Planetarium is a story-puzzle in twelve weekly installments, into which is woven a fantastical fable and many marvelous puzzles. Follow the tale of the Mathemagician and a strange girl with no memory but perfect foresight, as they search for the source of a mysterious love letter sent from the future. Don't be surprised if this brilliant, unique and beautiful game soon becomes one of your favorites.
Don't Look Back is a modern retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, although there are subtle differences. For one, the mythical greek poet favored a harp over a handgun, and for another, he didn't need your platforming skills to guide him on his journey.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fishing Girl, the first game from developer Luna Drift, is the most tranquil, unhurried game about a life-or-death rescue operation you're ever likely to play. Rescue a boy stranded on an island, using only your humble powers of fishing! This game manages to capture the peacefulness and melancholy of fishing without bending to realism, and it's built on an emotional foundation of devotion and perseverance. What a neat little game.
The Majesty of Colors is an expressive interactive story about choices and consequences. You play the part of a nightmarish Lovecraftian beast from the undiscovered ocean depths, as it creeps to the surface and encounters the human race for the first time. A first-person narrative provides context, and helps guide you through your emotional encounter with this confusing new world.
From Jason Nelson comes a platformer wearing the Web's skin and laced with hidden passages. Those who have no stomach for cognitive dissonance will want to move on, but fans of Nelson's previous work will find it worthwhile. The gameplay is simple but that's alright, this is an aesthetic adventure and not as mind-blowing as the first time around, but worth drumming up a few wry smiles.
Auditorium is a fantastic new puzzle game of music and light. Solve each level by manipulating the flow of light to create the perfect balance of music. The streams of light represent sound particles that you bend toward boxes until the audio levels are full. When the flow is correct, the audio levels fill up with the proper color and all the parts of the music will play. Delightful, brilliant and stunning.
In a twist on the classic block stacking game, 99 Bricks challenges you to make a brick tower using standard Tetris play mechanics. The twist is that as the tetrominoes fall and stack, they don't disappear when lines form. This time, your goal is to make the tallest tower that you can. A higher tower means a higher spot on the leader board.
Ball Drop One, produced by Finnish developer Ville Helin, is an interesting blend of pachinko and pinball. Drop your ball into the playing field, trying to rack up as many points as possible. If your ball hits a skull ball or stops moving, it explodes and the round ends. Simple enough, right?
What irRegular Games has done is to take Conway's Game of Life and apply goals to it. On one level, you might have to maintain a constant number of living cells. On another, you might need to exterminate them all within a certain limit of turns. The reason this works as a game is that Conway's Life is an efficient factory for stories and characters. The winking Traffic Lights. The steadfast Boat. The expanding Bee Hive. And everyone's favorite, the sidewinding Glider... and his nemesis, the Block.
Splitter is an intriguing puzzle game that tasks you with moving a yellow smiley face to the exit. To get there, use the cursor (which is a knife!) to slice wooden blocks and cut strings to unleash the fury of physics!
A follow-up to the original Draw Play, Draw Play 3 retains most of what made the original so interesting and introduces a more action-oriented approach to gaming. Like any platformer around, you control a little character who must jump and run to the flag at the end of each stage. The catch is that in Draw Play you create the platforms. Make stairs, hop from ledge to ledge, or use the pen and push yourself up as you move.
World of Goo is a phenomenally creative physics-based building game where you assemble bits of goo to form structures leading to an exit pipe in each stage. The visuals are stunning, the sense of humor wry, and there are gameplay innovations at every corner.
"Z-Rox" is what happens when a punk music fanatic invents a startlingly pure and original puzzle game concept, but just can't help topping it off with a creamy dollop of vanilla Xtreme-ness. It won't throw you into a mosh pit, but it will test your visualization skills over the course of 100 devilishly simple levels.
If you're unfamiliar with the Hoshi Saga series, then you're in for a treat as there are now 3 full games for you to experience. For the uninitiated, Hoshi Saga is a simple game of discovery. One part point-and-click and one part puzzle game, the objective in each stage is to find the star. How you go about doing that is different for every level. The task is up to you to figure out how.
