To celebrate Earth Day (April 22), National Geographic has sponsored Plan It Green, a casual building sim in the style of Build-a-lot that joins the sparsely populated ranks of "green" games. True to its name, Plan It Green focuses on boosting your energy credits by designing green buildings and communities using four types of structures. It also manages to have an environmentally friendly message that doesn't smack you over the head at every turn.
With a solid story and hours of gameplay, Cindy's Travels: Flooded Kingdom is a game that builds upon the basic match-3 mechanic with additional gameplay elements. While character perspective may take a bit to get used to, it certainly doesn't detract from the fun packed into this title. Take up Cindy's mirror, clear the land of refuse, and get back to the business of "happily every after."
Are you ready for adventure? Are you ready for mayhem? Are you . . . feeling a bit peckish? Then grab yourself some crackers and your favourite brand of cheese and get comfy in your favourite sweater vest. Telltale Games, developers of the equally tasty Sam and Max games, have just released the first adventure in a new series plucked straight from the popular British cartoon and movie, Wallace and Gromit. Fright of the Bumblebees is point-and-click adventure at it's finest in a rollicking good time with everyone's favourite cheese-loving inventor and his beleaguered pooch.
- • Icy Tower
- • Frog Hunt
- • Zombiepox
- • Gate
This week, three of the four games featured come from the development group Free Lunch Design. Why? Because one of their games turned this writer onto the world of free games and further to that, in all its history JIG has featured just one of their games. What better way to say, thanks for all the lost time spent playing, then to shine a bit of light on their highlights.
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.
Hey look, it's Dream Chronicles 3: The Chosen Child! The latest installment in the Dream Chronicles series has arrived, and its as breathtakingly brilliant everyone would expect. A little bit of hidden object finding, a little bit of puzzle solving, but a whole lot of adventuring can be found in this superb sequel, along with some of the most gorgeous scenery you've seen since looking out your own window (assuming you live in a fantasy world with fairies, fountains, and vibrant gardens). It's an excellent follow-up to the previous Dream Chronicles games and a fantastic game in its own right.
We've just finished a complete walkthrough (with images) for Dream Chronicles 3: The Chosen Child!! Be warned: contains major spoilers, so proceed only as a last resort. Be sure to read our review of Dream Chronicles 3.
It's been quite a while since I've been genuinely excited about a hidden object game. They usually look fantastic with immense effort put into the artwork, but the hidden object aspect of things suffers from a lack of diversity along with a handful of poor mini-games thrown in because, well, that's the done thing these days, isn't it? So I'm very happy to say that Flux Family Secrets: The Ripple Effect is a quality addition to the hidden object genre. And I like it!
Bumps is the latest physics puzzler from Utopian Games, and it has cute coming out of its ears. It's a charming combination of games like Eets and Loco Roco-esque Tau-ri Bedrock or Rolando. Bumps is something a little different: a little bit of strategy, a little bit of experimentation, and a lot of bubbly-eyed cuteness. Bumps is a great diversion for any afternoon!
Paradoxion is a classic logic puzzle game from VSBgames. Not the head-pounding hurts-your-brain kind of logic, this one's a sit and stare, look and compare sort of game. Using gems, orbs and other materials from your inventory, arrange everything on the grid to set off chain reactions that clear the board. It's a relaxing game that manages to stay challenging without resorting to timed rounds or combo systems.
This week, word skills and paint skills will go head to head in a dazzling array of visual and wordy deliciousness. In the left corner we have the book smarts, with knowledge of words and quick thinking. In the other corner, painting, featuring brushes, stamps and a burning desire to see a creative vision realized. It's the author vs. the auteur in this weeks... Weekend Download.
Is your current job getting you down? Does it feel like you need a microscope to look at your paycheck, or like your boss doesn't truly appreciate your creativity, knack for finding hidden objects, and aptitude at matching three or more objects of the same color? Are you at a dead end in your career? Cheer up! An exciting field is open and waiting for you as an Alchemist's Apprentice!
How great is it to be a detective? You wear expensive suits, your hair always looks perfect no matter what angle you're seen from . . . oh! And of course you get to utilize everything from hidden objects, spot-the-difference, fun puzzles and more to catch your man! And if you do it by playing one of Big Fish Games' newest releases, CSI:NY, you get to do it all with a substantially decreased likelihood of getting shot! And hey, who doesn't like not getting shot?
