What do a hamster, an umbrella, and half a pair of glasses have in common? I'm not telling, but The Great Living Room Escape just might. The just-released follow up to The Great Kitchen Escape from Pastelgames.com (the site Submachine creator Mateusz Skutnik calls home) is filled with brightly-colored art, zany items, and excellent point-and-click room escape gameplay.
Super Energy Apocalypse, 2nd place prize winner in our 5th game design competition, plays a bit like a tower defense game, in that most of the time is spent getting ready for the next wave, and the player is offered no control over the targeting of the enemies. Planning for the battle is the critical strategic element, rather than the battle itself. The zombies come out only at night, so use the daylight wisely!
Planet of the Forklift Kid is a whimsical physics-based platform puzzle game, controlled with the keyboard. Your goal in each level is to reach the exit, usually by operating switches to open the doors blocking your path. It is an all-around well-crafted game that is so charming and odd that it's worth playing even though there are, at present, only 8 levels.
A tribute to the Moai series, Doeo takes the same basic principle of frantically mousing over moving targets while racking up enough points to move to the next level. Instead of the statuesque Moai that inhabit previous games, here you try to collect as many pink and blue Doeo as quickly as possible.
Netshift is the Web-based successor to Blackshift, an action puzzle game download from Rob Allen, the man who brought us the Hapland series and many other excellent titles. Netshift, currently in beta, makes the original game more accessible, and it even includes a level editor with which to create and share levels with the Netshift community.
Cheese Dreams is a cute little platformer from Nitrome starring a bouncy bit of cheese (which just so happens to be the moon), mice in spacesuits, and Mario-esque pipes that send you soaring. As our orange protagonist snoozes one night, a massive mouse spaceship comes along and scoops it right up. Is it all just a bad dream, or are these mice really that obsessed with cheese?
A good shoot'em-up is like a symphony. The enemies are the musicians, the bullets the notes. And the player is the soloist at center stage, riffing a melody over the chaos, flirting with death, performing miracles. The Last Canopy is a landmark Flash manic shoot'em-up that feels dramatic and entertaining from beginning to end, which is a testament to the level of detail and professionalism that Easy Only! Games is capable of.
In the latest puzzle romp from Nitrome, you play the part of Magneboy, an orange robot powered by clockwork, with a dial in his chest set permanently to Neutral. He exists in a strange technological void, with pillars jutting out of the infinite blackness beneath. On each level, you must guide him to a checkerboard-patterned platform (robots are naturally attracted to early 60s diners).
In Lost Pig, you are Grunk, a rather dim creature who works on a farm and who, evidently, loses a pig. Using your best typing skills, find your way through the forest and beyond and retrieve that darn swine. It won't be easy, since pigs in Grunk's world are not cooperative. Utilize your intuition (and maybe a little luck) and you'll find your way out of Grunk's mess in this hilarious interactive fiction.
Attak is the game I've wanted to play since I was fourteen years old. If you ever tried to raise your power level while on the bus, and had an invisible energy duel with your buddy during class, you know what I'm talking about. Every single game ever made about Dragon Ball Z has been a lame cash-in, a modification of fighting mechanics or RPG mechanics, hobbled Frankensteins that never really grasped the dynamic of Power Level 1,000,000. Today, the brothers at JohnnyTwoShoes have delivered with sonic, accessible Flash.
Uchuforce2 is designed for shooter neophytes. You control your ship with the mouse, you're firing a ridiculous swath of bullets all the time, and there's only one button to worry about. Click the mouse to change your weapon to a powerful laser, and click again to switch back to the endless waves of bullets. A meter in the lower-right shows you how close your laser is to over-heating, so if you want to avoid an extra-long cool-down delay, turn the laser off before that meter fills.
Magic Pen is a physics-based puzzle playground created by Alejandro Guillen (Spin the Black Circle). It's easy to see the design, from visual style to overall concept, was taken from Crayon Physics, but because Magic Pen was done in Flash, it's much more accessible. Using the mouse, simply draw shapes to create bridges and guide the red ball to the flag. Making shapes and dropping them from the sky will set the ball in motion, and you can also craft structures with hinges (both fixed and movable) for more complex maneuvers.
