Time to invent a new word! Or, phrase, rather. Ready? "Platform Adventure Paloozathonvania"! You like? Hope so. It took hours of intense research to come up with that particular combination of letters, not to mention the trademark hoops we had to jump through to print it. But now it's there, and it describes the bulk of this week's downloadable games quite accurately.
The Island of a God (Windows, 52MB, free) - Metroidvania, anyone? This freeware exploration adventure drops you on an (almost) uninhabited island populated by a fuzzy-bearded guy who claims to be a god. Your crash on his slab of rock broke his elemental machine, and in order to control the elements, he needs you to fix it. Head out on a quest to gather the gem shards, exploring a series of small levels from head to toe. You also get a few power-ups that help you along the way, like fireballs that can burn things or take care of enemies in your path. There are five unique areas to explore, holding a total of 25 pieces of the elemental rocks. Find everything so you can get off this island and go back home!
YoYo (Windows, 8MB, free) - Platform adventures never get old, and this cleanly-drawn entry from Bagdaddy Games proves just that. You play a young boy with a yo-yo who can hop around and smack thugs with the toy. You discover a furry little critter who is believed to possess magical powers, and in order to keep it safe, you travel with it chasing after the bad guys who want to kidnap it. Fortunately, the little guy has powers of his own, and you can take control of him to squeeze through small spaces to retrieve keys and the like. A little bit of puzzle with your platformer goes down well, and this one hits a good balance between challenge and raw fun-type fun!
Sprint - King of the Jungle (Windows, 2MB, free) - The most adorable lion in the world is out to collect red spheres, and you're the lucky gamer that gets to help! Run through each level as quickly as you can, keeping an eye on the timer if you want to go for the "special surprise" at the end of the game. When you eat enough fruit, you'll activate Sprint's roar power which allows you to create/destroy certain blocks, frighten animals, and a few other things. It's a little bit of a puzzle to work your way through some parts of the stage, and the added (but optional) pressure of moving fast creates a welcome challenge. Cute, entertaining, easy to pick up and play, and with plenty of content to keep you busy for a while!
Greenhead (Windows, 8MB, free) - A simple type of avoidance game you usually only see on mobile phones, Greenhead is all about one thing: not getting hit. You have four spaces at the bottom to maneuver upon. Dart back and forth with the [arrow] keys, avoiding blocks that crash from the sky. Bouncing barrels, shattering ice blocks, and other more creative dangers arrive later in the game, but a few power-ups drop in from time to time to give you a hand. Go for the high score, see how many people you can best on the online leaderboards!
Note: All games have been confirmed to run under Windows 7 and are virus-free. Mac users should try Boot Camp, Parallels, or CrossOver Games to play Windows titles, Linux users can use Wine. If you know of a great game we should feature, use the Submit link above to send it in!