So much about life is uncertain, each day so new and full of possibilities, it's impossible to imagine what could be next. If you're the anxious sort of individual, you might be a little rattled by how little time is actually under our control. But not today, my friend. Today you have Weekday Escape; here you are the master of your domain—the room in which you are captive. And the three free escape games we have for you this week are as comforting in their predictability while still being just fresh enough and creative enough to whisk you away from all your other worries. If you have a few minutes to spare, then indulge in the sweet goodness awaiting in FunkyLand's fruit kitchen, pause for halftime in Hottategoya's strange locker room, then finish by puzzling over Yomino Kagura's three pictures...
Gemini Strike is one of those games you sort of feel missed its calling in an arcade cabinet, because everything about this gorgeous free-to-play iOS sci-fi shooter from Armor Games brings back fond memories of my days spent losing the entirety of my allowance (and begging for more) to the machines in the convenience store and the laundromat. In it, you pilot a ship against a fleet of dandy space robots. And I don't mean that they're awesome, although they sort of are apart from the whole "genocide" thing, I mean that they're literally dandies, or at least lead by them, with waistcoats, roses, and bad poetry. Your job is to survive each level, taking down as many of the enemy's ships (and any huge bosses!) in the process, and controlling couldn't be simpler. Hold your finger on the screen, and your ship will fire automatically and follow your digit where'er it doth go. Double-tap to unleash any power-ups, and nab blue credits when you see them to spend on unlocking cargo containers of new equipment for your ship... though some cargo containers can only be unlocked with credits. You get one credit per day, and one credit for clearing a sector, as well as any more you pick up for completing successful bonus missions. If you fail a mission by, y'know, exploding, you can either spend a credit to keep playing, or choose to retreat and lose a heart, of which you have four that replenish at one per every fifteen minutes.
When you hear about a wizard leaving behind some vague "secret" in an ancient dungeon filled with giant spiders and zombies, do you go after it? When you find a recipe for an undefined "elixir", do you set out to find a stranger to mix it for you so you can quaff it down? If so, then congratulations, you're the protagonist in Fire Victory Games' action RPG Vilesteel. To play, just click to move around, and click on enemies to attack. Click and hold on them to keep attacking, hold [shift] to attack without moving, and either click the icons at the bottom of the screen to use your special abilities, or hit the corresponding hotkeys. You'll gain points in your attributes like vigor and so on as you fight depending on how you play, and when you level up, you'll gain even more points (automatically distributed), with the option to choose an extra ability every four levels. As you slay enemies and loot chests, you'll find randomly distributed treasure and equipment of varying rarities. Equipment can be upgraded from certain NPCs for a fee as long as you have the potions to do so. The story? Well, uh... you're a powerful hero, and you travel from place to place kicking evil's butt, Minsc-and-Boo-style, and that's about it. If you're looking for depth and strategy, Vilesteel ain't it, but if you want hack-and-slash style dungeoncrawling distilled down to a fine soup, you might find it a light and tasty lunch indeed.
One... get a hold of a box. Two... put a cat in that box. Three... don't ever open that box, because you never know if it might be dead. Created for Ludum Dare 30 themed around "Connected Worlds in just 72 hours, point-and-click puzzle game Schrödinghost, by looPing and Valmont de Ragondas with graphics by Carduus, stars you as Maru, Schrödinger's long-suffering cat, who is really sick of all these experiments. Maru wants to seek revenge on his master, but that's a problem since he's stuck in a box, and if Schrödinger sees him moving around, he's dead. Your job, then, is to click to move Maru around whenever Schrödinger isn't looking, avoiding the sphere of light around Schrödinger that denotes his field of vision and make it to the opposite side of the screen. (Don't worry, if you mess up, you just restart the stage.) Being sneaky will only get you so far, however, so by clicking on Maru, you can release his spirit as a ghost which allows you to manipulate switches and travel through electrical sockets while Schrödinger is none the wiser.
