- • Nanda's Island
- • Sam & Max season 2
- • Final Vision
- • Marble Arena
- • Enigmo
By far the biggest, most first-paragraph-worthy news of in the downloadable world this week is Sam & Max are back. Not only are they back for another season of episodic adventure games, but the highest rated release from season one is now free. Free as in download it now. No excuses. We've also got a healthy portion of other great games to download, including an almost-too-cutesy casual game, Nanda's Island, that came out of nowhere to steal my afternoon. Don't you just love games that are... good?!
Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate is the fourth hidden object game in the Mystery Case Files series. This installment drops you off in an old fashioned carnival where the fortune teller Madame Fate has seen something troubling in her crystal ball. At the stroke of midnight she will be killed, but which carnival character will commit the act? Gather clues about the carnies by finding hidden items and solving puzzles throughout the dark and mysterious carnival.
- • Dr. Daisy Pet Vet
- • Ballhalla
- • Slaves to Armok II: Dwarf Fortress
- • Mr. Heart Loves You Very Much
- • Roach Roundup
This edition of Weekend Download is the most love-filled edition ever. There's so much love below, you might think it's Valentine's Day. But it's not, it's just a whole lotta love. For example, tons of people love Dwarf Fortress. Tons. That collective love is now focused here on this very page, and if you download and play, you'll experience some of that love, too. Dr. Daisy Pet Vet is all about the pet love. Just look at those cute animals! And the kitty, she's reading a magazine! The energy orbs in Ballhalla love each other so much all you have to do is click them and they get all cozy with each other. And to top it all off, Mr. Heart just straight-up loves you. Very much, I hear.
- • 5 Days a Stranger
- • Loonyland: Halloween Hill
- • Spooks
- • Knytt Stories
- • Fate by Numbers
- • Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst
It's time for adventures in Halloween Land! The ghostly holiday is just a few days away and we're pouring on the spooky games. This special installment of Weekend Download showcases a handful of adventure games that get the Halloween atmosphere just right. Paired with our Halloween-themed Link Dump Friday and sprinkled with a few Halloween-style reviews in the coming days, you should have no excuse not to don that Super Mario costume and head out on the town.
- • Nuclear Ball 2
- • Exolon DX
- • Synaesthete
- • Puzzle Quest
- • Shellblast
Gene is shorter than Bruce but taller than Imhotep. Imhotep is taller than Gene but shorter than Lord Scotland. Lord Scotland is twice the height of Gene and Brutus combined, but only 1/10 the height of Millsy. Millsy is at a constant height of X-Y. If Gene stands exactly one nautical mile away from Lord Scotland, how tall is Imhotep? Find out in the games below! Or... maybe not.
- • The Scruffs
- • Abra Academy: Returning Cast
- • Pirateville
Three new hidden object games have recently hit the web, each one with a different setting and storyline wrapped around familiar seek-and-find mechanics. They don't go out of their way to bend the rules of item hunting, but if you're one of the many people who can't get enough of these games, these should keep you busy (and entertained) for a while!
- • Prism: Light the Way
- • TIGSource B-game Competition
- • King Mania
- • H2O: Heaven2Ocean
- • Narobiyu
- • Narbacular Drop
It may surprise you to know that each and every Weekend Download article is written by a team of highly trained elves adept at both gaming and making waffles. This week, however, the elves have been replaced. By gnomes. The gnomes do a comparable job with words, links and images. But let me tell you, the waffles aren't nearly as good. It's like that old saying that neither I nor anyone else has ever heard before: If you want waffles, better get the elves.
- • Dive
- • Barbie Seahorse Adventures
- • MSOIDS
- • UFO: Alien Invasion
Got a little bandwidth to spare? We've got a fresh batch of downloadable games to clutter up your hard drive and eat up your precious weekend time. Most of the games have what we like to call a "classic" look or feel that hails back to the days when polygons were nothing more than scribbles on your high school math notebook.
