A brand new game from varStudios, the creators of Neon Wars 2, has recently graced the internet: Abstract Sea. Using simple but stylish visuals and a nice electronica soundtrack, the game puts you in control of an armed ship at sea fending off enemy attacks. The game has a very visceral feel to it with screen-shaking explosions and a few power-ups floating atop the deep blue sea.
Orange, a follow up to the first color-themed game Red, is another physics-based Flash project by designer Case. In the center of the screen sits a heavy orb. You control a mobile orange dot with the mouse and can fire shots at the nearest object. Move around the screen shooting at the orb in an attempt to push it off the screen. Get too close, though, and its gravity starts to pull you in.
The rather strange online flash game Toon Crisis 2 combines photographs of real locations in the UK with cartoon enemies leaping out of bushes to attack you, all in the traditional click and shoot style. If you think that's weird, check out the weapon: your right hand with thumb and forefinger extended.
Bullet Philharmonic Orchestra is an ultra-simple, free, downloadable (PC only), barebones shoot-'em-up-inspired game with a simple concept: dodge the bullets. Drop your own MP3 files into the game's "music" folder, then watch as it generates projectiles based on the songs you chose.
Often I think to myself what I would do if I was ever in a futuristic jet on a futuristic highway chasing tanker trucks, launching missiles at them, and all the while avoiding sentry and assault drones. With Damien Clarke's new game, Jet Speed, I no longer have to ponder this theoretical scenario in my head—I actually get to give it a try!
Borrowing a page from the book of Ikaruga, the absurdly talented developers of Stimunation Games have just released this stunning Flash shooter that will make your jaw drop and your eyes water from ogling the screen for hours.
Yet another excellent free shmup from the inimitable Kenta Cho, Titanion (Windows) is a new take on the classic arcade game Galaga. Cho has seriously sped up the pace and intensity, but was considerate enough to leave the player a gift: the dreaded tractor beam is now in your hands.
Nobuyuki Forces 3 takes the duck-and-fire frenzy of Time Crisis and dumps it into your browser window. Playing a secret agent infiltrating the soldier-infested base of a power-hungry politician, you must survive several intense levels of shooting action while upgrading your stats and gathering items along the way.
In Flatland, it is your mission to destroy wave after wave of... things. You get points. OK, the idea isn't completely original, but the design is quite interesting. At first you start off in a tiny ship with litle armor and a miniscule weapon. Destroying enemies will cause them to explode in an array of large blocky pixels, the collection of which upgrades your ship. The interesting bit is that collecting an odd number of them gives you an odd shaped ship until you gather more and regain composure.
Bullet Candy is a frenetically paced shmupper's shmup, a purified genre piece that thrills in its simplicity. Those who can sip their own adrenaline like a twelve year old Pinot wine should definitely consider giving it a try. For fans of the genre, Bullet Candy is a game you can come back to years later.
Pixel Blaster is a simple and stylish flash-based shooter by Tom Thornton of ThorGaming. Waves of stark white ships appear in the circular playing field and attack your vessel. With a remarkably useful charge shot and two-handed controls, you must fend off dozens of enemies before plunging into an intense boss battle. The game is vaguely reminiscent of GridWars but places a stronger emphasis on physics and old fashioned ship blasting rather than overwhelming you with dozens of enemies at once.
Pod Panic is a gorgeous little arcade Flash shooter that is simple to play and terribly addictive. Each level presents you with an increasing number of pods, round bumper-like objects that tend to gravitate towards your ship, and a string-creature that is rather hypnotizing to watch. Great old-school arcade fun in a tight little package.
Spheres of Chaos is gorgeous in motion, with extremely smooth animation amid literally hundreds of enemies and explosions (and up to 8 simultaneous players!). Far more than just a nostalgic tribute to Asteroids, SoC is a fascinating, unique and memorable classic in its own right.