It's just not a proper week without a new jmtb02 game. But if you're expecting the usual jolt of hyperactive skull-smashery from John Cooney—like the previously reviewed TBA or Grid16—you'd better slow down, Miss Sally Brown. Compulse is John's attempt at a tightly packed zen experience, and it's 98% adrenaline-free, with extra soothing strategy flavor.
The latest from OddGoo and the sequel to the first Amberial game released last June. The mechanics of the original are put to an olympic workout; rolling a ball around has never felt so fresh. From the terrestrial furnace to the skyways, to outer space and distant nebulae, this game explores both increasingly exotic settings and increasingly clever level design.
Kava-what? Is it a Pacific island drink of shamans and storytellers? No, Kavalmaja is the latest game from the brilliant Tonypa. A departure from his usual explorations of the abstract, Kavalmaja is a tile-based, Zelda like exploration game, except you have a wacky, randomly generated name. Unlike Zelda, it strips away combat, re-emphasizing the flow of the maze.
The Final Spell is a charming and fun point-and-click game of the escape-the-room variety. Its most redeeming quality is its sense of humor, provided mainly by the many pamphlets and books scattered around the room, and sheer cuteness; an endearing amateurish sensibility is combined with just enough substance to leave you grinning.
The gameplay of Patchworkz is addictive and the presentation is top-notch. Wellgames has included a near-endless variety of designs and patterns, and if the graphics aren't exactly soft and quilt-like, they are at least crisp and attractive. The cheery dink dink dink of correctly placed patches is sonic comfort food, like a bottomless bag of jelly beans.
10 Gnomes episode 3: Early Spring Garden has been released! The third installment in the 10 Gnomes series by Submachine author Mateusz Skutnik continues the point-and-click "find the gnome" gameplay that holds our attention for precisely ten minutes. The goal is simple: click your way through a photographic landscape searching for hidden cartoon gnomes. You only have ten minutes to find all ten, so speed is just as important as a sharp eye.
C'mon, everyone is doing it! Let's tear apart the place, looking through piles of stuff or branches of plants, looking for colorful, small, and oval objects! Eggs, you say? No, no, who searches for eggs anymore? We're hunting for dolls. Ok, just one doll: Lion's doll. But we might just collect a basketful, anyways.
Hopickston is the latest casual puzzle game from Tonypa, and like so many of his other games, it offers a uniquely original experience that is both simple and elegant. It just may have that perfect balance between strategy, luck, logic, and memory. Randomized parameters ensure that no two games are ever alike.
The PonPon House is an adorable point-and-click adventure from the Japanese game design group, Orange Biscuit. Short and sweet, this one isn't likely to take up much time or energy. However, with the soothing background sounds of a gentle sea combined with elegant scenery, the game is more like a journey through a landscape painting rather than an adventure.
Puzzle Boy Flash is a puzzle game of the block-pushing Sokoban variety. Your goal in each level is to get Puzzle Boy to the exit stairs, using only the [arrow keys] to direct him. Push blocks and rotate turnstiles by walking into them. Bridge gaps by plugging them with boxes. If your brain likes to be teased, tickled, maybe slapped around a little, give this one a try.
Step into another surreal world created by Amanita Design (Samorost). With eight totally separate environments, Questionaut feels like a cohesive whole. It's like stepping into a story book and becoming one of its characters. And thanks to Questionaut's powerful imagery, it feels like a living universe that continues to exist even after you've shut down your browser. Just delightful.
Gooey gooey goo! Time for another Sling review! The third full installment in the Sling series has just been released. Once again, evil monsters have stolen an element from the Oozeville power source, destabilizing it and threatening to destroy life as they know it. As you grab, stretch, sling, and bounce your way through each of the game's 50 levels, watch out for spikes, freezing water, special grabs, monsters, and more!
