I almost forgot it was Wednesday! I got a little too caught up in something new I've been trying: "being in the moment." Apparently, people who study these kinds of things have come up with the idea that all this modern lifestyle—internet, phones, social media, and the like—have abbreviated our attention spans and evolved our brains to constantly need new stimuli. That could be why stories like Cheryl Strayed's Wild are so compelling; staking out a "peace" of the wild, escaping the trappings of modern life, is not an uncommon dream although fewer do it than dream it. Still, who wouldn't feel a little anxious leaving home without a phone in hand? How comfortable would you be without internet for a month? Sure it's important to be aware of surroundings and appreciate a slower pace. Yet, as I'm always saying around here: Escape games? They're the good way. Folks who escape-the-room on a regular basis, you're used to looking closely at your surroundings, noticing small details and perhaps even a few clues. You already have immense appreciation for a more relaxed, touristy pace through life just as you usually prefer relaxing, mediative games. So it's okay to get lost in thought as you play these next three escapes from Tototo Room, FunkyLand and No1Game. There's no hurry, no time limits, and no finish line: Just an open door into the world...
Think Little House on the Prairie mingled with Star Trek and you've got an idea of the feel of Our Personal Space, a thoughtful sci-fi visual novel by Metasepia Games, free as a download or for your Android device. Would you be willing to give up your family and friends, basically your whole life to colonize a distant planet? What skills would you need to have? How much could other futuristic technology make up for the lack of indoor plumbing? Could you handle it? Could your relationships handle it? You get to step into the shoes of the protagonist and her new husband (you get to choose their names!) as they embark on a journey of a lifetime to the distant garden planet Talaam. As you progress in the story you'll get to choose your profession and your hobbies, all which open up different scenes and options as you go.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
In Bevel's Painting, a free indie horror adventure by Maninu and translated by vgperson, you play an artistic young girl who winds up inside one of her own paintings one day when she discovers the canvas aglow. You know. As you do. Inside, things look magical, with fairy servants and teddy bear chefs, but there's something strange going on. ... well, stranger than getting sucked into a painting where everyone speaks gibberish. There's danger hidden around every corner, and this world doesn't exactly seem to follow logic our heroine would understand, though making the wrong choice could have... unfortunate consequences. Use the [arrow] keys to move and the [spacebar] to interact, while [ESC] opens the menu. You can only save at the little paint boxes you find, and most items will need to be used manually, so open the main menu and select an object from your inventory when you want to try to use it. Additionally, as you explore you'll find paint colours that can be used to change the world around you, though using a brush makes it dirty, and you'll need to find clean water to wash it before you can use it again. There are nine different endings to find, and the way to unlock all of them isn't necessarily obvious. Save frequently, and in different slots. Though on the short side compared to some freeware horror adventures and possessed of some chase sequences that may annoy more than anything else, Bevel's Painting crafts an unsettling and intriguing atmosphere with a story more implied than implicitly told. Note that while most of the text is in "Bevelese", it can be translated manually once you've worked out the alphabet... there's a clue as to how to do so in one of the "worlds".
Buh-hwaaaaaaaaaaa? Unlike no1game's other cute point-and-click puzzle games, My First Flower Viewing stars a little boy instead of a girl, what madness is this? He and his mother want to go see the cherry blossoms, but before they can go, you need to help him find all the items they need for a relaxing picnic. To play, click around to hunt for clues and interact, keeping an eye out for the rather baffling amount of code clues for the locks peppering this apartment. (Is Mom trying to raise the next Professor Layton?) My First Flower Viewing definitely falls into the short and sweet category, with a handful of puzzles that all make sense and most of the difficulty coming down to finding the occasional item or clue in an odd spot. no1game's "My First" titles always feel like they might be mostly aimed at children with their cheery premises and simpler puzzles, but they're fun and light enough to be enjoyed by just about anyone... apart from the odd disparity of how whiny the little boy makes his little girl counterpart seem. My First Flower Viewing will kick your brain awake just enough to make a nice break, and maybe the next time you go on a picnic, you'll have a few things to add to your list, too!
Max Gittel's science-themed zen-like puzzle game Atomas, free for your iOS, is the sort of sneakily simple looking game that's a perfect fit for smartphones and tablets... something clean and elegant looking you can pull out and play for a few minutes, but clever and addictive enough that you'll probably catch yourself fiddling with it for a lot longer. The goal is to create the highest score possible by placing and combining elements around the edge of the circular playing field. Each element has a value, and if you place a Plus element between two identical ones, they'll combine to create a new, higher value element. If there are matching elements on either side of the pair you just combined, you'll start a chain reaction where they (and any other pairs bracketing the point of combination) are added in as well. Occasionally, you'll be granted a Minus element, which will let you remove any element on the board and place it elsewhere, or, if you prefer, convert it into a Plus. When the board is completely filled, the game is over, so trying to plan out how your elements are arranged as you place them is crucial to getting a high score! Lucky Charms are awarded as you progress, and when you equip one from the main menu, it'll grant you a passive bonus, like an increased chance of receiving Pluses or Minuses. If things are really desperate, you can use an Antimatter blast to partially clear the board, though as of this writing it appears the only way to gain those is to buy them through in-app purchases.
One again, witches are causing a ruckus in puzzle platformer Shape Shifter 2 by FlashTeam... or, well, one specific witch anyway. As in the original Shape Shifter, a mouse, a rabbit, and an elephant have all been bewitched into sharing the same body, and you'll need to swap between all of them in order to use their special skills to get through levels. Use the [arrow] or [WASD] keys to move and jump, and the , , and  keys to swap between forms. Each critter has unique abilities to help them deal with obstacles, like the rabbit's extra-high jump and the elephant's... ability to wear mitts and handle hot objects, as elephants do. Shape Shifter 2 unfortunately shares the same floaty controls as the original game, making quick and precise platforming a pain, but the creativity of most of the levels and the charm in its character animations still makes Shape Shifter 2 a fun. endearing franchise we hope gets some polish in the future.
Lastronaut, free for iOS by Darrin Henein and Stephan Leroux, is the best sort of casual endless runner/arcade game... fast, chaotic, flashy, addictive, and, yes, completely free with no ads or in-app purchases whatsoever. The concept is simple... you're an astronaut racing down a road filled with all sorts of hazards and enemies, and you're given a random weapon. You run forward automatically, so tapping the left side of the screen makes you jump, while tapping the right side of the screen fires. It's up to you to last as long as possible to get the highest score you can... easier said than done since a single hit knocks you out in glorious slo-mo-o-vision, and then you have to start again. Different weapons descend in capsules with parachutes, and you'll face everything from evil robotic drones to a variety of other explosive dangers. Though it definitely gets repetitive, Lastronaut's fantastic style and aesthetic makes its simple, just-one-more-run gameplay a pleasure to play and behold, much like classic Canabalt. If you want something complex, this isn't it, but Lastronaut's twitchy, satisfyingly explosive gameplay is perfect for a few minutes of fast-paced, chaotic action whenever you need it.
In Apanda's surreal arcade game Cloudventure, little Cloudia has to pass one more test to become a weather mage, but when all you can do is make clouds, how are you suppose to survive a gauntlet of mines, lightning, and other tricky obstacles? To play, just click the screen. Cloudia is constantly moving forward, and each click makes a cloud that boosts her up, allowing you to "fly" up and down the screen. Collecting coins gives you cash to spend on upgrades at the store in case you get knocked out, which is probably going to happen a few times since in the beginning bumping against a single thing will make Claudia fall and force you to restart. The game isn't actually that long, and a few upgrades will get you far, especially since there are power-ups you can pick up to help along the way, with twelve stars netting you a random one as well. Cloudventure is simple, but its cute, dreamy style and storybook setting, complete with strange creatures and encounters, makes it a fun little arcade game that will brighten your day, even if it isn't much of a challenge.
Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt by Remar Games and Ludosity is a very retro free indie action RPG made in four days for the Games Against Ebola Jam. You, as the titular princess, descend to Hurtland in search of your missing friend and healing people of various ailments as you go. See, as the name might imply, the folks of Hurtland are in a bad way, but lucky for them Princess Remedy can duke it out with the things making them sick. To play, just use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, and [spacebar] to interact. In a fight, Princess Remedy fires automatically in the direction she's facing, so it's your job to maneuver her around the battlefield to blast enemies apart while dodging their attacks. Tapping the [spacebar] will throw a flask... you only get one of these per battle to begin with, but they let out a big blast! The more people you heal, the stronger you get, and there are plenty of treasure chests to find to upgrade the princess' power as well. It's on the simple side, but fans of sweet, silly humour and classic old school gameplay will want to add this one to their to-do list.
Things get seriously surreal in Monkey GO Happy Talisman, the latest game in the Monkey GO Happy series of point-and-click puzzle adventure games from Pencil Kids. You and the monkeys are stuck in Swampville, which is filled with all manner of creepy inhabitants and the most ominous music in the world, and you're looking for a magic talisman... though finding it means doing a lot of favours for the locals. Just click around to play and interact, and make sure you pay attention to the scenery for clues. At one point the game may appear to be bugged when it comes to picking up a specific item needed to travel back and forth between two locations, but everything is functioning the way it's supposed to. Despite the excessively oppressive soundtrack and oddball characters, there's actually nothing to be afraid of in Monkey GO Happy Talisman, and in fact the whole design is weird in a very appealing way. It's still a short snack of a game, with a nice balance of inventory puzzles and coded locks that are perhaps a bit more obvious in this installment than they have been in previous Monkey GO Happy games, but fans of tracking down tokens and helping out animal people will enjoy this one for the welcome break it is.
Please note LongStory is an episodic game. Currently, only episodes one and two are available. The first episode is free, while episode two is an optional in-app purchase.
Bloom Digital's iOS and Android LGBTQ-friendly episodic visual novel LongStory is about high school. Well, people, actually. You've just come back to the States after spending time abroad in France, and adjusting to school is hard enough thanks to the return of your old antagonists, a trio of girls you call Hanniferjane, nevermind the strange notes you just found in your locker. It seems like the locker's previous owner left under unhappy circumstances, and while everyone seems to know something, nobody wants to talk about it. Of course, whether you pursue the mystery or just focus on your life is up to you... it's not like you don't have friends of your own to think about. Like homeschooled Nora, who you only know from long chats online, or taciturn Marcel, who just wants to go home to Dubai. And then there's that person in the weird costume who never seems to talk, and yet always knows just what to do. Your choices will determine the outcome of not only the story, but your various relationships, as they carry over from episode to episode. Choose not only your appearance and preferred pronouns (limited to he, she, and they), but whether to pursue friendship, romance, or simply find out what happened to the girl who came before you in this funny, sweet, and earnest game.
I'm not big on large bodies of water at the best of times, but even in my most dramatic moments (of which there are many), when I think of things that could go wrong on a cruise, "Entire ship and passengers getting sucked into an alternate dimension by vengeful frozen desserts" somehow never made the list, and yet that's exactly what's befallen everyone in Flipline Studios' action-packed platformer Papa Louie 3: When Sundaes Attack. You begin the game as the ship's captain, determined to rescue the other people, presumably because "lost all crew and passengers in an alternate dimension" doesn't look real good on a resume, and you're going to need to get your hands dirty to do it. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, jump, and swim, while tapping [spacebar] attacks, though the controls are completely customiseable from the pause menu. Each area is filled with coins and more to collect and baddies to wallop, and though some itty-bitty enemies can be taken down with a single whack, others will need more to bring them down. Each customer you rescue is then unlocked to play as, and since they all have their own different abilities, replaying levels as someone else can help you unlock new areas or reach something you previously couldn't!
AJ Ordaz's puzzle platformer A Pretty Odd Bunny is about a little rabbit with... unusual dietary needs. Specifically, while every other bunny happily chomps down on carrots, our fluffy-tailed friend craves meat. As you might imagine, being a red-eyed carnivore in a species of soft, defenseless herbivores doesn't go over very well, so our bunny is going to have to learn to be stealthy if he wants to indulge his appetite without getting caught. Use the [arrow] keys to move and jump, and hold the down [arrow] to sneak. In each level, your goal is to reach that sweet, sweet piggy dinner without being spotted, so you'll want to hide from the bunnies who are awake by ducking into bushes and waiting until they look away to move past them. When dealing with snoring rabbits, you'll need to sneak so you don't wake them up. Eventually, you'll also need to avoid carrots, since those nasty things make you break out into a rash. A Pretty Odd Bunny is a simple but extremely quirky little game, turning a morbid premise into something surprisingly cute thanks to the pixel presentation and the way the bunnies emote. It feels like it needs a little polish, since having to hold down the key to sneak instead of using a toggle is tedious, and some jumps require perplexingly pixel-perfect positioning (as well as apparently alliteration) compared to others. The increasing demand for reflexes may put off some players who were initially sucked in by the stealthier initial stages, but A Pretty Odd Bunny's ghoulish charm and clever premise makes it worth checking out.
There have been many studies done showing how to strengthen a family. Eating at least one meal together, giving each other nicknames, fighting off a horde of evil creatures that have arisen from the depths of... well, all right. So not a lot of studies have been done on the last one, but in the case of Family Rush you can see the family bonds binding even stronger as they blow these monstrous critters off of the face of the planet. It all starts, in this different kind of rail shooter by Denis Vasilev, when a demon needs a real child to complete his spell. Not wasting time, his minions swipe a little baby straight from his/her crib, but not only did that family of six have a little infant, but they also each have a weapon of choice. And so the showdown begins. You start off with only the father, an universal soldier, but after you advance enough you soon unlock his wife, two grandparents and even the family dog, all who are ready to help with their own special weapon. Your little group slowly walks forward. You're not able to control their movements but you aim with the mouse on where you want them to shoot. They all have separate health so if Granny takes too many hits, she'll wheel herself off the screen but the rest will keep trucking forward. You have to plan your strategy carefully on what to eliminate first and purchase the upgrades that will really give you the upper hand.
Hi! How are you doing? Excited, stressed, relaxed or just a little bored? Well, okay, there's a few things we can do about that: You could waste a bit of time reading the scientific explanation for what boredom is (perhaps thereby enhancing that feeling). Or, stick around here as we indulge our urge to entertain our brain. Yes, again, it is that portion of the week when worries are washed away, troubles are turned around, and boredom is busted. Ehem. Might this even be claimed, in its most meta essentialness, your way to escape the everyday. (Heh. It's a line that never gets old!) Lucky for us, escape games are far from being in short supply lately. Which surely means the need to get away—via the metaphoric breaking loose from one's confines—is also in constant supply (which I'm quite glad about and not just for things like job security). This week, Esklavos, FunkyLand and Yuri bask in the WE spotlight...
Content Warning: This game deals with some subject matter that may be upsetting to some people.
And now for something completely different. Shy by Jacob Prytherch is a Choose Your Own Adventure style horror story available only for Kindle (use the free iOS, Android, Mac and PC Kindle apps if you don't own one!) with a very old school style. In it, you receive a phone call from your brother Kenji, who begs you to find him, telling you he only has five hours left. He's always been a little eccentric, with a keen belief that there's more to the world than you can see, but he's not really given to jokes, and when you arrive at his apartment to discover evidence of a troubling investigation into a local legend. It's clear Kenji is serious trouble, but you don't even know where to look, and the entire city and surrounding countryside is teeming with darkness both human and otherworldly you may not be prepared to face. To play, just read the story and then navigate to the page you want when presented with choices. Be warned that you will need to keep track of your own inventory and other bits of information, so pen and paper is advised... told you we were rocking it retro.
Alto's Adventure by Snowman for iOS isn't exactly going where no action arcade game has gone before, but gosh ain't it gorgeous? In it, you play a young boy named Alto whose herd of llamas escapes one day from their mountaintop pen, forcing Alto to pick up his snowboard and chase them down. It's a simple premise, with simple gameplay, where tapping the screen makes Alto jump over obstacles, and holding your tap causes him to try to perform a backflip in midair... just make sure you land on your feet! In addition to picking up your precious llamas, which adds to your high score, there are coins to be spent on upgrades, and various tricks you can perform, such as grinding along lines. Even if you fall and find yourself back at the beginning, the terrain is always randomised, keeping each new play fresh. But while it's definitely on the simple side and following in the footsteps of games like Canabalt and Solipskier, Alto's Adventure manages to be both soothing and breathtaking in a way few casual high-score based arcade games ever manage.
