Randall Munroe's webcomic xkcd has been around for well over a decade, touching on everything from pop culture to science, love, and beyond, and it's garnered a pretty huge audience. To celebrate the launch of his new book, Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe has released Hoverboard, a very simple little platformer where you gather coins from a small playfield and drop them in a box. The end!... or is it?! Using the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move and jump, you'll find your hoverboard can jump an infinite number of times and take you beyond the designated play area to explore a surprisingly huge black and white world with secrets aplenty. There's not much to do other than take in the sights and collect more coins, but with so much to find, all rendered in a simple but lovely black-and-white stickman style, Hoverboard is worth a romp as a great piece of interactive art full of secrets and references to everything under the sun.
It's a story as old as time itself: Boy finds sword. Boy stabs monster with sword. Boy rescues girl. Boy and girl go out for coffee or something. But what if things happen in the wrong order? What if the boy accidentally stabs the girl, or trips on the sword while walking hand-in-hand together? What if the monster reaches the girl first, accidentally scorching her in the process? What if the boy tries to stab the monster, but finds he has no sword? (Hint: scorching?) Such are the scenarios considered by Tiled Quest, an HTML5 sliding block puzzle game developed by Team Doa Ibu, made up of Alif, Rosanqodrian, Novel Apriaji, Rino Adi, and Anto Febian! Visit the creator's site at Tempa Labs!
If you're looking for rapid-fire, cute, point-and-click puzzle goodness, Ninjadoodle's name should be on your short list, and they're serving up another helping with Lightybulb 2, where, just like the original game, you're trying to figure out how to make the lightbulb in each level light up. Click on things to interact, but also try to drag objects around... you never know what might happen. The levels may look similar, but you'll have to solve them in a variety of different ways... math, deciphering codes, or even just good ol' process of elimination. If you like your puzzle games aggressively cute with a bouncy soundtrack, then Lightybulb 2 is probably a bright idea. Zing!
Few escape games are as immediately recogniseable as they are made by no1game's little green men, and for good reason. They've been providing free entertainment for a long, long time. How long? Oh, just a whole decade, and Find the Escape-Men 167: No1Game's 10th Anniversary is a well-earned celebration, even if no1game's idea of celebrating does mean locking you up in a strange room with a coffin, a punching bag, and some questionable reading material. As usual, to escape you'll need to find the ten little green men hidden sneakily throughout the room, and, also as usual, there's no changing cursor, so you'll really want to search everywhere and everything for interactive spots. Some of the puzzles you'll encounter here may feel as if they stretch the lengths of intuitiveness to their breaking point, or are a little awkwardly implemented. Which is not, of course, to say that Find the Escape-Men 167 doesn't have its share of surprises, some silly and others, ahem, risqué, and you'll definitely need to think outside the box more than once. While No1Game's 10th Anniversary as a game might be a little rough around the edges, it represents an amazing achievement by a generous developer, and we can only tip our hats and hope for ten more.
Neptune, Venus, and Jupiter are just your average teens, sweating and groaning through another year of being with the Summer Scouts. Between the bullies and the frustrating camp activities, which of course include your typical teenager chores like fighting evil and getting ready for Magical Girl style transformations, the group is just waiting for it all to be over so they can get back home and back to normal, or at least as normal as they're expected to be. But in between all the religious songs and charm practice, all the sunscreen and bugspray, Jupiter, Venus, and Neptune keep their own secrets, even from themselves, even from each other. Because if they were ever to be found out, well, they'd be left all alone when the devil comes for them. Aevee Bee, Mia Schawrtz, Alex Lambert and their team bring you We Know the Devil, a surreal psychological indie online visual novel about being "weird and queer and wrong and hoping no one finds out when the actual, literal devil comes for you". To play, just click to advance the text, and, when offered, choose character combinations to undergo certain tasks. The game has four different endings, with the "true" one only available under certain conditions once you've got all the others, and you'll want to chase down every interaction and character combination to flesh out not only the relationships, but the kids themselves and how they relate to and see themselves and one another.
