

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Space Kitteh review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(3 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (22) | Views (2)

Heavy Metal Goreblood Extreme of Death 800XFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from Martin Jonasson of Sweden. And while this is Martin's first competition with us, you may have seen some of his games before here on JIG.

And with apologies to Martin for not being able to fit the full name of his game within the competition framework, his entry Heavy Metal Goreblood Extreme of Death 800X may deserve a prize for the longest game name in the competition. Goreblood, for short, is a projectile shooting game in a classic 'defend your castle' setting, except it's a brain you are defending from a horde of zombie nuns. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Martin in the comments.

Play Goreblood

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=23


(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (22) | Views (5)

Spin BallFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from Rey Gazu of Argentina. Rey has also participated in our previous competitions with the prize-winning Cyberpunk from CGDC #1, and the remarkable Time Raider from CGDC #3.

Spin Ball is a unique arcade style "game" of swinging a spinning ball around to destroy various enemies that differ in their weakness. The rest is for you to discover. Please leave your kind feedback and constructive criticism for Rey (or 'Gazu' as we call him in the JIG IRC channel) in the comments.

Play Spin Ball

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=22


| Views (3)

OsmosisFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry to our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Phillip Reagan of Texas (US). You may remember Phillip as he is a prize winner from our very first competition with his game, Thief.

Osmosis is a unique platform action puzzle game that relies on gestural input to control sheep that roll and react to various "ball physics" properties. Please leave your feedback and constructive criticism for Phillip in the comments.

Play Osmosis

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=21

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Osmosis review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (70) | Views (6)

JayIsAdventureFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is a game from a team of developers, three representing Stimunation Games and two from the Flashkit games forum. The team members include: Ugur 'tomsamson' Ister, Chris 'daydream' Hildenbrand, Aleksander 'T1ger' Mork Strand, Desi A.K.A. 'Psykopig', and David 'Phreax' Hansen. This is the first time they have participated in one of our competitions so please join me in giving them a nice warm welcome.

JayIsAdventure is an old-school style graphic adventure game with a creative interpretation of the "ball physics" theme. I will say no more than that, the rest is up to you to discover and comment freely about.

Play JayIsAdventure

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=20


| Views (1)

KoogelFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Monsterkodi of Germany. You may be familiar with one of Monsterkodi's excellent puzzle games previously mentioned here, Kiki the Nano Bot.

Koogel is a unique game that leverages the "ball physics" theme visually as well as integrates it within the gameplay. Please give Monsterkodi a warm JIG welcome by leaving your feedback and constructive criticisms in the comments.

Play Koogel

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=19

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Koogel review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (3)

KaichouFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry comes from Ali Maunder of VarStudios in the UK. You may know Ali from his previous efforts that have been reviewed here: Neon series and Abstract Sea.

Kaichou is an 'experimental' shooter created expressly for this "ball physics" competition. Please offer up some feedback and constructive criticism for Ali in the comments.

Play Kaichou

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=18

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Kaichou review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


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

JaboFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next competition entry comes from Russia (with love) by another two-person creative team: Eugene Karataev (Flash developer) and Artem Popov (artist).

Jabo is an acronym for Jump And Ball Operation, and it somewhat describes the basic premise of Eugene's and Artem's action game starring a frog with a very long tongue. Use the frog's tongue as a grappling hook to propel yourself towards the shining star. The rest is up to you. Please continue the wonderful comments you folks have been giving to each of the participants in the comments.

Play Jabo

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=17


| Views (4)

Angular MomentumFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry comes from The Netherlands and a team of two game developers who are new to our competitions: Robert Berrier and Roland Ariens.

Angular Momentum is an action puzzle game in which momentum plays an important role in the gameplay, as does the "ball physics" theme. Please give Robert and Roland a warm welcome by posting your feedback and kind constructive criticism in the comments.

Play Angular Momentum

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=16

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Angular Momentum review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Comments (1) | Views (6)

StrandedFlash Game Design CompetitionAnother long time JIG visitor participating in his first Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Bart Koning from New Zealand reels in the next entry for you.

Stranded is an action game of catching fish by tossing stones into the water and knocking them out. While the "ball physics" may not be all that obvious, I'm sure it's in there somewhere (the stones must be ball-shaped.) Please leave Bart your feedback and kind constructive criticism in the comments.

Play Stranded

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=15


| Views (7)

The Perfect ShotFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up for your review is a game by Dan Black of Ohio (US), also new to our competitions. There seems to be a lot of new people participating this time, and we are very excited. So please join us in giving Dan a warm welcome.

No, it's not a poker game (doesn't that look like a poker chip?). The Perfect Shot is a ball-tossing game that uses "ball physics" and some gestural input as the basis for its gameplay. And as always, provide Dan with some awesome constructive criticism and praise in the comments.

Play The Perfect Shot

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=14

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the The Perfect Shot review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(1 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (29) | Views (5)

Asteroid PilotFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is an entry from another newcomer to our competitions, this one from Sebastian Mayer of Germany.

