There are some people who believe that games should stay games and never deal with "real issues", but Parable of the Polygons, by Vi Hart and Nicky Case, shows just how great games can be about getting concepts and ideas across. Billed as a "playable post about the shape of society", Parable of the Polygons talks you through how small biases can have a bigger impact than people think by leading you through a series of puzzles where your job is to make the squares and triangles all happy by shuffling them around until their living conditions are diverse. But not too diverse. Different puzzles have different requirements to make the shapes happy, and over time you see how they grow more and more apart without really meaning to. By starting small and then working through larger puzzles and a few simulations, it talks earnestly and intelligently about how bias impacts society, without ever pointing the finger or addressing any one specific group or cause. Talking about things like this can be hard to do without people feeling as if they're being accused of something and going on the defensive, but Parable of the Polygons is well worth a read (and a play!), and a great example of the way games can get people talking and thinking.
Martin Kool's 0h h1 (hosted here with generous permission) is a simple little logic puzzle, also available free for iOS and Android, that's really just simply delightful. Click a square once to fill it in with red, twice to make it blue. The goal is to fill in the board in each round with the proper number and placement of red and blue squares, following the rules that govern correct placement. You can't have three of the same colours in a row either horizontally or vertically, a full row must have as many red squares as it does blue, and no two rows can be exactly the same. Tap the eye icon to get a hint, and the arrow to undo as many moves as you want, while the X will return you to the main menu. You can play levels 4x4, 6x6, 8x8, or 10x10, allowing you to get your fix at varying levels of difficulty.
And here we have the adorable Chainy Chisai in its native habitat. This small creature, discovered by Amir "Nonamez" Shabarchin, prefers the safety of cardboard boxes to the outside world. But do not think it defenseless! Rather, this tiny animal has a whole host of protective mechanisms, from shooting lightning, to spitting acids, to even exploding! And you, dear reader, get to be the one to provoke them in this charming chain-reaction game! You have just one click with which to set off as many of the languidly-drifting Chisai as possible. They'll unleash their special abilities, which will in turn activate MORE Chisai, on and on in a frenetic reaction until no more Chisai remain... Unless a few manage to slip out of the bedlam. It's simple, it's pleasingly chaotic, and it provides a surprising amount of variety for a game where most levels can be passed with only one click... not surprising since tech support was provided by Silengames, who has made a plethora of popular chain-reaction games!
In conclusion, Firecaster's Tomorrow and Yesterday combines its simple and elegant presentation with clever and challenging timing puzzles, making it a great time at home or on the go. Wait. Sorry. Games that quantum leap me back and forth through time, like Chronotron or Cursor*10 always leave me a little muddled. But as your playing back and through this HTML5 simple idea puzzle game, your clock may get a little wound up, but you'll be having too much fun to notice. Using the [arrow] keys to move, guide the circle to the triangle exit in each level. Keys can be collected to unlock doors, and resting the circle upon an "X" can activate and deactivate walls. However, one circle can't pass all these tests by itself... or can it?
In Hypnotic Owl's turn-based puzzle The Wizard, titular magic maestro Kevin loses his most precious treasure... his face. That's right, someone has literally made off with his moneymaker, and he has no choice but to pursue the thief through the sewers and into a dangerous castle filled with tricks, traps, treasure, and beasties galore that would love to chew Kevin's non-existent face right off. The game is divided into levels, with the goal being to make it safely past any dangers and to the exit, casting spells to deal with anything that gets in your way. Click and drag on green tiles to make a path, but beware... monsters will come after you if they spot you. You can click a creature to see its range, which will be helpful in planning your method of attack. See, as you play, you'll unlock new spells for Kevin (how great a wizard can he be if he literally has no magic until you find it for him?) that need to be triggered by drawing specific patterns. When you find a spell, it'll go to his notebook in the upper-right corner of the screen for you to refer to. Click on Kevin, and then draw the spell's path around him to cast. As you incinerate monsters, you'll actually level up, which can earn you points to upgrade spells you've discovered. Sadly, no upgrade for the Magic Missile will allow you to attack the darkness. Hey, can I have a Mountain Dew?