Got a significant other who snores? How about a parent, or a little brother? Now imagine if that person was an elephant. Yikes. I think the neighbors might start calling in about disturbances of the peace at that point. It's no wonder, then, that the jungle denizens of Alma Games' Snoring Before Time are eager to do something, anything, to wake the local elephant from his nap and make the jungle quiet again. This adorable, animal-themed puzzle game has a similar premise to the Wake up the Box series of games, but instead of drawing shapes, you'll be interacting with the local fauna and making use of all their animal superpowers; just click on them to make them do their thing! With the help of yaks that roll, zebras that jump, bouncy owls, and many more, knock over Mr. Elephant and give a rude awakening! And yes, we did just say "bouncy owls." It's "push or be pushed" in the heart of the cartoon jungle, and what gives Snoring Before Time its appeal is the ways in which every animal reacts differently to being clicked, shoved, or otherwise activated.
You are the sole operator assigned to a spaceship carrying out a mission as part of the New Earth Federation Connected Worlds Project. You are assigned to search for viable dead planets and revitalize them for future Federation colonization operations. Unfortunately, you've forgotten a lot from your instruction manuals. But you have a whole spaceship filled with science stuff to play with, so hey, you might as well give it a shot! On the Edge of Earth: 5000 is a sci-fi adventure game by Roope Tamminen of Lakeview Cabin fame. It was originally developed for the Ludum Dare 48 game jam under the theme of "Connected Worlds". Use the [arrow] keys to move around the ship, with the down [arrow] used to interact with its machinery. You can also hold down while moving to run, speeding up the process. Figure out how all these machines work together, and you just may make NEF proud after all!
In Tachi's funky free indie RPG adventure Hero and Daughter, translated by vgperson, Ralph may be an all-powerful hero, but he's also pretty smartmouthed and big-headed, which is why he winds up being busted all the way back down to level one as punishment when he decides defeating the dark lord would be beneath him. Now he's got to grind his way back up to proper legendary status to take the Big Bad down if he ever wants to be restored to his former glory, but how's a punk like him supposed to do that when he can't even handle a lowly slime... especially when he discovers can't actually level up? Well, it so happens that a kindly Summoner takes pity on Ralph and decides to help out... by summoning pretty girls. Pretty girls who are a lot more powerful and pack a bigger punch than Ralph himself. By finding other Summoning Stones, you can unlock new ladies to add to your party, each of whom not only has her own unique abilities, but her own story and personality as well. Packed with replay content and getting updated all the time with even more, Hero and Daughter is a strange but unique and addictive dungeon crawler worth checking out... with a few caveats about some troubling scenes and themes.
It's sort of pointless to go through the efforts of getting your clothes spiffy and fresh-smelling if you don't have anywhere to go once you've cleaned up. Why not treat yourself to a day of sophistication and refinement, enriching your senses as well as your cultural aptitude? Spend an afternoon browsing an art museum. This is exactly the plan for the day in Aries Escape: Episode No.14—except as this is an escape game, the day takes a turn when you're trapped inside a strange exhibit. Here, a new type of medium is on display: the puzzle as art. It's all quite interesting but...where is the door? If you're ever going to leave these two rooms, rather than turning into a new mummified display, Pas de Fuite, you need to look beyond the surface and hone your art interpretation skills. Following the arrows to navigate, and pointing-and-clicking on active zones, explore everything around you, keeping eyes peeled for hints and items to guide your way. Both the clean, clear design and changing cursor aid your progress, while a "save" button will let you discover both endings without having to play through twice.
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Short and sweet with just the right amount of challenge, Tototo Room's Button Escape 24 is as strange an escape game as you could wish for without getting Detarou involved. To get out, not only will you need to crack some codes and solve some puzzles (all without an inventory!) but you'll need to find and click eleven gray buttons as well. The cursor doesn't change to show what you can interact with, but as long as you keep your eyes open and your brain working, you'll be out in no time... right?
After ERS Game Studios' hidden-object adventure series Maestro: Music from the Void and Maestro: Music of Death, you'd think your taste for musical prodigies might have soured a bit, what with all the unspeakable evil and demonic pacts they seem to attract and leave you to clean up. In Maestro: Dark Talent, a performance by "Diva", a singer who literally came out of nowhere, turns freaky when your friend, Kate, and the rest of the theater patrons are sucked inside by the dark forces du jour, where they'll have their life force drained unless you can stop them. At least, according to some dandy in an alleyway who calls himself a "Knowing One", which sounds smug and insufferable until you realize there's a good reason he's not called the "Actually Effective One", and soon it's up to you to stop Diva and the dark forces and wannabe Dementors behind her.
