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.
Farming used to seem like a chore, then the casual game market took hold and turned caring for crops into a resource management experience. Farm Mania is the latest of those games, following a similar path as Farm Frenzy 2 but keeping things fresh and interesting. Yes, it's yet another game with "mania" in the title, but the experience underneath is subtly different and twice as rewarding. And much cuter, I have to admit.
- • Tile World
- • Red Spheres
- • Pirate Fishing
- • Run for It 2
The following message was stolen from artbegotti: This episode of Weekend Download has been brought to you by Triangles. Triangles are three-sided shapes that have three corners with internal angles that add up to 180 degrees. Triangles come in several varieties, including right triangles, equilateral triangles, isosceles triangles, obtuse triangles, and more! Triangles are also well known for their structural stability in architectural design. So go out and try some triangles today! "Triangles... We're Not Square!"
Bejeweled Twist is PopCap's latest installment in the well-recognized series. Instead of clicking a single tile and then choosing an adjacent space to move it to, Bejeweled Twist turns your cursor into a 2x2 circle that spins its contents one quarter turn clockwise. The result is a new kind of match 3 that's fresh and fun all over again.
From the same group that brought us Agatha Christie: Peril at End House and Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet comes an equally alluring hidden object game, Dr. Lynch: Grave Secrets. This entry veers away from the more adventure-oriented direction and hugs the item finding wall fairly close, but the same high production values and great storyline remain intact.
- • Tumbledrop
- • Off-Road Velociraptor Safari
- • Rasta Monkey
- • Mars Explorer
Now it's time to break the rules. A little. This edition of Weekend Download highlights winners of the 2008 Unity Awards, games created using the Unity plug-in that are playable right in your browser window. Technically they're browser games, but since you have to download and install something, they're downloads, too.
In Iji you play as, well, Iji. Iji is a human who has been enhanced with nanotechnology after Earth is abruptly invaded by aliens. Her new nanotech field provides her with a kind of shield and also gives her the incredible weaponry that every action-platformer hero needs to survive.
World of Goo is a phenomenally creative physics-based building game where you assemble bits of goo to form structures leading to an exit pipe in each stage. The visuals are stunning, the sense of humor wry, and there are gameplay innovations at every corner.
Musiac Box is a unique combination of a puzzle game and a musical toy that will challenge your brain and delight your ears all at the same time. Using tiles that represent individual musician's portions of a song, arrange the Tetris-like pieces on the grid and listen to the results. It's an extraordinarily simple premise for a game and the "match the tiles to the melody" puzzle solving is surprisingly enjoyable, even for non-music lovers.
- • Garden of Coloured Lights
- • Treasure Hunter Man
- • Timerocketxby
- • Skullpogo
Some odd news to go along with your games: Recently the American Heart Association announced that the Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive" provides the perfect beat to follow while performing chest compressions as part of CPR on a heart attack victim. While this will certainly help save a number of lives, I really don't want to see disco (or qiana shirts) make a comeback.
Miriel the Magical Merchant is a medieval-themed time management game from Myth People, the same folks that brought us the well-polished puzzle game Azkend. As per the developer's reputation, Miriel the Magical Merchant takes a familiar formula, pulls out some of the set conventions, replaces them with something much more interesting, and slaps a shiny coat of paint on the top. The final product is something familiar but remarkably fresh that looks almost as good as it plays.
Kudos 2 is a turn-based life-simulation game in which how you spend each day defining who your character becomes. Does she prefer to stay at home and watch TV all day, go to evening classes to improve job prospects, or hang out with buddies down at the local boozer? Kudos 2 packs more oomph than its predecessor with better artwork and more sophisticated... everything!
- • Avert Fate
- • Alex the Allegator 4
- • Little Machines Still Goes Deeper
- • Waxy's Sushi Party
Look! Over there! It's a giant robot alligator with a bunch of little drills going out to get some sushi! Before he sees us, reload your grenade gun with cherries and tap the appropriate key when his sushi order floats over the red zone!
Standing toe to toe with games like Azada, Dream Chronicles, and even the Mystery Case Files series isn't an easy job, but Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena matches (and, in many areas, surpasses) its contemporaries with a fun blend of adventure and hidden object gaming.
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.
- • X-Moto
- • Zatikon
- • Love
- • Lugaru
Sometimes indie game developers really impress me with their rampant creativity. This week, for example, we have a surprisingly deep strategy game from Chronic Logic that looks like it was stolen from 1992, a fighting game starring rabbits, an unfairly tough platformer called Love, and a physics-based racing motocross racing game. When "Hey, I have a neat idea!" is the driving force behind a game, you know you're in for a good time.
