Sin Mark is a Bowmaster Prelude-inspired side-scroller by Con Artist of Armor Games, featuring subtle strategy elements and lots of magic arrow, spell-weaving fun. It's meant to be played with your hero as mobile as possible, unlike many of the static, turret-defending bow-and-arrow games in this genre. Progressing through a series of levels battling waves of Middle Earth-type monsters, you'll extract magic from "Rune Stones" to build a larger arsenal of offensive and defensive spells, all of which are cast from your trusty bow.
An uncommonly lovely escape game that is also, for better and for worse, unusually difficult. We've come to expect great things from Place of Light; their previous games are both excellent and well-executed. With Room Marine, however, they have positively outdone themselves. While the difficulty of the game can be at times taxing, the reward is more than worth it; if you're a serious connoisseur of escape games, you're gonna love this one.
A uniquely engaging, captivating and relaxing puzzle game that will be both fresh and familiar every time you play since all levels and even the music for each level is randomly generated. Author Dan Russell-Pinson set out to create a game with wider appeal than the Tipping Point series of adventure games he is known for, and the game's redeeming qualities certainly don't end there.
3000 AD is a mech-battle game shown from a top-down perspective. Unlike the arcade action of Robokill, it's a stomping, creaking affair, much like classic tales of tall machines like Mech Warrior. Here your steel chassis will absorb gunfire, and lots of it. Your job is to dish it out faster than you take it. The low-resolution graphics won't satisfy everyone, but it's almost like a story of olden times, when pilots were bearded, pixels were gigantic, and mechs were huge and clunky, not like these modern mechs with their hyper-skates and their glitch-core bina-rave parties.
A game that is little like Pong, except that you've got four paddles, they're tethered to the walls by chains, and every eight hits produces a new ball to contend with. It's easy to play and aesthetically simple, with vector-like graphics and soothing sound effects, but the evil challenge is what keeps you coming back for more.
The latest real-time strategy game from tower defense master David Scott sets you in deep space, defending your asteroid mining operation from humongous swarms of space pirates. The freedom of building in two dimensions gives you a lot of room to experiment and find your own strategy, and the sheer scope of the massive battles make it feel like quality space opera. Constant tension plus simple controls plus nearly unlimited mathematical depth equals awesome strategy game.
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.
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.
Welcome to Mirror Image 101. We're going to start with the most basic of teleportation spells, the Mirror Jump. Everyone spread out, please. It's a very simple spell to use. Just stand up and use your scepter to draw a straight line perpendicular to your line of vision in the direction you want to warp, and at half the distance. Poof! You'll warp to the other side of that line! It's the latest from Nitrome; it's unique and it's sure to please.
Sentences is a word game by Pictogame that allows you to recreate famous sayings, combining familiar game elements into one fast-paced language-fest. Each of ten rounds tests your speed-typing, word-rearranging, or Hangman skills. There are 200 quotes to unlock, and each round has a bronze, silver, and gold medal score that require tremendous accuracy and speed. It's simple to play, tricky to master, and has a little bit of an educational edge. Give it a try.
Panda: Tactical Sniper 2 is a friendly-looking, cheery little sniping game where you're not actually expected to snipe people. You're going to have to think outside the box of bullets and shoot other objects in your environment to achieve your goals, and help Panda pull of a major fuzzy-wuzzy diamond heist. It's a quirky concept that will appeal more to fans of puzzle games than shooters, especially given the perky aesthetic, and it's definitely worth a look.
A delightful sliding block puzzle game packed with every idea for a tile-based puzzler you can think of, including pushable blocks, lasers, mines, key-and-lock combinations, and so very, very much more. Basically, it's just a mammoth game with an incredible amount of variety. It could be tighter, but it couldn't be much more ambitious.
A lovely escape game that does nearly everything right; the graphics are good, the puzzles varied and inventive, the interface clean and user-friendly. Completing Cosmo does take just a smidgen of comprehension of mathematics and astronomy, but it is easily one of the better room escapes to come along recently.
