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).
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.
From the deranged minds of Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl (Komix) comes the most important game about vagrant hallucinations ever made: Twin Hobo Rocket. Control a rocket to which are tied twin hobos as they hustle change from floating balloons and irritated aliens. Topping off the insanity is a crucial song by Kadaa and hilarious voice-over dialogue between the two bums.
If "retro" to you means huge chunky pixels, bleeping and blerping sounds and gameplay that doesn't lead you by the hand, then Attack of the Meeplings may be just the game for you. This Java-based shooter is glorious, retro-styled fun from top to bottom, especially its soundtrack.
Room Fake is just one of those games that makes me smile: a good-looking, nicely thought out room escape game with difficult but not confounding puzzles, a save feature(!) and not too much text to exacerbate the language barrier. It is also somewhat reminiscent of Japanese developer Neutral's offerings with its clean, pre-rendered 3D model surroundings.
Killawatt is a game about stacking speakers onto a truck with a wobbly, aerial crane. It's the latest addition to Samsung's arcade of surprisingly solid advergames, featuring Sammy, a conspicuously anglo, canine mascot. This time, however, Sammy has his black snoopy ears in a dreadlock-esque style, and he's gone rasta.
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.
Another popular television game show to make the leap to the casual gaming world. The classic "guess the most popular answer" formula is as exciting on your computer as it is on TV, only now it's much more interactive than just yelling at the screen. With over 3,000 questions to ponder and a tacked-on home decorating game, you won't have a hard time finding an excuse to guess what the "survey says".
It was a foggy day when Mateusz Skutnik took the pictures for 10 Gnomes #4, and the setting is one of the longest buildings in Europe. Get your hidden object fix with the latest installment of this episodic game in which you must find all 10 gnomes in 10 minutes' time.
A new webtoy designed to steal your afternoon and be a playground for your creativity. Earth Editor uses similar particle physics and materials as previous games but adds a unique twist: centralized gravity. Drop some sand on the screen and it's pulled to the middle. Add water and you have yourself a little planet. Then you fling some meteors and watch the fun explode!
Alex must go to the cheese shop to buy some cheese for his mother. What a nice boy. But the cheese shop is high in the sky and is being defended by flying chickens and people with magnetic headphones. You must navigate past clouds and various enemies, while collecting coins and heart energy, on your way to the holy cheese place ...and back.
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.
Proximity is a classic turn-based strategy Flash game that is somewhat like a cross between Risk and Go. It is surprisingly simple to learn and takes about 5 minutes to play. You can play against the computer, or against a friend at the same computer.
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.
dRive is quite possibly the first calculus-themed game to get a review on this site, but don't go fleeing for the high country quite yet; you don't need to understand the math to play the game. At its core, dRive is a simple "catch the falling objects" game, but the unusual, calculus-based method of controlling three games at once turns dRive into an innovative, fascinating game.
A brick-busting title centered around one gameplay element: destruction. It doesn't try to woo you with a fancy story or strategic power-ups, instead opting for ancient Egyptian temples and spears, hammers and ballistas to speed up the destruction. Throw all that carnage into a pleasingly crisp presentation and, well, you'll have a lot more fun than you thought you'd have with a simple Breakout game.
Airport Mania from South Winds Games is a time management sim that drops all the trite settings and food-related themes we've grown tired of in the genre. Instead of serving cake or pizza or sandwiches, your job is to direct airplanes, load passengers, and make sure everything runs smoothly. All of this is accomplished with a simple interface and airplanes that are too cute for their own good. And unlike real airports, you can actually have flights arrive on time or even early!
Gride is an arcade-style action game in which the objective is to apply and remove abilities to an always-moving little pink sedan at just the right moments to make it as far as you can along the never-ending terrain. It was good enough to take 3rd place in our 5th game design competition, and it earned the coveted Viral award by receiving more than one million views more than the next most played game!
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.