The land of Wonderburg has been laid to waste by evil minions, and it is up to a wizard and a stalwart gnome to travel the lands putting right what has gone wrong. That is the premise of the time management strategy game Wonderburg. While it doesn't venture far beyond what games like the Build-a-lot series have established, it's a charming title that stands firmly on its own two feet.
- • Annie Android
- • You Probably Won't Make It
- • Assassin Blue
- • Ping Pong!
- • House Globe
You like old games, right? Games that were made before everyone had a computer in their home. Or games that were made last week and just look like they came out of the decade that brought us Prince, Trapper Keepers, and rolled-down socks. Simplicity knows no age, of course, and that's just what these games strive for in one way or another.
The Legend of Crystal Valley is a mini-epic adventure game with an eclectic mix of fantasy and sci-fi elements. Gather items, solve both environmental and inventory puzzles, and examine everything you see as you travel through over 150 locations, each just as extraordinary as the last.
One of the more unique tower defense titles that's been released this year, Plant This! is a highly-stylized, maze-based strategy game. Instead of featuring a pre-defined path for "creeps" to follow like we see in most tower defense games, it employs the "open field" design, in which you create the path by using your towers to corral the creeps down the map as inefficiently as possible.
Be a King is a new fantasy strategy title from 300AD. It follows in the tracks of games such as King Mania, Forgotten Lands: First Colony, and the Build-a-Lot series and blends a streamlined building-centric real-time strategy game with a handful of casual knowhow.
- • Pac-Man Physics
- • King
- • 30 Second Hero
- • Zombie Holiday Prologue
What, no theme this week? Actually, there is. The theme is... uh, eclectic. Meaning a collection of things which just happen to go together because I say so. Enjoy this weeks partially themed Weekend Download!
Sea Journey is... well, it's Puzzle Quest with pirates! Built around a tile-swapping Bejeweled-like game, you venture into the great blue ocean in search of treasure, upgrading your vessel along the way. Each match 3 game you play is a fierce battle at sea, complete with cannon salvos and mystical spells conjured by talismans.
Combining some of the best parts of Animal Crossing and Virtual Villagers with a sprinkling role playing know-how, Wandering Willows is something so incredibly alluring you'll burn through a few hours of game time before you realize what hit you. It's a pet-raising recipe-collecting item-bartering friend-gaining character-customizing leveling-up collect-a-thon!
From Spiritonin, creator of Adult Swim's Death Vegas, comes Capoeira Fighter 3, a 2D fighting game with a free online demo and full-fledged downloadable version. Featuring more than two dozen playable characters and a refined, logical system of combos, it's one of the rare fighting games that captures the nostalgia from the genre's heyday while updating everything to fit in with a new generation of gamers.
Curse of the Pharaoh 2: Napoleon's Secret is a hidden-object game with added puzzle elements, such as spot-the-difference games. It's a direct sequel to Curse of the Pharaoh: Quest for Nefertiti and captures the same sense of adventure as the original, now in a new setting with all-new puzzles to solve.
The well-received Farm Frenzy series of time management games has now expanded to include... pizza? HA! I'm joking. Wait, no I'm not. Even funnier than my little gag there is the fact that Farm Frenzy Pizza Party is actually a good game. It doesn't innovate much beyond what the first two titles layed out, but the addition of some new buildings and new products adds a decidedly more strategic twist to the experience.
- • Abuse
- • TAGAP
- • Easter Avenger
In platform games, its standard fare to jump over or on top of your enemies. Occasionally you are granted a weapon with the rather limited range of directly in front of you. Fortunately, every now and then, an often overlooked method of weaponry is employed: control the hero with your left hand on the keys, while simultaneously aiming anywhere on screen with the mouse, providing 360° of free-firing joyous joy.
The Clockwork Man is a beautifully illustrated hidden object game from Total Eclipse. Set in a stunning steampunk world, you follow aspiring engineer Miss Miranda Calomy and her clockwork companion Sprocket as they travel from London across the seas and beyond. The adventure doesn't stray far from the hidden object standard, but the story and setting are exquisitely presented and the game itself a true joy to experience.
Ever wanted to combine a hidden object game with a riddle-centric room escape title? Like strawberries and bananas, the two genres go together remarkably well, as Elephant Games' Lost in the City eloquently showcases. Steeped in mystery, you travel from room to room finding items, solving puzzles, deciphering riddles and completing simple mini-games as you unravel a particularly intriguing storyline filled with strange plot twists.
