June 2005 Archives

  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (31 votes)
Comments (16) | Views (6,361)

Puzzler's ParadiseRemember those word problems and logic puzzles from school? They probably weren't much fun back then when the fear of failure or a bad grade was hanging over your head. And yet there was still something fun and challenging about them, if only it weren't a forced activity.

Well now there is a site with lots of logic puzzles that you don't have to solve, complete with handy graphs and tables you can use to deduce your answers. Created and maintained by Shelly Hazard, Puzzler's Paradise is exactly as advertised, and chock full of puzzles to challenge you.

Logic puzzlesWhile there are many different types of puzzles offered on the main page, my favorite is the logic puzzles. Included with each logic puzzle is a Flash interface that makes it easy for you to check off the values you know to be either true, or false. Once you believe you have narrowed it down to a solution, simply fill out the table with your answers to see if you are correct.

Puzzler's Paradise is great wholesome fun for anyone to enjoy. Well, as long as you can read and understand English, I suppose. Click.

  • Currently 4.7/5
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Rating: 4.7/5 (40 votes)
Comments (17) | Views (4,657)

MacopismCreated by Macoto Yanagisawa of Japan, this Shockwave work of art is a nice diversion from the usual fare.

Although it's not Electroplankton, the title of this interactive musical animation toy shares similar meaning: bioluminescent dinoflagellates that live in marine and aquatic environments, and when grouped in large numbers make the sea phosphorescent. And while playing with its amazing and hypnotic displays, I was constantly reminded of Nintendo's latest musical wonder-toy for its dual-screen handheld.

There is much to see and hear in this electro-luminescent piece. Just click the mouse to cycle through the displays, move the mouse to interact with each.

Mesmerizing and beautiful, just what I needed to start my day.

Play Alveolata Noctiluca Neonlight

  • Currently 4.2/5
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Rating: 4.2/5 (44 votes)
Comments (46) | Views (5,045)
PuzzlelandBecause the Hapland games are so much fun and unbelievably popular, I wanted to post a link to this similar game for you to try. Although not quite as well done as Robin Allen's games, Puzzleland is much easier and there are more levels to solve. Each level details the objectives you must meet to move on.

As with other games like this, the clicking sequence and timing is everything. You may need to reset a level if you do something incorrectly.

The game was created by Hanan Finnerty, and he promises to be working on a sequel with even more puzzles, levels, and a stronger story. In the meantime, have fun with this one.

Play Puzzleland

(4 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (6) | Views (2,776)
Pearl HuntFrom the Chevron Cars website comes this action strategy game of collecting pearls.

Pearl Hunt is an addictive Flash game in which the object is to drop ten (10) pearls down through the maze to the bottom before time runs out. Simply click on a clam shell to slide that row horizontally. If an empty space or an item appears below a pearl, it will drop down to it. Clear 10 pearls to make it to the next level, and start all over again.

Special items you will find along the way include: gold starfish that add ten (10) seconds to the timer; gold coins that add ten (10) points to your score. You are awarded 40 points for each pearl you get to the bottom of the maze.

Items that exist to thwart your progress include: red crabs that will cause you to lose 10 points; jellyfish that cause the pearl to move to a random location; black spiky things that cause the whole maze to randomize itself, items and all.

Analysis: Pearl Hunt is a cute game with appealing graphics and sound effects that is easy to pick-up and play, and yet is deceptively difficult to master. The problem is the time limit that keeps the pace frantic most of the time, and the quantity of items that litter the play field. The short time limit reduces the emphasis on the strategic element of the game, whereas the quantity of items increases the emphasis on luck.

There is little time to chart a course through the maze for the pearls, as time is of the essence. I found that to achieve higher scores I had to be less concerned with avoiding crabs, concentrating more on moving as many pearls as I could. Eventually I learned to try for every star for the sake of time, and then for every coin, avoiding only the black spiky things unless the play field needed a refresh due to an undesirable configuration.

And while I am certain that this is not a new game concept, I cannot place any games that I have played before like it. If you know of something similar, please do leave a comment.

