If you could rotate the world and change gravity, things like golf, juggling, balancing a spoon on your nose and standing upright after you've been laying down for three hours would be easy. Attracting Twist teases us with that concept by giving you control over the direction gravity flows, allowing you to move the game world and change where things "drop". Using this ability, your goal is to shoot your way to massive chain reactions as enemies slowly spawn near your ship.
Nitrome's latest release, Graveyard Shift, is a first person rail shooter reminiscent of classic arcade games like Time Crisis. You know, those stand-up cabinets with attached guns where you had to shoot off the screen to reload. Instead of plastic pistols, you're armed with your mouse, and instead of taking out bad guys, you're disposing of zombies, killer bugs, poisonous plants, and other Halloween-approved foes.
Gridrunner Revolution is a frantic, visually-intense shooter from Llamasoft. You play an unnamed little spaceman, alone and braving the neon, explosion filled depths of space. Suddenly, enemy ships approach. Do they want your ship? Your knowledge? A key piece of technology you have? Nobody knows. All that we can be sure of is if you blow enough of them up, space sheep wander on to the screen — and you can collect them.
Combining the visual presence of flOw with a few casual real-time strategy and shooting elements, Deep is an intriguing hybrid game that's friendly to a variety of playing styles. You control a single cell-like critter who can move and shoot in any direction, but you're also in charge of a thriving colony of warriors who want nothing more than to eliminate the enemy. Play it like a shooter, play it like a strategy game, or play it like a little bit of both. Either way, it's an interesting dive under the sea.
Neuron is an arena shooter battle between you and a multitude of evil, evil circles. Enemies spawn around the arena in waves, and your job is to kill them dead before they do the same to you. Kill or be killed, seems simple enough right? Now add in achievements, upgrades, perks, and particle effects a-plenty.
In Koi2, from the creators of Kissma, you play a man with blow-dried hair and a terrible sweater, sitting across from a woman who can best be described as "tolerant". The object of the game, as you both slide up and down on hydraulic lifts, is to poke her in the forehead with your finger as many times as you can in one minute. Yes, this is a game about forehead poking.
Pew Pew Pew Thwak. Thwap Thwup Splat, Wheeee! The review of Platypus could end there, but in the interest of, you know, explaining things, I'll continue. Platypus is a wonderfully unique side scrolling shooter created by Anthony Flack. Everything in the game — from the enemies to the backgrounds and even the weapons fire — is made from plasticine. This playable claymation shooter is filled with action and quirky design choices that have made it an instant cult-classic.
A little-known sequel to an even lesser-known original, UfoPilot 2: The Phadt Menace is a fun little action shooter that pays homage to the classic Defender, with gravity-based elements reminiscent of all those "moon lander" games that you've probably played throughout the last decade. You're tasked with leading rescue missions to save your fellow pilots, who are being held as prisoners-of-war by the Phadt Armada, a hostile alien enemy.
Force your affections on total strangers in Party-Tencho's Kissma, best described as… a shooter? Music game? Experimental whatsit? Retro crazy-fest? Anyway, it's very colorful, and it might change your life for the better. Or for the worse.
Godlaser, the opening salvo from new developer Pyew Pyew, is a vertically scrolling manic shooter, influenced by Treasure's Ikaruga. You can upgrade your ship with new skills and equipment between levels. Enemy bullets come in three different flavors, and you can render yourself invulnerable to them by switching your ship to the correct color. It's an incredibly ambitious and far-reaching shooter, especially for something playable in your browser.
Monolist, from Japanese developer (or possibly super-powered spy team) Polygon Gmen, is what you would get if you took classic Space Invaders gameplay, multiplied it by three, strained it through a net made of Arkanoid bonus drops, and then sprinkled in nine hundred million bullets. Like a recreational energy drink, it's cool, refreshing, burning sweet, and highly caffeinated.
Nitrome creative duo Simon Hunter and Aaron Steed have been very busy being amazing, and Fat Cat is the strange hybrid product of their amazingitude. It wears the face of an exacting bullet-fest such as The Last Canopy or Pararalyzer, but underneath, its heart pumps the blood of a tightly choreographed puzzle game. We've never seen anything quite like it.
