RPGs get a bad rap sometimes, what with their tendency to demand you stop the plot and spend at least three hours grinding to make your party stronger before you can so much as tickle the next boss. Chris and Daniel Johnson have done their best to not only streamline this, but also make it appealing, by turning powering up your party into a puzzle in their turn-based retro-styled game The Cave of Ātman. Your party of heroes has descended into the titular cave, where every floor is filled with monsters... but you can't just mindlessly start hacking away. As the tutorial will show you, each level is a puzzle. Click a hero to select them, then again anywhere that highlights blue to move them there. Once they've moved, red squares will show your attack range, or you can click them again to cancel your move. The catch is that your attacking hero has to be of equal or greater level (displayed with a number on the sprite) of the enemy they're trying to wallop. When you destroy an enemy, its aura will drop and slide a space (vanishing if it hits an obstacle or lands in a hole!), and any character that picks it up by moving over it goes up a level. Oh, and did I mention each character can only move and attack once per stage? As a result, every move you make and monster you slay needs to be carefully plotted out.
June 2014 Archives
If there's a better way to brighten your day than a TomaTea escape game, I don't know what it is. Some people might tell you the sound of a child's laughter would do the same thing, but personally I'd rather have the unexpected joy of finding an extra Jolly Rancher in my jacket pocket. Speaking of ankle-biters, Smile Escape takes place in a playroom, and let's face it... there's only so much time you can spend stacking rubber rings and driving a toy car around while making brrrrrrrmmmm noises, so it's time to find a way out. Just click to interact with things, using the glow at the tip of the cursor as a guide to find things you can use or take a closer look at, and hover over inventory items to get a closer look at them by clicking the little "i" that appears. Like most TomaTea games, solving puzzles means finding clues to their solutions, so if the message "I have no clue how to solve this!" appears when you're examining something, you know you haven't yet spotted something crucial. I mean, you couldn't just experiment or try to figure it out on your own, after all... this is a game, and games are serious business!
Artist accuses Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake developer of plagiarism - In the ever-evolving saga of inspiration versus outright theft, an artist known as Sounas has posted comparison shots of SleepNinja's Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake with screens of his work from Karios Games' MonsterUp Adventures. The image points to similarities between the games' overworld maps, trees and hills with almost identical shading and patterns, and monster characters with similar designs. Looking down the list, some of the accusations seem like a bit of a stretch, especially the rivers flowing out of the skull. Maybe the Birthday Cake artist was a little too heavily inspired by MonsterUp, but we're not inclined to think it was stolen. There are only so many ways you can draw a tiny cartoon river delta, after all. What do you think?
Flappy Bird creator's new game - Did you think the Flappy Bird saga was over? Well, it kinda is, but creator Dong Nguyen is still actively working on a new game. The untitled project will share Flappy Bird's focus on simple obstacle avoidance, only this time there's going to be a multiplayer component. In case you're wondering about the original Flappy Bird, Nguyen is still planning on bringing the game back to iOS and Android in August with a few changes, including new characters, a revamped art style that isn't pixel art, multiplayer, and a cool-down system that forces you to wait a few minutes after every round.
Square Enix RPG The World Ends with You finally hits Android - Originally released for Nintendo DS back in 2007, the Kingdom Hearts-inspired action RPG The World Ends with You is finally available on both iOS and Android devices. Set in the Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo, the game focuses on crowded scenes and combat that's both frantic and surprisingly intricate. The urban-only setting is unique for a JRPG, although it does feel a little odd not to run through a grassy field while hunting things like slimes to kill. Call us old fashioned.
A creepy little girl. A creepier cornfield with something chasing you. Watchful, monstrous scarecrows that really look like something Sam and Dean and Buffy should be handling. A cheerful cartoon mascot warping into something nightmarish outside a rundown hotel before your eyes. Yessiree, looks like what we got us here is nightmare fuel... literally, since in Lesta's hidden-object adventure horror game Fright, the game begins as you wake up from a menacing dream... just in time for the bus you were riding to crash after being attacked by a literal murder of crows. Because you have never seen a horror movie before, you decide to seek help for yourself and the bus driver at the hotel on the hill. The hotel on the hill with the weird girl on the roof. The hotel on the hill with mail that hasn't been collected in ten years and wire binding the gates shut. The hotel on the hill with the locked basement in the gas station, and the magnetic letters on the fridge that rearrange themselves before your eyes. Look, I'm not sure where you were going when that bus crashed, but clearly it wasn't to accept your Good Decisions Award is all I'm saying. Turns out you're not alone, however, and in short order other unlucky souls begin winding up at the hotel as well, to the consternation of the miserly owner who doesn't want anything to do with any of you. Gosh, I sure none of you are drawn into a dark secret based on something unspeakable in the past that picks you off one by one! Beware He Who Walks Behind The Rows...
