SCFWorks' Exit Fate is a massive free indie RPG that's got a bit of a bad reputation. Originally released in 2009, it sported an enormous playtime with hand-drawn artwork, an epic story, a huge cast of recruitable characters, and a story a lot of people felt was a pretty clear rip-off of Konami's 1999 Playstation release Suikoden 2. And, y'know, for the first few hours, it's hard not to see a comparison. Stop me if you've heard this one. A group of friends who grew up together and now find themselves in the army get caught up in the conflict between two rival countries and ultimately fall in with a rag-tag faction of rebels they'll need to lead to victory, which pits them against former friends and allies as they make hard choices and lose people they care about along the way... oh, and, uh, there's a battle with a wind monster early on, too. Though the plot specifics are actually very different, Exit Fate's format, mechanics, and even graphics and sound are so clearly taken from or "inspired by" Suikoden that it had a lot of people crying foul. Despite this, however, there's an undeniable amount of work, passion, and talent behind Exit Fate that makes it an ambitious game that succeeds more often than it fails in saluting the genre and source material. With hand-drawn artwork for every character, a whopping 75 party members to recruit for your growing castle, challenging turn-based battles, and a complex story that blends fantasy with political turnabout, Exit Fate is a huge achievement from a single developer that will keep JRPG fans busy for a long, long time.
Note: At this time, Episode Two is available only as an in-app purchase after installing Episode One, which is free.
One of our favorite average Joe heroes is back in House on Fire's point-and-click adventure The Silent Age: Episode Two for iOS and Android. If you're like me you might need a little memory jog on what happened in Episode One, so let me sum it up. Joe is just your average guy working as a janitor in a government facility until he's tasked by a dying man to use a time traveling device to save humanity from extinction. When last we left Joe, he was on his way to find this time traveler as a young man, hopefully to get some answers, and Episode Two picks up right where we left off. Swipe your finger around the screen to see what you can interact with, then tap on the object you'd like to learn more about. Tap to make Joe walk, or double tap to make him run. Your inventory runs along the bottom of the screen, just tap an item once to pick up, and tap again to make the object interact with any item on the screen. And, when available, tap the time machine to travel in time, a fun mechanic which is again integral to the story line as well as to solving puzzles.
Sometimes all we need is a little follow-through in life. Aspiring developer Amidos found that out when he created a game called Random RPG for a bi-annual Arabian game jam. Convinced that it was a total wash, he stuck with it for another week of overhauling anyway and came up with The Rogue Puzzle Game, a puzzle game deftly shuffling together the feel of a Sokoban title, a look reminiscent of Legend of Zelda, and some utterly killer NES-type soundtrack music. Result? The Rogue Puzzle Game was picked as one of only three finalists in the Game Nomad competition and is set to be presented at Gamer's Day, Arabia's largest gaming event. More importantly, fans became fascinated by the game's unique play experience. Find your way out of fifteen dungeon levels by attacking monsters with swords laying conveniently strewn around the dungeon floor. The swords re-orient as you move so they're always hilt-towards-you, and need to be pushed into monsters. Each sword does one point of damage to whichever immediately-adjacent monster you push it into, but monsters could have more than one hit point. Fortunately, their hit points are visibly displayed clearly on each monster.
The original Sentry Knight was basically everything you want a defensive shooter to be... addictive, vibrant, simple to master, and totes adorable to boot. So with Sentry Knight 2 here from Justin Wolf, Tyler Myers, Jason Coates and tunes provided by Kat "Dloot" Angeloni, we had our fingers crossed for more of the same... and luckily, it delivers in spades. As before, you control a brave, cute little knight cloistered in a tower and armed with a bow and arrow, while goblins, skeletons, spiders, and all other manner of nasties will try to get close enough to attack, though some do ranged damage. If they topple your tower by destroying all your hit points, you're done for, so mouse over any red potions dropped to bolster your health. Your knight aims where you point your cursor, and will automatically fire. You'll also have several spells at your disposal, which, when activated using the  to  number keys, will be cast at your cursor's location, ranging from fireballs to pools of poison and more. Enemies destroyed drop gold that can be spent on upgrades to your knight or the tower itself, but also experience points, and whenever you level up, you can spend talent points on enhancing and unlocking new spells. Monsters eat your face off? Well, if you find yourself getting trounced, you might have to replay a few earlier stages to earn more experience points and gold, 'cause it's all about that grind, 'bout that grind, and levels.