Anita's Job is tracking down the missing luggage of a local tourist who arrived on a cruise ship, and in this point-and-click puzzle adventure by Carmel Games, you'll need to help her scour the island to find it, unless you want to be held financially responsible... or, well, give up your tacky desktop hula girl souvenir in compensation, apparently? You'll travel to several different locations around the island looking for not only the luggage, but the items you need to solve puzzles and even grease the wheels, so to speak, since not everyone is able or willing to help Anita out. As you might expect from Carmel Games, Anita's Job is on the very short side, but weird in a good way, with eccentric characters and a kooky bent to its mostly logical puzzles, and a groan-worthy pun to round things out in the end.
If there was ever an escape game creator whose name inspired the exact opposite feels as it described, Neutral has got to be them, and Morning Room is here to pick you up... though despite never running around or deserting you, you might miss it if you blink. To play, just click to interact, though the cursor won't change to tell you when you can do so, and frustratingly some objects you need to interact with won't actually give any visual or aural feedback that doing so is correct. This is very much a mini escape, with just one screen to contend with (not counting various viewing angles), and some of the puzzles aren't quite as intuitive or inventive as you might be hoping. Still, Neutral's tidy design and the deceptively simple presentation hides one puzzle you'll need to wake up your brain for, so get cracking, and whet your appetite for a bigger game down the road!
Minecraft Dig Dug, gamers everywhere have had the desire to go deeper and deeper below the surface of the digital earth. In Deeply Absurd Chain, a free strategic match-3 game by Lumarama also free for iOS and Android, the goal is to delve into the endless depths by drawing a line to connect three or more of the same item. Taking a tip from games such as Triple Town, if you join three of a kind, the item then ugprades, creating something new. Your depth, which goes up every time you clear some of the board, and points are noted at the top of the screen. Points are gained by making chains, and are used to purchase items that will help you increase your depth in later games.
Chacha's Game One Escape has a whole lot of locks and a whole lot of codes, all designed to keep you trapped for as long as possible, which would be inhumane if not for the big screen TV, the comfy couch, and the coffee maker. Chacha, you... fiend, I guess? There's no changing cursor, so to play just click on everything to interact and move around. A large part of escaping will actually come down to finding the clues you need to crack a bunch of codes, and most of it is actually quite clever, though the mildly clunky interface might get in your way whenever you accidentally click past the number or letter you wanted and have to cycle back through all the others to get to it. Even if the ride isn't perfectly smooth, there's still a lot to appreciate in the way Game One Escape makes you use your head instead of relying on pixelhunt or MacGuyver-y, which is totally a professional game term. Need to warm up your noodle and solve a couple puzzles to really make your day complete? This is the escape game for you.
When a witch hunter marries a witch, even if she's a good witch, it's a stretch to imagine their life together will be happily ever after, don't you think? Lynn and Edward have been married just a year when the nasty witch queen Morgana, set on bringing back her powerful mentor so witches can rule the world, lures the happy couple to a totally creepy fair (just what every girl dreams of doing on her first wedding anniversary, especially with her mother tagging along) where she and her lackey whisk Lynn away for use in an evil ritual. In Witches' Legacy: Slumbering Darkness, a hidden-object puzzle adventure game from Elefun, you play as Lynn's mother Carrie, along with her somewhat terrifying yet helpful imp sidekick, who are racing the clock to get Lynn back before it's too late.
Bloodrizer's Kittens Game (hosted here with kind permission) is a surprisingly deep incremental idle simulation with a deceptively adorable premise... you are a kitten in a catnip forest, and as you harvest and plant catnip, you slowly begin to build a village around yourself using other resources that become available. In the beginning, going is very, very slow... as more kittens come to your village you can assign them to various jobs that gain you more resources, but without upgrades they're not very efficient, and you'll still need to focus on making sure they have enough catnip. It's what they eat, after all, and as the seasons change, so does the rate at which catnip is generated, to the point where the winter days (each season takes 100 days) will need much more kittenpower to keep your crops from declining. As a result, Kittens Game initially moves significantly more slowly without careful prioritization of upgrades, and requires a lot more babysitting to make sure things are running smoothly... though eventually you'll soon find your kittens quite capable of thriving on their own. What's impressive is how much content there is once you get the ball rolling, with your civlization growing in some pretty neat ways, and more updates adding on to it as well. It's much closer to A Dark Room than, say, Candy Box! Though the game runs by itself in another tab, it will do so much more slowly, while putting it in its own window seems to work much better. Not everyone will have the patience or time for it to really start evolving and opening up, but Kittens Game is more complex than it initially seems, and more rewarding.
Thanks to Adam for sending this one in!
Charms of Lavender Blue by Waffrus and Clara is a sweet visual novel about a girl whose love life is a bit more complex than most. She's just discovered her family is under a curse, and without a pair of magical pendants, anyone who loves her will ultimately try to kill her. Not that she's got love on her mind now that she's back at school... but gosh her old friend Pierce sure is acting coldly to her all of a sudden. To play, just click the text box to advance the story, and click any options to make your choice when they pop up. Despite lacking some of the more basic functions of visual novels, like the ability to scroll back through text or manually save and load whenever you please (which would have been handy since at least one of the choices is poorly worded based on the text that comes before it), Charms of Lavender Blue is still a sweet little story that's well told and beautifully illustrated. Since the story jumps ahead so often, it does tend to feel rushed, so Nabi and Pierce never really get the character development they need considering the subject matter, which is all wrapped up very abruptly, making this a light snack instead of a meal of a tale even with its multiple endings. Still, the game definitely has cute and sweet in spades, and it'll likely appeal to anyone who's a fan of lighthearted romcom anime-style plots, making Waffrus someone to keep your eye on.
Almost everyone knows the story of Briar Rose, or more commonly known as Sleeping Beauty, thanks to Disney. A princess falls under a curse that puts her and her whole kingdom to sleep, thick briar bushes fill the forest leading to the kingdom, and the only way to break the curse is for a prince to awaken her with a true love's kiss. Elf Games' free indie point-and-click adventure Little Briar Rose brings us back to this tale we all enjoyed from our childhood, but takes a different look at the tale. Namely, how the Prince got to the castle in the first place. These are magical thorny vines so the good old hack and slash won't do. Thankfully the woods are full of magical creatures needing help and some talking to and your little Prince is armed to do just that. This beautiful little tale will remind you of all the magic of your childhood. Just be sure to get the puzzles right the first time, or there won't be any happily ever after for your prince.
In the grand scheme of things, match-3 puzzle games might be some of the simplest to make in their most basic incarnation, but taking that simple formula and making it feel fresh and fun takes a bit more ingenuity. Good thing Playcademy seems to have that in spades, with Runefall being one of the most relaxing and enjoyable additions to the genre to come along in a long time. In it, you find yourself in the tiny town of Riverfell, which has had difficulty making ends meet and finding enough to make their tribute to the kingdom ever since the war brought the trade routes to a screeching halt. But when you discover magical, valuable runes while out searching for the resources needed to pay tribute? Well, that's another matter entirely, and suddenly sleepy Riverfell isn't so sleepy at all. Despite some issues with repetition and variation, a genuinely likable cast and engaging story alongside addictive match-3 gameplay makes Runefall a rocksolid addition to the genre that's well worth checking out and losing a few hours to, as comforting and enjoyable as loading up your favourite light fantasy film while wearing your comfiest socks and sipping your favourite beverage.
Varagtp's Tap Heroes, also free for iOS and Android, is a simple idle/incremental RPG that will feel fairly familiar to you if you've played Clicker Heroes, but darned if it ain't pretty. You start off with a simple warrior in a forest, and you click on them to heal, while clicking on enemies deals damage. Slain enemies drop coins you can use to upgrade both your clicking strengths and your party, and after you've knocked off ten monsters in one area, you can move on to the next, where they'll be stronger, but your rewards will be even greater. Every so often you'll fight a powerful boss, and slaying it will earn you diamonds (also dropped randomly while playing) you can spend on more party members or other upgrades like the coin doubler. If you're already sick of the clicker genre, Tap Heroes isn't going to do much to win you over. It's fun in the way all of these games are, a frenetic mix of arcade clickery and the simple satisfaction of upgrading and bigger numbers, but despite elements like the way the wizard and the rogue both have different abilities, it still doesn't offer much in the way of depth. The incentive to play is largely seeing what new areas and monsters you discover, and in that the game's lovely Paper Mario-esque retro visual style is a large mark in its favour. Tap Heroes may have been done before, and likely could use some fleshing out to make it stand above the crowd, but its oddly addictive and easy on the eyes, making it a solid addition to an increasingly popular genre.
In Terry Cavanagh's Grab Them By The Eyes, you were just minding your own business, slinging burgers out of your modest food stand, when a pair of upstarts with a much flashier sign set up shop literally a few feet away and began stealing all your business. A little shocking considering they're literally called Filthy Burgers, but it turns out there's a secret to drawing in the glazed masses, and that secret is making the best flashy sign you possibly can by combining message, colour, and other punch cards at the sign shop. See, you use your cash to buy various punch cards at the start of each day, and each card has a value that determines how many customers will be brought in. You and your competitors will take turns buying cards until they're all gone, and then you'll build your sign by selecting which cards to use to try to maximize your pull, which is harder than you might think... especially since cards become less effective the more they're used, though they can only ever decrease to a minimum value of one. It makes a deceptively simple looking game into something much more strategic, and you'll need every customer you can get since the food stand with the least by the end of the week needs to leave!
Find the Escape-Men Part 140: Snow Shovel by no1game is yet another short and sweet escape game with a snowy theme as you try to find the ten little green men and clear your driveway in the process. In that sense, at least, it's actually less an escape game, and more of a simple puzzle, unless you count escaping from the cold! As usual for a no1game title, there's no changing cursor, so you'll need to hunt everywhere for interactive areas, including some that might not appear right away. This is one of those games that might not even fill up a coffee break, but uses some clever tricks for its few puzzles that will have you smacking your forehead once you figure at least one of them out, as well as a cute method of giving you a few hints. So finish it up, snuggle up somewhere warm if you aren't already, and then, well, what else? Play even more no1games titles, of course!
A Good Snowman is Hard to Build, by Alan Hazelden, with graphics by Benjamin Davis and tunes by Ryan Roth, is a simple and cuddly little indie puzzle game that you just can't help but feel good about playing. You are a "monster" (if there was ever a critter deserving of fingerquotes around that world, it's this little fellow) who has a passion for building and naming snowmen and, as it happens, snowwomen, and luckily you've stumbled across a maze-like snowy park, where each area has its own puzzle and snowperson building materials... which is, of course, to say three snowballs and more of the white stuff. Using [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, walk into snowballs to push them around. Each patch of snow you roll one over makes the snowball grow one size bigger, and if you're at all familiar with snowman anatomy, you know you need a big one for the base, a medium-sized one for the belly, and a small one for the head. Because rolling a snowball over a patch of snow both makes it bigger and removes that bit of snow for the ground, figuring out how to get each portion of your snowman juuuuust the right size, and in position to push it on top of the other pieces in the proper order, is harder than it sounds. You can only stack a snowball on a larger one, and if the opposite side is clear, you can push the stacked snowballs to knock the one on top off to the other side. Hit [Z] to undo as many moves as you like, or [R] to reset the current area you're in.
Warning: This game contains flashing and strobe-like elements that may be hazardous to players with certain sensitivities.
This game is available in Pay What You Want format, including free, but please consider paying the developer if you enjoy what you play!
Mibibli's Quest is a great free indie retro platformer that keeps all the great points of the old days. Well, mainly the one where the games are just ridiculously tough and you spent more time retrieving the controller you threw across the room than you did alive in the game. But there was always something about that that kept us locked in and it will be no different in this high difficulty action game. Your goal is to reach the end of each levels (using the [arrow] keys to move), shooting with [Z] all the bad guys you can and jumping with [X] over those you can't. Except in the level where you're a spaceship. Or the level where you have to dance DDR style to avoid death. Or the one where... well you'll just have to see. Ryan Melmoth's Mibibli's Quest has some of the most unique enemies and gameplay I've seen in a long time. The game gives you different difficulty options to try out, but even on easy you're going to be weeping into your smashed keyboard. Still, you'll find yourself going back again and again for its creative levels and its satirical humor.
Ah, the joys of minimalism. Who needs flashy graphics and sounds, anyway? When a game's as unembellished as Blue Box by Hamster On Coke Games, it becomes downright zen, and the soothing puzzle challenge becomes as meditative as it is fun. This game (which is still in an early build and will likely soon expand, by the way) has you playing as a little blue square, bouncing rhythmically and energetically across a white expanse adorned with blocks you have to eliminate. Use the [arrow] or [A] and [D] keys to move left and right. One bounce on a block shrinks it and the second bounce makes it grow, so you have to plot out your course carefully so you don't wind up stranded out on a limb, having bounced away your only path back to safety. Later levels involve launch-pads that shoot you up to higher levels, teleporters, and other modifiers that keep everything fresh for all twenty-three levels of smooth puzzling fun.
You're trapped in a house, and the only way to escape is to Find 10 Yellow Cupcakes and eat a few others? Just what sort of fiend are you, MayMay? Just click around to explore, and remember to try interacting with everything since the cursor won't change to tell you if something is useable. To use an item, click it in your inventory to pick it up, and then click wherever onscreen you'd like to try it, while clicking the item you're holding on the About Item button will let you view it up close, which can potentially allow you to mess around with it further! Find 10 Yellow Cupcakes is practically by definition short and sweet, with the only real issue apart from its mildly clunky item interface being occasionally having difficulty telling what an item is, or a lack of feedback as to why something isn't working... or whether it's worked at all in the place of inputting codes! Still, the sense of whimsy and light-hearted puzzles go a long way towards making this a lovely little treat to reward yourself with, no matter what else you may have eaten today.
The second month of the year may be short on days, but it stands tall and defiant against anyone wanting to squabble about its lack of length. After all, it beat the odds and with this smaller net caught the birthdays of four American presidents, a decidedly love-centric saint's day (which a friend of mine dubs "singles awareness night"), is also Black History month, all while heralding the beginning of a new season. Those are just some of its better known accomplishments, which are nothing to sneeze at. So as we start saying our goodbyes to this particular February of this particular year, lets do it while enjoying our favorite pastime—playing escape games. To that end, here are three especially selected for such an informal occasion: An unlit maze from Hottategoya, a pruny kitchen from FunkyLand and a Rose Key escape in which February somehow plays a titular role...
Entertainment Forge's Epic Boss Fighter was all about big bosses, big arcade action, and relentless bullet-h-e-double-hockeysticks gameplay, liberally sprinkled with upgrades to boot. Epic Boss Fighter 2 continues that tradition and dials it up a notch as you are called upon yet again to defend the planet from a whopping twenty huge monsters, and the kicker? You need to defeat them all in one go... die, and you'll need to start over from a certain spot depending on how many bosses you've beaten, though you can spend the cash you earned from landing successful shots on new equipment that'll boost your stats, as well as handy-dandy droids that can fight alongside you. You can play with either the keyboard or the mouse, but you'll automatically fire, and different equipment will come will various special abilities or attacks you can activate to give you an edge. As you progress through the game, more items will become available in the shop, and you can unlock more slots for equipment as well. The question remains, however... epic being one of those words that's been bandied about so often in pop culture it may have lost its impact, is Epic Boss Fighter 2 really double the epicness of its epic predecessor?... well... yes!... sorta!
no1game's POKO escape game traps you in a room that doesn't have much in the way of creature comforts... unless, of course, all you really need to relax and thrive is a bunch of cryptic clues and strange puzzles. Then you're all set! Click around to explore, and click the question mark on an item you're carrying to view it up close, which may let you manipulate it further. Some items can even be used on or combined with one another, so if you're stuck, try fiddling with your inventory. POKO is one of those games where getting the ball rolling might initially be more tricky than solving the rest of the game, and you'll need to remember that some items may be used more than once, or for, um, odd things. Despite this, there's a lot of charm to be had from the mildly offbeat way the puzzles are presented, and there's actually a nice amount of cleverness to them to appreciate. It won't take you very long, but, well, time flies when you're having fun, right?
Sanpoman's escape game Tulip Garden will have you going in circles and finding new ways to look at things as you explore a very sneaky garden and house looking for the clues to solve the puzzles that will let you find a way out. To play, just click to interact, and the cursor will change when you pass it over something you can click on. Though the text isn't in English, you'll be able to solve this one just fine without speaking the lingo... as long as you have a keen eye for detail, of course. Despite a minorly clunky puzzle or two, Tulip Garden is largely surprisingly intuitive and clever, favouring observation and perception more than anything else. It doesn't hurt that it's cute either, making it a fantastic cheery break from whatever your day brings you.