Mushroom Revolution is a cartoon-styled strategy game rooted with the tried-and-true tower defense formula, with a simplified elemental tower system similar to last year's hit, GemCraft. A sequel to the obscure Mushroom Farm Defender, Mushroom Revolution is actually more of an updated an improved version of the original, with better graphics and bigger gameplay.
"What good is Magnetic Poetry if you can't be the best at it?" you might be saying. Well, wonder no more, for Paul Preece and David Scott (AKA the Casual Collective) have just the thing: Farragomate! Compete against up to 9 others to make the best sentence out of a given pool of words.
Nitrome has released Twin Shot, a new platform adventure full of Roman architecture and archery, perfect for playing with a friend or taking a solo challenge. It's a beautiful platformer, with creative nods to Bubble Bobble. The sound effects and music also take somewhat of a retro cue, and the graphics are quite stunning, with very detailed character designs and backgrounds.
Following the success of the first game in the series, Totem Destroyer 2 is bigger and better. In each level you must bomb all of the destructible blocks, without allowing the golden idol(s) to touch the ground. It's a beautifully executed follow-up to the excellent original, and it should not be missed. There's way more levels, new types of blocks, new types of idols, and even a level editor!
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.
Yes, that's exactly what cerebral puzzler The Codex of Alchemical Engineering needed. A longer title. Anyway, there are fifteen new brain-teasers here, created by both the author of the original game and its fans. When Zach (the author) says that this expansion may destroy the minds of those who haven't finished the first game, do not take his words lightly.
This updated version of irRegular Games' Sproing adds weapons and upgrades to an appealing formula: bash apart moving targets with a big blue ball on an elastic band. Sproing Reloaded brings a good mix of simple physics gaming that's hard to master, 30 achievements to keep you coming back for more, and a bit of quirky humor to show you the author's personality.
The full version of Auditorium is out! The purchase price gets you over 70 levels divided between 15 acts. It's five times as long as the demo was, and features much more particle-manipulating, puzzle-driven gameplay. No saving the universe, no destroying some ancient heart of evil, just a chance to listen to some good classical music and watch a light show.
BubbleQuod is a physics-based puzzle-platformer from Ukrainian developer Garbuz Games. To free yourself from your self-constructed prison to keep out the dangers of the world, you must roll across fifty stages and seek the bubble-bursting pin. The developers offer two levels of difficulty: "normal," which allows for in-air control, and "hard," which is more realistic.
From the creators of Dr. Ichie's Room, Escape from Dr. Ichie's Cafe places you once more in the grasp of the mysterious doctor. He or she has locked you in a cozily wood-paneled cafe, filled with clever puzzles that tread the fine line between challenging and infuriating, providing a mentally stimulating experience that never crosses into head-banging-on-table territory.
As any guy with a bottle of super glue and his ex-girlfriend's CD collection can tell you, it's fun to stack things on top of each other. So here's the deal: Super Stacker 2 offers 40 levels of shape stacking, ranging from pathetically easy to hand-crampingly difficult. If that's not enough, I have three very special words for you: Level. Editor. Booya.
It may feel like someone's pulling the old switcheroo on you, but don't be fooled. It's The New Switcheroo, a puzzle game based on the Lights Out template, where the object is to turn all the bulbs in a formation to the same color. Over the course of 30 tricky and creative levels, The New Switcheroo adds a handful of twists, both figurative and literal, to that formula. It's more than enough to keep you pondering for an hour or two.
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.
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.
New from Gregory Weir, eternally inventive creator of The Majesty of Colors, comes the enigmatic and unsettling Bars of Black and White. It is an escape game, but the point is not to escape the room; it is a social commentary—or maybe it's really just an exploration of one person's mind? The possible interpretations are endless.
Perfect Balance is an 80-level brick-stacking puzzle game that asks you to… wait for it… balance a collection of shapes… wait for it… perfectly on a tiny jutting spire, or maybe a slanted line, or a sprinkle of floating cubes. You'll enjoy how the puzzles ask you to understand different properties of physics, including friction and inertia. Solve two realms worth of challenges: "Harmony" and "Inferno".