What do a hamster, an umbrella, and half a pair of glasses have in common? I'm not telling, but The Great Living Room Escape just might. The just-released follow up to The Great Kitchen Escape from Pastelgames.com (the site Submachine creator Mateusz Skutnik calls home) is filled with brightly-colored art, zany items, and excellent point-and-click room escape gameplay.
Super Energy Apocalypse, 2nd place prize winner in our 5th game design competition, plays a bit like a tower defense game, in that most of the time is spent getting ready for the next wave, and the player is offered no control over the targeting of the enemies. Planning for the battle is the critical strategic element, rather than the battle itself. The zombies come out only at night, so use the daylight wisely!
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.
A tribute to the Moai series, Doeo takes the same basic principle of frantically mousing over moving targets while racking up enough points to move to the next level. Instead of the statuesque Moai that inhabit previous games, here you try to collect as many pink and blue Doeo as quickly as possible.
Harvest: Massive Encounter is a survival-based real-time strategy game with several modes of play that lend a free-form tower defense feel to the experience. You play the humans defending an expanding plot of land against swarms (and I do mean swarms) of alien UFOs, mechanized bots and other baddies. It's an extremely frantic game that's usually more nerve-wrecking than brain-stretching.
Build-a-lot 2 is a real estate tycoon sim game where you must improve the value of different towns by meeting goals set by each area's mayor. Tasks range from building a number of houses/buildings to earning a set amount of cash or increasing rent income to a certain level. All the while you must manage three things: cash, workers, and materials. It's simple, extraordinarily fun, and could easily be one of the best casual games of 2008.
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.
Cheese Dreams is a cute little platformer from Nitrome starring a bouncy bit of cheese (which just so happens to be the moon), mice in spacesuits, and Mario-esque pipes that send you soaring. As our orange protagonist snoozes one night, a massive mouse spaceship comes along and scoops it right up. Is it all just a bad dream, or are these mice really that obsessed with cheese?
A good shoot'em-up is like a symphony. The enemies are the musicians, the bullets the notes. And the player is the soloist at center stage, riffing a melody over the chaos, flirting with death, performing miracles. The Last Canopy is a landmark Flash manic shoot'em-up that feels dramatic and entertaining from beginning to end, which is a testament to the level of detail and professionalism that Easy Only! Games is capable of.
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).
In Lost Pig, you are Grunk, a rather dim creature who works on a farm and who, evidently, loses a pig. Using your best typing skills, find your way through the forest and beyond and retrieve that darn swine. It won't be easy, since pigs in Grunk's world are not cooperative. Utilize your intuition (and maybe a little luck) and you'll find your way out of Grunk's mess in this hilarious interactive fiction.
An Untitled Story is a perfect blend of tough platforming challenges, intimidating boss fights, and cunning secrets, all wrapped up in a layer of childlike mysticism and rough-shorn beauty. It is a chilled-out hardcore wonderland of action discovery, plus an unidentifiable je ne sais quoi that just makes you want to drink it down in one gulp and then spit out a rainbow.
Youda Camper is a slow-paced simulation game along the lines of Sim City. You're put in charge of creating and running a camp site, from where to put the toilets to how many spaces for tents to allocate. Keep campers happy by building amenities and learn from their complaints to construct a campsite that rakes in the cash day after day.
Attak is the game I've wanted to play since I was fourteen years old. If you ever tried to raise your power level while on the bus, and had an invisible energy duel with your buddy during class, you know what I'm talking about. Every single game ever made about Dragon Ball Z has been a lame cash-in, a modification of fighting mechanics or RPG mechanics, hobbled Frankensteins that never really grasped the dynamic of Power Level 1,000,000. Today, the brothers at JohnnyTwoShoes have delivered with sonic, accessible Flash.