Open Doors is a clever puzzle game played over a gridded blue-print of a building complete with doors and swinging circles meant to identify their hinges. As you move past these contraptions, they slam shut behind you! It's like a house-of-mirrors boiled down to sheer design, and it's fun.
This update still utilizes the same slick interface and near-flawless gameplay mechanics as before to create a serious action-puzzle challenge. If you didn't play Contour when it was first released, there's never been a better time to give it a spin. Since then, the community embraced the editor and set to work creating new levels. In fact, so many new levels were created that Sean hand-picked some of the best and updated the game.
Canyon Defense is, not surprisingly, a tower defense game with nice pixel art and that does things a bit differently. First of all, there are no upgrades. What if I told you this heresy against form also has time-based special abilities? And support buildings? If you want some fresh TD with a Mad Max aesthetic, try Canyon Defense.
Nanotube is a stylish action game that tasks you with preventing an army of colored orbs from escaping the center of a circle. You have control of a wall of segments at the perimeter of that circle, and you must block each orb with a wall segment of the same color. It is a satisfying treat on many levels, with orbs flying at you with a regular rhythm and popping with a musical sproing, so if you're playing well, the game will automatically play a random tune for you.
John Cooney (jmtb02) is back again. Less than a month after giving the world Grid 16, he brings us Elements, a high-tech cross between Breakout and his own Ball Revamped series. Control the game by rotating the level, and make your way to the "go down" brick on each of the game's 25 levels.
For those who enjoyed the previously reviewed Ambivalence, there's a brand new game, Confined, just released today from the same Japanese developer, FonGeBooN. This appears to be a fairly standard point-and-click room escape game until you dig a little deeper. From what I can tell so far, pixel hunting is minimal (though present), instead the focus is on puzzle solving, which is always a plus when it comes to games like this.
The original Shift was an interesting platform game that used negative space as an entertaining hook, but it came with a few problems that ultimately made it feel unfinished and experimental. Now, Tony of Armor Games has released Shift 2, which is basically the game the first one should have been. It's not enough of a leap forward to warrant the "2" in its name, really, but it refines and expands upon the original concepts to deliver a smoother, more drinkable dose of run/jump/puzzle distraction.
In his ongoing, mad quest to give us all nightmares about geometry, Tonypa has unleashed Cobacoli upon the world. It sounds like a deadly bacteria, but no, it's an elegant puzzle game based around 2-dimensional ball physics, although in many ways it qualifies as an infectious disease. Symptoms include intense concentration, swearing, and the inability to pry your hand away from your mouse. Updates include a level select screen and better high score memory.
Do you like cake? Do you like double-decker cake? We are about to lay on you a triple-decker cake, with helium! When you eat this triple-decker cake, and then attempt to speak, your voice will sound squeaky and distorted. For lo, besoothe thee, from Ninja Kiwi comes the final installment of a trilogy that may well become a tetralogy if its popularity continues at this pace!
A logic puzzle reminiscent of Minesweeper and simple enough to pick-up and play immediately due to its similarity to other puzzles like it. And yet it feels like a fresh new puzzle all its own. A variety of puzzle sizes and difficulty levels are available to tailor your game play experience to match your own personal comfort level. It's a no-frills design that minimizes the superfluous to maximize what it does well: classic puzzle gameplay.
What do you get when you put Global Warming, Peak Oil, Nuclear War and good old-fashioned oligarchy in a blender? You get Fallout meets Elite ...in a browser! Caravaneer is a game by Dmitry Zheltobriukhov that has you playing a caravan leader in a post-apocalyptic desert, trading goods from town to town while fending off hungry raiders. It's got turn-based tactical fighting, strategic economic decision-making, and a political storyline! Tactics, economics and politics!
Moving is quite a hassle. There's no easy way to go about it, no matter how much manpower is on your side. Getting everything into boxes and into a waiting truck takes hours, and who knows how much stuff you might break. In Jig Easy, Sam, you've got about eight minutes to move out, but thankfully you have the miracle of ball physics to aid you in your quest.