Find key, then find door—
Kagi Nochi Tobira—
How hard could it be?
Aether is a gloriously imaginative and atmospheric puzzle adventure game in which you swing through the stars to reach several different planets, each with a unique puzzle to solve. The designers have made a truly compelling experience, and it's a fantastic artistic endeavor. You can also just spend some time flying through space or the clouds, the music and movement are so relaxing.
With just over a year in the making, Azada: Ancient Magic, the sequel to the enormously successful adventure/hidden object hybrid Azada, has finally arrived! Fusing a large variety of unique puzzles with an undeniably intriguing atmosphere, Azada: Ancient Magic puts you in the shoes of a puzzle solver helping the young Titus disarm a magical menace. As you sift through the library of classic literature you'll help legendary characters such as Rapunzel, King Arthur, Dracula and more escape from stories gone awry. Expect some great puzzles and a lot of interesting minigames to come your way in this spectacular sequel.
Is anyone tired of Portal-inspired games about some faceless dude stuck in a sterile laboratory environment full of death traps yet? I know I'm not! Here's another one, comin' atcha! Control a smoothly animated silhouette of a man who is trapped in the middle of a giant maze full of spikes and shifting blocks. Alter gravity by rotating the entire room 90 degrees at a time!
A unique new anti-shooter game of collection and avoidance by Felix Reidl. You have two minutes to collect as many yellow squares as possible, while various gun turrets try to mow you down. Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, you should hit [Space], which instantly ends your game and adds up your score. If you don't hit the space bar in time—and this is important—you don't get any points. You have only one life, and if you die, your score is zero.
Blobink is a unique and original new game in which you have the power to restore colour and rescue the girlfriend you never knew you had and who doesn't appear in the game(!) Simply race around these levels, touching each item as you go, and the world will once again be saturated in beautiful R, G & B. Don't fall into the water! You're an ink blob!
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble is an innovative and award-winning download game for both Mac and Windows that defies classification. It's a unique genre-bending game that includes puzzle and RPG elements, as well as a variety of mini-games. All these disparate elements synthesize remarkably well, and the gameplay quickly becomes intuitive.
If you've played the original, or the even better update to that one, then you probably will be thrilled to know that Tony has just released a third game in this fantastic series that takes the concept of negative space and turns it upside-down. Shift 3 extends the familiar jump and run, puzzle-platformer formula by adding a few surprises.
PMOG aims to capture the social dynamic of an MMORPG while remaining accessible to your everyday Joe Gamer. However, it wouldn't be much fun if you could just up and create a top-level character – there has to be some sort of dirty work, some progression by which you earn your stripes. This is the part of the game that usually keeps MMORPGs from staying casual. PMOG solves this problem by tying the leveling process directly to your web surfing.
Gemcraft brings a lot of innovation to the tower defense genre, quite an accomplishment considering how crowded it already is. The new gameplay mechanics create a lot of strategic depth, and the game adds replay value by keeping track of your high score for each level, allowing you to go back and replay them for much higher scores once your wizard has leveled up and is more powerful.
At first, Mr. Bounce seems like a simple Breakout-inspired game with a slight twist – you can control the height of your bounce by using the [up] and [down] arrows. But right about the your brain starts going on auto-pilot, Mr. Bounce delivers a hefty wake-up smack upside the head. From out of nowhere come walls, moving walls, disappearing walls, movable blocks, tracers, wind, lions, tigers and bears, oh my!
Deep Chalk: Second Phase is the continuation of the journey of the crystal, the player character introduced in Zack's black and white world of the original Deep Chalk. The objective is the same: discover the secrets hiding beneath the surface and escape. While you're there, enjoy the quest; be inspired.
On has just released a brand new game over at his Eyezmaze blog, and it's a sign that he's feeling well and back to his usual self. Applicate Vol. 0 is a unique and original puzzle game with unusual rules. I won't spoil it by explaining it here since there are, at present, only 5 levels and the thrill of discovery is part of the fun with it. Thank you, On! Please give us more levels as soon as you can.