Grey Matter is an anti-shooter, which means that you can't actually shoot. You are the bullet, and you attack by directly colliding with the exposed brain-meats of your enemies. It looks great and sounds even better. The gameplay has all the depth of a modern professional shoot-'em-up, thanks to the combo system. Grey-Matter is perfectly playable without using the Trinity Attacks, but if you do employ them, it becomes almost like a hyperactive, twitchy puzzle game.
Nion is a stylish arcade-style game that incorporates a number of gameplay modes, including puzzle, accuracy, speed, survival, and several combinations of the above. It's built around the simple mechanic of shooting shapes that hover around the top of the screen.
You are a plucky gun turret in the center of the screen that has to survive while bad guys attack you from all sides. Rotate the turret with your mouse and shoot the black-and-white enemies by clicking. If you see a coloured orb, do not shoot it. It's a power-up. The game is so very good in virtually every aspect of its design despite the lack of sound effects.
An arena shooter even casual gamers can enjoy, a sort of mash-up between Asteroids and Space Invaders where you pilot a tiny craft against waves of incoming enemies (which happen to be aliens and geometric shapes). Power-ups appear from time to time to give you a hand, but otherwise its just you and your reflexes keeping you alive.
Swarm Gold is an update to, and replacement for, the original Swarm created by Reflexive Entertainment back in 1998. The new Swarm Gold features an impressive emulated 3D graphics system and realistic sound. You have free range to fly around the entire map just as we've seen in many modern top-down shooters.
Survive as long as you can in Rapid Wars, the new addictive arcade shooter by Jussi Kari of ooPixel. Borrowing the two-fisted Robotron mechanic, and with a nod to Geometry Wars, Jussi creates gameplay that is frenetic, addictive and fun.
In this whiteboard strategy shooter, pilot a helicopter to defend against the red army's tanks, planes and other heavy artillery that shoot the crap out of you. Bomb the war factories for the sake of all markers of every color! There's something that takes off in the imagination when playing games like this that look like pen and paper—something has come to life that you're used to seeing static.
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 you've been itching for a new, fun side-scrolling shooter, Postal Panic is a game you don't want to pass up. It takes the side-scrolling action of an arcade shooter and throws in some upgrading, a wacky story line and an even wackier set of enemies. Instead of the typical outer space setting, you play the role of a postal worker (in some crazy alternate dimension) who pilots a fully-armed, mail delivery ship.
The Flash-based Pararalyzer from Japanese developer, Heriet, is an adrenaline-based manic shooter if ever there was one. From the opening screen, there is action galore and soon enough amazing bullet patterns criss-cross the screen in a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour. Unleash a seemingly endless stream of bullets toward the equally endless droves of enemies who are bent on destroying you.
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.
A good shoot'em-up is like a symphony. The enemies are the musicians, the bullets the notes. And the player is the soloist at center stage, riffing a melody over the chaos, flirting with death, performing miracles. The Last Canopy is a landmark Flash manic shoot'em-up that feels dramatic and entertaining from beginning to end, which is a testament to the level of detail and professionalism that Easy Only! Games is capable of.
ShoOot 2: revenge of square, a cathartic circle extermination simulator, is more of a spiritual successor than a direct sequel, since you can now move in two dimensions and the gameplay focus has shifted from overwhelming rapid-fire madness to a more deliberate and unusual rhythm. The very latest from the casual game master: Tonypa.
One of the entries to our 4th game design competition, Particle Blaster is a simple yet intense space shooter. You play as a small, triangular space ship whose only goal is to destroy everything that moves. Although it starts easy, you'll be hard pressed to make it through all 14 levels, let alone obtain the coveted A ranking.
Following in the well-trod footsteps of games like Geometry Wars and Robotron 2084, ZunderFury is a hardcore arena shooter that is happiest when it's overwhelming you with throngs of spiky blob-things. You can even spend money in between rounds to upgrade your ship, and the game comes with a full set of Xbox Live-style achievements, called "Feats", which is a smart way to personalize and flesh out the experience.
Ether Cannon is a new action shooter from Luke Paakh of Pop Ethos. You control a space ship which is the last hope of... Well it doesn't really say, but it seems urgent. It's a beautiful game, the particle effects in it are just brilliant, and the action it delivers is (mostly) smooth, polished, and pretty refreshing. The game does a great job of delivering lots of fast shoot-em-up fun without ever reaching a plateau.