- • Safecracker
- • Return to Mysterious Island
This special edition of Weekend Download highlights two games that are a bit less accessible due to their large download size and lack of a playable demo. We feel they deserve some attention, however, as each one pushes the envelope by delivering an immersive gaming experience that's both fun and engaging. We've spent a lot of time with them and are ready to sing praise from the roof (in the form of short mini-reviews), so read on to see if one could be your next slice of delicious gaming pie.
Two major events, the 13th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition and the 10th annual Independent Games Festival, are underway, sending a deluge of top-quality games right into our collective gaming laps. Interactive fiction continues to blossom as authors push the boundaries of gaming with better stories, deeper gameplay, and more rewarding gameplay using nothing more than words and creativity. Most of the IGF games aren't available for download just yet, but you'll recognize some of the games/authors and immediately jump for joy.
- • Build-a-lot
- • XIQ
- • GoldenEye 2D
- • The Goonies
- • Kaipuu
Stuck at work on the weekend? Tired of spending your Saturday/Sunday doing homework? Or are you one of the lucky folk who have two days of (relatively) work-free bliss? In any case, we've got a boatload of distractions for you. No matter if you're hopping the company firewall to grab a few games or just relaxing at home, consider this your excuse for not doing anything especially productive.
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.
Logi-Gun is an absolutely sensational puzzle platformer (free download for Windows only) from Darklink570. Most of the puzzles require skillful, even ingenious, use of the game's 6 guns, although some deft platforming will also be necessary.
Jill's back in a sequel to one of the most popular casual games of last year, Cake Mania. In Cake Mania 2 you reprise the role of the baker extraordinare with the task of helping one of two friends: Jack, who is looking for a bakery in his underwater theme park, or Risha and her bakery in the big city. Serve cranky customers piping hot cakes as quickly as you can to rake in the cash and expand your business!
One of the fastest-growing genres in casual gameplay are hidden object games such as Mystery Case Files and the Hidden Expedition series. Fortunately not all developers are content to copy the same idea, place it in a new setting and throw in a few new items. Forgotten Riddles: The Mayan Princess is one such game, combining an intriguing storyline with dozens of riddles that must be solved in order to learn which items you're supposed to locate.
A pirate-themed adventure game that draws inspiration from the Monkey Island series in more ways than one. You play Nelly, a "fearsome pirate and lover of tiny and adorable creatures" who is charged with investigating the disappearance of a fleet of birds by a dead pirate's ghost. The visuals and dialogue are so much fun, even adventuregameaphobiacs will have a great time.
Fret Nice is a unique platformer game for Windows with one of the strangest control mechanisms we've ever seen. Instead of using the keyboard, you use the guitar controller from Guitar Hero. The game is breaking boundaries across the globe, and game designer Lars Doucet sat down with the creator to get the inside scoop on the making of the musical platformer.
- • Zoom Book: The Temple of the Sun
- • Sauerbraten
- • Biniax-2
- • Nelly Cootalot
A smattering of games for the weekend, begging you to answer just one question: exactly how much is a 'smattering' anyway? Serve yourself up a helping of Sauerbraten if you're in the mood to shoot some baddies, and puzzle fans can delight in not one but two games to send their neurons in a tizzy. Always careful to cater to my adventure gaming bretheren, you'll also find a fun little adventure title full of pirates!
Plant Tycoon puts you to the task of planting seeds, growing plants of over 500 different species, and discovering the genetic secrets behind 6 magic plants that will make you rich! Become a master horticulturalist as you pollinate adult plants to produce seeds, and even cross pollinate your plants with other species to discover new and rare varieties.
Venice Mystery is a new casual game download that puts a new twist on mahjong. Instead of clicking identical tile pairs at random, you choose from a small menu of tile types, then click matching tiles on the playing field. To complete the puzzle you must unearth a set number of keys buried beneath the piles of blocks. Set against a Renaissance mystery, it's enough to tickle any gamer's fancy.
