Sometimes all you want to do is kick back and relax with a disembodied, bikini-wearing torso, and in times like these, Aries Escape has you covered with Aries Escape: Episode No. 15. You find yourself in a cozy little woodland cabin, perhaps ready for one last summer fling judging by your wardrobe and the seasonal decor. But who can really relax with all these puzzles around them? You literally can't sit down without coming across a coded lock box, and if you ever want to escape, you'll need to find and correctly interpret the clues needed to open them. Just click around to move and interact, using the white arrows that appear at the edges of the screen to navigate, and double-click an item in your inventory to view it up close. The text is all in Japanese, but none of it will prevent you from finishing the game. Watch for the cursor to change to indicate interactive zones, and keep your eyes peeled for clues and codes. So many clues and codes. But hey, that's all in a day's work for an escape veteran, right? Especially if you want to get the Happy End...
The great world is tearing itself apart. Every living inhabitant is doomed to die with the planet. A small group, however, realizes they must find The Maker, of whom no one knows if it truly exists or not to plead it to help save their planet. So off our heroes go to find help and information so they can beg The Maker to save the planet. You'd think everyone would be ready to be on board with this plan to save everyone's lives, but apparently talking is done through the sword and fist. Prepare for battle on your iOS and Android devices, with Mistwalkers new mobile battle game, Terra Battle. This tactical puzzle roleplaying game, lets you strategically plan your party and crush your foes, all while enjoying beautiful artwork and a deep in-depth poetic story. Mysteries unfold while you add more and more powerful members to your planet saving group.
It seems that a video game generation cannot be truly labeled as "retro" until it becomes possible to accurately re-create it in a browser window. And while games like Dino Run and Super Mario Bros. Crossover have kept the pixel-art flowing online, the gloriously chunky polygons of the Nintendo 64 remain in short supply. At least now, though, there's Kiwi 64 by Marcus Horn, a Unity 3D platform game inspired by those "collect everything in sight" games of yore, and a certain one about a bear named Banjo and a bird named Kazooie, in particular. In it, you play as Kiwi, a cute little flightless bird who just wants to enjoy the sunshine. Unfortunately, the evil King Melon is high atop his mountain, and ready to ruin your day with taunting pieces of verse. But legends have foretold of five magical lamps that, if collected, would unlock power unimaginable! Or at least enough to kick that melon off that mountain! Which is probably just as good!
It's alive! Aliiiiiiiiiiive! Which is a good thing because a game about a bunch of dead monkeys would probably be too weird, even for me. In Pencil Kids' latest Monkey GO Happy point-and-click puzzle game Monkey GO Happy Halloween, the monkeys decide the only thing that will cheer them up is to craft a hideous mockery of life using body parts they find strewn around. Hey, we've all been there. That's why I'm no longer allowed within fifty yards of a cemetery. Just click around to interact, and drag items from your inventory at the top of the screen to use them, keeping your eyes peeled for puzzle clues hidden in the scenery. Despite its aggressively ominous soundtrack and ghoulish premise, Monkey GO Happy Halloween is sweet, silly, and simple Halloween fun for all ages, and won't keep you wrapped up for so long that you'll miss trick-or-treating.
It was a dark and stormy Wednesday in October, wind rattling the shutters and the dilapidated boards of the ersatz roof which offered no shelter inside the JIG offices from the elements threatening to ruin it all. Flicking the light switch repeatedly had no effect—dark loomed on all sides. In the corner, I could see the opening of Selfdefiant's scary dungeon, but knew already of the trap that lie there in wait. Tired from my travails through a minimalist maze of Hottategoya's making, I just wanted some candy. Sure, FunkyLand promised that once more, but my brain was in no shape for solving puzzles. Instead, I felt my way through the darkness until my hands touched on exactly what I needed: the smooth feel of a platinum blonde wig and the cool chiffon of a long, sparkling ice blue dress. Maybe I can't sing, but I can try looking the part. By the way, happy Trick-or-Treating, my ghoulies! Here's a handful of escape games to get you started...
Selfdefiant's Sneaky House of Mystery is a rare escape game in that in addition to puzzles and codes, you're actually trapped somewhere with all the creature comforts. A big fluffy bed. Kitchen. Bathroom. TV and sound system with cutting edge games from just a few years after I was born. But alas, you can't stay, so it's time to figure a way out of here by exploring and hunting down items you can use to get past obstacles. Though the interface is a little clunky, it's a satisfying length with a decent amount of substance for a coffee break, and hey, who can fault its taste in games... or background music?
If you're a master of hell runs in Spelunky and you're getting tired of eggplant for supper every night, you might be looking for a new challenge to shake up your straight-down trips. In Puzzle to the Center of the Earth, available free for iOS and Android, that challenge comes in the form of a match-3 puzzle. The colored blocks you break apart also form the platforms you have to have to traverse in this clever mashup by Foursaken Media. It's a long way down, so watch where you swing your pickaxe!
What do you do when hordes of monsters come a-knocking at your door? If you're a hospital you bring them inside, give them medical treatment and pray you have enough facilities to heal them all! Developers Leon and Francois van Niekerk and Hilgard Bell over at Clockwork Acorn bring us Monsters & Medicine, a turn-based strategy title that reminds us that even monsters need a little care and attention sometimes. Each turn different types of colorful monsters will appear at your door needing urgent treatment. You'll be dragging rooms and hallways onto your building to increase your ability to accommodate them all. Each monster type will need their own type of ward, and they'll also need to be able to get to it. Fortunately for all concerned, monsters will wait patiently outside in an orderly line, no pushing or shoving — in addition to drastically reducing your insurance premiums, your Orderly Conduct Policy has been the secret of your hospitals' success and made your treatment facilities an industry leader and the place for recuperation and healing.
What do you really need out of life? Instant gratification? Money? Fast cars? UncleBig2D's March is a short but beautifully executed little interactive art piece that plays like an arcade game and takes you through one boy's life in a series of short stages. All you have to do to play is click, and while there isn't a whole lot of replay value after the few minutes it'll take to play, and some may find the representation of the message a little too cookie-cutter, the core of it is heartfelt and earnest, not to mention presented in a simple but evocative retro style. It's less a "you need this specific thing" thing, and more "you might miss other things if you only focus on the material things" thing... thingy.
Just Pine Games' latest escape game, Alexandria Escape, also free for iOS and Android, plops you straight into ancient antiquity and demands you find your way out. You've gotten yourself trapped in some dusty library in the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria and it's up to you to leap through a series of escape game puzzles to get free. The game's got an extremely attractive Greco-Roman style going on, with a fair amount of historical accuracy to boot. Sure, the game requires some suspension of disbelief through some of the wackier puzzles, but our hat's off to the art department for going the extra mile to give history buffs something to nod knowingly at. Click to navigate your way around the room, collecting the odd knickknacks that you'll combine and use in every possible way. Seriously, these Alexandrians had steam power, gears, and the written word, but they couldn't warp their brains around a Hide-A-Key?
It's the shooter series that turns "shock and awe!" into "shock and draw!" It's the arcade shoot-em-up where a lone pilot sets out to erase all of his foes... literally! It's Notebook Wars Saga, Francisco Ferreres' vertical-scrolling war game that shows us that the battlefield of the future will just as likely as not be some kid's fifth-period notebook (at least once he's finished covering it in ZOFOs and that Stussy S thing). After the conclusion of the Notebook Space Wars, we're back on terra firma, and while the engine is now Unity, the mission should be instantly familiar: shoot things and make them explode!
With the sages out of town for a convention, a little teleportation spell in their absence doesn't quite go as planned and now it's animals. Freaking. Everywhere. Chickens clucking in the castle hallways. Sheep on cliffs. Horses down wells, and cattle mooing in the throne room. Unless the last words you want to hear in your life are, "Why is animals?" from a council of outraged wizards, you'd better get everything sorted before their return. flapbat brings us this phenomenal free magickal animal rescue action puzzle adventure game that'll have you finding all the animals to bring them home. Farmyard Chronicle, Director's Cut is the beautifully-polished version of a game-in-a-week release centered on bouncing animals around the screen and into teleportation gates ("Fieeeld gooooal!") while getting bounced around yourself by sheep and kicked across pits by horses. No, really. It'll take plenty of artifacts to get everybody home, like rings that make you dash, teleportation wands to swap places with the critters, and even altering the flow of time itself.
We are living in the Age of Information. All the accumulated knowledge of the greatest minds of history are at your fingertips, any time of the day, instantaneously, for only the price of a Wifi connection. Sometimes this can be overwhelming. But developer Science Museum is here to teach us all a thing or two with Transmission, a game about the web of electronic synapses that makes our connected world possible, and also available free for iOS and Android. It's a puzzle game that has you connecting various receivers and transmitters with glistening streams of information via the mouse. Each circle can transmit and each square can only receive. It's up to you to juggle corrects amounts of information, represented with glowing cubes, between each circle and square. There are some optional objectives you can fulfill for some extra credit, like using the fewest connections possible or leaving info cubs on the right circle. All of it combines to create a brain teaser with a capital B.
Don't be afraid! Though we draw ever closer to that freakiest of holidays, Spoopy Saturday has three free indie horror games for everyone from the scaredy cats to those who giggle at even the goriest of ghosties. We've got a house you can't escape from (even though the developer is known for escapes... ), a disaster where a little girl goes missing and you seem to have some serious psychological trauma dogging your steps in addition to monsters, and finally, a masquerade party with a little bit of romance and a lot of really skimpy costumes.
Hotel Berkley is haunted, though I don't know what you'd expect from a place with more menacing statuary than rooms and peeling wallpaper, exposed wiring, and spiderwebs abound. While the guests have been fleeing in fear from apparitions and nightmares, including one woman whose husband is trapped inside when she bravely runs off to leave him to fend off the green ghostly stink fog himself, the hotel owner seems more mildly annoyed by it than anything else. Luckily, she's called you in, a journalist who knows that a leaf blower is the best answer to unruly spooks, and your uncanny ability to notice that the really obvious mechanisms around you might be worth fiddling with. Elefun Games' hidden-object adventure Fear for Sale: The 13 Keys might be more unintentionally funny than freaky as its characters react in really put-upon ways to the cosmic horrors after them, but is still a fun romp for fans of campy horror. As you soon discover, there's a reason for all the passive-aggressive haunting going on, and maybe that whiny hotel keeper knows a bit more than she's letting on. Maybe a good night's sleep will shed some light on things? Either that or pull you into a series of bizarre, distorted nightmares through the machinations of some creepy "hey gurl" looking specter who peeps in through windows at you wearing a top hat. Whichever.
When we last left our hero, the sole remaining practitioner of ninjitsu on a distant world, he had just finished annihilating an army of mutants in a mad scientist's lab in order to prevent them from overtaking the galaxy. Now all he wants to do is go home and kick up his footie pajamas for a while and unwind. But a ninja's work is never done, and in The Last Ninja From Another Planet 2, Dharmasta Adriwara Widhayaka's interstellar ninja finds himself in the depths of another puzzle adventure. This time, he's made a pit stop on his way to his home planet, in order to liberate another innocent world from the grasp of the mafia. (Seriously, ninjas vs. mafia. Why haven't MORE people jumped on this train?) Just like in his previous adventure, this anti-gravity assassin leaps from wall to wall with the [arrow] keys, moving straight forward until he hits something, much like in a sliding block game. He's out to exterminate every mafia goon he can, and while the minor minions provide no resistance to his blade, not all the mobsters will go down without a fight! It's a familiar formula for those who played the first game, but it's got plenty of new enemies, skills, and hazards to tempt them back for a second round.