Asteroid Pilot is an arcade driving, or piloting, game in which "ball physics" have been implemented as part of the design of the player-controlled spaceship. I'll leave the rest up to you to discover and discuss in the comments.

Play Asteroid Pilot

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=13


(1 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (29) | Views (1)

BackfireFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from David Durham of the UK. You may remember David from previous games featured here, the adorable Gear Puzzle from our first competition, and the exceptional Timebot from our "replay" competition.

In Backfire, David delivers an action-based arcade style game with "ball physics" integral to the gameplay. Please post your kind feedback and constructive criticisms in the comments for David.

Play Backfire

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=12


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

Moon DusterFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Jorge Goyco of Texas (US), and this is also his first competition with us.

Moon Duster implements different gravitational forces as the basis of its "ball physics" in another game based on a simple idea. Please provide Jorge a generous serving of your kind feedback and constructive criticisms in the comments.

Play Moon Duster

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=11


| Views (1)

Save the PlanetFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is from Rob Gray of the UK, and this is his first CGDC so please give him a warm JIG welcome.

Save the Planet is a projectile shooting game in which the "ball physics" theme has been implemented as gravitational force applied to spherical bodies in orbit around a planet. It's a simple idea with mesmerizing effects.

Play Save the Planet

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=10

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Save the Planet review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (4)

Mr. MothBallFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is from Mateusz Skutnik of Poland. If you enjoy point-and-click Flash games, then you are most likely familiar with Mateusz' work, as he is the creator of the popular Submachine series, as well as Covert Front and Daymare Town.

Mateusz also creates many other types of Flash games, and his competition entry, Mr. MothBall, is a platform game that includes "ball physics" within the player character. Please be kind and leave your feedback for Mateusz in the comments.

Play Mr. MothBall

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=9

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Mr. Mothball review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (2)

Day of the BobtedsFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry up is from Rob Allen of the UK. You may know Rob's work from the incredible Hapland series, or from the banner game that graces the top of the JIG homepage. He was also part of our very first competition with his entry, Keys.

In Day of the Bobteds, Rob delivers an action puzzle game based on bobteds and... "ball physics". Go figure. Please provide the wonderful feedback and constructive criticisms in the comments just like you all have been so good at doing.

Play Day of the Bobteds

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=8

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Day of the Bobteds review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (5)

Absolute Awesome Ball GameFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is from Felix Reidl of Germany. You may recall Felix earning an honorable mention in our 3rd game design competition with his ReMarkable entry, ReMaze.

This time he delivers a table-top ball game, aptly named Absolute Awesome Ball Game, in which "ball physics" is represented in a straightforward implementation. Go forth, discover and comment freely.

Play Absolute Awesome Ball Game

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=7

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Absolute Awesome Ball Game review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(1 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (51) | Views (6)

Brownie MotionFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is from Lopsidation of Maryland (US). A long-time JIG visitor, this is Lopsidation's first CGDC, so please give him a warm welcome with your feedback in the comments.

Brownie Motion implements "ball physics" in a game based on a very simple idea that demonstrates a more complex one, too (Brownian motion). Simple to understand and yet difficult to master. See for yourself...

Play Brownie Motion

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=6


(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (44) | Views (6)

Roped!Flash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is from Damir Srpèiè of Slovenia. You might remember Damir from our very first competition with his popular and creative entry, Personal Universe.

Roped! implements "ball physics" as well as 'rope physics' in this unique puzzle game that also includes an integrated level editor and save feature. As usual, please provide your feedback and constructive criticism for Damir in the comments.

Play Roped

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=5


| Views (24)

The Tall StumpFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition comes from Team MAW, which comprises: Adam Wilkinson (Australia), Alex May (US) and Handre DeJager (South Africa), who are also new to our competitions.

The Tall Stump implements "ball physics" within the scope of a unique platform shooter game. I'm really going to keep these intros short, so that's all I'm going to say. I'll leave the rest up to you to discover and discuss in the comments.

Play The Tall Stump

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=4

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to The Tall Stump review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (4)

RollFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next game up is an entry from Ben Gillbanks (UK), and we wish Ben a warm JIG welcome as this is his first competition with us.

Roll takes "ball physics" seriously in an action puzzler that injects a variety of surfaces and contraptions into the gameplay. That's all I'm going to say, the rest is up to you to discover and discuss in the comments.

Play Roll

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=3

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Roll review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


| Views (7)

Factory BallsFlash Game Design CompetitionThe next game up is an entry from Bart Bonte of Belgium. Not only is Bart familiar with our competitions, this is his 4th CGDC as well! Thank you, Bart for your support!

Factory Balls is a puzzle game that presents a twist on what you might think of when considering the phrase "ball physics." It's a clever play on words and, well, the rest is up to you to discover.

Play Factory Balls

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=2

Note: All comments originally posted here have been moved to the Factory Balls review page. Please use that page to post your comments and questions about the game. Thank you!


(1 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (69) | Views (0)

Event HorizonFlash Game Design CompetitionHopefully the moment you've all been waiting for! We'll be rolling out the entries in roughly the order we received them. Here is the first entry to our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition!!...