4 Elements combines classic puzzle matching gameplay with a hidden object game and just a dash of fairy tale fantasy for good measure. Help restore the power of the elements to protect the land from an evil power.
- • Jetpack
- • God of Thunder
- • UrthWurm
- • Revenge of Froggie
- • Primrose
A lot of games featured on JIG are intensive. They require Flash 10, or Unity or some sort of graphics card capable of displaying something more than monochrome. However, sometimes gamers just don'thave the latest hardware requirements to play the latest whiz-bang flavour of the month. So without further ado, here are a selection of games developed for the trusty old DOS system.
Women's Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey is the latest installment in the murder mystery/hidden object adventure game series based on the books and television program of the same name. Investigating the death of a young boy, you play the role of several different experts, each with a specialization and accompanying gameplay mode. Gather evidence and clues and piece things together in the forensics lab to solve the mystery!
The Wonderful End of the World is an off-kilter, Katamari Damacy-like game where your only goal is to pick up random junk scattered across the world. Terra, the goddess of the earth, knows that the world's inevitable doom is coming, so she uses a puppet on the earth to collect as much stuff as she can, for rebuilding the world later.
Cleaning up is rarely fun to do. Unless you're cleaning someone else's mess, right? Hmm, no? How about if you're cleaning up someone else's mess in a casual game? That's the surprisingly successful recipe for fun in Nanny Mania 2 Goes to Hollywood. After helping Mayor Whitby and his family in the original Nanny Mania, Emma moves on to help Sophia Ashford, an incredibly wealthy woman who can't seem to keep her family affairs in order. It's your job to help raise the children, care for pets, and keep the house spotless as clueless teenagers leave unmade beds and babies create problems of their own.
- • Mario Paint Composer
- • Mono World
- • Balldroppings
- • The Crowd
When you think about it, music is all around us. That's usually because we have our iPods in our ears. Or our MP3s blasting through our computer. Or some concert DVD on the telly. Or we have the radio on. The point is, now you can play games and actually make music at the same time, isn't that something!
The Serpent of Isis is a new hidden object game by Gamgo with some considerable mystery and adventure game elements added into the mix. Beneath the ever shifting sands of Egypt, untold treasures remain buried. These are the kinds of treasures that drive men mad, possessing the minds of the adventurous and luring explorers into catacombs that twist and writhe beneath ancient pyramids. The Serpent of Isis was just such a treasure, and your grandfather was just such an explorer.
In Ice Blast you take control of Skye, Luna, and Sun and destroy ice crystals to restore the world to its happy warm-like state. Using a fun puzzle/strategy layout reminiscent of The Lost Vikings, you must find the most efficient way to clear each field of ice to earn points and upgrade the girls' abilities.
Unwell Mel is a light-hearted and humorous match-3 puzzle game. In the grid comprised of Mel's organs (some of which are shaped like dogs and birds, which we'll assume is normal), click two adjacent pieces of food to swap them and form a line of three in a row to clear them. Thrown in with the food are medical packs, which can restore your power-ups, and bugs that, in some instances, actually help you clear away disease.
- • DroneSwarm
- • Beast Invaders 2
- • Boidtrancer Maniac
- • The Fool and His Money
Shooters! Shmups! Games where you hit buttons and destroy things! Vertically scrolling, arena, clones, remakes, minimalistic... shooting games! Thusly is the theme of this edition of Weekend Download. Except for that other game at the bottom...
The Wizard is missing and with the help of his magical pen you must conjure up all that is hidden to find him. This game is about finding what's missing, both by revealing pictures in magical books, and figuring out from the word clues which items are NOT in the scene. With the magic pen you reconstitute the mysterious invisible world to make it visible.
Dreamsdwell Stories is a unique match-3 type puzzle game with some strategy game (as in the village building variety such as Totem Tribe or Westward III) elements that build into the experience. Wrapped in a package of crisp, sometimes beautiful, graphics and catchy theme music, the core of Dreamsdwell will have you enjoying the game for hours.
Boonka is a cute, kid-safe and surprisingly challenging puzzle game with unique gameplay that combines strategy, timing and satisfying explosions. A luscious green paradise has been invaded by Skours, nasty black clouds who cut down trees and turn the whole world grey, chasing away the adorable rainbow-coloured Boonkas and generally being total downers. The sage Bababoonka introduces you to each tree, and gently encourages you through the process of growing them from a stunted stump to a magnificent specimen of hardwood by doing what you do best: making color matches and blasting them skywards!