Awooga! Awooga! The Escapists has finally emerged for Windows and XBox One users in a full release version of this beloved and quirky prison break simulation role-playing game. Mouldy Toof and Team 17 Digital bring on the cheeky pixelated 8-bit goodness as you go through the motions of being a model inmate while slyly hatching your plans to make it home free. It's a unique and eerily unsettling feeling if you're one of the teeming multitudes who've played Minecraft and built massive structures of stone to now find yourself having to stealthily escape from them, but there's plenty of wry humor and action in this crisp and colorful just-one-more-day release to make it an insatiable compulsion.
Love to play games? Of course you do. Want to play games and earn sweet rewards doing it? Of course you do, and take that, mom, for saying games never get you anything! Playfire Rewards BETA is a free program that allows you to link your Steam account and earn cool rewards like store credit through our affiliate partner, Greenman Gaming, just for playing! Check out the F.A.Q. to learn more, or sign up to start earning!
The things we'll do for our favorite food. Pay lavish amounts of money. Travel to neighboring cities. Swing on ropes past dangerous spikes. Your pigs will do at least one of these things in Piggy Wiggy 3: Nuts, by Qabogames.com. This physics puzzle game has you eating acorns like, well, a pig. Similar to Cut the Rope, draw a cord from a pig to any yellow knob within reaching distance. You can also connect knobs to each other or pigs to each other. Click and drag to slice a rope and hit [R] or the [spacebar] to reset a level.
Please be aware this game deals with themes of suicide and depicts some scenes that some players may find upsetting.
Ladies and gentlemen of the JiG-iverse. I have a confession to make, that I hope we can deal with together, as a community. I... kinda like "Walking Simulators". Yes, those first-person exploration-based adventures that tend to take place in lonely houses/islands with random documents scattered all over the place, and are home to a depressingly small number of zombies or orcs. First it started with Dear Esther, then Proteus and Gone Home. One fears that soon I will be relegated to writing for JayIsThingsThatMayOrMayNotBeGames. But before that happens, let's talk about The Static Speaks My Name by Jesse Barksdale: it's a first-person exploration-based adventure, available in Pay What You Want Format (including free, but please tip your developers if you enjoy their games!), that takes place in a lonely house with random documents scattered all over the place. And while there are no ghosts or jump scares, there's no shortage of atmospheric creepiness as you step into the shoes and home of a man obsessed with a truly not-that-impressive painting.
When a game comes along with a name like Mourn, it's a pretty safe bet to assume that it's going to be challenging. Not even necessarily in sense that it's difficult to complete, although this puzzle platform game by Keybol will certainly test your skills. But "Mourn" is the kind of title that implies a certain heaviness of theme; the kind of game that wants to make you stop and think, and not just about how to solve it. The protagonist of Mourn finds himself in a place that's dark both physically and metaphorically, and the only one he can rely on to get out is... himself. Specifically, the various copies of himself who lie around, frozen in time, until you press [shift] or down to hop between bodies and animate them. He'll wander around with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, jump with up or the [spacebar], and discuss his situation as he traverses a dark mine that may or may not be metaphorical, collecting the pickaxes that will help him make his way out. And since there are only so many of him to go around, he'll have to carefully rely on the limited numbers of himself that exist to escape the dark mines. It makes more sense to play than it does to explain, which is good, because Mourn is tightly-designed to try both your reflexes and your brains.
Ish Games' Awesome Conquest is proof you can do a lot with a little, provided you're a deity with semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic powers of course. The blue tribe you watch over has had its amulet stolen and been overrun by the evil red army, who attack at the end of each day, which is pretty stressful given each day is only sixty seconds long and you're drastically outnumbered. During your sixty seconds, you'll need to manage your tribe... miners produce gold, which can be spend on buying more units, and monks produce mana you can spend on single-use spells. When the clock runs out, your warriors will automatically charge into battle, where they'll fight on their own... you can help them out with any spells you've purchased, or by telling some or all of them to retreat if things are looking grim. Soldiers who survive will actually earn experience and get stronger! At the end of each battle, you'll get a single upgrade you can spend on one of your structures, allowing you to get, say, more miners to produce more gold, or different types of soldier units. Awesome Conquest is a simple but addictive little game, suffering a bit by a lack of explanation of certain elements in the beginning, but a fun and clever take on incremental/idle games, and the sort of thing that would be even better if it were fleshed out further.
In addition to being a mouthful, Dark Tales™: Edgar Allan Poe's The Mystery of Marie Roget is the name of ERS Game Studios' creepy new hidden-object adventure. You and your companion, the insufferably smug Dupin (why couldn't it be Dale Cooper... just once?), are called in to investigate some strange happenings plaguing a newly married couple. Glass has been shattering all on its own, young Marie has fallen into a depressed fugue and won't tell her husband why... oh, and there's the sinister skull-laden magic mirror, too, making it rather loosely based on the original tale to say the least. You and Dupin (ugh) quickly discover there might be more going on than simple superstition, and it seems like this sleepy little burg is hiding more than its share of dark secrets. And crazy puzzle mechanisms. And elaborate gate locks. And evil one-eyed crows and cats. How does anyone get anything done around here when you need two puzzle pieces, face cream, and an old candle just to get into the local bakery? Though perhaps the scariest thing about this game is... comic sans is the default font. AAAAEEEEEEIIII!
Bandai Namco's One Piece Treasure Cruise, free-to-play for iOS and Android, is weird to talk about. On the one hand, it's a fairly simple blend of turn-based RPG gameplay and reflexes, with stamina, timers, and several different types of currency. On the other, it's a colourful riot of weirdness, with an enjoyable story that loosely follows the plot of the wildly popular anime/manga series, with tons of collectable characters, and a high degree of polish. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy, who's out to become the king of pirates and assembling the crew he needs to track down the legendary One Piece, a treasure hidden by a great pirate who was executed a long time ago. Which would seem a fairly basic premise, until you throw in the fact that Luffy accidentally ate the "Devil Fruit", and now he's a literal rubber person, and along the way he's duking it out with a seemingly never-ending parade of over-the-top villains and taking on weirder and weirder allies. Despite some frustrating monetization and ultimately repetitive, basic gameplay, One Piece Treasure Cruise still manages to serve up a vibrant, funny, and cheerfully off-beat adventure with loads of cutscenes that'll appeal to fans and newcomers alike.
Pinata Hunter is a weird concept, an arcade game centered around wildly flailing at an apparently aware pinata and collecting the candy that falls from your beatings to spend on things to make your beatings more powerful and expedient. It was popular enough to make for Pinata Hunter 2, and now Pinata Hunter 3 is here for another round. To play, just wave your mouse back and forth... as it passes over the pinata, candy will be knocked from it, and if the candy lands in your bag (which you can drag around the screen), you can convert it to cash for upgrades. Waving your weapon too much too quickly increases the pain bar on the left, and if it fills up, your hand will cramp and render you unable to do anything until the bar depletes. From the shop you can buy bigger bags, better weapons, protection for your hand, and more, and once you bash a pinata to smithereens, you'll move on to the next. If you liked the originals, Pinata Hunter 3 offers more of the same, and is at the very least a way to indulge your sweet tooth without the empty calories and wrist strain!
no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 139: Convenience Store begins, unlike the rest of their escape games, with very little fanfare, as you find yourself in a convenience store exactly as the title suggests. You can't get out for some reason, but by now you should know the drill... find the ten little green men hiding around the store, and they'll open the way forward for you. While some of the escape men are simply hiding in places that may take a bit of clicking to find, even with its few puzzles Find the Escape-Men Part 139 is still the work of a shorter break than usual. Like your average convenience store pit stop, it's short and to the point, but still a pleasantly silly little game for any time of the day.
When you hear the name Fatal Fighters, you might picture a game filled with SPIN KICKS and SPINES BEING REARRANGED and disembodied voices telling you to FINISH HIM while two characters dance sideways back and forth like little mating spiders. Deqaf Studios' newest title isn't... quite that, being more a blend of match-3-esque-ish puzzle and turn-based fighting game, like a pared down Puzzle Quest. You choose your character, then face your opponent across a board with different coloured tokens. Clicking a token causes it and any other adjacent matching tokens to be added to the percentage chance the corresponding coloured skill has of being executed. During your turn, you get to make three matches, and then you can try to use the skills your character has available, though again, their chance of success is tied to how many matching coloured tiles you accrued during your turn. Unused abilities will roll their percentage over to the next round, so don't feel like you have to risk a ten percent chance of success. You and your opponent will go back and forth like this, whittling away at each other's defenses and hit points, and provided you win, you'll move on to your next foe. Defeat four in a row and you'll win the tournament, and if you collect enough achievements, you can unlock a different character, with different abilities. Though a little slow and in need of some fleshing out, Fatal Fighters is a neat idea and a solid diversion for when you want to lay some smackdown, but, you know, without all that button mashing that's so hard on the thumbs.
Silly, sassy, saucy, and unexpectedly smart, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker from Magic Notion is the dating and matchmaking simulation you didn't know you needed for your iOS or Android device. You've just been set up with your very own dating agency by drag queen extraordinaire Kitty Powers herself, and with her guidance, you'll grow and expand your business and clientele by matching people and leading them towards their happily ever afters... hopefully. Based on their interests, personality, and more, you'll comb through your black book to try and find a suitable match, and then use an earpiece to help nudge them along on their dates, both by selecting the proper responses and choosing whether to lie when asked about something, and by playing a variety of minigames. But more than just knowing how to match people with similar interests, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is about your own observation and deduction. If your client's date pops off to the bathroom and returns asking how they like the change, you better be able to spot exactly what's different about them. You'll need to be able to remember details about the potential match's profile to properly steer the conversation. You'll need to know how to order from them based on what they say they want to eat, and also be able to pick it out of a lineup of different dishes whose names you might not recognise. Heck, if your client goes on a second date with them, not only will you need to keep track of what they've already discussed so they don't get bored, you'll also need to know when to ask to see them again, or even if you should take the next step. Throw in tons of unlockable content, no in-app purchases, unexpected depth, same-sex relationships, fantastic writing and a great sense of humour, and Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is head and high heels above the rest. Also coming soon to your computer via Steam!
I don't know about you, but when I found out the Italian plumber Mario had nothing to do with plumbing in his games it was a serious let down. Thankfully, Keygames have noticed this lack of legitimate plumber games and has brought us Plumber Game 2, a puzzle game that is also available on iOS and Android. You're hired by a horribly overheated monster named Clifford, whose pipes have gotten all rearranged. He needs that fresh cool liquid fast, so swap the pipes positions as quick as you can, by using the mouse, to connect one end to the other. It doesn't matter if you have water spraying out of unused ends of the pipes as long as Clifford gets his drink. Well, the water spraying out in unused ends wouldn't be a problem except Clifford has a collection of bombs. If any liquid sprays on them, or if their timer goes off, Clifford is out his eyebrows and you're out of a job. It's a simple take on a very classic type of game, but pulled off very well.
Did you know that doodling during class or meetings can help improve your recollection? It's true. While we can't promise that playing Aleksander Suvak's Doodle Brigade will grant you photographic memory... And we definitely don't advocate slacking off during algebra, even if this game is available on Android devices to play on the go... we can promise you upgrade-tastic tower defense game action! Your paper kingdom is being invaded by stickman zombies! How can you tell they're zombies? Because they're drawn in green ink, of course! Fight them off with a stick-army of your own, full of snipers, bombers, mines and more. Click on any empty square to draw in a new soldier or tool, keep an eye on your precious ink resources, and make sure all the rows on your graph paper are amply defended! There's no denying it's a familiar and well-worn formula, especially if you're a fan of the by-now legendary Plants vs. Zombies. But Doodle Brigade is one of those rare copycats that actually understands what made the original great, and manages to emulate it while still putting its own spin on things.
So now, this Mardi Gras 2015 business is behind us. Oh, are you not accustomed to this extravagant phenomenon? Well then, here is a brief synopsis: Mardi Gras is, in certain cultures and localities, a time to stuff yourself silly with as much beloved indulgences as you possibly can in preparation for then, during a forty-day season of lent, denying yourself said indulgences. Eh, it makes perfect sense when you think about it. As far as indulgences go, none can be better than logging into JIG and playing games 'til your fingers grow numb and your eyeballs dry out. Or at least until you have to go do more, how do you say? re-spons-ible things. Alright. Enough small talk. Let's get serious here: nobody is giving up games here and escape games ain't going away anywhere. And, as is the Wednesday tradition in these parts, we have three of them for you to escape your weekday worries with...
Little Alchemist, how does your garden grow? With ace chinchilla jet pilots, sea horses, headless horsemen and armored flying dragons all in a row! And it's a good thing too, because you'll have to master the elements and combine them to form cards like these and then some if you want to save Little Town from the villains in Chinzilla Games' action-packed free role-playing card game for Android and iOS! Collect cards, research new and better combinations to get the most out of your cards, explore Little Town and duel the bad guys for a chance to get new cards, or battle your friends and rivals in the online arena to improve your ranking on the leaderboard... because who among us hasn't wanted to become internet famous for siccing a Skeletal Dragon on unsuspecting strangers? Combine cards like Metal, Rainbows, ever-present Chinchillas and Sunshine to make Final Form cards like Bionic Chinchillas, Thor, and even Puff the Magic Dragon. Coming back each day will increase the gold bounty in the versus matches, so there's no time like the present to start
trouncing the general public for utterly obscene heaps of gold rescuing the people of Little Town from wrongdoers everywhere! You'll start out in your study with plenty of options like Research, Edit Deck, the multi-player online Arena, a Shoppe with thankfully completely optional in-app purchases, and a portal to the Adventure map. Each map area has several baddies you can defeat multiple times for a random treasure including gold or a free card. You'll take turns throwing cards from your decks at each other, each with a given Attack and Defense rating, or you can combine certain cards into even more potent cards with better stats. As you form combinations you'll accrue up to five Combo Spheres each of which can boost the stats of many of the cards you can play. Best your enemies to reap the rewards, and best all of them in an area to unlock the next map area.
Evan Rosson's Swarm Simulator is an incremental idle game about creepy crawlies with bad attitudes. In the beginning, all you have are larvae, but from them you'll create drones who can hunt for meat, which in turn can be used to breed even more powerful units, unlocking territories and more as you play. Unlike a lot of incremental games, there's no need to click here, except to spend the bugs, meat, and other "currencies" you generate to create new ones. The game's tutorial will walk you through the basics, including upgrading and more, but eventually it'll be up to you to figure out how to unlock new units and actions. Because everything you can make or, well, hatch, is done by sacrificing a number of something else (such as making queens by spending drones and meat, for example), being able to afford the staggering costs of some purchases means knowing how to manage what you have in the most efficient way possible. Why spend ten thousand units of one type to create a single of another, if those ten thousand are all you have and the new unit is initially going to produce paltry amounts of something else? Even if you cave and purchase that expensive new unit, you may actually find selling it to purchase an upgrade you can't otherwise get is the best course of action. Though a little dry, Swarm Simulator's piles of unlockables, achievements, and interesting ideas makes it a smart and welcome addition to the genre.
The little girl in no1game's cute point-and-click puzzle game My First Laundry Day may think she's too small to do laundry all by herself, but she's already several leagues ahead of a lot of people, some with decades on her, just by trying at all! Her mother's too busy to help, but she's written down some instructions, telling you what you need to gather, and then how to wash it all. To play, just click to explore the apartment, and click the question mark beneath items in your inventory to take a closer look at them. My First Laundry day is a little more elaborate than the other My First games no1game has created, taking place over multiple rooms and even consisting of multiple objectives beyond simply gathering a bunch of items in one place. Despite some finicky hotspots to find some items and angles, it's still as adorable as you'd expect, and a nice step up in complexity from other games in the series.
Though now available in early access as a significantly more complex game, Subsoap's FaeVerse Alchemy began life as the much simpler yet still addictive match-3/Tetris-styled puzzler Faerie Alchemy. The concept is easy... elements drop from the two of the screen in pairs. Use the left and right [arrow] keys to move them from side-to-side, the up [arrow] to rotate the way they're lain out, and finally the down [arrow] to drop them into place on the screen. Each group of three or more identical "elements" you make earns you points, but also combines to form an element one tier higher, and adds that element into play, making the aim of the game to unlock all available elements and get the highest score possible before the screen fills up. It's a neat, tidy twist other games have since spun off of, and though significantly lower in feature than its (pricey!) commercial cousin, still an elegant concept that's perfect for fans of match-3 gameplay looking for a slower, thoughtful game to play when you have a spare minute or ten.