Things get a little mad in Funkyland's latest escape game Alice House No. 6: A Mad Tea-Party, where to find your way out of this festooned room you'll need to find five Mad Hatter-themed items. As usual, there's no changing cursor to show you what you can interact with, so you'll have to poke and prod while you explore. Once again it's on the short side, with a nice balance of deciphering clues and using items to get you through the puzzles, but if you want an escape that a little bit weird and a lot bit festive, pull up a chair and enjoy. Just don't sit on the Dormouse.
By the pricking of my thumbs, a bunch of free indie horror games this way come... s? Okay, so I didn't think that one out very well. But hey! Welcome back to Spoopy Saturday, where we post three free super scary freeware games every Saturday leading up to Halloween. This week, a young girl moves into a dusty old house and gets more than she bargained for, a late shift at the office turns terrifying when you discover you're not alone and the doors are locked, and you wake up confused and disoriented in a strange house filled with secrets someone is trying to make you remember. Ghosts, cryptic messages, frantic chases, and of course jump scares await, so let's get started. Just remember not to look over your shoulder...
In Elephant Games' hidden-object adventure Riddles of Fate: Memento Mori, it turns out Death may be big and scary, but he also stinks at his job. There's a delicate balance between life and death, he tells you, and souls must die in order for the new ones to be born. Which, y'know, makes it sort of a big deal when a bunch of wicked souls decided to run from him rather than to go gently into that good night. Death claims he's afraid of accidentally punishing an innocent soul, so he needs your help as an expert detective to trot around the world and root out those who have gone to extremes to literally cheat Death. Not that that's apparently hard to do if running away takes you beyond the reach of his immortal powers. Using his magic ball (stop that snickering), you'll travel to different places around the world, each acting as its own contained story revolving around a different wayward soul. Periodically you'll also need to return to your home to make use of your tools to copy keys, decrypt writing, or develop photographs and so forth, but the bulk of your work is in solve puzzles, hidden-object scenes, and identifying suspects on the ground. The farther you go, the more it becomes apparent someone is actively meddling in Death's business, and yours.
Michael Brough's iOS action arcade game Helix is best described as Loop by way of Hotline Miami's brutal one-hit KO gameplay and all those really weird artsy sci-fi movies from the 70s. It may also be a conspiracy to get me to destroy my iPad in the most violent way possible, I haven't decided. In it, you control a flying... amoeba-looking thing whose only defense against the creatures who come after you is to encircle them, which destroys them, although some enemies need to be circled more than once, or in specific ways. Just put your finger on the screen, and the creature will follow your motions, though it won't stay "attached" to your fingertip. While you can encircle more than one enemy at once, backing off as you will often find yourself doing to avoid other foes will cause the line of your snare to "rewind" as it follows your movements. Since a single hit will end the game, it's all about seeing how long you can last, and in that regard Helix is a formidable challenge indeed.
With a title like Find the Escape-Men Part 121: Appetite for Fall Food, you might think no1game's latest escape game is all about Pumpkin Spice Lattes and roast turkey, but no, it's about someone getting trapped in a bathroom stall at a festival. To help them out, you need to click around, solve puzzles, and hunt for not only items, but the ten little green men hidden everywhere. As usual, the lack of changing cursor may trip you up a little if you're used to using it to spot interactive areas, but the festive theme (well, not so festive for your friend) and quirky puzzles make this one just the right size for you to escape from your day with.
Smilegate's iOS RPG sim game Faraway Kingdom - Dragon Raiders may be free-to-play with in-app purchases and timers, but before you hiss and recoil, hear me out, because this is one seriously adorable and addictive little game that never pushes you for money and manages to be generous enough with its timers and currency that you'll never feel pressured to spend. Best described as a combination between Tiny Tower and a simplified fantasy kingdom simulation, Faraway Kingdom tasks you with rebuilding the land after a great dragon destroyed it, and training up an army of heroes tough enough to take it down. This essentially splits the gameplay into three parts... the town, the dungeons, and the portal. The town is where your heroes stay, and as it grows, you can hold more of them, who pay you taxes as long as they're living in the houses you build. Beneath the town are the unlockable dungeons where monsters roam, and you can send parties of heroes to each level to slay enemies and earn you cash and minerals used to upgrade equipment. The portal allows you to send raiding parties to different areas using energy (which refills at one point for every five minutes), and this is where you'll actually accompany your heroes to duke it out. They'll fight on their own, but you'll need to pick up the coins that appear and the class power-up icons... nab a warrior sphere, for instance, and you can tap the icon to use a powerful attack, or stack multiples to make your attack more powerful. After a few battles in a row, your heroes will go up against a boss, and unless they defeat it before the timer runs out, the boss will become enraged and its damage will jump. Survive and you'll level up your heroes, as well as earning valuable equipment and other treasure. It's a simple formula, designed for multiple quick bouts throughout the day rather than marathon sessions, but a gorgeous art style and unobtrusive in-app purchase options that are truly optional makes this one feel like it might just get free-to-play right.
