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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.

54 Comments

AMAZING! My favorite game (5 Days a Stranger) has finally made its way to this site! Bravo!
This is one of the better Weekend Downloads I've seen, great job!

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If you're looking for a perfectly ordinary, mundane Knytt level, you should download Don't Eat the Mushroom. As the name implies, nothing unexpected or spooky happens. No sirree.

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Yeah, I just got that ad-mail from Bigfish saying '99 cents' last night. I instantly bought it, and was thankful that I waited until the sale. What a super deal!

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Also, I need to ask, is that Fate by Numbers worth that download? Seems intense.

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Fate by Numbers IS a pretty intense download. Not only is the file huge, but you have to either burn it to a CD or use a program that runs iso files to play it. Not very accessible, but I have to say it's worth it. The game itself isn't anything stunningly original, but watching everything unfold in video form is pretty interesting. The story is decent, the acting suffers a little from time to time, but otherwise it's very captivating.

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I can't get beyond "84.9% completed" in the Loonyland demo. I've rescued a kitten, collected 10 mushrooms, made the path to Zombieton safe and bought rubber boots. Is there a questgiver I am missing out on? Can the skull key be found somewhere in the demo version of the game?

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Actually it's 86.9%, I've also collected as many dolls as you can in the demo and been in three dungeons in the swamp. One with footsteps down the stairs and heaps of dirt around it, one with a wall around it and one just with footsteps.

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The links for 5 Days a Stranger seems to be broken for me (pics, download thingy). Is it a bandwidth problem?

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The link for 5 Days a Stranger takes me to the author's website where I used the download link from AcidPlay to get the file without any issues.

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5 Days (and the rest of the trilogy) really deserve a full review to themselves on this site, they're totally incredible. (In case anyone isn't aware, the creator of them has really become known for Zero Punctuation - his video game 'reviews' on The Escapist).

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Joining in on the 5 Days a Stranger love! Each successive game in the Trilby quadrilogy is more polished than the one before, although I think the 3rd game, Trilby's Notes, is the strongest (and creepiest) of them all. But they all pull off slowly growing suspense and moments of dread very well.

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How did you know I have a SuperMario costume in my closet?

I really love Knytt Stories - the whole Knytt atmosphere is one of my favorite things ever, so much so that I could change the lyrics to a song sung by Julie Andrews...

And Spooks! What a lovely little gem! And I'm currently downloading "What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed" from the same creator - it looks fasciating.

And I appreciate the link to download Ravenhearst for a buck - that really helps the poor college student out!

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Meh, I moved on to Spooks, but I'm sorta stuck now that I've seen most of the place.

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Fate by Numbers is a HUGE download, but I think it was worth it. The acting is decent, and the puzzles are challenging without being mind-numbingly hard, and there are no sequences requiring the reflexes of a 14 year old. The full package is like 1.2GB, so unless you have broadband, don't bother.

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Sound won't work for 5 Days a Stranger for me.

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Hey, are you supposed to have an inventory for 5 days a stranger? I don't seem to have one, and it seems to be critical for this part of the game. I only have walking, look, take, and speak.

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Scramble125: Right-click for inventory.

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Just a heads up: fate by numbers messes with your windows sound/volume settings and doesn't switch them back when you close the game or uninstall it. It's not a big deal to go in and fix it yourself, but I wasted some time until I figured out it had done that.

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You know what really bugs me? There's two cases of it here.

You're playing an adventure game, going about your own business for a half hour while you play...

And then boom, game over. Start over from the very beginning, or quit entirely? I wouldn't mind so much if it was made clear that it was a good idea to save frequently.

Do yourself a favor people, and save often. Both 5 days a stranger & spooks can end in an abrupt game over.

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Scramble: To access your inventory, click the right mouse button.

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For Spooks, you'll only get a game over if you were dumb enough not to pay attention. I mean, come on, there's only two things that will force this to occur, and they're pretty limited to one situation that you obviously avoid.

For Five Days a Stranger (and the rest of its ilk after that), you'll catch on pretty fast that you aren't playing with Barney the Dinosaur after.....well, you'll see.

The whole "Game Over" scenario can pretty much be solved with frequent saving. You'll know when to do this.....at least in the Five Days a Stranger games. Whenever the music starts to pick up or get REALLLLLLLY CREEPY FOR THE LOVE OF BENJI SAVE THE GAME YOU FOOL BEFORE HE GETS YOU.

By the way, did I mention that I've finished the whole trilogy for 5 Days a Stranger (minus the spinoff games that probably don't make sense but are still plot involved)?