- • Jumpman
- • Kakuro Nichiyou
- • Where
- • Classic Night
Four simple but stunning games this week, ranging from strikingly bare-bones to the artistically slanted. Classic Night breathes a rare sense of wonder into a normally stale genre, while Where doesn't pull any tricks and simply drops you in a gorgeously-drawn maze.
Point and click adventure games will never die, thanks in part to the efforts of Wadjet Eye Games, creator of the Blackwell series, The Shivah, and now, Emerald City Confidential. In the studio's latest title you are cast in the role of Petra, a young private eye trying to make a living in the strange Wizard of Oz-inspired world known as Emerald City. The handdrawn artwork is utterly captivating, the storytelling and writing top-notch, and the game itself is a package you won't be able to tear yourself away from.
Loco Mogul is a new casually-oriented sim game from ApeZone. Accurately described as a cross between Oasis and Railroad Tycoon, your job is to survey uncharted territory, build a railway connecting towns, then run a train from station to station, picking up and delivering shipment carts as efficiently as possible. It's an ambitious combination of genres that plays both like a strategy game and a resource management title, complete with rail-themed music and visuals.
- • Din
- • Restraining Order
- • The Illusory Persistence of LOVE
Hello humans, and welcome to the Global Game Jam edition of Weekend Download! The GGJ is a three-day event held in dozens of cities around the world. People show up, pitch their ideas based on a theme, form groups and start making games! The results (of which there are also dozens) range from spectacular to quirky to artistic to downright weird, but all show enormous creativity in one way or another.
A new addition to the Wonderland series, retro-themed isometric puzzle/adventure games that are of the best around. They retain the spirit of what makes the genre so enjoyable while adding new, more modern twists to the experience. Wonderland is threatened once again, only this time the quest to save the world goes terribly wrong. Shipwrecked and marooned on the shores of Fire Island, its your job to maneuver through sets of puzzle challenges and make your way to freedom.
- • Syberia
- • Dracula: Origin
- • Syberia II
Hungry for a good, meaty adventure game? We've got three excellent titles that will draw you in with a deep story, keep you hooked with delicious artwork, and perplex you at every turn with some seriously challenging puzzles. They may not be as casual as some might prefer, but they more than make up for it with a heavy-hitting presentation and well-designed gameplay.
- • NUD
- • MacHeist 3
- • Afterlife: Rickard's Quest
If you were looking for the latest edition of Weekend Download, I'm sorry to inform you it's been in a terrible accident involving scissors, a blowtorch, and those annoying little pudding cups in the aluminum tins that, if you snap off the "easy open" tab, suddenly become an impenetrable fortress of pudding protection.
Nick Chase: A Detective Story is a gritty, film noir-style casual adventure game flavored with hidden object scenes and loads of delicious inventory puzzles. Based on classic detective stories and graphic novels, you follow the down-and-out Nick Chase as he embarks upon his first job in ages. From his messy office to shady hideouts of even shadier characters, you'll have to use your own detective skills to piece together evidence and solve puzzles. It's one of the most enjoyable detective games I've played in quite a while, and the stellar voice acting and gorgeous hand-drawn art scores major points in my book.
The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge is an unconventional point-and-click narrative adventure by Jonas Kyratzes, the same developer who brought us Infinite Ocean and Museum of Broken Memories. It's not actually a game, per se, so much as a trans-dimensional portal or a window. Above all else, this game is a story. A cute, endearing, wonderful story that gradually peels back its soft-edged veneer to reveal something that is indeed a little sinister, thrusting the player from humor into apprehension into sadness.
Laxius Force is your latest old-school fix. Inspired by classic 16-bit role playing games, Laxius Force boasts 17 playable characters, multiple storylines that gradually weave together an intriguing plot, and original artwork and music. All while battling countless foes, earning experience, and equipping your party with powerful weapons and armor.
- • Walkie Tonky
- • Tag: The Power of Paint
- • Puzzle Quest: Galactrix
- • Legend of Princess
It's a weekend of power-hitting downloads! *shock and awe* Four huge games lurk below, each bearing the hopes and dreams of a different set of gamers on its respective creative shoulders. It's enough to make a grown gamer cry. *sniffle*
Based on the Defoe classic, Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is a game that straddles the now-familiar gap between hidden object and adventure genres. Young Robinson Crusoe was born to a merchant in the mid 1600s, but his heart belonged to the sea. After years of traveling across the oceans, a storm ravages his vessel, stranding him on a deserted beach. His ship seems mostly intact, so Crusoe boards it in the hopes of finding food, supplies, and any surviving shipmates. It's your job to help the boy stay alive and repair the ship so he can find his way home.