Blink and you'll miss it, but In Between Games' The Mammoth: A Cave Painting, made in just three days for Ludum Dare 33's "You Are the Monster" jam, is well worth the few minutes it'll take out of your day. In this piece of striking interactive art, you'll go through the history of one of the world's most iconic great shaggy mammals by playing as one who initially goes in search of her child, separated from the herd, and then must reconnect with the herd herself. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, and, when available, hit [X] to trumpet, which will cause you to call your baby to sprint to you quicker. Later, you can use [C] to charge and trample dangers. The game tells a fairly familiar story, largely because it's been repeated throughout history with so many different animals in a very Potter/Voldemort "neither can live while the other survives" sort of way, and while it doesn't actually do anything tremendously different or unexpected with its story and moral, its striking visual style and somber storytelling fits the mood and setting extremely well. It likely isn't telling you anything you already know, but its well paced and executed. The Mammoth: A Cave Painting is a snapshot of well-crafted interactive art foreshadows good things from its development team in the future.
In Emily Ryan's interactive comic adventure Secret Agent Cinder, one person's fairytale is another's tale of espionage, as you take control of the titular heroine who's been tasked by her godmother to infiltrate the Royal Ball and steal the military plans before the stroke of midnight. To play, just click the choices you want to make as they appear onscreen, paying attention to the artwork for any clues as to how to proceed, and use the arrows to move around the castle... though if an arrow is pale, you can't go in that direction. (Yet?) Don't forget to play in fullscreen! There are two main endings, but a lot of events and options to encounter, from dealing with a particularly overzealous prince, to incapacitating guards. The artwork is gorgeous, using a limited colour palette to striking effect, and the text is simple but effective, leading you on and fleshing out the gameplay and environment without overflowing with unnecessary description. It's a short game, but the sheer variety of options encourages replaying, especially given the way your final score in several categories changes based on your actions, and leaves us hoping we'll see more adventures and missions from Emily Royal's dashing, daring leading lady in the future.
Working at a theme park for no1game's iconic little green men? Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, except for the part where you're stuck in a hot costume all day long, and when you finally get to take a break, you find yourself trapped in the staff room. In Find the Escape-Men Part 164: EM Land, click around the room to find the ten little green dudes and ultimately escape... which, as you might have guessed, involves solving a handful of strange puzzles and looking under every proverbial rock you can, since there's no changing cursor. As a result, the place you might get hung up the most is simply missing a hidden spot or two to click on, which can be frustrating given what a small space you're working in as you spin in circles. Stick with it, however, and no1game's quirky sense of humour will remind you why they've been a hit for so long now, though the ending is a little bit strange. Maybe we'll get to explore more of EM Land than the locker room in the future? We can only hope!
They say love is blind, but even the most classic tales (excluding certain animated features) will tell you that frogs are typically ill-suited to marital bliss, at least when one half is human. In cute puzzle game Save the Princess: Love Triangle, the princess has been turned into a frog, and the prince needs to bring her a magic potion to turn her back to normal... though he's a bit dense. He's only motivated by cake, you see, so you'll need to click on the ground to place cake arrows to lure him forward. Click an arrow to rotate it to direct where the prince will head next when he encounters it, and think carefully about where it goes, since you have a limited number, and the prince will gobble it down when he touches it. Not only do you need to contend with steering the prince away from spikes, but you'll also need to either use some of your limited cake supply to steer away rival princes... or, well, lure yours to a sword to finish them off. Throw in some buttons and doors to activate to change the path, and things aren't as straight-forward as they initially appear. Though pretty dated when it comes to gender roles and on the whole very gentle with difficulty, Save the Princess: Love Triangle, is a cute, bright little puzzle game in a simpler vein of titles like Talesworth Adventure, making it cheery fun to kick back with... without breaking your brain.
OZDY's physics puzzle game Chromatic Seals, with art by Ah-Tan and music by Incompetech, is a little weird, because the premise involves leaching colours from vibrant cartoon seals and turning them gray, which is somehow a good thing, so I suppose we all owe Discord an apology. In each level, you slice through ice and bits of scenery to try to match seals to coloured ice... if a seal touches matching ice, it turns gray, but that piece of ice is no longer useable, so you'll want to figure out how to make use of the physics in each level to make all seals happy and gray, in as few slices as possible. Just click and drag through ice or other material, then release to make your cut. Though things start out painfully easy for the first handful of levels, the difficulty begins to creep up, and the lack of instructions beyond the very basic means you're often left to figure out how things work on your own. Chromatic Seals' slicing mechanic isn't really anything new, but its bolstered here with clean level design that makes use of hinges, ropes, and other simple elements to make you think without getting overly extravagant. While completing a level is usually easy, doing so within the maximum number of slices for a three-star rating is more challenging... though still not likely to be anything to really make you break a sweat. If you like physics puzzles, Chromatic Seals is a fun, well put together little game with a lovely presentation that kids will be able to pick up and master in no time, without feeling too kid-centric as to alienate the young at heart.