In Ragdoll Invaders, the falling spikes are replaced with lasers and explosives, but lo and behold, your floppy ragdoll stickman is replaced with... another floppy ragdoll stickman. But wait, there's more! His arms, unlike the other stickman, have been replaced with DUAL CHAIN GUNS. Which have unlimited ammunition. This pretty much makes any game flipping hardcore.
Mr. MothBall 2: Cotton Carnage is a charming shooter from Polish artist Mateusz Skutnuk, author of both the Covert Front and Submachine point-and-click series of games. You control a white mothball trying to shoot down evil red mothballs in an adorable penciled world with pastel shading. The game is a spiritual sequel to Mr. MothBall platformer entered in our 4th game design competition.
Nanobots is the latest from the web-game nanofactory assembly line that is Nitrome. While not as inventive as some of its other releases, Nanobots takes your classic shoot-em-up, wraps it in a cool metaphor of nanomachines fighting inside a cell, and polishes it to a shiny finish. The result is one of the best Flash-based shmups on the internet.
A demo download for Windows only, Immortal Defense is a tower defense game with some aces up its sleeve. It's a game with impressive special effects and a captivating storyline, the latter of which is unusual in the tower defense genre. RPG Creations has put together a long-lasting demo experience should you be brave enough to take on the volunteer mission to fight millions of aliens using only the power of your consciousness.
Our most recent competition has shown some seriously inventive interpretations of the theme "Replay", and one of the standouts in that category is Carl Foust's Super Earth Defense Game. It's a typical side-scrolling shooter on its face but, in a unique twist, really shines once your ship gets destroyed.
From developer Sam Horton of Funface Games comes Oroboros, an action title that borrows from games such as flOw and Snake. You control Oroboros (the serpent forming a circle by swallowing its own tail) as you absorb energy clusters to unlock portals to new dimensions. As you progress, your tail grows to give you new abilities that let you combat the increasingly tough foes.
Zeta Flow is a Flash-based shmup in which you control an innocent little turret gun ship as you fight off giant mechanical enemies. Each level pits you against one evil ship, getting progressively bigger and badder from level to level. It's a fun game that plays great, and there's even a level editor, too!
One part shooter, one part visual/audio toy, Cubex by RoboJAM is a stunning Flash game reminiscent of the Dreamcast/PS2 musical shooter Rez. The first person view sends you flying through a futuristic corridor defending yourself against polygonal enemies that appear in the distance. With the mouse, simply move the target around the screen and pelt your foes with weapons fire. The throbbing techno beat in the background keeps things running right along, and each time you fire and destroy an enemy you add to the music.
I was skeptical and wasn't expecting much from Ricochet Infinity at first. There are a lot of Breakout clones out there, including a lot that use dynamic targets, the most impressive of which is Break Quest. And while Ricochet Infinity is no Break Quest, it is a highly engaging and addictive game that should satisfy both breakout and shmup fans alike.
Too often do we come across Flash games (especially shooters) that are either too brief or too repetitive. Luminara is a brilliant example of how to avoid those problems. It's simple enough: you are a dot and you fire bullets. And like any good game, the premise always stays exactly this simple. What gets more complex are the subsequent waves of enemies that come at you.
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 Rapture Capture, take control of a ship with a tug wire attached by waving the mouse back and forth. The tug wire is your only defense against incoming enemies and munitions, use it as a whip to take out anything that comes at you. The tip of the tug wire is especially powerful, as you can even capture enemies with it and whip them around as a weapon. It's fantastic!
From shmup guru Kenta Cho, L.A.2 is similar to John Conway's game of Life but, well, just the opposite. Instead of creating cellular automata, your job is to destroy them. Swarms of cells grow and multiply around the edges of the screen with the occasional enemy craft hidden amongst them. Maneuver around the screen charging your glider weapon and releasing it to destroy advancing cubes.
SlingStar is a space-themed shooter that uses realistic physics to make a strange game concept feel as natural as playing with a paddle and rubber ball. You pilot a small circle that must avoid everything on-screen. Your weapons are two orbiting satellites that you can sling back and forth to pummel enemy ships. By moving your craft back and forth, you send the satellites hurdling around you in a widening path.
Bubble Tanks is a hypnotic and relaxing shooter if ever there was one. Man your bubble ship on an excursion through a vast bubble field seeking out hostiles to assimilate. The more bubbles you collect, the larger your ship and the greater your weapon become. But as you grow so do the enemies that you will find around you. It addictive and relaxing, a dangerous combination.
