The little green guys are back in a new point-and-click escape installment from No1game. Find the Escape-Men 89: The Warehouse begins with the innocent mistake of crashing a forklift into the wall. It happens, right? Now you've got to search around the warehouse for the missing men, and they're not exactly making things easier on you. Just like the previous games in the series, Escape-Men 89 lets you solve a few simple puzzles as you search from room to room for the missing humanoid things. Sometimes you'll find a little green guy, sometimes you'll find a clue that makes no sense, and sometimes you'll find a keypad whose combination baffles you. It's all part of the process. Just keep searching and you'll find those pesky little things!
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Anyone who's ever had to wait an hour outside in the cold for a transfer, which is to say, most users of public transportation, would probably leap at the chance to show that they could do a better job making the trains run on time. Well, Mini Metro (hosted here with generous permission), a minimalist strategy simulation game by Dino Polo Club, currently in its alpha release, will show you just how long you can keep up, when there's an entire city ready to crowd your stations and lock your grids. Your city starts simply, with only three stations you'll need to connect. Drag the mouse from one station to another to create a line between them, drag a line's terminator to another station to extend the line, drag a line's terminator over the last station in that line to remove it from the line, and double click a line to remove it entirely. You have a limited number of lines you can place, along with a limited number of river-crossing tunnels, and they cannot cross or visit a station more than once. The trains run along the lines as quickly as they can, and the commuters decide which trains to board and where to make transfers. As time goes by, more stations will pop up to be added to your lines, and more citizens will attempt to ride them. Once you've played past an in-game week, you'll earn upgrades for the metro. For those that affect individual lines, after you select that upgrade, you'll drag the icon from the left pull-out menu to its desired placement. Eventually, a station will get too crowded, the passengers will get too angry, and you will lose. Until that happens though, you've got a ticket to ride.
As an alpha version, Mini Metro is only a fraction of what is eventually promised to be. However, as the game popped up in my Facebook newsfeed, with each of my friends attempting to top the other's score, it became clear that people were getting in on the ground floor of something special. It is not merely that Mini Metro has compelling gameplay that hits that casual sweet-spot of being engagingly hectic without becoming too stressful. It's that every time you play, your chart becomes its own bit of abstract efficient beauty... an interactive art generator for your left brain hemisphere to goggle at, like Mondrianism or even The Thinking Machine. And, as implied before, it's great for challenging your friends and/or casual gaming review website readers to beat your score (453! And rising!). So hey, give it a try, then share some feedback to the developers and maybe vote for it on Steam Greenlight. Because, while it may be far from complete, Mini Metro looks like a project right on track to be something amazing.
Thanks to Henry and iceninexp for sending this one in!
Please note that this game received a rating or R due to intense graphic violence and mature themes.
When you hear the word "demonforge", it doesn't exactly conjure up images of kittens and rainbows. No, it's rather something along the lines of a legendary swordsmith who sacrifices his own children in order to make the most powerful weapons the world has ever known. And, lucky you, you get to wield one of those hellish things! In Forbidden Arms, the impressive action arcade game by GodSeeD Studios, you will murder throngs of skilled assassins on your way to bloody greatness. With three areas, an endless array of enemies and lots of delicious upgrades, this is going to be one awesome journey to the dark side.
Each of the areas has ten missions, ending with a boss level. There are three mission types, so your goals vary, but they always include killing, killing and more killing. This might seem a bit exaggerated and/or repetitive at first, when it's just you and your sword, but as you progress, you'll learn new moves and abilities, bringing a healthy dose of variety into the gameplay. Another interesting element is the Bloodlust Pool, which is replenished when you bathe in your enemies' blood (literally!) and spent by executing special moves. In addition to blood, you'll collect souls in order to purchase upgrades. Almost anything can be upgraded, usually in several different ways, so you can tailor your gameplay and focus on what works best, or just go for what sounds fun. Do I want to be able to suspend myself in the air while kicking assassin butt? Why, yes, please, here's my money! Speaking of fun, there are three difficulty modes which you can change whenever you like, so the game can be anything from a bit of hack & slash entertainment to a serious challenge, from one level to the next.
