Eskkapee is a room escape game pared down to its most basic elements: you've got a TV, a computer, a couch, a handful of items to collect and four white walls. You won't find any blindingly brilliant puzzles in Eskkapee, or be dazzled by the room's beauty, but the game will nonetheless provide a few minutes of satisfying room escape fun.
Escape 02-Who Am I? is really a rather nice-looking game, with well-created graphics in muted colors. Your task is straightforward: examine everything, solve the puzzles, escape the room. There is one twist, however...
Cannons have a unique place in human history. Throughout the ages, they have served as an offensive weapon to knock down fortifications, an accentuation in pieces of classical music, and a rudimentary yet entertaining transport for clowns. Continuing in this rich tradition, let's launch stickmen at bricks to dignified tunes!
PictoWords is a casual word game similar to a rebus puzzle — you know the ones, in which you form a word or phrase from pictures and letters. Each round you're offered a selection of square picture tiles, round letter tiles, and a few hints in case you get stuck. It's your job to fill in as many words as you can using both pictures and letters. It's a slightly quirky but very challenging word game that stretches both sides of your brain.
Upon first playing Escape Artist, a new room escape game, you may be surprised that this is a creation of the same designers who produced such dark, brooding classics as the Submachine and Covert Front series. You'll soon find out, however, that Mateusz Skutnik & company do sweet, serene and light very well indeed; Escape Artist is lovely, cute without crossing the line into saccharine, and a real pleasure to play.
Totem Destroyer is, to say the least, an ironic name for this little jewel of a puzzler, considering that the very last thing you want to do is destroy the totem. The goal of each level is to instead retrieve the tiny golden little idol unharmed. Keeping you from your prize is the precariously stacked structure upon which its perched. Your goal is to selectively destroy the required number of blocks for each stage without letting the totem touch the ground.
T2B Escape is a good-looking, clever and impressively well-designed escape-the-room game, easily a cut or two above most others of its kind even if the premise isn't anything spectacularly new or creative. T2B has two or three puzzles that genuinely made me chuckle with delight upon solving them, which to me is a significant part of the pleasure in playing such games.
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble is an innovative and award-winning download game for both Mac and Windows that defies classification. It's a unique genre-bending game that includes puzzle and RPG elements, as well as a variety of mini-games. All these disparate elements synthesize remarkably well, and the gameplay quickly becomes intuitive.
The Clumsys is a hidden object game that departs from the traditional formula just enough to feel like a new experience. It's Tim's tenth birthday and his friends are over to celebrate. Grandpa Albert is working on a time machine in the barn, but when he turns his back the children discover it and go hurdling through time. Each of the 20 kids has been deposited in a different era, and it's your job to find them, fix all the problems they've caused, and bring them back!
Neon has a certain glitz to it. Whether it's glittering in the lights of Las Vegas, shining in the sign of a convenience store, or just brightening up the periodic table, neon always adds a little extra to everything it touches. It was only a matter of time, then, before someone mixed the brilliance of neon with the brilliance of puzzles.
Boat House is the latest in a series of excellent room escape games from Gump, in which the player must navigate a chamber filled with initially-puzzling gadgetry, codes and machines in an effort to escape, this time all the way home from some distant location in space. And it's extremely well done.
Ruins of Pantheon, the fifth and latest chapter of the Jinja Series, Aztec's ongoing, epic point-and-click saga, has just been released. Take one part Indiana Jones, mixing in a few heaping spoonfuls of mysterious alien technology. Add a nice dash of interstellar warfare, a sprinkling of impending doom, and plunk it all down into a tranquil, traditionally Japanese setting. Voila!
- • Ancient Quest of Saqqarah
- • Puzzle Hero
Sometimes a formula just works, and in the case of the tried-and-true matching setup, we've seen it work time and time again. This edition of Weekend Download highlights a few new games that take the matching to a new level with interesting twists on the old convention.