Switchball is a 3D action/puzzle title in which your goal is to guide a rolling ball to the end of each stage, solving puzzles and crossing treacherous pathways all the way. The game places a heavy emphasis on realistic physics using the AGEIA engine and looks absolutely gorgeous to boot. It's an extraordinarily well-made title that balances action and puzzle solving for a thoroughly engaging experience.
The main focus of Knytt Stories is atmosphere, environment and exploration, not complex gameplay and a barrage of media. With Knytt Stories you'll spend most of your time wandering around sparsely populated worlds looking for a few rare items, enjoying the beautiful visuals and ambient music the whole time. It's a unique experience in gaming and will pull you in from the moment you start playing.
Mythic Marbles is an action puzzle game of skill that is very simple to pick-up and play. It offers an engaging and rewarding experience to anyone that can appreciate the simple and subtle strategy of a good game of marbles. And even if you've never played marbles before, you're in for a treat. :)
Gemsweeper is a casual game of picross (picture crossword puzzles) created by Lobstersoft. Your goal is to uncover hidden treasure by breaking rocks to help Topex reconstruct the temples of El Dorado. Stones are arranged in grids with sets of numbers above and to the left that serve as clues as to which tiles contain gems and which are cursed. Bash cursed tiles with a hammer, then grab gems from the rest of the grid to complete each puzzle and re-build the temple, one brick at a time!
An adventure game created by Vince Twelve that takes the dual screen idea to a different level and tasks you with playing two different games at the same time: a space comedy and a medieval Japanese story. Your cursor is split into two parts, one for each half of the screen, and they track each other. When you move on one half you move in the other, likewise with clicking objects. To solve puzzles you have to rely on information from each half of the screen, putting clues together to figure out what's going on.
- • G.H.O.S.T. Hunters: The Haunting of Majesty Manor
- • What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed
- • Timetravel Bloboid
- • Quinn
- • A Tribute to the Rolling Boulder
It's another edition of Weekend Download! Join us as we pose the important questions in life: What would happen if you could rewind time with the touch of a spacebar? Who owns Majesty Manor? What would happen if the rolling rocks from Indiana Jones got a mind of their own? And just what does Linus Bruckman see when his eyes are closed?
TAGAP is a downloadable action packed platforming extravaganza that has great graphics and enough violence to be satisfying but not enough to be gory. It has thumping tunes from start to finish. It's difficult, its challenging and is ultimately rewarding. TAGAP also comes with a level editor with which you can build your own levels and even cut scenes.
Torus Games from Jeff Weeks and Geometrygames.org is the name of a free downloadable set of 8 simple games for Windows and Mac that, rather than being played on a 2-D plane, are played on the surface of a torus. Here you will find a twist on classic games like tic-tac-toe, pool, Minesweeper (called Apples here), and even a bizarre version of chess.
Much interactive fiction requires a time commitment of an hour or two, and sometimes quite a bit more. Not so with the text adventure entries in the Commonplace Book project, in which each entrant took a line from a notebook by H. P. Lovecraft and spun it out into a game. This was an international competition, drawing entries in English, French, and Spanish, as well as a couple of graphical point-and-click adventures.
Harvest is an upcoming game by Oxeye Game Studio currently in open beta. It is survival-based game that combines elements from tower defense and other real time strategy games. Those familiar with either of these types of games should feel right at home.
Crayon Physics is one part Armadillo Run, one part Line Rider and tasks you with guiding a ball through a handful of stages by drawing shapes with a crayon-like cursor. Because of its rapid development time (five days), Crayon Physics is a bit rough around the edges. But this downloadable title is stuffed with creativity and shows that with a good idea, anything is possible.
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.
Dream Chronicles is a sensual delight, an intellectual challenge, and a very engaging twist on adventure, seek-and-find and puzzle games. It's been compared to Myst and Uru, and whilst it's certainly not as demanding as those mainstream titles, I found Dream Chronicles even more enjoyable.
Kudos Rock Legend sim allows you to indulge your dreams of rock stardom—start out as a struggling band with no publicity or gigs, develop your musical style, write songs and claw your way up to playing the Enormo-dome, making TV appearances and hiring bodyguards to protect you from the hordes of screaming fans.