Legends have told of the great warrior Kon, a cursed Enkian, who, with his strength and skill, saved the fair Princess Narya from the evil King Blazer, and saved the land of Naturia. Unfortunately for Kon, that life of ease he earned in the last game seems to have been revoked by the fates, as he has found himself shipwrecked on Drumdrum Island, where it just so happens that the evil ice witch Merody wishes to bring about an eternal winter, Kon is the only one who can stop her, and the local shopkeepers don't seem to be accepting his Hero of the Realm discount card. Isn't that always the case? But adventure calls, and there are baddies to fight, and treasure to swipe, so Kon had might as well enjoy himself. Land of Enki 2 is a retro-style action-platform game by VoidForce where players will travel to an engaging fantasy world, discover fascinating creatures, then slice them in half with a sword, because what else?
Being a ghost isn't half bad. Everything's comfortable when you can float just above it, the grocery bill is a lot smaller, it's always peaceful and quiet, and transportation goes a lot faster when you can just appear. Yep, life is easier as a phantom, until people start to invade your peace and quiet by moving into your homestead. Time to break out "Haunting for Dummies" and prep your hair-rising wails for Glitchy Pixels' new indie game, Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror. Henry B. Knight, now dead and transparent, is a little obsessive over his house and the new tenants need to go. Plan your scares to chase everyone out of the house, work around bosses, and gain back your peace and quiet in this puzzle game. Quite similar to Haunt the House, Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror has some of the charm and much more of the challenge to really test your strategic side.
Chances are you know Shimage from the addictive Megami Quest, in which case you may be interested in adorable simple strategy-lite RPG Village Guardians, also available free for Android. In it, your goal is to keep the town safe for thirty days by managing a party of heroes who automatically do battle with the monsters who show up. Heroes who take part in battle and live automatically gain experience and level up, though even if a party member gets trounced, they'll be revived the next day. Your involvement is mostly limited to Scouting, which tells you what monsters are coming next, and spending hard earned gold on new party members or equipment. Every few days, the things sold in shops change, so properly managing your cash in order to ensure your party is best equipped for the coming days is important. Do you buy up a bunch of low level warrior grunts? Save up for more powerful equipment even if it means struggling along with only a few heroes? Sadly, while the game will run in another tab or window, it only does so very slowly, so for the most part, you'll be better off watching the game run. (I know, I know... what is this, olden times?) Just save frequently and in different slots on different days, since if you fail a battle, it's game over.
So apparently as of this writing it's Chemistry Week! Awesome! But no matter what week it is, what better way to brush up on all those chemicals and formulas you slept through in high school than with Test Tube Games' new title, Bond Breaker! It's a puzzle game with a healthy dose of educational material woven in, subtly enough that it doesn't lecture you yet deeply enough that's completely fascinating. Control your proton by clicking to guide it through each level, pressing switches, avoiding spikes, and bonding with other particles for a variety of scientifically-accurate effects. There's a wealth of humor on display as well... who knew video game spikes were the proton's natural foe? You won't even notice you're learning. Seriously, why can't textbooks be this fun?
Soothing pastel palette? Mellow soundtrack? "I have no clue how to solve this"? Awww yeah, it's TomaTea time with the escape game Salvadoor, which is... uh... gosh that's pink. Surrounded by painted eggs, flower arrangements, and puzzles aplenty, in order to get out of the locked door, you'll have to hunt for clues to decipher the combinations to TomaTea's customary code locks. Just click around to navigate and interact, watching the tip of your cursor for a glow when you're passing it over something you can click on, and click the little "i" on an item's portrait in your inventory to view it up close. Doing so can allow you to manipulate them into different things when possible, or even combine them with other things you're carrying.
Pegas Games' Tiny King is short on stature but big on d'awwwww in this point-and-click puzzle game where our miniscule monarch cruelly awakens from a snuggly dream to find his cake has been stolen. As he travels in search of it, through a magical fanged blue door because reasons, you have to figure out what to click or otherwise manipulate in each level in order to proceed, usually by finding the key and dragging it to open the door's maw. Of course, just because you can see the key doesn't always mean you can get to it, so you'll have to click around and experiment with everything in each stage, be it sentient bookshelf, pile of worms, cow shelf... whatever. Don't expect it to make sense, just expect it to be cute and weird. Each level, apart from the first, also has a secret golden piece hidden in it, and if you want to find out what's behind that door on the stage select screen, you should probably track them down!
A most auspicious Wednesday to you, dearest, prettiest, best-pony-est, best-smelling readers! It's time for another installment of Weekday Escape, and we have a batch of fine, fresh, and of course free escape games to tickle your fancy. Elle is off taking her annual amateur piggy-back sabbatical, or at least that's what she's doing as long as I'm the one writing this and nobody is around to stop me, so this week you're stuck with me again. And Neatescape. And Yomino Kagura. And no1game. So I hope one of you remembered to bring snacks and board games, because it's getting crowded in here.
After his debut in Sweet Revenge, Carmel Games' Crazy Dad continues to live up to his name in his latest point-and-click adventure A Day at the Library. See, he's just started working there, and he's decided his first task is to clear out the kids breaking the rules, the rude ones, the ones being nuisances... basically everyone who annoys him. To clear out all the kids, click around to explore and gather items, and prepare to use what you find in rather... uh, unorthodox ways. All of which beg the question... what sort of lunatic actually bore Crazy Dad two equally unhinged children?
Birthdays are always stressful, never more so than for the harried parent. You've got to make sure all the kids get the right presents and keep everyone safe and be extra careful no one gets a bigger slice of cake. It's especially stressful in Alexander Fedoseev's physics puzzle game Gift Rush 3, since you're a tiny spider-ball-thing with a mess of sleepy kids who need their cake. Luckily, they're heavy sleepers. In the latest entry in the Gift Rush series, you click to shoot strands of web to swing around each of the 20 levels, trying to get the cake to your kid or your kid to the cake, which ever is easiest. You can grab the sleepy toddlers by pulling them close and you can press the [spacebar] to drop them. Just make sure you don't grab the cake by mistake. Your harried little spider person just can't help himself when he's too close to cake, and he'll scarf it down.
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.
Looking for a short and speedy point-and-click adventure with just a touch of spookiness? Self-Defiant's Alone on Raven Road may fit the bill, even if it's essentially an exercise in bad ideas. After all, when your car breaks down in the middle of the night on an abandoned road so deep into the woods the only the wolves and bats and a guy with a serious skin condition are around to keep you company, maybe strapping on a manky old pair of hiking boots and traipsing off into the wilderness isn't such a good idea. Just keep your eyes out for clues, use the green arrows to navigate, click when your cursor changes to interact, and click an item in your inventory to highlight it for use.
In short interactive movie/murder mystery Proxy by Sonoshee, eight people with seemingly nothing in common find themselves trapped on an elevator. Help can't come soon enough because when the lights go out, a being calling itself "Proxy" kills one of them, and will continue to do so unless they can figure out who Proxy really is... and kill them first. Made in a short period of time as an experiment to learn Unity, Proxy is extremely light on interaction and could use a bit of polish with the text, but offers a creepy-cool whodunit with two endings... though only one of them is good, and considered "true".
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My experience playing Creative Assembly's survival horror adventure/nightmare simulation Alien: Isolation can probably be summed up in two simple words... "Absolutely nope". Or at least, that was my very calm yet emphatic reaction as I closed the game immediately after the first time I heard an unidentifiable scrape coming from somewhere ahead of Amanda Ripley in the dark and cramped ventilation shaft she'd just crawled into. In my defense, you have to understand Sevastopol ain't your friendly welcoming space station, and if the scrawled threats and pleas on the walls combined with the general destruction and disrepair of the place doesn't turn you away, the first time you come across those red drag marks on the floor you might feel differently. Amanda doesn't really have the option to leave, however. It's not just that she's braving the unknown out of a desperate desire to find out what happened to her mother Ellen Ripley (who you may have heard of) fifteen years ago after finding out the flight recorder from Ripley's doomed ship, the Nostromo, has been taken aboard Sevastopol. It's that Amanda literally can't leave, and she's not exactly alone on board, even if you don't count the straggled and desperate survivors or the malfunctioning droids. There's no heavy weaponry on your side this time... survival depends on stealth and smarts as you must scavenge for items to craft helpful items and rely on cunning to outwit deadly enemies. Despite some rough edges and a brutal difficulty, Alien: Isolation is menacing and ominous in all the right ways, and the tense, monstrous experience the franchise has always deserved.
Tototo Room's Button Escape 25 is a single-scene escape game, but there's a whole lot going on in it, with codes to crack and locks to open, not to mention the eleven buttons to find and click scattered throughout. There's no changing cursor, so you'll just have to click everywhere you think you can interact with, and even try using some objects in the scenery multiple times. To check something out in your inventory, simply click it once to highlight it as though you were going to try using it, then click it again. The trickiest part will probably come down to spotting codes and then deciphering them without also overthinking them, but if you want something equal parts weird and cute that won't take up a whole coffee (or cup of noodle) break, this is the game for you.
Dinosaurs, at least the living ones, usually aren't allowed in museums, but Little Rex just wanted to see his ancestors so bad, that he just had to sneak in! However, he's having a little trouble finding his way through all the different galleries. And they're filled with so much tasty looking art! Having never received the guidance Cookie Monster did, Rex has to admit it's pretty tempting. (Why did he forget to stop to munch on a hot dog or a toddler?) All he wants is a nibble or forty. He's sure the security guards won't mind... if they don't see him! In Rampage Rex, a puzzle platform game by Comic Book Cody developer Eric Bernier and Izzy Aminov you'll be guiding a very hungry dino as he spends an afternoon taking in a little culture.
Everyone knows the most important things you need for a zombie apocalypse are a zombie crushing tank, unlimited ammo, and a sweet, stylish hoody. Thankfully in Gamaga's UndeadRun, you have all three. Run down the street, avoiding the undead, and dodging out-of-control cars, while trying to scoop up coins and power-ups in this zombie shoot 'em up game that was originally featured in a Link Dump Friday. As previously mentioned, this game stands out from the normal genre of zombie games as it contains an amazingly zero amount of blood. It's just adorable, blocky zombies easing their way towards you only to be blown into bouncing little cubes. Oh and coins. Those are important as you'll need them for the upgrades that will help you achieve your goal of killing all three of the zombie bosses.
It's good to be the king. Issuing decrees, sitting on a throne, launching yourself on a dynamite-powered battering ram through miles of inclement terrain and worrisome foes so that you might bring swift justice to those who oppose you. You know, king stuff. That's the hook behind Smokoko's new game, King's Rush, which brings a regal air to the launch game formula. You use dynamite to blast your royal ram downhill, using [spacebar] to jump and [X] to fire cannonballs at obstacles and enemies. Each little impact saps some tiny amount of health, so keep your wits about you. Snow mounds and yetis won't do much damage on their own, but it adds up over time. The coins you collect in the field can be used to upgrade your battering ram in a variety of ways, increasing stats like ramming speed, armor and reload times. There are also gadgets you can buy that will even the odds in the field, and a few magic gems that are deployed at periodic intervals to give you the occasional boost.