After successfully defeating the ginormous Gi8000 in the first mission, Bowja the Ninja is back again and this time it's Bigman's Compound that is the target of ninja stealth and fortitude. Help Bowja defeat Bigman and save innocent people before it's too late in this charming point-and-click adventure.
In this piece of interactive fiction, the premise is quite simple: you are the prime candidate for the position of Director of the Museum and Institute for Puzzles and Problem Solving. In order to prove your aptitude in this field, you must solve one "simple" puzzle yourself. Explore a single room, gathering clues and solving puzzles, until you finally reach the unknown problem's answer.
Seek Ver. 0 tasks you with protecting your column of hearts from a stampede of letters sliding in from the right. As letters appear on the conveyor belt, you must quickly find and click the matching letter in the grid below. But if you are too slow, or if you click the wrong letter, one of your hearts will be wiped out.
Ready to scratch your hidden object itch? A new Hidden Expedition has arrived! Along with the Mystery Case Files series, the Hidden Expedition games are among the best-known titles in the genre. And for good reason. Hidden Expedition: Amazon has extraordinarily high production values, interesting gameplay that tweaks the familiar formula in very subtle ways, and plenty of crowded scenes to scrutinize.
Little Hostage preserves the finer points of developer Zibumi's previous effort, The Final Spell, while adding complexity and cleverness. While still not excessively challenging, Little Hostage is a fun, satisfying game perfect for a coffee break or random escape-the-room craving. Those new to the genre will find it to be a relatively accessible introduction to the beautiful world of point-and-click.
New from Tonypa comes Floribular, yet another simple yet highly engaging puzzle game. A 6x6 grid of tiles fills the screen, some of which are covered by colored flowers. The goal is to place a flower on the grid to eliminate as many like-colored flowers as possible. The catch is that matches don't have to be made by adjacent tiles, they can be three or more flowers in that row or column. Difficult to describe, but easy to play, Floribular has the uncanny ability to steal your interest and hold on for quite some time.
The Phantom Mansion: Spectrum of Souls series puts you in control of Hector, a little spiky-haired dude whose mission is to rescue the many spirits trapped in a giant, foreboding mansion.You must guide Hector through rooms of increasing difficulty in order to save all the souls, collecting keys, dodging spooky-yet-adorable monsters and solving puzzles in order to make it through unscathed.
These fun, quirky little point-and-click diversions star a large-headed, unusually plucky baby who must traverse land, sea and even across the street to rescue his beloved bamba snacks from the clutches of an evil squirrel (and then, when things take a turn for the weird, from a giant mosquito). So...adorable...excuse me while I go suck on a lemon to balance the sweetness.
Digital Chocolate comes Tower Bloxx Deluxe, a PC downloadable version of its hit Flash game Tower Bloxx. Deluxe features an amped-up, graphically-superior 3D presentation to the original mobile title with more complexity and improved game mechanics. Watch the swinging block and tap the spacebar to drop it. Line the blocks up and watch how high the tower can grow!
Deep Chalk: Second Phase is the continuation of the journey of the crystal, the player character introduced in Zack's black and white world of the original Deep Chalk. The objective is the same: discover the secrets hiding beneath the surface and escape. While you're there, enjoy the quest; be inspired.
A casual portal-physics game that's a well-polished piece with concepts paralleling the Flash version of Portal, as well as other titles like Shift 2 and Cursor*10. But instead of being a simple portal manipulation game, Epsilon explores two other physical properties aside from spatial relativity; time and gravity!
Stardrone is a genre mashup download game, featuring a mix of elements including arcade action, pinball, breakout, gravitational physics and collect-the-objects. Although it might sound a little confusing, the game simply boils down to you (a ball) lighting up stars to reach an objective, and it's remarkably fun to play!
In Out of Your Mind, you play the role of the spa's newest employee, helping patients rid their brain of festering Nega-Tics and nasty brain gunk. While your clients may end up walking away with a new lease on life, something suspicious is going on between your employers, Belinda Blissful and Dr. Stroganoff...