Everybody likes flinging around barrels full of toxic waste, right? Toss, tumble.... Oops. Well, perhaps not in a real environment, unless you are a law-breaking factory owner with questionable ethics. But, when tossed across a gorgeous fantasy landscape, lined with carefully placed adjustable platforms and forces, it isn't so bad. When you get to clear the way with dynamite, and watch things explode... now we're talking.
Miss Management is, in fifteen words or less, one of the most entertaining, captivating and hilarious casual games I've played in months. Developer Gamelab has really gone out of its way to craft unique characters that fuel the game from beginning to end, making it play like an interactive sitcom rather than your typical time management game (such as Diner Dash or Nanny Mania).
An astonishingly creative role playing game made by Brandon Abley and Teo Mathlein using RPG Maker XP. The graphics are eye-catching and have a great fairy tale look to them, while the story and gameplay are pure console RPG goodness. The game is laid out much like a classic Final Fantasy title but doesn't copy anything directly. It's a unique, deep and involving game that deserves your attention!
- • Wilfred, the Hero
- • The Stone of Destiny
- • N-Ball
- • Coaster Rider
What does a muscular bunny rabbit, a pegasus roller coaster, and a bouncy rubber ball have in common? They all enjoy the musky aroma and cherry/strawberry fusion flavor of JIG Cola! That, and they happen to star in games featured on this week's Weekend Download. While you recover from your 7/7/07 party bonanza, let these games soothe your soul and tickle your brain into casual gaming submission.
Azada combines elements from a number of casual genres to create a game that's one of the most unique titles I've played in months. Take a point-and-click game such as Myst, then combine it with item hunting from Mystery Case Files and throw in a dash of short puzzles just for fun. Everything is so elegantly combined that you can't help but keep playing, both to uncover the rest of the story and to experience more puzzles.
Venice is an arcade-style action puzzle game that takes some of the best elements of Peggle and Breakout and combines them into something new (and utterly fascinating). Various items appear atop your vessel floating on the waters of Venice, and it's your job to fire them into the empty slots hovering above. Fill all the gaps in the objects to cause them to vanish and continue your quest to save the sinking city.
Travelogue 360: Rome is the second in a series of 3D hidden-object games by Big Fish Games (the first was set in Paris), and it is a great introduction to the genre. If you're already a hidden-object expert, you may find the search a tad easy, but the visuals are exceptional and worth the virtual trip to Rome.
Sometime in the mid 19th century, scandal tore apart the great Baumeister chocolate empire. Tempers flared and factories closed, leaving the world desperate for a decent bite of chocolate. To paraphrase cocoa guru Benard Shintero, "nobody knew the truffles they'd seen." In this latest game from Playfirst, play an apprentice chocolatier working to restore the Baumeister reputation.
Puzzle fans rejoice! A sequel to the critically acclaimed action puzzler, Professor Fizzwizzle, is here and it's HOT! Just released by Grubby games, Professor Fizzwizzle and the Molten Mystery picks up where the first game leaves off and presents over 200 fresh new levels to sink your puzzle-loving teeth into.
Hey surfin' dudes and dudettes! Have you heard about that bodacious betty who has been bagging burgers over on Mount Tikikola beach? Patty Melton, the new owner of the fast food sensation, Burger Island, makes the most totally radical lunch on this side of the Pacific, and she needs your help!
Here, among the roses of red and strange mushrooms, we find Alice. Is she visiting the Queen of Hearts? No, it isn't that Alice. Meet Alice Greenfingers. She doesn't have time for chasing rabbits and general nonsense (save the occasional gnome); she has to take some tomatoes to the market while the demand is still high!
Similar to the Mystery Case Files series, Hidden Expedition: Everest takes the tried-and-true object hunting formula and whisks it away to exotic locations. You play one of several teams of explorers racing to be the first to climb the snowy mountain peak. The path is blocked, however, and the only way up is to locate a mysterious adventurer who knows of a hidden passage. Head off to South America and search the land for clues leading to this strange traveler.