Trigger Ball is an attractive puzzle game of magnetism and attractors. Complete a level by bumping each black orb with a smaller black ball, which is launched with a click of the mouse. You only get one shot, so use it wisely! With just 41 levels, Trigger Ball isn't likely to keep anyone playing long into the wee hours. But I bet you'll wish it did.
In Stranded, you play as a castaway turned fisherman on an almost deserted island. Gather fish by throwing rocks at them, and the natives will reward you with experience to boost your abilities. The timing and soothing music make it a very Zen experience, one that may keep you playing even after you beat it.
The theme of Casual Gameplay Competition #4 was "ball physics", and you can tell that Monsterkodi was taking it seriously. So very, very seriously. You see, in Koogel, you're using six medium-sized balls to indirectly manipulate a bevy of smaller balls, in order to light up a collection of even smaller balls. This all takes place on the surface of one huge ball, displayed on a screen you are watching with your eye-balls.
Mr. MothBall is a classic piece of platforming action: using the arrow keys, roll the hero through each of 21 levels collecting as many points as possible before hitting the exit. As the game progresses, new elements such as gates, switches and push-able blocks are introduced. Its lovable style, finite length and gradually increasing difficulty will persuade most to play it right through to the end.
The Perfect Shot is an action game of skill and finesse created for our 4th game design competition. To play through each of the game's 20 levels, just throw the ball to the goal. It's a ball-tossing game that uses a bit of gestural input to give this entry a bit of english over the others in the field. The result is a game that is well-polished a lot of fun to play.
Walk in the Park is the second installment in the 10 Gnomes point-and-click series released by Mateusz Skutnik, creator of Covert Front and Submachine games. 10 Gnomes tasks you with finding ten cartoon gnomes in ten minutes by clicking your way through a series of black and white photographs. In this installment you'll sift through pixels in a park, tapping hotspots to zoom in and look for those crafty gnomes.
You're put in control of a medium-sized yellow ball with a mission: destroy the enemy red orbs! Click the mouse to launch the yellow ball in the direction of the pointer, holding the button down for more power. Use the yellow ball like a cue ball to knock the red balls into spikes or holes. There's a timer, so be fast, but be careful too, as you are just as susceptible to the dangers as the red balls! Ice and conveyor belts add another layer of complexity, in ways that are both helpful and hindering.
Sola Rola is a topsy-turvy turntable of a time, published by Gimme5Games. Wiz and Waz are two spherical buddies who are just cruising through space one day and happen to get caught in a series of mazes, a scenario we can all relate to. Together they must escape, but they only move when you rotate the maze. It's your job to roll them right into the red and blue beacons that represent their exits.
Why play a game of dominoes when you can line them up and watch them knock each other down? Developer Tom Methven may have been in that exact frame of mind when he created the puzzle game Sky Blocs, the lovechild of youthful domino play and The Incredible Machine. Each level presents you with a starting block (bloc?) and an inventory of pieces to the left-hand side of the screen.
Ubiquitous developer jmtb02 has added another prize race horse to his growing stable of ultra-fast-paced minigame collections. While his Four Second series stuck pretty closely to the formula established by Nintendo's Wario Ware, this new game feels like its own entity, with a unified visual style and a strong sense of purpose. Grid16 is nothing less than an exploration of our primal gamer instincts, and although it isn't a complete triumph, it's a giant step in an intriguing direction.
The goal of Fluke Ball is to throw objects into the mysterious waves of force surrounding the office microwave, and knock out your opponent's objects when necessary. It's essentially shuffleboard, but sideways and with gravity. It sounds complicated, and it is at first, but it feels instinctive after some experimentation. And once you break through the layer of initial confusion, you'll have an whole miniature world of strange physics to explore.
Chess is a classic, easy to learn and hard to master. What would happen if chess was bitten by a zombie and then rose again as an undead shadow of its former self? You'd get Tomb Chess, an intriguing variation on the dynamic, where two ghoulish armies battle across a graveyard.