Set phasers to hnnnnnnngh, because Fuwayura's escape game Flower Bloom Escape 2 is so sweet it might just make you keel over. In this adorable sorta-sequel to Flower Bloom Escape, Hana and Mai are doing homework at Hana's house, but when they're done and ready to go outside, they discover Hana's mom, who is a bit of an escape game fanatic, has hidden the key. Hana just wants to wait for her mom to come home and let them out, but Mai is, um, a little more gung-ho about it, so before these two girls can go out to the park, you'll have to help them. Click "English" in the lower-left corner at any time to make the text display in, well, English, and just click around to interact when the cursor changes. The arrows at the sides of the screen will let you move around the tiny apartment. Click an item in your inventory to highlight it for use, or click "about item" to view it up close, which will usually give you a little hint. Some items will need to be viewed close up in order to combine them with others, so try everything!
High on top of a tall tower is an Archmage, waiting endlessly for a worthy opposite to climb the tower and prove his worth. Hopefully, he has an internet connection because he is going to be waiting for a long, long time. Boy that climb is tough and all those stairs are a killer on the knees. Stairs aside, Tower of the Archmage is a pretty difficult, complicated, but very addicting action roguelike game. With twenty-five random generating levels, spells you customize and four different class types it's going to be hard to get bored with this one. Facing foes like, chinchillas, the powerful Steve, and the dreaded alpacas make it a challenge every step of the way. Death is a fact of life in the tower, but you are given the option to keep a rune (what you use to build your spells) and pass it on to your successors who will soon begin his own climb to face off with the Archmage.
krangGAMES' clever puzzle series is back for more! After love got a little bitey in I Saw Her Standing There and the seemingly doomed romance of I Saw Her Too, With Lasers, infatuation goes global in I Saw Her Across the World. You, well... sorry to break it to you, but you're a zombie... but maybe it's not so bad since the one you love is a zombie too. Using [WASD] and the [arrow] keys to move and jump, you're going on an adventure with your rotting beloved, trying to catch up to them as you chase them through each level. If you get stuck, you can hold down [H] to display a hint for your current stage. Unlike its predecessor, Across the World is a platformer, but also an adventure of sorts too, as you journey to different locations and the narrative unfolds. What's nice is at the start of the game, you're given the opportunity to customize how your character displays (which comes down to a choice of colour), but more importantly for some, the pronouns used to describe you and the person you love... there are typical male and female options, but there's also the ability to manually type in what you prefer if you want something other than the third "they/their/theirs" choice. It may seem minor to some of you, but to others, that's a huge deal and a welcome bit of inclusion not often seen in games. krangGAMES? Four for you, krangGAMES! You go krangGAMES!
There ain't no rest for the dead, but don't think Detective Margh minds. Not when there are cases to solve. This interactive visual comic by LuDigiTales, Zombie Society #1, will have you scratching at your exposed skull to help solve its mystery. Follow detective Margh around with his sidekick, Ghvnn while they investigate a mystery that goes deeper than it first appears. Make choices for Margh as the story advances and enjoy the humorous, occasionally campy, and yet curious start of an intriguing tale. And while the choices you make in part #1 don't seem to alter the story much, LuDigiTales has ensured that these seemingly minor options will impact the plot in a much larger way later on down the road.
Look, if you're a citizen in the fairy tale kingdom, we all know there's a lot to be afraid of out there: wolves who don your granny's bonnet and try to devour you, vain snow queens who trap children and turn their hearts to ice, ten ton giants atop beanstalks who hurl planetary chunks at your village. But the worst of all? Flowers. You heard me right. Because what do flowers have that is more heinously torturous than all evils combined? Pollen, buddy. Pollen. Your nose is spasming at the mere thought of it. Now, as the Fairy Tale Detective, your mission investigating the hows and whys of deadly pollen attacks leads you to something darker, tangled even, a little more "feed me, Seymour" in the tale of a girl with really really long hair—Dark Parables: Ballad of Rapunzel. Conveniently, despite a whole cast of characters all trying to save their own hides and those of their loved ones, it's up to you to explore this deceptively gorgeous world, collecting and piecing together artifacts to open chests and doors, until you get to the bottom of the mystery in this hidden object adventure from the artistic creativity of Blue Tea Games.
