Well, we've heard the wishes of you, the consumer, and have decided to back off on some of the changes planed for the next generation of JiG Vault. First of all, the webcam activation that would allow us at JiG central to spy in and make fun of the decorations in your computer room? That's gone. Also, instead of changing The Vault's focus into a celebration of the best of the JiG reviewer staff's junior high angsty poetry output, instead we'll instead keep featuring the best works of casual gaming from our archives. This week we've got some unique defense, action, and arcade titles to play around with. And as for how we said you'd need a steady online connection to access The Vault... actually, yeah, we're probably gonna need to keep that component.
- Clockwords - Hair-brained inventors, mechanical spiders and machines that run on literal word power. Oh my! You'll find it all in Clockwords, a defense franchise made at the behest of Dictionary.com that Gabob started on in 2009. Like Bookworm Adventures, but with a lot more steampunk, Clockwords will stretch every linguistic nerve in your spellbound head as you blast bag buggies with every SAT word you can think of. Sadly, the series seems to have stalled after the release of this prelude and then Act One in 2010. Still what has been released is a gem, a paragon, a nonpariel, and a cynosure.
- Fig. 8 - Guiding a wobbly bicycle through an architectural blueprint seems an odd premise for a fun, but 2009's Fig. 8, by Intuition Games, pulls it off with aplomb. The precision-based gameplay is the perfect level of frustrating that makes you want to attack it again and again, even as it drives you half crazy. It's amazing how a game based in the aesthetics of technical drawing manages to evoke such a sense of whimsy. But then again, I'm not a drafter, and perhaps it's seeing a world created in the symbols that draws people to the vocation in the first place. In any case, Fig. 8 presents such a world, and it's wonderful to ride around in.
- Cyrkam Airtös - It takes a certain twisted kind of mind to make a simulation of a popular office coffee-break game, apparently designed to be played by people on actual coffee breaks in offices where all the materials to play the actual game are in plentiful supply. Fortunately the developers at Sticky have such minds and the result is 2004's Cyrkam Airtös. It plays as a kind of proto-QWOP, if a lot less intentionally frustrating, where the player is forced to convert intricacies of how an arm moves to chuck a wad paper into a wastebasket through the mouse input. The result is a quirky and totally addictive minigame with a singularly unique rotoscoped aesthetic. Let yourself get scanned darkly and give it a try.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!