Weekend Download №13


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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.

25 Comments

Typically I don't bother with the weekend download games -- I don't like demos -- but today I think I will try out some of the freeware stuff. It looks a-pretty pretty good!

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I played Heaven to Ocean (clever name) a while ago and it's great. Very fun to play and compelling to replay in order to try and get a fast time with minimal water loss.

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Heaven to Ocean is beautiful. Too bad it only has one level.

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I only grabbed two: H2O and Narbacular Drop (because I love Portal so.)

H2O: Clever game, somewhat along the lines of Cameltry, but limiting the tilt and featuring some nice fluid/particle dynamics. The game runs smoothly, has some decent graphics, well done physics, cute music, and fun gameplay. The only drawback is that there is only one level available. I would love to see more levels done, or a construction set released.

Narbacular Drop: The dynamics of portal are definitely here, so it's easy to see the game's genesis. It is much simpler though, and a little more difficult to play, mostly because of the play mechanics. Of most significant note (to me anyway) is the inability to invert the mouse in the up/down axis. For someone used to flight-style controls (mouse forward=down) this can get confusing. The portal placement is a little different, too. There are no crosshairs or automatic indication of where you can place a portal, but you can hold the left or right mouse button (or Q/E) to draw a portal before releasing to commit the portal's location. The graphics obviously aren't nearly as polished, either, nor is gameplay as smooth, but it's a bit unfair to compare ND to Portal in this manner, considering it doesn't use the Source engine or Havoc physics, and it didn't have a large team of designers behind it. On its own it is still a fun game with some tricky gameplay at times - definitely worth a free download.

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I find it highly ironic that you talk about gnomes but none of these games are GNOME. None are Linux playable and don't appear to be open source.

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Anonymous October 20, 2007 1:16 PM

The b-game competition link just goes to the contest announcement. The final entries are listed in this other thread: http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=523.0

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Hmmm...

I'm just curious... why does the Prism demo installer require my email-address if it promises no spam and stuff?

Hmmm....

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Mindfield - you may be interested to know that the entire Narbacular Drop design team was actually hired by Valve, and they helped make Portal. :D

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On a sidenote, The flash game Reflections was a rather cheap ripoff of Aargon Deluxe from Twilight Games, one of my all time favorite puzzle games well worth the money. Reflections also didn't even bother to tweak the few levels they included in their flash version..

But as I am a huge fan of such mind-bending games, I'll give Prism a go :)

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Mindfield: you can actually invert the mouse in ND. Press ~ to bring up the console, then type "invertmouse."

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Heaven2Ocean has a bug - just after you move the steamroller, you're supposed to ride an elevator up to the second level. But for me, the elevator melts my water drop on contact. Apparently someone says you can resolve the bug by changing the video detail level? Hasn't worked for me.

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Well, I'd love to get H2O to work, but it crashes just after the "Dare to be Digital" logo vanishes at startup. Oh well.

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omgitsgir October 21, 2007 3:25 PM

I'm having the same problem as Jim. I thought I'd like H20, since it seems like it would be at least partially like Archer Maclean's Mercury series (which is incredible).

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H2O's webpage isn't even there anymore, what?

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Holy crap, I think I'm in love with portal physics. If Narbacular Drop was any indication, I'm going to have a new favourite game once I get my copy of The Orange Box. I'm currently downloading more levels for ND.

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Yes, H20 page died. Perhaps Jay's fans sucked out all the bandwidth.

That's kind of a bad news. It looks like a damn fine game, and it's quite a wonder that the developers obviously put quite a lot of effort into making such a polished, entertaining and addictive product and then stopped after creating one single level. And even that is not available anymore.

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Does Narbacular Drop really not use Source? It seems strange that it'd use Hammer but not Source..

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Turbine2k5 October 22, 2007 2:10 PM

Dang...I figured jay would give that flash portal game it's own page...

Narbicular Drop seems to be a good take on the portal puzzlers. The story is a nice touch and there are some good ideas like the lava turtles. However, what I didn't like was the steep learning curve and the inability to run the graphics on the highest setting (it made the game crash for me). The portals are large and bulky, making them hard to get on that wall that you can only see if you nudge just close enough to the lava to get past that pillar. And, like Portal, I wish there was an option to have a "ghost portal" instead of having to hold down the button (it's just a convenience). Overall, it's not a bad pickup if you have some time to kill.

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Mindfield: As mentioned before, the entire team behind Narbacular Drop was hired by Valve to create Portal. You can read it on the Portal Wiki if you want. Most everyone knows it. I was waiting for Portal before most of the public knew it was in development.

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Euphemism October 24, 2007 5:14 PM

H2O's website appears to be down. However, I have found this one: http://heaven2ocean.darraghcoy.com/
Too bad there's only one level, and no map editor yet...

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no comments about Cottage of Doom?! I LOVE it! Zombie carnage! Moving crates and boxes! Covering windows with grandfather clocks so the zombies don't see you. I just broke 100k (120k actually) on my 4th try. I'm not sure how much longer i'm going to be able to hold out. Strategy so far - barricade top two rooms using stuff from all 4. Break down chairs and stuff for ammo and wood. Eventually go down to 1 room. Then... die. Great game, though there are some bugs (you can grab a crate through a wall).

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King mania is a fun little game. But the graphics are very slow for the quality on my machine.

Also there is strategy flaw

Simply wait until the opponent attacks something, then when he has wasted his resources against it, or captured it, attack it yourself. You end up with a new resource for very little effort and your enemy is depleted. Rinse and repeat.

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Any idea how to pick up blocks in the Flash Version of Portal? It says "also pick them up using your ASHPD" but I've scoured the internet and tried everything I can think of without any luck...what is that supposed to mean?

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Erm, disregard that. I hit every button except the one it told me. I r smrt.

If anyone else suffers from a mild case of stupidity like mine, try F!

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I think the site for Narbaculer Drop might not be working. Either that, or it was moved

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