Hello boils and ghouls and other netherlings. Since this is October, the spookiest of months, I thought we'd try something new with Spoopy Saturdays. Each Saturday in October (culminating in a Freaky Friday of our best horror games!), we'll be highlighting free and freaky indie horror games best played with the lights down and the sound up. This week, we serve up an otherworldly survival simulation where you really don't want to be caught out at night, a girl who goes in search of memories she probably should have left buried, and a seriously scary you guys I'm totally serious game where it's up to you to serve up the scares to unsuspecting dupes!
I don't know why everyone makes such a big deal over kids. They're loud and nonsensical, you have to share your toys, and their hands are usually disconcertingly sticky. But some people get pretty attached to the little anklebiters, so when the town in Mariaglorum's hidden-object adventure League of Light: Wicked Harvest sees two of the whippersnappers vanish, they call in a detective (you!) to help sort things out. It soon becomes clear that something wicked is afoot in the world's most sinister looking town, and you'll need to search for clues, solve puzzles and hidden-object scenes, and discover the truth behind the shadowy figure stalking the town's children. All with the help of gaming's most adorable sidekick (sorry Clementine). Seriously. Not even kidding. Stir it all up and you have one campy but immensely enjoyable game that features clever puzzles, an intriguing and even exciting plot, not one but two bonus chapters, and a widdle bitty scarecrow pal who tries so hard to be spooky and puts on widdle hats aaaaaaaAAAAAA-
It lurks in the shadows, always staying just in the corner of your eye, having you unaware as it sneaks up right behind you. Goblins be here, or really just one goblin, Styx. And there's no reason to worry about him. He'll just pickpocket you.... or slice your throat open, or snap your neck, or stab you in the kidneys. Hmm, on second thought, there is a lot to worry about, or would be if it wasn't this foulmouthed, toilet-humored, goblin you're helping through this action adventure stealth game aptly called, Styx: Master of Shadows, by Cyanide Studio. Steal, assassinate, set traps, cause diversions, but mostly sneaking around without being seen in this high difficultly roleplaying game. The whole reason for all the prowling and silent death dealing, is to get to the center of the World-Tree, in order to steal the heart of this great magical flora and possibly find out why there are so many voices in your head. Oh, and trying to remember what happened before you woke up. That may be a good goal too.
If you want cute and weird in your escape games, Yonashi is always a solid bet, and Fungi Escape fits the bill nicely as you find yourself standing in front of a cute little forest cottage surrounded by lots and lots of, well, fungi. And fungi-themed locks. And fungi-themed puzzles. In fact, there're so much fungi-themed things in this game that the word fungi has already lost meaning to me at this point and doesn't even look like a real word anymore. To play, just click to interact when the cursor changes, and use the transparent overlays that pop up to navigate to different areas. Click an item in your inventory to highlight it for use, or use the "about item" function to view it close up. Many areas will have multiple transitions for you to navigate to, so make sure you waggle yon cursor about everywhere just in case you missed something.
Imagine if mining in real life was more like it is in cartoons and video games. No cave-ins! No danger of black lung! Mine cart trails like roller-coasters and the caves littered with pre-cut jewels the size of fists! The promise of those gems alone would probably make it a more desirable career than "movie star" or "astronaut." Of course, cartoon-mining is still not without its hazards, as Minerics proves. This puzzle platformer shows us that even the jolliest and most primary-colored bands of cartoon miners still have to deal with stalagmites, dynamite, and even evil jackhammers. And in the vein of the Fireboy and Watergirl series, you'll be controlling them two at a time, one with the [arrow] keys and one with [WASD], as they explore caverns in search of bright, shiny, floating treasure. Or rather, you can control them two at a time. But Minerics encourages you to make it a two-player affair, with all of the bickering, shouting, and fistbumping that implies. And isn't everything better with friends?
A murder has happened. Yours. And with the storm, it could be days till the road is cleared enough to let the police in to investigate. So you're sure these fine people won't mind if your restless spirit possesses them for a little detective work... Sound familiar? It might be if you played the original Why Am I Dead? But with the sequel to the popular mystery adventure coming soon, Peltast Games has revisited where it all began, remaking it from the ground up to better coincide with the upcoming game's art style and plot. Why Am I Dead?: Rebirth features new sprites, new dialogue, new endings, and even a new character (...technically) to possess. Move your spirit with the WASD or [arrow keys], possessing the different characters at the hotel with [X] or [Spacebar]. When inhabiting a person, you can use [J] or [Z] to talk to others or interact with your surroundings. Characters will react differently to different guests talking to them, and discovering all of what happened will require quite the bit of body-hopping.
Consider the ninja. Stealthy, deadly, silent as a field mouse's ghost covering a sneeze during church. Unless you're in HeroPunch's Black Bit Ninja 2, however. Then you're more of the retro, puzzle, fly-through-the-air-dealing-swift-justice-with-your-katana variety. The game has you launching your legless, square ninja man against his red enemies by clicking and dragging with the mouse. You have a limited number of launches so aim and timing are key. Your ninja slices the bad guys up on his own, it's up to you to see he avoids the saws, pitfalls, and other such nonsense to see that all the right baddies get sliced.
Ever on the lookout for great new games, we just got back from a trip to the future in the Jay Is Games company time machine! Well, most of us... grinnyp was thrown into some kind of high-security holding facility and is just pleased as punch finding all the different ways to escape. She'll be along any minute, doubtless with a comprehensive walkthrough for it. Physics games are still big in the future, so we brought you back SharkStudio's little gem called Tech Orb, a sleek sci-fi themed physics puzzle that's all about orbs and platforms... with unique effects!
It's time again for Weekday Escape, and since I'm feeling a little bit adventuresome, let's take a look at three escape games that remind us that escape-the-room games are really a spinoff of the classic point-and-click adventure genre. Each of the following creations from Selfdefiant, Tototo Room and Esklavos—while distinctly different in their artistic renderings—are replete with rewards for those willing to explore and experiment. Best of all, you don't need to pack your bags, stand in airport security lines, or learn to talk like the locals. Just point and click...
Infinitap Games' Neverending Nightmares is a indie horror adventure game about a very troubled young man named Thomas who seems to have a complicated relationship with his sister and a slipping grasp on reality, but it's also about its creator's struggles with OCD and depression. Thomas explores a house that seems to have no end and decays around him the further he goes, and whenever he meets a violent end, he wakes up unharmed in his bed, though he'll have to press deeper to find out why he seems to be stuck in such a nightmarish loop that only gets more disturbing even when he makes his way out of the house itself. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and hold [shift] to run, though not for long or very far since Thomas has apparently been neglecting his Spin classes and has the endurance of a pug puppy. For the most part, you'll be keeping an eye out for colour, since that denotes things you can interact with in this harsh black and white world, but each area is also usually being stalked by a specific sort of monster. Since Thomas is only wearing his -3 to constitution jammies, he'll die instantly if something gets a hold of him, so you'll have to figure out how to sneak by each new creature by making use of your environment. The game has multiple endings and even multiple paths to reach those endings, and with a unique and disturbing visual style, it takes a very personal tour through a different kind of horror... albeit in such a way that the gameplay might leave something to be desired for some.
Available for iOS, PlayTap's turn-based RPG/card game Card Dungeon is a weird little game, but a weird little game I liked a lot for all its quirks. You control a hero moving through a series of randomly generated dungeons, tapping on adjacent squares to move to them and attacking the enemies in your way. In addition to harmless wildlife and not-so-harmless monsters, most dungeons are made up of a mini-boss for the first few floors and a final boss for the last. You can, if you're lucky, find equipment like swords and armor that boost your statistics, but everything is done with cards. The catch is that instead of your standard attack/defend/bravely run away options, all your actions are dependent on whatever three cards you find and equip, and those cards also decay with use until they're completely destroyed. Run out of attack cards and, well, just don't, unless you have a working knowledge of where any traps might be hidden. See, you find cards in containers, which are squares that highlight as yellow nearby and can be anything from actual containers to chairs or puddles of water, and if you reject a card you find in one, it's gone forever. Cards can do anything from teleport or heal you to simply attacking or casting magic spells, and each card has a mana cost, so you'll want to keep an eye on the blue number below your Crusader hero's standee in addition to the red one... your health. Die, and you have to start from the beginning... the very beginning, as in, the very first dungeon.
Monster slaying platforming action goes turn-based in Nitrome's Turn-Undead, where you play a cloaked and fancy hat'd hero (... Mare-Do-Well?) out to slay Dracula, as one does. [WASD] and the [arrow] keys move and jump while [spacebar] fires wooden stakes, but the twist is that there's a pause after every action, and time won't move until you perform another action. Jump, for example, and you'll hang in the air for a single turn (before falling the rest of the way to the ground), and fired stakes will travel one space ahead of you at a time with each step or movement you take until they hit something. You can hit [R] or [Z] to undo your last move, but if you're touched once, it's a dirt-nap for you. While your cheerily skulking average vampire can be rather spectacularly dispatched with a stake to the face, other enemies aren't so easy, such as the zombie, who will instantly reanimate on your next turn. You don't actually need to slay them all, however, just get to the exit, and nab the glowing golden cross if you want double points for doing so.
How many blocks in Babylon? Three score blocks and ten... Well, OK, so maybe that's a bit of hyperbole, but there's no doubt Nekval's stacking game has more different kinds of blocks in it than a three-year-old's bedroom. Much like that hypothetical three-year-old, your goal in this physics puzzle game is to build a blocky tower as high as you possibly can... or at least high enough to cross the green-and-white goal ribbon. And like that three-year-old, with her handful of hand-me-down Lincoln Logs and bin full of Duplo, those blocks don't always play nicely with one another. Cactus blocks have the unfortunate tendency to pop water balloon blocks. See-through glass blocks shatter against anything but sticky green blocks. And do we even need to explain what TNT blocks do if you nudge them too hard? Balancing your tower is only half the battle here. The other half lies in carefully positioning and allocating the different kinds of bricks, making sure that friendly blocks get together while unfriendly blocks stay far, far away. It's quite a refreshing twist, in fact, to see a stacking-based puzzle game that utilizes physics, but doesn't have physics puzzles as the main point!
In Hidden Layer Games' arcade action jump-and-run game Back to Zombieland, you're a peace loving zombie with an appreciation for skateboards and stopping to smell the roses... too bad that angry mob wants to tear you to pieces and put you back in the ground as violently as possible! Launch your zombie when the power is maxed, then use the mouse to direct him as he runs, clicking to jump over obstacles or on top of rats for a bit of extra cash to spend on upgrades. When humans appear, tapping the [spacebar] will activate your weapon to blast them away, but when your stamina runs out you'll be overwhelmed, so you'll definitely need to grind for more upgrades. It's silly and whimsical, with a light-hearted tone and enough variation to the obstacles and landscape to keep you coming back for more... maybe even from beyond the grave!
In 7 Days Without Rain, a point-and-click puzzle game by ReFall, you're a thief who's putting your sticky fingers to the greater good. Which... sounds gross when I say it, but trust me, it's a good thing. Click to interact with people and objects when icons pop up as you explore, and pull off acts of altruism without getting caught. It's a neat idea that could serve to be fleshed out a bit, as its short length and repetitive minigames will show, and things get a little, um, weird towards the end, but if you always thought you'd make a good thief-with-a-heart-of-gold, it's worth checking out.