Trigger Warning: This game contains scenes and themes that some people may find upsetting.
Nicky Case, best known for his demo of the upcoming Nothing to Hide and Gap Monsters gets more than a little personal with his interactive story Coming Out Simulator 2014, also available on Itch.io. Created for the Nar8 Jam, this semi-autobiographical game opens in a coffee shop, but primarily takes place back in 2010, when the narrator's boyfriend, Jack, encourages Nicky to come out to his parents. As you read, you'll be given different responses to choose that can drastically alter the flow of dialogue, and, as the narrator cautions, everyone will remember everything you say, so think about your words before you pick them, but don't expect to "win" in the traditional sense.
Couture Craft, by Resonant Craft, is a game all about taking smaller things and combining them into one bigger, more awesome thing. Weaving threads into cloth. Stitching that cloth into clothing. Taking the match-3 genre and infusing it with the likes of an puzzle game. Here, your playing pieces resemble fashionable accessories, but they don't just vanish into the ether when you get three of them together! Drop them two at a time into the playing field to combine them into newer, better pieces, and you can combine those pieces into even more pieces, and so on and so forth until your wardrobe is a veritable explosion of style. And if that wasn't enough alchemizing for you, you can also mix your socks and hats and whatnots into powerups and goodies between the levels! It's not quite clear how you turn a pair of khaki shorts into a T-shirt, and then morph three of those right back around into denim jeans, but that's the magic of alchemy, isn't it?
Hoang Tuan Minh's AI-Conflict looks like your typical science-fiction themed tower defense game, but as with people and calzones, it's what on the inside that counts. Using cash earned from blasting enemy ships to smithereens, you place your defenses along the sides of the path that your foe will follow, and as the game progresses you'll unlock everything from heavy-hitting cannons to flame throwers. Each tower uses ammunition in varying amounts, which replenishes automatically and is represented by the yellow bar, and if there isn't enough to go around some towers won't be able to attack, but by placing ammunition plants to help the regeneration, you can ensure your full defenses are always firing. What's neat in addition to being the key to victory, however, is that each and every one of these turrets can be programmed through simple drop down menus to use very specific behaviour, Dragon Age: Origins party member tactics-style. Only without elven Antonio Banderas and Nigel from Crossing Jordan, though if someone ever manages to patch that in, you need to let me know right away.
In the new chibi platform game Key & Shield you've been freed from your cell by a rather lackluster guardian angel who's gone and slipped you the key. The catch? It's up to you to rescue the rest of your buddies from the same predicament. I'm not sure where their own guardian angels could be, but I'm beginning to suspect a distinct lack of professionalism among the ranks there. Fortunately, Key & Shield manages to be utterly impossible in all the right ways. We love playing platform games precisely because they feature so many surreal things that couldn't possibly work in real life. Ledges of bricks that float in mid-air? Throwing balls of fire underwater? How about standing on the end of a ledge using only your toes? If what you're craving is a little more "Nintendo physics" in your day, Key & Shield's got you covered. Burst up onto overhead platforms while smashing the bad guys with your shield. Dodge fireballs in mid-air from monsters who are actually on fire themselves. Drift down gently like a leaf on the breeze floating on your own solid metal shield. Developers Fire Totem Arena, with Matt Oglesby and Luis Lancho
doing the music and sound, have put a lot of heart and character into crafting this lovable and impossibly surreal landscape — and it shows!
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.
Dualities exist all throughout nature. Confucius knew it, Hermann Hesse knew it, and you bet Obi-Wan knew it too. Now developer Daniel Linssen, alias Managore, has transformed the concept into the exceptionally unique platformer The Sun and Moon. Taking first place in Ludum Dare 29, the game embraces its theme of "beneath the surface" with style, forcing the player to move not simply on top of platforms, but within them as well. The [arrow] keys or [WASD] will move the teeny ball of concentrated cuteness you control, with [shift] or [Z] allowing you to delve into the ground and through the dark-coloured platforms. Your objective is to collect the three Shinies and reach the wormhole to beat each of the levels. You'll be fighting gravity to achieve this, whether it's the familiar ol' downward pull, or the reverse gravity inside the walls, which seeks to thrust you high into the sky at alarming speeds.