Music Catch is a game with a very simple mechanic set to a transcendent classical piano piece that could hold your attention single-handedly. The shapes appear in ebb and swell to the accompaniment, diving from foreground to background in a shifting aquamarine rainbow. You'll never catch them all; the most you can hope for is to ride the wave, soaking up as much as possible, darting for extra substance where it appears. In other words, the gameplay is much like listening to a enriching piece of music.
Knuckleheads is the latest pixel-licious platforming fiesta from Nitrome. This time, you guide a pair of grimacing heads wearing Mexican wrestling masks as they bash their way through 25 levels of bats, spikes, and deadly lava. Why are they so angry? Maybe it's because their only method of locomotion involves constant trauma to the skull. Why are they wearing Mexican wrestling masks? I ...don't know.
Music Bounce is a bit like Breakout, but with an unlikely musical twist. Each level presents you with a different layout of colored bricks. Your job is to wipe them all out by striking them with ammunition from an array of gates on the left side of the screen. And if everything is running properly, Music Bounce can be magical.
Scorching Earth is an intriguing turn-based puzzle game in which you control the actions of an inferno as it seeks to devastate 50 levels worth of landscape. The levels are composed of square tiles, filled with various types of terrain—grasslands, water, trees, and so forth. Your goal on each puzzle is to destroy the required number of tiles. It's a good, solid, innovative puzzle game, and it's fun.
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.
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!
The Hapland-meister strikes again with a wacky new puzzle game. Use your point-and-clicking skills to figure out what needs to be done (and when!) to reach a solution to this odd and very ...purple puzzle. I'm particularly loving the soundtrack.
Qink is an innovative puzzle game that is the unholy union of a Rubik's Cube and a Tangram. You might not think there's anything wrong with mixing those two ingredients. They are both puzzles, after all. But consider that one is a three-dimensional puzzle and one is a two-dimensional puzzle, and mating two entities that follow entirely different physical laws is wrong. The result is unusual and unique, scoring major points with us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Coil is a game unlike any other; it may confuse you, it may offend you, or it might mystify and move you. Coil is a game about discovery. It is also a series of mini-games involving the gestation of what appears to be an alien fetus, from initial insemination through adulthood when a murky twilight leaves its fate in question and the cycle starts anew.
When you think of what this medium is capable of it's easy to grab for lofty terms like "emergence" or even "organic beauty", but have nothing solid to hold onto. The Powder Game is a rare beacon of hope for those who dream of deep interactivity. It is a fondue of loose goals and free play; creation and destruction wrapped in a tumbling embrace. Oh yeah, this game is that good and will keep you engaged for hours.
Shift embraces the same negative-space-centric platforming concept as Yin Yang, but in a style more elegant, more minimalist, and more pulsating with sexy-sweet spy music. With a press of the Shift key, you are flipped beneath the floor on which you are standing, and reverses both your body color and gravity. It's a unique platformer with a twist, and it's a good deal of fun.
Accurately described as a "drag action game", Irritation Stickman has you picking up and dragging stickmen through each stage, avoiding spikes and other traps along the way. You can only keep your grip for a few seconds and must drop stickmen to recharge, forcing you to think before flailing the cursor around the screen. It's a simple but fun action game that produces some hilarious moments of stickman insanity.
Tarnation is a clever real-time strategy game by Brad Merritt that bears some resemblance to a tower defense title. You control a garden with rows of seeds ready to sprout into flowers that will dash off and dispatch incoming bugs. The bugs are made of Tar, you see, and if they reach the stream in front of your flower bed, they start to gunk up the water. Merely defeating all the bugs is enough to pass, but real excellence comes by releasing only as many flowers as you need.
Areas is a simple-looking but ultimately complex, addictive and atmospheric shooter by Ridulous. There is no text to be had in the menus, only icons, which are easy enough to figure out. And you don't click on them, or anything, throughout the game. If you want to interact with something, mouse over it and be patient, and it will unfold for itself.