Being an archer in a group of adventurers is sort of like being a bassist in a rock band. You get zero recognition, no matter how hard you try. But the good thing about archers is that, unlike bassists, they can go solo. The hero of the action-packed Barons Gate 2 by Dragosha Games decided to do just that. When his queen gets kidnapped by a dragon, he bravely sets out on an epic quest all on his own, Eye of the Tiger playing in his mind as he dreams of the glory he won't have to share with paladins and mages and the whole ungrateful crew. Shooting is as easy as clicking, and the position of the cursor determines the power and direction of your shots. Arrows alone won't be enough, though; defeating demons calls for good armor, which you can buy by visiting the camp, or find it in treasure chests. For the most part, Barons Gate 2 follows the formula established by its predecessor. Many elements are completely unchanged: the levels are short, your enemies range from sword-wielding knuckleheads to flying fire mages, and the gameplay is stopped every now and then for a visit to the camp.
In Brutal Studio's cinematic sniping physics puzzle-y shooter Stick Squad, the world is relying on two, uh, "heroes" to complete missions and stop the villains. In over sixty levels, you'll need to carefully aim and take out the enemies as quickly and as discreetly as you can to earn the best rating, and then spend the cash you earned on buying and upgrading new equipment. It may be a little bit rude and crude, but it's ambitious and well put together... especially now that it has a skip button for the well executed but long, long, long, long opening cutscene!
Through rain or snow or bandits and magical grass ogress, the mail will get through in Adventure Xpress, a free match-3 turn-based puzzle game with light RPG elements from Adult Swim and PikPok. You play a brave courier tasked with delivering mail across the kingdom, which is more hazardous than it sounds with brigands and monsters lurking absolutely everywhere and waiting to beat you up for it. As you traipse across the map, at each location you'll have to handle a series of battles before you move on. You fight your opponent by matching coloured runes on the grid between you, and you deal damage when you make matches of three or more, though you can move runes without making matches. The colours represent corresponding elements, and as you might expect, enemies can be weak or strong against elements of different types. If a location has more than one battle, you won't be healed between fights, so you'll need to make sure you're maximizing your attacks by making combos whenever possible! As you fight, you'll gain experience and level up, which unlocks new equipment like weapons and armor for you to buy with the gold you earn, as well as spells that can be powered up when matching the appropriate runes during battles.
Sk-yyyyyy-yyyy Queeeeeessst! Berzerk Studio went out to make a Sky Quest! Don't care how many flying critters have to die just as long as you win the game!... Sorry, when a side-scrolling shoot-em-up comes along featuring an angelic hero named Conquest soaring and defending his airship from the creepy forces of the evil Wartrake, while an epic score blares in the background, it just makes me think of a certain White Stripes single. But after spending some time with it, it makes me think much more of fast-paced shooter fun. Control Conquest with the mouse, automatically firing your weapons against the creatures attacking your sky-fortress. Your hitbox is your head, and slamming yourself into either the creatures or the red ammo they fire will drain your health bar. While the red ammo the creatures fire won't hurt your ship, watch out for when they decide to go kamikaze. If either you or your ship run out of health, the level is failed.
Mad Head Games' stunning hidden-object fantasy adventure Dark Realm: Queen of Flames begins with a village siege that would make Alduin proud, when you're awoken in the middle of the night by your father, the blacksmith, and told to take your mother's belongings and flee before the shadowy creatures outside break down the door. You have no chance but to flee the city as it burns, but there's no running from destiny, and go figure... turns out the magical boots and mysterious brooch your mother left behind hint at a pretty big destiny for you indeed. One involving the fire banshees stalking your family, and a dragon so nasty he literally busts up your user interface. You'll need to solve magical puzzles and hidden-object scenes, uncover family secrets, unlock spells and enchanted items to help you, and more if you want to save your father as well as the kingdom. With a remarkably well told story with its share of twists and memorable scenes and visuals that might just set a new standard for casual games, this is one adventure any fan should feel proud to add to their library.
Funkyland's cute and mildly fantastical Alice House escape games have quickly become something many of us look forward to when you want something fast and fun, and Alice House: No 5. House of the Duchess might be one of the fastest yet. This time, you're trying to find six cat-related objects in this curiously understated little kitchen, so click around to search and interact. Clues to solve the few puzzles you're encountered are scattered around amidst the baguettes and the silverware, and items in your inventory can be used once you've clicked them. But whatever you do, don't blink... not because of any demonic statuary, but because if you do, you might just miss this one completely!
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We all float down here.... wait a minute, get out of here, Tim Curry! JakTube's horror text-based adventure game It has less to do with Stephen King than it does you being kidnapped and left trapped in a facility with a creature that's being tested for its ability to hunt and kill. Type commands such as "go north", "pick up", and "look at" and hit enter to execute them. You'll need to find food and items to solve puzzles, but It is never that far behind you. Light on story and more a straight-up blend of survival horror and escape, It is a game for people who enjoy being torn to shreds while they wear leather jackets, drink coffee, and argue with text parsers.
Holmes and Watson are back for more, and things are going to get messy in Frogwares' mystery adventure game Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments as you take on the role of the legendary and borderline insufferable detective solving a series of challenging (and sometimes gruesome) cases. Six cases, to be exact, each centering on a very different crime. A violent murder, a baffling disappearance, a daring theft and more... all of them will require Sherlock's unique mind and talents to solve. With the help of his own unique and formidable brain that will allow him to see things others don't as well as perform a variety of other useful abilities, you'll guide Holmes to uncover not just the truth behind the crimes committed by interrogating witnesses, solving puzzles, and tracking down evidence, but you'll also decide what, ultimately, you'll do with the perpetrator... as long as you can figure out who it is, since it's perfectly possible to accuse the wrong individual. While unfortunately Creepy Watson is a thing of the past, Crimes and Punishments still manages to deliver an engaging, carefully crafted adventure game with high production values and an immersive atmosphere.
Quang H. Tran's Phoenotopia is the kind of game that comes along once in a very long while. While occasionally simple, it's still a better adventure game than most of the full price offerings you can pick up at your local retailer, in terms of art, story, gameplay and heart. The game is set on a post-Earth colony, an idyllic world full of gorgeous retro landscapes straight out of the best of the SNES generation. You play as Gale, a pink-haired everywoman whose simple life as a farm girl is interrupted one day when strange alien ships come and abduct everyone in your village, leaving just you and a couple dozen children left to fend for yourselves. It's your duty to head out into the world and find out what happened to your friends and family, braving myriad enemies and interacting with dozens of colorful characters along the way. In case you have noticed, the writing is far above standard for a game like this. The abduction establishes some real emotional stakes early on, and the wealth of characters you discover in your travels manage to be funny and interesting without being verbose. What's more, the brief nods at a deeper backstory regarding the fate of the old Earth offer some tantalizing hints at a vast and rich universe. Seriously, can you say franchise?
Mateusz Skutnik and Jacek Witczynski's point-and-click puzzle adventure Eien is the sort of game that doesn't so much drop you in as plant its foot firmly on your bottom and shove, then lean back and fold its arms expectantly while you're left staring around in confusion. You find yourself standing in front of a towering blue... maze... thing... on a plain bridge floating in the middle of darkness. Which, the intro informs you, is all you can really remember before a pulse of light. To play, all you need to do is click to move around and interact when the cursor changes. Items will appear in your inventory at the bottom of the screen, and when you click one, you can then try to use it wherever you like. Your progress is saved automatically for you to come back to if you like, but don't expect any real help beyond that. If you want to progress and find Eien's secrets, you'll need to look everywhere and try everything. Clues (and viewpoints) are hidden where you least expect them. Hope you have your hmmmmm warmed up and ready to go.
Remember the good times with Phantom Mansion: Spectrum of Souls? All the puzzles, the cleverness, the colors? If only there was a new game with all that unique wonderful gumption. Maybe with a touch of a few other classic puzzle games, like Reflections or Together Alone: Love in Limbo, that we have a dear love for. What a shame there isn't. Wait, what's that, nonexistent-voice-I'm-making-up? There is? Yes, it's true! Pixelelephant heard our silent cries and delivered their grand game, Rainbow Hero! It's the indie puzzle game we've all been waiting for. 100 levels of tile based puzzles where you must make your way to the open doors to find the colors that were stolen from your lands. Each level is a new trick to figure out and a new way to discover, and a new way to think outside the box.
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Why pilot any old ship when you can make your own? Vasili Kostin serves up a sequel to the original upgrade-packed action game with Galaxy Siege 2. Use [A] and [D] to pilot your ship left and right to avoid enemies and automatically gather supplies while your weapons shoot down any nearby enemies. The catch? When your fuel runs out you'll need to return to base, where you can use what you've gathered to buy new modules to build up your ship to be bigger and better. From lasers, rocket launchers, and rifles, to shields, harvesters, and more, if it can be welded haphazardly onto your ship by a sketchy space mechanic, you can use it.
Are you too happy? When friends describe you, do they use such phrases as, "The life of the party," "a real ray of sunshine," or "an absolute treat?" Do you need more UNBRIDLED RAGE in your life? Then have we got the platform game for you! Geote is a game that wants to break you down and drink you sweet, sweet tears, but the hurt is so good. Like most brutally difficult games, it sounds simple enough on the surface. Heck, it even LOOKS simple, thanks to its minimalist aesthetic. You're a blue rectangle, controlled with [WASD], who absolutely cannot stand red squares. Aim with your mouse cursor and click to shoot and destroy all the red squares on the screen. And at first, that's all there is to it. But then the red rectangles start to get scared, and start to hide. And then they call on their friends, the spinning black triangles, for backup... Soon you're pulling off mid-air dodges around flying spikes, firing rapidly into the air, and pogo-ing on top of conveyor belts like a caffeinated kangaroo. It isn't for the faint of heart, but if you're looking for that special brand of delicious anger only a maddening platforming game can cause, Geote welcomes all challengers!
I envy you if you lead a quiet homebody sort of life where your interactions with strangers are kept to a bare minimum; I mean like, maybe once every other week or so you see a person you don't know pass by on the street. That's the way to live. But meet, exchange howdoyoudos, make small talk? This isn't fun. Conversations are highly overrated things. Especially if I'm the one who has to do the, um, conversating. Sometimes I just want get in real close and demand: "Why do you look at me to fill your day with entertainment? I won't regale you with stories of my 'big weekend plans'. Just hand me my groceries, please, and we'll call it a good day." But I suppose some people might call that "rude". I can't help it if I'm in a hurry to get home and play more awesome escape games. Maybe if more people spent their time here at JIG, they wouldn't be anxiously asking perfect strangers, "Looks like rain, eh?" At least there's this week's grab bag of Weekday Escape goodness, just the thing to tune out the nosy world and unwind with—because games like FunkyLand's girly candies, Flash512's dreamy garden sojourns and Yomino Kagura's big picture can help anyone feel a little more sociable...
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Carmel Games serves up something short but very sweet and silly in point-and-click adventure game Quest for Milkshake. Made as an homage of sorts to bastion of childhoods and puppets Sesame Street, in this game you'll need to help our green furry friend make a coconut milkshake for his demanding customer... even though the shop is actually out of it. When the cursor changes to show an interactive area, just click to move around or, well, interact! You'll need to hunt down ingredients around town if you want to make your customer happy, but this place is seriously weird to say the least, and you'll need the help of other monsters to make your coconut dreams come true.
As of September 2014, Kraven Manor is no longer free to download and is only available as a purchase from Steam. This review has been updated to reflect that.]