no1game's little green men lead such interesting, active lives! Sure, sometimes they're just getting their driver's licenses renewed, or squeezing onto a train, but then you've also got the time they were trapped outside their bodies, or went to a baseball game. In Find the Escape-Men 160: Swimming Pool, as you might guess, they're going swimming, and you'll need to find all ten green men before you can escape. I mean, not for long... you do work at the local pool, after all, so you're going to be back dealing with more trouble-makers before you know it, but hey, let's just try to get through the day. Click around to hunt for things to interact with... or, in this case, to find new areas to move to, since this game can be particularly obnoxious about hiding new perspectives and areas in places you'll just have to click about until you stumble across. Find the Escape-Men 160 is definitely more silly than not, with puzzles that require thinking outside the box, or just creatively messing with things. While this means that players who crave, say, the cunning logic of a Tesshi-e game may find this one a little too clicky and weird, those of us who are looking for a fun and whimsically odd way to escape from the heat ourselves will find it worth a dip in.
An endless parade of freshly delivered sushi ferried straight to our lazy laps? Yes please! In no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 158: Sushi Go Round 2, you've decided to check out the new sushi joint in town, because somehow despite there being 158 of these little escape games, and even being the second time this scenario has happened, you're still surprised when you find yourself trapped somewhere and unable to leave without finding the ten green men hidden throughout the area. But, well, I guess I understand... there's a lot I'm willing to do for a spicy salmon roll. As usual, there's no changing cursor, so you should click everywhere, on everything, and sometimes more than once (or after some time has passed!) in order to find what you need. Sushi Go Round 2 manages to be surprisingly sneaky for working within a limited amount of space, but it may also make you a little hungry, so hurry up and finish so we can go get some tuna nagiri... your treat!
This is not a review for a game. ...Oh, uh are you still reading this? I'm telling you THERE IS NO GAME. And Kamizoto didn't make this point-and-click puzzle game. I mean, he would have if it were a game. And he would have probably made it for the Deceptionjam too. But it's not. A game that is. If it was, it would be a great twist on gaming by breaking the forth wall like in the highly rated game Humbug. It would also have you chuckling at the humor and scratching your head as to how to actually find the game, as well as appreciating the innovation for this fresh, unique play. But according to the narrator, THERE IS NO GAME, isn't a game. So go away. Oh and it isn't anything to enjoy so don't even try. But I can see a rebel like you is going to want to prove the all-empowering voice wrong and fight against the machine, like you did in The Stanley Parable, then I guess you could read my next paragraph. You know, if there actually was a next paragraph.
Find the Escape-Men Part 157: At the Wedding re-enacts that scene from that old movie. Which old movie? Practically any romantic comedy made prior to the 2000's. You know the one... the bride is stepping up to the altar, but someone is racing to try to stop the wedding? Well, in this escape game from no1game, that someone is you... but are you really there to bring the ceremony to a halt? Or do you just wanna, y'know, find ten little green dudes scattered around the room? Yeah, that's what I thought. Click to interact with items, occasionally multiple times, but whatever you do, don't blink, because this is a short one, with more of an emphasis on gathering up our little lime coloured bros than anything else. The ending is actually... perplexingly moody, but if you want an escape that's fast and dramatic, toss some rice around, or smash a glass, or whatever gets you in the mood, and fire this one up.
In no1game's latest escape game Find the Escape-Men Part 156: Aquarium, the newly opened local aquarium is holding a fantastic contest... if you can find the ten "green pieces" hidden throughout the building, you'll be awarded a fabulous treasure! Man, this better not be some garbage '80s teen movie pap where "the treasure was inside you all along". To play, move around the building using the map, and click on things to interact, making sure to check everywhere since you don't have a changing cursor to rely on to see if there's something you should click. As you may be expecting by now in a no1game title, you'll need to root around in odd places, wait a little in others, and even have to fall back on trying certain actions multiple times before you get what you want. The setting is cute, with the right mix of goofiness and puzzles that won't tax you too much, though of course in real life you should never tap on the aquarium glass. While some parts are more intuitive than others, Find the Escape-Men Part 156: Aquarium is still a nice, light bit of escapery for anyone's day, with a priceless treasure at the end... maybe!