We covered Failbetter Games' eerie and elegant text-based MMO RPG three years ago when it was called Echo Bazaar, and now the game is bigger and better than ever. In a vast subterranean city where secrets are currency, Hell has an embassy, and murder and romance go hand in hand, create a character and take part in tons of unlockable storylines as you grow.
Designed to be played whenever you have a spare minute, this casual simulation tasks you with building and expanding your own kingdom from the ground up in real time. Though it does have optional microtransactions, piles of bonuses, special events, things to create, and more, it offers a ton of things to do without spending a dime and boasts a gorgeous design to boot.
Vampire Volleyball is a simple player vs. player arcade game by Retro64 (the creator of Rune Raiders) that pits one vampire against another in the ancient sport of... volleyball! Utilizing a few special moves and a lot of smartly-timed jumps, you'll face off against AI foes or local human players as you spike and serve your way to the top. To the winner goes the spoils, and to the loser goes a hot blast of sunlight!
When Francis Bacon famously said that knowledge is power, he probably didn't mean that knowing trivia answers would grant you magical powers. But that's how things work in Quiz RPG: World of Mystic Wiz, a trivia game for Android that blends elements of roleplaying and card games. Control a group of five spirits in your various quests as an apprentice wizard, and turn your trivia answers into bolts of lightning or jets of water or fireballs. With over 15,000 questions in the pool, there's enough variety to last even the most hardcore of us quite a while. And there's a talking cat who mews if you poke her, so that alone makes it worth a look.
Broken Picture Telephone is back! Using a free account, play with other people online as you attempt to interpret their drawings and create your own from descriptions of others. The premise is simple. Someone writes out a phrase (essentially an idea for a drawing), and someone else has to draw it. Then someone else looks at that drawing and describes what they think is happening in it, and someone else uses that description to draw their picture... and so on... and so on... and so on! You won't know what the other submissions or original objective was until you're done.
All the roly-poly creatures of the world compete to see who is the roly-polyest in Dillo Hills 2, the new racing game by Evil Space Chicken and Fex Labs! Fans of the original may be surprised by the emphasis on multiplayer action in what was previously a single-player title, but altogether the changes are for the awesome.
From Size Five Games, the team behind Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please!, comes a game that's pretty much nothing like those games. Gun Monkeys is a multiplayer arcade arena shooter that pits monkeys against each other as they fight over energy cubes. It's about as ridiculous as a premise as you can have for a video game, but it's also very well-balanced and easy to get into, especially if you start up a "friendly" competition with a couple of friends.
Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or not, Kairosoft's latest free mobile simulation deserves its chance to charm you, and will probably do so with ease. Create and micro-manage your own soccer team both on and off the field, and compete against the game, or even other players world-wide... and hire team members from them! Easily accessible and yet packed with a ton of details for unexpectedly deep strategy, it's a fantastic game that's satisfying to play and hard to keep your hands off of.
Fed up with the current crop of farming games and their incessant cheeriness? Agricola brings you back to reality like stepping in a pile of fresh manure. Playdek's mobile conversion of Uwe Rosenberg's classic strategy board game has the same pleasant exterior as numerous Facebook farm-'em-ups, but its cuddly graphics and music will do little to soothe your aching brain as you struggle to keep your peasants from starvation. Fun? It sure is.
In the recently-opened beta of Chris Hecker's SpyParty, one player takes on the role of an unassuming spy, tasked with completing several objectives in a soiree setting. The other player is the sniper, tasked with identifying the spy and taking them out. It's a simple premise, but the action is nail-bitingly tense as both players engage in a sort of inverted Turing test, trying to fool each other until the final pull of the trigger. If you're looking for a gripping but quick challenge, grab a cocktail glass and join the party.
Frozen Synapse puts you in control of a squad of armed troops and gives you the ability to precisely map out their actions and movements. Once you have settled on a game plan, you and your enemy's commands are then played out simultaneously in real time (the game's defining feature) and hopefully the resulting encounter leaves you with more men standing than the other guy.