A game that combines the standard hidden object game with a detective story and forensic tools, in the vein of the CSI games or Women's Murder Club. Play as Detective Carrie Chase as you question suspects, hunt for clues, and rummage through run-down apartments in search for a murderer.
PrismaPix is a logic puzzle game that uses elements of Minesweeper and Conceptis Puzzles' Fill-a-Pix to create a new kind of experience that's both challenging and intriguing at the same time. Use clues to fill in spaces on the grid, switching between different layers (colors" to complete the entire image.
- • Aquarium
- • Little Ghost Joe
- • Nexuiz
- • Harvest: Massive Encounter
Two tiny games and one behemoth in this edition of Weekend Download. Aquarium and Little Ghost Joe are both rather cutesy and simple, whereas Nexuiz is gritty, serious, and all shooty with guns and stuff. Variety's neat, innit?
Chocolatier: Decadence by Design is the latest installment in the popular Chocolatier series. Decadence by Design returns Chocolatier to its original format, allowing you to make chocolates in factories, explore new ports around the world, running errands and completing quests. So, even though this sequel is set a half a century after the first, fans of the original Chocolatier will feel right at home.
From the creator of Youda Camper comes another overtly-titled casual game: Youda Farmer. In this resource management sim you play the role of a farmer growing and gathering crops and other food products to sell in town for profit. Using the money you earn, buy new facilities and upgrade existing ones, stimulating the town itself to open new shops and expand current ones.
The premise of the time management/hidden object game Fabulous Finds is that your eccentric old Aunt from Carmel, California (most famous to me as the town where Clint Eastwood was Mayor for a time) died and left you her house with all her crap, er, priceless treasures in it. You're stuck with the property taxes, so you'll need to have a garage sale!
- • Spaceball 2000
- • Squid Yes! Not So Octopus!
- • The Manipulator
We polled over 800,000 random people on the street and asked them one simple question: are you a squid, or are you an octopus? The response was overhwelmingly the former, prompting us to re-evaluate our personal belief systems so that squid occupied the highest echelon of importance.
Totem Tribe manages to pull together some of the best elements from a number of popular casual games and create something twice as engaging without upping the complexity. Gone are resource managing, complex building/unit requirements, and villagers who act while you're away, but in are over 20 islands to explore, friendly and not-so-friendly characters to encounter, mini-quests to earn spells, and unlockable artifacts that grant your tribe special abilities.
Build-a-lot has a new competitor in town: Divo Games' Be Rich, a strategy-oriented casual tycoon game of real estate planning, building and investing. The game's title gives away your ultimate goal of raking in cash by constructing and upgrading houses in various cities to increase your profits and up your credibility. It takes a more real estate-centric approach to building than the Build-a-lot series does, although the similarities between the games are hard to ignore.
- • Caster
- • Abandoned
- • greenTech
Serious question: if you were a failed experiment of genetic engineering, what would be your weakness? In the case of the poor critter from this week's game Abandoned, it's a limited supply of oxygen. Personally, I would be unable to comb my hair without first dislocating my left shoulder. Think about it. That'd be a rough life.
Petri Purho of Kloonigames has a reputation for churning out experimental prototypes in a matter of days. In 2007 one of these prototypes was the sandbox-style puzzle game Crayon Physics. The premise was simple — use a "crayon" to draw shapes that immediately come alive and interact with each other, the ultimate goal being to collect a star somewhere on the screen. The experiment was a hit, and soon it was announced that a full-fledged version of the game was in the works: Crayon Physics Deluxe.
Now here's a new genre-crossing idea: a hidden object game and mahjong-style tile matching. Bet even your strangest of late night dreams wouldn't have paired those two, would they? Liong: The Lost Amulet dares to try something different with the Chinese-themed item finding/tile matching game. The visual presentation and soundtrack are nothing short of exotic, and the gameplay mashes some interesting ideas into an unfamiliar frame that works better than you might imagine.