If you happen to have played The Legend of Kage on NES, Forbidden Arms will give you nice little flashbacks, from the similar forest backgrounds to the design of the shuriken-throwing ninjas. For a game that's all about murderous rampaging, it certainly is eye-catching, and it's a joy to watch the protagonist carry out his special moves. The gore can be a tad jarring at first, but it becomes a lot more appropriate if you imagine you're Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. The gameplay is relatively repetitive but, between the different mission types and the frequent introduction of new abilities, it feels fast-paced and exciting. The only weak point might be the story, which is somewhat confusing; luckily, it is mainly there to set the mood and doesn't take anything away from the overall experience. So even if you aren't a fan of mindless slashing through numerous ninjas, you might want to give Forbidden Arms a try. It is a polished, well thought-out effort, as addictive as it is bloodthirsty.
Letters can be shifty little things sometimes. Despite all their good public works like sponsoring childrens' educational programming and varsity athletes' jackets, as anyone with dyslexia can tell you they're just waiting for their chance to flip around on you. That lowercase p is silently yearning to become a q or maybe even a b at the most inopportune time. Those of us with less-than-stellar penmanship can rejoice, because Robson has dreamed up In Character, an action strategy game in which all that letter ambiguity can actually be a good thing... like when you're a lowercase t hanging off a ledge over a fifty-foot drop straight into a pool of bubbling magma. You know. Like you do.
Using the [arrows], you'll be trying to get your letter through the level and into the safe zone at the end. To avoid the obstacles and pools of molten lava placed rather inconveniently — not to mention improbably! — in your way, you can metamorphose from one letter to another by pressing the corresponding letter key. You'll be limited by the letters in your inventory, although you can acquire more as you progress through a level. In Character was devised as an offering to appease the mighty MiniLD 49 tiki, and we thought you'd enjoy its unique concept and, uh, character. At the moment its twelve levels won't take you terribly long, but here at JayisGames we thought this one showed enough promise to be deserving of a little more love, and if we're very fortunate perhaps even a level editor to go along with it. At the moment this is a fun little break-sized game to brighten your day, and we'd love to know what you think of it.
The world can be a lonely place. When the world is a monochromatic wasteland and you're the only person in sight, it can seem a lot lonelier. But then, when you stop and listen, the world begins to speak. This is the idea behind Lesingevolant's game Faint. Faint is one of those exploration games where describing anything beyond the most basic elements of gameplay almost seems like cheating. There isn't much in the way of controls: use the [arrow] keys to move. You can hold the [F] key to speed your movement, but most of the game is based on standing still and listening. Whenever you're not moving, the wind fades and if you're lucky, you'll hear strains of music. Follow the sounds to find relics of the world gone by. Each of them will speak to you and give you clues. They also change the color of your scarf, which helps you open doors. Each relic, though, also introduces dangerous artifacts into the game. Stand too long near one of these, and you have to restart the level. Walk through a door whose knob is the same color as your scarf to complete the level.
Faint is a lovely game that uses simple pixel art and atmospheric sound to create a lonely world that seems much larger than it actually is. It can be hard to keep track of where you've been, but in a game like this, being lost is a central element. (One tip: on the screen you get between levels, the artifacts will eventually form a circle, so you can keep track of them that way.) You'll need to wear headphones if you have them, or have a truly excellent speaker system, but as long as you do, it's easy to immerse yourself in the tiny, pixelated world of the main character. There are even two endings, so you even get double the playtime out of it.
You may remember Holy Wow Studios' Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing as a whirlwind of insanity and wonderment as you played a speed-based typing game with Icarus, and his owlkin, Jerry. Now our two heroes are back for more with Icarus Proudbottom's World of Typing Weekly, an episodic game packed with all the strangeness you've come to expect... plus... mystery and murder most foul! The gameplay remains the same as the original... you'll type passages of text as they appear onscreen, and any typos result in you losing a heart. Lose them all and it's game over! But type with speed and accuracy and you'll fill your Soul Gauge, which, when activated with [~], bestows either a points multiplier, or extra hearts!
