A very special treat reaches lucky gamers this weekend: a mini-release from Nifflas, author of Within a Deep Forest and both Knytt games. KnyttNano isn't much more than two tiny experiments Nifflas cooked up while trying out new ideas, so don't expect a life-shattering sequel-sized experience, just two pieces of playable art to pass the time!
Sparkle (Windows/Mac, ~28MB, demo) - Another gorgeous game from MythPeople (Azkend), Sparkle builds an amazing audio/visual package and places epic items around a simple marble-popper puzzle game. The usual color matching orb firing mechanics apply, but on your quest to restore light to Crowberry Woods, you'll discover amulets and power-ups that grant game-altering abilities that are a blast to unleash. The music is an epic affair that rivals Carl Orff in terms of grandeur, and with the fantasy theme it wouldn't be out of place in a Harry Potter movie, either. Just as breathtaking as Azkend, this is how the gods of ancient mythology would play a match three game.
Knytt Nano (Windows, 5MB, free) - No, it's not an Apple-endorsed Knytt game for a certain music player we may or may not be familiar with. Knytt Nano is a mini-release from Nifflas with two experimental games that are tiny but, as one would expect, loads of fun. The usual running climbing and jumping Knytt fare is here, but the world is different and story quite unique.
Gravitation (Windows/Mac/Linux, ~2MB, free) - The latest autobiographical meditation from Jason Rohrer, creator of Passage and Cultivation. Much more of a game than his previous two works, Gravitation has you struggling with the frigid stagnation and flaming mania of the creative process as you jump (with the Space bar) through rabid flights of fancy, pulling down enough ideas to put to work, and recharging with some father-daughter bonding. It uses constriction of jumping ability and field of vision to form the constraints of this cycle, and succeeds both as a game and a work of art, though in different ratio to Passage.
Neverball (Windows/Mac/Linux, 10-20MB, free) - Part puzzle, part action, Neverball is one of those "tilt the game world to maneuver the marble through the stage". Disorienting at first, but with careful mouse tactics you'll be collecting coins like a pro in no time. Also included in the download is Neverputt, a multiplayer miniature golf game using the physics and graphics of Neverball.
Out of Order (Windows, 8.5MB, free) - You wake in the middle of the night to discover you've been kidnapped. And so has your bedroom. Adventure games may have taken a backseat to flashier titles in modern times, but that wasn't always the case. Out of Order is a classic adventure of a "late" revival (late being 2003) of the genre that packs more humor per pixel than legally allowed. largely created by tim furnish It's a Windows-only game, but the system requirements are so low anyone with a Mac + Bootcamp or Linux + Wine will be able to easily enjoy.
Return to Sector 9 (Windows, 11MB, free) - Classic arcade shooting in top form, Return to Sector 9 features nine different modes, 15 ships to pilot and tons of weapons to fire and aliens to blast. Each ship has its own special weapon, and its your job to learn which game mode each ship works best in.