Project Alnilam. Alnilam. Al-nil-am. Say that five times fast. Thankfully, Smartcode's simple puzzle game (also available for iOS and Android) is easier to explain than it is to pronounce. It's a game of green things, red things, and gray things. It's a game of spheres, cubes, and cylinders. It's a game where you must get all of the green shapes in the level to the goal of the same color, avoid dangerous red things, and do so in a limited number of moves. Use the arrow keys or a swipe of the mouse to move all the pieces on the board in the direction you you choose. The real trickery comes from the fact that each shape of piece moves in a different way: Balls roll along in one direction until they hit something, cubes move one space at a time, and cylinders do both, depending on whether you're moving them end-over-end or on their sides. All of this seems like a pretty good setup for a Unity-based puzzler, right? Until you realize, much like a rebel staring down the Death Star for the first time, that's no Unity. That's Flash, and if you think the care and attention given to the graphics is impressive, just wait til you get to the rest of it, baby!
Seems we've been on a cute kick recently, but who can blame us when games like Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake, by Sleep Ninja Games, come on the scene? This gorgeous game is part logic path puzzle, part adventure game, with our favorite elements of dungeon-crawling (the loot! the costumes!). You play as Nico, the most adorable little monster-hooded boy you've ever seen, whose weenie dog has discovered the theft of your birthday cake before running off in pursuit of the cake thieves. And as a good puppy owner, you must chase after him, which will obviously get you into all kinds of trouble. Fortunately, you live in a town where (most of) the citizens support your adventures, have oodles of treasure just lying around in their homes, and all have something witty to say to send you on your way. So you follow the trail of cakecrumbs, and your barking pooch, out into the wild to try to recover the cake. It's your birthday, after all.
Get Set Games' iOS title Storm Casters is essentially a very casual roguelike action RPG mixed with am arcade-style shooter. You play either a young man or woman who sets off to rescue their fellow villagers from the monsters that pillaged your town and winds up getting a set of really sweet magical abilities to enact your revenge. Helpful, since the monsters have holed up in a massive dungeon. Oh, and the dungeon's floors change every time you enter them. Oh, and each set of floors has to be unlocked by defeating multiple bosses. Oh, and the portal to each floor only stays open for a set amount of time, and if it runs out, you're teleported back to the level hub whether you've cleared the floor or not. But hey, at least you can find and unlock some really sweet upgrades and special powers... oh, but they're randomized every time you die, too. You know, I don't remember Dresden ever putting up with this.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad Air. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.
Sometimes you wake up and you just feel like blowing something up. But, like... in a cute way. On those days, Megadev's aggressively adorable and addictive match-3 puzzle games Bomboozle and Bomboozle 2 are there for you like old friends, and now there's Bomboozle 3, also available for Android and iOS. The game has a few different play modes, but the basic mechanics remain the same. Click groups of three or more coloured blobs to remove them from the board, and remove a certain number before the board becomes unusable to move on to the next stage. Rainbow blobs are wildcards and can become part of any colour chain, while skulls, which appear any time you match a mere three blobs, can only be cleared by double-clicking a nearby bomb to blast them (and any surrounding blobs!) away. To make sure you get more bombs, make matches of five or more... you'll need them to blast open chests to increase your score. In the top-left corner is a gauge that fills up as you make matches, and when it's full, you can click the icon when it cycles to the colour you want to clear the board of all matching blobs.
You know what they say. The family that's imprisoned together, must solve platforming puzzles to escape together. That was my grandma's favourite needlepoint pillow, and it's the plot behind Meowbeast's Money Movers, where you must control two brothers at the same time to help them reach the exit in levels full of lasers, switches, moving platforms, guards, and more. We'll call them Biggun and Littlun for writing coherency's sake. Biggun is, well, big. He controls with the [arrow] keys, and while he can't move fast, which means he'll trip laser alarms, or jump high, he can pick up and toss objects with the [spacebar], push heavy things, and so forth. Littlun, being smaller and faster, can jump higher, squeeze through gaps, and race through laser alarms without tripping them. Both brothers can provide a platform to help the other reach a higher place in a pinch. They both need to reach the level's exit in order to win, and while the three money bags scattered around each stage are optional, you'll need all sixty of them to open the game's bonus level!