A brand new game from varStudios, the creators of Neon Wars 2, has recently graced the internet: Abstract Sea. Using simple but stylish visuals and a nice electronica soundtrack, the game puts you in control of an armed ship at sea fending off enemy attacks. The game has a very visceral feel to it with screen-shaking explosions and a few power-ups floating atop the deep blue sea.
Orange, a follow up to the first color-themed game Red, is another physics-based Flash project by designer Case. In the center of the screen sits a heavy orb. You control a mobile orange dot with the mouse and can fire shots at the nearest object. Move around the screen shooting at the orb in an attempt to push it off the screen. Get too close, though, and its gravity starts to pull you in.
The rather strange online flash game Toon Crisis 2 combines photographs of real locations in the UK with cartoon enemies leaping out of bushes to attack you, all in the traditional click and shoot style. If you think that's weird, check out the weapon: your right hand with thumb and forefinger extended.
Often I think to myself what I would do if I was ever in a futuristic jet on a futuristic highway chasing tanker trucks, launching missiles at them, and all the while avoiding sentry and assault drones. With Damien Clarke's new game, Jet Speed, I no longer have to ponder this theoretical scenario in my head—I actually get to give it a try!
Borrowing a page from the book of Ikaruga, the absurdly talented developers of Stimunation Games have just released this stunning Flash shooter that will make your jaw drop and your eyes water from ogling the screen for hours.
Nobuyuki Forces 3 takes the duck-and-fire frenzy of Time Crisis and dumps it into your browser window. Playing a secret agent infiltrating the soldier-infested base of a power-hungry politician, you must survive several intense levels of shooting action while upgrading your stats and gathering items along the way.
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.
Pixel Blaster is a simple and stylish flash-based shooter by Tom Thornton of ThorGaming. Waves of stark white ships appear in the circular playing field and attack your vessel. With a remarkably useful charge shot and two-handed controls, you must fend off dozens of enemies before plunging into an intense boss battle. The game is vaguely reminiscent of GridWars but places a stronger emphasis on physics and old fashioned ship blasting rather than overwhelming you with dozens of enemies at once.
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.
Spheres of Chaos is gorgeous in motion, with extremely smooth animation amid literally hundreds of enemies and explosions (and up to 8 simultaneous players!). Far more than just a nostalgic tribute to Asteroids, SoC is a fascinating, unique and memorable classic in its own right.
Featuring a couple of new and more difficult enemies, and controls that allow for more variation in gameplay, Neon 2 succeeds in taking this very enjoyable idea to the next level. Ali has done a fine job at updating an already excellent shooter and making it not only better than the original, but also into a somewhat different experience. Sure it looks similar, and yet it feels different.
Red offers up a brand new take on a classic gameplay mechanic in this simple and new, stylish arcade shooter that plays a little like Missile Command. Some of the most enjoyable games with addictive gameplay are based on very simple ideas, and Red is no different in this regard.
Panic is a simple and stylish arcade game made in homage to a classic on the Commodore 64, Astro Panic. Made in Flash and sporting an impressive new soundtrack as well as eye-pleasing particle effects, Panic plays like a cross between Space Invaders and Pang.
You know that dream, the one where you're walking down the streets of London listening to the frantic sounds of Gogol Bordello, when homicidal cartoons start spilling out of the scenery? Me neither, but thanks to Toon Crisis I know how to handle myself in just such a situation.
Ray-Hound is a simple, well executed downloadable Windows shmup with a creative twist that sets it apart from other indie or commercial releases. Like Ohkubo's previous game, Warning Forever, Ray-Hound is a tiny download and absolutely free.
Although you may have played similar games recently, such as Geometry Wars, Grid Wars, Rainbow Wars, and the like, this next one was very nicely done in Flash and requires no download other than the usual loading within a browser. Engaging from the second it starts, Neon is one of those rare games that just feels great to play.
Up next is a great pair of Java shmups (shoot-em-ups). Both are simple and small, and yet each offers an unusual idea; there are no run-of-the-mill 1942 or Gradius clones here. The miniscule Fuzetsu was Jos Hirth's entry in the Java 4k competition, and HIZ's Lash is a shmup with a defensive twist.
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.
Uchuwars is a classic-style shmup with weapon power-ups and bombs. I found this shmup when I visited Babarageo for the banner game reviewed recently on JIG. The instructions are in Japanese, but it didn't take long to figure out what to do.