And that I'm never sleeping again?

....

eep.

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Oh, and if sound (or video) isn't working for you in these AGS games (like Spooks, or that other game I don't really want to think about), there's a utility included in the download called "winsetup" that should allow you to tweak the game settings.

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Weirdguy,

In Trilby's Notes, did you have to

keep on poppin' pills

so you wouldn't totally freak out, or am I just a girly wuss?

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Here's a random, off-topic question. I recall seeing a site somewhere that had the "50 Best Freeware Games of All Time" or something like that. Cave Story and Knytt were on the list. Does anybody remember what I'm talking about?

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livejapan October 29, 2007 1:27 PM

I absolutely agree that 5 days deserves its own page. This game is probably the game that really got me into casual game play. Despite its age and how many times I've played it I still can't help but click the link and download it again. Plain and simple, this is one of the top freeware games of all time, in my humble opinion.

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lbucket,

no, you will have to use both normal and "dark" worlds at points

in Trilby's Notes.

If anyone has a question about 5 Days a Stranger or any of the quadrillogy (6 days a skeptic, Trilby's notes, 6 days a sacrifice) I'll be happy to answer them (as I've beaten them like, four times each? XD)

These games absolutely deserve a full review! This is horror plot at its BEST.

By the way, has anyone else heard about the new fully remodeled 5 Days a Stranger coming out? It's going to be based on the Half-Life 2 engine and it's due in late 2008... I hope it will be as thrilling as the original!

You can find out some more at http://www.fivedaysastranger.com/phpbb2/index.php
but if you haven't beaten ALL of the games, don't go into the spoiler section (or you'll have it ruined for you!)
Whew, that was a long post, I'm sorry =O

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has anybody gotten the merry go around puzzle? I'm stuck on that.

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There's also an excellent sequel to 5 Days a Stranger--it takes place in (gasp) space! It's called 7 Days a Skeptic.

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Wow, it's so cool that my game (Spooks) made this list. I didn't even think about the Halloween connection...it was actually released on Valentine's Day. ;)

wendy:

Definitely check out "Linus Bruckman," it's a fantastic game (and one of the characters from Spooks makes an appearance :). The game was actually done by Vince Twelve, who did all the coding for Spooks. Technically, we're separate developers. My website is Lively Ivy.

smjjames:

Hint #1

The Scary-Go-Round riddle gives you a list of six numbers

Hint #2

These indicate the order you're supposed to press the hydra eyes

I give up!

6, 2, 1, 5, 4, 3

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Hmm. Just finished the 4th game in the series starting with 5 Days. Definitely the thing as a whole deserves a review. I was disappointed at the ending as it slipped into the obscure, it seemed. Oh well.

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5 days a stranger doesn't work for me. Even after fiddling with the settings and everything all I get is a black window and some music.

The music is nice though. Soothing.

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There's often no way to die in adventure games, so players may purposefully pick a "dumb" option just to see what happens. If this option kills them, with no sort of "undo" ability, a ways into an otherwise harmless game... that's not good design. Either warn the player beforehand, whether with a blatant message or simply by making a dangerous game where the player will learn that death can happen early on, or let the player go back a step when they die so they don't have to start over.

That said, I loved Spooks. Started playing 5 Days a Stranger, but I seem to be stuck near the beginning, with nothing apparent to do... I'll have to find a walkthrough soon, I guess. Probably something silly I overlooked.

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Right. What Alice said.

For those of us who grew up on Secret of Monkey Island, Loom and the like, adventure games are about exploring and often humor.

Both Spooks & 5 days sort of give off the same vibe as those games, so it's kind of alarming when you just give something a shot, and lose 1-5 hours of your time.

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Is 5 Days a Stranger really that scary? Is it like, pop up scary, or scary where I don't wanna be alone at night? Everyone seems to like this game, but I can't do games that are too scary (i.e. Exmortis). Thanks!

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hey Ivy, dont you have a sequel to Spooks? I saw on your site or a different one about a sequel bieng made for this game.

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Tried out "5 Days" on another computer and it works.

First to answer ErikaW, no, this one is not that kind of scary. This is a horror-themed adventure reminiscent of old CGA/EGA Lucas Arts adventures (Loom, Maniac Mansion, Zak MacKracken, MI1). Nothing will jump out and scare you - you are more likely to get mad because your character will get killed and you will realize you did not save for a long time.