Brand new from Yoshio Ishii of Nekogames, creator of Hoshi Saga, comes a simple mahjong-based puzzle game called Slidon. With a little mouse-based grace, your only goal in Slidon is to push tiles around a grid to form matching pairs of two or more. When like tiles meet, they vanish. You have a limited number of moves to complete each stage, so keep your tile shoving in check and study the board carefully.
The Asylum: Psychiatric Clinic for Abused Cuddly Toys finally has another cute little patient to treat: Dub the Turtle. Just like the previous toys, Dub has a problem and can't be his normal cuddly self. It seems something happened to him with his previous owner, and now the poor turtle can't stop exercising!
Jason Nelson, the creator of game, game, game and again game, is back with Alarmingly These Are Not Lovesick Zombies, his latest attempt to dissect abstract ideas through gameplay. Your reaction to that sentence should tell you whether or not to click away. If you're still with me, you should buckle up, its a zany, interesting ride.
Wait a second. Pinball isn't supposed to be hard, is it? With PuzzPinball you're given control over placing the flippers, bumpers and ramps -- not bouncing the ball whenever it comes near. It turns a game of reflexes into a game of thinking and will probably catch you by surprise with its ability to draw you in.
An update to the previously reviewed Manifold, this version is the full, super-fun-happy version, promises Joel Esler, the game's author. Get acquainted with Fold via the "Easy" levels. Then advance to the more frustrating "Uneasy" levels. And when you think you finally have the mechanics mastered, give the "Doubleplus Uneasy" levels a try. A unique and original platform puzzler just keeps getting better.
A new stylish title from Game Pure has just been released: Micro Art. The hybrid puzzle combines elements of SameGame and your classic match-3 game with a unique line-drawing mechanism. A pile of puzzle pieces rises on the left side of the screen while matching pieces float freely on the right. Draw a line and collect the floating pieces to make matches and keep the stack from reaching the top of the screen.
Fitting in the webtoy category more comfortably than being a game, Music Dodge is an entry from Daniel Gutierrez into our 3rd game design competition. Colored bars streak across the screen in time with the background music. You control a colorful orb and must "scratch" against the edge of the bars to score points. It's a simple game of avoidance and precision made much more interesting when you use your own music.
Manifold is a physics-based action/puzzle game created by artist and designer Joel Esler. Use special orbs that can alter gravity within a small radius to climb your way through dangerous situations. It's a simple idea that's been paired with smart artistic direction to create a game that pleases the senses as well as your sense of fun.
A demo download for Windows only, Immortal Defense is a tower defense game with some aces up its sleeve. It's a game with impressive special effects and a captivating storyline, the latter of which is unusual in the tower defense genre. RPG Creations has put together a long-lasting demo experience should you be brave enough to take on the volunteer mission to fight millions of aliens using only the power of your consciousness.
Logi-Gun is an absolutely sensational puzzle platformer (free download for Windows only) from Darklink570. Most of the puzzles require skillful, even ingenious, use of the game's 6 guns, although some deft platforming will also be necessary.
Yoshio Ishii has just released a sequel to his enormously popular and quite elegant puzzle game Hoshi Saga. There are 36 new levels in which to find the star. Nothing very difficult, just exceptionally creative interaction design like the first one. This one is sure to please.
Speck Oppression is another unique an creative entry, qualities that are becoming standard expectations when learning of a new Komix game on the loose. The idea is to gather energy to fully charge a collector and to unlock the next level. You do so by manipulating the beautiful 'specks' that inhabit this game world.
The latest Grow game from On of Eyezmaze! Need we say more? This is without a doubt On's greatest work-to-date, and in it he embodies an optimistic philosophy. Following the correct order of things will lead to a society where men and women get along happily, the environment is protected and technology is harnessed to discover the secrets of the universe.
Our most recent competition has shown some seriously inventive interpretations of the theme "Replay", and one of the standouts in that category is Carl Foust's Super Earth Defense Game. It's a typical side-scrolling shooter on its face but, in a unique twist, really shines once your ship gets destroyed.