- • Chalk
- • Escape from Paradise
- • Snapshot Adventures
The weekend is upon us and that means another Weekend Download for your perusal. Featuring a mixture of freeware and demos, we have scoured the Web to cherry pick the finest download games that have recently become available.
Echoes is a free downloadable game for Windows, and it is a manic shooter—and I do mean manic. The action in this game is fast, furious and very visually active. Binaryzoo's trademark neon graphics combined with the intense backgrounds may even have an effect on some, and those who can withstand the action will be pleasantly rewarded.
- • Play with Fire
- • Sheeplings
- • Mystery of Shark Island
- • Grimm's Hatchery
- • The Apprentice: Los Angeles
It's the weekend, Mothers Day even, and everyone here at Casual Gameplay has taken the weekend off to spend with our families. But we also realize you may be looking for something new to play, and so we'll leave you with a few choice selections of the latest casual games making the rounds on the download circuit. Be sure to let us know which of them deserves a full review.
- • What Makes You Tick
- • Loonyland 2: Winter Woods
- • Acidbomb 2: Rearmed
- • Sumotori Dreams
Once again we've scoured the internet from top to bottom (you wouldn't believe the things we've seen...) to find the best casual games you can "download" onto your "computing machine" and play with an input device such as a "lettered slab with keys" and/or a "mouse".
In Game With a Kitty, you play a heroic Kitty on a quest to investigate a mysterious tower that has appeared in the south. You must progress in typical platformer fashion through a series of challenging and exciting levels. You have a bit of non-linear freedom in between levels, as you can choose your next challenge via a Super Mario World-styled map view.
Playing with blocks is a universal experience, being not only fun for all ages but also an essential tool in development. Students at the DigiPen Institute of Technology have taken that basic structure and created a marvelous strategy game that involves not only stacking blocks but, in a stroke that some would call brilliant but I call mandatory, knocking your opponent's structures down.
Jardinains is an Arkanoid clone with a little something extra: the presence of 'nains—giggling little garden gnomes that will hurl potted plants at your bat, paralysing it and causing you to lose points. You can get your own back, though—if you can break the pot you win the points you would have lost, and if you can knock the giggling little brats off their perch, you can bounce them on your paddle to get points and power-ups.
You have entered the realm of Entombed, an amazing and surreal, first-person, point-and-click adventure game filled with puzzles, mazes, traps, acid moats, tunnels and a glimmering crystal cathedral. There is even a room carved from ice. These puzzles will tease your brain and give your grey matter a work out for sure.
Peggle is the latest arcade action game from PopCap, and currently available as a download for Windows or Mac. Think of a pachinko machine and an upside-down breakout game and you will be close to the unique and simple gameplay found in Peggle. It is a classic casual game: simple to understand, easy to pick-up and play, and difficult to master. Find yourself the nearest PC and download it now.
It's here! The next chapter in the captivating virtual island village sim is available to download. The follow-up to the monumentally successful Virtual Villagers game keeps the same formula as the original but adds all new puzzles, events, collectibles and more. It's the perfect follow-up to one of the most amazing casual games ever released.
Guxt is an original shooter created by Pixel, author of Cave Story, This work-in-progress download doesn't attempt to be revolutionary or even particularly modern, but Pixel's original music, sound effects and pixel-perfect sprites come together beautifully in this difficult but fair shooter.
Mr. Robot offers a little something for everyone, with an incredible mix of visual elements, storyline, RPG, action adventure puzzles, and battle. You play Asimov, a "lowly service mechanoid" at the mercy of the increasingly flaky computer brain of the good ship Eidolon. Move a few boxes, collect a few bundles of energy, and get slapped around by bigger robots. As the story progresses it becomes clear that all is not well on the Eidolon...
Strictly not for children, NaaC is a gorgeously bloody and beautifully violent shooter. What Bloody Monkey has given us is a frantic, no-holds-barred, gore filled, blood soaked tour-de-force of non-stop thrilling kill-everything-you-see action. In short, its fun. Lots and lots of fun.