While Depths of Peril focused heavily on strategy and diplomacy, Kivi's Underworld is a lot more action-oriented; in some regard, what you might expect from a platformer, even though it's an isometric, top-down RPG game. Instead of a sprawling game-world like in most RPGs, you'll find a progressing series of level-like "adventures" with quests, achievements, new characters to unlock and skills to beef up.
From newcomer World Loom comes the latest resource management game to take the action out of the diner/restaurant/shop/airport: Fix-it-Up: Kate's Adventure. More of a business simulation along the lines of Build-a-lot, you must help Kate expand her profits by buying cars at low prices, fixing them up, and selling them for a hefty profit. The combination of time management and business acumen creates a delightful final product made even better by its whimsical art style and soundtrack.
- • Spelunky
- • Gravity Bone
- • Widelands
- • Ivory Mahjongg
If you ask me (trust me, you did... and if you didn't, you know you wanted to), the selection of games on this edition of Weekend Download are some of the most well-rounded and fulfilling titles ever to grace a single article. We've got a pixel-perfect 2D platformer, a 3D spy game, an old favorite RTS title re-imagined in open source, and the classic mahjong puzzle game. Can I get a "YAY!" along with a few high fives?!!
Casual sim/strategy fans (and anyone who enjoyed Virtual Villagers or My Tribe) take note: Westward III: Gold Rush has arrived! Following last spring's release of Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier, the third installment in the series continues the new 3D visual style and basic premise introduced in the second game. Take control of three new heroes as you collect resources, construct farms, saloons, granaries and more to keep your settlers happy and healthy.
A follow-up to the 2008 hit Escape the Museum, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure continues to bend the hidden object/adventure barrier with a captivating game of inventory puzzles and interactive scenery. You play Dr. Susan Anderson, an archaeologist who receives a treasure hunter's journal and embarks on quests to find new pieces for her museum. The slick visuals paired with an impeccable presentation and strong puzzle design make it a solid entry in the cross-genre adventure wars.
Heartwild Solitaire is "made for romance readers", so if your second-favourite thing after casual gaming is sinking into a hot tub with a lychee bath bomb and a copy of Love's Turgid Kransky, you're going to love this game. The nice thing is, if you're the sort of person who prefers lampoon romance novels with titles like Love's Turgid Kransky, you'll still enjoy the challenging gameplay, soothing music and intense colours.
- • Verge
- • From Primordial Egg
- • Eversion
- • Lost in Eldritch
- • Theatre of Cruelty
The recent TIGSource Commonplace Book Competition has ended, yielding heaps of creative, unusual, and slightly dark games. Entrants were challenged with using a line from H.P. Lovecraft's "Commonplace Book", a notebook of disjointed, cryptic ideas, and create a game around these snippets of text. Below are a few of the top picks as chosen by the TIGSource community.
Top Chef is based on Bravo Channel's reality program of the same name, which takes a batch of fifteen confident up-and-coming chefs and eliminates them through a series of culinary challenges each week until only one remains. The game puts you in the shoes of one such aspiring chef and, with your help, she's going to chop, saute, and julienne her way to the top through fifteen episodes and a whopping forty-five challenges.
An entrant into the 2009 Independent Games Festival, 2DEngine's Chains is a game of color connecting that puts a new spin on the same-game genre. Twenty unique levels challenge the player to clear circles while balancing a coat hanger, cleaning a clogged pipe, painting a pyramid, and dodging giant pinball flippers. But of course, we all do that every weekend, don't we?
In Cortex Command, you assume the role of a disembodied brain (floating in a jar, actually) that's able to network with—and telepathically control—a variety of machines and soldiers. The basic premise is that you're setting up shop on hostile alien worlds to mine for resources, while your enemy is doing the same. Superficially, it sounds more like a real-time strategy game than a turn-based warfare game, which is one of the main reasons Cortex Command has so much potential; it's both.
Casual games built around sets of mini-games are gaining popularity, as are pared-down strategy titles that keep the spirit of the genre intact while trimming the bloat. Then something like Floating Kingdoms comes along and somehow manages to combine both: a simplified strategy game that's one part resource management, two parts mini-games. And it does it in a light-hearted, fun kind of way that just about any age group can enjoy.
- • A Tale of Two Kingdoms
- • The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge
- • AssaultCube
- • Hideous Sounds in the Dark
His consequent newspaper exceeds orange juice after a patronized disclaimer. The vehicle concatenates soil. When can soil compose above an individual? A deserted outline ministers to soil past a rotten attribute. WEEKEND DOWNLOAD WOOOO!