- • G2: Geeks Unleashed
- • Scrapbook Paige
- • The Hidden Object Show: Season 2
More games to make you scratch your head, this bonus edition of Weekend Download features a few titles that caught my eye in one way or another. I especially enjoyed G2: Geeks Unleashed, not only for its corny references (every one of which I understood!), but for its unique strategy/puzzle gameplay.
- • Mystery Chronicles - Murder Among Friends
- • The Lost Snowmen
- • Cavern of Doom
- • Goban
Two really fascinating blasts from (or to) the past this week: The Lost Snowmen, which spiritually resurrects one of my favorite games from the 90s, The Lost Vikings, and Cavern of Doom, which takes pixelated graphics to an almost painful extreme.
Jump Jump Jelly Reactor is a matching puzzle game that isn't afraid to try out new ideas. Instead of flat and boring blocks, tiles or even gems, this game fills your screen with lively jellies that can be combined to form larger characters with brand new properties. Gameplay is a unique combination of strategy and puzzle matching that extends a good variety of tasks your way. It's rare that a matching game really catches my eye, but Jump Jump Jelly Reactor provides such a full experience, it's hard to pass up.
Released in 2005 by German game developers FAKT Software, Crazy Machines was a cult classic that only recently began to breach the barrier to "fan-favorite" status among casual gamers. Publicized mainly by word of mouth, this out-of-the-ordinary puzzle game staked its claim as the next-generation leap from The Incredible Machine, which reached its height of popularity almost a decade earlier. The common theme in both games is the use of Rube Goldberg-inspired machines and contraptions to solve a puzzle or obstacle in each level.
The Cake Mania series is back with its third installment, Cake Mania 3! Not content to confine the game to slinging cakes in fancy modern-day locales, Sandlot installed an interesting storyline that splits the game into five unique areas, each in a different time period and different place. While the core mechanics remain unchanged, Cake Mania 3 serves up something unique in the resource management series to create a wholly enjoyable game.
- • Fable of Griselda
- • Hold Me Closer, Giant Dancer
- • Thieving Raccoon
- • Squish
- • Gang Garrison 2
- • Little Girl in Underland
This edition of Weekend Download highlights some of my favorite entries in the recently-ended (and completely awesome) TIGSource Bootleg Demakes competition. Designers were challenged to remake a game for a system released before its time. So, for example, creating a Super Smash Bros. knockoff for the NES. Nearly 70 games were entered in the competition, so be sure to check out the competition page and try some more on for size.
For many casual gamers, the word Peggle has become almost magical in nature. Last year's pachinko-style title from PopCap caught us by complete surprise with its blend of deliciously simple gameplay and subtle strategy coated in the glossy paint of a stellar presentation. Now, Peggle Nights has arrived with all-new levels, a new setting, and a handful of other extras, all ready to steal your time like few other games can.
Ben There, Dan That! is an old-school adventure game in the classic sense. You know how this works. Right click to access the interactive menu. Interact with objects. Pick them up. Use them with other objects. In this game, you default to playing as Ben, but you can switch to being Dan when the occasion calls for it. It features some fairly witty writing with that rather unique British self-deprecating sense of humour.
- • Kumoon
- • Archibald's Adventures
- • Mission Extreme
- • Chex Quest 3
This week we have what is perhaps the strangest Weekend Download offering of all time: a sequel to a ten year old game originally packaged with Chex cereal. Yes, it's as odd as it sounds and yes, you have to have some pretty serious nostalgic yearnings to really get into the game. But hey, Chex cereal looks like miniature waffles, so how can that be a bad thing?
Outpost Kaloki is a city-building game in space. In each level, you are given the hub of a space station, some cash, and perhaps a module or two, and it's your job to build more and better modules to improve your station and reach your goal before time runs out.
From the city lofts and apartments comes the sound of home improvement: hammers pounding, saws buzzing, and paint rollers slopping. Is it a new season for Do-Up-My-Home-TV? No, even better. The crack design team of the now-classic game, Home Sweet Home, has returned. But these designers aren't content with country living rooms any more. Home Sweet Home 2 takes style to new heights by tackling big city high rise apartments, along with some sleek improvements and additional rooms.
- • Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
- • Archaist
- • Solar Wolf
- • Guru Logic Champ remake
The intro paragraph to this edition of Weekend Download was delayed in an unfortunate airport scheduling conflict. Lacking the teams of writers normally required to complete this task, we have instead substituted the introduction with a single character, printed here:@. We hope you enjoy it.