Over eight years ago, Metanet Software gave us N, a minimalistic high-difficulty platformer download featuring a ninja hungry for gold and not-dying. That agile ninja returns in N v 2, featuring another 500 levels full of tempting gold ambrosia and enemies out to thwart your not-dying efforts, right in your browser. Grab a friend and discover once again how a tiny ninja in a deadly world could create quite a compelling and tricky challenge.
Get in, get the goods, get out. That's how a simple heist should go, but it's not that easy in Monaco. With guards and laser sensors lurking around every corner, you're bound to get caught up in the chaos of a frantic chase in this multiplayer stealth arcade game. Choose from a variety of nefarious crooks, each with a unique ability to help them pull off the crime, and sneak your away around a maze of treasures, traps, and trouble.
Magicka is back! And it's mobile! And Vlad's still not a vampire! Bringing with it everything that made the original game a hit, Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet takes a slightly more action-oriented approach to the spell slinging arcade game. You still combine elements to cast various bits of magic that can harm enemies, yourself, and your teammates, but thanks to shorter levels and a new camera angle, it's now all about speed and strategy.
Work with other players to cooperatively end the frosty reign of darkness in this gorgeous and deceptively casual looking game of kingdom building and resource management. Blending elements of puzzling with real-time strategy, your task is to lay roads and factories for your little Flans to travel, gather resources, and beat back the winter. But it's not as easy as it sounds, and you'll need real planning, logic, and craftiness to win at this engaging and innovative game.
Fight as a team or create a free-for-all where everyone is the enemy; play for points or compete in a deathmatch; or have everyone shooting at once as opposed to individually, the choices are endless. Live chat allows you to talk trash to your fellow players as you try to annihilate each other across the changing landscape. ShellShock Live is back and better than ever with more weapons, more landscapes, more modes, and more explodey fun with ShellShock Live 2 (ShellShockaggeddon?)
Behold, a delicious platter of letters. They're all yours to take... but you must guard them from your thieving opponent! Letterpress is a multiplayer word game with a cool strategic twist where making words is only half the battle; you've got to fight to keep your letters. It's a quick pick-up-and-put-down game perfect for matches with friends on Game Center. That is, if you like dominating your friends with your vocabulary.
Nitrome serves up this plucky ducky demo of their upcoming puzzle platform adventure that serves to be a solid little experience in its own right. Unable to fly, your fine feathered protagonist (or plural, if playing with friends) needs to use a magical ladder to find his way through a hostile environment filled with gems, monsters, and secrets, where every room is a puzzle... and dangerous!
Bigger, badder, and altogether better than the original, Runic Games' brings their action RPG back to life in this fantastically fun sequel. When old heroes fall and turn against the land as a sickness spreads across it, it falls to one lone wanderer to take up the mantle of hero. With multiplayer support, huge boss battles, sprawling environments, and new classes unrestricted by gender, Torchlight 2 is a sequel that delivers everything it promised and more.
Take two unruly squids with a passion for shooting eggs, lightly fry in a randomly-generated deathtrap of chains of blocks, serve with cocktail sauce, and repeat. Nitrome's Calamari is a fast-paced platform shooter where a chopping block is the least of your little squidly worries. Grab a friend and see how many coins you can snag before you're placed on the appetizer menu.
The world is over. We lost. But you're not down and out just yet. In Con Artist Games' latest real-time simulation, build a compound in the middle of a zombie-infested city and scrape out an existence alongside other survivors. Gather supplies, build and tweak your defenses, and go on dangerous missions into hives of undead activity. Though currently only in Beta and still repetitive, this is one of the best looking and surprisingly addictive social games around.
Pocket Heroes mixes co-operative roleplaying strategy with roguelike difficulty, all set in a retro, SNES style world. Journey in a group with your friends or random teammates, killing monsters, looting, and leveling up along the way. It's a multiplayer-only game, and turns only progress once everyone on your team has done their thing. If you work together, you might just survive for a while!