Sounds pretty basic, right? But where Icarus Proudbottom's World of Typing Weekly gets its strength is from its immense charisma, colour, and sense of humour. It's sort of like Blue's Clues meets The Typing of the Dead meets my childhood with a concussion. This series of planned weekly installments tosses in a narrative, as you find yourself dealing with a heinous crime and a lot of suspects, though since the game is on the short side, it ends with a big ol' "to be continued" as soon as this is established. You'll mostly run through the basics, a few typing drills that deal with proper hand placement and speed, though nothing particularly challenging at this point. World of Typing Weekly doesn't really shake up the formula as far as the gameplay goes, but with a lot of wit and some stellar writing, not to mention a distinctive style and presentation, it's well worth the ten or fifteen minutes it'll take you. Icarus Proudbottom is how educational games should be made... engaging, funny, and memorable.
Despite what you might be thinking, Pi-Pi-Ee is not the sound children make when they want some desert on Thanksgiving (though I'm sure it's very similar). It is the mathematical title of the Othello-like strategy puzzle game from Chris Underwood who also brought us the Hanna in a Choppa games. You start out with several pieces on a game board with the goal to outnumber your opponent. Click and drag to move your creatures around. You can move a piece one square (or hexagon, or triangle) away, and it will clone itself. Alternately you can jump your piece two connected spaces away from its current location, leaving the space you jumped from empty. If your creature lands next to an opponent piece, you capture it, and it changes to your color. Click and hold on one of your guys to highlight possible valid moves. The game is over when all the spaces are full, or if one player can't make any more moves.
The first few levels are simple enough, but it gets challenging soon enough, and if the AI isn't tough enough for you, grab a friend for two player mode and show 'em what you got. The board set-ups vary wildly, which keeps things from getting repetitive. A game on a board with squares can be vastly different from a board of triangles, and many levels combine shapes for even more interesting set ups and strategies. Sometimes being aggressive is the way to go, while other times blocking your opponent in the corner might be beneficial. Paying close attention to which spaces are connected to which, indicated by glowing blue lines, can be the difference between a win or a loss. If the web version leaves you wanting more, pick up the game for your mobile device which features more levels and an unlockable harder AI opponent. As a bonus, there are no in-app purchases whatsoever. Simple to learn, hard to put down, Pi-Pi-Ee is a wonderfully strategic game that will keep you coming back for more.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the Galaxy Nexus. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.
Tired of saving the boring old realm or your boring old castle in your spare time? Expand your defense capabilities by saving your computer from possible threats instead, in Install-D, a slick tower defense game by Colin Towle and John Axon. You get to place towers wherever you like, and if (like me) you spent hours and hours of your life on Desktop Tower Defense, you'll already be an expert at building an effective maze out of your towers. Click (or use indicated keyboard shortcuts) to chose which tower you'd like to build, then click on the board to place it. Dotted lines indicate the path the threats will take, and how their movement will change with your placement. The goal is to keep them from reaching the data center.
As you progress you earn stars and memory space, which allow you to purchase upgraded programs with new abilities for your towers, as well as unlock bonus stages. Stars are awarded according to how many points you earn, and you can always go back to previous levels to try to up your score by sending waves in early. Once you have more than six tower types, you'll have to choose carefully which ones to bring into battle. Take note of what creeps will be appearing in the round, and the cost to build specific towers before choosing your final arsenal. Certain towers are better in certain situations, and if you only bring the highest tier towers to battle, you may not be able to afford what you need.
Make no mistake, Install_D will put your strategy skills through the gauntlet and back again. It's very challenging to get all the stars on each level. Deciding which upgraded towers are needed for each map is key, and it may take you several tries before you find the perfect mix of towers to destroy the glitches before they destroy you. There are over 40 maps and you can eventually unlock 30 tower types, which will keep you enjoying the vector graphics and demanding gameplay for many hours.