All things considered, Pearl Hunt is fun little game that won't take up a lot of time to play a game or two. Click.

(6 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (14) | Views (4,983)

ArcadiaPong was an amazing and innovative game in its time. Unfortunately, after the novelty wore off there just wasn't much gameplay left to hold our interest. And by today's standards, it's just too simple a game to be much fun anymore.

GameLab leverages the simplicity of Pong, as well as that of several other ultra-easy old-school games, and combines them all into one. Sound bizarre? Certainly. But does it work? Surprisingly well.

Arcadia is a Shockwave action arcade game in which you must keep four (4) games going simultaneously by clicking the mouse in each window when appropriate. The free Web version contains just the four games you see in the screen shot, though a full version of the game offers eight (8) different games to choose from, as well as other additional features.

You can play the free version at Shockwave.com after a short advertisement. Then just follow the on-screen instructions. Gamelab included an excellent tutorial mode that gets you going with the game quickly when choosing to start an easy game.

Play Arcadia

Diner DashAnd speaking of gameLab, the New York Times today published an article about the increasing popularity and success of casual games. They highlighted gameLab as one game developer that is raking in the cash in the casual games market, especially with their latest game, Diner Dash. You can play a demo version of Diner Dash at and even download the full version to play for 60 minutes for free.

Be sure to check out other gameLab games previously reviewed here: Blix, Loop, and Junkbot.

(17 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (30) | Views (3,921)

Twin Spin IIJust when you thought you had mastered the art of walking a stick, with a ball on each end, in a straight line across the screen using only one button, the folks at GlobZ release 40 new and more difficult levels for you to waddle through.

Twin Spin II is excellent Flash fun just like the first one, except with a few new items and levels that ramp up in difficulty more quickly.

Since I already covered this game several days ago, I won't go into how to play or an analysis of the gameplay, as it's essentially the same. And that is good news if you enjoyed playing the first. However, in this version, later levels are truly for the hardcore and not for anyone who gets annoyed when frustrated by a game. Level 37 is a killer. Consider yourself warned. Click.

(15 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (16) | Views (4,242)
Manuel Fallmann's latest offering on his MINDistortion site is a turn-based strategy game against the CPU, or a human opponent at the same computer. The object of Quarkz is to be the first player to reach the number of points designated as the victory condition by adding particles to the play field and setting off chain reactions.

Players take turns by adding a particle to any one of the squares of the play field by clicking on it. The square then turns to that player's color and the scores are updated accordingly. For example, if Blue clicks on a Red square with two (2) particles, the number of particles for that square becomes three (3) and the square turns Blue. Furthermore, two (2) points are deducted from Red's score since the square is no longer Red's, and three (3) points are added to Blue's.

Volatility comes into play when particles of a square reach an unstable state. The number of particles that make a square unstable depends on where the square is located:

  • Corner squares are unstable at three (3) particles
  • Border squares are unstable at five (5) particles
  • All other squares are unstable at eight (8) particles

I have included an illustration in the images above that maps each of the types of squares to their threshold for becomming unstable. If the map is not visible at present, reloading the page will eventually display it.

Once a square reaches an unstable state, clicking on it will cause a chain reaction with all squares that border it by incrementing the particles and changing their color to the player's color who caused the chain reaction

To start a game against the CPU, choose "Human vs Computer" and accept the defaults for a moderately sized game of medium difficulty. At these settings, the victory condition is 60 points, meaning the first player to reach 60 points wins the game.

Analysis: The game is simple to play once familiar with the number of particles that cause each type of square to become unstable. Since chain reactions can quickly change the course of the game, the strategic element of the game becomes very important. Unfortunately, the AI for the CPU is quite weak and therefore I recommend playing on hard difficulty once familiar with the gameplay.

The soundtrack borrows tunes from some commercial techno offerings to complement the subatomic particle theme of the game. And while the animated player graphics can sometimes get in the way while taking a turn, this is a small complaint to an otherwise polished, very playable casual game.