Be prepared to bring out the big guns in Great Big War Game, a great big turn-based strategy game from Rubicon. Move your military units around the maps and position them to take out the enemy. With a large variety of maps and units to choose from, as well as local and on line multiplayer capabilities, Great Big War Game is a great way to spend big chunks of your time.
Outwitters is an asynchronous multiplayer strategy game from One Man Left, the creator of the equally captivating mobile game Tilt to Live. Outwitters takes place on a hex grid and stars three races of characters, each with a handful of unique units. By steadily moving soldiers across the board, deploying specialist healers, scouts, and the like, each team vies for control and the ultimate destruction of the other side's base. It's the most intense experience you can have with chubby pink soldiers and a field full of fish fighters!
John Cooney and Jimp are here to give you all the puzzle platforming you love, all the surprises you'd never expect, and 400 achievements to earn in Achievement Unlocked 3. Exponentially vaster in scope than its predecessors, Achievement Unlocked 3 is a game that's packed, even crowded, with content. Its busyness may be unexpected compared to previous entries in the series, but it's still a heck of a lot of fun.
All hands to your mobile devices! The mateys at Agile Fusion bring the fun and nostalgia of the board game Battleship to your fingertips with Battle at Sea. The game has recently come to port for NOOK and Kindle Fire tablets for those of you who want to sink ships before browsing through John Grisham novels. The set-up is simple: battle against your device or a real person in a turn-based naval competition!
ChatChat is an online multiplayer game by Terry Cavanagh, creator of VVVVVV. It's a highly intricate simulation involving deep-level behavioral algorithms and calculus-based — wait, no it isn't! It's about being a kitty! The wildest dream of every internet human has come true in this simple little game, giving you full permission to nap, purr, meow, and catch mice to your furry heart's content.
Dustforce is a speed-centric acrobatic platform game from Hitbox Team. A demo first appeared back in 2010, showing off the concept and basic design. Since then, the game has undergone some silent but effective changes, improving upon the controls and adding loads of content to sweep through. It's a fast, combo-centric arcade experience that emphasizes speed and perfection, and thanks to the online highscore boards and per-level badges, you'll be strangely compelled to keep playing until everything is just right.
A crazy, multiplayer romp through a visually lush game featuring three moderately-mad fantasy characters with their own unique abilities? Show us where to sign and we'll be there! Actually, now that you mention it, Trine 2 happens to be all of the things described above, plus a whole lot more. It's got action, it's got physics puzzles, it's got both single- and online multiplayer modes, and it's got a sense of humor that will probably remind you of Magicka. It's a modern-day version of The Lost Vikings, and any gamer will be proud to experience the world Trine 2 has to offer!
In Nitrome's 100th game, a fast-paced multiplayer shooter, two players have had enough with the developer's frustrating games and decide to take it out by launching a two man siege on the massive tower the company resides on. You'll need to nab power ups, weapons, and blast your way through floors of enemies and more to make it to the top. But don't think you can just tackle the tower on your own! Nitrome Must Die is a two-player game, meaning you can team up with a friend to reach the top... or perhaps fight against your ally.
If you aren't at all into real-world strategy board and card games, you probably haven't heard of Dominion. You're probably looking at the screenshot to the right, perhaps intrigued, maybe a little wary, but wondering nonetheless what in tarnation is going on. Luckily, once you've grasped the fundamentals, online Dominion is easy to jump into. If you're already a Dominion fan, you know why you should, and if you aren't yet a fan, you just might become one.