Event Horizon, by the_Corruptor (Canada), is action game of mouse-play that implements the "ball physics" theme and creates gameplay that revolves around it, literally. We're going to keep these introductions short and leave the discovery up to you.

Please be kind and provide feedback and constructive criticism for the game author in the comments.

Play Event Horizon

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=1


| Comments (32) | Views (1)

JayCasual Gameplay Design Competition #4We have a lot of entries to share with you, and we're going to start rolling them out as we have done before, one every few hours, so that each game has a chance to receive attention and feedback from the JIG community. It will take us about a week to publish them all, so please be patient with us.

If you are new here, or are unfamiliar with the JIG community, here are some ground rules you should familiarize yourself with:

  • This site is all about encouraging and promoting casual game design and development from around the world, especially that which is being done in Flash. Your constructive feedback is encouraged, but it is your compassion for those who create these experiences for you to play that is of the utmost importance here.
  • Insensitive comments and those without anything constructive to offer will not be published. We do not expect only praise; pointing out flaws is perfectly acceptable as well as suggestions for improvement. However, comments such as "This game sucks." will not be tolerated, so please don't waste your time.
  • In this Information Age of the Internet we are in, anonymity reins across the globe. And just because you can say anything you want due to this anonymous environment, that doesn't mean you should. Please use restraint and compassion here when providing your praise and constructive criticisms. It's the basis upon which we've built this site, so please respect that.

A lot of people have worked very hard to bring you these 50 outstanding interactive experiences we're about to share with you. Let's come together and celebrate that as a community and for the good of all those involved.

Thank you kindly for your understanding and your cooperation. =)


| Comments (21) | Views (1)

Game Design Competition #4ArcadeTownFree World GroupArmor GamesSierra OnlineThis is it! We are down to the last few hours before deadline for our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition!

The Jayisgames mail server has decided now would be a good time to stop working as designed, and emails sent to the competition4 address are failing to be delivered. But that hasn't stopped many of you from finding a way to get us your entries, and we are grateful for your perseverance. Entries have been pouring in all weekend and today, and we have already surpassed all previous competitions in terms of number of entries received, so we are very pleased!

So, if you have not yet received confirmation from us that we have received your entry, please send your entry to the Gmail address listed at the bottom of the sidebar to the left and be sure you get a confirmation from us that we have received your entry. And thank you for participating! =)


(5 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (16) | Views (76)

JohnBmicroart.jpgA new stylish title from Game Pure has just been released: Micro Art. The hybrid puzzle combines elements of SameGame and your classic match-3 game with a unique line-drawing mechanism that takes the heavy lifting off your cerebrum and shares the load with your reflexes. A pile of puzzle pieces rises on the left side of the screen while matching pieces float freely on the right. Draw a line and collect the floating pieces to make matches and keep the stack from reaching the top of the screen. The rules are a bit strange at first and the game takes some time to get used to, but once you learn the ropes you'll have a tough time tearing yourself away.

The screen is divided into two areas with the main action taking place on the right side. Gather groups of at least three pieces by clicking and dragging the mouse, almost like fishing. When you release the button, patterns of pieces on the left half of the screen (which will be shadowed) that match the pieces on your line will vanish, allowing the stack to fall and creating new groups to be eliminated.

A thin bar in the center of the screen slowly fills as you make matches. When it hits the top the music changes and a special "2nd art mode" is activated. During this time you can make matches using only two pieces, allowing you to make short work of the left-side stack. When the music hits its stride be sure you work as quickly as you can, as this can be the difference between a level-up or a game over!

As if the split screen puzzle action weren't unique enough, Micro Art includes a fun shop feature that tallies the pieces you've collected and lets you purchase items between sessions. Buy slower or faster pieces to customize your experience and make the game as intense as you can handle. All of your purchases and stats are saved between sessions, letting your quick coffee break rounds build into something more substantial.

Analysis: My first impression of Micro Art was one of confusion, frustration, and more confusion. I couldn't make sense of that rainbow-tinted line thing and its connection to the puzzle pieces on the left. Did someone leave out the instructions? After discussing the game with other JIG writers we managed to piece together a vague idea of how the game works. A few minutes later, I had it down to a science. And that's when the addiction began.

Once I knew how to play, Micro Art pulled me in like very few puzzle games have managed to do. The combination of quick-style rounds and active gameplay (as opposed to passive tile swapping) keeps you engaged at all times, and the shop system made me want to come back for more. The 2nd art mode keeps things lively, and not being penalized for losing keeps any sort of disappointment at bay. In short, Micro Art delivers one of the most completely enjoyable experiences of any puzzle game I've played. Ever.

Micro Art pulls your attention from the left to the right sides of the screen and forces you to think on your toes. The interesting fact is that the real matching game isn't in the gameplay, it's in matching what you collect on the right side with what exists on the left. In essence, the puzzle is in the game's design. And of course Game Pure infused Micro Art with an impeccable audio and visual presentation that screams "style" like few other games out there.

Micro Art is an extraordinarily addictive game that balances quick-style puzzle solving with a rewarding shop system to keep you coming back for more. Another excellent title from Game Pure!

Play Micro Art

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