A dark mysterious house on a stormy night... what could possibly go wrong? Originally released as a freeware beta and now available on Steam, Demon Wagon Studios' harrowing indie horror adventure has you stumbling into the cold comfort of Kraven Manor one night. You may be out of the rain, but you've run straight into the dark heart of one man's obsession, and you'll find out that the whole house is against you... unless you can manage to turn it against itself. Move with [WASD], holding left [shift] to sprint, and use the mouse to look around or interact. Hitting [F] toggles your flashlight on and off. The key point to exploring is to find more scale models of rooms hidden throughout the manor and bring them to the entryway. There, you find out that this place has one seriously unique floor plan... you can place and rearrange the places any way you like (as long as they have a valid connecting doorway to the main areas) and doing so literally changes the layout of the house around you, opening the way to new areas and changing pathways so you can reach previously inaccessible places. But keep your eyes peeled as you explore. You're not alone, and something doesn't appreciate you prying into the house's past and its secrets, and the more you know, the harder it's going to try to stop you. If prompted, hit the onscreen keys whenever assaulted, because in addition to light, the antagonistic force in the house is weak against button mashing. The game works on a checkpoint system, so should you meet a gruesome end, you'll just start over again at the last point you passed.
Everyone knows the easiest solution to debt is to throw yourself in the gladiator ring. Every foe you kill is another gold piece in your pocket and your debt will shrink in no time! At least that's the solution in Alchemists' Poor Gladiator, for iOS and Android users alike. The whole point of this free high difficulty game is to defeat the unforgiving debt by finding the right balance between payments and buying another skill point to make yourself closer to be the Conan of the Colosseum. In this mix between a incremental idle and simulation game, your little fighter handles all the physical parts of entertaining the crowd and you're more like his accountant spending money left and right or saving up for when the debt collectors call, which is about every thirty seconds. You can give him orders by tapping and holding your finger on one part of the screen and he'll ignore all the bad guys in order to get to where you are. You can also tell him when to use his special powers, but only after you unlock them with a little bit of gold you earned from the newly deceased fellow fighters.
If you don't think grinding is a dirty word when it comes to RPGs and you love dungeon crawling, Mitsuhiro Okada's completely free, simple, and devilishly addictive Minute Quest for iOS and Android is calling your name. You play a nameless hero sent off by a lazy king to... uh... I'm not sure exactly. Slay a whole bunch of monsters? Doing so involves advancing through screens of enemies as you journey forth from the castle, every enemy increasing in power the further you get. Just tap the left or right side of the screen to move, and move into enemies to attack. Slay enough and you'll level up, earning five points to distribute to your attributes. Die, and, well, you're booted all the way back to the castle (don't worry, you keep all gold, items, and levels) to start again, though you will eventually unlock a means to speed through places you've been before. As you slaughter your way to the right, you can find chests with different monster pets that provide bonuses as well as helping you fight, and you'll discover different shops you can buy new equipment types at as well. Though it looks easy and even too simple, behind its carefree retro charm Minute Quest has a surprising amount of depth and nary an in-app purchase to be found.
To a young man like Cantus, the rest of the world and all the people in it can just seem like... noise. An indistinct roar that's nothing more than static. Of course, he won't shut up about it either, so it's no surprise that everyone is content to let him spend his time alone, listening to waves crash against the shore. Everyone that is but this energetic blue-haired girl that just showed up in front of him, and who seems aggressively interested in piercing all of his carefully constructed jaded cynicism. (Happens to me all the time!) Why does he even care? Maybe it's something in her voice: a voice that sounds like water flowing, with a breeze in the sky. Something like the Voices from the Sea. Voices from the Sea is a visual novel adventure from Zeiva Inc. about a boy, a girl, the ocean, and sea shells. Lots and lots of sea shells.
Content Advisory: This game features a small-minded character who uses several vicious slurs against the LGBTQ community. Discretion is advised.
In The Astronauts' highly anticipated indie horror adventure game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, it's every parent's worst nightmare when, as the title suggests, young Ethan Carter goes missing. Before his disappearance, he'd been sending you letters... you, Paul Prospero, a detective with a reputation for the occult. Nobody believed the things Ethan told them about... not the police, not the priests... but you did. Now you've come to his hometown of Red Creek, which looks like a quiet, obscenely picturesque, yet oddly quiet, town set deep in the forest, but looks can be deceiving. Billed as a "non-linear narrative", The Vanishing of Ethan Carter offers little to no direction when it drops you unceremoniously into the game, and it's entirely up to you to figure out where to go, follow your own clues and leads, and solve puzzles with minimal obvious direction. It's a slow, thoughtful experience with abstract puzzles and a heavy focus on storytelling in a gorgeous, immersive environment, made more for fans of subtle, classic horror than splashy, flashy scares and thrills. Though only a few hours long and lacking in replay value, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an extraordinarily beautiful and unsettling piece of narrative fiction that uses some knock-out imagery and shocking events to take you along for the ride.
Warning: Parts of this game contain flashing lights that may trigger those sensitive to it.
Did you hear the story about the running physicists? No? Well, let me tell it to you: Once upon a time, two physicists and their robotic assistant went running through a super collider to discover new elements. Sometimes they succeeded; sometimes they failed. The End. What do you mean that wasn't very entertaining? Well, maybe I told it wrong. Ian MacLarty and Jon Kerney do a much better job in their indie jump and run title, Boson X for iOS, Android, and PC, Mac, and Linux. Yes, there's running along moving platforms. Yes, there's jumping back and forth upon said platforms. And, yes there are definitely lots of failures in this seemingly simple task. LOTS. But they're of the kind that will make you say "Dang! Okay, just one more try".
Just because you saved some guy from a cage in the forest doesn't mean you're turning into Robin Hood. Because you're just in it for the loot, right? Well, maybe not. In Rogue Soul 2, the second installment of the jump and run action series by Soul Studio Games, you want treasure and lots of it. But just maybe you'll become a hero along the way. Use the [arrow] keys to move and jump, [Z] to slide, and [X] to throw collected projectiles at your enemies. Your goal is to make it to the end of each level alive. You need fast reflexes to dodge, jump, or attack what's coming, so if you stay too close to the front of the screen, you could be dead before you know what happened. Collect cash, called soulons, and other treasures throughout the levels to purchase upgrades for your character to make survival easier. These include such things as starting with projectiles, better armor, and a chance to dodge enemy attacks. Different goals are listed before each stage. Accomplish these and you'll be awarded stars which can be used to buy skins to change your look. Get all these in the shops from the map screen, where you can also check out the soulbook which has information on your enemies.
Currently in Early Access, The Long Dark, or as I've taken to calling it, The Long Dark: The Wolfening, or The Long Dark: Help, Help, a Wolf is on My Face!, is a challenging first-person apocalyptic survival simulation adventure with roguelike elements from indie developers Hinterland Studios. In it, you play a man or woman whose plane has gone down in the Northern Canadian wilderness in the dead of winter due to a "mysterious geomagnetic storm" that's rendered the whole world still and silent. It's just you against the elements (and the wolves), as you scavenge for everything from food and water to wood and other supplies, constantly battling freezing temperatures (and wolves), dropping caloric reserves (and wolves), and your own fatigue... and wolves. At the moment, The Long Dark offers a mostly complete sandbox mode based around the Mystery Lake locale, with the promise of more to come, as well as an eventual episodic story mode. Your sandbox goal? To survive as long as you can, which is easier said than done since you start with little more than the clothes on your back. You'll need to scrape together wood, find shelter, melt snow for water, search abandoned buildings (and frozen corpses) for supplies, and cross your fingers that you find a hunting rifle because even if you have a knife, those deer carcasses aren't going to be around forever.
In Eipix Entertainment's flashy and classy hidden-object adventure Danse Macabre: Moulin Rouge, you've been summoned to solve the murder of a young woman at the legendary concert hall, and though the police think they have their killer, we wouldn't have much of a game if hat were the case. (Shortest game in history. "Oh, our mistake, madame, please go back home and enjoy some pastries." Credits roll.) As you probe deeper, you soon discover there's something seriously weird happening on the streets of Paris, and Sophie, the poor girl who was murdered, is just the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, you've got your forensic kit at your disposal, and despite the sneering of the local police, you're sure this "new science" will reveal the killer. With your own private coach, you'll travel around the city as you put together connections revealing suspect after suspect and discovering their motives, solving puzzles, hidden-object sequences... and maybe even polishing up your bartending skills a little.
It seems like, for once, the zombie apocalypse has caught you at a decent time. You're way out in the woods, far from obnoxious crowds and all the chaos of a major city. Out here it's a pleasant vacation - nothing but you, a bunch of weapons, and a car you have to fix. Oh, and dozens upon dozens of bloodthirsty, brain-chomping zombies scratching at your barricade. Still Alive can't go too easy on you, now can it? It all boils down to a shooting game with some time management thrown on top. Aim with the mouse to use a variety of weapons to turn each shambling corpse into a regular corpse. When the horde has died down, you have to allocate your remaining stamina into either searching for weapons, practicing to increase your shooting skill, fixing the barricade or repairing your car. If you can get that car fixed up you're home free. It's not going to happen overnight, however...
Either you love tower defense games or you don't, but if you do, there's a good chance you love IriySoft's ferociously addictive hit Cursed Treasure and its sequel. For a while, your productivity was safe as long as you were away from your computer, but now that Cursed Treasure 2 has hit iOS, well, hey, it's not like you needed that job or those social obligations, right? The premise is still the same as you place and upgrade towers full of demons, orcs, and the undead to hold off the heroes (that's right, you're the bad guy) who are trying to come and cart away all of your precious gems. As towers slay foes, they become eligible for upgrades, which increases their power, but also allows you to choose certain upgrade paths for them that will give them new abilities, such as turning an undead tower into a crypt that terrifies or slows enemies. You're awarded experience based on how well you did, which earns you skill points to upgrade towers, passive bonuses, and spells, and if you can make it through a level without an enemy even touching a single gem, you'll earn a three star rating. Eventually you'll unlock Night Mode for all levels, which, well, is what it sounds, allowing you to play the game at nighttime with the restriction of only being able to place towers within the range of light sources.
When evil space pirates kidnap your brothers, it's always wise to go look for a hero. Getting one from another world is a major bonus, unless he's as apathetic as all get out. In Mr. Splibox, a platform puzzle game by Eyesteam, you play as this unmoved hero, who can't even be bothered to jump. That may raise some issues in a platform game, except the spliboxes have granted you the ability to spawn them underneath you at will, giving you the boost you need. Use them like a stepstool, or an improvised pole vault, or as flat out bait for the bad guys. Seriously these spliboxes will do anything for you, including falling onto spikes and letting themselves be launched across the screen. They don't care, they always seem to come back to you no matter how they 'pop'. They'll help you do anything as long as you get their captive brothers back to them or make your way through this wacky world to the teleporter.
Those of us who spend all day playing browser games are no strangers to the art of laziness, but the little pajama-clad infiltrator in Sean James McKenzie's Lazy Thief is a true master of the craft. He's driven enough to sneak all the way into each of the 50 levels, hauling a bag of rocks, bouncy balls, and ninja stars the whole way, but he can't be bothered to scamper up the blocks to grab the precious gems. That's where the physics puzzles come in. Click to lob your various projectiles at the diamonds to knock them onto the color-coded platforms nearby. Some blocks will crumble on contact with a projectile, some will require some fine-tuned bouncing with a bouncy ball to strike at the correct angle, and sometimes there's a string you have to cut with a ninja star. Watch out for the diamond-destroying lava squares. If you can get the gems onto the correct platforms they'll magically teleport into your possession. Thievery has never been so lazy!