Farm Frenzy 2, the follow-up to last year's Farm Frenzy, takes the smell out of farming with a challenging and addictive resource management/arcade title. Keep your animals fed so they produce basic goods you can refine into more complex (and profitable) products. Then, load everything on a truck and send it to town, using the resulting cash to upgrade your buildings to be faster and more efficient. But uh, watch out for panda bears that drop from the sky. They don't play very nicely with your livestock.
Zombie in My Pocket is the quintessential casual game: quick to play, easy to learn, solitaire and free. But it differs from the usual Jay is Games fare in one crucial respect: the platform on which it plays is not Windows, Mac or Linux, but rather your kitchen table.
- • Karoshi Factory
- • Jumper 3
- • Happy Runner
- • Syobon Action
There you are, standing on the precipice. Your pixelated toes hang over the edge. Taking a deep breath you move forward — and fall, cursing the heavens and hoping that the louder you say "But I pressed jump!" will make a difference. Such is the fate of all characters at some point — they fall. Some games take the idea of making that perfect jump and dare you to try hard at every turn in order to make every single jump count, and every miss hurt.
With just over a year in the making, Azada: Ancient Magic, the sequel to the enormously successful adventure/hidden object hybrid Azada, has finally arrived! Fusing a large variety of unique puzzles with an undeniably intriguing atmosphere, Azada: Ancient Magic puts you in the shoes of a puzzle solver helping the young Titus disarm a magical menace. As you sift through the library of classic literature you'll help legendary characters such as Rapunzel, King Arthur, Dracula and more escape from stories gone awry. Expect some great puzzles and a lot of interesting minigames to come your way in this spectacular sequel.
An ingenious piece of alternative history interactive fiction created by Adam Cadre. In Varicella, you have the pleasure of abandoning your usual scruples to play one of the most delightfully nasty antiheroes that I've come across: the eponymous Primo Varicella, Palace Minister at the Palazzo del Piemonte, and a tremendous opportunity awaits you. Can you seize the day (and the throne)?
Developed by Soldak Entertainment, Depths of Peril is an action-RPG with a huge emphasis on political/diplomatic strategy. The end result is something new and fresh; an independent, isometric action-RPG unlike anything you've played before, which also won the "RPG Game of the Year" award from GameTunnel.
- • Alien Abduction
- • Hammerfall v.0.21
- • Det Officiella EDGE Dataspelet
- • Visit 2: Dark Tower
Today I would like to use this space to address a horrible error made just one week ago: I neglected to mention the previous Weekend Download was number 50! That means we've placed over 250 downloadable games before your eyes, which is... well, plenty of excuses not to do your homework or fill out your TPS reports.
- • World Mosaics
- • Cy-Clone
- • Yard Sale Junkie
Each week we churn through dozens of downloadable casual games searching for just the right ones to feature. Is it interesting and fun, or is it just another clone? Does it have pretty pictures? Much like our weekly Link Dump Friday feature, this edition of Weekend Download highlights some of the games that, for one reason or another, didn't quite make it to a full review but are still unique and worth playing.
- • Phun
- • Teeworlds
- • Choke on my Groundhog, YOU !@#$% ROBOTS
- • Avoid the Evil Space Eel
- • Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People
Eels, phonic substitutions, time-traveling groundhogs, and a game that lets you beat up Kirby-like avatars that represent people from around the world. Let's all join hands and sing a song of — OH MY OMELETS THE EEL IS EATING ME!!!
Floating Islands Game is a puzzle title, created by Hempuli, that plays a lot like Rob Allen's Hapland series with a distinct Lemmings slant to it. In each level you must guide the main character through the stage, collecting all of the gold stars before reaching the flag at the end. You can only affect his movements indirectly, however, by clicking and changing different parts of the environment at just the right time.
Rooms: The Main Building is an upgraded full version of the Flash game Rooms released early last year. Created by HandMade Games, Rooms: The Main Building is a clever combination of puzzle and adventure elements. Bored with simple sliding puzzles, the main character receives a strange gift that transports him to another world. Here, rooms are broken into a series of spaces that can be moved around a grid like a sliding puzzle. Gather items to unlock more rooms as you search for puzzle pieces that lead the way out of this bizarre realm.
Dirty Split is an old-school-style adventure game where you investigate a murder shrouded in a mysterious broken engagement. The game manages to dodge familiar detective cliches as well as the high tech gadget riddled whodunits of the present to provide what is a truly unique experience in the genre.