Hidden object adventure games are a well established genre now, meaning that the way games distinguish themselves is through presentation — beautiful artwork or a well-developed story. Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser's Submarines has chosen to go with a fictionalised version of the life of Mata Hari, born Marguerite Zelle. The names of real people are used, but the story itself is pure speculation. All told in a part-adventure, part-hidden object, part— dress-up game?!
Lyle in Cube Sector is a relatively old Metroidesque platformer in traditional NES style. You play as Lyle, who adventures through Cube Sector, using cubes for everything from attacking enemies to playing basketball to feeding a dog, with the ultimate goal of retrieving his cat Keddums.
Archibald's Adventures is a puzzle platform game from Rake in Grass, creator of Larva Mortus, KingMania, and others. You play the skateboard-riding Archibald who accidentally becomes trapped in Professor Klumpfus' twisted underground lair. Roll your way through 100+ stages, moving boxes with bubblegum, leaping gaps with a running start, and hitting switches beneath pools of acid to work your way out of the mutant-infested passageways.It's one of those rare games that keeps begging you to come back for more.
With the increase of popularity of hidden object games, it seems there has been an almost equal rise in hybridization of the genre in an attempt to keep things nice and fresh, and Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses! is no exception. True, much of the gameplay involves hunting around different settings for specific objects, but from the very beginning you'll realize that this isn't your run-of-the-mill object finder.
- • This is a Cry for Help
- • The Gear that Works
- • SudokuAdept
- • QWAK
- • Ghostbusters
This edition of Weekend Download answers a question that has been plaguing mankind since 1984: who ya gonna call (especially if there's something strange in your neighborhood)? The answer is, unequivicobaly, QWAK. Wait, no, the other thing. Ghostbusters. Yeah!
A hidden object game that follows its prequel, Nightshift Code, closely in terms of style and story. Join Mike and Isabel as they travel through the jungles of Guatemala, across Spain and to the streets of Moscow researching the mystery of the ancient Jaguar's Eye. It's got adventure, it's got comic-style cutscenes, and it's got all the cheesiness that makes the Indiana Jones films such entertaining adventures.
Alabama Smith in Escape from Pompeii is a new adventure game that builds inventory puzzles into a hidden object-style interface. You play the young Alabama Smith, an archaeology student who has just been given the opportunity to study in Naples. His mentor tells him of a mysterious amulet buried in the ruins of Pompeii that is rumored to grant the owner the ability to travel through time.
Who would have thought parking cars could be turned into a casual game? Parking Dash, following in the long footsteps of other time management games such as Diner Dash, Wedding Dash, Cooking Dash, etc., twists the genre's formula around a bit to park the game at a safe distance from Cloneville. The end result, like Airport Mania, is a breath of fresh air that breaks the mold in all the right places.
- • Meritous
- • Marathon Trilogy
- • Verge
- • Cosmic Invaders
Did you know that the original meaning of the word "weekend" referred to the time from noon Saturday to Monday morning? Did you also know the word "download" seems to have originated in 1980? AND, did you know I spent a little too much time reading about the etymology of these words?
Hungry for a great-looking adventure/puzzle game? Travel through time searching for pieces of scattered objects that have fallen through a series of time portals. Solve puzzles, put objects together, and work your way through each area to earn a piece of your uncle's Time Bomb, the only item that can close the time portals. A follow-up to Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of Spooky Manor.
- • Akrasia
- • Portile
- • The Lake
- • Glider
While playing all the games that I do to find something worthy of a Weekend Download, I get to see a huge variety of wacky, creative, strange, bland, and forgettable game titles. Not featured in this edition of Weekend Download (nor in this plane of existence): The Dentist is Fun, Party Games for You and Your Ex, Three Reasons Tofu is Evil, Help! I've Swallowed an Ant!, Give Me Some Cake, and Super Reptile Diploma.
In My Tribe, you play as sort of a guardian angel for a tribe of island-dwellers, telling them what to do, dragging them from place to place, and occasionally sprinkling them with a (hopefully) beneficial potion. Harvest food, wood, and stone to build with. Your tribe continues to work even when your computer is off. It's remarkably similar to Virtual Villagers but better in a number of ways.
The wait is over! The release of the latest Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst is finally here. Big Fish Games Studios takes the hidden object genre to unprecedented new heights with an absolutely gorgeous, hidden object / adventure hybrid that is sure to please a very wide range of casual game players. This is one game you don't want to miss!