Daymare Town 2 returns you to the daytime nightmare of a place complete with new puzzles to solve, new characters to meet, more creepy creatures peering at you around corners, and more items to find. You can't help but enter this freaky town, but can you escape from it?
On has just released a brand new game over at his Eyezmaze blog, and it's a sign that he's feeling well and back to his usual self. Applicate Vol. 0 is a unique and original puzzle game with unusual rules. I won't spoil it by explaining it here since there are, at present, only 5 levels and the thrill of discovery is part of the fun with it. Thank you, On! Please give us more levels as soon as you can.
There's a new Wonderland in town, rounding out the 3D action-puzzle series by Midnight Synergy. Our last review in this series was the well-received Wonderland Secret Worlds, in which a storm rolled through and blew all the little Stinkers away. In the new Wonderland Adventures, you fill the shoes of a hero once more, this time trying to save entire Wonderland realm, which is being threatened by a dark, matter-destroying void.
The Zen garden: a carefully arranged collection of rocks and sand. Does it remind us of islands in the ocean? Dogs in the water? Does it teach patience and wisdom? Is it meant to bring enlightenment—or enigmatic madness? If you are in the Zen Puzzle Garden, chances are, it is all about the latter.
The Several Journeys of Reemus is a point-and-click game with a medieval fantasy setting from talented flash artist Zeebarf. Wanna-be hero Reemus must put a stop to a local infestation of giant ants, armed with only his dubious wits, a kickin' handlebar mustache, and his faithful purple bear sidekick Liam. By applying your skill at pointing, clicking, and problem solving, you must guide Reemus unscathed to the final confrontation with the towering ant queen.
SteerWheels is a fun little physics-based action puzzle in which the objective is to move the little yellow ball to the yellow goal of each level by pushing it with a set of wheels. If you're like me, you love physics-based puzzle games like this. We've seen more and more of them lately as Flash has matured, and I never tire of playing them.
The latest from Case, creator of Red and the original 5 Differences previously mentioned here, 6 Differences is another spot the differences game that incorporates gorgeous and surreal, animated graphics and images. Just click on a difference when you spot it, either side will work, to change the difference into a matching set.
Wonderland Secret Worlds is an isometric puzzle adventure similar to Mr. Robot. Take control of several characters who push boxes, flip switches, roll boulders and build bridges to make it to the exit in each stage. The setup is nothing new in casual gameplay, but somehow the combined package is an extraordinarily fun play. If you don't mind the dated visuals and rather cutesy presentation, Wonderland Secret Worlds will be one of the most enjoyable and satisfying games of its genre you'll ever dive into.
A rather unusual escape game that allows the player to temporarily detach from in-the-box thinking; in order to escape you must find and follow a new sort of logic, one that is strange yet intuitive. That quality, along with the game's simple and colorful appearance, made me feel like a little kid. When I finally finished I had a huge, silly grin on my face.
A game that combines wordplay with Sokoban-style block pushing? Are they mad?!? Arrange blocks with letters to form words by sliding them into place. Luckily, Alphabox recognizes solutions apart from the one intended, so sometimes you can get creative and mix the letters around, saving a few moves. A level editor extends the replay value of this innovative puzzler.
Chronotron is a platform-puzzle game with a really innovative (and addictive) twist. If you're a fan of time travel theory or if you enjoyed any of the amazing time-based games (Timebot, Time Raider, and Super Earth Defense, in particular) from our replay-themed game competition last summer, then you'll love Chronotron.
M.I.L.O. stands for Mildly Intelligent Living Organism, the robotic main character of this puzzling game. You play as M.I.L.O., who wanders through the sixteen levels of this game pushing buttons, carrying items, and avoiding the deathtraps set for him. Keep a sharp eye on what the notes you find say, because there's more to this game than fits in a single browser window.