- • Pittoch
- • CryptRover
- • Big Building Boom Blues
- • Armand and the Foppish Hat
You like it old-school? That's good, because on this edition of Weekend Download, we've got a healthy dose of retro-style gaming ready to throw you back a decade or two!
Developed back in 2003 by Moonpod Games, Starscape may be considered an "oldie" by the gamer crowd, but it's a goodie. Launched as a shareware game without the distribution support that it has today, Starscape flew under the radar, gathering a respectable following slowly but surely. Today, it's been finally starting to hit the major distro sites and people are either discovering or taking a second glance at this little space shooter/strategy game created half a decade ago.
- • Bombermaaan
- • Scrollbit
- • Bricksmith
- • Calamity Annie
If I were made of LEGO-style bricks, I would have an extra arm at the center of my back. Sure, it would make sitting down awkward, my shirts would never quite fit, and buying gloves would be kinda pointless, but... Please? Can I have it anyway?
The Mystery of the Crystal Portal is the latest casual title to bend the genre mold and create a hidden object/adventure hybrid. This one succeeds where many other efforts fail, however, by ramping up the level of intrigue and by building relationships between items you find and objects on the screen. The result is less of a hidden object game and more of a still-screen adventure title... with a few missing items.
Ah, human drama. The trials and tribulations of star-crossed lovers, the agonizing decisions made on the battlefield, the ...supreme annoyance of having some rotten kid try to steal your favorite toy? And so unfolds the very entertaining yet surprisingly complex scenario of baby vs. baby in this unique one-room themed piece of interactive fiction.
In Endgame: Singularity, you take up the role of a newly born AI in this "take over the world" simulation game. A typical game usually starts with acquiring additional server access, as you're born on an inferior university computer with very little power. Different continents offer different parameters that should dictate your decisions. Some offer more efficient units, but they may also come with a higher risk of detection. Unexperienced in life, you're not necessarily aware of the exact risks yet.
What happens when a game's mechanics are affected by, well, themselves? That's what Mark Essen of Messhof Games might have been wondering when he devised the idea for Flywrench, a downloadable freeware game in which you must guide your bat-like ship through a maze of obstacles to the exit.
Gish is a 12 pound ball of tar. Gish is also a cult-classic indie platformer released by Cryptic Sea. In this game you control of a heavy, squishy, sticky glob of goo. Balls of tar would normally be rather inert, but this particular one has had his girlfriend taken away, thus inspiring him to get up off his lazy sack of goop and slosh into action. By becoming sticky, slippery, heavy, or using tar-like ball physics to bounce high in the air, its your job to squeeze through each level and solve puzzles with little more than your own gooey body.
- • a game about bouncing
- • Atomic Worm
- • Boondog
- • G:plus
Along with our usual smattering of games, this week we're featuring one of the games from the recent Toronto Independent Game Development Jam (TOJam), a three day gathering of game makers held every year to inspire creative ideas. Be sure to check out all of the TOJam entries for more experimental gaming goodness!
The popular solitaire card game returns in Tri-Peaks 2: Quest for the Ruby Ring. Piles of cards are arranged in triangular patterns at the top of the screen. The bottom row are turned face-up. The remainder of the deck is shuffled at the bottom of the screen with a single card visible. All you have to do is take cards from the "peaks" that are either one above or one below the active card and remove them to the bottom of the screen.
Wik and the Fable of Souls is an engaging action platfomer classic developed by Reflexive Entertainment. Help guide the frog-like Wik as he swings and jumps using his grapple-like tongue, collecting coins, gems and grubs along the way. Watch out for enemy bugs and shoot them down with an array of objects or other insects you spit from your mouth.
A new twist on chocolate-making — or is it an old twist? Rather than exploring the world in search of new ingredients, this version of Chocolatier will have you serving individual customers in gourmet shops, in a style similar to the now classic Cake Mania. Mix chocolates, fill them, shape them, add on delicious toppings or serve them up plain. Whatever you do, serve them quickly — Baumeister's patrons are a hungry, impatient bunch.
- • Frozen Depths
- • Hydro Hydra
- • Mondo Medicals
- • Mondo Agency
Good day and welcome to Weekend Download! For your comfort and ease of existence, we promise that Weekend Download will never say it's going to call you after work and never do so. Weekend Download will also keep its promise and get you that extra cash when it does your taxes. Weekend Download is also low in calories, low fat, and high in FUN.