The Princess Kitty has been captured by evil forces...er, foxes...and the Kitty King has sent you, his strike force, out on a rescue mission. Strike Force Kitty is on the job! This adorable new action arcade game by Deqaf Studio (makers of Dangerous Adventure) takes the familiar mechanic and turns it into a completely unexpected (and seriously amusing) geek fest. As you travel, you'll meet a cast of strangely recognizable characters, from V to Freddy to a certain tomb raider. And that doesn't even scratch the surface of wacky references. As your fox nemeses are banished, you pick up their costumes and weapons, outfitting yourself as all sorts of funny folks with special buffs ranging from critical hits to healing, and which can improve your health, attack, or stamina. So choosing your equipment and placing your stat points, granted from leveling up, is the key to success. Fortunately, the payoff in this game isn't just the rescue of the princess, but the game itself which is just plain fun to play. Leveling up is dependent upon gathering fish which count as points in the game, and winning an entire outfit from a fox requires multiple battles. But as you move through the new maps that open up after every boss is defeated, you'll be able to make more decisions regarding your gameplay.
Monkeys really are just like us. They like to spend time with friends and family, hurl their own poop to unwind, and every once in a while, they just gotta have something sweet. In Monkey GO Happy Candy, the latest installment in Pencil Kids' Monkey GO Happy series of point-and-click puzzle games, there are eighty gummy bears hidden throughout a sticky, gooey, syrupy sweet candy world that would make Homer Simpson frolic with delight. They're big and red, and while some are sitting around in plain sight for you to click on, others could be in trees, under bushes, or in even odder places. To find them all, you need to explore and solve puzzles in addition to shaking down everything in the environment to see if it might be hiding a chewy treat. Once you've clicked an item to pick it up, you can just drag it from your inventory to wherever you'd like to try to use it onscreen.
Welcome back to another thrilling episode of Weekday Escape! On last week's show, our hero escaped from wild mangoes only to be stranded with a magic book and recalcitrant new employees. Meanwhile, a hunt for the perfect bikini befuddled a few fans while others blissfully sung odes to vegetation. What could be lurking beyond that next locked door? Will our hero solve the devious three color stars code, rescue all the green men, recover the lost candy and escape? Stay tuned to find out...
Oh good, we were just wondering what we were going to do with every spare moment for the rest of the summer. The original Tiny Tower first started mopping up our free time in mid-2011. Since then, Nimblebit has branched out into a few other simulation genres, including Pocket Trains, Pocket Planes, and the RPG-like Nimble Quest. With the announcement of Tiny Tower Vegas, it looks like things are going to go back to the old formula. With casino-style slots and card games, of course!
Tiny Tower Vegas has been teased a little over the past few weeks on Twitter, but the recent announcement makes it official. Unlike Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, this one's being developed entirely by NimbleBit, so we're hoping it stays a little closer to the original game's format. The Star Wars themed game was a bit... disappointing. It was great seeing all those Star Wars characters and set pieces pixelized into a tiny mobile world, but there were some performance issues and the in-app purchasing system felt like it was unfairly rigged.
Tiny Tower Vegas is coming soon to the iOS or Android device currently sitting in your pocket or on your desk just to the left of your keyboard.
Last month, the amusement park NAGOYALAND opened its doors in Japan, taking its name from the Nagoya cultures it reproduces. Whether or not the evil warlocks that dwell in a secret base in the park are part of that recreation is unclear. As Fairie Princess Satomi— because we all know that Japanese fairy princesses double as secret agents— it's your mission to sneak in, locate their secret base, and then, well, Escape from NAGOYALAND. (Ah, the obligatory title drop... ahem... where was I?) Perhaps this retro point-and-click puzzle adventure by Arata Takeya has a slightly absurd premise, but that's probably to be expected from a Japanese developer.