If it's a Yonashi escape game you know it's going to be short and sweet in the best possible way, and Blue is no exception. One look at the decor and you'll realize the game lives up to its name, but don't let the weepy artwork fool you... if anything, this cuddly game is going to put a smile on your face. Just click to interact with something when your cursor changes, and use the transparent bars that appear when you place your cursor at the edges of the screen to move around the room. You can click the magnifying glass on item icons in your inventory to take a closer look at them, or just click the item itself to "equip" it for use. Blue isn't a game that will keep you tangled up for very long, but it's not trying to, either. It shows exactly why Yonashi is so well loved for creating cute but clever little games that brighten your day without taking a big chunk out of your time.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click puzzler Tammy Jo Superstar, the titular big-haired country belle works in a hotel that's going downhill fast, largely because Neel, the in-house singer who only got the job as a favour to his mother, is... kind of the opposite of good. Tammy Jo's convinced she could do a better job, and her boss gives her his blessing to do whatever she can to make Neel leave. Easier said than done since everyone in the hotel seems to want her to do something for them, and as you'd expect from a point-and-click adventure game, even simple tasks can get a little... weird. Just click around to interact and travel through the hotel. The cursor will change when you mouse over something you can use or talk to, and clicking an item in your inventory will highlight it for use. Tammy Jo Superstar is weird in a good way, and getting the egotistical Neel (actual show name: Kneel Before Neel) off the stage is going to take some work, but with your help, Tammy Jo can turn her dreams into a reality.
It's a mad world out there with werewolves, vampires, mutant rats and more zombies than all the others combined. But thankfully there seems to be an equal amount of bullets and endlessly flowing alcohol so at least we can join in that madness and have one heck of a time. IriySoft's Tequila Zombies 3 has our two heroes, Miguel Tequila and Officer Jaqueline, finding a third party member who convinces them to take a detour from safety to gain a powerful...thing... but the path will lead them through more zombies than ever before. And what more could you ask for in an action shoot 'em up game? How about upgrades and unique character specialties, and secrets that are hidden throughout the game? Yeah, they got that too. [WAD] or the [arrow] keys moves your character and jumps, while the mouse is used to aim and shoot. Hitting [R] will reload, while  to  or [Q] and [E] will cycle through weapons, and the [spacebar] will activate your character's special power, with [S] used to search for things. The game plays like a classic beat-em-up sidescroller, and you choose your character to play through it... zombies will come in waves from either side of the screen, and when you've killed them all, you can move on to the next area. In addition to cash you can spend on upgrades between levels, they can also drop special power-ups, like peppers that double your damage! You need ammo to use any of the weapons you find, so if that runs out, you'll default to melee until a zombie thoughtfully drops some bullets upon death.
Enlightenment isn't easy. Most of the time it can take years of dedication, study, focus, and meditation. Or you can just have the local philosopher lob you a scroll. Yes, that's your job in Flash Chaz and Bitnest Software's Age of Wonder: The Lost Scrolls, also free for iOS and Android, a physics puzzle game involving your little bald wise man bringing the gospel to the masses, one bouncy scroll at a time. Use the mouse to aim and control the power of each throw, sending the scrolls ricocheting this way and that through the sandy, ancient locales. You can also press the [spacebar] to switch to rocks, which are best used for hitting levers to activate doors and platforms. You know, typical ancient stuff.
Things are a little funky this time around for Pencil Kids' latest installment of their Monkey GO Happy point-and-click puzzle games, Monkey GO Happy Valentines. Love is literally in the air every time you look around as they hunt through a psychedelic sweetheart wonderland, solving the problems of the people (and critters!) they meet while they track down the only thing that will turn their frowns upsidedown this holiday... a whopping 70 fluffy Valentine bunnies, who are hiding absolutely everywhere, and often in everything! Just click around to interact, and drag items from your inventory at the top of the screen to whatever, or whoever, you want to use it with. It's sweet and whimsical in all the right ways, with just a dollop of puzzle solving as you try to crack the codes in your way. So go ahead. Make a monkey your Valentine.
Thanks to Cyberjar88 for sending this one in!
2-13-2015: Regency Solitaire is now available from Big Fish Games!
Grey Alien Games' Regency Solitaire is as lovely and elegant as you'd expect an indie card game to be, which is quite lovely and elegant indeed. The game follows Bella, desperate to escape an arranged marriage to her less than desirable neighbour after her layabout brother gambles the family fortune away. Bella has dreams of marrying one very particular handsome suitor, but with the restrictions of regency society, that can't happen unless she restores her family wealth and reputation. Which you accomplish, naturally, by playing lots and lots of solitaire. Nothing weird about that. That's how we paid off our house. With 180 levels spread across 20 chapters, a beautiful, hand-drawn art style, and a few twists on the familiar solitaire formula, Regency Solitaire is an absolute pleasure for slow, relaxing card game strategy from start to finish.
Martin Kool's 0h h1 was the very best kind of puzzle game... simple yet smart. 0h n0 has now arrived, also free for iOS and Android, and it's every bit as elegant and addictive as its cousin. The object of the game is to mark which circles on the board are blue, and which are red, using logic to figure out their positions. See, blue circles will tell you how many other circles they can "see" in their own row and column by displaying a number atop themselves, while red circles block their view. Click an empty circle once to make it blue, and again to mark it red, clicking the little arrow in the menu at the bottom of the screen if you need to undo something. The game can generate several different sizes of the puzzle for you, making sure you always have just the right amount to sate your appetite, and its clean, minimalist design and easy to pick up, Minesweeper-esque concept means it can be played by just about anyone... and, well, it probably should be!
It seems in many platform games the narrative is what makes it so amazing. We wouldn't have been moved about the love between zombie and human in I Saw Her Standing There if it wasn't for the floating text on each level, and goodness, what would Thomas was Alone be with out its brilliant story? But Zhuravlev's game Prophet has no story. It has no voice over, no hovering text to fill you in. All it has is a little pixel man and some beautiful atmosphere. There is a story there, but it doesn't let you in on it. Are you running from something? Why is the world in chaos? It's never really told. All you know is you must run, jump, and bounce off walls to cross the treacherous landscapes to find some oddly flickering doors that are standing in the middle of nowhere. It's not an easy trip and rough land is not a jumpers friend, but the smooth spots let you dash, slide, and leap to your unknown goal. Just watch out for bubbly spots, crumbling platforms, and falling debris that want to halt you to your mysterious goal. Use the left and right [arrow] keys or [A] and [D] to move, and tap [spacebar] to jump!
Good seafood can be so hard to find. Cyberkat has a hankering for some digi-fish, and this electronic, supersonic feline isn't going to sit around waiting for his next meal to just fall into his bowl! Instead, he's going fishing with rockets and lasers in Adventure Cat's new shooter game, available for Android, iOS, and the browser you're reading this in right now. The big twist is not that the fish he's aiming for are in barrels, but that his entire adventure is controlled entirely with one button! Click (or tap) and hold the left mouse button (or your screen) to fly up, and release it to descend; Cyberkat takes care of the gunning on his own. This gives his buttery, shoot-'em-up adventures the extra, lemony zip of a jump-and-run game or an avoidance game. The streamlined control makes for a shooter that's incredibly simple to play, but make no mistake! There are some real lunkers waiting for Cyberkat on his fishing trip, and reeling them is no picnic. Cyberkat is one of those ever-so-elusive "easy to learn, hard to master" games, and that fact alone tends to be a pretty strong recommendation whenever it appears!
There's a lot to be said for horror that leaves things up to your imagination, and RAC7's Dark Echo, a supremely unsettling sound-based stealth-game for your iOS, takes that to the extreme by making you rely entirely on the way noise interacts with your environment to navigate... and escape. Originally conceived as a game for Ludum Dare in 2013, in Dark Echo you control someone lost, unarmed, and blind in a hostile environment. To find your way to the exit in each level you need to use the sound of your footsteps to find your way around and avoid hazards. Tap and hold on an area and you'll see the footprints move towards it, while white lines radiate out from beneath them. Those lines will travel around and bounce off walls and other obstacles, giving you an idea of what your surroundings look like. Press and hold on your character's footprints and release to tap loudly and send out a great circle of sound from wherever you're standing, but beware... you're not alone. See, while dangerous spots are marked with red and should be avoided, some danger comes looking for you, and the more noise you make, the easier it is for you to be tracked down. You can quickly and repeatedly tap to make yourself creep and make as little sound as possible, but that makes it harder to navigate since you're making much less noise to echo off your surroundings. You'll need to be both quick and cautious to survive, and with 80 increasingly deadly and unnerving levels, your nerves may never be the same even if you make it out. Be sure to play with headphones, and turn the lights down low!
If you don't know Zachtronics, my friend, you have a wonderful journey ahead of you. Known for developing some of the smartest and most satisfying logic-based programming puzzles around, like The Codex of Alchemical Engineering and SpaceChem, they're creators of games that challenge you in the best possible ways. Currently available in Steam's Early Access is their latest title Infinifactory, which takes all those clever, cerebral puzzle concepts somewhere out of this world. No, I mean... literally. While driving home one night from work, after spotting a bright light in the sky you find yourself aboard a spaceship, outfitted with a suit and a nifty jetpack, the apparent prisoner of a bunch of aliens who want you to... do... something... for... reasons? Surprisingly, being burbled at in alien lingo isn't particularly enlightening, though the fate that could await you if you fail should provide sufficient motivation to learn. So, hey. You're stuck in a tiny room with nothing to eat but food pellets, and nothing to do but solve the various puzzles and problems you're presented with from your monitor, which in turn zaps you to various alien locations to do so. It might sound like a bad situation, but look on the bright side. Infinifactory is fun, morbidly funny, and mentally engaging in the way few games ever manage, making it a fantastic puzzle experience for new fans and old.
Not convinced you'll ever make a million? Hyper Hippo's incremental idle game AdVenture Capitalist will have you rolling in dough in no time flat thanks to donuts, car washes, newspapers, and... lemons? Well, you know what they say about life and lemons. Click 'em! When you click an item, its progress bar begins to fill, and when it reaches the end, you'll be paid based on how many of that item you own. You start with lemons, and as time goes by you'll be able to afford other business ventures, or simply more of the ones you've got. Since you might not want to sit around clicking forever, you can also hire managers to run things for you, purchase or unlock upgrades to increase your earning capabilities, and even get a little heavenly investment help. (Click and drag or simply use your mouse scroll wheel to navigate through menus!) AdVenture Capitalist is cheek-tastic, with puns absolutely everywhere and nods to all manner of pop culture icons, and its vibrant, clean art style is easy on the eyes... though if you want to mute that soundtrack, make sure you visit the Swag and Stats screen! It doesn't have quite the unexpected charm or surprises of Cookie Clicker, but its practically oozing professional polish, and has come a long way from its initial incarnation thanks to frequent updates by a devoted team, and an equally devoted fanbase. It even calculates your earnings when you're offline! Now that's a part-time job I can get behind.
Don't get me wrong, I've been on some bad dates, but never really "accidentally doomed the world with Lovecraftian horrors from beyond the veil" bad. In MorbidWare's arcade shooter Nether Runner, it's just you and an itty-bitty helpful elder god against the seemingly endless horde of monsters standing in the way of rescuing your date, who is probably seriously reconsidering dating someone who goes poking at clearly sinister ancient tomes. Chose your control scheme by selecting the controller icon on the main menu, and then set off with your Cthulhu chum atop your head. He can carry you until he runs out of fuel, allowing you to fly around the enemies and projectiles hurtling at you, but when the fuel runs out you'll have to be satisfied with simple jumping... oh, and you never stop running either. While you will die, since every hit knocks a heart off the meter in the upper-left corner of the screen, you can spend the cash you earn from slaying monsters and your score on upgrading your abilities and even unlocking new skills. Eye-catching production values and challenging arcade gameplay liberally dosed with big boss battles makes Nether Runner a lot of fun, though the tremendous amount of grinding for upgrades and cash may wear off some of its appeal. Besides, everyone knows what works best when it comes to evil books, right? Klaatu... verata... n... Necktie. Nectar. Nickel. Noodle... ? Oh well. I'm sure it wasn't important.
In Tesshi-e's plinky-plonky-soundtrack'd escape game Escape from the Knight Room, you're just looking to take it easy when you get a note from your old friend Mr. K about a strange room he's found, and wouldn't you know it? Now you're trapped inside, and all you've got to keep you company are a few suits of armor, some fine art... oh, and puzzles and secret mechanisms, of course. To play, just click around and explore! Without anything so fancified as a changing cursor, it's up to you to discover what's interactive and what isn't by combing every surface... seriously, there's some sneaky things going on here. To make progress, you may need to be persistent, or even a little rough, but hey, you don't play an escape game without breaking a few eggs... or... omelets... or... something. Somebody really needs to create a list of escape game proverbs. A Happy Coin in the hand is worth a pixel hunt in the bush... ?
The cyclopean robotic protagonist of Martin Magni's Android and iOS physics puzzler Odd Bot Out may have just gotten rejected from its factory and dropped down a garbage shoot for not meeting standards, but it's still going to waltz right into your heart. Or, well. Pitter patter awkwardly into it like a nervous budgerigar. In each level, your goal is to get Odd Bot to the exit, which is easier said than done. Tap on Odd Bot and drag in the direction you want it to move, and it'll totter in that direction until you let go, though it can only step up onto obstacles one block high. As a result, to get Odd Bot safely through, you're going to need to get creative... literally, since many objects onscreen can be combined or manipulated. Red blocks can be stacked and snapped together, for example, or even onto Odd Bot itself, making stairs or weighing things down, while some buttons can be wired to different robots or contraptions to activate them when pressed. It's up to you to figure out how things function and interact with one another, especially since there's no tutorial or text to help you!
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
Please note that this game is currently incomplete. Future chapters will be released, also for free, as updates as they are completed.
A long time ago, in the magical land of Equestria... No, wait. Sorry. Got confused. In the first chapter of Miwashiba's free indie RPG adventure 1bitHeart, translated by vgperson, you play the reclusive but good hearted boy Nanashi, whose days spent shut in playing games, sleeping, and eating pizza, just like everyone else, are interrupted by the arrival of a strange girl. The girl, Misane, doesn't remember how she got into his apartment, or why he found her asleep in his bed, and she also doesn't really seem to know much about all the technology that's commonplace for everyone else. What she does know, however, is that she's seriously troubled by Nanashi's lack of friends and his willingness to let everyone walk all over him and call him whatever terrible names they like, and so to Misane the goal is clear... help Nanashi make friends! But something strange is happening in town, and odd as it may be, everyone's safety may wind up depending on Nanashi and Misane. With a fantastic soundtrack, gorgeous stylized artwork and environments, 1bitHeart is cute, funny, and professionally polished to a remarkable degree, though the friendship-making "battles" a la Phoenix Wright-esque format might be a bit rough around the edges.
Created in just five days for Nitrome's Game Jam by Ryan Carag and Bill Kiley, A Kitty Dream is a sweet and not-so-sleepy little Metroidvania-esque platformer about a kitten exploring a strange and surreal world while unlocking new abilities as you find them. The [arrow] keys move, with [S] is jump, which is your only real "skill" in the beginning. Take damage from something and you'll be zapped back to your last save point, which you can activate by tapping the down [arrow] when standing in front of one. The charming retro style and initially sleepy atmosphere may feel too at odds with the somewhat exacting platforming required later on for some players who pick it up in hopes of something as mellow and relaxing as it presents itself to be. As a result, A Kitty Dream probably won't be for everyone, but if you don't mind getting your paws dirty and think you can handle some pixel-perfect leaps, it's still a seriously cute little game that's just the right size for a Metroidvania-flavoured snack.
Originally made in just 48 hours for Ludum Dare and then tweaked and polished, Wolve's Hanoka is a simple yet gorgeous action-packed game of acrobatics and arrows, as you control a young woman who bravely dives beneath the waves her village sits atop to lure giant spirits to the surface. There, she can leap above the water and fire her bow at the creatures chasing her, before she plummets back down to try again. Use [WASD] to move, and the mouse to aim and fire, though initially you can only do so when our heroine is above water. As you slay the spirits, you'll gain experience points you can spend on opening new chakras, which can give you new abilities, or enhance the ones you already have. Available upgrades start from the bottom of the menu where they're displayed, with more options becoming available as you unlock others on the tree. The blue bar in the top left corner of the screen represents your experience level and how close you are to opening another chakra, while the red bar above it is your health. Health regenerates automatically overtime, but if you die, you'll lose a little experience (but keep your chakras!), and if you were in the middle of fighting a big spirit, you'll need to lure it back up and start the battle again. Don't forget to hit [P] to pause if you need to take a breather or want to change the volume!