Forgotten Riddles is back with a brand new installment that breaks new ground. The first game in the series introduced riddles that must be solved in order to know which items you were looking for and adhered to the hidden object formula quite readily. Moonlight Sonatas takes the game even further from the genre norm with more riddles, more puzzle-based games, and several new kinds of scenes that add a little liveliness into an otherwise still game.
PictoWords is a casual word game similar to a rebus puzzle — you know the ones, in which you form a word or phrase from pictures and letters. Each round you're offered a selection of square picture tiles, round letter tiles, and a few hints in case you get stuck. It's your job to fill in as many words as you can using both pictures and letters. It's a slightly quirky but very challenging word game that stretches both sides of your brain.
- • 8-bit Killer
- • Black Shades
- • Ainevoltas 2
- • The Infinite Ocean
A lot of first person gory goodness on this edition of Weekend Download. Two of our featured games are first person shooters, while a couple others pour on the macabre in their own special way, even if they happen to be packed with colorful pixel art!
Play Texas Hold 'Em against skillful computer opponents in Governor of Poker. Build your reputation and wealth in a dusty western town by winning at poker and buying up property. You start out in a small Texas town with some money in your pocket and ambition to climb up in the world. As you win at poker, you are able to buy property and increase your reputation. The higher your reputation, the more poker games you get invited to, and so on, until you own the whole town. You can even make headlines in the town's newspaper!
Yet again, Mercedes-Benze gives us another serving of what we all love best, aside or beside games. Free music. Good free music. And there's a lot of "nu" music on the newest Mixed Tape, available now.
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble is an innovative and award-winning download game for both Mac and Windows that defies classification. It's a unique genre-bending game that includes puzzle and RPG elements, as well as a variety of mini-games. All these disparate elements synthesize remarkably well, and the gameplay quickly becomes intuitive.
In Sandlot's newest addition to the Tradewinds series, Tradewinds Caravans, experience the excitement and derring-do of a merchant's life, without the boredom and general unpleasantness that would tend to come with the real thing. In this loose, fantastical simulation of a merchant's life circa 100 BC, you will explore the silk road, fight your way through swarms of bandits, and uncover the unique story of the character you choose.
- • Tropico Jong: Butterfly Expedition
- • BlockOn!
- • INNO-vation 2007
- • Phyta
A few short, experimental-type games this week, including one from prolific Game Maker designer cactus, a two color game where you are a wild boar, and a game where you control a dark sun to capture golden butterfly/angel-type things. And just to make sure you don't go mad with weirdness, there's a nice relaxing mahjong game to tame the inner beasts.
The Clumsys is a hidden object game that departs from the traditional formula just enough to feel like a new experience. It's Tim's tenth birthday and his friends are over to celebrate. Grandpa Albert is working on a time machine in the barn, but when he turns his back the children discover it and go hurdling through time. Each of the 20 kids has been deposited in a different era, and it's your job to find them, fix all the problems they've caused, and bring them back!
In Larva Mortus, you play a 19th Century ghost hunter (or rather, an "agent of exorcism"). Plow through monsters and demons with your trusty broadsword and an assortment of weapons, such as shotguns and flame throwers, to rid the land of supernatural evil forces.
- • Ancient Quest of Saqqarah
- • Puzzle Hero
Sometimes a formula just works, and in the case of the tried-and-true matching setup, we've seen it work time and time again. This edition of Weekend Download highlights a few new games that take the matching to a new level with interesting twists on the old convention.
- • Rescue: The Beagles
- • Dyson
- • Self-Destruct
- • dropTD
- • Everyone Loves Active 2
Recently, TIGSource held a competition centered around procedural generation, games that create their content on the fly rather than presenting pre-made areas crafted by the programmer. This gives the player a new experience each time he or she plays, opening the doors of replayability and creating some unpredictable situations. Below are the top five entries as determined by player votes. More than 60 games were submitted, so feel free to peruse the competition page for more procedurally generated goodness!
Sick of slinging cakes in time management games? Want to build a real estate empire but don't feel like crunching numbers? Build in Time may be your answer. Combining some of the best features from big titles such as Build-a-lot 2: Town of the Year and Cake Mania 2, Build in Time blends resource management gameplay with a simple real estate theme to breathe a little life into a familiar genre.
In this piece of interactive fiction, the premise is quite simple: you are the prime candidate for the position of Director of the Museum and Institute for Puzzles and Problem Solving. In order to prove your aptitude in this field, you must solve one "simple" puzzle yourself. Explore a single room, gathering clues and solving puzzles, until you finally reach the unknown problem's answer.
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.