As warm and inviting as the perfect summer day, Rub's short, free indie adventure game Lisa, made in just two months, is the perfect combination of awwww and hmmmm. The only description it gives you is that it's about a dog and a girl, but I'd more accurately call it "adorable, whimsical afternoon simulator". You control both a peppy blue pup and (eventually) a young girl as you explore and solve simple puzzles around the lazy countryside surrounding your tiny farm. The dog follows your cursor when you click, while right-clicking makes it bark (hold to release a bigger, mightier woof!), and the girl moves with [WASD], with [E] to whistle and call the dog to her, and [spacebar] to pick up and throw certain objects. All of this is relayed via signs and images, as Lisa is a game entirely without words, leaving you to intuit what characters want, and you'll need to explore everywhere. It's the type of game that may only take you ten or fifteen minutes, but is so cozy and sweet you'll wish it was much, much longer.
See those cute, adorable graphics? Try opening up the game and listen to that darling, innocent background music. Isn't it all so charming? Well, don't be fooled! That dastardly, darling, little fish will win over your heart with her cozy stitching and and her muted orange color, but look at that blank stare. This isn't just a happy-go-lucky little game. No, this is a game to test your physics skills with no mercy. A heartless, cold, unforgiving test. Or perhaps it really is just a charming game with actual tricky puzzles to figure out, with a few levels that just really kicked my tail fin.... Tricky Fish, where the goal is to help this supposedly sweet little fish jump out of the water to collect all the pearls (and stars) it can, while avoiding spikes and those infamous saw blades. But Tricky Fish has some aces up her fins, and with the help of springs, bubbles, and you, she can gather all the pearls she needs for whatever reason her fishy little heart desires.
Love is in the air and it's shaped like gigantic, fuzzy, eyeballs. Yes, the cute furry couple need to be united once again in ALMA Games', Blob's Story 2. Even if you haven't played the first Blob's Story (that can be solved with an easy click) you should know you're in for a delightful treat when ALMA Games comes into the mix, as they have given us the wonderful Monsterland: Junior VS Senior and Cat Around The World series. Blob's Story 2 continues on with the endearing simplistic puzzles of the cut-the-rope style physics. Slice the ropes that bind the eyeballs (and other miscellaneous items) to collect the beautiful flowers, avoid the rogue saw blades (there should really be a law about leaving those laying around), and cuddle those two eyeballs together to listen to their warm purrs of joy as you complete the round. It's so sweet and so darling and full of small details, like how once the lovers lock eyes they don't look away till they are together, who could pass it up?
I had an introduction for you, folks. It was right here, no joking. So let this be a lesson for you, which I very recently learned through my freewheeling cavalier oh-I'll-just-real-quick-step-away-for-a-phone-call—backing up your creative endeavors, no matter how small or large, is a good habit to be in. Anyways, the intro? It went something along the lines of "embrace new things, treasure old things," and all that sort of muck muck, closed with a witty (very profound and very insightful) platitude about taking the opportunities life gives you. I really have to tell you, it was some of my best work. You would've loved it. Anyhow, here are three new (and not-so-new) escape games for your Weekday Escape enjoyment...
Even wizards have bills to pay. What, you think that security deposit for cleaning ground eye of newt out of the carpets is a joke? In Tasty Stewdios' colourful and chaotic indie dungeon-crawling action-packed platforming shooter Magic Maker, your destiny could have been literally anything, but the Wizarding Temp Agency insists you're meant to be a security guard. What's that, you say? Not fun? Not interesting? Not challenging? Oh, my sweet little poppet, how wrong you are. Because in the world of Magic Maker, there's a whole lot of danger, and in addition to being light on your feet to dodge enemies and attacks, you also need to craft your spells and equipment from the ground up. Take a low grade electric crafting component, for example, and attach it to your wand so it'll arc from one enemy to another, or slap it on ye olde magic robe and you'll build up an electric charge as you walk that deflects harmful projectiles. Not enough? Find some rock alchemical ingredients and apply it to your wand along with a fire crystal, and sudden you have fireballs that can pass through walls. Or sprinkle a little explosive powder in your ice spell, compound it with quicksilver, and you'll have a rock of ice that travels at breakneck speeds and explodes on contact. With over two million combinations of spells and effects to uncover, you'll need to be crafty and clever to create an arsenal that'll get you past any challenge in the randomly generated dungeons. Stir in a sense of humour and a vibrant, eye-catching style, and you have a brew guaranteed to satisfy even the most sour-faced potions master.
If you've ever seen a luchador movie before, you'll know that luchadores are made of pretty tough stuff. When they're not wowing fans in the arena, they fight off mummies, zombies, and vampire women with nary a thought! But even they are only human, and in killabunnies' El Papel, the mighty luchador El Macho finds himself humbled by the most embarrassing of necessities: A potty break. Specifically, his rival Diablazo has stolen his toilet paper. Nooooooo! Luckily, El Macho is a master of the legendary "Quetzalcoatl" technique: Using only the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, he can stretch his muscular neck out just like a rubber band! He'll quite literally go to ridiculous lengths in search of el papel in this puzzle game, as he snakes his head through the cactus-and-piñata-infested ceiling above his wrestling arena. The only limitation of the Quetzalcoatl technique? He can't cross his neck over itself, so he'll have to be very careful about which parts of the ceiling he coils himself through... El Macho isn't the first game protagonist to be stuck in a situation that can only be solved with Hamiltonian paths, but he's certainly one of the weirdest and most vibrant! Collect colored bats to bash open the matching gates, and pick up stars and tacos for bonuses. The catch is that while you can retract your neck, it means you'll drop most items you picked up in the space you're backtracking from, so you'll need to plan a path that catches everything in one long line.
In Freeway Fury 2 and the original, you controlled a man who beat up people and aliens and drove cars very fast. In Freeway Fury 3, the latest in the arcade driving series from Serius Games, though, we dive in to the serious and complex motivations behind our protagonist. His hidden angst, his secret dreams and aspirations. Spoiler: Turns out he wants to beat people and aliens up and drive cars very fast. In addition speedboats, jets, and laser-spacecars. Okay, maybe complex is an exaggerated description of Freeway Fury-Dude's psyche. But as you're leaping from limo to semi to motorcycle to school bus, trying to stay one step in front of the law, you won't mind that Freeway Fury 3 keeps it simple.
Cute as a button, and now with kid-friendly explosives, Gaz Thomas's Red Remover games are back with the latest installment in the popular physics puzzle series, Red Remover Blast. Your goal is to figure out how to get all the scowling red shapes off the screen (don't worry, they want it) without knocking any green ones off, and this time, you've got some dynamite on your side! Just click to release explosions anywhere you want, as often as you want, but be careful. Though it starts off easy, soon you'll have to be a bit more thoughtful about where and how you drop the boom. When you're done, make your own levels with the level editor!
The world is black and white, as basic as that. All you see is a black directional arrow on a white background. With a point-and-click you try to get a bearing on your surroundings... but there's naught else to see. Are you too focused on that one scene in front of you to make sense of what you're meant to do next? Well, there is more here than first meets the eye. Of course there is. If there's nothing else you can expect from a Robamimi escape game, it's that you can expect surprises. So play around a bit more, "make full use of the mouse," and as you do, more ways to explore will open up to you. That is what One Scene 7 is all about. Solve the sneakily simple puzzles in order to find, and open, the door to escape. Then do it again to have both endings, because life is really more colorful than you know.
Michael Shirt's free platform shooter Tess is one of those weird little indie games that always makes you feel just a little out of it when you play... but largely in a good way. You control the titular Tess, a sad little girl who apparently didn't have a very good day yesterday, though nobody will really come right out and say why. A letter from her friend Milly asks her to come to a certain spot, promising her that it'll be worth her while. Sounds fairly simple, right? But there's something decidedly off about this whole thing, from the distorted yet still musical soundtrack to the masks everyone seems to be wearing. Use the [arrow] keys to move, [Z] to jump, and [X] to shoot, while [spacebar] will let you interact with things. Tess' health is in the upper-left corner, and can be replenished with the hearts enemies sometimes drop, or by using the big S-shaped save points. When you destroy an enemy, they'll drop a glowing white spot, and if you gather enough of them, you'll gain an extra heart.
A jiggly child and dog happily play on planet Jello until evil aliens steal away mom. And if there's one thing I've learned, is that it's never a good idea to mess with Jello kids. They might look like cute little blobs of sugary goodness, but they always get revenge. Always. Help exact this revenge in Gravi Jello, a fun new match-3sliding block puzzle game from Spruce Mobile, free in your browser or on your mobile device. Rotate the playing field by clicking the arrows at the bottom of the screen, or use the [arrow] keys on your keyboard. You've got a certain number of moves to clear the blocks from the screen. The jellos with faces will fall with the gravity of the board. Those with dots are fastened to the wall and are unable to move or be removed. When you've got at least three of the same color adjacent to each other, click to remove them from play.
A land full of light has been plunged into darkness. The Sun Gem has been broken in two. "Perhaps these hopes were misplaced," laments the narration. So begins Soluna, a platform game with a retro aesthetic that oozes artistic mastery. The creators at Diestware prove they know how to set a mood in this minimalist narrative, using simple controls and a simple color palette to tell a story that sneaks into your head and stays there. You play an unnamed warrior who must reunite the pieces of the Sun Gem and bring light back to your darkened home. Use the [arrow] keys to move, jump and cling to ledges, and use the [S] key to attack the foes you find along the way. You'll also encounter friends holding spears that you can speak to with [A] who give you hints and nods at a greater mythology of the Soluna universe. All of this adds up to an engrossing browser experience.
The ants went marching one by one, two by two, three by three, and frankly, in all the numerical configurations you can think of. The war against the giants from the sky was hard fought, with grievous damage done to both sides. Queen Antoinette lead the way in producing the uneasy armistice that now governed relations between the two people. Today, the ambassador from the sky kingdom is arriving, and if they make a good enough impression, peace could last for generations. You are that Antbassador. Or rather your finger is, and man, doesn't it just look dapper in that top hat? Antbassador is a QWOP-styled physics platform game by Kevin Zuhn and his team that has been declared the winner of the Ludum Dare 30 72 hour "Connected Worlds" game jam, and it has more than its fair share of ant-tics to show.
Kamotokamotokamo's escape game Strange Little Searching may look simple, but it's simple in a way that makes you go, "Oh. Oh. Oooooh. I see what you did there. Clever girl." You're trapped in a room that appears to be mostly featureless apart from a bit of furniture and some boxes propped up on tables, and unlike many escape games you may notice that this one doesn't appear to have a door, which is typically essential to the whole "escaping" part of the formula. The cursor will change when you can interact with something, but you'll still want to search everywhere since some items or viewpoints are very well hidden. Click an item in your inventory to highlight it, and you'll be ready to try to use it wherever you want. Though the room may appear mostly empty, a little bit of experimentation will reveal some pretty big secrets...
I'm late, I'm late for a very important game! It's time for more Funkyland with their latest Alice in Wonderland themed escape game Alice House: No 4. Mushroom and Blue Caterpillar. Which is... very green, despite the title. Huh. Regardless, you're trapped once more, and this time you're looking for five caterpillars... or, well, five caterpillar objects. The cursor doesn't change, so it's up to you to search everywhere and figure out what you can interact with, but you'll need a keen eye as well to spot clues to solve puzzles. If you find an item, you can click it in your inventory to highlight it, which will tag it for use so you can try to, um, well, use it. Sometimes the caterpillars will be in plain sight, but others will be more cunningly hidden behind locks. At least one item you'll need to find may fade into the background a little, so keep your eyes peeled and get hunting.
Please note that this game deals with suicide. Players who are sensitive to the subject matter should be aware.