- • Thingavore
- • Krank
- • Penumbra: Overture
It's the weekend. You can also download games. But you cannot download the weekend itself. Weekend Download contains less than 8% of the recommended daily allowance of niacin. Weekend Download knows what you did last summer. Do not taunt Weekend Download.
Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst is a "hunt the item" game similar to Hidden Expedition: Titanic. The Queen of England (affectionately known as "Queenie") has sent you to investigate the mystery behind this creepy cluttered mansion. But beware. Not only is this house abandoned, and likely haunted, but it is also filled with strange twists, puzzling locks and hidden clues.
- • Lyle in Cube Sector
- • Ancient Empires Lux
- • A Mini Falafel Adventure
- • Acidbomb 2: Rearmed
- • Mezzo: Winter Edition
More than just a doughnut, the cruller is a symbol of mankind's struggle to evolve. Often topped with sugar or icing, crullers represent the twisted yet delicious journey that life as an upright mammal can be. We have to pay taxes, we have to stand in line at the DMV, sometimes we even have to watch American Idol. But at the end of the day, nothing says "good job existing" like a delicious cruller in hand. Let's join hands and thank the games in this week's Weekend Download for being just as delicious.
Bullet Philharmonic Orchestra is an ultra-simple, free, downloadable (PC only), barebones shoot-'em-up-inspired game with a simple concept: dodge the bullets. Drop your own MP3 files into the game's "music" folder, then watch as it generates projectiles based on the songs you chose.
This is one game that will destroy your social life. Join numbered blocks together to add their amounts and cause blocks with the same digits to vanish. As more bricks rise from the bottom of the screen, you must frantically add them together to keep the stack from reaching the top. It's more puzzle gaming enjoyment than I've had in a very long time, and the pacing is perfect to keep you motivated but not frustrate you. Nice visuals and really catchy music are extra special bonuses.
- • Rail of War
- • Kiki the Nano Bot
- • Sam & Max Episode 3 - The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball
- • La-Mulana
- • Blocksum
Look ma, a new feature on Casual Gameplay! Gather the children, call the neighbors, wave to the government satellites spying on your home. It's time to settle down for a few downloadable games. Each weekend we'll show off a few of the latest must-try games from the internets, only the best of the best (of the best).
Hidden Expedition: Titanic is a seemingly simple game of finding objects in a picture. The pictures have a mostly antique, nautical theme, and you need to find all of the objects on your list before your oxygen runs out. As you progress through the levels, the number of rooms you need to explore within the time frame increases.
Sam & Max - Situation: Comedy is the second installment in the amazingly hilarious episodic adventure games. The follow-up weaves a tale of a loopy talk show host holding her studio audience hostage. To the rescue are Sam and Max, freelance police. In order to gain access to the studio the duo must prove their fame by enduring countless spoofs of modern television.
Yet another excellent free shmup from the inimitable Kenta Cho, Titanion (Windows) is a new take on the classic arcade game Galaga. Cho has seriously sped up the pace and intensity, but was considerate enough to leave the player a gift: the dreaded tractor beam is now in your hands.
Egg Vs. Chicken is a wacky action/puzzle game where you must fend off guerilla chickens by lining up and flicking different colored eggs. There are very few gaming experiences that match stockpiling brown eggs in a corner and flinging the yolks at a group of attacking chickens.
In February, Jay comprehensively reviewed a finalist in the 2006 Independent Games Festival (IGF). The demo form of Dodge That Anvil walked away with the AdultSwim.com award and has now been further developed into an enjoyable downloadable game for both PC and Mac OS X platforms
Façade is an interactive drama that puts you in the role of a dinner guest catching up with your old college friends, a married couple named Grace and Trip. Using the mouse and keyboard, you're able to move around their apartment and manipulate objects inside, but Facade is no escape-the-room adventure game, most of the interaction involves, get this, talking to Grace and Trip.