From the same developer who created the wonderful and addictive Bubbles game, Quarkz is a fun little game for anyone who enjoys a bit of strategy with their Flash.

Play Quarkz

  • Currently 3.8/5
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Rating: 3.8/5 (25 votes)
Comments (16) | Views (4,770)

PyoroA recreation of a WarioWare for GBA mini-game by Johnny Slack, this lightweight Flash game is good fun for a short diversion.

Pyoro is an action arcade game in which the object is to avoid the falling plants by eating them using a very long tongue.

Control is with the right and left arrow keys to control bird movement. Simply position the bird facing a falling plant, and then press the space bar to gobble it up. The longer you press the space bar, the longer the tongue will travel.

The height at which a plant is eaten determines its point value, ranging from 10 points—near the ground—to 300 points nearer the top of the play field.

If you miss a plant, it will knock out the floor tile on which it lands, stranding you to one side. To balance this side effect, occasional white plants will fall that will, if eaten, restore one (purple leaves) or all (orange leaves) of the floor tiles. If you get hit by a falling plant, green or white, the game is over.

It's you against the highscore list in a cute and simple casual mini-game that looks and plays great.

Play Pyoro

  • Currently 4.3/5
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Rating: 4.3/5 (168 votes)
Comments (271) | Views (15,371)

Heli Attack 3

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.

Heli Attack 3 is an arcade survival shooter that keeps much the same as the previous one. And that's not a bad thing since Heli Attack 2 was Miniclip's best game of 2003. Instead of changing the core gameplay, the team added movements such as climbing and crouching, and a whole slew of new weapons. Level progression was also added for a change of scenery and to increase enemy difficulty. And a really cool gun was added to reward those hardcore gamers who make it through the impossibly long final level.

Web browser games don't get much better than this, and these guys prove that you really can develop serious games in Flash.

Play Heli Attack 3

(11 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (21) | Views (3,461)

Gel InvadersPanzo Invaders is another game starring Panzo the panda bear, and this one is enjoyable and addictive like the other panda games before it.

The action arcade Shockwave game is a cross between Breakout and Space Invaders. The object of the game is to throw a bouncing ball around the play field to knock out enemies in the sky that advance toward the ground. Clear all enemies for each level to move on to the next. There are eight (8) levels total.

If you don't read or understand Japanese, no worries. The panda games are nearly self-explanatory. When you launch the game, click the short orange Japanese text above the red character that looks like a cat. A short cut scene will play, though you can skip past it by clicking the green text at the bottom right of the game window. You can return to the game menu at any time by clicking the small green 'return' arrow at the bottom left of the window.

Control is entirely with the mouse, simply point the cursor to aim where you want, and click to throw the ball. The higher you position the cursor, the harder your throw. The ball will bounce on the ground and against the sides of the play field, so there is no out of bounds to worry about, but you must pick the ball back up before you can throw it again. If you click without the ball, Panzo will jump and you can alteratively perform combos by kicking and punching the aliens from the sky instead. Though if you jump up into an alien, you will lose some of your health.

Hitting an enemy with the ball will cause it to fall from the sky, and release coins to collect for points. Some enemies require more than one hit to take them out. Hit more than one enemy in a single throw, bounces included, to release more coins for a higher score.

Avoid falling enemies and the stuff they drop. Each time you get hit, a portion of your life energy bar will be taken away. If you lose all your life energy, the game is over. Sometimes when an enemy falls to the ground, they will release a small first-aid kit. Collect those to replenish a portion of your life energy bar.

Analysis: This particular game design is actually a remake of Yard Invaders by RobotDuck. And like the other Panzo games reviewed here previously, Geru Geru Panic and Mamezo, this game shares similar graphics and sound. The graphics are simple, bright and cheerful, and the soundtrack is well produced. And yet it is the gameplay that makes these games remarkable and fun to play.

Although most of these games are not based on original ideas, the developer, Yoshio Ishii creates his own unique style of compelling gameplay nonetheless. It is not surprising that I find myself coming back to play his games often.