Just over two years ago from this day, a relatively unknown indie programmer called Notch posted about a work-in-progress version of a sandbox building game on the TIGSource forums. It was called Minecraft, and at the time, people thought it was really very cool. Fast forward to the present and Minecraft has sold over four million copies, been through extended alpha and beta phases, spawned the Mojang indie studio, and gained so much popularity, the launch of its official version took place at a Las Vegas convention dubbed MineCon. That's an impressive feat for any game, let alone one started by a single person. But now, Minecraft is officially out. No more beta, no more alpha, it's here. Time to lose yourself in a voxel world all over again!
MMORPGs a little dull? Then fire up this fast, frantic, and fun multiplayer co-op RPG shooter that pits you and other players against endless enemies in the search for fame, treasure, and the chance to ultimately tackle a god. Best enjoyed in short bursts and with a bunch of like-minded buddies, it's a chaotic, exciting experience that's also completely free.
Joey Betz takes his popular game of strategic real-time viral warfare into the realm of player-versus-player carnage. Compete against others online as you strive to create the deadliest virus and then infect everyone you can in a struggle for genetic dominance. Who knows? Maybe you'll meet that special someone right before you unload a seething swarm of viral nastiness into their personal space. Isn't that how all love stories begin?
Mining. Building. Fighting. Constructing. In the real world, all of these things are rough, painful sorts of jobs that most people aren't very interested in doing. In the gaming world, they're the Holy Grail of entertainment. Enter King Arthur's Gold, a multiplayer (with some single player, too) construction and combat game similar to Terraria, Minecraft, and hempuli's miniature masterpiece Masjin. Teamwork is the central focus of the game, and while some players will be busy mining and building, others will head out for direct combat with the enemy. How much more exciting could it get?!
Sing it with me! Jay Is Gamers sing this song! Doo-dah! Doo-dah! Online race-track nine miles long! Oh the doo-dah day!. Okay the track in The Race, a multiplayer action advergame developed by Akestam.Holst and Plan8 for Swedish horse-racing board ATG, measures only about eight inches and the horses are the size of a nickel. But the chance to feature to take on jockeys from all over the world should certainly the camp-town ladies singing.
If you've ever wanted to reenact a summer blockbuster sequel in the comfort of your own Flash game screen, Exit Path 2 by jmtb02 will have you running and jumping and dodging lasers like your very own action hero. This time... it's personal. Uniplayer and multiplayer fast-paced jump-and-run action return with a vengeance in an addictive, flashy experience.
In the tradition of games like Worms and Scorched Earth, take your tank onto the 2D battlefield and drop a few bombs on your enemy in this excellent multiplayer artillery title from Kyle Champ. Addictive, demanding and fun; the hallmarks of a great artillery game. And Shell Shock Live is a great artillery game. Maybe even one of the best...
The first time I saw my velociraptor avatar trying desperately to outrun the scary wall of doom, I was completely sold. Three years have passed since the release of that Pixeljam racing platformer, and I find myself returning to its charms again and again. However, with time comes change, modification, upgrading, evolution. So is the potent rationale for the release of Dino Run: SE... And from what I've seen so far, it won't be going extinct from my hard drive any time soon.
Everybody Edits is a bare-bones platform game played on the backs of the very people who build it! In this charming retro-looking game, you are given basic tools to place blocks, lay gravity-altering objects, and craft mazes and traps of your own design. All of this happens in real-time, meaning you can move and build at the same time, all while people from around the world run around in your world!
It's more than an action game meeting a role playing game. It's more than an amazing co-op experience. It's more than a collection of hilarious dialogue and geek culture references. It's Magicka, and it's the next game that will claim hours of your life. From Arrowhead Game Studios comes a hybrid title that emphasizes teamwork, alchemy-like spellcasting, and gaining an invincible knowledge of how elements work in relation to each other and the environment. Oh, and there are moose. Lots of moose.
When there's trouble in the galaxy, it's up to you to save the day as part of an elite group of mercenaries in this turn-based tactical sci-fi RPG from Toge Productions. Play alone or with a group of Facebook Friends as a Squad, cracking down on aliens and other trouble in order to level up your character. Featuring easy to pick up gameplay and a lot of polish, Planetary Conflict is a fantastic game best experienced with friends.
