It's old-school RPG fest here on this installment of Weekend Download! Three out of five games featured have that special "console flavor" those of us who grew up playing SNES games can't get enough of. Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is a must-play simply for its odd setting and premise, while Legacy of Flan turns the RPG battle system on its head and Ethereal Dreams brightens your day with nice artwork. And if you aren't into the role playing scene, give BumperBlast or Teewars a shot for a little more action.
The Sims Carnival BumperBlast (Windows, 32MB, demo) - Another game in the Sims Carnival series (along with previously reviewed SnapCity), BumperBlast is a strange mixture of the Sims franchise with pinball, bumper cars, and the undeniably addictive Peggle. The goal is to tag floating Sims of the same group by blasting orbs across the screen. Performing trick shots, eradicating blocks and collecting power-ups to grant super shots are all part of the fun. Plenty of levels to play around in, although I'm not quite sure I'll ever get used to the idea of disembodied Sims heads floating around on bumpers...
Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden (Windows, 62MB, free) - One of the most original storylines in an RPG I've seen in a very long time. You play Charles Barkley in a post-cyberpocalyptic Neo New York where basketball has been outlawed due to the use of a catastrophic Chaos Dunk. The basketball theme is everywhere, from famous players making appearances to basketball-based combat. It's a delicious RPG experience that's only slightly marred by timed-action button pressing sequences and copious amounts of swearing. Not for children!
Teewars (Windows, Mac, Linux, free) - A great-looking side-scrolling multiplayer battle game that combines quick team skirmishes with Worms-like weaponry. Play several modes, including capture the flag, and wage ultra-cute war with several weapons and squishy Kirby-like characters. The only downside is it can be difficult to find a server with a steady connection, but when you do, it's worth every minute.
Legacy of Flan: Flan Rising (Windows, 72MB, free) - A game that by all rights shouldn't be as entertaining as it is, Legacy of Flan: Flan Rising is an action RPG with an intriguing battle system. During combat you earn experience and can upgrade and change the color (and thus function) of flans, making enemy encounters a wildly engaging affair. The overworld sections are forgettable, the quests and storyline not very interesting, the visuals a little stark, but for some reason I found myself playing this game for a very long time.
Ethereal Dreams (Windows, 50MB, free) - A fairly standard RPG that stands out of the pack thanks to some nicely-drawn (if slightly cutesy) artwork. Expect a good dose of turn-based battles, spells, quests, items, and equipment in this fantasy world. A unique encounter orb shows how close you are to a battle, letting you skirt around noisy terrain to avoid certain encounters. This is just a demo, as the full game isn't complete, but gives a good taste of what the final product will be like.