A wise man once made this rather astute musical observation about human behavior and it got me to thinking: You'd think people have had enough of silly love songs. But have they? Nope. Seems people are kind of suckers for all these love related things like sappy tunes, banners made of red hearts, bouquets of flowers, and random lines of sugary words that also happen to rhyme. They even came up with a holiday to celebrate it. Well, I understand. Sort of. Although I do not have three love-themed escape games this edition of Weekday Escape, I thought I'd at least write some poetry for you. They're not great poems. In fact, they're truly horrible. So how 'bout I try distracting you from that point by including these lovely snapshots from the games...
Failbetter Games' Fallen London is best described as Welcome to Night Vale meets alternate-history Victorian-Gothic, a strange combination of horrifying, hilarious, and mysterious that takes players on a bizarre tour through a dangerous and strange world where London exists underground (it was stolen by bats... long story), and with that comes a host of surreal creatures, characters, and customs, where whispers and secrets can be currency, and playwrights make pacts with demons. Sunless Sea, set in the same world, is the team's first commercial product, and one that expands on the beloved series mythology by placing you in command of a vessel on that vast subterranean sea, the Unterzee, where new cities, cultures, monsters and more lurk across the dark depths. Part choose-your-own-adventure style text story, simulation, part nautical RPG and player-driven narrative, you'll craft a character, decide their background, and give them an ambition... maybe you'll want to write the next great masterpiece, or find your father's bones. It's all up to you, and a vast world filled with intrigue, wonders, and horrors awaits you, but be warned... the zee is a dangerous place, and anything can happen. Sailing darkened waters and encountering strange events can increase your crew's terror, and leave you dealing with mutinous, panicked fools, while supplies and fuel can run out and leave you stranded. Even if you die, well, that's not really the end. The zee is endless, and you can just create a new captain, one who can have a variety of ties to your last, or even pick up their inheritance.
No matter what time of day it is, it's always a good time for TomaTea, so why not kick back and relax with Early Evening Escape? I mean, not that I can think of a reason why you'd actually want to escape from this picturesque little cafe, with its cakes, flowers, presents, and even a well-stoked bar. Assuming it has free Wi-Fi, you're all set. To play, just click around... the tip of your cursor will glow when you mouse over something you can interact with, and if you're presented with a message claiming you have no idea what to do, it means you're faced with a puzzle whose particular clue you haven't stumbled across yet. Though it initially looks rather simple, TomaTea proves yet again with Early Evening Escape how great they are at packing in a lot of smart puzzles in a relatively small space through clever design, so get ready to sharpen your brain even while you take a break and unwind.
It doesn't matter if you have a special someone because no1game choo-choo-chooses you with My First Valentine's Day, a cute point-and-click puzzle game about a little girl who desperately wants to give something to someone she likes. First, however, she's going to have to assemble all the ingredients to make a truly magnificent Valentine's chocolate box herself... even if she is just a kindergartner! To play, just click around to explore the room and interact with items, trying to find what you need from the list your mother left and solving the puzzles in your way. When I was little we just cut up red construction paper, but hey, I've always been a slacker. If you want something cute and light to make you smile, and maybe make you feel better about your own organizational skills (seriously, who puts chocolate there?), fire this up and prepare to be twitterpated.
We live in a fascinating age. Interest in science and the universe is growing, physicists and educators like Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson are bona fide celebrities, sharing the same couches on talk shows as A-list actors. It's about time some of that wide-eyed curiosity with the nature of our universe made its way online. Enter Rebuild the Universe, a fun and popular incremental and educational game that uses the very fabric of the universe as its currency. You start with "quantum foam", the absolute basest concept our current model of physics can conceive of, and gradually work your way up through the subatomic particles, making neutrinos and protons and all those other bits and bobs you half-remember from high school science class, until even cells and life forms become part of your journey. If you find yourself scratching your head trying to tell a prion from an angstrom, the game offers short, fascinating blurbs describing each particle you create. There's also a black hole you can dump your universe into for a permanent increase in atom production efficiency. Because when you want to make a cosmic omelette, sometimes you have to break a few cosmic eggs.
Blink and you'll miss it, but if you love simple yet clever point-and-click puzzle games, you'll still want to fire up Sean James McKenzie's What Do We Do Now? Made for the 2015 Global Game Jam in under 48 hours, each bite-sized level tasks you with figuring out what you need to do in order to advance to the next level without any directions whatsoever. Each stage is a different sort of puzzle, and simply by clicking around (sometimes dragging things with your mouse), you'll gradually figure out the goal of the level and how to go about achieving it. Though some might feel it ends just as it's really getting warmed up, it still showcases some smart ideas and encourages you to play to puzzle them out. Hopefully it's a concept that gets expanded on in the future, but as it stands, if you only have a little window to play, What Do We Do Now? is a great choice.
At first it's just you and a white cube on a table in an otherwise empty room. To play, click the areas on or around the deceptively plain box. While it seems basic to begin with, turning to the sides of the cube reveals small buttons, switches, and compartments all with various interconnected functions. Any objects you find by discovering and dismantling the box's secrets are added to your inventory at the bottom of the screen. Just like the hidden caches sprinkled around the box's surface, Tsure Game 5.2 has surprising depth. Its elegantly simple design that conceals a handful of engaging puzzles may remind you of similar titles like The Room or Dismantlement series. When one side has a puzzle that might seem confusing or obtuse, tinkering with another side often gives you just the item you need to unravel the mystery. At its essence, this is an escape game that rewards experimentation... you need to think "outside the box" to get inside the box!
Someday, instead of kids playing Oregon Trail to see how easy it was to die of dysentery back in the day, or playing Organ Trail to learn how easy it was to die from a zombie bite, they'll be playing Orion Trail, a prototype of a game currently being Kickstarted by Schell Games, to learn how easy it was to die because your ship ran out of fuel during early intergalactic travel. In this fun resource management choose your own adventure simulation, there are four resources you need to keep track of... food, fuel, crew members, and hull damage. If you run out of any of these, it's game over. Plan on that happening a lot. Start by selecting a mission you'd like to undertake, which involves getting to the end of the trail with high numbers of one of the resources. Next you'll go through a selection process where you chose a captain, a ship, and three officers. Each come with a skill set that will be added to your overall effectiveness in one of five categories indicated on the bottom of the screen.
They say there's gold in them thar hills, and in Monkey GO Happy Western 2, the latest rootin', tootin' installment in Pencil Kids' point-and-click puzzle adventure series, it's up to you and your posse of primates to track it down. And with that, I have officially exhausted my supply of Western-sounding verbage. To play, just click to interact and move around the different locations. As usual for a Monkey GO Happy game, you'll find a lot of obstacles in your way, from people who want you to bring them things, to coded locks whose solutions are cunningly hidden in the backgrounds of the areas you can visit. It's just the right size for a puzzley pick-me-up, packed with all the colour and charm you've come to expect from the talented developer.
In Artogon's creepy hidden-object adventure Shiver: The Lily's Requiem, you play Dr. Thompson, returning to the sleepy town of Blackwill after 17 years. Things get weird in a hurry when, on your way to your first night on the job, you stumble across a girl passed out in the street. She begs you for your help, claiming to be the daughter of a former patient of yours who has been comatose for years, but there's something hunting her that doesn't want you interfering. Lured off into the night by a strange siren song, she needs your help before it's too late! So go collect a bunch of pearls to decorate your office. And find some items for your fish tank. And crack open this random tin to solve a puzzle to enter your own office. And play Battleship with this mechanic. But other than that, saving her is your priority. Despite suffering from an abundance of backtracking and having shed most of the horror elements fans of the previous games in the series might be hoping for, Shiver: The Lily's Requiem still blends urban legends and classic mythology in new and intriguing ways for a gorgeous adventure with a diverse and meaty amount of puzzles and hidden-object scene variants.
It's a simple life being a knight guarding the border of the land of Ederra. The lands are generally at peace, everyone tends to have their paperwork, and the most contentious situation is the daily sparring session. That all changes when a group of mysterious, armed men claiming to have "business" with the King charge past your station (apparently you forgot to make sure that the enemy gate was down). With their destination the kingdom capitol, it's a race against time as you make your way cross the continent, determined to see what their "business" is, and if it needs to be stopped. It's Ender Story: Chapter 1, a retro-styled turn-based RPG by Jordan Allen, Cat Hoang, and Matt Jones (some of the team behind Land of Enki 2).
Currently available in Steam's Early Access program, Red Hook Studios' Darkest Dungeon is a misery simulator masquerading as a dark turn-based strategic RPG. You've been called back to your ancestral home after a relative dug too deep beneath it in search of rumoured riches and instead awoke something evil and foul that tainted not only your sprawling manor but the land for miles around. As you delve into dangerous places to search out and destroy the darkness within, the expeditions take a toll on the heroes you've hired, both psychologically and physically. Their sanity will begin to gradually erode due to the horrors they encounter, not only making them weaker, but also warping them as they despair. They'll gain quirks that impact them and those around them, turning on one another, growing more cowardly or irrational, and even time at rest in town between quests might not be enough to make them recover, and of course if they die on a quest, they're gone forever. With a gorgeous visual style and grim, claustrophobic atmosphere, Darkest Dungeon is a striking and immediately engrossing game with a fantastic premise, though its relentless difficulty may at times border on the unreasonable.
Indie developer Aleksandr Solovyev has brought us and absolutely gorgeous modern take on the brick breaking genre for your iOS device. Impulse! is an arcade game with beautiful graphics and sound and innovation at the same time. Tap near the bottom of the screen to release the ball, then tap and swipe to move the paddle. If you need to pause, tap the top of the screen. Though the mechanics are basic the bricks are something different. They range in shape from your ordinary rectangles to circles, to hexagons, arranged in all sorts of clever designs, including a pool table and a space invader game. The game is free to try, with an in-app purchase to unlock it all!
Being royalty isn't necessarily hard, it's just tedious, as the protagonist of no1game's Bored Prince Escape can attest to. He's sick of never having a moment to himself, of having every minute of his day planned out, so one day he plans to escape during one of the brief times he isn't under watch. With bodyguards stationed outside the room, getting out is a little more complicated that sneaking out the door. To play, just click to interact, though keep your eyes peeled and search everywhere since the cursor won't change when you mouse over something even if you can use it. The prince's escorts aren't messing around with keeping him under his thumb... there are plenty of locks and codes, as well as a tricky hidden item or two. But hey, when you need some "you" time, you gotta go what you gotta do!
How much keep would Kram Keep cram if Kram Keep could cram keep? As it turns out, it can, and the answer is "an awful lot." Ryan Ledohowski, also known as metaknight3000, began work on this platform game for Ludum Dare 31 so this entire Metroidvania adventure is squeezed and smushed into single screen! Emphasis on the "Vania" portion of that portmanteau, as this exploratory, power-uppy quest draws a lot of inspiration from the classic Castlevania series. Jump into the shoes of a blue-haired vampire hunter, and rid this labyrinthine citadel of the bloodsucking menace who lives on the top floor! You'll start off with a single, basic jump on the [X] key, and the ability to throw knives with [C]. But since this is a Metroidvania, as you make your way into the depths of the keep, you'll soon discover new skills that will help you explore deeper and fight more dangerously. Oh, and you can change the controls too, if [X] and [C] don't suit your fancy. Don't be caught off-guard by this adorably teeny-weeny castle... It's only too happy to claim its next victim!
There are artists and then...Well, there are those who critique. I'd like to think there can be an amalgamation of both in anyone who loves art, in all its forms, but that can be argued another day. As Anton Ego puts it: "The work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But...the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so." Thusly I'm often hesitant to lay in too heavily in my own critiques as what makes games enjoyable is very subjective. Perhaps the loudest criticism I offer, though, is silent: Those games which don't often make it into the Weekday Escape lineup. Well, it's not that they're not enjoyable or rendered through talent and cleverness, it's just that there are quite a few new escape games born each week. Why did I pick this week's trio from FunkyLand, MayMay and Amakuchi Game? Well, good question. I'll answer that soon enough but for now, I've talked enough. Besides, I'd rather know what you think...
In Psionic's jumpscare-tastic horror escape game Ghostscape 3D, you've always believed in the paranormal, despite the best efforts of a local reporter to paint you as crazy in his column. You're a little surprised and suspicious, then, when you get a letter from him inviting you to come see "something the likes of which you've never seen before, or ever will again", and cautioning you to come alone. Armed with only your trusty camera, you soon find yourself trapped inside... now who could have predicted that? To play, just click to interact... your cursor will change when you mouse over something you can look at, use, or move to, displaying helpful text, though sneakily some things you can interact with won't do change your cursor or show text at all. Open your inventory by clicking the big "i" in the upper right corner, which allows you to read any notes you've found, check on your progress for collectibles and objectives, and equip items for use by clicking on them. Your camera is going to be a pretty valuable tool... while sadly you can't use it to photograph puzzle clues, taking pictures of certain things like paintings or the glowing white orbs will check things off your list of objectives. Just be careful... this place has more than a few skeletons in its closet. Well... bodies, really. Parts of them. Maybe you should have worn gloves.
Still in development, Marc-André Toupin's SPOINGS, aside from being fun to shout and presumably snack food for Mr. Saturns, is a minimalist turnbased roguelike RPG that's all about luck. You move your little avatar with the [arrow] keys, jumping from one quadrant to another, but the catch is the square you land on in each area is random, and moving out of a quadrant causes it to be replaced with a completely new one. Figuring out what each different icon represents, and what they do, is part of the challenge since the game offers no instructions. It's sort of like if someone dumped a bunch of unassembled IKEA furniture at your feet without instructions, and you had no idea what any of the tools were or what they did, and also you might be a little on fire. Run out of hit points, as indicated in the top-left corner, and the game will inform you that U ARE DED, prompting you to start anew, hopefully a little wiser for having had your nose bloodied. (Was this game designed by Q?) Some will find it infuriating for lacking any instructions and leaving so much up to chance, while others will find it addictive for the same reasons, especially since once you learn the ropes you'll realize it's not nearly as baffling as it seems. (Or you can just cheat and read the official TIGSource development thread for more clear instructions.) SPOINGS is planned to eventually land on mobile devices once more work has been done, so give it a spin, and drop the developer some feedback when you're done!
If you've ever unwittingly come upon ninjas while shooting picturesque photos on vacation, only to have your camera stolen because you may have inadvertently taken a photo or two of said ninjas, then you can relate to the plight of 3 Pandas in Japan, a charming point-and-click puzzle game by FlashTeam. And despite the unwritten rule that you should never ever try to take on a ninja, the panda friends are determined to get their camera back by working together to figure out what order to click things in order to reach the exit on each screen.
Roundabyte's iOS exclusive Dwelp is exactly the sort of simple yet oh so sweet puzzle game that makes my heart go pitty-pat and my free time fly out the window. Conceptually, it's a straightforward mechanic, where the goal is to link up all matching coloured dots in a limited number of moves. Drag and drop to place one dot near one of the same colour (don't worry, they have colour-blind mode!), and they'll link up, but other matching dots will become faded, and from them on only linked dots can be moved. As a result, you need to figure out how to move your linked dots around the field to collect all the others, which gets harder when you consider your linked shape has to fit within the grid of the field, without overlapping any dots either. I've probably made that sound more complicated than it actually is, which is probably the least helpful superpower anyone has ever conceived of, but despite changing up the rules a little in later levels by giving certain dots special rules, Dwelp really is a breeze to pick up and play. Put down? Not so much.
By far the hardest part about being a hero is schlepping your way through all those dungeons. Yes, the dragons, skeletons and bats are hard too but c'mon, walking?! Ugh. Fortunately, this game made in 48 hours for Ludum Dare, One Screen Hero by Wes Selken, Izzy Aminov and Brian Bunker, brings all the action right to you in one convenient screen. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move and [Z] or click to attack the various mobs that pursue you through each level. There are four portals on the screen in each corner, and a timer counting down right in the center of the screen. You've got to scamper about collecting coins, open treasure chests, and doing battle with all manner of ghouls before the timer gets too low. When it hits zero, the level reshuffles into a new format, so you'd better make sure you're on the right portal so all the madness can start again. This turns the game into a mad dash of collection and combat. Maybe it's not so convenient after all.
