A sequel to Open Doors, one of the most interesting puzzle games of 2008, has arrived, with an arresting makeover and just the right amount of extra spice. Open Doors 2 features compact puzzles with just the right number of new doors and mechanical gizmos. With a sparkling presentation and superb level design, this is one of the best puzzlers we've seen so far this year.
Curse of the Pharaoh 2: Napoleon's Secret is a hidden-object game with added puzzle elements, such as spot-the-difference games. It's a direct sequel to Curse of the Pharaoh: Quest for Nefertiti and captures the same sense of adventure as the original, now in a new setting with all-new puzzles to solve.
The well-received Farm Frenzy series of time management games has now expanded to include... pizza? HA! I'm joking. Wait, no I'm not. Even funnier than my little gag there is the fact that Farm Frenzy Pizza Party is actually a good game. It doesn't innovate much beyond what the first two titles layed out, but the addition of some new buildings and new products adds a decidedly more strategic twist to the experience.
GlueFO 2.0, from the irRegular creators of Sproing Reloaded, has a simple premise: what if the heroic ship in Asteroids couldn't afford ammunition? What if the global recession were in fact universal, and the only way you could afford to bust space rocks was by sticking drifting pebbles to your hull, and then spraying them at the asteroids like deadly gravel?
What could be better than a game based on explosions? The goal is to get the yellow outlined cube to the bottom of the screen, and the only way to do it is by placing bombs in various locations and letting physics do the rest. The interesting part is how you can time the bombs to move blocks around the screen, one explosion after another.
Have you been wandering around in a haze since the first Perfect Balance, your heart crying out for the opportunity to wedge more things together? Do you miss the wedging like a starving shark misses bluefish? Then Perfect Balance: New Trials is here to offer you sweet, sweet, soul-crushing relief, in the form of 30 more levels of tough block stacking.
The vikings and the ice that trapped them have returned in an expansion on Nitrome's original physics-based puzzle game, Ice Breaker. Ice Breaker The Red Clan introduces lots of new obstacles to deal with strewn about an all-new set of levels. Vikings are trapped in the ice, walled-in by rock, or otherwise prevented from reaching the ship. Using your cursor as a cutting tool, it's your job to set them free. Manipulate each environment to provide a clear path from viking to ship and carve your way through 40 brand-new levels.
Another Room, by Japanese designer Mofuya, is a sweet, semi-short example of classic point-and-click that is executed with near-perfect competence. The game's puzzles are simple but well-crafted; while not wildly creative or different, they nonetheless offer a satisfying variety of problems to tackle. The room's neat, somewhat subdued appearance is pleasing to the eye and makes it simple to navigate the surroundings.
You remember Labyrinth, the board game where you turn knobs to roll a little steel ball to the exit, without hitting any holes along the way? Tilt is an example of the wooden labyrinth in 3D digital form, and an excellent one it is, too. Of course, one of the advantages of a digital version is the fact that the maze configuration does not have to stay static, and it certainly doesn't here. There are 66 different levels, many of them devilishly hard.
Hex Empire is a casual turn-based strategy war game, occupying a comfortable spot between the simplicity of Risk and the number crunching of the Avalon Hill-style board games that inspired the whole soldiers-on-hexagons thing. It lets you jump right into battle without much fuss, and offers enough tactical depth to be addictive even after several wars have ended. A bit of a treat, really.
Ever play Crack the Whip? The game where you hold hands with people in a line and then yank them around until someone loses hold of their neighbor's hand? Gen is a physics game with the same whippy slingshotty action, set in the world of microbiology. Maneuvering your little yellow cells to the big blue cell—without letting them get eaten by the red cells—will keep you swimming happily around in the petri dish for a while.
The microgames come at you at a rapid pace, in succession, leaving little time to recover before the next one attacks with sadistic intent. It reflects the Four Second series, but adds an online leader board, updated in real-time to reflect your standing against other people playing around the world. Whether you sit down for a marathon go or you just want a two-minute fix of quick gaming, you're bound to have a blast with the plethora of microgames in Tiny Trials.
4 Elements combines classic puzzle matching gameplay with a hidden object game and just a dash of fairy tale fantasy for good measure. Help restore the power of the elements to protect the land from an evil power.
Back to the basics again with Kagi Nochi Tobira 2, the simple and original puzzle game sequel to the very well-received Kagi Nochi Tobira from September of last year. There's not much else to say other than the raw creativity and sense of discovery in these simple puzzle games create an exceptionally engaging and appealing experience. Another example of why simple ideas are often among the most fun!