Teamwork. Cooperation. Partnership. Whatever buzzword for working together you prefer, you're going to need it in Droid Team, a unique puzzle platform game by Mike Romero. The goal is to direct the cute cubic droids to collect the glowing orb on each level. Use the [arrow] keys, or [WASD] to move your robot, and the mouse to select which robot to control. If you'd like, you can control the whole game with the keyboard by holding down the [spacebar] and using the arrow keys to select a robot. Hit [R] to restart a level, and [M] to mute the music. Step on a switch to activate the gate of the same color, and bust out your brain power. You're going to need it.
If you're the protagonist in a Psionic Games title, things are probably not going very well for you, and your savings are going to wind up entirely devoted to some serious therapy. After all, in Killer Escape, you were kidnapped by a mad serial killer, and you escaped him only to run into a demented murderer known as "The Tooth Fairy" in Killer Escape 2: The Surgery. Now, in the point-and-click escape game Killer Escape 3, you're still trying to find a way out after the gruesome ending to the last game, but things are going to get weirder (and grosser) before they get better. Click to navigate and interact with things, using the icons and text that pop up as you mouse over things as a guide to figure out what might be useful. Most puzzles you'll encounter won't have instructions, but they will usually have clues to their solutions hidden around the area, so keep an eye out for any strange markings or anything else that might be useful. Click the arrow icon in the top center of the screen to open your inventory where you can examine notes you've gathered, and click on an item you're carrying to try to use it somewhere on the screen. If you like high scores, be on the lookout for optional items to collect and cameras to smash, and try to find a way out as fast as possible! Not everything you can examine is immediately obvious to the naked eye...
"Oh no," you groan, staring unbelieving at your computer screen. Your favourite city building game has contracted some sort of strange glitch, preventing you from seeing the list of buildings and features you can choose from. The large plots of land before you remain empty, just waiting for paved roads and condo developments. What is there to do? You'll need to rack your brain and remember all of the buildings yourself, of course. This is the unique challenge you are faced with in Lexicopolis: A-B-City, a strategy and city simulation game like no other. Originally made for the 2013 Experimental Gameplay CONSTRUCT competition, Lexicopolis has remained well loved with consistent updates from developer vampirewalrus. The game is controlled with the [arrow] keys, as well as [Q], [W], [E] ...well, the entire keyboard. You see, you won't be using traditional money to fund this building project; your currency instead is the alphabet. Faced with a vast green field of letters, you are able to collect the letters which you've placed buildings upon and type out the features you want to build, from "apartment" to "zoo," in the style of Scribblenauts. Put on your thinking cap, because this open-ended word game has an impressive 300+ words and phrases in its lexicon.
Pink Hour now on iOS (for free!) - Just in case you haven't blasted enough construction moles in Kero Blaster, Studio Pixel has released the game's "prequel" teaser Pink Hour to iOS for free! It's a simple platformer with a hard focus on shooting enemies and landing pixel-perfect jumps, but it's definitely worth downloading. The virtual touch buttons are surprisingly good for a game that places action-heavy demands on the control system. Not perfect, but, you know, workable!
A licensed game that isn't terrible?! Way to go Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville! The free-flying platform exploration game from Radiangames brings Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup back to save the citizens of Townsville from the evil Mojo Jojo. There's just one tiny little hitch: they can't remember how to use their powers. It's so bad, they don't even know how to punch or fly! Crummy situation for them, but a perfect set-up for a power-up collecting ability-unlocking robot-smashing metroidvania game!
If you're addicted to cutesy tower defense games like Kingdom Rush and Demons vs Fairyland, Leyougames' Calabash Bros will be right up your alley. You control an army of tiny, adorable warriors defending their land from monsters who are invading because... well, as Zefrank would probably tell you, that is how monsters do. In each level, your goal is to keep the enemy forces from reaching the end of the path, since every time they do, you lose hit points. To stop them, you click on the platforms alongside the pathway and place towers with the gold you earn from defeating your foes. Each tower is different, such as the Barracks that spawns soldiers who will attack anything that comes near, and the Magic Tower that can quickly zap enemies from a distance, and each tower can be upgraded during a level for even more power and abilities as well. If you want to help out manually, you can even cast spells on enemy units, such as fireballs and lightning. When you win a level, choose "back" rather than "continue" and visit the upgrades screen from the level map to spend your golden gourds on permanently enhancing your defenses. Looking for a challenge? In addition to your standard difficulty modes, Calabash Bros also allows you to play levels on "random" after winning them once, which chooses and places towers for you... completely at random!
