Who was the last character you played in a horror game? Chances are, even if they weren't a laser-toting space marine, they were probably at least an adult, and thus physically capable of basic tasks and defense. But in Krillbite Studios' indie adventure game Among the Sleep, you're just a toddler... and you're all alone. Late at night after your second birthday, when you received a very special teddy bear, you're awoken by something... strange. You don't know what's happening or what's wrong, but you do know you want your mother, who has always made everything all better. Too bad you can't find her. The deeper you go into the house and what lies beyond, the more you'll begin to question what you're seeing and hearing. After all, you're just a little kid, and everyone knows little kids have overactive imaginations... right? With subtle storytelling and thick, surreal atmosphere and imagery, Krillbite Studios has created an adventure that's at once one of the most magical and most terrifying games I've played in a long time.
You know, while I'm all for helping people out, there are times when I can't help but think they bring trouble on themselves... like buying a hotel rumoured to be haunted by evil spirits, and then being surprised when it is totally haunted with evil spirits up the wazoo. There has to be some sort of personal culpability there. In Elephant Games' hidden-object adventure Haunted Hotel: Ancient Bane, you've been called to help out the owner of one such hotel whose guests have been going missing. I'm not sure what you expect when your hotel has demon faces on the gates, enough sinister angel statuary to make Matt Smith hesitate, and twice as many elaborate puzzle locks as bathrooms, but whatever floats your boat. When you arrive with your detective friend James, however, you discover the hotel owner, a Mr Shadowy to complete your run of Bad Omen Bingo, is acting very strangely indeed, and you'll need to solve puzzles, rummage through hidden-object scenes, and thwart an ancient curse if this place ever has a hope of getting a better rating on Yelp. Comfortable beds and complimentary breakfast, unspeakable evil used my body to construct the end of the world, three out of five stars.
Tales of the Adventure Company is a casual RPG that works like a puzzle game. The tile-tapping exploration mechanic will be instantly familiar to anyone who's played Dungelot (or had an advent calendar), while the enemy grid formations will feel similar to the animal rescuing sections of Disco Zoo. Put it all together with quick combat sessions and a little bit of party-based strategy and you've got your next roguelike obsession!
So a Spartan, a ninja, a barbarian, an archer and a mage walk into a dungeon. What happens next? Puzzles, apparently. Specifically match-3 style puzzles, replete with combos and high scores and glittery magic goodness, which the team over at Deqaf Studio have managed to blend into the turn based RPG formula with superb dexterity. That's right, Dangerous Adventure is a dungeon crawler with a dose of Candy Crush Saga sprinkled on top. The result is a fun exercise in genre blending, where the simplistic joy of match-3 combo creation melds with strategic deployment of each character's skills to great effect. So what do you get when you put a band of misfit vagabonds in a dungeon? A fun, challenging, Dangerous Adventure, that's what!
Pablo Cavarez: Sliding Puzzle Explorer is your new hero. The intrepid explorer traverses underground temples like we stroll through the park. His secret is to take things one square at a time. His other secret is to get you to move those squares before taking a single step. The sliding block puzzle game is somewhat similar to Continuity in basic design, but Pablo definitely has the tougher job. How many other puzzle heroes have to use a sword?
Platformers! How do they work? Overall-and-mustache-aficionados have been hopping and bopping for years, which is fine, but leave it to the indie developers to show the full spectrum of ways you can play with the genre. Why deal with mushrooms and angry turtles when you can have a harrowing emotional journey to save your species? Delve into a magic stump filled with puzzles and a bazooka? Mix fire and water to speed through stages and grab crystals? Flip reality on its head? In this installment of our 12 Best Games You Might Not Have Played series, we look at some of our favourite platformers we've played over the years. It's just the ticket to broaden your appreciation for a genre that's practically as old as time itself! (Prehistoric platformers were played with wooly mammoths, dinosaur eggs, and charcoal drawings. Fact.)
Ninjadoodle's point-and-click puzzle game Shurizzle is about that most wondrous of solutions to all life's problems... the shuriken. Can't find a seat on the bus? Shuriken'd! Favourite show got cancelled? Shuriken'd! Cereal got too soggy before you were done eating it? Totally shuriken'd! Ask your doctor about what shuriken can do for you, but in the meantime, your goal here is to make a shuriken in each of the game's twenty levels. Each stage looks similar, but presents a different twist on its formula to assemble your heart's desire. All you have to do to play is click and experiment, figuring out the mechanic in each level that will reveal that pointy metallic goodness.
Here's some nice news for anybody who likes puzzle games and/or things made by the guy who made Monkey Island. Scurvy Scallywags, the amazingly well-tuned matching game that hit iOS in 2013, has finally worked its way to the green robot devices. It's more than just a blind port, however. Creators Ron Gilbert and Clayton Kauzlaric wanted to experiment with releasing the game for free and supporting it through entirely optional in-app purchases.
All is not well in the kingdom of Carmelot. The royal pot of gold has gone missing and the distraught king desperately needs someone to track it down, in a new Carmel Games point-and-click adventure game, Tales of Carmelot: The Missing Pot of Gold. That someone is you, playing as town hero Ryan O'Brien. Use your adventuring skills, along with a little magic and luck of the Irish, to find the gold your kingdom depends on. You'll need to solve puzzles, gather magical ingredients, and... to do a magical dance, you say? Hmmmm...
Three free escape games. Three very different atmospheres. Take your pick: whimsical, thinky, or dark. Then settle in for five minutes to revel in the mood. Since those still might not be enough to get your fix, you can follow the "Like that? Try this!" links for continued mood indulgences.