What do you do with an action game sequel? What do you do with an adventure game sequel? What do you do with a pirate game sequel, ear-ly in the morning? Well... if it's Labu Games' Pirateers 2, the sequel to the original Pirateers from 2012, well, then I'd suggest playing it, no matter what the time of day it is. It takes place in a time long ago when merchant adventurers roamed the seas, and a parrot on the shoulder was still considered a swank accessory. It is a time of legends, no more famouse than that of The Artifact, a treasure so valuable that anyone who possesses it could remake the entire world. You are only starting out on your pirating career, but thoughts of The Artifact drives you forward. Be smart, be strong, and be quick, and the seas and all its bounty will be yours for the taking.
The problem with kids these days is they just don't get it. They think the fun is all about jumping around, making noise, playing games...being sociable for goodness sakes. As if. Napping is where it's at. But don't try telling Junior and Jenny that—not only do they feel like bouncing about and giggling, they want sleepy dad to join in. All tired, overworked parents out there can sympathize; no wonder it's called Monster-land. That's Monsterland 4: One More Junior to be more exact: a continuation of Alma Games' physics puzzle series bringing 36 more nap-busting levels, made just right for a relaxing break without the Zzzs. Just point-and-click to pop blocks in the right sequence to move Junior (who jumps on dad to wake him) and Jenny (whose special moves break dad's kid-proof helmet) through the increasingly complicated obstacle courses and onto dozing dad. Sometimes this is a straight-forward drop or slide, other times you'll need to make use of buttons, treadmills, trampolines, teleports and more. All while avoiding saw blades and long falls, such things that are hazardous to kids' health.
Gelato Games' sword-swinging platformer Goblin Sword is one of those iOS titles that earns the term "retro" both in look and gameplay. If you had shown it to my ten year old self back in the nineties I would have believed it right at home on the SNES, and then I would have told you to leave me alone and let me get back to Chrono Trigger because ten year old me was a brat who was an insufferable RPG snob. The premise with Goblin Sword is pretty basic, in that you play a hero out to stop ye olde ancient evil-e, which requires leaping and slashing your way through levels filled with minions, traps, angry wild life, and pots to smash. There are only four buttons... the left and right arrow keys, and one to slash, and one to jump and double-jump. Stab enemies and collect gems and coins to buy better equipment, and don't let your hearts run out or you'll need to start the entire level over. Don't worry, most stages are short... unless you want to find all the chests, coins, and crystals. Pile on a bunch of bosses, power-ups, and secret areas, and Goblin Sword is a vibrant love poem to days gone by with bite-sized levels that are perfect for on the go.
Deep in the heart of the labyrinth, something waits. One by one, the men and women of the elven militia have gone in, and all of them have failed to return. You are all that's left of their once-proud army. But you have a mighty sword and indominable will to survive... Oh, and mastery over arcane magics. That helps too. Elventales: The Arcanery, from Elven Games, puts you in the greaves of this lone adventurer as you plumb the depths of the savage dungeon that has already taken so many lives. Which will probably include yours. Several times. This action RPG has a hefty amount of roguelike in its ancestry, which means the challenge level gets fairly high. But if you have no patience for the stat-building and micromanaging of most roguelikes, don't worry... Elventales is a simplified and streamlined experience that removes turn-based battles and cuts you free from the grid for a more open and active experience. You can walk anywhere you like with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, interact with anything nearby with [E], and attack anything in front of you with [R] or a left mouse click! You can spend the currency monsters drop on unlocking new spells, which you can then bind to the number keys. It's more accessible to be sure, but it's still got plenty of teeth!
For coy playfulness and understated charm, Yonashi's escape games are like little treasures found in the window of a whimsical shop in some quaint seaside town you visit on vacation. They're colorful toys that wordlessly catch your attention from afar and draw you in, leaving you to ponder over little details that seem incongruous with the rest of the parts, pieces of inventory that make no sense, until they do. Mori Room serves as a quintessential example of these Yonashi traits, with a few quirks thrown in. You start with the basic locked-up-in-a-room setup—point and click to navigate and examine all this setting has to offer. Its subtitle, "Chameleon, etc." has it about right, too; a uniquely talented chameleon and an assortment of other fine friends, both animal and inanimate, will guide you through puzzles until you reach your ultimate destination: a fantastical escape.