Reviews by Bryan Gawinski Subscribe

(4 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Crypt of the NecroDancer

DoraI don't do so well with rhythm and coordination. The trainers at my gym have long since made peace with the fact that trying to get me to do anything that involves more than two muscle groups ends in disaster, and that maybe some people just... shouldn't Zumba, like, ever. It doesn't stop me from trying, though, to the embarrassment of my husband or anyone who has ever been around me while I attempt my best approximation of "dancing", and it definitely didn't stop me from being really, really excited to finally play indie arcade/roguelike hybrid Crypt of the NecroDancer by Brace Yourself Games. In it, you play a young woman named Cadence who literally goes digging for trouble and winds up tumbling into the sprawling crypt of one very unique necromancer. Now, though her heart's been ripped from her by dark magic, our heroine is somehow still moving, but she has to keep to the beat if she wants to stay that way as she battles her way down through the depths filled with monsters, traps, treasure and more to take down the ancient evil once and for all. Now available in early access and playable with either keyboard, controller, or USB dance pad for the brave (or in my case foolhardy), Crypt of the Necrodancer is a fast-paced and gorgeous game that marries strategy with skill and really, really sweet tunes.

(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (9) | Views (793)

Tomorrow and Yesterday

TrickyIn conclusion, Firecaster's Tomorrow and Yesterday combines its simple and elegant presentation with clever and challenging timing puzzles, making it a great time at home or on the go. Wait. Sorry. Games that quantum leap me back and forth through time, like Chronotron or Cursor*10 always leave me a little muddled. But as your playing back and through this HTML5 simple idea puzzle game, your clock may get a little wound up, but you'll be having too much fun to notice. Using the [arrow] keys to move, guide the circle to the triangle exit in each level. Keys can be collected to unlock doors, and resting the circle upon an "X" can activate and deactivate walls. However, one circle can't pass all these tests by itself... or can it?

Weekday Escape

elleIf three's a crowd and four's a party, then why not? We'll have a party just for the sake of it this week, to celebrate hump day or to herald the end of July or for a happy birthday (early, late or on time) for all our Weekday Escape crowd. Not that a reason is needed to enjoy these four free online escape games, but each brings its own brand of fun to the party. FunkyLand provides the place: hip and happening and loaded with sweets. Wanpa's Quest delivers the quirky characters and oddball jokes. Hottategoya, while a bit of a wall flower, contributes to intellectual stimulation. Best of all, Yuri brought ten very cute chicks for you to pick up...

(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (1) | Views (239)

Star Admiral

drstrosyIf there is one genre the smartphone seems designed for, it's card games. Dozens, if not hundreds, of card and card collecting games have been churned out like government surplus butter. So when a rare good one comes along, we strategy nuts do a little joyful dance (much like I do in the fresh produce section of my local Whole Paycheck on payday). Behold, such a game has arrived. Star Admiral by Hardscore Games is a completely free-to-play card collecting strategy game that eschews the standards that have become rife in the genre, saying "no thank you" to both the pay-to-win model and the auto-battle snorefest we normally encounter. Instead, making your way through this game's universe absolutely never requires you to spend--it simply requires you to use your brain. You can win dark matter, salvage for light matter, and obtain everything including the best crafts and the highest ranks without ever spending a penny. You can purchase the most common currency, dark matter, with real money as a way to speed things along, but it won't give you an undue advantage, as strategy is the real focus in this game.

(11 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (10) | Views (596)

