In Garden Gnome Carnage you control the Christmas hating gnome who is doing his best to stop an army of Santas, elves and presents from spreading cheer. Your gnome achieves this by putting a brick apartment building on wheels, attaching a rope to the chimney and whirling yourself around like a...like a gnome attached to a chimney.
The first thing I noticed when playing Bits and Pieces, David Lorentz's new platform game, was what a crazy good jumper its pixelated protagonist is. I mean, yeah, most platform heroes wouldn't make it through screen one if they couldn't jump five times their own height, but this dude easily launches himself off like a bottle rocket at the slightest provocation. Good thing though, as making it to the artistically confusing finish will require quite a bit of hopping and/or bopping. And it's a load of fun.
Give Up Robot 2 is a solid platformer with enough neat tricks and visual appeal to set itself apart from the crowd (and its predecessor). You'll guide Robot through 60 stages spread throughout three worlds, each of which is filled with a variety of deadly traps. Your only saving grace is Robot's built-in grappling hook, and you'll need to master its use quickly. It's worth a look for anyone who won't throw their computer through the nearest window after hammering away at a tough level.
The fictional land of Pixela-RT witnessed years of prosperity. Now, a dark portal spews forth endless waves of Space Invaders inspired monsters intent on destroying all that is good and pixely. Luckily, volunteers from across the land take to the sky in small white spaceships to fend off the menace. Endless waves of enemies face down your small white ship on an apocalyptic top-down battlefield in this arena shooter from Epic Shadow.
What's not to love about this fantastic sequel? The kicking retro graphics, the astonishingly nostalgic music and sound effects, everything adds up to tons of fabulous casual gameplay. Enjoy the new challenge, the new enemies, and the same fantastic warm feeling as you help your lonely robot find yet another friend. And not to spoil the ending, but it turns out that Kitty really wants Fishy too. Maybe the honeymoon isn't over after all.
"Sort of." When used properly, these are two of the most doubt-inducing words in the English language. "That was a good game... sort of." "You look great today... sort of." "I love you... sort of." These are also the two words I think of when it comes to Liferaft: Zero from Mikengreg, just another one of those precision platforming games... sort of.
A bunch of evil scientists have joined forces and are building a weapon of mass destruction. Fortunately for the world, you're one of the good guys, and you're going to stop them! In League of Evil, you play a tough little soldier dude who can run, punch, and wall jump with surprising agility. Work your way through 40 stages as you avoid touching anything pointy or dangerous and die more than once per second!
Have you thrown yourself onto a bed of spikes today? No? Well, why not rectify that in this follow-up to the original retro platformer, which is bigger, harder, and, yes, wrathier than the first. Track down treasure chests to open new doors, but don't get greedy. After all, is it really worth taking an arrow to the face and a sawblade to the butt just for a high score?
Color theory, sayeth Wikipedia, is "a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual impacts of specific color combinations." Color Theory is a puzzle platformer where you play a color-shifting pixel-man whose hue lets him pass through similarly colored obstacles. Both teach similar lessons: You know that red and green make yellow, green and blue make cyan, and blue and red make magenta, don't you? You should, if you want to master Color Theory.
Journey into the darkest dungeons in search of monsters, bosses, treasure, and.. clinky tinkly sound effects? Yes, this is Pinball Adventure, a pinball game with an RPG theme that wins today's prize for unlikeliest genre crossover. The game pits your tiny white ball and flipper manipulation skills against the pixel monstrosities of Hades itself. Better bring some extra quarters.
Check out this port of the arcade classic Asteroids by Doug McInnes. If you've never played Asteroids, or an Asteroids-like game, the goal is to pilot your deltoid spacecraft around the void of space, blasting large lumbering asteroids into smaller, faster, projectile-like asteroids, then blasting those into dust before they breach your hull and destroy you. Destroy or be destroyed is the only law against the impersonal Astroids.
Robot's at it again; armed with a kitty perched atop his boxlike head, he's off to get himself a new friend in this follow up to the surprise smash-hit original retro platformer. Gather keys and unlock the mighty (mighty weird) abilities of your feline companion to eventually win the day and the puppy.