As Jonas Kyratzes' Twine text adventure The Matter of the Great Red Dragon begins, the titular beast, who rises from slumber every hundred years, is about to awaken once more. To avoid complete destruction, the Lands of Plenty need seven great heroes to banish the dragon, and right now they have six willing and able... all they need is you. To play, just click on the green text, which will both advance the story when you use it to make choices, as well as provide a little more explanation on some of the creatures and concepts at work here. But not too much, as the Lands of Dream are always best experienced with more than a little bit of mystery and wonder. Your choices can range from decisions that will shape your character through their abilities and equipment, or things that will change the way the story unfolds.
If you're at all familiar with Jonas Kyratzes, you know and have an appreciation for his writing ability, which can spread both joy and sorrow in equal measure as in The Fabulous Screech, which still makes me tear up for personal reasons whenever I think about it. The Matter of the Great Red Dragon, by contrast, might be less of a gut punch to the feels, but no less a careful balance of introspection and engrossing prose. It's not that it's a particularly long read, at least not compared to, say, The Book of Living Magic, but what sticks with you is the way the story weaves parallels of real world events and behaviours into this world of magic... making it more than a little bittersweet in its own way. Once you're done, you can, of course, restart to try different paths, but as Jonas himself says in the author's note, "If you were to live every single permutation of your life, would your choices still have meaning? To see a few alternate possibilities might be interesting, but to see all of them would flatten everything out, until you no longer truly existed as an individual. Consider this when reading an interactive story." Regardless of whether you choose to heed that, The Matter of the Great Red Dragon is clever and thoughtful, and more than worth the time it will take you to journey through it.... whatever the outcome.
Thanks to jackabug for sending this one in!
My Little Pony. Flappy Bird. Zombies. Strobing lights. I swear I didn't do it on purpose, and yet I just now realised that this week's Link Dump Friday is packed with arcade craziness and more that perfectly encapsulates a significant chunk of what people either passionately love or stridently hate about pop culture. Go figure!
- 3D Pony Creator - Do you need more than two dees when you make your My Little Ponies? PonyLumen has you covered! Now you can create 3D animated ponies in your browser, using all the parts and styles of other ponies, some very customiseable expressions, and, of course, your very own Cutie Mark. Plus, its fathomless, bright eyes follow you, wherever you go, whatever you do... don't blink.
- 7 Light-years - Nifflas and his cousin Marcus Nygren created this trippy-is-an-understatement arcade game in just ten hours, where the object is to hurtle through a lovely yet bizarre lightshow filled with debris you must avoid on each level. It's a little bit Super Hexagon, but also a lot bit, like, whoa, man. After this, do we get to fight for the Users?
- UndeadRun - Gamaga's zombie shooting game is cute as the dickens, and essentially blood-free, which is a surprise for the genre, as you control a little hoodied hero running nonstop through a sea of zombies. You automatically attack as they get close, and can nab coins to spend on upgrades... which you'll need for the boss battles! Simple, yes, but also simply fun.
- A Flap in Time - Sick of Flappy Bird? Meh! Plenty of developers are still putting their own spins on the birdie equivalent of an endless runner, and Luderia's is both weird and clever. Instead of just clicking away to pass through pipes, time slows down and you have to click to create checkpoints along a projected path that will see your... flying thingie safely through. If you don't enjoy simple arcade games this won't do much to alleviate your rending of garments and gnashing of teeth, but this is a funky spin on the formula that's worth a look for fans.