Featuring a couple of new and more difficult enemies, and controls that allow for more variation in gameplay, Neon 2 succeeds in taking this very enjoyable idea to the next level. Ali has done a fine job at updating an already excellent shooter and making it not only better than the original, but also into a somewhat different experience. Sure it looks similar, and yet it feels different.
Red offers up a brand new take on a classic gameplay mechanic in this simple and new, stylish arcade shooter that plays a little like Missile Command. Some of the most enjoyable games with addictive gameplay are based on very simple ideas, and Red is no different in this regard.
Panic is a simple and stylish arcade game made in homage to a classic on the Commodore 64, Astro Panic. Made in Flash and sporting an impressive new soundtrack as well as eye-pleasing particle effects, Panic plays like a cross between Space Invaders and Pang.
You know that dream, the one where you're walking down the streets of London listening to the frantic sounds of Gogol Bordello, when homicidal cartoons start spilling out of the scenery? Me neither, but thanks to Toon Crisis I know how to handle myself in just such a situation.
Ray-Hound is a simple, well executed downloadable Windows shmup with a creative twist that sets it apart from other indie or commercial releases. Like Ohkubo's previous game, Warning Forever, Ray-Hound is a tiny download and absolutely free.
Although you may have played similar games recently, such as Geometry Wars, Grid Wars, Rainbow Wars, and the like, this next one was very nicely done in Flash and requires no download other than the usual loading within a browser. Engaging from the second it starts, Neon is one of those rare games that just feels great to play.
Up next is a great pair of Java shmups (shoot-em-ups). Both are simple and small, and yet each offers an unusual idea; there are no run-of-the-mill 1942 or Gradius clones here. The miniscule Fuzetsu was Jos Hirth's entry in the Java 4k competition, and HIZ's Lash is a shmup with a defensive twist.
Gamma Bros. is a deliciously slow-paced old-school space shooter created by PixelJam. It's written in flash and offers both an online version and downloadable files for the Mac and Windows. Although simple in looks and design, Gamma Bros. gives the illusion of a massive game world interspersed with moments of action and quiet space floating.
Gibbage is a one-panel player verses player bloody shoot-out that was created over the period of 2 years by the talented indie game development newcomer, Dan Marshall. Its gameplay is not quite like anything else currently available on the market and has the graphical sensibilities of the pixel games of yore.
Uchuwars is a classic-style shmup with weapon power-ups and bombs. I found this shmup when I visited Babarageo for the banner game reviewed recently on JIG. The instructions are in Japanese, but it didn't take long to figure out what to do.
Babarageo STG Banner is a tiny 15 pixel tall space shooter. Most banner games have a single goal that can usually be accomplished in a few seconds. However, STG Banner introduces something a little different: rotating images with clickable hotspots. It may not sound like much, but it adds a surprising amount of strategy to an otherwise mindless game.
Akai Ryu, or Red Dragon, is a surprisingly addictive little shooter created by Jason Reinsvold and available to play on his LostVectors website. The object of the game is to stay alive as long as possible while shooting down all of the various enemies that come into play.
Rainbow Wars is a retro-style arcade shooter available as a free download for Windows, and it is one of those rare finds that becomes an instant favorite once you see it in action. Sporting similar controls to that of the classic Robotron, in which two joysticks are used to control movement and firing separately, this game captures the essence of a classic arcade experience in a well-developed albeit small package.
Invader360 is a great little Flash based tube shooter, similar to arcade classics Tempest, Gyruss or, more recently, ABA Games' downloadable Torus Trooper. Developer f1ash brings this exotic branch of the shmup tree to life with frantic action and a minimal, well defined style.
Warning Forever is a downloadable 2D shooter written by Hikoza Ohkubo of Hikware software. You pilot a tiny green ship with a single versatile weapon and must face off against a constant stream of bosses. No stages, no obstacles, no power-ups, just epic fights with massive enemy ships. And the surprising thing is they learn from your patterns and fight back. Yikes.