I could complain that Andy Brown's puzzle game Assembots undoes all the important psychological work of that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data was put on trial and we all learned a valuable lesson about humanity, but at the end of each level, the robots do a cute little dance where you live, and it turns out I'm just that shallow. The goal in each stage is to get the required number of factory made robots where you need them to be, and they require a lot of hand (metal appendage?) holding to make it happen, since on their own they'll just trundle forward until they hit an obstacle and then turn around and do it again. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a bank of commands that will affect a bot's behaviour. They can dig through blocks, climb walls, and more, but each command only has a limited amount available, so you need to think carefully about what bot you use them on, and when. Click a command's icon, then click the bot you want to apply it to onscreen. Some commands will last until you apply another, while others are only temporary, such as digging only lasting for a single obstacle. In the bottom left corner, you'll find buttons to speed things up or slow them down, as well as the button to restart the level without getting stuck. You might not need to use all the bots available to you to meet your goal, so try to finish the level using as little resources as possible, as fast as you can!
It's a crossover more exciting than the Flintstones meeting the Jetsons, or that one time Urkel showed up on Full House! The plots of two of Hyptosis' popular fantasy point-and-click adventure sagas join and continue in Kingdom of Liars: Stonepath, featuring characters from the Hood series. With plots and plans to unleash demon of all kind upon the mortal realm apace, a contingent of the Ashbane watch, joined by a group of allies (including a young witch in a familiar red cloak) has traveled to the ruins of Ardan to investigate the fiend activity in the area. Click the red navigation arrows to navigate yourself through ruins. Move the cursor onto items to get a description, or click to manipulate or add them to your inventory. Once in your inventory, items can be selected in order to "use" them on part of the scenery. If a character is present in an area, they will be listed in the upper left of the screen. Clicking their name will allow you to converse with them by asking various questions.
The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo is the newest piece of creepy interactive horror fiction from Michael Lutz, creator of the stellar My Father's Long, Long Legs. Taking more of a Choose Your Own Adventure route this time around, in the game you're spending the night at your best friend's house, something you do all the time. Tonight, though, things are a little different. A little strange, even. And when midnight rolls around, you're going to be getting a very special visitor. See, your friend's uncle works for Nintendo, and while many a playground kid may make claims like that to get attention, this time there's actually some truth to it. So you should be excited when he shows up... right? Just click the bolded red text to make your choices, and once the game moves to the den in your friend's house, the things you do will have an impact on time as it passes. There are five different endings to unlock, and make sure to play with your sound on for the full effect. Occasionally you may need to wait a little for text to appear, and... things... might happen to your browser, but all of this is perfectly normal. Ish.
Ah yes, October joy: the seasons are changing, the weather is what it is, and the sound of cheering fills the stadiums. In some parts of the world, this month also brings beer fests, grueling marathons, busy costume shops and the newest of flavor trends, gingerbread spice. For gamers, the horror genre is never in short supply this time of year but looking here on the Jigasphere, there's even more creepy, spooky titles populating the review lists. Sure there's plenty of scary escape games to be found as well but that can wait for now; instead, if we were to name a theme for this week's escaper's showcase, it'd have to be "S'mores"—a sticky sweet treat of marshmallows and chocolate melted over scorching heat...
Tia Orisney's text-based game Following Me represents a very real fear as it follows two sisters, Kat and Aria, who get lost in the frozen woods one night and wind up stumbling across something they were never meant to see. Overpowered and alone, their survival depends on your choices as they try to outwit their captors in this tense and disturbing thriller. Just click the text links at the bottom of each page to make your choices or continue the story to the next page. You can't go back, so think about your decisions before you make them, especially since unlike other interactive fiction stories, you typically don't get to exhaust all your options... you get one chance, one action, and that's it. Though well written, some players may find the ending, however you arrive at it and whatever your choices, still leaves far too many questions to be really satisfying, and the inability save and load means to see the consequences of a different decision requires playing the entire thing from the beginning. Still, if you're looking for a creepy "what would you do" type of Choose Your Own Adventure tale, this one is for you.