Sometimes, a game goes through such a metamorphosis during its development cycle that it's practically a different product from its original release. Thus is the case with Minecraft, a little old building game, inspired by Infiniminer and Dwarf Fortress, and created by Markus Persson. Whether you can only play it for fifteen minutes at a time, or end up devoting hours at a stretch (often unintentionally) to it, Minecraft is intensely enjoyable, and an incredible bargain. Minecraft Beta will be out on December 20th, so this is your last opportunity to get the game at Alpha pricing and with the promise of all future updates for free.
London is Fallen. It has something to do with the Traitor Empress... or perhaps Hell... or perhaps... No, too dangerous to even speculate. You've left the Surface and now make your home there, in the Neath. Why did you do so? Write your own answers in this fascinating multiplayer roleplaying browser game from Fail Better Games.
Bioware's classic single and multiplayer experience finally goes DRM free. Is it worth your time after eight years? Absolutely. This computer adaptation of classic Dungeons and Dragons fantasy roleplaying not only features three robust campaigns, it also allows you to play a massive trove of community content completely free... or create your own. Explore new realms, create great heroes or villains... and maybe take a buddy along with you. Just remember to shout dibs on loot.
Warlight is a feature-rich strategy game along the lines of Risk, Galcon, or Dice Wars. It features both single and multiplayer modes that include user-made maps (such as Mr. T!) and a host of interesting gameplay additions such as cards and fog of war. You can even play games by e-mail! Warlight is a fabulous gaming experience for fans of the traditional game of Risk and for those who are yet to experience strategic gameplay and the thrill of world domination.
Well balanced and beautifully illustrated, Elements is an addictive collectible card game with an impressive community to test your virtual deck against. It sparks the imagination and puts your vision and strategic mettle to the test. It can suck you in for hours at a time, but with each match lasting hardly more than a few minutes on average, Elements can be as casual an experience as you like.
Do you have enough achievements? TRICK QUESTION! As we all know, there is no such though as "enough" achievements! So strap on your pachyderm pants one more time in this follow up to 2008's hit platform/puzzle/whatisthisIdon'teven achievement-fest from John Cooney. And then when you're done, try it with friends in the co-op mode.
Cooperate, or backstab? Build, or destroy? All for one and one for all, or every mouse for himself? That's the tension driving Transformice, a multiplayer puzzle platformer.
CastleWars 2 is an unassumingly captivating turn-based strategy game that pits castle against castle, wall against wall, and decks of randomly selected cards against decks of randomly selected cards. Take turns with a computer player or a real human being as you draw from your pool of resources to play action cards that build your tower to the sky or crumble your opponent's castle to the ground.
Exit Path is a non-stop, single-and-multiplayer feast for the senses. You'll be running and jumping the field, trying to make your way through a number of screens, each with its own set of challenges, tempted with freedom in a dystopian future, and dodging vicious death machines at every turn. John Cooney has proven himself more than capable of making a wide variety of games, but some of his best work seems to lie in creating fast-paced, action-packed games, and he certainly hasn't missed the mark with this one.
Have you ever wanted to tell a story about a kitten? Or an alien? Or a mummy, or a genius, or a demon, or a block of cheese, or a little girl with the magical ability to talk to soap? Well, a little bit of time and effort with Sleep is Death will let you do just that, all in the form of a playable experience for you and a friend.
Galcon Fusion is the latest in the growing line of casual strategy games from Phil Hassey. Following Galcon Classic, the original desktop version of the series, and borrowing a ton of tricks from the iPhone incarnations Galcon and Galcon Labs, Fusion pits you against the rest of the galaxy as you fight for dominance. Featuring high-definition visuals, loads of interesting modes of play, and several fun bells and whistles, Galcon Fusion is a respectable successor in the Galcon line and a captivating casual Risk-like strategy game.