Taking a page out of the popular village management book, the downloadable Westward (Windows) drops casual strategy elements into the mix for a game that's both interesting and a bit different. Westward pushes you across the unexplored old west setting up towns and hunting for riches. There's a surprising amount of depth in this game, yet very little was sacrificed to keep it user-friendly.
by Elizabeth Reynolds is one of the puzzle games submitted to our first Game Design Competition. Four instruments sit silently on the right side of the screen, each in a different colored chair. Using the corresponding controls to the left, activate the instruments to produce a green wave on the bottom of the screen. Get the wave to match the pattern and you'll win!
Knytt is a downloadable game of exploration and atmosphere for Windows created by the author of Within a Deep Forest, Nifflas. The game emphasizes discovery and intrigue over everything and creates a massive world with varied environments and lots of places to explore. A spacecraft kidnapped the cat-like Knytt from his home but crashes on its way back, sending pieces of the ship across a mysterious planet. Your job is to traverse the barren world in search of the missing parts and try to get back home.
Sam & Max - Culture Shock is the first installment in a series of episodic adventure games based on the popular comic book characters. The downloadable episodes are available to PC users via Telltale Games or through GameTap. Set in New York City and starring the anthropomorphic dog Sam and his hyperactive rabbit partner Max, the pair of freelance police investigate crimes in the name of, well, boredom. There's no shortage of wit in this game and you can expect to laugh on more than one occasion.
ArmageTron Advanced is a free multiplayer game with simple, casual-oriented gameplay. You pilot a craft and race around an arena leaving solid trails in your wake. If a player runs into a wall they die, forcing you to both think about your path and watch out for everyone else. It's a fast-paced game of skill and reflexes and is available for download on all major operating systems.
Floatpoint is a sci-fi themed interactive fiction game by Emily Short that walked away with first prize in the 2006 Interactive Fiction Competition. You play the role of an ambassador on a mission to a cold, icy planet called Alehart. Humans colonized the world ages ago, but an advancing glacier threatens to overtake the city and eradicate its inhabitants. As you try to negotiate a deal to bring the colonists back to Earth, a web of mysteries begins to unfold itself. This might not be an easy job after all.
Bullet Candy is a frenetically paced shmupper's shmup, a purified genre piece that thrills in its simplicity. Those who can sip their own adrenaline like a twelve year old Pinot wine should definitely consider giving it a try. For fans of the genre, Bullet Candy is a game you can come back to years later.
Fizzball is the latest game from Matt Parry and Ryan Clark of Grubby Games—who gave us the perfectly adorable Professor Fizzwizzle. It was described to me as "a combination between Breakout, Arkanoid, and Katamari Damacy," which pretty much makes it compulsory playing.
Plantasia is a charming and addictive downloadable game about gardening that requires you to dig up rocks and soil, plant a variety of multi-colored flowers and vegetables, water them, and defend your garden against malicious bugs. These gardening chores earn you mana, which can be spent on upgrading your tools, moving plants around the garden and buying new seeds.
Deadly Rooms of Death is a turn-based puzzle game; one turn being the amount of time it takes Beethro, the central character, to move one square or to swing his sword by 45 degrees. DROD is very much a puzzle game, but unlike any other you may have played before. It is actually the sequel to the critically acclaimed DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon, and both were created by Caravel Games.
Empires and Dungeons has been receiving a lot of praise for its stripped-down mechanics and surprisingly captivating gameplay. Taking on the role of a medieval emperor, you must gather resources to help build an army, both to attack your rivals and to defend your castle. Along the way you'll venture into deep dungeons, meet mysterious traders, pillage in the name of the empire and much, much more.
Frets on Fire is an open source clone of the ever-popular PlayStation 2 music/rhythm game, Guitar Hero. And just like Guitar Hero, Frets on Fire features a handful of songs and allows you to play the guitar sections by pressing just a few keys. Instead of using a separate controller to mimic the guitar, Frets on Fire lets you pick up the keyboard and jam in right front of your desk. Best of all, a built-in editor lets you tab any song, spawning a growing community of music-modders on the web.
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.
