Welcome to the second edition of The Vault, our weekly feature to highlight games from the past we think deserve a bit of love from you. This week we're featuring three sterling examples of three different genres, and each featuring a spacey-type theme. Why? Because we're out of this world! BWAHAHA... hahah.. heh.. ah... hmm. Battle swarms of alien bugs, solve the mysteries of the universe (once you figure out how to open the door), and pilot a robot digging up valuable minerals on a distant world.
Oh, and I wouldn't get any ideas about breaking into The Vault between now and next week, if I were you. We have all sorts of security measures in place!... well, okay, really it's just a picture of the Queen Mum looking disapproving taped to the door. We were hoping that would be enough. (Though we're still waiting for our pool of ill-tempered sea-bass, and the dogs with bees in their mouths so when they bark they shoot bees at you.)
- Mystery of Time and Space - If you like escape games, you haven't done yourself any favours if you've missed out on this classic from waaaaaay back in 2002. (Did they even have time to play games between fighting off dinosaurs back then?) MOTAS, as the cool kids call it, is a bit unusual, as you'll discover from the introduction. You volunteered for an experiment, of sorts, but you don't remember any of it. All you know is you're stuck in a series of rooms with increasingly elaborate puzzles you need to solve to escape each one. Expansive, clever, and even a little funny, MOTAS will keep escape aficionados busy for a nice chunk of time.
- Replicator - For people of a certain age, the words retro arcade shooter trigger a rush of happy, nerdy endorphins in your brain. This deceptively simple little game made entirely in DHTML revolves around you using a spaceship to destroy every bug and egg onscreen to advance to the next level. It starts out simply enough, but don't get too cocky; the bugs are capable of multiplying and have a few tricks up their sleeves (assuming they have sleeves), so overestimate your abilities and it's game over, man, game over!
- Motherload - A great example of how addictive puzzles can be with just a bit of action and adventure thrown in, this game from 2004 by XGen Studios is about you. Well, you if you were sent off to pilot a robot on Mars and tasked with digging up valuable ore. Along the way, you'll buy upgrades for your machine, uncover secrets, deal with hazards, and more, all while keeping an eye on your hull and your fuel. Despite the occasionally frustrating controls, it's one of those games you sit down intending to play for five minutes, then look up to discover you should have been at work three hours ago.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!