I compose this edition of Weekend Download with the sound of leaf blowers screeching through my windows. Not only does half my neighborhood believe leaves in their yard are evil, but apparently creating hours of noise pollution for everyone in the area is an acceptable price to pay to shove them in the street. I miss the good old fashioned, non-air-and-noise-polluting leaf rake...
Xoldiers (Windows, 1.7MB, free) - A hyper-stylish arcade game of combat, capture and general sieging of castles! Control a group of soldiers and maneuver your way into the enemy's fort, ducking to avoid attacks and firing grenades and good old-fashioned weapons power to elmiinate the bad guy. Raze the purple buildings to win each mission.
MageGuild (Mac/Windows, free) - Take on the role of a skilled apprentice of the Nahelan Mage Guild in this roguelike adventure, carving your way through countless dark caves and gathering hidden knowledge and treasures along the way. Unlike most games in the genre, learning and casting spells is fairly straightforward, and a great tutorial session introduces you to the game's basic concepts. Plus, if ASCII visuals aren't your thing, a graphical tileset is available under the options menu along with customizable controls! (Note: Mac users can play this game by downloading the free open source program Mono.)
Argonaut (Mac, 9.2MB, free) - A fantastic space shooter that takes the classic gameplay of Asteroids and hurls it well into the next century. Pilot your Argo spaceship deep into the recesses of space where a new asteroid field has been found to contain priceless crystals. Destroy all asteroids and collect the crystals some leave behind, then trade them in for upgrades at end-of-level space stations. You'll have to be quick, though, and watch out for pirates in this high-intensity, Mac-only space game!
Lightmare (Windows, 3MB, free) - An old fashioned Game Boy-style platformer where you play a vampire trying to work his way through the city to collect vials of blood. Avoid cars and similar obstacles while keeping away from lights that flicker on and off. Hit detection seems a bit wide, as I noticed cars will kill you before the sprites actually touch. Very simple platforming elegance makes this one a charming time-waster. And any game that can make a vampire cute deserves a second look.
Aquaria (Mac/Windows, demo) - Bit-Blot's gorgeous breakout title is now available for Mac! You control the restless young Naija, a curious underwater dweller who sets out to discover her world. The ocean is teeming with mysterious caverns to explore, strange sea creatures (some friendly, some otherwise), and troves of ancient secrets buried by time.
Crayon Physics Deluxe pre-order (Windows) - First released as a prototype in 2007, the physics-based puzzle game is nearing completion. Creator Petri Purho recently announced that pre-orders are available, offering a $5 discount to early buyers. You'll definitely want to pick this one up, and in the meantime, be sure and check out the Crayon Physics prototype demo.