In Angular Momentum players are plunged into what looks like a futuristic ant farm and must guide the requisite ball through a series of chambers to the exit. The levels boast twisty, up and down landscapes worthy of Sonic the Hedgehog; tools such as speed boosts and jump platforms will help you reach the exits, but beware of the eeeevil orange panels that will send you back to the start.
Taro Ito has been a favorite of ours here at JIG for several years, so it is with great fanfare that we welcome new releases from his GameDesign.jp website. The latest of his designs is this sliding-block puzzle game called Shot. The objective is to progress as far as you can, through a series of increasingly more difficult levels, by knocking all but one of the balls from the play grid.
An entry from Dom Camus (The Turtles of Time) into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Ballrooms plays more or less like a standard table-top pinball game with an added element of exploration. It's sort of a pinball adventure game where you earn points, grab power-ups, and travel between boards via a network of warp holes. The end result is a pinball universe that's as much flipper pounding as it is exploration.
Here's a game that needs no introduction around here, the next game in the amazing and wonderful Grow series from Eyezmaze has just released today. Grow Nano Vol. 3 has the same familiar gameplay, graphics, animation and soundtrack as the others, and it is sure to put a smile on your face.
Haluz 2, the sequel to the surreal Samorost-like point-and-click adventure Haluz, is now entirely free! When it was first released in August, players could experience the first half of the game and pay a modest fee to access the second chapter. Now the creator of Haluz, Tomas, sends word that both versions are available online for the low low cost of absolutely nothing.
In Spin the Black Circle you must rotate the game field to move a ball to the goal in each stage. Gravity pulls it to the center, however, making physics and fast reflexes vitally important to your success. Avoid obstacles and enemies in this well-polished game of skill!
In his ongoing, mad quest to give us all nightmares about geometry, Tonypa has unleashed Cobacoli upon the world. It sounds like a deadly bacteria, but no, it's an elegant puzzle game based around 2-dimensional ball physics, although in many ways it qualifies as an infectious disease. Symptoms include intense concentration, swearing, and the inability to pry your hand away from your mouse.
A great, terrible man once said: "Your flower power is no match for my glower power." That man's name was Charles Montgomery Burns, and he clearly never played Kaichou. The brainchild of Ali Maunder and finalist of our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Kaichou is an and beautiful abstract shooter where you have to break down bouncing glower with flowery projectiles.
In Entropic Space, no one can hear you smash planets together. It's true, sound does not travel in space, but what does travel are "fun-waves", those mysterious quanta of play that science is just beginning to understand. A submission to our 4th Casual Gameplay competition from Studio Cypher, Entropic Space has you pilot an mega-scale space pod that can bump planets into each other, engineering parsec after parsec into entropy.
Aquanaut is a game of underwater exploration that puts you in the driver's seat of a small submersible pod on a mission to discover hidden treasures. Using your mouse, click and hold to guide the pod around a colorful undersea world. Navigate through dangers of the sea, up and around rocks and structures and, with a steady hand and a little luck, you will find the treasure chest at the end of each level.
David Scott has just released a sequel to the stylish tower defense game, Vector TD, appropriately titled Vector TD 2. Using Vector TD, a computer simulation of Vectoid attack scenarios, deploy and upgrade towers to zap foes as they walk by, preventing them from reaching the end points on each map. Earn cash by defeating foes and keep your defenses strong to stave off the increasingly powerful hordes!
The Daydream starts off with a familiar text message from your son to come play hide-and-seek in his room at the top of the building. "I want you to find me," he writes. But when you get there the room seems different, and he doesn't seem to be around. You turn to find the door has locked behind you(!) Is this a new twist to the game, or something else...?
Control a ship in a miniature-yet-epic battle against undulating bubbles and their mindless minions. Weave in and out of the bubbles in a race against the clock, dodging drones and collecting enough energy to move on to the next stage. Another excellent and original game design entered into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition.