Beethoven's Hair is a psychological vignette of a game. The piece is "part of a cross media project based on the true story of a lock of hair that was cut from Beethoven's head and the story of how it passed down through history." Unlock the keyhole and you'll discover a thoughtful and intriguing take on the escape-the-room genre that infuses the usual search dynamic with free-form exploration and historical fiction.
The Animator vs. Animation Game takes the fun, desktop battlefield antics of the Animator vs. Animation episodes and turns it into a fully interactive fighting game! Control the animator or stickman animation and wage war against your opponent, grabbing common drawing tools and turning them into deadly weapons.
Timebot is an action puzzle game entered into our recent game design competition. It's a game in which you must guide a robot throughout several levels. The objective is to roll onto switches that open doors or materialize platforms and make it to the exit within the time given. The replay mechanic in Timebot turns what would otherwise be a simple platform puzzle game on its head and creates something truly outstanding.
Torus Games from Jeff Weeks and Geometrygames.org is the name of a free downloadable set of 8 simple games for Windows and Mac that, rather than being played on a 2-D plane, are played on the surface of a torus. Here you will find a twist on classic games like tic-tac-toe, pool, Minesweeper (called Apples here), and even a bizarre version of chess.
Intriguing, complex, well-planned, fascinating, and fun, Time Raider is a multifaceted game, part puzzle, part timing, and part reflex, where no one of these parts dominates over the other two. As a result, it has a broad appeal to fans of different types of games, and is one of the most creative entries to be submitted to our recent game design competition #3!
Admit it: you've wanted to slap someone silly at least once today. Just haul-off and give them a good hard smack across the cheek. In Rose & Camellia you can do just that while taking part in a unique new game with high production values from Japan. Reiko has married into a noble family, but shortly afterwards her husband Siyunsuke dies. The women of the house do not respect Reiko, and she must beat them all in successive slap fights.
Azada combines elements from a number of casual genres to create a game that's one of the most unique titles I've played in months. Take a point-and-click game such as Myst, then combine it with item hunting from Mystery Case Files and throw in a dash of short puzzles just for fun. Everything is so elegantly combined that you can't help but keep playing, both to uncover the rest of the story and to experience more puzzles.
A new puzzle game with a distinct ARG smell recently popped on the scene without much known about what it is or who is behind it. Ethan Haas Was Right is a mysterious Flash-based website that presents a series of 5 unique puzzles, some original and some rehashed versions of classic puzzle games. Even if you don't care for alternate reality games in general, there's enough here for a few sessions of casual gameplay.
Ring Pass Not is an original new puzzle game by indie developer, Sandhill Games. The objective: fill the magic circle with tiles by matching adjacent tiles by their color or symbol. Score bonus tools and power-ups by completing special combos of tiles, which will help you advance further in the game with its 30 unique and increasingly more difficult levels.
Blobular is a free online clone of the PSP physics game Loco Roco. Tilt the game world left and right to guide the gooey blob around each stage, collecting fruit along the way. It's a fantastic way to experience the quirky style and gameplay of the PSP game without spending a single cent.
Gravity: beneficial force of nature or oppressor of humankind? In the world of Amberial, it is both. In this unique platform game, you play the part of a bouncing ball, free to move about your world wherever you wish... horizontally. Unfortunately, you are not endowed with the ability to jump, so you must rely (primarily) on gravity and inertia to navigate vertically.
Ha55ii, creator of the previously reviewed Liquid Webtoy, has put forth another addictive webtoy: Powder Game. It bears a similarity in essence to the Falling Sand games, but takes it a step further with the introduction of wind and air pressure.
Interactive Flash pieces have generally been designed as either games to be played or art to be interpreted. However, the line between game and art has been steadily diffusing, and there are now many offerings where it's not clear whether the author's intended focus was engaging the user in gameplay or immersing them in artful ponderings. One particularly beautiful example is Choice.
Hoshi Saga is a simple game of discovery. One part point-and-click and one part puzzle game, the objective in each of the game's 36 stages is to find the star. How you go about doing that is different for every stage. The task is up to you to figure out how. Just right to get those brain cells jumping with inspiration and excitement on a Monday.