T2B Escape 4 offers all the complexity, creativity and whimsy that we've come to expect from this popular escape-the-room series, with the difficulty ramped up a generous handful of notches. It has simple puzzles, complex puzzles, puzzles that cannot be solved until the very end, puzzles that can be cracked with nothing but a little clever thinking... the number and variety are really amazing.
Older material from SKT Products, known for oddball classics like the Moai games and Mr. Sweets, Escargone brings you 30 levels of one-switch snail platforming. Although it drags a bit in the beginning, the patient player will be rewarded when it hits its stride in later levels.
Smooth and bold, with a delicate, classical presentation and a spicy but brief aftertaste, Space Pips serves as a nice pre-dinner aperatif for those with a taste for Geometry Wars-style arena shooters.
Tyler Glaiel, the programming and musical composition half of the team behind Aether, has released this amazing platform-puzzle game with a unique look and gripping, oppressive atmosphere. Whether you're looking for fresh new gameplay, or you're interested in games with subtle emotional values, Closure is where it's at.
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.
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.
In a world where vehicles are made up of cute, abstract creatures raptured by a conveyor belt, and everything is made of crazy blocks floating against a sky background, only the puzzle solvers will survive. Gurabitchon, another game by the Polygon Gmen, is a real zany stew of physics, gravity manipulation, and conveyor mechanics.
Adult Swim's Death Vegas, a superb technical fighting game from Spiritonin Media, serves up a rare mixture of thrills and substance. From the take-no-prisoners opening metal theme song, to the impressive character animation, to the pop-in close-ups of every brutal impact, Death Vegas will continually show you it means business. It won't rival Guilty Gear or Soul Caliber for complexity, but there's enough depth here to satisfy anyone looking for a good juicy brawl.
Terminal House is the first of a series of four escape-the-room adventures by developer, GUMP, that chart your oddly pastel-blue hero's quest to gain freedom from mysterious captors; perhaps the least sophisticated of the group, it is nonetheless excellent. I love the game's quirky sensibility, its commingling of surreal elements and standard escape-the-room tropes.
Flash Cat is the new racing game from Nitrome with twisting tracks in stylish 3-D, angry aliens and roadblocks to trip you up, and a mechanized spider-like creature as your vehicle. Race across eighteen tracks, twisting and turning as you go, while jumping over barriers that block your way. Keep watch for aliens and air ducts, as they aim to thwart your pursuit of victory!
Fighting robots plus brain-taxing logic-style puzzles? Sounds like a winner! Bureau of Steam Engineering, from the author of The Codex of Alchemical Engineering, is a visually stark game of planning, building, testing, tweaking, and building some more. You are an engineer outfitting robots who are about to go into battle with deadly weapons. Using pipes and valves you must connect each mechanical part to an engine and ensure it functions properly before unleashing the machine.
Grow Tower follows the standard formula that On created with the first Grow game over 5 years ago. Play by clicking on the icons, one-by-one, with the objective being to reach "level max" for each of the items. Order matters, and depending on the order you click, the items will combine and react with each other to reveal a wide array of fascinating outcomes.
A game in which you face wave upon wave of enemies, and you don't have so much as a dull spoon to defend yourself with. That's not fair, you may think, but this is the fast-paced and frenetic hand you've been dealt, serving up a bountiful feast of action-y goodness that's hard to put down. You don't have any weapons of your own, but the hundreds of enemies eager to see your undoing have more than enough to make up for that, as you turn their heat seeking bullets right back onto them.
Godlaser, the opening salvo from new developer Pyew Pyew, is a vertically scrolling manic shooter, influenced by Treasure's Ikaruga. You can upgrade your ship with new skills and equipment between levels. Enemy bullets come in three different flavors, and you can render yourself invulnerable to them by switching your ship to the correct color. It's an incredibly ambitious and far-reaching shooter, especially for something playable in your browser.
A new, creative puzzle game has surfaced, and it rocks:
A little gem from Candystand that's called Electric Box.
The premise is quite simple, and I'm sure you'll agree:
You've got some power at point A, so get some to point B.