ShoOot 2: revenge of square, a cathartic circle extermination simulator, is more of a spiritual successor than a direct sequel, since you can now move in two dimensions and the gameplay focus has shifted from overwhelming rapid-fire madness to a more deliberate and unusual rhythm. The very latest from the casual game master: Tonypa.
Fall in, troops! It seems we've got ourselves another attack on our hands. Menacing spiders are descending from the skies, and it's up to our platoon of cannons to stop them! We've got to divide our forces to gather bullets on one side, and shoot down the spiders on the other side, so you'll need to divide your attention to win the battle!
Rmvblls is a goal-based action game in which the objective is to remove the required number of balls from play. It represents designer Eduardo Omine's first entry into one of our competitions, and hopefully not the last! The CGDC4 Ball Physics theme is implemented in a fairly straightforward manner, with four kinds of balls bouncing around the screen like they're on a pocketless pool table.
Save The Planet is a simple shooter in which you aim with your mouse, and fire by holding the left mouse button and releasing after charging the shot. Use the gravity of the titular planet, as well as that of the attacking aliens and even your own prior shots, to defeat the endless waves of attackers. Keep in mind that you're more likely than not to cause your own destruction by shooting the planet you're trying to defend. Oops.
I/O is a brain-teaser of a puzzle game along the lines of the fabulous Click Drag Type series that comes with no instructions. Use your skills of discovery, intuition and creative problem solving to figure out what must be done to arrive at a solution.
A brand new point-and-click room escape game has just been released by Japanese developer neutral, creator of RGB and Sphere, titled Vision. For some unknown reason you're trapped in a room with no exit. Search the exquisitely rendered (and eerily silent) environment for items that can help you escape!
1o Gnomes is a brand new (released only moments ago) point-and-click game from Mateusz Skutnik. His latest creation, the first episode of what appears to be an upcoming series of games, is more of a hidden object game that puts you to task of finding 10 cartoon gnomes in 10 minutes by pointing and clicking your way through a series of black and white photographs of rooftops. Clicking on certain areas (the cursor will change indicating a hotspot) reveals an enlarged view, and the scene auto-pans with your mouse movement.
Coming out of Wildsnake Software, from the chilled steppes of Russia, comes an entry into our 4th Casual Gameplay competition: Chap Hai - Way Of The Dragon. But what is the "Way Of The Dragon"? Does it involve superhuman martial arts, or maybe a method of braising reptile meat? Actually, it involves flicking marbles at each other. It's Zen baby.
Created to promote Microsoft's TechNet service, Server Quest is an adventure game lovingly crafted in the style of early 90s Lucasarts/Sierra titles. From its blocky visuals, kooky musical score and off-beat sense of humor, it's like stepping fifteen years in the past without having to fire up the ole time machine. It's also one of the geekiest games you'll ever play with a number of minigames quizzing you on your knowledge of IT lingo.
It's a zany platform game from the creators of Fool Yoo that gets everyone in on the action! As you begin each stage, different-colored players pop out of the same vortex your character falls out of. Each one is a replay of a previous player's actions, so study them carefully for clues as you dash across each stage.
Rob Allen continues to impress with Day of the Bobteds, a game in which you must obliterate all of the Bobteds to save the Kingdom of Implements from their menace. What exactly are Bobteds? Ah, if only it were that simple. Bobteds can take the forms of a number of different Earth-objects: barbecue grills, stars, %s, even spinning LOLs!
Shift embraces the same negative-space-centric platforming concept as Yin Yang, but in a style more elegant, more minimalist, and more pulsating with sexy-sweet spy music. With a press of the Shift key, you are flipped beneath the floor on which you are standing, and reverses both your body color and gravity. It's a unique platformer with a twist, and it's a good deal of fun.
One of the entries to our 4th game design competition, Particle Blaster is a simple yet intense space shooter. You play as a small, triangular space ship whose only goal is to destroy everything that moves. Although it starts easy, you'll be hard pressed to make it through all 14 levels, let alone obtain the coveted A ranking.