Music Bounce is a bit like Breakout, but with an unlikely musical twist. Each level presents you with a different layout of colored bricks. Your job is to wipe them all out by striking them with ammunition from an array of gates on the left side of the screen. And if everything is running properly, Music Bounce can be magical.
Armed with Wings is an enjoyable platformer with some innovative twists. You play the role of a fallen hero, brought back to life from the "blackmist" in search of vengeance, armed with a katana and an eagle. That's right, an eagle. Designed to augment the typical start-to-finish run of platformers, you have control of an eagle that helps you reach your goal in a variety of ways.
Armed with nothing but a bow and some arrows, Bowja the Ninja is on a covert mission to Factory Island to take out the menace to humanity that is the Gi8000 (otherwise known as Randy the Robot). Help Bowja defeat the factory workers and save humanity once and for all, before it's too late.
Fresh from Grubby Games, creator of all things Professor Fizzwizzle, comes a new brain teaser/puzzle title with a huge dose of cute. The Amazing Brain Train features a heaping handful of brain games woven together with a series of quests given to you by furry animals in distress. In order to traverse the board game-style overworld, you need to unlock sections of track and power your train with, what else, brain power! It's a well-made puzzle experience that puts the "fun" back into "brain teaser" (trust me, it's there).
Agatha Christie: Peril at End House is a pleasant blend of casual gaming and classic mystery. Often, hidden picture games can seem dull and repetitive, with contrived plots that quickly fall flat. This is not the case with Peril at End House. Even if you guess the solution to the mystery early in the game, Christie's clever twists and turns might lead you astray.
A rather prosaic title for a work with such philosophical ambitions. This is the newest action puzzle game from Philipp Seifried and Markus Mundjar, the authors of A Good Hunch and Drifts. Each level in Twizzle is a circle, made up of a series of rotating concentric rings. Your aim is to transport a small orb from the innermost ring to the outermost, but you only have limited control over the orb's movement.
Scorching Earth is an intriguing turn-based puzzle game in which you control the actions of an inferno as it seeks to devastate 50 levels worth of landscape. The levels are composed of square tiles, filled with various types of terrain—grasslands, water, trees, and so forth. Your goal on each puzzle is to destroy the required number of tiles. It's a good, solid, innovative puzzle game, and it's fun.
Brain Cell is the brain child of Ryan Gibson for the U.K.-based development team DESQ, an organization devoted to the development of Web-based and digital learning projects. In a recent attempt to contribute to casual gaming, DESQ released Brain Cell in the hopes of enhancing your typical room escape game and taking it to the next level. In many ways, it succeeds; featuring a gorgeous (yet bandwidth-intensive) take on the usual point-and-click, room escape genre.
Deep Chalk, from game author Zack Livestone, is a charming and interactive point-and-click, in which you clear the way for a powerful crystal to escape its confines, presumably to reach a higher plane of crystallinity. Its interactive Samorostian landscapes are augmented wonderfully by ethereal music clips to produce a deep, if slightly dry, experience.
Blockoban is the latest from JP, who has just launched a new website that features user-created content, called Bonus Level, along with fellow game designers, Wouter and Tonypa. With names like that attached you can expect high quality, and Blockoban delivers. It's a game where you slide blocks around and try to match their colors to specific spaces. That simple mechanic is fleshed out with challenging level designs and high quality production values, delivering an experience that will keep you hooked.
Recovered from an illness that delayed the game's creation (but produced Grow Nano vol. 3), On has finally released Meet In ver. 0. You control four individual family members, each in his or her own screen, and are trying to guide them through the maze of puzzles to be together once again. Simply click on the square you want to control and use the [arrow] keys to move.
A brand new point-and-click adventure from the master, Mateusz Skutnik, and his Pastel Games crew. All the pieces are in place for yet another fantastic escape game experience, as well as an entirely new series of games not to be missed.