Mono is a downlodable Windows game that is described as 'one part Asteroids, one part Robotron, and one part Paint Shop Pro'. Created by the talented guys over at Binary Zoo, you play as a plucky yet resourceful circular object set on changing its surroundings from black to white (or white to black, depending on mode). Coupled with three difficulty modes and the ability to import your own music, Mono is a well-designed little game.
Remember the amazing, jaw-dropping, Shockwave 3D first person shooter (FPS) demo that surfaced last year just prior to GDC? The game was called Phosphor Alpha and it was created by Nick Kang of Rasterwerks. Well, he's done it again: Phosphor Beta 1 kicks the action into high gear by including multiplayer deathmatch functionality, with additional mods being added regularly.
GridWars is a free downloadable (for PC or Mac) old-school-style shooting game that's remarkably similar to Geometry Wars on the Xbox. Your small ship sits in a one-screen grid and vectorized enemies spawn to attack. Use your any-directional gun to stay alive while you rake in points.
Megatons of action packed into a tight little Flash package that features appealing graphics and effects, and a dynamite soundtrack. Combat Heaven is an insanely great shooter with periods of non-stop over-the-top action that is intense and gratifying. Amazing fun awaits just beyond the learning curve.
One of the first playable games available from the promising Dot-Invasion studio, Meteor Busters is a simple and beautifully designed top down shooter. If you're already a fan of shmups or retro pixels, you'll probably appreciate Meteor Busters. The graphics are lovely and extremely polished and the gameplay is fun while it lasts.
From South Korea comes this stylized side-scrolling shooter that features over-the-top action and two (2) playable characters, Happy & Smile, a bunny and a cat. But don't let their cartoonish good looks fool you: these cute and adorable animals pack a mean punch, carry lethal weapons, and have fearsome special attacks that will fry any enemy to a crisp.
Robobug Blaster is a gorgeous platform shooter with an unusal vertical orientation. The object of the game is to protect the cargo boxes, as they travel from top to bottom along the conveyor belts, from the cargo-hungry robobugs. The robobugs will latch onto a box and damage it quickly, so fast action is required to navigate the entire system and keep the path clear.
You might know XGen Studios as the makers of Fishy, Motherload, Stick RPG and Defend Your Castle. Well, they have created another excellent Flash game, only this time it is a top-down shooter and features over-the-top multiplayer melee action in any browser. In Stick Arena, you take the role of a stick figure aiming to kill everyone else in sight to elevate yourself within the ranks.
Another amazing shoot-em-up just released from the ultra-talented folks at Bloc Media in the UK. Pop Pirates is an arcade shooter with a hi-tech computer network security theme: Prepare to be digitized to eradicate all bugs and virus threats while reclaiming your music files as you go. Shmup-dilly-umptious and terribly addictive!
Deanimator is an elegantly simple, gorgeous and gruesome shooter that was inspired by one of H. P. Lovecraft's short stories, Herbert West: Reanimator, which is the gruesome tale of an eccentric young doctor with a penchant for experiments that involve reanimating the dead. If you have the stomach for survival horror, don't miss this one.
A recent addition to David Thorburn's Teagames.com website, Zombie Romp is a 2D side-scrolling melee shooter the likes of which are beyond this world. The object of this simple shooter is to stay alive by shooting zillions of zombies and battling a battalion of bats.
Sporting stylized graphics and an infectious soundtrack, GunRun delivers the goods with flair in classic arcade action style. This beautiful 2D side-scrolling shooter was created in Flash by Felix Reidl of Germany.
An fantastic Flash shoooter with fast action and stunning visuals, ShoOot is the certainly one of the greatest and most addictive games from the house of Tonypa. Borrowing an element of gameplay from Pang and Duo, the veteran casual game developer serves up an accessible and immediately gratifying experience using Web-efficient stylized graphics.