Prepare to vanquish hordes of mighty foes in valiant battle in Altairworks' medieval high difficulty tactical role-playing game! The catch? You're playing as the slimes, which just begs the question, If you fight and win, but have to be a repulsive transparent creature made entirely of goo to do it... did you really win? Only if you're good enough! While you're menaced by swordsmen, archers, martial artists, riflemen, ninja and more all ready for battle, these guys will apparently just throw back their heads and obligingly swallow your gelatinous askeletal mass to enable you to take them over! And you'll need to do just that, as slimes aren't exactly known for their ability to take damage very well. Even then you're not out of the woods yet. Perhaps it's the slack-jawed look, the slow mechanical movement or the preternatural red glow to their eyes, but any unit you've taken over is instantly regarded as a threat to their former comrades who will proceed to dogpile them immediately and pummel them without remorse. Not only tactics but strategy are needed in spades if you're going to make it through Ambition of the Slimes, free for iOS and Android!
Part of the magic of video games is how they can make what is mundane and bland somehow joyously addictive. Surgery isn't what you'd call a laugh riot, nor is food service considered a thrill, yet somehow clever game designers can turn tedium into delight. Well here's a weird one for you: furniture assembly. Yes, that's right. Studio TheStorkBurntDown's new title, Home Improvisation (also playable on itch.io), manages to turn the dreaded task of building your cheap bit of IKEA nonsense into a gleefully daft puzzle game. Left click to select each piece of furniture, use the mouse wheel to adjust elevation, and right click to control its orientation to fit each peg into each hole. The game's exceptional Unity-based physics system can sometimes cause parts to scatter as they knock into each other, but rest assure, this is a game that's just as fun to fail as it is to succeed.
Those vile eggs are always coming up with some way to bunk up the place. Apparently in the first, second and third games your efforts weren't enough and now the population of dino eggs is at an all time high. Time for you to thin the crowd and save us all from the over population of eggs with faces, in Qiabo's new Disasters Will Strike: Ultimate Disaster. In each round it's up to you to crack those eggs using quakes, floods, plagues, bees, and sinkholes in this physics puzzler game. In each level you have a certain number of natural disasters that you can call down, such as earthquakes that can shake the screen and shatter glass, or wind that can blow round objects left or right, and you need to figure out how and where to use them in order to manipulate the structures on each level to bring these eggs their doom. Don't forget to make use of the environment, like large boulders and the very touchy 100%-natural bundles of explosive (Yep. Pretty sure those were normal back in the day.) So bring out your sadistic side and get egg-cited (Sorry. I'm l-egg-ally obligated to put in at least one egg pun. But that one was just for fun.) for this wee-bit-morbid adventure.
In Five-BN Games' hidden-object adventure Lost Lands: The Four Horsemen, after a boring shopping trip on your way home to make boring dinner for your boring kid, you suddenly find yourself whisked away from the parking garage to a strange world where you're told by a sexist hermit mage that, though he was praying for the "Chosen One" to come defeat the evil plaguing the land, you, despite being a "fragile female", are responsible for saving the world. Which seems like a lot to ask for someone wearing red pleather and shoulder pads, regardless of gender, but hey. What's this "great evil" you ask? Well, it might have something to do with the fiery destruction you glimpse being rained down on the very cottage you find yourself standing in front of, though that's a future that will only come to pass if you can't find a way to stop the flaming swordsman who caused it. With mermaids, halflings, portals through space and time, and much more, Lost Lands: The Four Horsemen is a satisfyingly epic and lavish fantasy adventure that's perfect for casual fans looking for a lot of magic.
ScriptWelder's Don't Escape was, as the title suggests, a sort of anti-escape game where you had to figure out a way to lock yourself in to a place as securely as possible, with puzzles to match, and its unique concept proved itself very popular indeed. In Don't Escape 2, it's two weeks after a zombie outbreak, and you and your friend Bill are holed up in an abandoned building... maybe just a little too late for Bill himself, who got bitten in your most recent escape. Still, you're not quite ready to abandon your friend, and you've got more pressing matters on hand... namely, the massive horde of zombies headed your way. You figure you've got until sunset to figure out how to lock this place up snug as a bug, and it's going to take more than just shoving some furniture in front of a door. To play, just click to interact when your cursor expands its crosshairs and turns yellow. Mousing over the top of the screen will drop your inventory down, and also show you the clock. Unlike the original game, you really are on a limited time schedule here. You have eight hours, and since you can travel to more than one place in the surrounding area, time is deducted whenever you travel away from the abandoned building. So explore areas thoroughly, combine items in your inventory, and, well, here's hoping you live to see another sunset!
Please note that this game deals with themes some may find upsetting. Please see my comment below the review if you need further details to make an informed decision about whether to play.
The first episode of Life is Strange, the new episodic action adventure from SquareEnix and DONTNOD Entertainment, starts off with a literal bang as our heroine, school student Max, wakes up on a dark and thunderous coast that's being ripped apart by a tornado that looks big enough to swallow the world. When she snaps to and finds herself in photography class moments later, she's more than a little rattled... she didn't fall asleep, after all, and that didn't feel like a dream, so maybe she's losing her mind? Or maybe she's just having trouble adjusting to prestigious private school Blackwell Academy, which hasn't turned out to be the glorious dream school she thought it would be... Max has never been comfortable around people, and the teasing of school snobs combined with her loads of homework and an unexpectedly sharp difficulty curve isn't making things any easier. Especially since Max grew up in the sleepy town of Arcadia Bay, and she's trying to work up the courage to speak to Chloe, the best friend she hasn't spoken to in the five years since she moved away. But there's something strange about Arcadia, like the missing girl everyone is talking about... and there's something strange happening with Max, too. She's just your average eighteen year old girl who discovers she has the ability to rewind time and change the past... something she can use to help people, but also, she thinks, make all the right decisions for her life. Guided by your choices, Life is Strange is a gorgeously rendered and acted tale about growing up, identity, power, and what you choose to do with it.
Also free for iOS and Android, Homeworld Arts' Pixel Staff is a very classic feeling action-based adventure where you control a wizard who senses something is amiss one dark night... maybe not that impressive a feat since the skeletons shambling around outside should be enough to clue anyone in, but hey, maybe we shouldn't backtalk the guy with a magic bolt shooting staff. Use the left and right [arrow] keys or [A] and [D] to move left and right, [Z] or [O] to fire, and [X] or [P] to jump. If that sounds pretty simple, it's because it is, though you'll have to deal with enemies, bosses, find heart pieces, and more. Pixel Staff looks great and perfectly captures the feeling of retro console games in style and play, but might prove too easy for most players. Just be warned that while if you die, you'll restart at the beginning of the room you died in, but there is no save feature, and closing the game or exiting to the menu means you'll have to start from the beginning. So pick up this one when you're looking for a nostalgic trip down classic gaming lane, and take your time doing it... there's no need to rush. A wizard is never late.
In Tesshi-e's Escape to Mr. Y's Office Room, the titular Mr. Y, who as you know is a fan of both escape games and the Detective Conan anime, has sent you a letter inviting you to check out his newly renovated office. Turns out just getting in is a puzzle in itself, but would you expect any less? To play, just click to interact, and make sure you check everywhere and anything since there's no changing cursor to nudge you along. Check items you're carrying with the About Item function, just in case they have secrets to reveal, or use them by highlighting them with a click, and then clicking on the main game window. True to Mr. Y's passions, this escape game requires some good old fashioned deductive reasoning, making paying attention to your surroundings a necessity. There are some seriously cunning puzzles hidden throughout this game, with an emphasis on using your brain over your inventory, though the latter will present its own challenge in several places. If the swanky soundtrack doesn't make you feel like a detective, the challenges you'll need to overcome in this top-notch escape game will!
Welcome to Metro City, where streets are busy with gangs, vigilantes, cleaning droids, police drones and one very busy hitman who is just itching to get out of the city. With everyone having twitchy trigger fingers and cops shooting first then asking questions, you can't blame the assassin-for-hire for wanting to get in and out as fast as they can. Flatearthgames' Metrocide is a high difficulty, bird's-eye view, stealth game where you take on jobs, find the mark, and put them out of their misery without getting spotted by drones and humans. A normal civilian will rat on you to the cops and that's all, but other civilians think they are some sort of hero and start shooting at you to paint the streets with your blood. They have good aim too, because one shot and you're dead. Being a roguelike game, death results in a new, penniless you. It's a rough life, but every hitman has got to work to get food on the table or in this case, papers to travel to get far, far away from such a mess.
Love to play games? Of course you do. Want to play games and earn sweet rewards doing it? Of course you do, and take that, mom, for saying games never get you anything! Playfire Rewards BETA is a free program that allows you to link your Steam account and earn cool rewards like store credit through our affiliate partner, Greenman Gaming, just for playing! Check out the F.A.Q. to learn more, or sign up to start earning!
Note:This game contains flashing elements and intense movement which may trigger photosensitive seizures in people with epilepsy.
Don't do drugs kids, unless you're taking part of a trial study sanctioned by a doctor. Just prepare for the consequences... the mind melting, reality bending consequences. ViViD, by The Layabouts, seems like a relatively easy platform game, and starts off on such, until the pills kick in and everything gets distorted. Burt is the name of the little jumper whose only goal in mind is to get back to the doctor who told him to come in if the pills he's testing start showing negative symptoms, like nausea. Burt has every symptom but nausea, and the only thing he can keep in focus is getting back to that little medical sign to see what can be done. He'll have to get through spikes and bottomless pits with only his jump ability, [Z], and using the floating arrows that give him a boost in the direction they point. Add on top of this the jittery, reality twisting symptoms and that feat becomes something only the bravest will take on in this free indie game.
It doesn't matter if it's Christmas when you play TomaTea's One Holiday Scene, because any day with a TomaTea escape game is worth celebrating! With a festive tree, candies, and a whole lot of Christmas cheer, this is one cozy little room, but all the decor holds a sneaky secret... puzzles and codes! When the tip of your cursor glows when you pass it over something, it means you can click to interact, and if you're told you "have no clue how to solve this", it means whatever puzzle you're looking at has a clue you haven't yet seen. True to its title, One Holiday Scene is a little smaller in scope than you may be used to seeing from the developer, but no less smart and fun for any escape fan. Relax, put your feet up, and enjoy this seasonal offering no matter what time of year it is... just don't forget the batteries!
Long considered to be one of the greatest classic point-and-click adventure games ever created, LucasArts' Grim Fandango is the sort of funny, smart, wickedly creative game players deserve, though considering it was released in 1998 and often doesn't play nice with new systems, it's both difficult to track down and harder to play. Well, no longer! Thanks to Double Fine, Grim Fandango Remastered has arrived, with a new coat of polish and a lot more compatibility, allowing new players to experience the iconic hit for the first time, and old fans to revisit without the hassle. The game follows Manny Calavera, who's been stuck in his (literal) dead-end job trying to upsell travel packages to those who have just died and want to cross all the way over for quite some time. His boss wants him to sell more luxury packages, but it's not easy when he's constantly being outdone by his slimy coworker Domino Hurley. Manny used to be on top, but now he can barely keep himself from getting fired when he's stuck with crummy clients, and he can't even remember what sin he committed in life to find himself stuck in this afterlife holding zone. He thinks he's finally found his salvation when he winds up with a crack at a soul who should be bound for the greenest pastures possible, but something is rotten in the Land of the Dead. Will Manny ever get his final reward? Or has he stumbled across a mystery that could prove more dangerous than he ever imagined?
Also free for iOS and Android, Pine Games' Hacker's Escape is, as the title would imply, an escape game that looks like it's set within what one of those primetime cop dramas think a hacker's room actually looks like. You know. Where they hack your firewalls and plugin your interwebs. But then, that campy aesthetic is sort of the point, as you see from the various homages to classic technothrillers around the room. To play, just click to interact. The text that appears at the top of the screen will tell you what you're looking at when it's interactive, and also show you if you're about to change orientation by moving around the room. The, ahem, fist you start out with in your inventory at the bottom of the screen is actually "force", so you can use it on objects that require a little bit of exertion to move or use. To combine items, or use one item on another, click them both in your inventory one at a time. Not only are codes hidden around the room, but you'll find a lot of electronic equipment you'll need to put to good use if you ever want to find your way out. So get cracking, and get hacking!
Here in the Weekday Escape studios, things tend to be rather heavily biased toward free online escape games. Which is great: What's not to love about being able to turn on your computer, open your browser, and plug into fun puzzles all centered on the concept of escaping from your confinement? There's not only enjoyment in the actual mental stimulation, there is immense satisfaction in the symbolic escape from your surroundings. So this week, besides living up to expectations and presenting three typical escape games—brought to you by Hottategoya, No1Game and FunkyLand—I thought I'd break out of the mold and suggest a few things different. After all, if it's been a while since you've dug through the JayIsGames archives, perhaps this week's featured trio will be the inspiration to get you started...
[Please note that due to the fact that I did not receive my review copy until last night, and technical issues related to the game, this review should be considered ongoing and may be updated as I continue to play.]
Techland's Dying Light combines everyone's two favourite things... zombies and intense physical activity. At the start of the game, you're air-dropped into what is essentially a war zone... an entire city under lockdown for months after the spread of a plague that turns people into the mindless undead. You're there trying to retrieve a stolen file and tracking down a rogue agent, but the survivors who save you from turning into zombie chow don't know that. To them you're just Crane, a guy trying to get by and willing to pull his weight by helping them survive. They've even set you up with some Antizin following an unfortunate bite... the only thing capable of staving off the zombification process. It's safe to say they might not be so friendly and sympathetic if they knew why you were really there... especially since their doctor is working on a cure that your superiors are very interested in. By day you'll spend your time helping the other people living in The Tower, while also trying to accomplish your own objectives, but when night falls, well, something else joins the hordes roaming the city streets, and not even the rooftops will keep you safe. Dying Light combines rooftop, wall-climbing, parkour action in this thriller, along with crafting, skill trees, and sidequests galore, not to mention a "be the zombie" multiplayer mode, for a surprisingly immersive and definitely gorgeous adventure in a sprawling, dangerous city, but clunky combat and (as of this writing) serious performance issues are as ugly as the zombies themselves at times.
Lovely, dreamy, and "look, Ma, I made a bunny!" are just a few of the words you could use to describe Triada Studios' iOS puzzle game Shadowmatic, a title that combines the shifting perspectives of Starlight with shadow puppets and tchotchkes. In each level, your goal is simply to figure out how to twist and align whatever object(s) you have so that the shadow cast on the wall creates something. Well, something specific, anyway. Just press and hold on the screen and drag your finger around to rotate. If there's more than one object, you can swap between them by tapping the button in the lower-left corner, or hold down the button with one finger and swipe with another to move them both relative to one another. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a progression of dots that will slowly light up depending on how close you are to figuring out what you're supposed to be making. No special skills or ambigous "gamer" cred required here... just an appreciate for eye and ear candy, and a willingness to, like, relax, maaaaaaaaan.
Functu's bunny is back for another short but sweet and swanky point-and-click puzzle, neon-soaked trip in Easy Joe 3. To help Joe through each screen, it's your job to figure out what things to click, and in what order, to allow him to proceed safely through. The game lives up to its name for the most part due to a general amount of simplicity to the puzzles... most areas only have a few things to click on, making the hardest part forcing yourself to stop grooving in your chair long enough to play. Still, what the game lacks in complexity, it makes up for in sheer bizarro charm. Why don't you like the guy on that scaffolding? What's up with the (presumably) girl bunny and the bow? Who knows! Just help Joe get through it all, and everything will be okay.
Having your city transformed into a retro video game doesn't sound so bad, if you ask us. Having multiple lives is a sweet deal, and you could recover from a sprained ankle just by eating a roast chicken! And for that matter, you could eat an entire roast chicken in a single sitting! But when there are alien invasions involved, things have a tendency to get less fun. So it's up to the heroes of Retroacan, by Pixcomp, to save their home turf from the alien army that's pixellated their world. With an arsenal of corn chips, tamales, and even an NES Zapper, they'll have a platform-hopping, monster-exploding adventure inspired by classic shooter games such as Contra. Choose from one of two characters to start, with four more waiting to be unlocked. You'll move with the [arrow] keys, and just like in a proper retro game, you only need two other buttons: [X] or [S] to jump, and [Z] or [A] to shoot. But how many of those classic games can say they contain rabbits that turn into helicopters, top hat-wearing frogs, and wacky inflatable arm-flailing tubemen? Retroacan bills itself as 80's-game pastiche, sure. But it's also a joyously weird, whimsical, and surreal little platform adventure that looks and plays like an explosion in a third grader's imagination. In a good way.