Even though it inherited the title from the original Tron, Space Paranoids is very aptly named. Because your advantage lies in speed, not firepower, the game encourages a lot of running away and waiting for enemies to come to you. Space Paranoids is not just a good advergame or a nice taste of nostalgia; It's also a fine game in its own right, and a great example of what the Unity engine can do when done well.
Give Up, Robot is designed to punish you in as many different ways as possible. And that is what makes it great. Players control a unicycling, pixelated robot with a grappling hook and a stoic tenacity, who must traverse elaborate gauntlets at the behest of a fractured, highly vocal, passive-aggressive computer overseer.
Rid the pixel kingdom from the evil hordes while getting the highest score possible in this action/platform game. For a true knight, a challenge always needs one more thing, doesn't it? In the sequel you'll probably be running on a barrel...
Ready for a blast from the past? Pixel Basher is a Breakout clone with a slick new look, new upgrades, and new backgrounds. At only nine levels, it won't keep you busy for long, but it's fast, addictive fun for those of us who remember when an arcade was an actual thing you went to rather than just "That thing old uncle Bob keeps talking about whenever I fire up the console".
Dodge those pesky man-eating earthworms in the homage game that took two decades to appear! The town of Perfection is under siege from underground worms rearing out of their Hades abyss and chomping down on the surface dwellers! If not for the actions of two local repairmen, everyone could be mauled in this fitting homage.
Tired of being the little guy? Then leap behind the controls of one of the massive boss battleships that used to steal all your quarters in classic arcade space shooters. Complete missions to prove your mastery of the skies, unlock new modes, and prove that it's not the size of the ship that counts... wait, no, it is. It totally is.
Sure, he may look like a footlocker and have unsettling pink bags under his eyes, but if your dog or cat or other pet should ever fall down a mine shaft leading to a subterranean geothermic engineering project of dubious provenance, Amil is your go-to fellow. Created by Robert Stone, Amil is a gravity-switching platformer with retro stylings and just a scintilla of RPG flavor.
In a world where people can't seem to see eye to eye on even the most simplest of things, it's comforting to know that we can all at least agree on the fact that hamburgers are the world's most perfect food. In the undeniably charming platformer, I Was Hungry But There Were Cannons, you will find no shortage of this most awesome of culinary delights, it's just that getting them all won't be easy.
When does science go too far? How advanced can an artificial intelligence get before it is too advanced? And at what point does an homage cease to be an homage? The answers to these questions and more can be found in Condition, a sci-fi platform shooter by abielins and Lycheesoup that's just a little reminiscent of Cave Story.
Where oh where has my kitty cat gone? Only robot can find out, and it's up to you to help him get there by guiding him past hazards and to power ups, keys, and ultimately kitty-cat-havin'-glory in this retro-themed, pixel platform adventure.
In space, nobody can hear you scream. But that doesn't stop you from tearing around, blowing up other ships, and slapping their debris onto your rig before running away from some angry bogeys flying in on your six. When a sleep-deprived pilot puts you in charge of his ship, you have to navigate the depths of Captain Forever, fighting other pilots for pieces of their ships to build the meanest spacecraft on the galactic block. Engage in your ultimate build-a-space-ship-from-stealing-other-people's-rubbish fantasy.
Come, take my hand, and frolic down the brightly lit path of retro arcade gaming in this 2D side-scrolling shooter featuring a flying fox! No, not THAT one! Despite only having three levels, three bosses, and four weapons, Merubyiusu is a fun and frantic tip of the hat to your favourite console games of yesteryear, with just enough difficulty to make it worth your while. Just remember not to cry when kids these days ask you what a "Gradius" is.
A rhythm-based Wario Ware type of game from Nitrome, in which you play colorful mini-game levels with a musical timing element. Destroy attacking fighters and tanks as Godzilla! Stake vampires as they rise in their coffins! Um...eat...stuff. It's all here, with three difficulty levels across four distinct stages, a different song in each level, and a final "mix-tape" stage that surreally switches context between the stages over the course of the song.
Yoshio Ishii, of Nekogames, succeeds in the ambitious endeavor to redesign Breakout. And while the game is still about destroying bricks to clear the board, what's gone is the boredom the game usually suffers from when trying to get that last brick or two. Instead, what we have is more of a twitch game where reflexes rule the landscape of a simulated (and antiquated) vector graphics display.