Theft Super Cars

DoraThe fact that Smokoko S.A.'s physics-based stunt racing game Theft Super Cars doesn't use Danger Zone as its opening theme seems like a missed opportunity, but hey, nobody's perfect. Especially not you, our Ken-doll-lookin' brotagonist, who winds up owing a very powerful crime lord a very large amount of money when you're caught by the police while attempting to make a delivery for him and he bails you out. To pay him off, you'll need to track down and steal all the cars he wants, only in this case "steal" means driving the car through a psychedelic landscape full of ramps, constructs, enormous sports balls, and more to try to reach the garage before time runs out while the cops chase you with sirens blaring and rockets blazing. Yes, rockets. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to accelerate and balance, and hold [spacebar] to use your boost when the meter is full. [Z], [X] and [C] will fire rockets at the nearest hazard if you have them, but since police cars can do the same, keep an eye on your health at the top of the screen. It goes down as you take damage, and if it or the time runs out, you'll lose the level and have to try again. You'll earn cash you can spend on upgrading things like your overall speed and health, and also special parts used towards the construction of your "dream car". Which makes sense since this whole game feels like something you'd dream up after a night-long binge on pop rocks, Grand Theft Auto, and hoodies.

  • Currently 4.3/5
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Rating: 4.3/5 (39 votes)
| Comments (13) | Views (1,494)

Hero in the Ocean 2

Johnny123 Getting lost in an underwater cave sounds like a nightmare for most of us, but for the team of Lampogolovii and Leric it's an adventure. Hero in the Ocean 2 is an immensely satisfying sequel, dropping the submarine from the first game into a slew of new underwater challenges. You control with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, navigating past myriad nautical dangers including buzz saws, mines, and the odd sea monster eager to scarf you down. Unlock most submarine games, nudging the wall doesn't cost health, leaving you free to focus on exploration. The game has sort of a "Metroidvania" feel to it as you backtrack to find keys and switches to unlock doors, and the physics system is spot on, even if the puzzles take a while to get challenging. This is a game for casual players and those seeking relaxation (the beautiful soundtrack is a vacation in of itself). Lovers of gore and guns need not apply.

  • Currently 4/5
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Rating: 4/5 (25 votes)
| Comments (2) | Views (592)

Zombie Riot

DoraThey're coming for you, Baaaaaaaaaarbara! Good thing you've got some serious man-and-woman-power on your side in Goody Gameworks' zombie-riddled tower-defense game Zombie Riot, where you're trying to get from one end of a newly post-apocalyptic city to the other in order to escape. Standing, or, um, shambling in your way? A whole lot of brain-eaters. In each level, zombies will come at you along set pathways, and it's your job to place defenses (in this case, characters with different abilities) in their way to kill them before they can reach the other side of the screen. Characters will only attack a zombie headed straight for them, so covering all the rows onscreen is essential. Placing characters costs Command Points, which are generated slowly over time from the golden poles onscreen, but if you place a character near one of these mysterious shiny objects, points will be generated much faster. As the game progresses, you'll find different characters with different abilities, and also be able to upgrade the ones you've got. You even have special skills you can deploy, but since each one has a cooldown before it can be activated again, you might not want to be so quick on the trigger to use them.

(12 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (0) | Views (584)

So Many Me

elleLife as a little green blob should be simple, shouldn't it? You're as cute as all get up, reside in the most charming cartoon world of colors and spunkiness, and have not a care in the world. Such laid back peace and quiet is nice and all, but rather boring, don't ya think? You just couldn't blame a little green blob like Filo if he started thinking existential thoughts and perhaps, along the way, tempting into being a malevolent force out the destroy the world. Filo's call to adventure wouldn't be the first to begin in this way. Yet little Filo isn't alone in his hero's quest; he has his ME and there's a lot of them. So Many Me, in fact, that Filo is well-equipped for any problem life throws in his path. And in this action-filled puzzle-solving platform adventure by Extend Studio, there are as many obstacles thrown in Filo's path as there are ways to circumvent them. Enemy fire, foes, spikes, unreachable heights and locked doors, to name a few, might at first appear insurmountable. But as Filo travels onward through his whimsical universe, you help him acquire new abilities to reach his goal in a creative twist on lemmings-style resource management. Available for both Windows and Mac on Steam, So Many Me is instantly engaging and filled to the core with enough content to absorb you for hours on end.