The future promised to us back in the Eighties is finally here, and when we're not learning Elvish online for our D&D campaigns or managing our Causes.org petition to finally compel Cyndi Lauper to spell-check her name, we're decking into the glowing neon Matrix and downing corporate ICE for the sheer unadulterated thrill of it! Gordon Little, along with Gustavo Santos, Ivano Palmentieri, and Rusty Hayes, deftly slap together old and new in this intensely-luminous cyberpunk Pokémon hybrid RPG, Cyber Punkemon. Maneuver your deck through the Cyberdyne Systems mainframe with the [arrows], and take on any defensive ICE programs that try to block your progress! You'll then be in a mouse-based Battle Mode a la Pokémon, where your program and the system's both have their own special moves.
We've been doing a lot of reading on improving our business model here at JayIsGames. And through all the tomes of literature, filled with talk of "micropayments", "freemium content," "cryptocurrency", and other words that may or may not be found in any dictionary, it seems that a focus on
ripping-off Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend "works with conceptual similarities to other popular games" is one surefire path to success. Since there's never been a bandwagon I haven't leapfrogged upon when given the chance, I give to you JayIs2048, a puzzling... we'll say tribute to UsVsTh3m's Make Your Own 2048 generator, which is kind of a tribute to Gabriele Cirulli's 2048, which was a kind of tribute to 1024 by Veewo Studio, which was kind of a tribute to Threes by Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend, which, of course was kind of a tribute to the mathematical postulate that small stuff can be combined to make bigger stuff, an axiom that was first evidenced either by the Ancient Greeks or Voltron. Whew. So if Pythagoras of Samos shows up with a DCMA take-down order, I know who I'm passing the buck to.
Remember how difficult Edmund McMillen's The Binding of Isaac was? No way to know what you'll encounter next, hordes of enemies charging at you, and nothing to defend yourself but your salty tears. Well, now you can experience a horror-based roguelike which gives you no weapons at all! Such is the premise of No more Bullets, currently playable in beta and Orangepixel's entry for the recent Procedural Death Jam. Using the [arrow] keys to move, your objective is to find your way to the glowing white beacon without dying at the hands of a proverbial army of monsters.
You won't find any powerups, hidden switches, or boss battles here. This game is as simple as they come. It focuses not on gimmick, but on getting the most out of its game mechanics, and there is something very admirable about that. With the ability to move quickly and not much else, you'll quickly find ways of baiting the monsters—who incessantly follow you like they're under a love spell, even if it means getting themselves stuck on corners—into going where you need them to be. Saying much else would take away from your own experience playing the game, but I will leave you with this. There are ways to recover your health. With more developments to come, this beta has a lot going for it already. It's too bad that the sound doesn't seem to be in operation yet, but it's impressive that Orangepixel managed to create such an eerie atmosphere even without it. Maybe in the next update, we'll learn more about those freaky disappearing heads...
Do you like your Sokoban hard? Good, because nabokOS.exe by Giorgio Malrone is tougher than scraping gum off your shoe. Like a reverse version of the classic puzzle, served up by a program that seems to want you to fail in anguish, you don't push the blocks to their destinations, but they'll stick to you, and you pull them along instead using the [arrow] keys. And once they stick to you, you'll have to scrape these blocks away to get them off of you!
While the sticky can get pretty tricky, there's one extra move that might help. When you press up against an immovable block and move into it, you'll obviously stay put, but any blocks stuck to you that can move will move. This scrape/push mechanic is the key to tackling the high-difficulty puzzles in this Puzzlescript-designed game. Can you scrape by and solve all the diabolically twisted challenges nabokOS.exe has to offer? How much harder can the program make the game before it self-destructs? Also, do you have any tips for getting gum off of shoes? Seriously, I can't walk on tile floors anymore without leaving pink quarter-sized tracks.