Think of the classic Space Invaders mixed with a dash of Galaga and you'd have a pretty good understanding of what Titan Attacks! is all about. The classic "aliens descending from above" scenario is showcased with a stylish, blocky pixel motif featuring a richer move-and-shoot routine than classic predecessors. Titan Attacks! took the golden age concept and loaded it with a variety of new action elements and ship upgrades.
If something considered "retro" gets remade, is it still considered retro? Such is the question to ponder while playing Arcadia Remix, the juiced-up retro remake of Gamelab's multitasking classic, Arcadia. This newer version adds to the retro insanity with more mini-games and gameplay features to make your head explode in a neon rainbow.
If "retro" to you means huge chunky pixels, bleeping and blerping sounds and gameplay that doesn't lead you by the hand, then Attack of the Meeplings may be just the game for you. This Java-based shooter is glorious, retro-styled fun from top to bottom, especially its soundtrack.
Hearken back to those adrenaline-happy days with Vector Runner, an arcade action game concerned purely with the sensation of speed. Control a humble blue cube on its journey down a futuristic highway, dodging deadly pyramids of various shapes and sizes. Wherever you need to be, you're going there fast.
After months of waiting, it's finally here! Nitrome has just rolled out Hot Air 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the balloon physics game Hot Air. The new incarnation is bigger, better, more intricate and more stylish than the original, proving it's possible to take an already polished game idea and turn it into something even better. Plus, you get to make your own balloons!
In Rat Maze 2, you are a mouse in a maze and you must collect all the pieces of cheese in the shortest time possible. Use the arrow keys for movement to zip around the maze. Running over a cheese is as good as eating it, so no time is wasted collecting them all. Simple retro fun from the highly talented developers at PixelJam.
Sunday Lawn, a game from the creator of Castle Smasher, Donut Games, puts you in control of Charlie whose job is to cut the grass around his house. Unfortunately there are dogs, hedgehogs, and various other obstacles standing in the way of monocotyledonous perfection.
Benjamin Colwell of Indie Flash Arcade has just released this remarkably attractive arcade Flash game that blends the casual gameplay of classic video games with a stylish (and stunning!) presentation. The result is POD: Planetary Orbital Defense, a 15-level shoot-em-up bonanza that culminates in a boss fight against an alien invasion.
In Flatland, it is your mission to destroy wave after wave of... things. You get points. OK, the idea isn't completely original, but the design is quite interesting. At first you start off in a tiny ship with litle armor and a miniscule weapon. Destroying enemies will cause them to explode in an array of large blocky pixels, the collection of which upgrades your ship. The interesting bit is that collecting an odd number of them gives you an odd shaped ship until you gather more and regain composure.
Snake Classic takes this simple game mechanic and gives it new life with catchy music, tons of gameplay options (how many dots to grab, sound effects, etc.) In addition you get to choose what colors your snakey protagonist will have using a grid of dots that looks like something out of a kid's dream box of marbles.
Pod Panic is a gorgeous little arcade Flash shooter that is simple to play and terribly addictive. Each level presents you with an increasing number of pods, round bumper-like objects that tend to gravitate towards your ship, and a string-creature that is rather hypnotizing to watch. Great old-school arcade fun in a tight little package.
Skatefall is John Freeborn's tribute to one of the earliest platformers, the Atari 2600's Pitfall! With a bodacious new skateboard, online scoreboard, bonus items and powerups, 2D platforming has a new name: Skatefall Harry. As a homage, Skatefall is extremely effective and faithful; the graphics and sound are perfect and the difficulty, while formidable, is appropriate.
Gamma Bros. is a deliciously slow-paced old-school space shooter created by PixelJam. It's written in flash and offers both an online version and downloadable files for the Mac and Windows. Although simple in looks and design, Gamma Bros. gives the illusion of a massive game world interspersed with moments of action and quiet space floating.
Rainbow Wars is a retro-style arcade shooter available as a free download for Windows, and it is one of those rare finds that becomes an instant favorite once you see it in action. Sporting similar controls to that of the classic Robotron, in which two joysticks are used to control movement and firing separately, this game captures the essence of a classic arcade experience in a well-developed albeit small package.