And that's my first gripe with this game. I don't like when adventure games suddenly brake into a "cut-scene" after which I have 2 seconds to react or I get killed. Good thing I've read the readme file and these comments and I saved my game a LOT, because if I didn't the first time I got killed I'd probably nuke the game from orbit.

I also didn't like how the designer decided chose the "Sierra" instead of "Lucas Arts" approach. In Sierra adventures you frequently had to revisit same locations again and again to check if something has changed (and it's often something quite subtle). In Lucas Arts adventures the change was always obvious, logical and more often then not a direct result of something you did. But since this game isn't so content or locations-heavy, it's not a significant drawback.

To be fair, this is mostly a work of one man, who gave the game for free to everyone, so it's hard to be too harsh on it. This ain't no Secret of Monkey Island or Simon the Sorcerer, but still is a VERY playable point-and-click adventure. If you can stomach the retro graphics, cheesy story and small incosistencies in game logic, you'll probably love this (and its few sequels).
Bottom line is I recommend it heartily. Try it and see.

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Ugh. Why does everyone like 5 Days so much? I found it to be almost completely rubbish. In detail...

That thing I mentioned being stuck on? Turns out I have to push the tree AFTER I talk to Simone. The tree is in no way connected to her, and there's no visible indication of anything being different about it - having gone outside before coming across Simone, and trying to push the tree then, why would I try again?
Actually, I hadn't even tried pushing the tree; I wanted to climb it. Push is just what my character did, even though it'd be a pretty ridiculous thing to do to a tree of that size. After you cut down the tree later, if you try to use it, it'll even say "there's not enough left to climb"... a rather disconnected line, given that it wouldn't let you try to climb it before.
The script doesn't stand out as being bad, aside from a few moments ("My car appeared in the backyard!" "Yeah, I saw. It's your car, isn't it?"), but it's rather ordinary fare.
Interaction between characters outside of the main storyline sequences is... nonexistant. For example, I could ask the kid to follow me, then talk to Simone, ask her if she's seen the others (with the kid standing right next to me) and get the response, "I haven't seen either of them all day."
And while there's nothing wrong with a linear storyline... it's a bit ridiculous that none of the characters even try to break away from the obvious rails. Seriously, you have a guy digging up half the yard to try and tunnel out, but he doesn't even try to break a window? Even the character you control can't do anything! What kind of thief gets stymied by a jammed window? You break down a wall at one point in the game; why not break down a wall that leads OUTSIDE?
Sure, some suspension of disbelief is generally required to enjoy a story... but this game didn't even try to be believable.
The gameplay was the worst part. That bit I mentioned about talking to an unrelated character and then going outside to push on a tree? That's hardly unique; there are many similar situations where you'll end up inexplicably stuck if you happen to try one thing before what you're "supposed" to do next. Having to talk to Philip about the metal detector before you can pick up the map in the library, for another example... I ended up using a walkthrough for about half the game, and I don't think I missed anything but frustration.
Why do you even need to get the metal detector from Philip, anyway? Would it be so odd to just ask him where the damn pipe is? Or just find it by brute force? There are only a few possible spots for it...
And what's he digging with? There's no shovel to be found, ever. What happened to your equipment when you got locked up? Sigh, I could go on for quite a while...

Ordinary storyline, ordinary characters, clunky interface, no allowance for deviation from the often arbitrary default series of events, frustration brought on by having to repeat a particular obscure action which previously did nothing after doing a particular unrelated action somewhere else, not even a token illusion of being on anything other than very strict rails... would some of you who like this game explain what's so good about it? Aside from a couple bits of atmosphere that managed to come off well, I can't find anything. And I love horror games.

I tried 7 Days, afterwards, in hopes it'd be better... found out that it has an even worse interface (I have to click on two different things to perform any action? Seriously, wtf?), and quit. Maybe I'll play through later with a walkthrough beside me, just to look for any more interesting bits of atmosphere and find out if the storyline becomes any more intriguing. It doesn't seem like it'll be likely to be worth struggling through, otherwise.

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How exactly is finding dead bodies not a warning to save? I guess we're all pretty much desensitized by the fact that dead bodies usually mean the thing that killed them is lurking nearby.