Uchuforce2 is designed for shooter neophytes. You control your ship with the mouse, you're firing a ridiculous swath of bullets all the time, and there's only one button to worry about. Click the mouse to change your weapon to a powerful laser, and click again to switch back to the endless waves of bullets. A meter in the lower-right shows you how close your laser is to over-heating, so if you want to avoid an extra-long cool-down delay, turn the laser off before that meter fills.
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.
The latest from OddGoo and the sequel to the first Amberial game released last June. The mechanics of the original are put to an olympic workout; rolling a ball around has never felt so fresh. From the terrestrial furnace to the skyways, to outer space and distant nebulae, this game explores both increasingly exotic settings and increasingly clever level design.
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.
10 Gnomes episode 3: Early Spring Garden has been released! The third installment in the 10 Gnomes series by Submachine author Mateusz Skutnik continues the point-and-click "find the gnome" gameplay that holds our attention for precisely ten minutes. The goal is simple: click your way through a photographic landscape searching for hidden cartoon gnomes. You only have ten minutes to find all ten, so speed is just as important as a sharp eye.
C'mon, everyone is doing it! Let's tear apart the place, looking through piles of stuff or branches of plants, looking for colorful, small, and oval objects! Eggs, you say? No, no, who searches for eggs anymore? We're hunting for dolls. Ok, just one doll: Lion's doll. But we might just collect a basketful, anyways.
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.
Aah, gardening. One of the most relaxing and rewarding hobbies one can undertake. There's nothing like planting flowers and watching them grow, especially when you get to sell them for loads of cash and smash gigantic bees and snails with a shovel from time to time! This is the basic premise of Magic Farm, a resource management simulation along the lines of Grimm's Hatchery and Alice Greenfingers. As a magic-wielding gardener, you must plant, water, protect and raise a variety of flowers to sell for cash. You also have three basic skills that can be increased as you play, lending a delicious RPG flavor to the game.
Step into another surreal world created by Amanita Design (Samorost). With eight totally separate environments, Questionaut feels like a cohesive whole. It's like stepping into a story book and becoming one of its characters. And thanks to Questionaut's powerful imagery, it feels like a living universe that continues to exist even after you've shut down your browser. Just delightful.
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.
Canyon Defense is, not surprisingly, a tower defense game with nice pixel art and that does things a bit differently. First of all, there are no upgrades. What if I told you this heresy against form also has time-based special abilities? And support buildings? If you want some fresh TD with a Mad Max aesthetic, try Canyon Defense.
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.
Nanotube is a stylish action game that tasks you with preventing an army of colored orbs from escaping the center of a circle. You have control of a wall of segments at the perimeter of that circle, and you must block each orb with a wall segment of the same color. It is a satisfying treat on many levels, with orbs flying at you with a regular rhythm and popping with a musical sproing, so if you're playing well, the game will automatically play a random tune for you.
John Cooney (jmtb02) is back again. Less than a month after giving the world Grid 16, he brings us Elements, a high-tech cross between Breakout and his own Ball Revamped series. Control the game by rotating the level, and make your way to the "go down" brick on each of the game's 25 levels.
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.
The original Shift was an interesting platform game that used negative space as an entertaining hook, but it came with a few problems that ultimately made it feel unfinished and experimental. Now, Tony of Armor Games has released Shift 2, which is basically the game the first one should have been. It's not enough of a leap forward to warrant the "2" in its name, really, but it refines and expands upon the original concepts to deliver a smoother, more drinkable dose of run/jump/puzzle distraction.
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.
Do you like cake? Do you like double-decker cake? We are about to lay on you a triple-decker cake, with helium! When you eat this triple-decker cake, and then attempt to speak, your voice will sound squeaky and distorted. For lo, besoothe thee, from Ninja Kiwi comes the final installment of a trilogy that may well become a tetralogy if its popularity continues at this pace!
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.