Take a handful of classic Sierra On-line graphical adventure games, throw in a community chatroom designed around the same concept, and suddenly you have the equivalent of a retro adventure MMO. Well, sort of. Sarien.net keeps the golden age of adventure games alive, right in your browser window!
It's a blast from the past in this remake of and tribute to the original M.U.L.E., one of the great pioneers of multiplayer gaming. Stake your claim on an alien world with three friends and make the best of your time and resources to come out on top at the end of the game. Just remember to keep an eye out for the wampus.
Colony is a tribute to Starcraft from Jakrin "Krin" Juangbhanich, the developer behind the successful Sonny series. Crush your opponent's base with soldiers, tanks, helicopters, and walking mechs, while a computer-controlled AI acts as your partner and even speaks with you through a chat box. Plus, online multi-player!
Minecraft is a sandbox game that lets you make your own world out of colorful building blocks. Construct a fortress, and then plant tulips on the parapets. Dig a vast network of subterranean tunnels, drop a colony of people down the rabbit hole, and watch them wander. Or, if you're in a particularly metacognitive mood, make a sandbox. Uncage your imagination, and let it take you where it will.
Mystic Mine is a track-switching action-puzzle game. Much like classics such as Candy Train and the current iPhone offering Trains, you must switch tracks ahead of your mine car, which is always in motion.
Best described as a cross between Teeworlds, Team Fortress 2, and an RPG, Altitude is a shockingly addictive online multiplayer game from indie studio Nimbly Games. Grab a plane and take to the skies as you compete (and co-operate) with other players and earn experience points bombing the enemy base and taking down foes with a variety of power-ups.
Martians vs. Robots from Tommy Twisters is an attempt to take the classic gameplay of Asteroids and bring it into the new century, using 3D graphics, expanded gameplay, and multiplayer options. The single player game features loads of great combat action, but the real meat is in the robust multiplayer modes where 24 people can battle it out over the internet!
Dinowaurs from Intuition Games shows us that stone-aged humans were well-versed in the art of strapping large implements onto the backs of dinosaurs for their own advancement. At its core, this is a projectile game in the vein of Worms or Scorched Earth. The goal is not only to destroy your opponent's dinosaur, but also to take over their villages. The art style is fun and care-free, the music is catchy, and the weapons are weird. If you're looking for an escape from the ordinary projectile game, and a chance to interact with actual human beings, give Dinowaurs a go.
"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.
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.
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!
Minions is a Flash version of the ridiculously popular Defense of the Ancients mod, but instead of medieval fantasy warriors, you control little tank-bots with powerful weaponry and big muppet-like googly eyes. Created by Flash tower defense gurus David Scott and Paul Preece.
Tag a Tune is a game created as part of a study by Carnegie Mellon University. You and an anonymous partner team up and listen to a song. You can only hear your tune and must type words that come to mind as the song plays. Then both you and your partner guess if you're listening to the same song or a different one based on the tags submitted. Not only is it a fun musical guessing game, you're also helping computers learn how to better search for music.
When the head of the Weardd Academy's School for Responsible Reanimation mysteriously dies in a fire, the students blame each other and take up sides. They summon up the undead and dispatch them into battle. Welcome to Corpse Craft: Incident at Weardd Academy, a new zombie game from the makers of Whirled that mixes real time strategy with block clearing to create a unique new game experience.
Any avid Jay is Games reader will have, at one point or another, paid a visit to game hosting site Kongregate. The site features hundreds of developers, and has a veritable smorgasbord of games. But until now, the folks behind Kongregate had not created a game of their own. Finally, after months of development and a lengthy private beta, the site has thrown its proverbial hat into the ring with Kongai.
PMOG aims to capture the social dynamic of an MMORPG while remaining accessible to your everyday Joe Gamer. However, it wouldn't be much fun if you could just up and create a top-level character – there has to be some sort of dirty work, some progression by which you earn your stripes. This is the part of the game that usually keeps MMORPGs from staying casual. PMOG solves this problem by tying the leveling process directly to your web surfing.