There's many tricks and gadgets you will have to use to win,
Like doodads that give power out, or things that take it in.
We are introduced to the odious yet adorable little green goblin, Griswold, in his first flash adventure, as he tries to retrieve his shiny red rock from some nefarious ne'er-do-well. It's a light-hearted and charming point-and-click romp, one that will leave you with little doubt as to why a sequel had to be made.
Actionscript guru Keith Peters has released a sequel to Gravity Pods, his unforgiving physics puzzle challenge from last year. Place gravity pods to direct a projectile from your turret to a purple exit gate. The level design is stunningly difficult, but that kind of adversity can be rewarding.
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!
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.
Griswold the Goblin: Islands of Fire -- Chapter One is a beautifully compact and well-produced point-and-click adventure game from B-Group Productions. Take the reins of Griswold, a droopy and half-alert fellow with ridiculous posture, as he embarks on a sure-to-be-epic quest, for no other reason than that his TV broke and he's just bored enough to look for some treasure.
Not satisfied simply to have won second place in our last competition, game designer Lars Doucet has been busy reworking, researching, and refining his entry, the strategic defense game Super Energy Apocalypse. We are proud to announce that the full-fledged game has now been released!
A Flash translation of Cuarenta (Forty), a popular card game in Ecuador. You must reach 40 points before your opponent by capturing cards and scoring points through skillful play. The sound in this game is what really sells it. Every time you win or lose a point, a choir of excited voices cheer or jeer you!
A mouse-avoider game from Finefin, the makers of Dotville. Your goal is to skydive from Point A (umpteen thousand feet up) to Point B (the ground) relatively unscathed. However, a series of walls and tunnels has formed in midair, and running into them would likely be painful. The cheery pixel-art and energizing music make this a fun game to play.
December 31st, 1999. A mysterious conversation occurs between two concealed figures, only to be cut short by an unseen disaster. 100 years later, you wake up in a library, disoriented and alone. What are you doing in this strange house, and how can you escape? An escape-the-house, rather than escape-the-room, adventure, Time Escape is a complex quest that will test your wits and boggle your mind.
Blocks With Letters On is a game that seamlessly combines language riddles with physical tile puzzles. Each level provides you with an assortment of blocks (with letters on), and you must find a way to position them in the supplied pink spaces so that they spell an English word. This sequel's difficulty picks up at the point where the last game left off. Which was already freakishly difficult. Be warned.
Color Infection and Color Infection2 are a pair of puzzle games based on the useful Box2D physics engine. They feature a bare-bones presentation and no music or sound effects, but their puzzle designs are incredibly devious. These are the kind of puzzles that make you sit back and bask in their cleverness, even as they taunt you with their arcane complexity.
Monolist, from Japanese developer (or possibly super-powered spy team) Polygon Gmen, is what you would get if you took classic Space Invaders gameplay, multiplied it by three, strained it through a net made of Arkanoid bonus drops, and then sprinkled in nine hundred million bullets. Like a recreational energy drink, it's cool, refreshing, burning sweet, and highly caffeinated.
They call him Mr. Sweets. He makes a living selling delicious candy to children with the help of music and a match-three puzzle game, developed by SKT Products. Make combos with magical expanding candy and fill up the customer's happiness meter! It's hard to bring a new twist to a classic and do it well, but SKT know what they're doing.
Two Rooms is a new action/puzzle game from Lilley Design that will test your skills of both logic and finger agility. Two cubical robots are stuck in two neighboring rooms, one on the right and one on the left, and they must work together to escape. It's a satisfying chunk of blocky shifting puzzle action.
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.
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.
A rhythm-based Wario Ware type of game from Nitrome, in which you play colorful mini-game levels with a musical timing element. Destroy attacking fighters and tanks as Godzilla! Stake vampires as they rise in their coffins! Um...eat...stuff. It's all here, with three difficulty levels across four distinct stages, a different song in each level, and a final "mix-tape" stage that surreally switches context between the stages over the course of the song.