Cave Story, or Doukutsu Monogatari, is a superb 2D platformer reminiscent of early platform games for the NES. Created by Pixel, it is a well-made and highly polished game with a superb storyline and brilliant gameplay that is altogether very enjoyable to play. The game requires a download, for Mac or PC, and is most highly recommended!
Another one for the classic games section, I made a reference to this game when reviewing Swarm due to the way the enemies swarmed onto the play field.
Galaca is a Java applet 'clone' of the classic action arcade game Galaga. Originally created by Namco and released as a coin-op amusement...
Let Swarm take you back to the golden days of classic arcade shooters with this fast-paced and addictive DHTML action game from Brent Silby. Like its name implies, bugs swarm onto the play field single-file, as in the classic arcade game Galaga, and begin infecting solar cells. Protect the cells by shooting the bugs to kill them off. You may also shoot the cells to disinfect them and earn additional points.
Raiden X is an excellent Flash shooter game that is a lot of fun to play, though it was a bit easy for me to complete on Normal difficulty. The trick is in the power-ups, which are many. Tons of enemies and larger boss-types in this game. Excellent Flash work by a talented, young (age 13!) game developer.
The very talented guys at Square Circle Co., Chris "iopred" Rhodes and Chris "DayDream" Hildebrand, have just released their third Heli Attack game, and it's available exclusively at Miniclip.com.
From Sony Pictures comes these three (3) Flash games from the Kung Fu Hustle movie website, each featuring classic-style videogame pixel graphics and gameplay.
Kung Fu Fighter is a simple old-school fighting game that offers special moves and opponents to unlock. You must defeat the opponents the game pits you up...
Flash-in-the-Can 2005 award winner, Grant Skinner, has put together an impressive and ambitious pseudo-3D first-person shooter in Flash. There is even a back-story in case you need a reason to shoot at cute little creatures.
Puki: The Swarm begins after a routine mission to a space station, in a far away...
Uminin strikes once more with this gorgeous Flash shmup from his Flash Game Zone website, titled: Floatin' Assault. Well, that's not exactly the way he spells it, and yet I am sure that is what he means. =)
Floatin' Assault offers two different fighter types to choose from: Heavy and Standard....
This time a Flash shmup from Uminin of the Flash Game Zone in Japan. Moment Zero is a mostly grayscale shooter of exceptional design. Noteworthy features include a lock-on targeting mechanism and multiple paths through the game.
From the initial enemy wave you can tell this isn't any ordinary shooter. The...
Bloc Media is responsible for the latest Club 404 diversion on Sony's Playstation UK website: an amazing Flash shooter that is packed with fun and gameplay to boot. And you're in for a real treat, because just a peek under the hood of this little shmup reveals a stash of pleasant...
Jumping right into some addictive gameplay after finals is just what I need to escape from all the stress and pressure. I want something fast with lots of action and adrenaline, lots of explosions and particle effects, and a rocking soundtrack.
Brent Silby's DNA delivers on all of these fronts. The...
The über-talented Preloaded folks have done it again and released another Flash game to promote their own skillz, and this one does a fine job of showing off the Flash magic they are capable of. Heart Attack is an arcade action shooter in which you play as Cupid trying to save the love from the darkside by shooting arrows at little devils and other assorted gremlins.
Arguably one of the greatest video games of all time, and certainly one of the classics, Asteroids was released to the arcades by Atari in 1979. Twenty-five years later the game is still captivating gamers with its gameplay and its physics.
But Belter is better.
From creator Russ Duckworth's Truantduck Games comes...
Brent Silby has created one of the coolest arcade games I have played in a very long time. Think retro-cool as in Galaga, Defender, Centipede and Robotron, and you'll be close to what the action is like in surely one of his best games to date. Replicator captures the essence of arcade action fun and delivers it lovingly in a browser window.
Escort, scout and fight your way through enemy territory in an armed reconnaissance helicopter, the Tiger. This Flash game is also from the Australian military's website, and it offers up similar challenge difficulty as that found in both Operation Thunderbolt and Operation Seahawk, previously reviewed here at JIG.