However, in this game there are only three (3) different enemies. And while a couple of the levels created mildly intense action by combining multiple enemy types, the game is just not very difficult. I was surprised when I was able to get through all eight (8) levels on my second try, and the game therefore feels unfinished. Just when I was getting the hang of how to play, the game ended abruptly.

I would like to see more enemies and more levels, or different levels of difficulty, such as varying the quantity of available power-ups for replenishing life energy. In the meantime, I'll continue playing it as is.

Play ジェルベーダー (Gel Invaders)

Thanks to Devstrider for the heads-up about the game.

(11 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (24) | Views (7,838)
From the excellent French Flash games site, Globz.com, comes this creative action arcade game with a unique and addictive gameplay mechanic. The objective in Twin Spin is to 'walk' a baton around the play field and explode all of the balloons that exist for each level.

The only means of control is the mouse button—or use the space bar as an alternative. Click (or press) to begin walking. Once activated, the baton will spin in a circle around one of its end globes. Clicking (or pressing) again will cause the baton to stop spinning around the one globe, and begin spinning around the other. With precision timing you can master this "twin spin" technique and make the baton walk wherever you wish. A little practice is all you need to get into the swing of it.

Each level presents a new task of increasing difficulty, and each level's objective must be completed within a time limit. If you accomplish the objective with time to spare, you are awarded bonus points. You are also awarded bonus points for each life remaining, displayed as hearts.

It is possible later in the game to lose a life, of which you start each level with three (3). Lose all three and you lose 100 points, and must begin the level again. You may try a level as many times as you wish, though your score will continue to decrease with each failed attempt. Negative scores are permitted.

Analysis: While the folks at Globz call this a mini-game, Twin Spin has all the features of a well-designed, multi-level casual Web game, sans sound. In fact, the omission of any sound effects at all is the only significant shortcoming. The graphics are simple yet effective with a nice attention to detail seen in the animations and particle effects. Add to this a creative new gameplay mechanic—similar to Swinger but distinctly different in execution—and what you have is a fresh little game that is enjoyable to play. The only thing "mini" about this game is it's relatively small game window.

The gradual increase in difficulty eases the player into the game nicely, therefore making the game accessible to a wide audience of all ages. Hardcore gamers will also be challenged by later levels in the game that require deft handling of the baton to clear all balloons in time.

Simple, fresh and fun. Casual gameplay at its best. Click.

Thank you, Tonypa, for suggesting this one. =)

If you enjoyed this game, then be sure to play
Twin Spin II and Twin Spin III

Rating: 3.8/5 (172 votes)
Comments (129) | Views (63,476)

Jay99 Rooms99 Rooms is a beautiful Flash point-and-click adventure of the 'escape the room' variety. The object is to make it through all 99 rooms to the end.

The game makes use of gorgeous photography for visuals, and a moody atmospheric soundtrack for effect. Add to that a bit of Flash interactivity and the result is a memorable experience that will entertain you for an hour or two.

The game is not new. It first surfaced on the Web in June of last year. I passed on it back then since there is not much to the gameplay at all. Moving from one room to the next is often just a click away. Some rooms require a bit more interaction, such as clicking or dragging, though none of them are very difficult. There is at least one room that will likely scare you, so consider yourself warned.

The project was created in Germany by Kim Koester, Richard Schumann, Johannes Buenemann, and Stephan Schulz.

Lately, I have received requests from people suggesting that I create an entry for it, and so, due to popular demand, prepare to enter the 99 Rooms.

Play 99 Rooms

(12 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (32) | Views (14,106)
Web SudokuSudoku is a popular puzzle game in Japan that has been spreading throughout the rest of the world lately. Similar in form to a crossword puzzle, the game is played using numbers only. There is no math involved, just the correct placement of the digits, one (1) through nine (9), into every row, every column, and every 3x3 square. When finished, each row, column, and 3x3 square must contain all nine digits.

Games with such simple rules of play are often the most captivating, and therein lies the appeal of Sudoku.