Kullors is a cute new puzzle game in which the objective is to mix and match colors to remove all the cute little kullors from each level. Matching the kullors looks super easy at first (and it is!), but the real challenge comes when you run out of matching colors (and you always do!) and must begin to mix colors to make just the right combination of kullors to clear the board.
The Hapland-meister strikes again with a wacky new puzzle game. Use your point-and-clicking skills to figure out what needs to be done (and when!) to reach a solution to this odd and very ...purple puzzle. I'm particularly loving the soundtrack.
Qink is an innovative puzzle game that is the unholy union of a Rubik's Cube and a Tangram. You might not think there's anything wrong with mixing those two ingredients. They are both puzzles, after all. But consider that one is a three-dimensional puzzle and one is a two-dimensional puzzle, and mating two entities that follow entirely different physical laws is wrong. The result is unusual and unique, scoring major points with us.
Planet of the Forklift Kid is a whimsical physics-based platform puzzle game, controlled with the keyboard. Your goal in each level is to reach the exit, usually by operating switches to open the doors blocking your path. It is an all-around well-crafted game that is so charming and odd that it's worth playing even though there are, at present, only 8 levels.
Netshift is the Web-based successor to Blackshift, an action puzzle game download from Rob Allen, the man who brought us the Hapland series and many other excellent titles. Netshift, currently in beta, makes the original game more accessible, and it even includes a level editor with which to create and share levels with the Netshift community.
In the latest puzzle romp from Nitrome, you play the part of Magneboy, an orange robot powered by clockwork, with a dial in his chest set permanently to Neutral. He exists in a strange technological void, with pillars jutting out of the infinite blackness beneath. On each level, you must guide him to a checkerboard-patterned platform (robots are naturally attracted to early 60s diners).
Hoyle Enchanted Puzzles is a mixed take on a number of common casual gaming puzzle types such as the marble popper, match-3, mahjong, and samegame. Strung together by a wizard-filled fantasy plot, you travel throughout the Valley of Skye completing puzzles to earn Craft, Nature, and Mind experience points that open new types of challenges. It's an enticing blend of puzzle and RPG elements with more than enough variety to go around.
Magic Pen is a physics-based puzzle playground created by Alejandro Guillen (Spin the Black Circle). It's easy to see the design, from visual style to overall concept, was taken from Crayon Physics, but because Magic Pen was done in Flash, it's much more accessible. Using the mouse, simply draw shapes to create bridges and guide the red ball to the flag. Making shapes and dropping them from the sky will set the ball in motion, and you can also craft structures with hinges (both fixed and movable) for more complex maneuvers.
It's just not a proper week without a new jmtb02 game. But if you're expecting the usual jolt of hyperactive skull-smashery from John Cooney—like the previously reviewed TBA or Grid16—you'd better slow down, Miss Sally Brown. Compulse is John's attempt at a tightly packed zen experience, and it's 98% adrenaline-free, with extra soothing strategy flavor.
Casual adventure games are gaining ground as titles such as Azada and the Dream Chronicles series cut out the complexity and serve up a little lighthearted gaming alongside item-based puzzles. Natalie Brooks - Secrets of Treasure House follows suit in an adventure that uses optional hidden object scenes to earn hints to solve puzzles in the main quest. It's a good blend of genres that, despite its rather short length and occasional grammatical hiccup, holds your attention with an interesting story and varied gameplay.
Kava-what? Is it a Pacific island drink of shamans and storytellers? No, Kavalmaja is the latest game from the brilliant Tonypa. A departure from his usual explorations of the abstract, Kavalmaja is a tile-based, Zelda like exploration game, except you have a wacky, randomly generated name. Unlike Zelda, it strips away combat, re-emphasizing the flow of the maze.
The Final Spell is a charming and fun point-and-click game of the escape-the-room variety. Its most redeeming quality is its sense of humor, provided mainly by the many pamphlets and books scattered around the room, and sheer cuteness; an endearing amateurish sensibility is combined with just enough substance to leave you grinning.