Far off in a dreamy land, tiny spots of light coax a little sleepwalking boy to follow his lost kitty. Never mind the fact that the little spots of light were what frightened the kitty away in the first place... Reunion, a gentle platform game by Mike Bithell, is a delightful journey full of good intentions and imaginary figments.
Eschewing the classic pixel art we are used to seeing in favor of a more spacey, out of this world appearance, Nitrome delivers yet another original and engaging platformer unlike any you may have played before. The objective in Space Hopper is simple enough: to find and collect all of the stars scattered about each level.
Death Village is a wonderful little game in which you guide a trembling little nebbish of a man around a haunted castle, using various traps and spooks to literally scare him onto the right path while being careful not to scare him to death. The game's title screen indicates a level editor, but it's grayed-out and looks like it's not available yet.
Mindscape is a side-scrolling platformer with a... twist, in that the entire level rotates as you play. There are three "worlds" with four levels each, which steadily progress from the creepily joyous Candy Meadows to the joyously creepy Center of Your Mind. It's a brilliantly conceived and executed platformer of the highest level.
Games can do two things really well. They can be Fun, and they can be Not-Fun. Lots of games are Fun and Not-Fun in a mediocre way, and some games are amazingly good at being Fun. But when a game is great at being Not-Fun, the deep play of the mind comes tumbling down the mouse.
Acrobots are little 3-legged acrobatic robots that hop and jump around and react to each other. Together they form an unsual webtoy that includes impressive physics as well as some very fluid animation. Very nicely done by the same Vector Park folks that brought us Levers, and Feed the Head.
If you haven't played Feed the Head lately, there are new features to explore! It represents a piece of interactive entertainment of a type we don't often see anymore. There is perhaps no goal, no win condition. It's just plain fun to play. An enjoyable little webtoy for you to discover on your own terms. Spend a couple minutes or an hour. Lose yourself. Feed your head. Escape.
In Rapture Capture, take control of a ship with a tug wire attached by waving the mouse back and forth. The tug wire is your only defense against incoming enemies and munitions, use it as a whip to take out anything that comes at you. The tip of the tug wire is especially powerful, as you can even capture enemies with it and whip them around as a weapon. It's fantastic!
The setting of O-RI-GA-MI is made entirely of pieces of folded paper, making it probably the only handcrafted ETR in existence. From the furniture to the code panel to the unconventional fauna, almost everything that you see has been created out of a piece of paper and photographed in position. When you play, don't rush through it like you might some other games; this one is meant to be savored.
SlingStar is a space-themed shooter that uses realistic physics to make a strange game concept feel as natural as playing with a paddle and rubber ball. You pilot a small circle that must avoid everything on-screen. Your weapons are two orbiting satellites that you can sling back and forth to pummel enemy ships. By moving your craft back and forth, you send the satellites hurdling around you in a widening path.
Tau'Ri Bedrock by Luca Deltodesco is an unusual and original platformer. In Bedrock you play a... slime? blob? that has been tasked to roll a boulder through levels upon levels of verdant terrain in order to return it to its parent rock. It's a lot like a simplified version of Loco Roco melded with the indie title Gish.
In what is probably the shortest installment of the Grow series to date, the minigame Grow Nano vol.2 from Eyezmaze is still full of charm. The mechanics are the same as other installments, simply click the items and hope you found the right order. This time around there are just three things to choose from: a cape, a headband, and a stick. Experiment to find the right order and see what happens!
Poco Parco is an extraordinarily quirky Japanese title that works much like the Grow series of games. Click the items at the bottom of the screen to start different events, each one interacting with the last. What sets this game apart from the rest of the clones is its adorable presentation and the ability to click and play with the objects that grow on the screen.
Castle is a short but good-looking point-and-click game from the Japanese website Usagi no Sippo (Rabbit's Tail). The game takes a page from the Grow book of Flash design and lets you create a scene by clicking various objects on the screen, each time causing something new and interesting to happen.