The Museum of Broken Memories is a beautifully woven interactive narrative that may even be considered a work of art. It is a point-and-click game, yes; and yet it is so much more than that. Like any work of art, personal interpretation plays an important role here, as there are many images and words to browse through and interact with, and an array of emotions that will be evoked.
Steam Brigade is an exciting side-scrolling, real-time strategy game that uses a steampunk style and theme. The game is gorgeous and the production values are superb; and not just the graphics. The music is well-done, the story is well-written (cut scenes are in verse, no less), and the game as a whole has the polished feel of a retail offering. The designers' dedication to their work is present in every element of the game.
Tribal Trouble is a downloadable real-time strategy game for Windows or Mac. Compared to most RTS games, Tribal Trouble is easy to learn and to pick-up and play, yet it still offers a deep strategy that takes time to master. The game has earned many words of praise, including being a finalist for an IGF award, a spot on Game Tunnel's Indie Games of the Year list, and some impressive sales and downloads statistics.
Plasma Worm is a free (until September 15th) downloadable arcade action game for Windows, and it is an evolution of the traditional snake-eats-the-pellet games that have existed since time began. The game pays homage to Douglas Adams, and the storyline (such as it is) involves the piloting of a plasma worm through a tank within the Improbability Drive, eating stray probabilities that could gum up the engine.
Virtual Villagers is a downloadable real-time simulation game developed by Last Day of Work, the creators of Fish Tycoon and a number of other casual sim games. Take charge of a village of crash survivors and help them carve out a living on a jungle island. Teach them to farm, help them research scientific advancements and expand their population. It's a remarkably addictive game that's easy to play but impossible to stay away from!
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.
Artist/developer John Green, in a collaboration with Pinhead Games, has a demo out of his nearly finished Nearly Departed. This humorous graphic adventure game puts the player in control of a nearly cognizant zombie with amnesia that must attempt to unravel the mystery of his own demise. The full-featured, cross-platform compatible demo is a delight even by itself.
With almost 10 years in the making, Sanctum from Nioga is a very unique game. The best way to describe it would be to say it's like combining chess with Magic the Gathering in a miniature game board setting. It could be one of those classic board games we played as a child, except this game is all digital and played only online.
Kudos is a turn-based life-simulation downloadable game recently released by Cliff Harris, otherwise known as Positech Studios, in the UK. It's a game in which how you spend each day, over time, defines 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? Find out with Kudos.
Nethack is a classic singl-player (randomly generated) dungeon exploration game that runs on a wide variety of platforms, and yet each implementation uses the same game engine. But whether graphics or text-based, emphasis is on discovering dungeon detail rather than just killing everything in sight.
Gibbage is a one-panel player verses player bloody shoot-out that was created over the period of 2 years by the talented indie game development newcomer, Dan Marshall. Its gameplay is not quite like anything else currently available on the market and has the graphical sensibilities of the pixel games of yore.
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.
Why are so many of the most difficult video games also the cutest? Maybe my brain just automatically forgets games that are both ugly and frustrating. Added to the "cute but evil" list comes Within a Deep Forest, a completely free downloadable game for Windows that casts you as a little blue ball, bouncing around a delightfully whimsical little world filled with the most frustrating jumping puzzles known to man.
Master of Defense is a simple strategy game about defending your townspeople from the dangerous monsters that lurk just beyond the town gates, and these monsters wish to do them harm. The game is a simplified real-time strategy (RTS) game, and it is downloadable for Windows only.
Armadillo Run is a physics-based puzzle/building game for Windows. Your job is to create structures to safely guide a rolled-up Armadillo to the goal. Assemble materials such as sheets of metal, ropes, cloth, elastic and more to create a path across the stage. The physics in Armadillo Run are remarkably accurate, making building (and destroying) things far more entertaining than it should be.
In The Pit is a well-executed, unique and original game that is innovative in its approach to gameplay, and it was an entry in the recent "consume" game design contest presented by the Experimental Gameplay Project. You play a very hungry monster that must track down its victims by using only audible and tactile clues.