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I just finished 6 Days a Sacrifice (the 4th and last Chzo Mythos game) and I loved them. That said, I do understand Alice's complaints. But most of those things didn't bother me that much. I never had any complaints about the "logic" of the house because its established very early on that the house -just- -doesn't- -let- -you- -out-. Period.
Complaints about some of the more annoying puzzles... and a not so great interface. Those I can appreciate a bit more. Perhaps the reason they didn't bother me so much is because I've played a lot of both graphical and text based adventure games in my years, and I've played some that were as bad or worse than this one (in my opinion) that were designed by a whole team and put out commercially as opposed to being created by one man and released for free.
But mostly I really enjoyed the story. That's the main reason I play adventure games of any kind. For the story. And I thought the story just got better and better through each of the four games. But that said, if it's not grabbing you, then it's probably not worth spending your time.

Oh, and regarding Trilby's Notes... I did rant and rave about this one to myself for awhile because of the interface. It is my contention that that style of interface (graphical presentation but with a text based interface) combines the WORST of graphical and text based games. That said, after playing for awhile, I decided that its interface and setup was better done (or at least more forgiving), in my opinion, than any commercial game with that kind of interface I'd ever played.

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HEY JAY! Listen, I don't deal with PayPal due to previous problems, but I'd gladly pay for some of these games and donate to some of these gamers you so nicely promote. Is there another way I can do so without worry? Can this be done on your site? MCF really looks like fun and I think all of these game 'developers' (for lack of the appropriate jargon) and your site should reel in some bucks. I'm ready if you could please advise. Thanks a lot for all you (and yours) continue to do for so many people. jude

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Hey Jude! :D

If you're interested in Mystery Case Files at the very tasty price of only 99 cents, you'd better hurry! The sale is only through the 31st of October (which has just passed if you're on the East coast).

I know Big Fish Games is happy to take major credit cards, but I am unsure about the other indie developers whose games we feature from time to time. I'd imagine PayPal is not mandatory with any of them.

I hope that helps!

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Hey smjjames,

Yes, I have plans to do a Spooks sequel (It's called "Skyward", although it's still in the writing stage. I won't have time to work on it seriously until next summer, unfortunately. You can't rush pixellation. ;)

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I see, ok cool :)

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Thanks so much for your help, Jay. I can't believe I didn't bother to read the deadline on MCF. I'm sorry. You absolutely gave me the info. I needed with the exception of how to donate to you/your site. I.e., do you not need monies for all of the time and effort you put into JIG? I'd be glad to shoot some bucks your way. I'd consider it one of the best investments I've ever made; I'm just unfamiliar with the financial aspect of JIG, the world's greatest gaming website ever. Thanks again for all you do. jude
p.s. Definitely a stupid question, but what happens to games such as MCF after their deadlines? Will they still be available? I appreciate it and apologize if that's been stated somewhere. ;-)

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Hey Jude! You're awesome! :D

Thanks for the kind words, it's really appreciated. A lot of effort goes into maintaining the site everyday, and there's never enough time to do everything we want to with it.

That being said, although we will gladly take donations, we would also love to see you get something in return for your generosity. :D

We have affiliate relationships with several of the major game portals (Arcade Town, Big Fish Games, and Reflexive) and earn a commission on games that are purchased by following our links to those sites.

If you're interested in helping us out, please consider purchasing a game (or two :) by using the links we provide at the bottom of all our reviews for the casual game downloads. You can also shop at our Casual Gameplay download store where anything you purchase there contributes directly to the site.

And, of course, Ravenhearst continues to be available after the deadline of the sale, you will just have to pay full price* for it now. Check out our review of Ravenhearst here.

*Note: if you're interested in purchasing several games over the period of a year, you can get a substantial discount by enrolling in the Big Fish Game Club, where you get full price games for as low as $6.99 each.

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To get back to Alice's interesting "rant", which more often then not hits the point. :)

Have you played any Sierra adventures? They were all like that. Some stuff happened somewhere without any clue whatsoever, and if you tried same things at different times you often got different results. Even worse, your character could die at any moment, and plenty of times bad game design could get you totally stuck. Oh, it was so fun when you couldn't cross the bridge almost at the end of the game just because you didn't catch the leprechaun in the woods two hours ago which appears only the fifth time you enter the area and never again. AND you can only catch it if you randomly decided to buy some butterfly net on the market at the beginning of the game. AND you have to click at the exact time to catch it or the opportunity is lost forever. OK, I'm exaggerating a bit, but still.

Anyway, I played through all those Sierra quest games, as awfully designed as they were, and I am still quite fond of those. "5 days" took me back to those old times and that's why I appreciate it. It's not a great game on any accounts, but it's good enough to pass mustard and to get the nostalgia going.

