With DragonStone, dev studio PlayPond bravely mashed a marble-grouping game with a shoot-em-up, spray-painted it with a medieval fantasy theme, and literally turned the whole thing on its head. The result is an exciting and perilously addictive experiment, with the friendly face and high production values of a casual game.
Following the highly-successful footsteps of puzzle-RPG hybrids, Spandex Force combines several match 3-style jewel swapping games with a sim-like spoof of superhero life. Patrol the city surrounding your headquarters searching for thieves and citizens in need. When you engage a bank robber or intervene to save a helpless human, a simple puzzle interface appears as your challenge to complete the task. It's a surprisingly fresh take on a rather tired genre that scores major points for wearing a wacky sense of humor on its sleeve.
Fall in, troops! It seems we've got ourselves another attack on our hands. Menacing spiders are descending from the skies, and it's up to our platoon of cannons to stop them! We've got to divide our forces to gather bullets on one side, and shoot down the spiders on the other side, so you'll need to divide your attention to win the battle!
If you've seen one match three game, you've seen 'em all, right? Azkend aims to change that, but not in the way you might think. Instead of shaking up the gameplay or introducing awkward new features, developer MythPeople spent time polishing the game to a brilliant shine. The end result is typical puzzle gameplay with an absolutely gorgeous visual design and sound package. It goes to prove that a rich presentation can turn an otherwise ordinary game into a real gem.
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords blends a match 3 game with an old-school fantasy RPG. As you roam the overworld you complete quests, earn gold, gain experience, buy equipment and upgrade your stats just like any role playing game. But when you encounter an enemy a Bejeweled-like tile swapping game appears. Match gems to cause damage and collect mana to cast spells to help you defeat your enemy. It's a remarkably well-balanced game that's as easy to pick-up and play as it is to continue playing for hours upon hours. And it's one of the most addictive games I've played in a very long time.
From the Gorillaz' website comes Tiles of the Unexpected!, a game which puts a new spin on a familiar genre. Like a cross between SameGame and Mahjong, the challenge is to clear all of the tiles from the board. Click on any set of two or more adjacent, identical tiles to clear them.
Brand new from Game Pure, creator Speed Cluster, Oshidama and Bound Bear, is a small and simple puzzle game titled The Quiet Night. It takes the familiar Puzznic/Flipull sliding blocks formula and wraps it in a stylish media package to create something familiar that's worth playing for the atmosphere alone.
A new stylish title from Game Pure has just been released: Micro Art. The hybrid puzzle combines elements of SameGame and your classic match-3 game with a unique line-drawing mechanism. A pile of puzzle pieces rises on the left side of the screen while matching pieces float freely on the right. Draw a line and collect the floating pieces to make matches and keep the stack from reaching the top of the screen.
Flashxed manages to breathe a little life into the familiar block-matching puzzle theme with a new mechanic: block dragging. You're presented with a set of bricks with colored orbs sparkling inside. Drag blocks left or right one at a time, and if two or more blocks of the same color touch, they smash and crumble away. It's extraordinarily perplexing at times, but that challenge is what makes it so fun.
Welcome to Tonypa's school of game design. Start with a very simple gameplay idea; it doesn't have to be original, but the idea has to be simple enough for anyone to understand immediately. Include a few attractive graphics in a minimalist style of your own design. Add a pleasing and relaxing soundtrack. Toss everything in a box and flip it upside down. Voilà. Brand new game all your own.
A match-3 action puzzle game with zoo animals and a memorable soundtrack. While the moody animals are a nice touch, it is the Quest mode which makes this game enticingly addictive. As the zookeeper, you are set to 10 different tasks by your angry little boss. With clever variations, an emotional lot of animals and an uppity, cigar-smoking boss, Kiteretsu's Zookeeper will keep you busy and entertained.
2007 IGF finalist Bubble Islands is a new falling-object puzzle game from Dot-Invasion, the talented crew behind the previously reviewed Meteor Busters. Flash-based and completely free, Bubble Islands is fun, cute and loaded with enough content to rival similar commercial games.
Farm Hustle takes the simple formula from games like Bejeweled and adds an interesting twist. In order to get the animals back into their rooms, you must swap them to make rows or columns of three or more. The catch is that you must also use every square on the grid, adding a new level of strategy to your game.
Hit the dance floor in this foot-stomping, original new take on the connect-three puzzle genre of casual gameplay. In Disco Jungle, play as a funky blue elephant with a special ability to absorb the color of any dance floor tile and then drop it anyplace else. Use it to match three (3) or more same-color tiles, horizontally and/or vertically, to score points and clear levels.
Combo! and Blockdown are two great flash puzzle games by Anders Pousette. They're remarkably simple and build upon classic puzzle gaming themes while throwing a few fresh ideas into the mix. Each comes with a public high score board to give you a chance at your 15 minutes of fame. You'll have to earn it, but with the amount of time you'll spend playing each game, odds are you won't really mind.
JP of Pepere.org recently released a new version of his Ringmania game, creatively called Ringmania 2. In this latest update to the connect-three game based on magnetism, control is now with the mouse allowing more freedom of movement as you try to eliminate all of the colored rings from each level's initial configuration.
Bola is a casual and enjoyable puzzle game created by the developers at Gamesheep.com, the same folks who brought us Manole and Makos. The goal of the developers who host the site is to eventually populate it with all their own games, and Bola is not a bad step in that direction.
Makos is a game that is somewhat similar to so many other games in the very crowded genre of sliding block puzzle games, and yet it managed to grab my attention with its adorable little forest creatures and addictive gameplay. The graphics and sound effects are all nicely polished and give the game an attractive charm that will likely have you coming back to play often.
Si et JP of Pepere.org sends word of his brand new game, Ringmania. A new take on a Puzzle Bobble clone, the object of the game is to clear the play field of all rings by connecting three (3) or more rings of the same color to make them "explode."
Dr. Strangemitten's Shrunken Heads is a Puzzle Bobble variation (Bust a Move in the U.S.) with a ghoulish Halloween theme, perfect for this time of year. And while the gameplay is unoriginal, the execution of this version is quite enjoyable to play.
From Shockwave Japan, this cute little Flash game requires you to click on adjacent animals to swap places and line up 3 or more of the same. It sounds a little confusing, and with the instructions in Japanese, I was a little confused at first myself. Just ignore the first screen with the cell phone, don't click it—it's an ad. Wait for the ga...