Less an actual game and more a piece of lovingly rendered fanart wrapped in a somewhat interactive narrative, Ghostbusters: Bust In Peace is the pixel-tastic comic crafted by Francesco Muja. Created in three parts, this comedic story follows everyone's favourite iconic Ghostbusters on a series of the sort of jobs they're uniquely qualified for, though it quickly becomes apparent there's something bigger going on behind the scenes. All you need to do to play is click to advance the scene, and occasionally make a choice that determines the way the chapter plays out. Making the right decisions will impact how well you're graded on certain outcomes. So, yes, it's a lot of reading, and, yes, your enjoyment is going to depend on how much you love the hits '80s films, though even if you don't know what to do if someone asks you if you're a god, Bust in Peace is still funny and well made enough to be worth a view. Because it's made of a lot of different edited sprites, not all of the characters and scenery look as if they "go" together, but the panels unfold with great cinematic execution and an eye for detail that gives the scenes a lot of life. Ghostbusters: Bust in Peace is far more funny than freaky as its source material would seem to demand, and if you're in the mood for a satisfying supernatural yarn with a lot of yucks that pays homage to the series in an almost note-perfect fashion, it's well worth loading up for a read.
Note: This game deals with themes some may find upsetting
You wouldn't think there can be much to a game that takes place in a cell you can only move a foot in in three directions. Wertpol proves that wrong by giving us this, best described as a free indie visual novel, Presentable Liberty. You start off with no back story, and only know you are in a prison cell, trapped and locked away from the world. The only connection you have to any living person are letters that are somehow slipped under your door. There is no way for you to reply, so all you can do is click the letters to read them, and accept their gifts to you, which is done by using the number keys to select them, and then right-clicking to use. Through these letters a terrifying story unfolds, but all you can do about this is stand in your cell, watch your little pet bug run around, or play the games given to you by your Personal Buddy™ that is meant to keep you happy and non-suicidal... though the letters are really all you have left.
You might think you're starting out as an ordinary fruit farmer, harvesting normal tangerines til your heart's content, but then the ordinary tangerine doesn't grow a mustache nor sport a dapper hat, now does it. Inspired by the ever popular Cookie Clicker, Gaz Thomas, creator of the Red Remover series, brings us Tangerine Tycoon. In this silly incremental game, start by clicking the tangerine to produce more tangerines (I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for that somewhere), then use your earned tangerines as currency to buy fruit producing shrubs, trees, farms, and other... not so conventional things that produce tangerines automatically.
Ready to go boldly forth as a mighty shining paladin, braving untold legendary creatures, saving princesses from horrific fiends, proving your valor and saving the land by completing heroic quests, reaping huge treasures and gaining prestige and reknown? Wait... you know what? Hang on a sec. As any fan of RPGs can tell you, there are only so many times we can reuse those old gaming tropes. Just for once, could we do something different? What's that? We can? Righteous. I'll come in again.
Welcome to cozy Perlan Farm. Meet Farmer Jerrat as he tends the livestock early each morning, plays handyman around the farmstead, and dotes devotedly on his loving wife Meerla. Together they manage to keep the farm going and raise their newborn son, Pellan. It's not a glamorous or lucrative way of life by any means, but together they manage to get through it all with plenty of love and support to make up the difference and Jerrat considers himself the luckiest man in all the land. This humble yet fulfilling existence is brought to a sudden halt when Meerla and their son Pellan are brutally slain by a platoon of soldiers on the move, in urgent need of supplies and unwilling to leave any witnesses to their presence alive to tell the tale. Returning to find his farm and homestead pillaged and his family in an unspeakable condition, Jerrat finds he must bury them both himself and resolves to find whoever is responsible and avenge their deaths. So begins The Tale of a Common Man, the unconventional RPG by Aldorlea Games that presents a whole new take on what the genre can be. Though you'll still duke it out with enemies in classic turn-based combat, when you level up, you can allocate stat points to build your party as you wish, and craftable potions add another interesting wrinkle to the gameplay. With seven party members (including one more optional character!), secret rooms, sidequests, and more, The Tale of a Common Man is a satisfying whopper of a classic RPG with a very un-classic premise.
Sometimes you want a puzzle game that's brutally difficult, complicated, and full of flair. Sometimes you want a puzzle game that feels like your favourite person gently stroking your hair and murmuring soft reassurances to you on a lazy evening while a cup of your favourite hot beverage warms your palms. Elio's Invert Selection was definitely firmly in the latter's camp, and so of course so too now is Invert Selection Levels Pack. The premise is still the same... your goal is to make the grid image in the main play area look like the one shown in faded overlay by using tools that add, delete, or invert portions of the screen. Just click and drag to select what portion of the grid you want to transform, and then release to activate the change. You have limited turns to recreate the image, and you have to use the tools in the order in which they're presented to you. Throw in a beautiful soundtrack by PiperockArts and a clean and lovely user interface, and you've got a sleek and smart game to engage your brain... now with fifty additional levels!
Life's not easy for a cube. You're not the most aerodynamic shape, you can't exactly roll or squeeze through tight spaces. But you'd never guess it from the jovial little polygon at the center of Qubed: New Adventures. Your little avatar is always grinning... assuming you can avoid the spikes that it is. This physics platform game has you controlling the little square dude with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to maneuver through all 20 levels of swimming, box-pushing, switch switching, and star-collecting. You can also split into smaller cubes with the [spacebar] which can be controlled individually, allowing for a little puzzle gameplay to work its way into the mix.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
Depths of Boatmurdered is a free indie, horror game that it a lot like a Zelda dungeon with its push puzzles and somewhat maze like layout. Only in this dungeon, there are plenty of creepy things that want to remove your face, and there isn't a master sword to save you. Steve Hayden's creepy adventure starts off with our bearded hero lost, alone, and confused. His first reasonable goal is to find shelter, but then continues to advance forward exploring the depths of darkness with nothing but his trusty lantern he found along the way. He still stays lost, but finds out rather quickly, that he's not alone anymore. The few items you can pick up are used with the [Z] button and the weapon you finally find is used with [X], but it doesn't kill the beasts. Swinging your lantern with [Z] on fire pits will cast some more light in the area, but you'll find these demons from below aren't scared of a little light. This game can also be controlled with a Xbox controller so there are two ways to lose yourself to this terrifying tale of survival.
Worry not, witch lovers of the world! No witches were harmed in the making of Godseed's new tower defense game, Witch Hunt. In fact, it's the witch herself doing the hunting! Saucy young sorceress Lucrea has discovered that the giant crystal obelisk she's defending contains a demonic entity of greed, and any living thing that dies in its presence gets immediately transformed into money. And if a bunch of common sense-challenged goblins happen to try attacking her to steal it, well, she's only making the best of a bad situation! Using her mystical powers of fire, ice, and lightning, she'll drive away the goblin army and make a literal killing doing it. Oh, and something about getting the crystal to a magical tower or something, but more importantly, money. Swap between her three elements with [Q], [W], and [E], and aim her attacks with the cursor. You can click to fire at will, or even enable automatic shots if your trigger finger isn't that itchy. Blast away everything that wants to get its mitts on your crystal, and reap the delicious rewards! It's an intense, high-action, almost shooter-like take on tower defense, and it also packs a killer sense of humor. How many other games let you summon fiery penguins to do your bidding?
[Please note that unfortunately this game displays ads while loading the interior of the cave at the very beginning of each reentry. This is not something we can control as it is a decision of the developers. The ads are short and automatically vanish when the cave loads, usually after a few seconds. These ads support the developer who created the game.]
In Dustin Auxier's The Enchanted Cave 2, the RPG roguelike sequel to the original 2010 game, you arrive in a village like everyone else to take advantage of the titular cave, a mysterious opening into the earth filled with monsters, treasure, and more that randomizes every time you go into it. The deeper you go, the more dangerous it is, though powerful equipment and riches can be found further in, and the only way out is to find and use the Escape Wings before you die. The catch? Whenever you leave, every item except gold-bordered artifacts and your coins are destroyed, though you'll keep any levels you've earned as long as you don't die. The locals view the cave as a valuable source of income, and adventurers come from miles around to seek its treasures. But more people go missing inside it every month. And who created it anyway? With crafting, secrets, monsters, and treasure galore, The Enchanted Cave 2 is simple to pick up, but seriously hard to put down.
Grozzler's puzzle platforming series of games, Fractured and Fractured 2, has always been both strangely intriguing and perplexing, as you guided children through a broken, topsy-turvy series of levels into what appeared to be the arms of a spectral mother or father figure while mysterious poetry was read throughout. Fractured 3 continues that tradition, though it ditches the level-based format and the spectral adults to send our two wayward tots staggering throughout a broken landscape filled with posters, platforms, and also lava. The controls are the same, with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump, while trying to figure out which was is up since each area has been broken into pieces and jumbled every which way. As you move from piece to piece, the challenge is properly orienting yourself and adjusting your navigation accordingly whether you're upside-down or otherwise flipped around, made even more difficult by the fact that area pieces are often lain out in no particular order. Miss a step and land in the lava and... well... you'll see. Despite the soothing soundtrack and narration, some players may find Fractured 3's maze-like layout too much of a nightmare to navigate, especially given how little variation there is between areas, but if you want more mind-bending platforming with a dreamy atmosphere, you'll gird your loins and persevere.
Owls are kinda weird, what with all the hooting, the 270 degree neck rotation, and the constant thievery of my Tootsie Roll Pops. But according to Owls Ever After, a cute and puzzling piece of interactive art originally made by Mike and Tanya Mezhenin for Ludum Dare 31, they just want the same things that we do: a safe home, a loving family, food on the table, and a new game console every three to five years. Owls Ever After lets you take a peek into to the secret life of owls, one year at a time. And it's pretty friggin' adorable.
This is going to be hard to hear, so it's better if I come straight out and say it. So, you know, get prepared. Just squeeze eyes shut, focus mind on a happy place, and look away as the bandage's ripped off in one swoop. It's for the good—it's only by knowing the truth, and confronting the reality of it, that any positive progress can be made toward a solution. So...ready? It is Wednesday already! I mean, sheesh! We're already three weeks into 2015 and time continues rolling on as if ignoring our efforts to, like, hang onto precious moments and all that like. Alright. I didn't surprise you at all. Did I? Yeah, I can see that by how you're rolling your eyes and clucking your tongue. And I bet you think you know which three new escape games are spilling out of the Weekday Escape inbox on my desk, too? Ah, fine then. I won't be rambling on with details, repeating myself and having you think: "Here she goes on about that again." We'll just get directly to the matter at hand. Have a look...
Please note that this game features brief, non-explicit sexual situations, and alludes to both the implied threat of sexual assault, and of it having happened in the past.
In Aloners, the free indie post-apocalyptic visual novel from sonnet009, the last man in the world is pretty surprised when he comes home to find a naked girl passed out in his bed... and as the girl in question, you're pretty shocked yourself since the last thing you remember is the world very distinctly not being a wasteland. You have no idea how you got there, and the fact that decades apparently have passed since your last memory seems impossible, though the fella whose abode you find yourself in, "Trash" by name, at least seems to be inclined to let you stay... as soon as he realizes you're human, anyway. What happened nearly forty years ago? Why can't you remember it? To play, just click to select whatever choice you like when some are presented. You can save and load your game at any time, too. For the most part, your choices are cosmetic, largely there to drive the personality of the protagonist (you!), or to colour the way certain things play out, but still ultimately veering you to where the story wants to take you. In spite of feeling largely "on rails", Aloners is fantastically written with one of the most charming and relatable characters to come around in a long, long time, and more than worth the read for any fans of romance after the end of the world.
Bombocracker's twee puzzle platformer Shifter is a little bit Continuity, a little bit "tiny bearded trucker hat man adventures", and a lot bit cute. Your goal in each level is to get to the door, but the catch is that doing so literally requires shuffling the level around you. While [WASD] or the [arrow] keys are your standard move/climb controls, hitting the [spacebar] splits the level into several chunks which can then be swapped around with the movement keys, which moves the square our hero is currently residing in around, shuffling the others it passes through. Hit the [spacebar] again, and they'll all snapped together in whatever new configuration you like, though you'll want to make sure scenery and obstacles line up in such a way as to let our hero move around. Doing this will allow you to help our hero, who can't do anything so grand as jump, and has a fatal allergy to spikes, to bypass hazards and reach the exit... though of course sometimes you'll also need to figure out how to power the door with switches to keep it open.
Part RPG, part match-3, and liberally dosed with unexpected sass and strategy, HeatPot Games' Hero Emblems for iOS is a fun and silly but also surprisingly clever spin on an increasingly crowded genre. When the princess is kidnapped by monsters, it's up to a band of four heroes to get her back, and then to save the ailing king, presumably while the entire rest of the kingdom's army sits around picking its nose or something. As you travel around the world map, you'll naturally have to contend with enemies through battles that play out like a high-stakes Bejeweled match. Each hero has a different token that, when matched, will activate their attack or ability, and your goal is to kill all your enemies before they reduce your hit points to zero. Matching the red tokens allows your priestess to heal you, for example, while the blue tokens will return a portion of your defense points (which reduce incoming damage), or cause your guardian to attack if they're full. Every time you swap tokens, it counts as a turn, and when the number of turns above each enemy's head reaches zero, they get to attack. Here's the kicker, though... while you can just make matches willy-nilly, you're not going to get combo bonuses to damage unlike, say, Puzzle Quest. Instead, there are certain match numbers and even a formation that yields powerful bonuses that you'll really need to create in order to take your foes down... especially the bosses! Match more than three tokens to create a super-powered token you can then combine for a stronger attack, for instance, or match five or more to create a massively powerful token that, when swapped with any other token, will unleash a strong spell or special ability from the corresponding hero. Toss in wrinkles like enemies being able to poison or lock tiles, and you have a game that's just smart enough to keep you on your toes, with a serious dollop of whimsical charm on top.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click adventure Space on the Case, you are the galaxy's premier (or maybe only?) robot space detective, so naturally you're called in to help when a bunch of cows go missing. Space cows. From a space barn. In space. You get a tip-off that lets you know where they've probably been taken, but how can you prove it? Just click around to interact when the cursor changes, and hop around to different planets to gather items and solve puzzles. As you'd expect from a game with celery aliens, dinosaur bathrooms, and robot detectives, Space on the Case is more than a little weird, but in the sort of happy, delightfully silly sort of way that makes Carmel Games such a nice treat, apart from a somewhat meanspirited jab at a fat person that doesn't really fit the otherwise harmlessly goofy vibe. Will the great detective Space ever find the cows? Only one way to find out, but you can bet it involves poop!
Need a new rage fix? Switch is what you need for all your high difficulty, platform, puzzle game needs. Brought to us by Alberto A. Braga, Guarav Sharma, Daniel Wallner, Sven Waschk, and Vulcan Brimstone, Switch's goal is to reach the portal door exits. To do so you need to switch the light bulb your little bot uses for a face... pressing the down [arrow] or the [spacebar] swaps between red and blue, while the standard [WASD] or the [arrow] keys moves and jumps. When he is glowing blue, he can see and use blue platforms, while when the bulb is red, the only platforms he can use are red as well. We've seen this before in games like Color Theory, but what makes Switch stand out besides the snarkiness of our hero is the high challenging levels that take all the skill, wit, and luck you got.
Pinball isn't exactly a game of strategy. You launch the ball and watch it bounce here and there making noises, sipping a slushie and absently glancing at the claw machine in the corner. Well what if the formula got spruced up a little bit? Maybe with some action RPG fairy dust sprinkled over the top? The result is Spotcos' Ricochet Heroes, a Ludum Dare game which has you launching your merry band of spiky-haired heroes from town to town, pinball-style. Use the mouse to aim, charge, and release your little avatars and watch them bounce off mountains, trees, inns and gateways, doing battle with monsters along the way. Use the [arrow] or [WASD] keys to tilt your characters in a certain direction to give them a little bump. Keep an eye on health. Too much time spent in the field battling slimes and fox beasts will cause your heroes to die. If you want to save that princess at the end, you'll need all the help you can get.