Web SudokuThe game is simple to play, and once you get started, solving Sudoku puzzles can become quite addictive. So, to help provide your daily Sudoku fix, Gideon Greenspan and Rachel Lee have created Web Sudoku, a website that is capable of generating billions of puzzles. So many, in fact, that you won't soon run out. Click.

Comments (29) | Views (1,707)

Just to keep you all posted as the site hasnt been updated (apart from comments) for a good few days now. Jay is feeling under the weather and the computer screen is only making it worse (plus the time he can spend staring at a screen should be used for work), so most things will be on hold, unless I can find a game to post (unlikely).

Comments (13) | Views (4,545)

More excellent Flash from GotUsed and SUNY Buffalo, this self-proclaimed old-school racing game is just the ticket to prepare for hitting the road and getting an early start on the weekend.

Thump! is a super van course racer with over 10 courses to unlock in races against the clock. Simply enter your name, choose the first course, and then select the difficulty level, easy or hard, to begin. The level of difficulty chosen determines the number of pylons placed around the track. Hitting a pylon during a race adds two (2) seconds onto your final time.

Use the arrow keys for control: [up] accelerates, [down] brakes and reverses, [right] and [left] turn respectively. Press the space bar to blow the horn.

If you can beat the set course time for the difficulty level chosen, the next course will unlock and you can move on. The best times for each course are saved and displayed prior to starting each race.

Analysis: The inclusion of unlockable tracks provides this single-player game with a requisite goal-reward system, and keeps the content feeling fresh right through to the end. Unfortunately, this bonus is mitigated by the fact there is no saved progress, with a simple browser refresh wiping out any unlocked courses.

The game is polished as Poom! with appealing graphics and sound effects, though the musical soundtrack quickly became annoying in a very old-school way. Control is tight and responsive for a browser-based game, and even with the lack of saved progress, this little racer packs a punch and is a lot of fun to play.

Sorry, this game is not available to play anymore.

  • Currently 4.4/5
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Rating: 4.4/5 (42 votes)
Comments (19) | Views (4,847)
Poom!From GotUsed and the New York State University College at Buffalo comes this entry in the Flash casual games category. Poom! is an action arcade game in which the objective is to bounce a ball, for as long as possible, on a randomly generated platform while racking up points in the process.

The tricky part is the platform, as it is randomly generated each time the ball bounces on it. It may even be composed of many missing tiles that the ball will fall through. If the ball falls through or misses the platform completely, the game is over.

Control is entirely with the mouse. Click to start the game, doing so will release the ball from above. Next, move the mouse to position the platform beneath the falling ball. A small shadow will appear upon the tile where the ball will bounce. Make sure the ball bounces on an acceptable tile to stay in the game.

For every bounce of the ball you are awarded 50 points, and there are several different types of tiles to keep the game interesting. Solid tiles will simply cause the ball to bounce. However, as with any ball bouncing against gravity, the ball of Poom! bounces a bit lower with each bounce thus reducing the time you have to position the platform. Bullseye targets will give the ball a small boost. Radiation signs will give the ball a rocket-powered boost. Yellow coins earn a bonus of 250 points—in addition to the 50 points for a bounce—but provide no boost. Treasure chests earn a bonus of 1500 points.

Besides missing tiles, it is best to avoid the black and yellow striped tiles, as the ball does not bounce well on those. Also, be warned of the shiny blue glass tiles. The ball will break those and fall through.

Analysis: The graphical style of Poom! and its pseudo-3D presentation pulled me right into the game. I felt an immediate sense of immersion from the excellent physics implementation of the bouncing ball. There was a bit of a learning curve for positioning the platform just right, but once I learned to keep my eye on the ball's shadow, my scores began to climb.

The gameplay offers just about the right mix between chance and skill, thus creating a compelling experience, though not necessarily a rich one. The power-ups offered are few and sparse, and therefore I feel that the game could be filled out a bit with even more interesting features. Still, it's a fun little game in its present form.

Play Poom

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