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Adventure Apes and the Mayan MysteryA well-oiled platform adventure game that will remind you a bit of Metroid and maybe a bit of Jazz Jackrabbit, too. Explore an ancient temple and unlock treasure chests to nab gold, gems, and very useful items. A lot of twisty passageways and tall chasms dotted with precarious perches, so your platforming and exploration skills will definitely come into play. The pixel art is also phenomenal.

ASCIIpOrtalYou've played the game that spawned Portal, Narbacular Drop. You've played the Flash version of Portal. Heck, maybe you've even played the real Portal. Now, friends, it's time for ASCIIpOrtal. This 2D reimagining once again puts the familiar portal gun in your hands, granting you the ability to pass from one to the other to reach previously inaccessible areas. Use it to do the seemingly impossible, such as move through small areas, gain access to high ledges, and slingshot yourself across wide expanses by transferring downward momentum. The controls and mechanics are a bit odd to get used to, but if you press onward, you'll find a surprisingly rewarding puzzle platform game.

Au SableA rare game that isn't gross-out shock-value scary but is genuinely disturbing, Au Sable by Amon26 is a dark platform adventure with a focus on setting and mood. Discussing much more of the game would spoil it, but suffice to say, you'll get more than a chill or two experiencing this frightening game. And it's all accomplished with chunky pixel art and a drab palette of white, black, red, and a whole lot of gray. Fantastic work, but keep the kids in another room for this one.

BeaconA quiet little platformer with excellent visuals and an even better premise. When a game can invoke a strong emotion, it's done its job. Beacon is one such game. Alone in a darkened cave, a beacon of light suddenly floats down from above. Your only companion as you walk and jump around the cave, you find yourself oddly attached to its presence. You won't mind waiting for it to catch up, and if it has to take a different path than you, you get just a little bit frightened.

Bombie ZombieTake some green zombies, then put in a little guy who can jump, dive, and drop landmines. The result? Bombie Zombie, a strangely captivating retro-style arcade game from Codemonkey. Tap [z] to jump and [x] to set landmines, the goal being to take out as many of the annoying buggers as you can with each blast. Falling power-ups give you a boost. If you can manage to clear a path to them, that is. Way too much fun!

Dreamside MaroonA truly beautiful game that will have you enchanted from the moment you start playing. A third person exploration game at its core, Dreamside Maroon is all about Aster and his wish to reach the moon. Using a lantern on a stick, Aster can control the growth of a vine in any direction, using it to climb higher and explore some of the strange floating islands in the night sky. It's a breathtaking (but brief) experience that's as magical as it is imaginative. The tiny screenshot to the right doesn't do the game justice, you should download it to see its full glory.

DungeonA tough, minimalist platform game created by indie stars cactus and Mr. Podunkian. Run through the green dungeon, avoiding spikes, enemies, and falling into that flowing pool of lava (who keeps lava in their castle, anyway?). A story is pieced together at the top of the screen as you move through each area. Be ready to die multiple times in this game, but fortunately you respawn only a few screens back, so frustration never really kicks in.

Enviro-Bear 2000Oh boy, winter is coming, and as a bear driving a car, you know it's time to hibernate. Unfortunately you aren't quite fat enough to survive the cold season, so you'll need to fatten up by nomming some fish and berries. You have five minutes to drive around the forest collecting as much food as you can. Use the mouse to grab and manipulate things, and remember you can toss stuff out the windows or sunroof. When you've gained enough weight, head into the cave for a nice nap.

ExcavatorrrOne can never have too many digging games. Excavatorrr by Hempuli and Noby is a visually simple game where your goal is to find treasure by digging underground. Carry a few items with you as you maneuver through the passageways, such as bombs, ladder kits, and dynamite, to help you deal with the various obstacles packed in the dirt. You'll also have to contend with enemies, although it's usually better to avoid them whenever you can. Make it to the bottom, nab the golden idol, and truck it back to the surface to win.

FetusA clever little puzzle platformer that plays with your sense of gravity and continuity. Remember old arcade games (especially Kid Icarus and Pac-Man) where you could walk off the edge of the screen and appear on the other side? Fetus makes heavy use of this to create maze levels wrapped around themselves, forcing you to rethink your sense of space and direction. A nice, cool visual presentation sets the mood, and the slow, confining controls really draw the blanket of mystery around you. Later levels crank up the difficulty, so be ready with that [R] key to restart the level.