Back before you were referred to as "Master Detective," before your journey to a haunted English manor, before your exploits in a rundown carnival, you were nothing more than a lowly intern. When an epidemic of crime breaks out in the once quiet town of Huntsville, though, your chance to rise to detective greatness finally arrives. Now you must work against the clock to catch the wrong doers in the act by using your keen eye to pick up on the clues that no one else seems able to find.
Want something charming that you'll play with a wry grin on your face? Mark & Mandi's Love Story is exactly that, packaging spot the difference puzzles, memory matching, jigsaw-style challenges and more with a great hand drawn art style. Play the role of Cupid's helper on a quest to sculpt Mark and Mandi's relationship to perfection.
- • Last week
- • Enigma
- • Iter Vehemens ad Necem (IVAN)
- • Elona
- • Rock Boshers
Last week, on Weekend Download, I had the tiny problem of listening to the constant drone of a leaf blower somewhere in my neighborhood. This week it was back, with a vengeance, and it directly affected my downloadable game playing experiences. When I was playing Oxyd, all I could do was smash into walls. When I played IVAN, I couldn't kill a bat. I couldn't explore all of Elona because focusing was out of the question. And zombies in Rock Boshers took me out a few times too many because my mind was elsewhere. Maybe I should take a hint from the protagonist in Violet and start eliminating the distractions by any zany means available?
Normally, mixing real estate with casual gaming wouldn't seem like a smart move, but HipSoft's latest release proves you can take a complex subject matter and make it fun. Build-a-lot 3: Passport to Europe continues the highly successful Build-a-lot series with just the right balance between familiarity and innovation to lure new and veteran players alike. Hone your real estate skills as you buy, upgrade and sell houses, collect rent, and attract new residents to neighborhoods that need your expert eye.
Violet is a richly engaging one-room puzzle game from the annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2008). The problem? You're a graduate student working on your dissertation, but you haven't gotten any writing done in months. Your girlfriend Violet has put her life on hold, waiting for you to finish, and she's getting fed up. If you don't get a thousand words written today, your relationship is over and she flies home to Australia.
Out of Order is a humor-oriented, mouse-driven adventure game in the style of the old Lucas Arts and Sierra titles. You play as Hurford Schlitzting, an ordinary human being in a green bathrobe and bunny slippers. Late one night he's awakened by a storm and goes to get a midnight snack. And then the game ends... wait, no, it doesn't, or we wouldn't have much of a game.
There's nothing quite like a day on the farm: the smell of freshly tilled soil, tender plants sprouting, and honeybees buzzing in search of nectar. Some call it work, but if you've ever met Alice Greenfingers, you know it's more like play. The lovable pig-tailed girl is back, tending her Uncle Berry's farm in Alice Greenfingers 2, a sequel that does nothing but improve upon the original.
- • Xoldiers
- • MageGuild
- • Argonaut
- • Lightmare
- • Aquaria
- • Crayon Physics Deluxe pre-order
I compose this edition of Weekend Download with the sound of leaf blowers screeching through my windows. Not only does half my neighborhood believe leaves in their yard are evil, but apparently creating hours of noise pollution for everyone in the area is an acceptable price to pay to shove them in the street. I miss the good old fashioned, non-air-and-noise-polluting leaf rake...
Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold is another superb hidden object adventure game from Artogon Games, creator of The Mystery of the Crystal Portal. Both titles share a unique design among hidden object games where you are presented with contextual search clues instead of generic lists of objects. In essence, your goal is to explore the physical objects in each scene and collect items to solve individual puzzles. It's a new and interesting take on the genre that opens up many new puzzle possibilities.
- • Lynchmob HD
- • Karateka Mania
- • 10800 Zombies
- • Now Boarding v1.1
- • World of Goo for Mac
Along with three slightly crazy games, in this edition of Weekend Download we have a few games that have gone through a metamorphosis of sorts. World of Goo is now available for Mac (!), and one of my favorite resource management games, Now Boarding, has had a significant upgrade.
A blend of Virtual Villagers, Westward, and strategy games such as Warcraft and Tribal Trouble, Forgotten Lands: First Colony is a casual RTS game that hits the sweet spot between challenge, complexity, and captivating casual gameplay. The game puts you at the helm of a young civilization looking to strike out and settle new lands. Everything about Forgotten Lands is geared towards easing you into the experience, yet there's no shortage of depth or intrigue.