You're trapped in a room with no memory of how you got there and must get out. Sound familiar? Well it's anything but. There isn't any screwdriver here. No puzzles and most importantly no door. All you can do is think. Storm Alligator brings us Break the Limits!, a game made in 48-hours and may I say, what a game! In the beginning of this experimental incremental game all you can do is think, which is done by clicking, and which nets you thoughts. As you gather more thoughts, you can open up to more possibilities and a whole range of human emotions by spending these thoughts to gain memories, or find loneliness and many other ideas and feelings. Break the Limits isn't a game you can lose or even one that makes you think hard about the gameplay, but it tells a beautiful story of one soul's struggles when they finds themselves lost, alone, confused and abandoned, but most importantly hope filled.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
In AtlasAtrium's free indie horror adventure Follow the Darkness, Rina's got a problem. I mean, more that she just woke up from a coma and can't remember anything that's happened in the last month. She's begun seeing a girl following her wearing a fox mask, a girl nobody else can see who vanishes at will, and according to local legend, Rina's running out of time. Because she's been targeted by the Fox, who will follow Rina for seven days and then kill her... unless Rina can atone for a great sin she's committed, which is sort of hard to do when you have no memory of what you might have done. But hey, at least she has seven days to figure out... what? What's that? This game starts on day four? That's it, I call shenanigans. But Rina's got no time for that, and there's something else she hasn't considered... just because she doesn't remember what she did, doesn't mean nobody else does, and she might not be able to trust everyone she meets, making the Fox only one potential threat. To play, use the [arrow] keys to move, [spacebar] to interact, and [ESC] to open the menu to view your notes and journal or items, or save your game. You can hold left [shift] to run, but doing so depletes your stamina, which regenerates slowly over time. Taking damage depletes your health, which also regenerates or can be recovered using certain items, but four hits and it's a big fat game over for Rina. Conserve stamina, move quickly, and save frequently and in different slots.
Please be aware that this game deals with themes and contains some scenes that some players may find upsetting.
In Cheritz's enormous indie otome visual novel adventure Nameless, Eri has been alone ever since her grandfather died, and it's made her throw herself even more into obsessively collecting expensive ball joint dolls and accessories from them. She knows a young woman her age is probably too old to play with dolls, so she's too embarrassed to tell even her close friends at school, even though she finds herself talking to the dolls as if they're real more and more often. So imagine her surprise when she wakes up early one morning to find them all cooking, bickering, and even using her beauty products in the kitchen one morning as full grown humans. All of them still consider her their owner (at least, for now), and since they don't really have anywhere else to go, they come up with an elaborate scheme to stay with her, even winding up going to the same school. Nameless is a massive, fun, funny and touching visual novel with many hours of content thanks to its multiple (and secret!) endings and extremely high production values. But be warned... despite how cute and sweet it often is, there's more going to Nameless than meets the eye, and there are some potentially troubling behaviours passed off as cute or romantic.
Phantasmat has bounced from developer to developer over the years, with Phantasmat: Crucible Peak after the original, and now it's Eipix is up to bat with the next installment of the horror-themed hidden-object adventure, Phantasmat: The Endless Night. Let's get one thing straight right away... if you're a school organizer and the prom falls on the 50th anniversary of the tragic accident that shook your town half a century ago, wouldn't you, I don't know, reschedule just to be safe? Especially when said tragic accident was actually the deaths of everyone who attended prom fifty years ago? I'm not saying the townsfolk headed to the prom are guaranteed to be run off the road by mysterious apparitions appearing in front of their cars, waking up only to find themselves back in the sixties and their child is missing and the town has suddenly turned dark and hostile, beset by forces beyond our understanding, just... y'know... why risk it? But because nobody ever listens to me, that's the predicament you find yourself in here, forced to hunt for your daughter in a town that seems to have gone back in time, with a whole lot of spirits who don't seem to know (or care) that they're dead, and one mysterious figure who seems to want to help you join them. Despite a somewhat low level of challenge and a struggle with its own pacing, Phantasmat: The Endless Night delivers a genuinely intriguing story, fantastically creepy atmosphere, and just the right amount of jumpscares to craft a stellar casual horror adventure.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click puzzle adventure Cap'n Marcela: Parrot Charmer, Cap'n Marcela finds herself dealing with the dread Puffy Shirt Morgan, who's going to burn her island and its tiny village to the ground at sunrise. She needs a solution, fast, but it seems like she's the only one around competent enough to get things done, so before anyone will help you, you'll need to find things for them and solve puzzles. Just click to interact, and click an item in your inventory to highlight it for use. You'll need to come up with some rather unorthodox solutions for some of your obstacles in order to foil Puffy Shirt's scheme, but hey... if anyone can soothe a surly tavern owner or inspire a wizard, Cap'n Marcela can!
Folks, we don't want to frighten you, but we felt you all needed to be warned. The kitties of the Internet... are in danger. Horrible beasties known as spiters are rising up out of the underworld and are taking kittens hostage. If you don't do something immediately, our favorite time-wasting videos and image macros might go away... forEVER! Luckily, Alex2Dio has provided us with the perfect vehicle for taking them on: Spiters Annihilation 2, a physics puzzle game loaded up with all the rocks, bombs, ice cubes, and pits of horrible fiery death you'll need to destroy those spiters. Sometimes you'll be clicking to drop stuff from a specific height, a la the Cover Orange series, to smush the spiters. Other times you'll be clicking to remove stuff, so the spiters fall into something unpleasant. However you do it, just make sure to bid "good riddance" to all those spiteful spiters... and don't hurt any kittehs along the way. It won't be an easy task. ...No, really, it won't. Spiters Annihiliation 2 is a surprisingly devious puzzler that wants to do to your brain what you do to the eponymous spiters! The game relies on a mishmash of well-known physics-puzzle tropes, so it treads familiar territory for those who have been around the physics-puzzling block. It's not quite "new", but the various elements do work together nicely, in a peanut-butter-and-jelly way. Rather than innovate in gameplay, this has put in real love and effort to make its levels truly fiendish.
Kelly just wants to prove that she's a good sister, without doing all the work, of course. So when her younger sister, Zoey, wants to go to a haunted house on Halloween night, after some pressure from their mother, Kelly agrees to take her. But not too far in this cult-themed spook house Zoey gets too scared and runs off only to turn up missing. With the help of a worker who seems to know more than he's letting on, Kelly must find her and along the way find out this pseudo-haunted house is a lot more real than she once thought. Created in just 48 hours, Saving Zoey, by Kaleidofish and his many teammates, (r-bit, Doran, Geckos, Auro-Cyanide, Chocojax, Railgun, Phrostylicious Productions, Nathan, Thestral, and Cirno) is a free indie visual novel with a horror theme that can let even those with weak hearts enjoy because it keeps itself creepy without the jump scares. It's the atmosphere that will really suck you in as you try to make the right decisions to save your little sister. With three endings and plenty of game over screens you'll have to tread lightly and find out the right steps to get a better ending.
Yea verily, forsooth, and any other pseudo-Medieval babblery I can think of, Little Giant World serves up more cute tycoon simulation goodness in Shop Empire 3... now with more dung, bards, and taxes! As before you're trying to build a profitable, towering mall filled with shops, staff members, and hopefully as little theft as possible, but unlike before you're doing it all in a ye olden time-y setting. Little Giant World basically wrote the book on how to make cute, teeny-tiny sims for your browser (since Kairosoft basically has the mobile market cornered), and not much has changed, with a lot of colour and personality packed into this curiously addictive game.
Who says vampires are always children of the night? Not Eyesteam! The plucky protagonist of The Sun for the Vampire is an adorable little wraith who's grown tired of the nightlife; he just wants to see the sun without worrying about a killer sunburn. And since his previous excursion in learning how to day-walk didn't work out so well, he's back for another platform game challenge in The Sun for the Vampire 2. At the behest of an old wizard, he's plumbing the depths of a brand-new dark and spooky castle in search of the secret to vampire sunblock, and this time, he'll be putting his noggin to the test! While his last adventure was a foray into high-difficulty platforming, this castle brings far more puzzle elements to the party. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move around. The vampire still can't jump; instead, he uses the up [arrow] or [W] to turn into a bat and fly around. But all the flying he did in the last game must have tired him out, because now, he can only go batty for a limited time! On the upside, he's been working out, and can now lift and throw boxes using [S] or the down [arrow]. He'll have to cleverly flip switches, toss crates, and even figure out how to use his deadly enemies to his advantage! So although there are still plenty of wooden stakes and silver knives in his path, this vampire's second outing feels like a surprisingly different game from his first.
We all have different schedules, different motivations and different ambitions, sure. But if you're reading this, I'm willing to bet we have certain things in common. It's that time during the week when our thoughts start drifting toward distant horizons. Dreams of "What if..." and "Maybe I should..." occupy thoughts as we start to tune out the current issues and responsibilities pressing in, demanding importance. There's no need to shamefully admit to feeling a little lazy—take a break. Enjoy it. And if anyone complains, send them the Google results to this phrase: "taking a break increases productivity". Because, it's true. It really does. Ergo, here are three escape games that are suitably break-proportioned to aid in your escape from the weekday...
Bearface Games' Merchant, the new simulation game for Android, is a combination of crafting, RPG, incremental and resource management elements all deftly shuffled together into one neat release. It plays a bit like an incarnation of Recettear's formula for your phone: As a merchant, you hire heroes to go off to slay nifferous creatures and then use the materials gleaned to make items you can either sell or equip for your heroes to improve their mighty-deed-doing, as it's known in the biz. Critters generally yield their own resource types, along with the occasional rare, and these become important when you decide you want to craft specific items. Unlike many games you have five different crafters with their own specialty and plenty hero slots, each of whom can do their thing independently and noticeably level for it. Crafting merchandise not only requires specific resources to produce, but also varying amounts of gold as well. Selling merchandise typically garners about twice the manufacturing cost, which is where the resource management aspect comes in. Do you churn out mass quantities of the same low-level items for steady profiteering, or do you make a few pieces of high-quality equipment for your heroes to enable sojourns into more dangerous territories to enable you to put better and more profitable wares on offer back at the shop?
In PencilKids' latest point-and-click puzzle game Monkey GO Happy Western, the monkeys are out West, and the only thing that will cheer them up is a visit from the Indian Chief. Click around to interact, dragging items from your inventory at the top of the screen to use them when needed, and put that devious monkey brain to work cracking the codes used to lock away many of the items you'll need. Fair warning... as a person of Native American descent, I did make a sound of mild consternation in the back of my throat at this one. "Indian" is always going to be one of those terms that people are going to fight over, with some Native Americans finding it distasteful even as others are ambivalent about it (no one person can speak for an entire race, after all), and the inclusion of "Indian Corner" and the squinty, big-nosed Indians in the game might be too much for some to ignore, so play mindfully, though it was doubtlessly made with no ill intent in mind. As usual, our monkeys have to contend with a series of puzzle locks that are just sneaky enough to make your brain perk up a little, as the solutions are usually hidden away in the backgrounds of the areas you'll visit. You never have to worry about pixel hunting or obnoxious, unintuitive puzzles... as long as you keep your eyes open, you'll most likely do fine. It's a coffee-or-whatever-your-favourite-beverage-is break sized game, a format PencilKids have basically perfected with their beloved series of monkey capers, and Monkey GO Happy Western is another rootin'-tootin' entry, even if there's no Will Smith to be seen.
Sweeping square environments are all the rage these days. It's no wonder that that eventually, someone would have to start hiring park rangers to keep track of all that breathtaking blocky wilderness. Luckily for us, said rangers just so happen to be awesome. Awesome Ranger, by Vladimir Nayata, is the platform-y story of one brave little keeper of the cubical wilds, who must save the local population of adorably kitty-like fairies from poachers. Like all good platform heroes, the Awesome Ranger can move and jump with the [arrow] keys. But the Ranger can only move left or right, and sometimes the imperiled fairies are trapped in, horror of horrors, the background! Good thing the entire world literally revolves around the Ranger! Press [Z] or [X], and Awesome Ranger's environment spins around them, giving you a new perspective (and a new dimension) on things. Flip between dimensions and points of view, rescue the fairies, and get safely back to your spaceship so you can both blast off! Previous games such as Fez have tackled the concept of moving two-dimensionally through a flippable 3D world, but it is, dare we say, awesome to see the idea move into the realm of free browser titles.
Michel Gerard's Boomerang Chang is a fast-paced, simple-but-not-easy arcade game where all you can do is throw and jump as you stand atop a spire, constantly assaulted by enemies from both sides. Tap the up [arrow] to jump, and the right [arrow] to throw. The catch is that all you have is boomerangs, and you can only through them to the right, so if you want to hit something on the left, you'll need to time your throw to be able to jump over your boomerang as it flies back at you so it passes underneath. A single hit from an enemy will kill you, and, oh, guess what? You can also be decapitated by your own boomerang if it hits you, so pay attention to where it is! Also available free for Android, Boomerang Chang is a simple but also simply addictive little arcade game. It's got a great style with nice, subtle details in its itty-bitty artwork, and the way you can never tell what enemies will show up, or when, means you can't just "learn" the game's order straight to a high score. How many enemies out of an endless tide of them can you take down before they get you... especially when your own weaponry can be turned against you?
Is no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 133: New Year 2015 really an escape game if you're locked out of something? Coming home from the first shrine visit of the new year, you realize you can't find your house key, and nobody else is home to let you in! You'll want to click everywhere in this one, not just because of the lack of changing cursor, but because there's more to see than you might otherwise think with the "turn around" button in front of your door. Naturally, before you can get in, you also need to find ten little green men hidden around the area. It's cute, silly, and definitely as weird as you'd expect from no1game... just the way we like it! So go on and find a way inside... either before you catch a cold, or the garden comes after you!
U mad, bro? More like, U Mad Max, bro! Because that's what U will feel like while playing Road of Fury 2, a vehicular arcade rail-shooter by IriySoft. It's been but months since the bombs dropped, and with winter setting in, the quest for a safe haven has become all the more dire for our hero Cole. Pursued and ambushed at every turn by the Bloody Gear Gang (who, it must be admitted, was the party Cole lifted his sweet ride from), he must make his way across a post-apocalyptic hellscape, crashing and blasting everything in his way. Maybe he'll find allies. Maybe he'll find safety. No matter what though, he knows he's going to see a road full of fury. No really. That's what the opening narration says. Just roll with it.
Can't a bad guy leave anyone to enjoy a rainbow in peace? But then again, if they had, you wouldn't be about to play Keeper of the Grove 2, Booblyc's latest tower defense game. The team that brought you Incursion is back with another solid addition to the genre as you once again try to save magical gems from your attackers.You start out with three basic defenders... a long range guardian, a slowing ice magician, and an area of effect rock throwing monster. Your goal is to use these defenders to keep your treasures from being stolen. No time to dilly-dally under the lovely sky, you have a grove to protect!
Please be aware that this game is intended to be played with an XBOX Controller, though keyboard play is not impossible.
Guess what? I've battled an endless army of samurai ninjas to restore honor to my throne!... Alright so that last one was vicariously through Fowl Play Games new free indie game, Reign of Blades. Reign of Blades is a beautiful, well crafted hack and slash action game where you must avenge the death of your mother and take your rightful place on the throne. Using your Xbox controller, defeat all the enemies by hacking and slashing with [X] and using the special powers with [B], given to you by wearing the mystical helmets dropped by your fallen enemies. While the makers recommend the use of an Xbox controller, it should really be said that it's nearly impossible to play without one. There are keyboard controls, but no instructions for what button does what, as all information on how to play is directed for the controller. The mouse is the direction you turn, but it's a real workout just to turn around. It's such a shame for those who don't have an Xbox because this game is just plain fun to play. There is a blink ability that lets you pop up all over the screen and take your foes down from behind and it just doesn't work as smoothly with the keyboard. But if you have a controller then you're in for a wonderful treat.
What the dickens is this? (Just wait, that was clever, you'll see.) Charles Dickens (told you!) is in danger in Game Forest's hidden-object adventure Midnight Mysteries: Ghostwriting, and someone doesn't want you interfering. Seems he vanished after receiving a desperate call for help from his friend Washington Irving, and though his daughter Mary wants your help finding him, the super-fast and supernatural mysterious masked character lurking in the shadows really thinks you should mind your own business. This ain't your ordinary baddy either, since he can use books to travel to the locations described in them. Too bad for him, this ain't your first rodeo, and it's going to take more than magical book whirlwinds, forcefield green stink, a bunch of flaming jack-o-lanterns presumably filched from Norman Osborn, and an overload of vicious booby traps to throw you off the case. I got my own mansion, son! You'll use your foe's own bookery powers to hop from location to location, solving puzzles and hidden-object sequences, and getting a little help from your fine feathered friend along the way.
Terry Cavanagh and Stephen Lavelle's Moving Stories is part player-driven experimental narrative creation, and part packing simulator, as you control a young woman who's trying to figure out what to take with her as she moves out of her apartment. The catch is she's got limited space, and you can only take what will fit in her small suitcase, with different items being different sizes and shapes... and no, you can't rotate them. What you take and what you leave behind changes the dialogue and the reason you're moving... you could be leaving because she's moving in with someone, breaking up with someone, or, well, you'll see. You won't know until you finish packing your (occasionally strange or saucy) items and throw the rest out, and see who comes to the door after and why. Each time you replay, you'll also unlock new items to pack. It's a simple game on the surface, but also surprisingly addictive and clever as you discover what different combinations of items grant you.