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.
You've been looking for some kind of escape. a vacation to paradise, maybe. but you'd probably just settle for a nap. So, here, you now find yourself sitting in front of this screen once again. But why are you wearing those pale green socks? Welcome to the Tipping Point, a new point-and-click adventure by Dan Russell-Pinson. Now with 3 chapters!
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.
Another casual game that tries its hand at blending genres, Curse of the Pharaoh: Quest for Nefertiti takes two popular game types to ancient Egypt for a fascinating puzzle-adventure experience. The game's main tricks are spot-the-difference scenes along with a few simple hidden object excursions. You'll also unlock minigames and solve adventure-style puzzles using artifacts you find and assemble in dusty old tombs. It's a relatively easy game, making it accessible to a wide range of players, but the real hook is the deliciously mysterious Egyptian setting based on the real-life mystery of Queen Nefertiti's burial.
Hopickston is the latest casual puzzle game from Tonypa, and like so many of his other games, it offers a uniquely original experience that is both simple and elegant. It just may have that perfect balance between strategy, luck, logic, and memory. Randomized parameters ensure that no two games are ever alike.
The PonPon House is an adorable point-and-click adventure from the Japanese game design group, Orange Biscuit. Short and sweet, this one isn't likely to take up much time or energy. However, with the soothing background sounds of a gentle sea combined with elegant scenery, the game is more like a journey through a landscape painting rather than an adventure.
Puzzle Boy Flash is a puzzle game of the block-pushing Sokoban variety. Your goal in each level is to get Puzzle Boy to the exit stairs, using only the [arrow keys] to direct him. Push blocks and rotate turnstiles by walking into them. Bridge gaps by plugging them with boxes. If your brain likes to be teased, tickled, maybe slapped around a little, give this one a try.
Escape the Museum is an intriguing adventure/hidden object game that reaches into room escape territory for inspiration. You play as Susan Anderson, a museum curator showing her daughter a dinosaur exhibit when a fierce earthquake suddenly rocks the building. Falling debris knocks Susan unconscious, and when she awakens she discovers she's trapped in the room and Caitlin is missing! Find the objects you'll need to fashion an exit, then recover precious museum artifacts as you work your way through the rubble searching for your daughter.
Gooey gooey goo! Time for another Sling review! The third full installment in the Sling series has just been released. Once again, evil monsters have stolen an element from the Oozeville power source, destabilizing it and threatening to destroy life as they know it. As you grab, stretch, sling, and bounce your way through each of the game's 50 levels, watch out for spikes, freezing water, special grabs, monsters, and more!
Open Doors is a clever puzzle game played over a gridded blue-print of a building complete with doors and swinging circles meant to identify their hinges. As you move past these contraptions, they slam shut behind you! It's like a house-of-mirrors boiled down to sheer design, and it's fun.
This update still utilizes the same slick interface and near-flawless gameplay mechanics as before to create a serious action-puzzle challenge. If you didn't play Contour when it was first released, there's never been a better time to give it a spin. Since then, the community embraced the editor and set to work creating new levels. In fact, so many new levels were created that Sean hand-picked some of the best and updated the game.
The N riddle game is a URL-changing puzzle game that is somewhere in-between a wonderful, mentally stimulating journey and a migraine in the making. The first few levels are encouragingly easy and serve as a makeshift tutorial for the new player; soon, a comfortable rhythm of gradually increasing difficulty and clever puzzling has been established. And then...BLAM! ...see for yourself.
For those who enjoyed the previously reviewed Ambivalence, there's a brand new game, Confined, just released today from the same Japanese developer, FonGeBooN. This appears to be a fairly standard point-and-click room escape game until you dig a little deeper. From what I can tell so far, pixel hunting is minimal (though present), instead the focus is on puzzle solving, which is always a plus when it comes to games like this.
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.