What do you get when you put Global Warming, Peak Oil, Nuclear War and good old-fashioned oligarchy in a blender? You get Fallout meets Elite ...in a browser! Caravaneer is a game by Dmitry Zheltobriukhov that has you playing a caravan leader in a post-apocalyptic desert, trading goods from town to town while fending off hungry raiders. It's got turn-based tactical fighting, strategic economic decision-making, and a political storyline! Tactics, economics and politics!
Moving is quite a hassle. There's no easy way to go about it, no matter how much manpower is on your side. Getting everything into boxes and into a waiting truck takes hours, and who knows how much stuff you might break. In Jig Easy, Sam, you've got about eight minutes to move out, but thankfully you have the miracle of ball physics to aid you in your quest.
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.
In Stranded, you play as a castaway turned fisherman on an almost deserted island. Gather fish by throwing rocks at them, and the natives will reward you with experience to boost your abilities. The timing and soothing music make it a very Zen experience, one that may keep you playing even after you beat it.
Miss Teri Tale is the first installment in a planned series of mystery-themed hidden object games. In a delicate departure from the established formula, Miss Teri Tale takes on more of an adventure guise similar to the recently-released Cate West - The Vanishing Files. The subtle shift from object finding to crime solving lends a lighter focus to the experience, and the game's hip soundtrack, gorgeous scenery and slightly satiric tone complete a surprisingly polished and entertaining package.
The theme of Casual Gameplay Competition #4 was "ball physics", and you can tell that Monsterkodi was taking it seriously. So very, very seriously. You see, in Koogel, you're using six medium-sized balls to indirectly manipulate a bevy of smaller balls, in order to light up a collection of even smaller balls. This all takes place on the surface of one huge ball, displayed on a screen you are watching with your eye-balls.
Escape from Paradise (Windows/Mac) is a simulation/adventure game similar to Westward and Virtual Villagers where you lead shipwrecked castaways on a quest to build a tropical paradise. The interesting twist is the inclusion of minigames that help you earn supplies as well as distract you while your villagers work. It's an intriguing genre-bending concept that puts you in the role of resource manager and resident puzzle solver, and despite its not-so-polished presentation, pulls it off quite well.
Mr. MothBall is a classic piece of platforming action: using the arrow keys, roll the hero through each of 21 levels collecting as many points as possible before hitting the exit. As the game progresses, new elements such as gates, switches and push-able blocks are introduced. Its lovable style, finite length and gradually increasing difficulty will persuade most to play it right through to the end.
The Perfect Shot is an action game of skill and finesse created for our 4th game design competition. To play through each of the game's 20 levels, just throw the ball to the goal. It's a ball-tossing game that uses a bit of gestural input to give this entry a bit of english over the others in the field. The result is a game that is well-polished a lot of fun to play.
Walk in the Park is the second installment in the 10 Gnomes point-and-click series released by Mateusz Skutnik, creator of Covert Front and Submachine games. 10 Gnomes tasks you with finding ten cartoon gnomes in ten minutes by clicking your way through a series of black and white photographs. In this installment you'll sift through pixels in a park, tapping hotspots to zoom in and look for those crafty gnomes.
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.
Ubiquitous developer jmtb02 has added another prize race horse to his growing stable of ultra-fast-paced minigame collections. While his Four Second series stuck pretty closely to the formula established by Nintendo's Wario Ware, this new game feels like its own entity, with a unified visual style and a strong sense of purpose. Grid16 is nothing less than an exploration of our primal gamer instincts, and although it isn't a complete triumph, it's a giant step in an intriguing direction.
The goal of Fluke Ball is to throw objects into the mysterious waves of force surrounding the office microwave, and knock out your opponent's objects when necessary. It's essentially shuffleboard, but sideways and with gravity. It sounds complicated, and it is at first, but it feels instinctive after some experimentation. And once you break through the layer of initial confusion, you'll have an whole miniature world of strange physics to explore.