Squid Skid tells a tale of two brothers just like any other: Sometimes they're the best of friends, sometimes they drive each other up the wall, and, naturally, the younger of the pair believes himself to be a squid when he is very much an octopus. What, don't all little brothers do that? But a bunch of squid-napping sailors have scooped up the smaller, slightly silly cephalopodian sibling and trapped him on their fishing ship. Good thing he's got his big (very big) brother in his corner! You'll have to release the Kraken! to, well, release the Kraken in this sliding block-flavored puzzle game from Wingon Studios. Rock the boat with the might of Big Bro's enormous tentacles, powered by the [arrow] keys, and slide Little Bro's cage to the key. True to the game's name, he'll keep on skidding until he hits something. And if you want that key, he's got to land dead on that sucker! Heh. Sucker. Get it? It's an octopus joke. Squid Skid has a lavish and eye-catching attention to detail, from the way the whole playing field tilts when you take action, right down to the adorable squid-shaped cursor. It's a pretty coat of paint, but thankfully, it's more than just camoflage for an everyday Sokoban game.
Heartwood is a short audio-visual adventure created by Kerry Turner and Dan Bibby. It was inspired by folk tales, horror movies, theme park rides, and those dreams you have where nothing makes sense but everything "makes sense". There aren't really any puzzles to solve or quests to complete, just a small world of strange events to stroll through and experience.
Chickadee Games' sim game Notorious Inc., also available on iOS and Android, is only for the unscrupulous, the ne'er-do-wells, and the just plain rotten... or at least anyone who doesn't mind pretending to be those things. With its tongue firmly planted in cheek, the game sets you up as the director of a very shady multinational corporation that makes its money by buying low and selling high on the black market. Turns out being an evil jerk takes a lot of leg work, so you'll travel the world from one location to another, buying whatever goods they have on the cheap in the hopes of being able to turn a tidy profit elsewhere. At each location, you can click an item to see what its average price around the world is... if the price the location will sell that item to you for is significantly lower than average, snatch it up and head off elsewhere to try to find some other dumb schmuck to take it off your hands at a higher price. It's not all smooth sailing, however... as you travel, you have the chance to encounter special events, and you'll have multiple options to handle them with different success chances for each. Back at your evil island of evil no-goodness, you can spend cash on helpful upgrades, everything from radio towers to listen for business opportunities, to training facilities to help place your eyes and ears everywhere... but only if your Notoriety is high enough.
Ramble Planet is one of those quirky under-the-radar games you only get the privilege of stumbling across every couple of years. It plays like a scavenger hunt mixed with some RPG elements, though if you've been kicking around Earth planet for a few decades, you'll remember that most RPGs used to have that scavenger hunt feel to them. Ramble Planet simply takes that feature, intensifies it and peels off all the excess, sprinkling in some beguiling text snippets to spark your imagination.
Look, I'll tell you right now, whenever I die, in whatever fashion (hummus overdose?) I want whichever one of you who finds my body to leave evidence in such a way as to suggest I might have been struck down by a malevolent supernatural entity. It's just more fun that way. In Eipix's hidden-object adventure Sea of Lies: Nemesis, you've been called in to examine a death that the authorities have ruled "natural causes", but the victim's friend believes that the paranoia the deceased exhibited before he died might point to a more sinister truth. The adventure that unfolds is what we in the professional business affectionately call cray-cray, as you deal with poisoned parakeets, murder suspects who are missing fingers, dirty double-and-triple crosses, and hysterical ladies who are oddly keen to tell their life histories and hand over valuable artifacts to strangers who show up on their property without introducing themselves. A sort of supernatural whodunnit that fans of classic murder mystery camp like Murder She Wrote will enjoy, Sea of Lies: Nemesis combines solid point-and-click gameplay with flamboyant and vibrant production for an unexpectedly enjoyable game that's a welcome respite from the darker and more serious titles.