Tap it Games and Artifex Mundi's hidden-object adventure 9 Clues: The Ward begins with a frantic phone call that brings you, a private investigator, and your partner, a guy who always looks like he suspected you farted and is disappointed in you for it, to remote, self-sufficient Mnemosyne Asylum. Only when you arrive, the director insists nobody has called for help... a statement that seems a little dubious when a body goes hurtling out a window right behind her mere moments later. The victim is Doctor Crow, a therapist, and notes on his body point to a slipping grasp on reality, as well as rambling indications of some vague sense of guilt. It quickly becomes apparently this old asylum has its share of skeletons in its closet, but the more you investigate, the more you begin to suffer strange... lapses. What's going on in Mnemosyne Asylum? What secrets are its staff and patients hiding? Who seriously hangs paintings like that on their walls?
Adorable anthropomorphized candles in danger from evil shadow creatures? It sort of sounds like something you'd expect from Pixar, doesn't it? But the demo for Candlelight, the upcoming platform adventure by Pixel Maverick Games, is all indie. You play the lone surviving candle in a world that's literally going dark as ominous shadows have been snuffing out all the other candles and light sources one by one. This is no time to stand around quivering in your wax, however, as it's up to you to find and relight the candles strewn around the windswept world. Use the [arrow] keys to move, hold [A] to run, use [S] to roll things, and tap the [spacebar] to jump and double-jump. At the top of the screen is your wax meter, which slowly depletes, so you'll need to find and collect wax droplets to keep it fill and your candle alive. Avoid water and gusts of wind, naturally, since it'll tack a big whack out of your wax meter, and if your wax runs out, you'll be booted back to the last camp you activated.
You see a handful of cards haphazardly strewn across the table, with vague descriptions around the edges. You're either looking at amateur night at the tarot house, or Pokergrams, a card-based logic puzzle by Ronald Stewart. Your goal is to place all of the extra cards into the grid so that each row and column form poker hands whose best possible ranking is described at the left and bottom of the grid. There are lots of ways to shuffle the cards around, but there's only one solution that matches all of the criteria!
Matchstick Memories is a curious text adventure-esque game by CH Buckingham where you gather fragments of memories while wandering around a strange and forgotten land. However, instead of typing "N" to go north, you've got to reassemble the proper fragments to perform actions in your search for elusive matches and matchboxes. The combination of an intriguing (if ambiguous) story and samegame and other puzzle elements makes for some surprisingly compelling and tactile gameplay.
Snakes are such fascinating creatures. They smell with their tongues! Their ears are internal! And, as any Nokia owner could tell you, as soon as they eat something, they instantly gain another segment of an ever lengthening body. Okay, that last one may only apply to virtual conductive snakes, the kind that stars in Coil, the tiny puzzle platformer that's the latest in Nitrome's initially-icon-sized-but-enlargeable series of games. And, like Flue, Turnament, Ice Beak, and J-J-Jump before it, Coil is sure to have you wrapped around its little finger. You know. If virtual conductive snakes had fingers. And good thing they don't, because we probably wouldn't have the pixels for 'em here. Coil takes the concept rules of Snake and gives them an electric side-scrolling twist. Move your snake wire with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, attempting to get to each level's goal.
There are a lot of "educational games" on the iTunes App Store aimed at kids, and the lion's share of them make the mistake of assuming kids are simple. I don't even like kids and I'll tell you kids are only simple if you don't challenge them, because they will rise to their occasion, even if they make weird annoying sounds and their hands are all sticky. So it gives me great pleasure to say that Bossa Studios' iOS puzzle platformer Twelve a Dozen, which bills itself as designed "to support the curriculum of 10-14 year olds", is not just a good educational game for kids... it's a good game for just about anybody. And it's about math, and I'm supposed to hate math! Twelve a Dozen stars, appropriately enough, Twelve, a number who lives in the city of Dozenopolis up until it's destroyed by a bizarre calamity that leaves numbers and strange machines and debris strewn everywhere. Together with Dot, a sentient decimal point who will be Twelve's guide and narration, Twelve sets off to uncover the source of destruction and set things right. With beautiful, fluid visuals, just the right amount of whimsy, and clever math-based platforming puzzles that introduce new elements and challenges the farther you go, Twelve a Dozen isn't just an unexpected gem for all ages... it's an absolute diamond.
It's one thing to find yourself locked in a pleasant little tea room or bakery shop, with cookies and coffee on hand and a refreshing breeze wafting through the window. It's another to suddenly awaken in the depths of an ancient temple, your mind muddled by time, the stench of decay thick in the air. The only clues to your identity are a series of hastily-scrawled notes strewn about your cell; your only chance of escape is through an impenetrable stone door. Welcome to the world of Psionic Games, masters of the horror-themed point-and-click game. Escape Eternity is their latest escape game for browsers and Android devices, but this time, there's a three-dimensional twist: Your murky, claustrophobic tomb is rendered in glorious 3D in Unity. You'll still navigate using your mouse, clicking on objects and arrows to move around the room. The orange, "i"-shaped button in the upper right corner holds your inventory, where you can click on items to either use them or examine them. Peer deep into every nook and cranny of your grim surroundings, even when hideous things hide within, and keep a close watch for even the tiniest scrap of paper. Someone might have wanted to trap you here, but someone else seems to want you to run free...
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Deqaf Studios' short horror platformer Little Phobia may seem cute at first when a little boy awakens in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but things take a turn for the freaky when he finds his hallway overtaken by all manner of things that go bump (and bite, and grab, and boo) in the night. Use [WAD] or the left, right, and up [arrow] keys to move and jump, with [E] to interact. Other keys will be revealed to you when you need them, but you'll need to think and move fast in order to run and jump safely from the creatures in the dark, knowing when to cower, close your eyes, or make stacks of furniture.
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Rose Key's Scales Escape may not have a lot of weight (hurr hurr), but you'll still need to use your brain if you want to escape. Hidden around the room you're trapped in you'll not only find items to use, but clues and ciphers for puzzles as well. The cursor will change when you can interact, so all you have to do to play is click to look around, and remember to view any items you pick up with the "about item" function, since it can not only tell you what an item is (helpful) but perhaps even reveal secrets or more clues when you interact with it (helpful-er).
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.
Danilo Studio's Climbo is a joy to play. It's a charming platform game that plays fast and loose with gravity. Your little bug/alien thing can walk up walls and make the whole universe rotate around him. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to meander about, jumping over spikes and pits, collecting little light balls to boost your score. The game adds boxes that slide hither and thither as the course rotates around them so you'll have to be mindful of getting crushed. This might be little solace to our Climbo monster, but his death animation is just adorable. Positive attitude and all that.
The Wheel of Time turns, and days come and pass, and before you know it, it's Wednesday again and time for Weekday Escape. It's been a while since you escape game aficionados and I had a chat, so I knocked Elle over the head with a sock full of pennies and left her tied up in a room with a goldfish, a screwdriver, a ticket stub, some coloured plates, Gumby fanfiction, and the jumbled sonnets of a 14th century unknown poet. None of those will actually get her out in any combination, but she doesn't know that, so I've bought you and I a few hours together at least. So what's new? How do you like the new Doctor? Is that a new shirt? Do you want to look at my pony collection? What should we order on our pizza?... man, you don't even care, do you? You just want the games. No, no. It's fine. It's not like I count the minutes until we're together again. Have some Gotmail, Yomino Kagura, and some Choko Chai. Good thing game reviewers don't have feelings or anything.
In the desert land of Ecta, tongues are parched and cities are wasting away for the want of water. Only one man controls the water... er, well, one walrus... and that selfish jerk, Walrus King (his self proclaimed title of "king" is debatable) is refusing to give any out! The true Queen of the land sent out her loyal engineer, Dame Celeste, to try and talk some sense into the Walrus King. Short story even shorter, it doesn't work and the ton of blubber falls in love with you, and throws you in the dungeon as soon as you refuse his attempt to woo you. Of course, he forgets you're an engineer and you have maps to his entire mansion. After that the name of the game is stealth. In Adjective Animal Studios' Dame Celeste you get five in-depth levels of sneakiness. Dress up in disguises, dodge the vision of the guards, and hide inside bushes and suits of armor alike in this highly difficult game.
I'm conflicted. On the one hand, TomaTea's Room 39 is as lovely and challenging an escape game as you'd expect, but on the other hand, its soundtrack makes me feel like I should be 85 and back somewhere in the "old country" in the middle of a snowfall wearing my grandmother's babushka. Which couldn't be further from the actuality, since the room our beloved yet fiendish developer has locked us up in this time is all buttery yellows and flowery decor, complete with what I choose to believe are memorial Hatoful Boyfriend statuettes. To find your way out, you will of course need to solve puzzles, and as per TomaTea's usual, the game will inform you whether you've encountered the clue you need to solve them by telling you that you have no idea how to solve it. The tip of the cursor will glow slightly if you're hovering over an interactive area, and items in your inventory will pop up a small "i" icon when you mouse over them, allowing you to view them close up with a click.
Plexus puzzles always look less like jigsaws and more like someone's photo album was attacked by a wild herd of ravenous scissors, but hey... that's sort of how we like it. Like the others, Fun to Boot features a scene where the pieces are jumbled up and sliced up at odd angles, so putting it together isn't as easy as picking out all the edge and corner pieces. Instead, you click to drag pieces around, and click the edges of each one to rotate them, or click a piece and use [WASD] and the [arrow] keys to rotate instead. When you have two pieces that fit together properly aligned, they'll lock together automatically. It's all about lining up the edges, like a normal jigsaw, only the edges here aren't neat and orderly and are instead all wibbly-wobbly. If you're not going to play all in one sitting, remember to hit "save" in the upper right corner, and the mute button is in the lower left for those of you who prefer your puzzle solving a bit less plinky-plonky.
If video games have taught us anything in life, it's that no matter what sort of problem you're having, be it kidnapped princesses, disease, or vandalism, call a plumber. The hazmat-suited hero of Respire Games' Locom may not have a monogrammed hat or sweet dinosaur pal, but he and his trusty pressurized water tank can still navigate a booby-trap-filled sewer with the best of the world's plumbing superstars. Only he's not quite as athletic as Messrs. Mario & Mario, so instead of hopping and bounding like other platform game heroes, he lets his hose do the walking. Just aim his water nozzle with the mouse cursor, and click to fire a powerful stream that will send him soaring in the opposite direction. On the surface, that's all there is to it. But to those who knows the hose, our portly protagonist can run, jump, shoot, push, hover, and even fly, all with a single click! Just keep an eye on how much water he has left in his tank... It's a unique, simplistic control scheme that's both intuitive and tricky, and it makes for a mighty fine platforming challenge.
With the trend of new incremental games coming out, it's been difficult for gamers to find titles that bring worthwhile ideas to the genre, or sometimes to even tell them apart. Some are barely-coded "watch the numbers get bigger" examples, while other developers have been lunging for some flashy gimmick to vie for your attention in an effort to get their own title to stand out from the rest. Pray don't toy with our affections, good sir! And then along comes a title like Idle Village. Unity-savvy up-and-comer Supercluster just goes ahead and bolts on everything he can find to the experience, unabashedly throwing the kitchen sink at the game and not even satisfied until the thing releases a pile of adorable puppies into the room from a hidden vent and checks your e-mail for you at regular intervals. If all that sounds a bit on the hyperbolic side, take a gander at the list of features and decide for yourself. A full-fledged CG model of your village, complete with day and night cycles, that accurately depicts the growth and development of your village — and which you can enter as a player. The ability to gain a fourth of some of your resources, and all of the rest, while you're offline and while the game isn't even loaded. A sophisticated and intricate system of buildings to research that produce everything from potatoes to shrimp and lanternfish to jewelry, carrots and deer and bear meat. An employment system, where you delegate your growing body of villagers to produce these various resources, and a market where you can sell them all for gold and buy new resources for your town. A smithy, where you can craft a diverse arsenal of weaponry, and a recent addition to automate your production. All this and more, from a title still very actively being developed, has put Idle Village firmly on the map.