As Atticus Finch once said, you never really know a man until you walk around in his shoes. ALZ is an interactive art game which literally lets you walk in someone else's shoes, see what they see and understand how they perceive the world. All you can do is press the right [arrow] key to move forward and the [spacebar] when prompted to interact with an object. With its simplified visuals and a minimalistic setting, the game sets the scene effortlessly, unencumbered by an extensive story. There is only the protagonist, taking what seems to be a pleasant stroll to the bus stop. How ALZ goes from that to crushing your spirit in less than two minutes is a stroke of genius. Since it is so very short, giving out any clues would spoil the experience. It's enough to say that the game uses every last of its meagre resources and plays them just right to portray a terrible human condition at the core of our own deepest fears. Before you know it, ALZ will have you staring at the screen in a state of utter dejection, then clicking on "replay", desperately hoping for an alternative ending. It takes real courage to dare to condense such a saddening and complex subject into a small piece of interactive art, but the result is undeniably a sucess, even if it does break your heart.
Let's make this short and sweet: this week's collection of escape games are precisely that. Which isn't all that uncommon for games of this genre. What makes a game about being trapped, frantically searching about for the means to get free, go so well with oodles of sweetness and sugary coatings? Is it the juxtaposition? Something in the personalities of escape aficionados that coaxes it out? Or is it that all these qualities are equally alluring? Like the irresistible pull of a cute face or a scrumptious candy, when you're in the mood for something gentle and light, the following three games should hit your figurative sweet tooth just right.
Candy Rooms #4: Rose Sweet - Oh, FunkyLand, you get me right where it counts: a sweet game of hide and seek along with a smattering of puzzles to tease my brain, all set inside an inviting pink room to make me feel pretty. Here the goal is to find five pieces of candy hidden in the scene or obscured by puzzles to earn your door key. The premise is simple and the game is equally snack-sized, although not altogether without substance; it's just that, with only one true puzzle and an easily solved code, escape comes too quick. Think five candies are not filling enough on their own? Then go back to indulge in #2: May Green Casual and #3: Scarlet Casual as well.
Choco Escape 3 - There isn't a lot to say about this chocolate-themed escape from Twinkle, which is light on challenges and short on actual panache. But there is a Willy Wonka abundance of chocolate, a pop culture reference and a wink of festive fun to fill the gaps. The only places you can really be thrown off is a pixel hunt for a needed key and the non-English lettering on a cake. It's true, the puzzles are too straight-forward to offer much challenge to the regular escape fan yet it's compelling all the same to complete this mini escape, especially if shared with someone else. Who can win the gold and open the door first?
Canola Flower Room Escape - Although the sweet yellow flower by which the game gets its title is innocent enough, the other English-from-Japanese translation of the plant's name is not as sensitive. Looking past the unintended controversy, Yuri certainly has the hang of things when it comes to taking something cute and yellow and making a pleasant escape game. Although hopes that an adorable chick will turn up aren't realized 'til the end, and an easily overlooked clue might stump you right off, the puzzles are light and enjoyable, the setting is serenely pastel, and sweet success is still as satisfying as ever.
We love escape games, and our readers love talking about them and sharing hints! How about you? Let us know what you think, ask for hints or help out the other players with your clues and walkthroughs in the comments below.
Don't let it fool you... behind its cuddly wuddly exterior and bumbling sweetness, JWolfGames' platformer Dino Shift 2 has some teeth... clever girl. Oh, it's not that there's anything sinister happening, it's that it has difficulty that slowly creeps up on you. Like the original, you play a pudgy dino who moves and jumps with the [arrow] keys, jumping higher and farther the longer the [arrow] is pressed, and who has a hunger for blocks. Your goal is to devour a certain number of blocks on each stage, but the catch is that you can only chow down on the ones that match your colour, which you can swap from green, blue, and red with [Z], [X], and [C] respectively. Stuffing your face isn't going to be that simple, however, with objects and obstacles you can only interact with when you're the proper colour, which can take some careful timing, and even enemies that will become dangerous to you when you match their hue!