Orbita puts you in control of a cute little guy with a trapezoid-shaped head. Venture around the planet, visit different perilous locations, and solve puzzles to discover the three batteries that power his ship. Yes, it appears that the little guy's spaceship runs on Duracells.
Fresh out of the oven from PastelGames.com is a short but zany point-and-click room escape game called The Great Kitchen Escape. You start off staring at an extremely colorful kitchen that looks like it was lifted straight from a cartoon. It's an easy point-and-click game that scores major points for its artwork and slightly wacky puzzles.
It's here. The next installment in one of the most popular and critically acclaimed Flash point-and-click adventure series ever created. Submachine 5: The Root promises to take us to the very first (historically speaking) built submachine structure. At least as we know it.
Whether you're going for the gingerbread transmutation or the old fashioned stew, you gotta respect the rights of satanic magick users to extend their lives indefinetly by robbing life from the young. If you're on board with that proposition, you'll like Witchhunt: Nooboo Mary, a time-based defense game where you defend a witch's house from an angry mob of villagers.
Planet Cruncher lets you satisfy your appetite for destruction by casting you as an omnipotent exterminator of worlds. It doesn't exactly feel like a game about the deaths of billions, encased as it is in a shell of relaxing arcadey puzzle gameplay. But sometimes you have to play a game in your own way, and I choose to play this one while cackling maniacally and stroking an imaginary long-haired white star-cat named Lord Galaxathon.
Factory Balls may be the most immediately appealing entry of JIG's Casual Gameplay Design Competition #4. Maybe it's the elegance of the core concept and the out-of-the-box thinking it provokes; maybe it's the simple awesomeness of making ball-people with rabbit ears. Either way, Factory Balls is a great, albeit short, game that displays the clean design and quirky sensibility that I've come to love in Bart's work.
Basho Kioku is the latest puzzle game from prolific designer Yoshio Ishii. You are faced with a grid of 36 squares, and your goal is to click on each of them in turn. Each round, a random combination of these squares lights up orange, and you must choose one of them. There is no indication of which squares you've previously selected, but if you pick a square more than once, you lose a life. It's a nearly flawless koan that plays on the tension between the randomness of your choices and the solidity of your strategy.
Stunt Pilot is a challenging, high-quality game of precision acrobatics. It transcends the familiar trope of flying through rings with a sophisticated scoring system and singular control. The result is a simple but engaging test of skill that would fit comfortably in any 80s video arcade, although it would probably be the prettiest game there.
At first glance, TBA appears to be of a game of extreme simplicity. As you blast through the first level of this arcade action game, doing nothing but striking the space bar until the ball flies into the goal, you may wonder "What's the point?" But don't let any first impression fool you. Once you get going, the game really shows it's true colors.
Following in the well-trod footsteps of games like Geometry Wars and Robotron 2084, ZunderFury is a hardcore arena shooter that is happiest when it's overwhelming you with throngs of spiky blob-things. You can even spend money in between rounds to upgrade your ship, and the game comes with a full set of Xbox Live-style achievements, called "Feats", which is a smart way to personalize and flesh out the experience.
Paint Wars challenges you to fill in the outlines of different shapes using as little paint as possible, while an army of vehicles tries to destroy your masterpiece. It's an unusual game that incorporates a familiar draw mechanic in an interesting new way. But it's not as easy as it sounds.
Imagine the wandering ball of Within A Deep Forest encased in metal and set loose in your browser, and tell me you don't want to get into that Sky Tower. Bug Bug is the latest game to be released from Aqui Griffin's studio, a re-release of a game entered into our "ball physics" game competition in October with crucial improvements.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Library of Wales, Pokedstudio was commissioned to create Nanw's Great Adventure, an adorably cute adventure that has the player rounding up (overdue?) books and returning them to the librarian like a good little bunny.
As odd as it may sound, Skyrates is a game about human-like animals flying biplanes between floating continents. Think Star Fox meets The Kingdom of Zeal from Chrono Trigger. You're a young pilot out to make an impact by trading, performing missions, and fighting pirates. Here's the catch: flying between islands takes at least an hour of real-time. The game was designed by a group of then-CMU grad-students to explore sporadic play, something you check like e-mail a few times a day. The result is not only interesting, its good enough to thread its way into your life.