FocusA brilliantly-executed platform puzzle game by Jesse Venbrux, creator of the Karoshi series of games. In Focus, you take control of a little guy trapped in a cave stuffed with traps, missile-firing robots, and lots of other baddies. Early on you learn how to use "focus mode", an ability that lets you teleport yourself anywhere the blue circle extends. Momentum is applied when you teleport, allowing you to move yourself to surprisingly exclusive parts of the screen. This mechanic is superbly implemented and the puzzles require you to think of new ways to use it in almost all of the 50 levels. As Venbrux put it himself, "very solid, difficult-but-let's-try-one-more-time gameplay".

GlumbusterA quiet, artistic kind of game with a mysterious storyline and equally entrapping gameplay. Without spoiling too much, your goal in each screen is to shoot enemies with the [left] mouse button, then trap them in an energy triangle by clicking the [right] mouse button for the three points. A gate opens, you enter. But is that all there is?

GunFu DeadlandsThink you've got what it takes to survive the wild west? Well, unless you have a time machine, you'll never know, will you?! You can, however, see if you've got what it takes to survive in a wild west-themed arcade game by Christiaan Janssen. Move with the [WASD] keys, fire with the mouse, and use bullet time to slow things down for a few seconds. Take out all of the baddies to move on to the next level. You can't go charging into gunfights in this game, as one shot sends you packing. Take it slow, watch the enemies move, and make good use of bullet time and your jumping ability.

HoldoverFrom Japanese studio Foxeye, Holdover features a Metroidvania-esque design and a punishing level of difficulty. You play Marie, a young girl with a seemingly an incurable disease. A treatment is developed, but it's so slow, she'll die before it works. So, Marie is cryogenically frozen until the day she will be healed. She wakes early to find the lab void of life and mysterious messages scattered throughout the rooms. Instead of gaining new weapons at every turn, Holdover is about increasing Marie's strength so she can hold her breath for longer underwater. Simple, but effective, and the result is a game that's so retro I couldn't stop playing it, despite its cheap deaths. The English translation can be tough to understand at times, and some of the cutscenes are risque, so you might want to wait until the kids are in bed before trying this one. Cheers to D for sending this one in!

IgneousImagine you're a cube sitting inside of a volcano. Now imagine a ball of fire is chasing you. What would you do? Run, of course. Igneous is a beautiful game where your only goal is to run away from the ever-present ball of flames. Level design is a bit bland, and after a few run-throughs you'll wonder if there's anything more to the game than simple avoidance (there isn't, really, but it does get much more exciting). The lighting effects are beyond gorgeous and must be seen to be understood. Worth a (free!) romp or two just for that! Created by a team of students at DigiPen.

Ivory SpringsAn unfinished platformer project by Konjak, author of the Noitu Love games as well as the greatly appreciated Legend of Princess game. In fact, Ivory Springs is very similar to both games and has that great Mega Man-ish/Metroidvania feel we all love to death. Being an abandoned project, expect to encounter a few glitches during your half hour or so of gametime. But that half hour is superb!

JiroSumA one level prototype that showcases a rather brilliant concept for a shooter. Enemies have a numerical value displayed on their face. You can absorb enemies into your spinning plus sign and shoot the sum back at other enemies. The shot travels as a negative number, destroying as many enemies as the value totals. For example, fire off a 3 shot and you can take out three 1 enemies, a 2 enemy and a 1 enemy, or a 3 enemy. Leftover values come back to haunt you, however, so try and time your shots to dissipate with a perfect zero sum. An entry in the latest TIGSource competition.

Journey to the Center of the EarthYour surprise addiction for the weekend, this unassuming little game is all about hunting for treasure on a tiny map. Your tools include an unlimited supply of bombs along with the ability to both run and jump. You have a map that shows hints for all 40 pieces of treasure, but getting to the locations and making the boxes appear is the real puzzle. The website and game are in Japanese, but there's no text or speech to worry about, so click the yellow button and download away!

KaivoA breathtakingly simple exploration game that drops you in a deep, dark cave with little more than the ability to jump and a versatile grappling hook at your disposal. Use the hook to latch onto walls, floors and ceilings to move around the sparse landscape. Avoid quicksand, touch the disk icons to save, and keep looking for that elusive gold!