If you're at all familiar with Greek mythology, you know that the pantheon was comprised of a lot of jerks who generally enjoyed messing with mortals in various bewildering ways as a form of entertainment, but Prometheus was generally thought to be on our side. One of his biggest achievements was literally stealing fire for humans from Zeus, the preeminent randy old deity, and for his trouble Prometheus wound up chained to a mountain where an eagle was to feast on his regenerating body for all eternity. Vivid Games offers a somewhat different take on this legend in their iOS action adventure Godfire, which sees Prometheus as less of a trickster and more of a dual-blade-wielding body chopper who sets out to steal the all-powerful Godfire Spark from
Optimus Prime the rest of the Greek Gods, but winds up accidentally losing it in a series of dangerous catacombs after a furious battle. Now, as Prometheus, you'll have to stab, puzzle, stab, upgrade, and stab your way through legions of enemies and increasingly bigger and badder bosses to get the Spark back... but he's not the only one who's after it. With simple, fast-paced hack-and-slash action and beautiful professional production values, Godfire is a solid and straight-forward title fans of pick-up-and-play brawling action will enjoy.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad Air. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.
Hoang Tuan Minh's AI-Conflict looks like your typical science-fiction themed tower defense game, but as with people and calzones, it's what on the inside that counts. Using cash earned from blasting enemy ships to smithereens, you place your defenses along the sides of the path that your foe will follow, and as the game progresses you'll unlock everything from heavy-hitting cannons to flame throwers. Each tower uses ammunition in varying amounts, which replenishes automatically and is represented by the yellow bar, and if there isn't enough to go around some towers won't be able to attack, but by placing ammunition plants to help the regeneration, you can ensure your full defenses are always firing. What's neat in addition to being the key to victory, however, is that each and every one of these turrets can be programmed through simple drop down menus to use very specific behaviour, Dragon Age: Origins party member tactics-style. Only without elven Antonio Banderas and Nigel from Crossing Jordan, though if someone ever manages to patch that in, you need to let me know right away.
So you've arrived at your destination, your hut set out over the island shallows, set to indulge in a magical holiday. You're already here in a Pacific wonderland, there's no where else you need to go. Except swimming that is. And therein lies the problem—your sexy new bikini is locked in your suitcase, but where is the key? In Libertechno's Aries Escape: Episode No.12, it's not enough to just escape-the-room, you need the proper attire to do it, accessories included! So follow the navigational arrows to search your surroundings, high and low, inside and out, solving puzzles to unlock safes and cabinets, until you can don your swimwear and fully enjoy this awesome Bora Bora vacation.
What do medieval bards, pink bunnies, dancing bears, and purple witches have in common? Well, it's not a colorful marshmallow cereal, just in case you were wondering. It's a funny, gorgeously drawn cartoon logic puzzle game from Emedion Games. From fuzzy creatures to the inevitable (yet oddly cute) zombies and vampires, Bardadum: The Kingdom Roads provides hours of logic puzzling joy. Because there is no way to feel anything but joy when your bard reaches his lyre and starts to head bang, or your skull finds his bones and starts dancing in his skeleton. You set out on your quest to reach your item of choice and as is the case with most logic path puzzles, you can't cross paths with anyone else in the game. Except when you can.
Flipline Studios serves up another installment of their addictive Papa's Series of simulation games with something sweet in Papa's Donuteria. You took the job for the sweet employee benefits at the theme park the shop is built inside, but when the rides break down, you're still stuck behind the fryer slinging dough and frosting to some truly exacting customer specifications. Having worked and managed a bakery myself for several years, I can confirm that there is no quicker way to get on the good side of someone who has been up since 2:00AM than to throw a fit because your strawberry frosting is off-center. As customers walk in the door, it's up to you and you alone to take their order, craft it down to the sprinkles, and serve it up before they get too impatient. Each order usually consists of multiple donuts, and each one has its own ingredients and decorations. You'll pick the type of dough and which cut-out to use at the dough station, fry and flip each one to golden-brown perfection at the frying station, and at the build station, you'll need to use the proper glaze, icing, and other sugary accoutrements before delivering your order to the proper customer. Your score, and thus your tip, depends on your speed and accuracy overall, and since you can spend that money on helpful shop upgrades, you'll want to develop a deft donut drizzle hand in a hurry.