Wizard Defense is a Web-based tower defense game with a rich back-story and polished UI. You play a young wizard who resides at the Espeon School of Wizard Defense, hand-picked to defend the land from evil magic forces and monsters. Multiple path routes and a variety of tower and spell abilities later in the game offer plenty of strategic fun. Rooted by its rich story and dazzling presentation, it's something that every casual gamer should check out.
If you celebrate Arbor Day and always thought a logic puzzle was just what the holiday needed, then Leaf Blight is for you. In this relaxing game, snip off the infected leaves in the correct order to keep your trees healthy and strong.
You're in a cell, seemingly with no chance of escape. But wait, what's this? A letter tucked into a chink in the wall. Apparently your captivity is due to one Simeon Meade, a member of the mysterious Talos Organization. He can't help you escape directly, but it is possible to unlock your door from inside the cell...
The player starts in the present day, but with a push of a button can be transported into the same room some indeterminable span of time into the past; press another button and the operation is reversed. Two separate, subtly different rooms to zoom between, each one affecting the other... interesting, no?
An engaging and easy new puzzle game from Joey Betz and the Super Flash Bros. Featuring 30 levels filled with blocks to push, switches to switch, creatures to avoid as you negotiate monkey to the goal for each level. Isometric perspective and a retro look give this little puzzler lots of charm and potential for fun.
Music Catch 2 delivers everything you'd want from a sequel to Reflexive's surprise hit Music Catch, especially if what you want is more ways to collect thousands of shimmering doo-dads. You get three more lovely piano tunes by composer Isaac Shepherd, and a few different choices for how the collectibles will bloom and fade away. Some of the new movement patterns make the game dramatically easier than others, but Music Catch was never about challenge anyway. It's just an easy way to relax, scooping up armfuls of trinkets and grooving to the mellows.
The Wonderful End of the World is an off-kilter, Katamari Damacy-like game where your only goal is to pick up random junk scattered across the world. Terra, the goddess of the earth, knows that the world's inevitable doom is coming, so she uses a puppet on the earth to collect as much stuff as she can, for rebuilding the world later.
Cleaning up is rarely fun to do. Unless you're cleaning someone else's mess, right? Hmm, no? How about if you're cleaning up someone else's mess in a casual game? That's the surprisingly successful recipe for fun in Nanny Mania 2 Goes to Hollywood. After helping Mayor Whitby and his family in the original Nanny Mania, Emma moves on to help Sophia Ashford, an incredibly wealthy woman who can't seem to keep her family affairs in order. It's your job to help raise the children, care for pets, and keep the house spotless as clueless teenagers leave unmade beds and babies create problems of their own.
Globetrotter is as simple as it gets. You're given a map and you're given a location, and you must click on where you think that location is on the map. Sure, this is easy if you're looking for New York, United States or London, England, but good luck with Tunis, Tunisia on your first go, and believe me, Australia can be trickier than you may think.
The idea, as always, is simple. Get the red ball (or square) to touch all the flags by drawing physical objects directly onto the screen with your crayon-like cursor. This sequel to Magic Pen features 32 more puzzling levels, all selectable from the moment you start the game, mostly set in various crayon-rendered versions of historical locations. The level designs feel a bit more intricate this time, with more on-screen obstacles and even a few moving contraptions to cope with. There are no major improvements to the formula, but such a childlike, pure idea doesn't need them. This is a heap more Magic Pen for everyone who loved it the first time. Enjoy.
Enter the Kid's Room. You left your myPhone behind when visiting your friend's house, and he hid it in the kid's playroom. You go to get it, possibly to get away from your annoying myRobot for a while, but some prankster locks the door behind you when you enter. Of course. It is an excellent piece of work, with puzzles that make sense, fine 3D graphics, and just the right amount of satisfaction when you figure something out.
The writing's on the wall at The Glassworks Company for Kapowski, who just got fired for getting a little too creative at work. Now you've got to prove to your boss that you're capable of making it in the window-washing world with your new power gloves and a little high-flying daredeviling. Enter The Glassworks, the latest platforming experience from the talented crew at Nitrome.
Blush is a unique and beautiful, 3D rendered, underwater physics-based game by Flashbang Studios, in which you play a betentacled creature fighting your way through the ocean deep. It is also very addictive. Fight off other sea creatures, collect eggs and bring them to glowing orbs that increase your speed and extend your tentacles. Even earn achievements, too.