More military training Flash from the Australian government's website. The game Operation Seahawk has you piloting a navy Seahawk helicopter to fire torpedoes at enemy submarines and patrol boats, and to rescue stranded military personnel. The arrow keys control the craft, while the space bar fires torpedoes, picks up personnel, and is used to land on the ship as well.
Wings of Megaira is an official entry of the 2005 Independent Games Festival in the student showcase, and I couldn't be happier to report that the game was designed and built by four (4) esteemed colleagues here at RIT.
The made-for-Windows game is a classically styled top-down shooter in which you control a fighter ship against fast-moving waves ...
Those talented NeoDelight boys from Germany strike again, and this time with a brand new Flash platformer. With Alex in Danger you can run, jump and shoot badies to your heart's content. Alex is a very pretty game, and its responsive controls give it the needed boost in the gameplay department.
A game that looks and feels very similar to Nintendo's Starfox games, Starfish Chronicles is a Shockwave game of the same space-flight shmup genre. The game makes effective use of many of Shockwave 3D's more advanced features to create a compelling experience that rivals commerical offerings. Although control is with the arrow keys and the space ba...
From Japan, created by Kenta Cho and available on his ABA Games website are a bunch of shmups, and all with source code. Highlighted here is Noiz2, a game that runs as an applet in any Java-enabled browser.
Noiz2 is an excellent little game that can keep you mesmerized for hours. Your ship is the mouse pointer, move it around the screen to shoot a...
The Australian government has issued this latest game for would-be pilots interested in joining the Australian Defence Force. The Flash game consists of mission based levels that have you flying an F/A 18 Hornet aircraft by using the mouse to guide the plane. You must keep the plane with the boundaries of the gates as you follow the lead aircraft. ...
Alien Hominid is a fast-paced 2D side-scroller in which players must run, jump and shoot their way across the globe in pursuit of the alien's coveted UFO. Also sporting 2-player madness, this game is a truly original title with outstanding hand drawn cel-shaded graphics and animation.
This well-crafted Flash game is a simple shmup that is fast and furious, as well as addictive. He's done a nice job with implementing power-ups, bonus multipliers, smooth animation particle effects, and a high score list, too. So, if you like shmups, you're gonna love SpaceFighta.
Written in Flash by Johnny Slack, an interactive multimedia technology student at Purdue, this version of Duck Hunt uses the mouse for aiming and shooting. It looks, acts and sounds just like the original (though it offers only one mode of play).
I've been having a lot of fun lately playing this old-school style, top-down shmup (shoot-em-up) called Hurricane developed by Nuvorm in the Netherlands. Along the lines of the arcade classic Galaga, this one has power-ups to increase shields and weapons with lots of cool pyro-technic particle effects. There is also a downloadable PC version of the game available.
A lot of thought and design went into developing the Anti-Bush Online VideoGame. It's a mix of SouthPark brashness with old-school 2D side-scrolling fun. Everyone should play it, if for no other reason than to see just how George Bush has failed us as our president. The Emperor has no clothes! We must get rid of him before it's too late.
A fantastic Asteroids recreation from Shawn at Hot Flash Games, and boy does it rock! Very authentic classic gameplay with a serious modern soundtrack that just... ROCKS! Shawn did an excellent job designing the sound for the game, as it contains a mix of classic Asteroids samples and some phat rocking beats.
This is simply amazing. Someone that goes only by the name of Voxel, has created a 3D version of the original Metroid game in Director! By taking the Metroid tileset, he built a utility that allows him to convert 2D sprites to 3D sprites, and then he uses those to build the levels of the game.
Back in the day, Space Invaders, by Japanese company Taito, was one of the coolest games to come along as it was one of the first (if not the first) electronic game ever to offer open-ended gameplay. What that means is that it's impossible to 'beat' the game, the aliens just keep coming at you relentlessly.