Legend of PrincessEver wondered what would happen if a Legend of Zelda game fell in love, got married, and had a beautiful child with, say Contra III? Imagine no longer, as Konjak, creator of Noitu Love 2, has released a short, one level "created just for fun" game that puts you in that role! Fight your way through gorgeously drawn sidescrolling stages as a hero who looks conspicuously like Link and fights enemies conspicuously like those found in the Zelda series using weapons such as boomerangs. It's a little bit of awesome! (Note: Look for the "Download it HERE" text to grab the file.)

Post I.T. ShooterAnother game created for the Experimental Gameplay Project's Unexperimental Shooter theme, this little gem by Crayon Physics creator Petri Purho is made entirely out of Post-It notes. Invading aliens (made of Post-Its) wobble in from the right, shooting Post-It bullets at your Post-It ship. Fire your own Post-It weapon through the Post-It sky to turn the Post-It aliens into Post-It explosions!

rComplexSimilar to Canabalt in a number of ways, rComplex is one of those "jump and slide to avoid stuff" games where your character is constantly running to the right. This time, though, you're running from a mass of tentacles and you've got a shotgun (with only twelve bullets) to fend it off temporarily. Created by two people in about a week, this proof-of-concept demo is surprisingly full of style and polish.

Restraining OrderWell, now the game's all grown up and ready to impress with bigger and better everything! This running-type game is more about chasing, as you play a monster of a character out to break his restraining order. Leap over cops or attack them with your claws as you slowly close the gap between you and your target. If you get caught, you don't have to start the level over, removing that pesky feeling of failure, and each level something new is added, like new police with different abilities. There's a lot of wild music, a lot of crazy visual effects, and even more wacko stuff once you charge through a level or two. So. Worth. Beating!

Squid Yes, Not So Octopus: Squid HarderPsychedelic colors, rockin' chiptune music, tons of things flying around the screen, and you, squid, in the middle of it all, just trying to stay alive. This is a near-final beta release of the game, with the full version coming soon! Be sure to try out the original Squid Yes! Not So Octopus! for more shooting and torture (but still no octopus).

Star GuardWhat it lacks in visual complexity, Star Guard more than makes up for with balanced and entertaining gameplay. You are a spaceguy on a mission to defeat a wizard. Armed with a gun and... uh.. the ability to jump, you must carve your way through nine levels of traps, enemies, and more traps. Checkpoints make things less frustrating, and infinite lives make it a fairly easy game, but it's one of those you'll feel compelled to beat once you start playing.

Tower of HeavenI heart the original Game Boy system. A color palette of green, only the most rudimentary sounds available, and games that made up for being technically simple by pouring on the creativity. Tower of Heaven is a short platform game by Askiisoft that would have been at home on that old system. The goal is to make it to the top of the tower by climbing your way through each room. A disembodied voice taunts you as you go, which adds a light air of mystery to the punishing game.

Walkie TonkyA prototype demo for a game currently under development, Walkie Tonky is a physics-based action game where you play a giant robot invading Earth. Kick, smash and pummel your way forward using the mouse buttons to punch your way through attacking vehicles. Use the [up] and [down] arrow keys to grow larger or smaller to avoid enemies and get a better grip on ground-based rubble. Excellent visual package and a very engaging concept show real promise in this work-in-progress game!

We Want YOUFalling through enemy territory, you play the role of a "war hero" who simply works his way down the level, finding weapons and killing bad guys as you see fit. Use the [X] key to fire, [Z] to jump, and switch weapons with [A]. If you get caught in a pit (which can happen in a procedurally-generated game such as this one), set some C4 with the [C] key. It's a slightly satirical game with a lot of wartime press blurbs slapped on the screen at set intervals. Good fun for several runs in a row!

You Can't Possibly Expect Me To Do ThatYes, I can! You Can't Possibly Expect Me To Do That (or YCPEMTDT for kinda-short) is a platform puzzle game that's all about dying, healing, mid-air double jumping, and probably dying again. To reach the star in each stage, you have to smash into spikes and other obstacles to kill yourself. While "dead", you fly through walls, allowing you to maneuver to impossible areas and collect health packs which bring you back to life. Some of these stages are absolutely crazy, and you'll have a great time figuring out what to do.

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