In his ongoing, mad quest to give us all nightmares about geometry, Tonypa has unleashed Cobacoli upon the world. It sounds like a deadly bacteria, but no, it's an elegant puzzle game based around 2-dimensional ball physics, although in many ways it qualifies as an infectious disease. Symptoms include intense concentration, swearing, and the inability to pry your hand away from your mouse. Updates include a level select screen and better high score memory.
A logic puzzle reminiscent of Minesweeper and simple enough to pick-up and play immediately due to its similarity to other puzzles like it. And yet it feels like a fresh new puzzle all its own. A variety of puzzle sizes and difficulty levels are available to tailor your game play experience to match your own personal comfort level. It's a no-frills design that minimizes the superfluous to maximize what it does well: classic puzzle gameplay.
Trigger Ball is an attractive puzzle game of magnetism and attractors. Complete a level by bumping each black orb with a smaller black ball, which is launched with a click of the mouse. You only get one shot, so use it wisely! With just 41 levels, Trigger Ball isn't likely to keep anyone playing long into the wee hours. But I bet you'll wish it did.
You're put in control of a medium-sized yellow ball with a mission: destroy the enemy red orbs! Click the mouse to launch the yellow ball in the direction of the pointer, holding the button down for more power. Use the yellow ball like a cue ball to knock the red balls into spikes or holes. There's a timer, so be fast, but be careful too, as you are just as susceptible to the dangers as the red balls! Ice and conveyor belts add another layer of complexity, in ways that are both helpful and hindering.
Sola Rola is a topsy-turvy turntable of a time, published by Gimme5Games. Wiz and Waz are two spherical buddies who are just cruising through space one day and happen to get caught in a series of mazes, a scenario we can all relate to. Together they must escape, but they only move when you rotate the maze. It's your job to roll them right into the red and blue beacons that represent their exits.
Why play a game of dominoes when you can line them up and watch them knock each other down? Developer Tom Methven may have been in that exact frame of mind when he created the puzzle game Sky Blocs, the lovechild of youthful domino play and The Incredible Machine. Each level presents you with a starting block (bloc?) and an inventory of pieces to the left-hand side of the screen.
In Angular Momentum players are plunged into what looks like a futuristic ant farm and must guide the requisite ball through a series of chambers to the exit. The levels boast twisty, up and down landscapes worthy of Sonic the Hedgehog; tools such as speed boosts and jump platforms will help you reach the exits, but beware of the eeeevil orange panels that will send you back to the start.
Taro Ito has been a favorite of ours here at JIG for several years, so it is with great fanfare that we welcome new releases from his GameDesign.jp website. The latest of his designs is this sliding-block puzzle game called Shot. The objective is to progress as far as you can, through a series of increasingly more difficult levels, by knocking all but one of the balls from the play grid.
Every time we review a picross game, there always seems to be a hubbub about what site does it right. Either there's not enough puzzles to solve, not enough variety in the puzzles, it's all too easy or too hard, or the pictures look like someone sneezed on a piece of graph paper. (I'll admit to being among the gripers before.) And every time, there's at least one person who suggests Griddlers.
Here's a game that needs no introduction around here, the next game in the amazing and wonderful Grow series from Eyezmaze has just released today. Grow Nano Vol. 3 has the same familiar gameplay, graphics, animation and soundtrack as the others, and it is sure to put a smile on your face.
In his ongoing, mad quest to give us all nightmares about geometry, Tonypa has unleashed Cobacoli upon the world. It sounds like a deadly bacteria, but no, it's an elegant puzzle game based around 2-dimensional ball physics, although in many ways it qualifies as an infectious disease. Symptoms include intense concentration, swearing, and the inability to pry your hand away from your mouse.
The Eternal Maze continues where the first game left off with a beautiful blend of puzzles, adventure, object finding and Myst-like environments. You play Faye, a mortal woman whose fairy husband has been kidnapped and daughter imprisoned by Lilith, the Queen of Fairies. By solving a series of puzzles you can reach Fidget and awaken Lyra, but the Queen is always one step ahead!