She's traveled through The Cave of Heroes. She's asked what's The Deal With The Gods. Now Alexia Crow, tourist and reluctant chosen one has to face the most dangerous peril yet: the third game of a trilogy! No, wait... I mean: Pandora's Box! As in the Pandora's Box... the one with the bad history in re: unleashing things? At the very least something of equivalent danger. Chiron wants her to destroy it and it looks to be in that shady office buildinge. Since the outside is secured by all kinds of weird puzzle junk, you know that the inhabitants are up to no good... the "millions of lives are at stake" kind of no good. Alexia Crow: The Pandora's Box is the concluding chapter of QuestTracers' point-and-click adventure saga, where a hero finally discovers her destiny.
Funkyland continues to live up to the name with Alice House: No. 3 House of White Rabbit, an escape game that looks frilly and sweet, but is just a little bit weird, sort of like a restrained version of its source material. The White Rabbit Hole had you searching for, well, rabbits, and with The Pool of Tears it was dodoes. This time, you're searching for items emblazoned with lizards, because why not? Click around to interact, and since your cursor won't change to highlight any interactive areas, you'll want to scour everywhere. Not that you have much to scour, since House of White Rabbit is a very small game indeed. Keep your eyes peeled for clues, and click any item you're carrying to "equip" it for use.
In Blam! Games' hidden-object adventure Fierce Tales: Feline Sight, you play a country vet of dubious credentials, unless you think taking a stranger's "sick cat" and giving it a random tablet of "cat medicine" you had laying around on your dusty shelf is the pinnacle of modern medicine. Seems the whole area has had some feline problems, with house cats running away in droves, and a pesky leopard infestation terrorizing the townsfolk. The local authorities are pretty quick to demand you find out what's going on, which seems like a lot to ask from someone who frequently gets locked inside her own house. Seems a mysterious woman is controlling the colossal cats, and in addition to sabotaging your progress to almost comical extent, they're even abducting certain locals. Mightn't it have something to do with the local legends about the native people being driven off the land? It mightn't. But it also might have something to do with two sisters and a love triangle, too. If you can survive the strange woman stopping you at every turn (and your character's own questionable judgement), you might be able to get to the bottom of things. Which you should definitely do, because a town without cats is no town at all.
Mateusz Skutnik takes us on another gorgeous photographic stroll with 10 Gnomes in Venice, the latest in his popular series of point-and-click puzzle 10 Gnomes games. As the title implies, there are ten tiny gnomes hidden throughout the streets, nooks, and crannies of Venice, and finding them all will require scouring every inch. All you have to do to play is click to travel and look around... your cursor will always change when there's a place you can move to or zoom in on. The gnomes are small, so don't expect to see any clear sign they're hiding somewhere gnome'in' it up. There are no items to collect or puzzles to solve beyond where the gnomes themselves are, so click everywhere and leave no stone or picturesque street unturned. Just don't spend too much time admiring the scenery, because there is a ten minute time limit and if it runs out, you'll have to try again from the beginning.
So here you are, ruling the world with your evil fire powers, being worshiped by the worthless, and ever enjoying your juicy sacrificial cows, when suddenly one of those peons comes to inform you that they are not going to give you any more sacrifices. Something about a famine, and starving to death and bla bla bla. Psh, mortals. This is a troubling matter however, but being the god of fire and lightning you have your solutions. Entertainment Forge, the same wonderful duo that brought us Epic Boss Fighter now brings us Sacrifire! Using your undead minions you must collect the cows being guarded by your previous zealots. It's a game of skill and timing and strategy, as you must chose what minions to use in the battle against, or narrowly miss being slaughtered by, the guards.
If you can't get enough Angry Birds but always secretly wished they were pink, Rovio is here to make your dreams come true with Angry Birds Stella, free for iOS and Android. STELLLAAAAAAAAAAA is our pink protagonist, and when a map is stolen from her by an airship filled with pigs and one feathered purple monarch, she sets out to retrieve it the only way she knows how... by violently hurling herself through the air at precarious structures and smashing her face into them until the pigs atop them are destroyed. Fail to knock out all the piggies before you run out of birds, and you'll have to restart the level. Tap and drag on Stella in her slingshot to aim, then release to send her flying. Unlike other birds, however, Stella's got a trick up her sleeve, which is really surprising since she has no arms. If you tap and hold on the screen, you'll temporarily slow down time and can direct Stella to rocket once in a different direction, allowing you to pick off pigs in hard to reach places, or set up a chain of ricochets to take multiple targets out. Along the way, you'll unlock other birds with their own abilities, such as Poppy who can drill down through structures, or pint-sized Luca with her sonic scream. With gorgeous visuals, eye-popping colour, and crafty levels, Angry Birds Stella is both a stunner and challenging... so it's a shame about those obnoxious ads.
In Califer Games' simple yet gorgeous little puzzle game Spirits of Elduurn, you control two excitable little spirits who think they've found a new home, only to discover it's chock full of nasty demons made from dark energy, which has happened to me at least twice before while house hunting. Using the [arrow] keys, which moves both spirits at the same time, your job is to guide your two spunky critters around the level, picking up all the glowing sparks and then moving your light spirit into the demon to banish it. The problem is that while both your light and dark spirits can pick up the sparks, only the dark spirit can cross the purple voids, and will actually slide across all adjacent ones in the direction you move. If the light spirit touches those voids it'll be destroyed, and if either spirit touches the Swirling Red Level Boundary of Doom (tm), they'll vanish, so you need to plan your path to make it through each level safely, and in as few moves as possible. Press [M] to mute, and [S] to skip a level when the prompt appears.
When you think of rabbits, the thoughts that run through your head probably include carrots, soft cotton tails, big floppy ears and cute widdle bunny wunnies! But as countless TV shows and movies have taught us, woodland creatures have their own secret lives unfolding when they're not scampering around foraging for food. In this case, it involves digging their way through caves and crypts down to hell to rescue their kidnapped bunny rabbit kin from a deranged sorceress. Developed by veteran casual game developer Elliot Pace, Demons Down Under plays like the now-classic roguelike The Binding of Issac, meaning that you'll spend your time exploring baddie-infested rooms in search of keys, potions, and sweet, shiny gold. The [arrow] keys or [WASD] moves your character and the [spacebar] is used to drink potions, while clicking the mouse will employ your weapon, be it a sword, dagger, blunderbuss, or magical laser of doom. What makes Demons Down Under so much fun is the wide variety of weapons and items you can use in each run—killing enemies grants experience and gold, which unlocks a plethora of fancy upgrades. This allows for a bit of replay value, making up for the game's comparatively mild difficulty. Combining this with a collection of unique enemies, a procedurally generated map, and a charming and delightful presentation means that Demons Down Under is a good bit of fun for casual audiences anywhere.
You stubbed your toe getting out of bed, you spilled your cereal all over the place, and looking out the window, you realize that the sun has burnt itself out. Yep. It's going to be one of those mornings. But with the help of the last little ray of sunshine and a couple of sparks, you just might be able to Fix the Sun. Fix the Sun is a puzzle platfomer by DB based around a unique gameplay mechanism that will have you flitting and flipping everywhere as this little light of yours is let to shine all over the dang place. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move and the [spacebar] to jump. To open the exit on each level, you'll have to collect all of the sparks on the screen. To collect them, you must leap in their orbit, then hit [spacebar]. You will be launched in the direction indicated by the arrow relative to your position. You'll need to flip around from spark to spark to grab them all. Also, you are racing the clock: spend too long without a spark and it's lights out. [R] restarts your current level, and there are 24 levels in all.
At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is not whether you seized it—it is about whether you've learned what needs knowing and are ready to apply that knowing to the unknown: i.e. tomorrow. Well, tomorrow will be eventually upon us, dear readers, but for now it's worthwhile to have ourselves a bit of vacation. A get-away-from-it-all-and-forget-yer-troubles sort of thing. That is where our illustrious friends, the room escape game designers, speak from the heart. Whether hurrying through the midst of a bustling city or lazying near an island beach, everyone needs a chance to escape. Thus Weekday Escape is just what everybody needs! This time around FunkyLand is red all over with a return of the whimsical Candy Rooms series, Yuri's darling chicks give hide-and-seek another go, and Yomino Kagura presents a puzzling A-B-C...
And here we have the adorable Chainy Chisai in its native habitat. This small creature, discovered by Amir "Nonamez" Shabarchin, prefers the safety of cardboard boxes to the outside world. But do not think it defenseless! Rather, this tiny animal has a whole host of protective mechanisms, from shooting lightning, to spitting acids, to even exploding! And you, dear reader, get to be the one to provoke them in this charming chain-reaction game! You have just one click with which to set off as many of the languidly-drifting Chisai as possible. They'll unleash their special abilities, which will in turn activate MORE Chisai, on and on in a frenetic reaction until no more Chisai remain... Unless a few manage to slip out of the bedlam. It's simple, it's pleasingly chaotic, and it provides a surprising amount of variety for a game where most levels can be passed with only one click... not surprising since tech support was provided by Silengames, who has made a plethora of popular chain-reaction games!
The Jelly family, including Jellydad, Jellymom, and Jellykid, were on their yearly summer jellytrip, when some not-so-friendly space-pirates used their space-plungers to plunge their Jellyship right up! Now Jellydad, separated from his family, must traverse the pirate ship, find his family, and get them to safety... preferably the safety of a tropical resort on a beach planet. It's Jellydad Hero, a puzzle platformer from Snail Bob creator Andrey Kovalishin, and other developers might indeed be a little jelly, baby.
When a popular author's car is suddenly buried by an avalanche, then she is rescued by a mysterious man who happens to be a caretaker for an eerie (and empty) nearby castle, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had wandered into a badly thought-out edition of Misery 2: Paul's Revenge or something similar. Instead, you have stumbled into the latest Dana Knightstone joint, Death and Betrayal in Romania: A Dana Knightstone Novel, Boomzap's latest adventure hybrid. Dana Knightstone is no Stephen King, heck, she's not even Tabitha King. She is, in fact, a best-selling romance novelist who just happens to have a unique talent — she can see and speak to ghosts. This has led to her being able to solve the mystery of whatever dead star-crossed lovers happen to stumble into her path and then plagarize their love-story for a public that just can't seem to get enough.
Pencil Kids' point-and-click puzzle Monkey GO Happy stars are terminally miserable, and that's just the way we like them, because it means we get to play games like Monkey GO Happy Dragon to cheer them up. Which... sort of makes us sound like terrible people, when you think about it, so if nothing else these games prove Schadenfreude is alive and well. To balance that karma out a bit, in each of the game's seventeen stages you'll need to solve puzzles to cheer up your sulky simian. Use the big yellow arrows to move around locations, and click to interact with anything whenever your cursor changes, dragging items from your inventory at the top of the screen when you need to use them. Keep your eyes peeled for secrets, and click your mini monkeys if you want to dress them up in different costumes because of reasons.