Nonoba, a Flash game community headed by game creators and developers, hopes to ride the incoming wave of multiplayer Flash games by making its own multiplayer game API available to Flash game developers. One of the more popular games showcasing this new technology is Nonoba Racer, a multiplayer, top-down racing game that focuses heavily on community play and advancement via upgrades.
The fine folks at Pixeljam have really managed to outdo themselves, bringing us an outlandishly retro, high stakes, mad multiplayer dash for survival called Dino Run. Although there are three modes of play, the idea is basically the same: run as fast as you can! What we love most about Dino Run is neither the perfectly captured retro feel, nor the immense replay value, but the total interactivity your dino has with its surroundings.
XSketch is a multiplayer Pictionary-style game with an interesting twist on gameplay and scoring. Players can jump right into any game already in progress and begin to have fun immediately. Points are earned by drawing and guessing successfully, and monthly competition leader boards give the game a real competitive feel.
The gameplay of Patchworkz is addictive and the presentation is top-notch. Wellgames has included a near-endless variety of designs and patterns, and if the graphics aren't exactly soft and quilt-like, they are at least crisp and attractive. The cheery dink dink dink of correctly placed patches is sonic comfort food, like a bottomless bag of jelly beans.
Super Smash Brothers Brawl: it has arrived. After multiple delays, countless stunning revelations, and years of speculation, the third edition of Nintendo's bizarre tribute to itself has hit store shelves. This isn't a review so much as a place for JIGsters who have Brawl to exchange friend codes and hook up for online battles.
The game of Buggle pits 2 to 4 players against one another to see who can befriend the most buggles (which are sort of like ambulatory cloudberries with faces) over the course of 10 rounds. Each round begins with 60 of the little nippers bouncing around in a rectangular play field. Eventually, they will pause and wait for you to pick a location for your control point, which is your primary means of buggle recruitment.
Desktop Armada is a tour de force of action strategy that successfully combines the grand sweep of naval warfare with the joy of pushing around a plastic tugboat going "TOOT TOOT". Take command of your very own fleet of model ships and send them across a forbidding wooden ocean to destroy the enemy base, while the opposing commodore tries to do the same to you.
The first full release from Diverge Creations, Host is a multiplayer fighting game where you play a deranged mutant. It has great art from the same chap who worked on Gish, it's easy to pick up and a fair bit of fun. The interface to join games is very smooth: you can skip registering an account and jump right into a currently running game and go at it.
Jelly Battle pits your Jelly gender-nondescript person against three others in a multiplayer, turn-based, fast-paced, destruction-laden, free-for-all battle OF DOOM!!! It's also one of those dastardly games that make it oh-so-easy to play "just one more round."
Castlewars is a Flash turn-based card battle against either a computer or live opponent where you try to build your castle up to 100 or blast your opponent's to rubble. The game is quick and easy to learn, and can be played against a friend anywhere in the world.
Kongregate Racing is a new game by Jacob Grahn and created for Kongregate, a relatively new site aimed at players and developers. Although the game is relatively simple in design, it is unusual in that it is one of a small but growing selection of casual games that are firmly designed to be multiplayer.
The gameplay mechanic of lobbing bombs at your enemies is nothing new, and Artillery Live! returns the genre to its simple roots. You have a tank on a mountainous battlefield, and using a combination of angle and power must lob shells at your opponent. Unlike Worms but exactly like ZWoK, everyone (up to four players) sets up their shot simultaneously and secretly, and the tanks all fire at the exact same time.
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.
Quadradius is an online, multiplayer, turn-based Flash game that takes the skeleton of the board game checkers, and pumps it up with a massive list of power-ups and new strategies that turns the game into an addictive and very compelling new concept. In fact, calling it checkers is an oversimplification that does not do it any justice.
