Journal Entry 77 - It will soon be over. The monsters are at the door. I've already hidden the other disconcertingly red-stained pages of my apocalyptically-toned journal all about this abandoned cabin, and the only thing left is for me to make the decision that will determine which ending I get... Though, I'm pretty sure all of them will involve turning into a zombie, somehow. So before I recklessly solve that final puzzle, I leave to you another collection of classic games from the JayIsGames Vault. This week we have astonishing arena action, a peculiarly player-propelled pointer puzzler, and adorably addictive arcade awesomeness.
- Amorphous+ - There are a whole heckuva lot of arena games out there. It's not hard to see why: a single warrior locked in a brutal stand-off against a massive horde of enemies is a powerfully dramatic premise. However, with so much competition in the genre, prospective developers should definitely be studying one of the best: Amorphous+ by Caleb Rhodes. It's an object lesson in how to differentiate yourself from the pack. The aesthetic is simple and clean, without a lot of random textures to confuse the aesthetic. The blobular enemies are engagingly goofy, but maintain a surprising amount of menace. More than that, the player is constantly rewarded for continuing play, whether from the snarkily-described medals earned, or in unlocked pages of one of the best-written bestiaries yet. Throw in an impressive armory selection headlined by a classic Big-Friggin'-Sword, and you have the worthy winner of JIG's Best of 2008 Action/Arcade Award.
- Cursor*10 - Many multiplayer games emphasize teamwork, but Yoshi Ishii's Cursor*10 is one of the few single player games where cooperation is vital... but with yourself! With the mouse cursor taking center stage, you'll need quick thinking and quick clicking to make it to the top of the tower. You'll have some help along the way, though: the actions of your previous lives replayed in real time as you play! The minimalist visuals hides the impressive design of each of its levels, all of which ooze creativity. Cursor*10 and its sequel are games that totally live up to the promise of their awesome premise, and are must-plays for any puzzle fans.
- Bubble Islands - Is it possible for something to be Arcade-Perfect if it never actually appeared in an arcade? Well, if so, Dot-Invasion definitely managed it in his Match-Threevaganza, Bubble Islands. With its colorful cast of octopi, wizards, aliens, ice princesses, and robots, this game was clearly a labor of love for its developer, and the result can only be described as magical. A very worthy finalist in the 2007 IGF awards, all Puzzle Bobblers, Mean Bean Machinists, and Tetris Fanatics, should get ready for fun. Bubble Islands is slick. Bubble Islands is cute. Bubble Islands is addictive as all get out. What more could you want?
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!