  • Currently 3.7/5
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Rating: 3.7/5 (37 votes)
| Comments (0) | Views (716)

Command & Control

Johnny123 Realism is the name of the game in C&C Game Studio's new strategy game, Command & Control. The game blends tower defense mechanics with more free-form strategic planning in a way few browser games can match. Rather than simply marching single file down a corridor of death into the range of your artillery, the enemies will attack from multiple angles in increasing strength and speed. Tanks, trucks, and basic grunts will come parading down the dusty streets of these real-world warzones with nothing but you to stop them. Place riflemen and rocket launchers on the rooftops and be ready to call upon the chopper and bomber for some gloriously rendered retribution. It's modern warfare with a bird's eye view, always tense and thrilling.

  • Currently 3.9/5
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Rating: 3.9/5 (40 votes)
| Comments (2) | Views (774)

Inner Demon: Soul Trader

AllyWhat's a demon to do when the end of the shift is nearing and they haven't yet met their daily quota of stolen human souls? Fruit just isn't the temptation it used to be, and going down to Georgia is way too risky. Oh, and there happens to be a dangerous human wizard on the loose who wants to make your life He... erm... Heaven. But one small demon, specifically the one starring in Olip's Inner Demon: Soul Trader, is ready to become the villain Pandemonium deserves by possessing as many people as people as possible. In puzzle game fashion, no less. Mwahahaha. In fact, he's not merely content to tackle one type of puzzle; his delightfully dark adventure will see him both skidding around the room in a sliding block fashion when he's his demony self, and pushing objects in a more controlled, Sokoban-like manner when he's possessing some poor slob. Just use the [arrow] keys to make him zip along the floor until he hits something; preferably a tasty human. Once you've captured a terrified victim, you can walk them back to your portal to Hell in a more controlled fashion... if you don't need them to gather gems, push buttons, and break floors for you first. You'll have to combine you speedy sliding skills and your human-manipulating prowess to reach that wizard king and make things safe for demonkind! It's a simple idea, and it's the kind that works so nicely (or evilly) you have to wonder what took the world so long.

  • Currently 4.4/5
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Rating: 4.4/5 (25 votes)
| Comments (36) | Views (1,552)


JoelyBeanYou wake to find yourself in a strange place. This bed is not your own; you've never even seen this house before. The small room is empty save for an old computer, desk and bookshelf. Warm light filters in through a foggy window, bathing everything in a pinkish hue. The clean hardwood floor is partly covered by a soft looking purple carpet. This place is beautiful, but unsettling. And this is the first view you'll have of the breathtaking world of Oneshot. Made for the 2014 Indie Game Maker contest and downloadable free for PC, Mac and Linux, Oneshot is a puzzle-based adventure which plays only in windowed mode, and yes, there is a reason for that. No, it's not a room escape, though the game's first few minutes would certainly have you believe so. It's not a horror game, but it is certainly atmospheric and has a few untraditionally "creepy" moments. The game's co-developers, Mathew Velasquez and Casey Gu, describe the experience as a mission to "guide a lost child through a strange world, utilizing items, characters, and the environment to progress." That could describe most any adventure game. With such an intentionally vague description, it is difficult for any player to have any idea what this game is really about—and that's the point. This is a game about exploration and mystery, the kind of experience you're meant to have with as little prior knowledge as possible. Don't even read any comments before you start, or it will be spoiled for you. All the information you need is the controls: move your character with the [arrow] keys, perform actions and use items with [Z] or [spacebar], and use [X] to open the menu. Now go play it. Oh, one last thing: put some time aside, because once you begin, you can't stop playing it for at least a little while. Luckily, this reviewer's hardware is sturdy enough that I was able to see everything through to the end, but other players have told horror stories of computers shutting off mid-game and losing everything. There are three moments throughout the game where you can save and quit safely, and you'll know them when you find them, but that's it.