GridWars is a free downloadable (for PC or Mac) old-school-style shooting game that's remarkably similar to Geometry Wars on the Xbox. Your small ship sits in a one-screen grid and vectorized enemies spawn to attack. Use your any-directional gun to stay alive while you rake in points.
Hot Air is a delightful action game with irresistible pixel graphics reminiscent of an old-school Mario game. Navigate a hot air balloon from its green starting platform to the red landing platform within each level. To succeed you will need to maneuver around obstacles and onto platforms, collecting keys to open gates while avoiding just about everything that will make the balloon pop. Much easier said than done.
Another one for the classic games section, I made a reference to this game when reviewing Swarm due to the way the enemies swarmed onto the play field.
Galaca is a Java applet 'clone' of the classic action arcade game Galaga. Originally created by Namco and released as a coin-op amusement...
Let Swarm take you back to the golden days of classic arcade shooters with this fast-paced and addictive DHTML action game from Brent Silby. Like its name implies, bugs swarm onto the play field single-file, as in the classic arcade game Galaga, and begin infecting solar cells. Protect the cells by shooting the bugs to kill them off. You may also shoot the cells to disinfect them and earn additional points.
Pong was an amazing and innovative game in its time. Unfortunately, after the novelty wore off there just wasn't much gameplay left to hold our interest. And by today's standards, it's just too simple a game to be much fun anymore.
GameLab leverages the simplicity of Pong, as well as that...
A Worm's Life redefines the classic game of Snake and turns it into a fresh new experience. The game features an array of elements that change-up the gameplay formula of the simple arcade game and transforms it into even more addictive, fast action fun.
While on the topic of Snake, here is a variation of the game for all those who believe snakes should appear, and move in paths, with round edges.
Brent Silby has created one of the coolest arcade games I have played in a very long time. Think retro-cool as in Galaga, Defender, Centipede and Robotron, and you'll be close to what the action is like in surely one of his best games to date. Replicator captures the essence of arcade action fun and delivers it lovingly in a browser window.
This Mr. Driller clone, created in Flash by Max K., is a decent version of the original game by Namco. Driller uses the arrow keys for movement, and the space bar for drilling. The object is to drill down through the blocks as far as you can without running out of air, or getting crushed. The level of difficulty determines how many rows of blocks y...
The 1982 classic arcade game of Q*bert, re-created in Shockwave for online play over the Web. The object of the game is to move your Q*bert around the play field, hopping onto each square to turn it to the target color shown. While the default keys to use for movement are U, K, H, and M, the game does allow you to change them to suit your preferenc...
The classic game of Qix, released by Taito in the arcades back in 1981, and brilliantly reproduced in Flash by Drunk Men Work Here. The objective is to claim portions of the play field by drawing Stix, or block areas, with the cursor marker. This Flash version of the classic game is very close to the original design and captures the essence of the game well.
XGen Studios is behind this Flash game that is reminiscent of the old-school arcade games Dig Dug and Boulder Dash. Hired to mine the dangerous planet of Mars, you are given a robotic mining pod and sent off on a mission to bring home the Motherload, a fabled cache of rare and valuable minerals. Dig far below the surface of the Earth to earn money for upgrades and find treasure.
Written in Flash by Johnny Slack, an interactive multimedia technology student at Purdue, this version of Duck Hunt uses the mouse for aiming and shooting. It looks, acts and sounds just like the original (though it offers only one mode of play).
While on the subject of Pacman, several months ago there was a posting on Slashdot games about a Japanese programmer who re-created Pacman entirely in an Excel spreadsheet. Upon reading the story I was both amazed and curious, so I downloaded the zip file from the site linked-to in the story. And it really was Pacman, right down to the cut scenes b...
Another classic game, and this one needs no introduction. Arguably the single game that injected the most excitement into arcade video games during their infancy. Original game: copyright Namco, 1980; this version hand-coded in Flash by Paul Neave.
A fantastic Asteroids recreation from Shawn at Hot Flash Games, and boy does it rock! Very authentic classic gameplay with a serious modern soundtrack that just... ROCKS! Shawn did an excellent job designing the sound for the game, as it contains a mix of classic Asteroids samples and some phat rocking beats.