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.
Invader360 is a great little Flash based tube shooter, similar to arcade classics Tempest, Gyruss or, more recently, ABA Games' downloadable Torus Trooper. Developer f1ash brings this exotic branch of the shmup tree to life with frantic action and a minimal, well defined style.
Warning Forever is a downloadable 2D shooter written by Hikoza Ohkubo of Hikware software. You pilot a tiny green ship with a single versatile weapon and must face off against a constant stream of bosses. No stages, no obstacles, no power-ups, just epic fights with massive enemy ships. And the surprising thing is they learn from your patterns and fight back. Yikes.
Mono is a downlodable Windows game that is described as 'one part Asteroids, one part Robotron, and one part Paint Shop Pro'. Created by the talented guys over at Binary Zoo, you play as a plucky yet resourceful circular object set on changing its surroundings from black to white (or white to black, depending on mode). Coupled with three difficulty modes and the ability to import your own music, Mono is a well-designed little game.
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.
Megatons of action packed into a tight little Flash package that features appealing graphics and effects, and a dynamite soundtrack. Combat Heaven is an insanely great shooter with periods of non-stop over-the-top action that is intense and gratifying. Amazing fun awaits just beyond the learning curve.
One of the first playable games available from the promising Dot-Invasion studio, Meteor Busters is a simple and beautifully designed top down shooter. If you're already a fan of shmups or retro pixels, you'll probably appreciate Meteor Busters. The graphics are lovely and extremely polished and the gameplay is fun while it lasts.
Robobug Blaster is a gorgeous platform shooter with an unusal vertical orientation. The object of the game is to protect the cargo boxes, as they travel from top to bottom along the conveyor belts, from the cargo-hungry robobugs. The robobugs will latch onto a box and damage it quickly, so fast action is required to navigate the entire system and keep the path clear.
Another amazing shoot-em-up just released from the ultra-talented folks at Bloc Media in the UK. Pop Pirates is an arcade shooter with a hi-tech computer network security theme: Prepare to be digitized to eradicate all bugs and virus threats while reclaiming your music files as you go. Shmup-dilly-umptious and terribly addictive!
An fantastic Flash shoooter with fast action and stunning visuals, ShoOot is the certainly one of the greatest and most addictive games from the house of Tonypa. Borrowing an element of gameplay from Pang and Duo, the veteran casual game developer serves up an accessible and immediately gratifying experience using Web-efficient stylized graphics.
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.
Flash-in-the-Can 2005 award winner, Grant Skinner, has put together an impressive and ambitious pseudo-3D first-person shooter in Flash. There is even a back-story in case you need a reason to shoot at cute little creatures.
Puki: The Swarm begins after a routine mission to a space station, in a far away...
Uminin strikes once more with this gorgeous Flash shmup from his Flash Game Zone website, titled: Floatin' Assault. Well, that's not exactly the way he spells it, and yet I am sure that is what he means. =)
Floatin' Assault offers two different fighter types to choose from: Heavy and Standard....
Bloc Media is responsible for the latest Club 404 diversion on Sony's Playstation UK website: an amazing Flash shooter that is packed with fun and gameplay to boot. And you're in for a real treat, because just a peek under the hood of this little shmup reveals a stash of pleasant...
Jumping right into some addictive gameplay after finals is just what I need to escape from all the stress and pressure. I want something fast with lots of action and adrenaline, lots of explosions and particle effects, and a rocking soundtrack.
Brent Silby's DNA delivers on all of these fronts. The...
The über-talented Preloaded folks have done it again and released another Flash game to promote their own skillz, and this one does a fine job of showing off the Flash magic they are capable of. Heart Attack is an arcade action shooter in which you play as Cupid trying to save the love from the darkside by shooting arrows at little devils and other assorted gremlins.
Arguably one of the greatest video games of all time, and certainly one of the classics, Asteroids was released to the arcades by Atari in 1979. Twenty-five years later the game is still captivating gamers with its gameplay and its physics.
But Belter is better.
From creator Russ Duckworth's Truantduck Games comes...
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.
Alien Hominid is a fast-paced 2D side-scroller in which players must run, jump and shoot their way across the globe in pursuit of the alien's coveted UFO. Also sporting 2-player madness, this game is a truly original title with outstanding hand drawn cel-shaded graphics and animation.
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).
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.