Chess is a classic, easy to learn and hard to master. What would happen if chess was bitten by a zombie and then rose again as an undead shadow of its former self? You'd get Tomb Chess, an intriguing variation on the dynamic, where two ghoulish armies battle across a graveyard.
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.
Cate West - The Vanishing Files is a hidden object game that strays as far as it can from the genre without turning into a minigame-focused mystery adventure. In addition to your usual "find all the objects on the list" gameplay, Cate West weaves a number of evidence-related games that keep the pointing and clicking from getting stale. Paired with stellar artwork and an interesting storyline, the final result is something that provides the charm of a hidden object game with new experiences and lighter, more engaging gameplay.
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.
An entry from Dom Camus (The Turtles of Time) into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Ballrooms plays more or less like a standard table-top pinball game with an added element of exploration. It's sort of a pinball adventure game where you earn points, grab power-ups, and travel between boards via a network of warp holes. The end result is a pinball universe that's as much flipper pounding as it is exploration.
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.
Haluz 2, the sequel to the surreal Samorost-like point-and-click adventure Haluz, is now entirely free! When it was first released in August, players could experience the first half of the game and pay a modest fee to access the second chapter. Now the creator of Haluz, Tomas, sends word that both versions are available online for the low low cost of absolutely nothing.
In Spin the Black Circle you must rotate the game field to move a ball to the goal in each stage. Gravity pulls it to the center, however, making physics and fast reflexes vitally important to your success. Avoid obstacles and enemies in this well-polished game of skill!
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.
A great, terrible man once said: "Your flower power is no match for my glower power." That man's name was Charles Montgomery Burns, and he clearly never played Kaichou. The brainchild of Ali Maunder and finalist of our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Kaichou is an and beautiful abstract shooter where you have to break down bouncing glower with flowery projectiles.
The pickles are attacking! Run! And while you're running, why not set up a few defensive towers to take out the Horripickles and Fisquitoes chasing you? In Sandlot's latest game, Monster Mash, you must protect storybook villages and their people from evil fairy tale monsters. It's a tower defense game with artwork, characters and plot taken right out of a children's book, and it's every bit as surreal as you might think.
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!
In Entropic Space, no one can hear you smash planets together. It's true, sound does not travel in space, but what does travel are "fun-waves", those mysterious quanta of play that science is just beginning to understand. A submission to our 4th Casual Gameplay competition from Studio Cypher, Entropic Space has you pilot an mega-scale space pod that can bump planets into each other, engineering parsec after parsec into entropy.
Aquanaut is a game of underwater exploration that puts you in the driver's seat of a small submersible pod on a mission to discover hidden treasures. Using your mouse, click and hold to guide the pod around a colorful undersea world. Navigate through dangers of the sea, up and around rocks and structures and, with a steady hand and a little luck, you will find the treasure chest at the end of each level.
David Scott has just released a sequel to the stylish tower defense game, Vector TD, appropriately titled Vector TD 2. Using Vector TD, a computer simulation of Vectoid attack scenarios, deploy and upgrade towers to zap foes as they walk by, preventing them from reaching the end points on each map. Earn cash by defeating foes and keep your defenses strong to stave off the increasingly powerful hordes!
The Daydream starts off with a familiar text message from your son to come play hide-and-seek in his room at the top of the building. "I want you to find me," he writes. But when you get there the room seems different, and he doesn't seem to be around. You turn to find the door has locked behind you(!) Is this a new twist to the game, or something else...?
Control a ship in a miniature-yet-epic battle against undulating bubbles and their mindless minions. Weave in and out of the bubbles in a race against the clock, dodging drones and collecting enough energy to move on to the next stage. Another excellent and original game design entered into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition.
ShoOot 2: revenge of square, a cathartic circle extermination simulator, is more of a spiritual successor than a direct sequel, since you can now move in two dimensions and the gameplay focus has shifted from overwhelming rapid-fire madness to a more deliberate and unusual rhythm. The very latest from the casual game master: Tonypa.