Time 4 Cat is a mouse avoider game in which your movements also control the enemy, so you can make everyone stop and start, or go faster or slower. Your goal is to hustle through the big city and scoop up all the food that is dropped. Each piece of food has a count-down timer on it, the faster you collect the food the higher your score. What makes this game stand out is the fact that you can slow everything down and go at your own pace.
Crossblock is a simple and rewarding puzzle game with a sublimely deceptive difficulty curve. Your goal is to eliminate all the blocks on a level by dragging a line across them, one horizontal or vertical group at a time. It's hard to believe that such straightforward, honest-looking piles of blocks can hold so many baffling complications.
In Escape, a multiple-room point-and-click escape game in the Trapped series by Godlimations, play as Dialla Reineheart, a spunky red-headed lady detective tasked with bringing down a sinister crime syndicate. Your partner, Mickey, has been tragically slain by the leader of the gang, the ruthless Dan McNeely; now, you must escape from his clutches. This won't be easy.
A new retro-styled puzzle game from Ryan Chisholm and Bennett Foddy, Evacuation puts you in control of the fate of a space station invaded by aliens. Click on escape hatches to open them and evacuate the aliens to space without sacrificing any of the human inhabitants of the station. Randomly generated levels provide enough reason to keep coming back to this one.
Chicken's Flying School is about preparing newborn chicks for a big flying tournament by throwing them into the sky and keeping them there with puffs of air until they learn to fly on their own. The consistently high level of involvement makes it fun, and the atmosphere is sugary-sweet enough to make your arms tingle.
Newly thawed from Nitrome, Ice Breaker is a great-looking physics-based puzzle game involving vikings, chunks of ice, and vikings frozen inside chunks of ice. Using the mouse, simply draw lines to cut the ice and drop vikings onto the ship. You'll often need to manipulate the frozen environment to create a smooth path for the vikingcicles to slide down, so timing and a little experimentation with physics are your two best friends in this game.
Despite being a relatively simple game, YHTBTR has earned quite a fanbase. It boasts a game manual, four walkthroughs (including one YouTube walkthrough and one in German), a speedrun posted on YouTube, a Spanish Wikipedia page, a text-adventure version, a novelization, and a fan-comic. Come see what all the hype is about.
From game designer Michael Gribbin comes Pyro, a bevy of burning, a calamity of combustion, and a triumph of torch. In short, a game of flame! The goal is simple: light all of the torches. If the copious numbers of wooden blocks spread across forty levels should also happen to go up in smoke, so much the better!
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.
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.
Yes, it's true--the twelfth and final episode of 10 Gnomes is here. Let's bid a fond farewell to our timid multitude of miniature friends. The next time you look out at the world and fail to see any magic there, just imagine a gnome hiding around every corner. Then imagine you have only ten minutes to find them all.
DropSum is an elegant puzzle game by Nick Harper, who describes it as a cross between Tetris and Sudoku. Burst bubbles and form complicated chain reactions by forming groups that add up to 9. If you ever find yourself yearning to lay down some damage with the power of sums, this is as good as it gets.
Andrew the Droid is a retro-looking title that utilizes the familiar level rotation concept found in a number of games. Work your way through over two dozen levels, avoiding hazards as you unlock exits, collect chips to grant you new abilities, and rotate the stage to let gravity pull you where you need to go.
A simple and charming room escaper from Japan that is just right for an afternoon tea. Filled with objects to find and puzzles to solve, and just a few smallish pixel areas to give you pause. It's simple, short and sweet, like a new year's baby offering promise of a better life ahead. So Happy Birthday 2008!
Take the simple kid's game Concentration, disguise it as something even easier and more kid friendly, then make it much more challenging and evil with each passing level. Flipped out is a super-polished and all around entertaining twist on a familiar game mechanic.
Grid is a moody, deliberate puzzle game from two-man development team Atomic Cicada. Your job is to rotate the available tiles so that every space has power and none of your tiles have any unconnected ends. The catch is that you can only rotate a tile if it already has power flowing through it, which bumps Grid up a few notches on the thoughtfulness index.