Candy Rooms No.10: Lettuce Green Natural - Imagine a phone call that goes like this: "Yeah, FunkyLand? Let us have more candy but make it feel healthy, environmentally sensitive, something that Kermit would approve." And here you have it: refreshing visuals in everyone's favorite color and a lovely view out the window of a summery verdant backyard. It's both cleverly presented yet consistently simple; find the five candies and the door key is ceremoniously presented to you. If only... could just... reach... there! Out in a jiffy! Relaxing amusement more than cranial strain is the goal.
Maze of Similar Rooms - You already know from the title if you're going to love or hate this newest Hottategoya escape. Either mazes remind you of that awesome day at The Wooz with all your friends—or they leave you teeth-gritted and shaking, not at all relishing the rat-in-a-box scenario. Most the challenge here is poured into orientating yourself through a series of very alike rooms as you seek out clues and solve a couple puzzles on your way out. The polished aesthetics and quality production values help mitigate any disappointment of its brevity while its design and concept add an extra escapeyness to round out the experience.
Dark Alley Escape - If Hottategoya's maze got you thinking about scarier things, such as rounding a hedge and being startled by Jack Nicholson's frozen grin of madness, then this little horror adventure by Esklavos is right up your alley. It'll satisfy those who are in the mood for something darker than all the sweet candy goodness of FunkyLand, but it's going to disappoint true horror fans with its rather thin storyline. The atmospheric visuals are fun to poke around in although it tends to feel static overall. Once you get past some clunky navigation and controls, the puzzles—although rather abstruse—are enjoyable enough to please escape fans of all ilks.
It is every alchemist's dream to discover the Elixir of Life, that mystical brew which grants its drinker eternal youth. But in Tim Ned Atton's Brew or Die, the King has decreed that you should be achieving your dreams quite a bit sooner than you had initially expected. Now, just as the full moon begins to peek into your window, he has locked you in your alchemy tower, with only a surly guard and a contingent of rats for company. You have until the break of dawn to successfully discover (and concoct) this legendary potion. The king has left you but a few tools of your trade to work with: Leftover potions, the remnants of failed experiments. Tea leaves, for analyzing brews. Various metals, for transmuting potions. And of course your great alchemical reference tome, full of tips and recipes. Succeed in creating the elixir, and you will have your freedom. Brew or Die is one of those puzzle games where the thrill of discovery is easily one of the best parts of it, such that spoiling too much about it would ruin part of the fun. Fail the moody king, however, and the gallows await.
If you've ever found yourself in a room with all sorts of wondrous and tempting switches, levers, and buttons but been told not to touch anything, Haretoki's newest escape game Sometimes Sunny Step is going to fill you with glee. You're trapped inside some sort of strange laboratory, and the only way out is to run around, hitting buttons and messing with things with wild abandon, reveling in the fact that there's nobody there to tell you no and stifle your passion for expression, Mom. ... and, uh, solving puzzles, I suppose. Just click to explore and interact, but don't expect a whole lot of help from the game itself. There's nothing so crass as actual direction here, and you'll be left to your own devices to find and interpret clues, as well as simply figure out what things do. There's no changing cursor here, so make sure you click on everything, and don't forget to revisit certain areas or objects if you've made progress, even if you think you've already gotten whatever clue they had for you...
Glorkian Warrior gets update with new controls - Look! Glorkian Warrior got an update! The crazy-creative arcade shooter from PixelJam has added support for Italian, German, French and Spanish along with new Game Center Achievements. The biggest new feature, though, is tilt controls. Instead of virtual buttons or swiping, it's all about holding your iOS device and tipping it around like a plate of wobbly flan. You wouldn't think it would work well with a game like this, but you might be surprised once you give it a go. Apart from that, it's the same glorkey goodness you'd expect from the developers of DinoRun. Check out our Glorkian Warrior: Trials of Glork review for more info.
Dungelot 2 returns to iOS - First, it's released. Then, it's pulled. Now, it's released again! Dungelot 2 has returned to the iTunes App Store with a wheelbarrow full of gameplay changes and artwork switch-ups in tow. It tones down some of our original complaints with the set-up, but it still doesn't quite match the simple perfection of the original Dungelot. Floor after floor, you'll uncover tiles that hide treasure, nasty enemies, spells and surprises. Think of it like an advent calendar with a few more complexities thrown in for good measure. Check out our Dungelot 2 review for more info.
Drawn to Life scribbles from DS to iOS - If you owned a Nintendo DS back in 2007, you probably jumped at the chance to buy Drawn to Life. The curious platform game gave you the wonderful ability to actually draw the main character, vehicles, items, weapons, etc., then watch while they're animated and brought to life. Few could resist the temptation to make a rocketship shaped like a baked ham. Drawn to Life has worked its way to iOS devices with only a few changes, so if you missed it the first time around, grab it and get to drawing!
The world is dark. The spirits of the earth have been wrongly imprisoned, turned into corrupted versions of themselves. Now, we wait for the light to restore balance...wait...what? This is a math game?!
The folks at Learning Games Labs (the developers at New Mexico State University, creators of Game Over Gopher) have done it again. They have managed to make math both fun and stylish with their latest game, Gate. While the game starts with a charming story, and the gameplay is often fast and frantic, it is teaching a basic math principal with every key stroke. You begin the game by choosing your gender and approaching a gate. A repeating visual tutorial shows you how to begin... tap out every number you see to fire a missile from your staff. Each monster carries at least one number which must be targeted in order to defeat them, and they can fly, explode into multiple monsters, or just fool you into thinking they are moving too slowly to reach you. In the first level you are responsible for one digit numbers, in level 2 you see two digit numbers, and so forth, and so on as the levels progress, but that's just the beginning.