(14 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (0) | Views (472)

Nevertales: Shattered Image

DoraIn Mad Head Games' hidden-object adventure Nevertales: Shattered Image, you and your husband, Pierre, have your hands full with your daughter Alice. Only instead of normal pre-teen annoyances like pirating music or putting the milk back in the fridge empty, she's been opening portals to other worlds even though you expressly told her not to. See, although you and Pierre share the same ability, Alice can open these portals using mirrors alone, and though you've warned her these places she opens doors to aren't always safe, your worst fears come to pass when you find her in a coma on the floor next to a broken mirror. The night she finally awakes, however, a strange creature hauls her off through yet another mirror, and to bring her safely home, you'll need to discover the root behind the mysterious power your family can wield, and put a stop to an ancient evil, because it isn't a hidden-object adventure if there's no ancient evil threatening something. I think that's the number one sign you might one day become a protagonist in a casual game is if your day-to-day life involves a lot of stories and warnings about ancient evils. Search for clues, solve puzzles and hidden-object scenes, and travel to worlds beyond your own in a way that the nerdiest of us always knew was possible. Butterfly in the skyyyyyyy....

  • Currently 4.5/5
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Rating: 4.5/5 (153 votes)
| Comments (29) | Views (3,350)

Nekra Psaria

DoraPlaying DrawManEater's point-and-click adventure Nekra Psaria is weird, mostly because Nekra Psaria is really weird. And surreal. And sort of disturbing. It calls itself an escape game, though that might be only in the loosest sense. See, you're watching television when your generator quits on you, and you need to find fuel for it. You know this because your generator is an enormous talking head. It is at this point you might find yourself channeling Mabel Pines as you nervously chuckle to yourself, "What is haaaaappening here?", but you'll have to press on and explore one seriously strange city in order to win. To play, all you need to do is click on zones that highlight to show you can interact with them. If you need to use an item from your inventory, just click it at the top of the screen, and it'll automatically be used if you're in the correct location. In some cases you can find notes scattered around to help you figure out what to do, or a character might tell you what they want, but largely you're left to explore on your own. Search every scene and every angle, pay attention to your environment, and tell me I'm not the only one who suddenly feels like it's the nineties and we're watching MTV Animation again.

  • Currently 4.2/5
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Rating: 4.2/5 (46 votes)
| Comments (12) | Views (1,743)

The Wizard

DoraIn Hypnotic Owl's turn-based puzzle The Wizard, titular magic maestro Kevin loses his most precious treasure... his face. That's right, someone has literally made off with his moneymaker, and he has no choice but to pursue the thief through the sewers and into a dangerous castle filled with tricks, traps, treasure, and beasties galore that would love to chew Kevin's non-existent face right off. The game is divided into levels, with the goal being to make it safely past any dangers and to the exit, casting spells to deal with anything that gets in your way. Click and drag on green tiles to make a path, but beware... monsters will come after you if they spot you. You can click a creature to see its range, which will be helpful in planning your method of attack. See, as you play, you'll unlock new spells for Kevin (how great a wizard can he be if he literally has no magic until you find it for him?) that need to be triggered by drawing specific patterns. When you find a spell, it'll go to his notebook in the upper-right corner of the screen for you to refer to. Click on Kevin, and then draw the spell's path around him to cast. As you incinerate monsters, you'll actually level up, which can earn you points to upgrade spells you've discovered. Sadly, no upgrade for the Magic Missile will allow you to attack the darkness. Hey, can I have a Mountain Dew?

(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (1) | Views (676)

The Phantom PI: Mission Apparition

DoraiOS puzzle adventure game The Phantom PI: Mission Apparition by Rocket 5 Studios Inc manages to make dismemberment, stalking, haunting, and signing over your eternal soul absolutely adorable as you play Paranormal Investigator Cecil, who helps ghosts with their problems. The ghost with the most (issues, that is) here is Marshall Staxx, who's being bullied by a gluttonous demon named Baublebelly who keeps stealing important mementos from Staxx's rock-n-roll career. Once inside the strange mansion Staxx is, uh, "living" in, however, Cecile discovers this is no ordinary place... the doors don't seem to obey the laws of physics, spooks and danger lurk around every corner, and then there's Famke, the girl who used to be Staxx's number one fan and now just wants to make sure Cecil doesn't get in her way while she loots the place. Cecil has no choice but to keep following Baublebelly deeper into the mansion, learning the secrets behind the place and Staxx's bizarre demise, in this vibrant and funny point-and-click puzzle game aimed at players of all ages.

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