Space Kitteh is a unique action game created by Zach Archer and Miles Johnson for our fourth Casual Gameplay Design Competition. Run around planets bouncing around in space as you search for lost kittens in distress. As you leap about, gravity toys with your momentum in strange ways. It's a great-looking game with just enough wackiness (saving kitties from planets?) to make it a winner.
It looks simple, like what computers experience when they practice zazen. And it is, my brothers and sisters, it is very simple. Therein lies the beauty of Avoid! (I bet that exclamation point was jarring), a compilation of short vignettes by Alex Miller that plays off the theme of avoidance.
Remember Line Rider? That was a pretty sweet webtoy made by a guy from Slovenia. But did you ever get the feeling that Line Rider could have been so much more amazing if there was more of a game to it? Fresh off the CandyStand, we have Line Golfer. It's like Line Rider, but you can golf your way through the mouse-drawn levels instead of watch a character sled through them. Frankly, it's money.
Jakub Dvorský of Amanita Design brings us another glimpse of his fantastic world of Samorost in this short animation entitled Plantage. Set to music by Under Byen, Plantage is not so much a story as it is a solemn celebration of life and rebirth.
Hydro is a side- scrolling shoot-em-up with a methodical pace and an odd premise. Armed with a water gun, a jet-pack, and a snazzy shorts 'n t-shirt combo, you must battle a horde of flying robots that are all shaped like sea-life and have names like "Roboctopus". It's just a simple, well-told story of a flying man and his deadly water pistol.
As is easy to guess, the object of Filler is to fill the playing field with large white circles. Just click and hold the mouse to start a circle growing. It will stop growing either when you let go or when it collides with a circle already in play. If it collides with one of the small "atoms" bouncing around, not only will it stop growing, it will disappear completely and you'll lose a life!
As the name suggests, Balancing Act requires you to keep a number of balls (and other ball-ish things) balanced on top of each other. Click on a ball and drag your mouse to rotate it, but remember that each action has an equal and opposite reaction! The stylish and humorous presentation and simple control system are to be particularly commended in this worthy game design competition finalist.
An experimental game created in seven days, this arcade/pseudo-strategy game puts you in control of two robots marching through a dark city destroying everything with lasers. Pump up your machines to gigantic city-destroying monsters and crunch buildings and pitiful humans all day long!
The first Flash Element Tower Defense was a kind of revolution. It single- handedly brought tower defense games out of the realm of Warcraft mods and into the world of free online gaming, kick-starting a new genre practically overnight. Now that Dave has teamed with Paul Preece to create Novel Concepts, he has built Flash Element TD 2 according to the Casual Collective aesthetic — the audio/visual style pioneered by Desktop Tower Defense and perpetuated by Buggle. In other words, it's totally cute.
The second chapter in Brad Borne's epic tale of a man with righteous pants is here, and it is spectacular. The Fancy Pants Adventure: World Two is a Flash platform game focused on high-speed acrobatics, like a hand-drawn Sonic the Hedgehog. Twice the size of the original, World 2 is one of the most ambitious, audacious Flash games out there, bursting with thrills, imagination, and whimsy.
Tarnation is a clever real-time strategy game by Brad Merritt that bears some resemblance to a tower defense title. You control a garden with rows of seeds ready to sprout into flowers that will dash off and dispatch incoming bugs. The bugs are made of Tar, you see, and if they reach the stream in front of your flower bed, they start to gunk up the water. Merely defeating all the bugs is enough to pass, but real excellence comes by releasing only as many flowers as you need.
For our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Brazilian game author Guilherme Töws has tapped the philosophy of yin and yang to bring us Bisection Dominion. Your charge is to defend a pristine river against a falling tide of poisonous bubbles, using a sword controlled by your gestural input. We often talk about the zen of gaming, but rarely does a game embrace the idea so whole-heartedly.