TripleJack Poker is similar to other browser-based, free-money poker sites with a few extras that set it apart from the rest. Use your in-game chip stash to buy virtual gifts, even throw pies at that player that called your all-in with nothing and then sucked out on the river. It is, quite simply, one of the finest free-money online poker sites I have ever seen.
Great news for those who enjoyed GameDesign's Dice Wars game and thought that it would be even better if it were multiplayer. After building a successful and compelling online multiplayer Texas Hold'em game, Ryan Dewsbury has been hard at work to bring multiplayer action to this beloved dice-based strategy game. And I am very pleased to announce that kdice has just launched!!
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.
Trick Hoops is simple game of making hoop shots with a basketball. It is a multiplayer game that can be played one-on-one with a friend over the Web. The mechanic is a simple one and won't take long to become familiar with how to do it. Perfecting shots, however, is another matter entirely and that's what makes this game so much fun.
In the browser-based HTML game, Slave Hack, you take on the role of a vaguely tech-savvy Internet addict who has now decided to make a living out of his/her own talents. If your ethics do not prevent you from pretending to infiltrate other computers to use them as spam relays, warez-sharing nodes, or even as tools to bring down an enemy's computer with a massive DDoS attack, then you are excellent material for the world that is portrayed in Slave Hack.
It isn't often that I come across an addictive browser-based Flash game with which you can play against a friend over the Web. I was pleasantly surprised to find the latest game from Gamesheep is just that kind of game. Crystal Clear is a simple casual game with gameplay similar to the classic game of Lines, and yet with some subtle differences that turn the classic into a compelling two-player battle.
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.
Geosense is a multiplayer geography game, created using DHTML and Ajax, that can also be played alone. The game itself is all about location and consists of 10 or 20 rounds, each of which involves clicking on the map where you think the given city is located. You receive points for speed and accuracy, although the latter is given more weight. Be careful, you just may learn something.
Run n' Roll is an online multiplayer flash game that lets you play chase with people from around the world. Your character runs on his or her own, all you have to do is jump over or roll under objects. You stay ahead by, well, not falling behind. Grab a few fun power-ups to stall your opponent as you race around a giant sphere in the sky.
Chris Benjaminsen of Cosgames has come up with a simple and yet intensely effective multiplayer version of the classic arcade game, Asteroids, playable in any browser with the Flash plug-in. Each player (up to 16 in a room) pilots a ship in an all-out deathmatch, melee style, with the objective being to rack up more kills than deaths. Mad multiplayer mayhem, classic arcade style.
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.
Chick Flick is an action game of rescuing little chicks by bouncing them on a trampoline up into the safety of their nest. It incorporates a simple and accessible gameplay mechanic that is similar to Breakout, and yet there is surprising depth to enjoy here. Excellent casual game design, as usual, from UK-based Nitrome.
Sudoku Combat is a browser-based multiplayer version of the popular puzzle game that offers a new experience for those that prefer a more competitive challenge. Just enter a user name, select a puzzle difficulty, and then choose to play against a friend or a random stranger. Then it's a race to the finish.
ZWoK! is a charming and addictive, multiplayer, turn-based strategy Flash game in which players engage in battles using projectile firing weapons. It's a fight to the finish where the team with the last Zwok standing wins. The game is essentially a simple version of multiplayer Worms, and yet its simplicity is one of the games most redeeming qualities. It easily surpasses most Flash multiplayer turn-based strategy games I have played.
Bicycle Texas Hold'em is a free-to-play tournament-style card game for eight (8) players and is a fairly standard game for its kind. It features rounds of increasing blinds and classic all-in, no-limit betting. The buy-in is $100, though no actual money is ever won or lost in the game.
Travian is a browser-based, massively multiplayer, quasi-real-time strategy game, developed and maintained by a German team dedicated to its upkeep. The goal is to build up economic and military power through the development of land and construction of buildings and armies.