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To get back to Alice's interesting "rant", which more often then not hits the point. :)

Have you played any Sierra adventures? They were all like that. Some stuff happened somewhere without any clue whatsoever, and if you tried same things at different times you often got different results. Even worse, your character could die at any moment, and plenty of times bad game design could get you totally stuck. Oh, it was so fun when you couldn't cross the bridge almost at the end of the game just because you didn't catch the leprechaun in the woods two hours ago which appears only the fifth time you enter the area and never again. AND you can only catch it if you randomly decided to buy some butterfly net on the market at the beginning of the game. AND you have to click at the exact time to catch it or the opportunity is lost forever. OK, I'm exaggerating a bit, but still.

Anyway, I played through all those Sierra quest games, as awfully designed as they were, and I am still quite fond of those. "5 days" took me back to those old times and that's why I appreciate it. It's not a great game on any accounts, but it's good enough to pass mustard and to get the nostalgia going.

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To get back to Alice's interesting "rant", which more often then not hits the point. :)

Have you played any Sierra adventures? They were all like that. Some stuff happened somewhere without any clue whatsoever, and if you tried same things at different times you often got different results. Even worse, your character could die at any moment, and plenty of times bad game design could get you totally stuck. Oh, it was so fun when you couldn't cross the bridge almost at the end of the game just because you didn't catch the leprechaun in the woods two hours ago which appears only the fifth time you enter the area and never again. AND you can only catch it if you randomly decided to buy some butterfly net on the market at the beginning of the game. AND you have to click at the exact time to catch it or the opportunity is lost forever. OK, I'm exaggerating a bit, but still.

Anyway, I played through all those Sierra quest games, as awfully designed as they were, and I am still quite fond of those. "5 days" took me back to those old times and that's why I appreciate it. It's not a great game on any accounts, but it's good enough to pass mustard and to get the nostalgia going.

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Why the hell has my comment appeared three times???

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It seems to me that Alice is just nitpicking. I guess whether you like it or not is a matter of taste. I think it, and the rest of the series, is brilliant. Also, as for the ending to the series: It makes sense. Just THINK about it.

P.S: I'd love to see a review for Yahtzee's new game, Trilby: Art of Theft. I'm really enjoying it.

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I just recently got around to playing Spooks. It's a fun game, and Mortia's the kind of person my sister might want to put on a purse or hoodie.

My only problem is that I'm stuck, and I have no idea how to progress any farther. Details follow:

She gave the baby to the father, and confirmed the hidden entrance in the fountain, but she isn't interested enough to open it. I kept going back and forth to tell the angel about the balloon rides, but that never comes up. I can't give the contact lens back, and I've tried using everything on everything else.

I really would like to play this game through, and I don't want to lose interest just because I've overlooked something I didn't find obvious.

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can someone please tell me where i can find a walkthrough for 5 days a stranger? i'm stuck IN THE BEGINNING. obviously, i'm missing something that's probably right in front of me, which usually happens to me. so if there's a walkthrough for me to use, that'd be great. :] thankss.

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k just kidding. i got past it. :] but now i'm having issues with saving my game. i saved it, and then i quit, but when i go back into the game, my saved file's not there. help please?

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It's been four years since Spooks was made; two years since I decided to try it again and see if I could figure it out. I did.

I was still charmed by it, and I'm glad I kept on to it so I could persevere again, with a bit of nostalgia added in.

As it turned out, thanks to the ambiguous graphics, I didn't know that the thing one of the marionettes was holding was a candle, and I didn't know you could grab it in the second it held the candle out. When I noticed the cursor didn't turn into the hourglass, I figured I could take what was being offered.

Despite being shorter than I'd expected (which just meant I guessed wrong), Spooks is still a fun little adventure.

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Rogue Legend> Dora Fantasy farming meets Minecraft-style building and action RPG in this rough but promising game made in just two months. Plant crops, care for livestock, fight monsters, and build your home block by block!  ...
How About Taking a Break> Dora Weird, silly, but not a little bit clever, this escape game may look simple, but a few coded locks you'll need to change your perspective to deduce and a whole lot of cuteness make this a short treat well worth heeding the title for.  ...
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6 Comments
Facility Z> Lori.h Waking up with no memory? Check. Underground abandoned facility? Check. Creepy mutant monsters wanting to nibble on your face while you have limited ammo? Check and check. Facility Z is ready to play.  ...
5,121 Views
25 Comments
Maplewood Junior High> Dora You've got a school assignment to finish, but all the computers are absolutely ancient, and you're totally unprepared! Despite some strange, out-of-place political talk, this point-and-click puzzle from Carmel Games offers a significant upgrade in several areas from their previous work.  ...

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