There are a lot of little changes here from the first game, from the way the colours are bound to different keys to the way the dino controls feel more responsive and the design even more colourful, but for many people the most glaring will be the timed scoring system, which doles out between one to three stars depending on how fast you complete a level. While you can ignore it, it is a little obnoxious with the way an unseen audience loudly groans if you don't perform well, though it does at least add another layer of challenge for those who wish it. Not that it necessarily needs it, since Dino Shift 2 is both more complex in level design, but also more action-oriented. You'll need to be a lot quicker and more accurate in this installment, and some of those jumps and the timing restrictions are really precise. It's actually something I enjoyed, since each stage felt like a unique and carefully designed challenge, but it's also something that might throw more casual platform fans off. Still, Dino Shift 2 is an absolutely gorgeous and well designed little game with a bit of bite that might make you rage quit temporarily... but at least you'll do it with a smile!
If you're like me, although you do revel in the fun of pitting your mental prowess against the wits of the game creator, you truly love escape-the-room games because they let you travel to interesting locals and stay in beautiful surroundings. Never mind the whole point is to leave such places! Being able to poke around in and explore this pretty, imaginary world is the main draw. That's why it's no surprise that fans of Myst are also avid escape game enthusiasts, always seeking the next fix. So, as far as pretty aesthetics go, Lo.Nyan's Room Escape 9 makes a wonderful first impression. But as you work your way around the room, gathering up clues and items, opening up drawers and cupboards, you'll also be glad to find a number of cleverly enjoyable puzzles to compliment the scene.
Lo.Nyan's instructions are standard for the genre: pop-up arrows at the edge or bottom of the screen (depending on where you can go) will guide your navigation while active areas can be zoomed in on and inventory items picked up with a mere click. There is no changing cursor but nearly every surface is available to explore, and you'll want to look everywhere if you're going to find all the necessary agents of your escape. The "About Item" button is also a required component, as several puzzles can only be completed within your inventory. Outside of the challenge of finding all the hidden items, these puzzles are few yet fun, depending on logic and thinking skills to solve. Also, it's helpful to note that some codes can't be broken until you've viewed all the clues.
Like thorns on roses, not all is perfect. A few prickly flaws mar the pretty surface—pop-up messaging obscures the bottom navigational arrows, even though you can usually still click there to back up; a few active areas are picky about where you need to click, some of the graphics are unpolished, and there is no save button. The latter becomes an issue if you're not patient enough to replay the game to experience both endings. This is partly made up for by the time-saving, user-friendly addition of a camera. Even with these inconsistencies, Lo.Nyan's Room Escape 9 is a welcome addition to the JayIsGames archives of lovely escapes, one I can wholly recommend on its charming setting as well as its clever mind.
Do you feel like you never have enough lives when playing a platformer? Are you tired of collecting mushrooms, rings and stars to piece together another measly life, only to lose it instantly? Then step right up and play Shadowscape, a high-difficulty platformer where you gain lives just by moving around. It's that simple! Well, not exactly, actually. While you're using the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move and jump, a bar on the left will keep filling up and supplying you with lives. But this only lasts until the clock on the right is white; when it turns red, the bar starts working against you and you'll lose a life every once in a while just for dawdling.
Shadowscape tells a subtle story of the interplay between light and darkness. Up to level 52, the little protagonist will fight the darkness around him in a LIMBOesque atmosphere, trying not to be squished by moving blocks of death and spikes of misery. But then he finds a dazzling white... thing, and the landscape changes together with the gameplay. Whereas before you were only able to jump once, now you can jump as high as you like as long as you keep pressing the key quickly enough, and with this we enter the treacherous realms of Flappy Bird. Negotiating your way between dark platforms (which kill you as soon as you touch them) while staying in the air is diabolically frustrating, but the levels are simple enough to convince you to keep playing. The checkpoints are dictributed somewhat arbitrarily, but they are a great help, as you can always restart from them with two lives. The achievements will also lend a helping hand, rewarding you with extra lives, which is nicely ironic if the achievement is for dying a hundred times. At times, Shadoscape seems almost easy, but don't let that fool you – this little rascal of a game has a lot of tricks up its sleeve and doesn't mind making you suffer a little.