I/O is a brain-teaser of a puzzle game along the lines of the fabulous Click Drag Type series that comes with no instructions. Use your skills of discovery, intuition and creative problem solving to figure out what must be done to arrive at a solution.
Rob Allen continues to impress with Day of the Bobteds, a game in which you must obliterate all of the Bobteds to save the Kingdom of Implements from their menace. What exactly are Bobteds? Ah, if only it were that simple. Bobteds can take the forms of a number of different Earth-objects: barbecue grills, stars, %s, even spinning LOLs!
Boulders Never Die is a fantastic physics-based action puzzle game where you must build defenses around a red ball using a set of rubbery blocks. Boulders are constantly pelting your fort, and if the ball touches a block or a boulder it's game over. If you've got a couple hours free, or if you're looking for a game that you can play on your coffee break, you should definitely give it a try.
It's SimCity meets isometric Tetris in this new casual mash-up from Electronic Arts, The Sims Carnival SnapCity. As mayor its your job to build a thriving city and keep its citizens happy and prosperous. Three colors of blocks descend onto the grid, each one representing residential, commercial or industrial zones. When the blocks land and are connected by roads, citizens begin to move in and your population grows. Extras like puzzle zones and natural disasters keep the action lively, but it doesn't take much more than that to keep you hooked on this addictive game.
Orbita puts you in control of a cute little guy with a trapezoid-shaped head. Venture around the planet, visit different perilous locations, and solve puzzles to discover the three batteries that power his ship. Yes, it appears that the little guy's spaceship runs on Duracells.
Factory Balls may be the most immediately appealing entry of JIG's Casual Gameplay Design Competition #4. Maybe it's the elegance of the core concept and the out-of-the-box thinking it provokes; maybe it's the simple awesomeness of making ball-people with rabbit ears. Either way, Factory Balls is a great, albeit short, game that displays the clean design and quirky sensibility that I've come to love in Bart's work.
Basho Kioku is the latest puzzle game from prolific designer Yoshio Ishii. You are faced with a grid of 36 squares, and your goal is to click on each of them in turn. Each round, a random combination of these squares lights up orange, and you must choose one of them. There is no indication of which squares you've previously selected, but if you pick a square more than once, you lose a life. It's a nearly flawless koan that plays on the tension between the randomness of your choices and the solidity of your strategy.
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.
Sheeeeeep!!! Hyper cute (and fuzzy) critters star in Phillip Reagan's Osmosis, an entry to our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition. The object of Osmosis is to guide one or more sheep-type "balls" through each stage by drawing symbols that change gravity, friction, or make the sheep move. It blends action and puzzle elements into a webtoy-like atmosphere that's as inviting as it is entertaining.
"Suveh Nux" is a short, puzzle-oriented piece of interactive fiction by David Fisher, with a neat premise: the player is trapped in a vault (that's not the neat part) and can escape only if he learns the magical language that controls his environment. Plenty of interactive fiction games involve puzzles about magic words. "Suveh Nux" takes this a step further with a whole magical grammar to learn, including verbs, nouns, and modifying phrases.
Cursor*10 is a simple-looking puzzle game just released by Nekogames. You are a cursor in a tower trying to reach the top. Each of your ten lives is time-limited, and when one ends the next begins on the bottom floor. But you're not alone. As you start the next life your previous actions are replayed in real-time, creating a fun "cooperate with yourself" atmosphere.
Trapped Part 2: The Dark is the middle installment in a trilogy of puzzle adventure games distinguished by a literary flavor and an unusual perspective. This series has a lot more in common with the old Infocom text adventures than it does with modern point-and-click games. Rather than relying on abstract puzzles and thorough visual investigation, the Trapped games plop you in a mundane environment, lavish you with a huge inventory, and then ask you to be extremely clever.