The latest brilliant-yet-simple logic puzzle game to hit the Web goes by the intriguing title of The Codex of Alchemical Engineering. Called a "game for engineers" by its creator, your goal is to build machines out of mechanical arms that move and transform basic elements to create compounds required to pass each level. It's a cerebral puzzle game that tasks you with arranging and tweaking objects on both a small and grand scale, the final result of which is a burst of euphoric gaming bliss.
Nicholas' Weird Adventure 2 is an adventure game that takes itself about as seriously as Chuck E. Cheese might take quantum physics. After escaping from the mall with the last copy of the Ramon Osborn Show Season 2 DVD, you emerge victoriously from the menacing double-doors, only to have your DVD stolen by the dark wizard Morth and your body transported to a faraway land of grass and houses.
Hardboiled, from Tom Vencel at Ninja Doodle, is a collection of mouse-controlled mini-games. You get 5 minutes and 7 lives to complete 45 intense tests of timing, observation, and pure twitching finger speed. When you run out of time or lives, you'll learn not only that you're a bad egg, but exactly what type of bad egg you are.
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.
Cottage is an escape game that manages to successfully combine cleverness with a relatively low level of difficulty; while the puzzles may seem simple, they are still creative and inspired enough to delight even the veteran escape gamers among us. Fabulous graphics, fun puzzles, and an adorably surprising ending... it warms even my cold, grumpy New Yorker's heart.
Monkey sad. Make monkey happy! That's your simple goal in Monkey GO Happy, a puzzle/arcade-style hybrid from Robin Vencel at Pencil Kids. Pick mushrooms, find treasure, shoot toy ducks, set off fireworks, fire cannons and loads more, all in the name of big monkey smiles. It's a bit like the Four Second series of games, only without the intense speed and with more mammals.
Eternal Red is, by its own admission, a cross between a platform arena style shooter and a real-time strategic defense game. No story, no dialogue, just you and the seemingly non-stop litany of enemies appearing from one door that try to make it to the second.
Aaaarrrrr you ready to push some crates and unlock millions of doors, matey? The next installment in the pirate-themed Phantom Mansion II series is here to satisfy your need to steal from the dead. This one has lots of ice, because it's about the North Sea. In the North. Where they keep the ice. That means you often get to sit back and watch Hector skate around helplessly, in between avoiding ghosts.
Viking Defense is a close cousin to Canyon Defense, a re-think of the tower defense genre that was released earlier this year. Game elements are introduced incrementally through a quest system. Once you build certain temples to the Norse gods, you get to use rechargeable powers, like the nuclear super-strike of the hammer Mjolnir. Fans of Canyon Defense will be happy that everything has been improved--the artwork, the map layouts, the weapon variety, and the overall game balance.
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.
Yoshio Ishii, of Nekogames, succeeds in the ambitious endeavor to redesign Breakout. And while the game is still about destroying bricks to clear the board, what's gone is the boredom the game usually suffers from when trying to get that last brick or two. Instead, what we have is more of a twitch game where reflexes rule the landscape of a simulated (and antiquated) vector graphics display.
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?!
Fishing Girl, the first game from developer Luna Drift, is the most tranquil, unhurried game about a life-or-death rescue operation you're ever likely to play. Rescue a boy stranded on an island, using only your humble powers of fishing! This game manages to capture the peacefulness and melancholy of fishing without bending to realism, and it's built on an emotional foundation of devotion and perseverance. What a neat little game.
The sequel to one of the best tactical battle games on the internet has finally arrived! Sonny 2 improves on the first game by offering three separate character classes, hundreds of new items, and a Player vs. Player mode. The turn-based combat flows like water and requires plenty of intense decision-making, while the incredible amount of character customization available right from the start opens up a world of interesting choices.
You might think that after escaping the kitchen only to find yourself locked in a living room, and then a bathroom, and then a basement, that we would learn not to get into tight situations such as these again. But then Mateusz Skutnik sends word of yet another installment in the Great Escape series and we're all lush with excitement. Somehow it just doesn't stand to reason. Or does it?