The ray gun: time-honored weapon of choice for protection against baddies of all kinds. But if there's nothing to protect against, what good is it? Transmover, a puzzle platformer by Japanese game developers Polygon Gmen introduces a new function for your favorite hand-held emitter of energy: transmotion. In layman's terms, this simply means when you fire your gun at a block, you and the block switch places, a tactic that injects new life into the block-maneuvering platform genre.
In Ice Blast you take control of Skye, Luna, and Sun and destroy ice crystals to restore the world to its happy warm-like state. Using a fun puzzle/strategy layout reminiscent of The Lost Vikings, you must find the most efficient way to clear each field of ice to earn points and upgrade the girls' abilities.
Unwell Mel is a light-hearted and humorous match-3 puzzle game. In the grid comprised of Mel's organs (some of which are shaped like dogs and birds, which we'll assume is normal), click two adjacent pieces of food to swap them and form a line of three in a row to clear them. Thrown in with the food are medical packs, which can restore your power-ups, and bugs that, in some instances, actually help you clear away disease.
The Wizard is missing and with the help of his magical pen you must conjure up all that is hidden to find him. This game is about finding what's missing, both by revealing pictures in magical books, and figuring out from the word clues which items are NOT in the scene. With the magic pen you reconstitute the mysterious invisible world to make it visible.
A short demo of a larger point-and-click adventure to be released in April, this is the latest by Gateway series creator Anders Gustafsson. It uses similar play mechanics to his previous games, and yet the graphical engine looks like it has received a complete makeover. A compelling teaser for the beautiful new world of adventure that Gustafsson has in store for us.
Spin-n-Match, by Jess Hansen, is a simple puzzle game that will torque your brain to its limits. On the left, you see a grid of jumbled up balls. On the right, you see your target formation. Your task is simple: Make the left look like the right by rotating 2x2 clusters, similar to Bejeweled Twist. You can try to simply beat all 40 levels, or you can go for the developer's target scores. Either way, Spin-n-Match is a nifty little puzzler that'll keep your head spinning. (Fifty bucks says you saw that coming.)
Your objective in Panda Star is to launch an ambitious panda into the night sky and light up all the stars you find there, which have gone dark because they apparently lack panda juice. This is a simple arcade-style game of skill that looks and sounds like a slow-paced mystical journey of spirit. It won't change the world, but it made us happy one evening in a simple, panda way, and maybe it will do the same for you.
Stick Ranger is a unique RPG with physics-based combat and starring tiny stick figures, from the creators of Irritation Stickman and Powder Game. Create your four-character party by assigning a class to each member—there are the Boxer, the Gladiator, the Sniper, the Magician, and the Priest—and send them on their way through stages with austere backdrops, fighting stick figure monsters for gold, items, weaponry and experience. You may interfere as you see fit by dragging them around the screen.
Yoshio Ishii (Nekogames) has just released a sequel to his unique, if no frills, self-cooperative game, Cursor*10. The update, aptly named Cursor*10 2nd Session, offers a whole new set of levels with the premise and objective still the same: You're a cursor in a tower. You have to reach the 16th floor in 10 lives, but your lifespan is rather short. And not only that, all your previous lives are being replayed, in real time, at the same time as you play. You will have to think on your feet and use cunning and puzzle-solving prowess to get through all 16 levels before your lives (and time) run out.
Dreamsdwell Stories is a unique match-3 type puzzle game with some strategy game (as in the village building variety such as Totem Tribe or Westward III) elements that build into the experience. Wrapped in a package of crisp, sometimes beautiful, graphics and catchy theme music, the core of Dreamsdwell will have you enjoying the game for hours.
Boonka is a cute, kid-safe and surprisingly challenging puzzle game with unique gameplay that combines strategy, timing and satisfying explosions. A luscious green paradise has been invaded by Skours, nasty black clouds who cut down trees and turn the whole world grey, chasing away the adorable rainbow-coloured Boonkas and generally being total downers. The sage Bababoonka introduces you to each tree, and gently encourages you through the process of growing them from a stunted stump to a magnificent specimen of hardwood by doing what you do best: making color matches and blasting them skywards!
Exorbis 2, by Editundo, is a tile-based puzzle game about shunting orbs into targets. The clever thing is that your controls for doing so are tile blocks themselves. Arrow blocks come in pairs. By clicking on one, both move in that direction by one tile, taking any orbs between them along for the ride. 100 tricky levels and a level editor await you in this colorful and absorbing puzzle adventure.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just a quick update to mention that voting for the Best of 2008 is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated and voted. We are now tabulating and preparing the results for publishing, so please check back in a few days for a list of the winners.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.