"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, which is actually a pretty sweet deal, tell you what." Nietzsche said that, friends, and I don't think there's any doubt he was talking about Xform's insane action game Man or Monster, which, as the title implies, allows you to play either gun-and-jetpack toting fleshy (blocky!) human, or giant, snarling, crushing (equally blocky!) monster. Depending on what you choose, you're either trying to save or destroy a variety of cities around the world. If you're playing as human, you move with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, aim and shoot with the mouse, and right-click to activate your jetpack and fly around. Humans can also build defenses that will automatically fire on the monster when it's nearby, but these have to be purchased between levels with the money you earn for both them and upgrades to your equipment. The monster's health will be on the right, your health is represented by the hearts in the lower right corner, while the city's health bar is on the left, and it's your job to destroy the monster before it destroys the city. If you successfully fell the behemoth, you'll be rewarded with more sweet cash. But what if you want to get in touch with your animal side, you ask?
Vines meandering without concern along the stucco walls, moss graciously carpeting the ground, a lyrical enchantment guiding the way as scattered clues unfold. The last time we saw this peaceful plot of paradise, it was in The Seeds of Eden. Since then, more surreal magic has infused this fantasy world and new puzzles have sprouted up. Perhaps it would be a welcome escape to merely hide away from the world in this protected little garden, but it's just as relaxing to engage with the artifacts and solve a little riddle as long as you're here. At first, Robamimi's The Song of Flowers might seem pretty typical, with nothing you haven't actually seen or done in one form or another before, then something really cool happens...
Elemental sandbox games were once a staple of the browser gaming scene. You remember Hell of Sand, right? And Powder Game, Sand Sand Sand, Liquid Webtoy? The genre resurfaced once mobile gaming became a thing, but the quality has always been middling at best. Then along came Doodle God to remind us how fun it is to play with elements. Why not combine the two? HF Games is looking to do just that with its latest Android release that takes the best parts from each game and fuses them together to make ReactionLab!
It's vacation time for some folks...either to escape from winter or to indulge in summer in all its regale. As far as I'm concerned, there is no better place to holiday than someplace sunny, sandy and tropical. I bet FunkyLand and Esklavos are thinking the same thing with some ideas of mangoes and magical books thrown in. Meanwhile, No1Game's escape-men refuse to go to work; you could let them enjoy the time off, but then what sort of manager would you be? Read on for more about this week's Weekday Escape selections...
The Princess has been kidnapped! Fight the demons to win her back! Unless, you'd rather be undead... in which case, fight to keep the humans at bay and escape with their Princess! It's your choice in Battle of Heroes, an action strategy game by Gotta Game with a zany two-sided story. Gather gold to buy your army and send them down the screen to crush the enemy's camp. Unlock heroes to gain benefits for specific units and use their heroic spells to give you that extra 'umph' you need to win the round. While you have useful spells, so does the enemy, and they put them to good use too! You'll soon find the AIs are a clever bunch, even outside the witty and humorous banter in the cut scenes. Each campaign has fifteen levels to play through to see what happens and while both start with the same tale it quickly changes depending on whose side you're playing for.
"Hello. It's me, Pedro. Your friend." Oh good, at least the talking, floating banana is friendly. What's that Pedro? You want me to kill gangsters? With guns? Not a problem, little buddy! It just so happens the protagonist of My Friend Pedro, DeadToast's new acrobatic shooter, has medication that slows his perception of time, granting him acrobatic jumping and shooting powers straight out of a Matrix film. It's your job to clean the streets at the behest of your new found, potassium rich companion. Be warned. My Friend Pedro is not a game for the sane or squeamish. Use the [WASD] buttons to guide our under-medicated and over-armed protagonist through seven levels of urban decay, spraying foes indiscriminately with a variety of weapons. You can leap, roll, and hop off walls, using your time-slowing powers to tactical advantage. Think Hotline Miami as directed by John Woo.
Your settlers have not only arrived, but have started building their first little town. Life is colorful, everyone is happy, and in a few day--um...what is that glowing green hole in the ground? A HELLMOUTH? AAaaauuuuggghhhhh! Welcome to Damn Little Town, a new mobile tile-based card strategy game from Lumarama. Starting with a premise eerily similar to Carcassone, but then completely changing how play proceeds from there, Damn Little Town is set to become one of the most popular iOS card games of the season. Your initial goal is to build your town in as stable a manner as possible, and at first it seems important to coordinate with the other players/computer to finish buildings and complete roads. As with most map-style card games, the cards have to fit together in certain ways... a road can't connect to an outer wall, for instance. As you build, your settlers take up residence in the buildings following a set of rules in which you can't put one of your settlers in a building already occupied by another player's residents unless certain conditions have been met. With every resident you place, you gain points. It soon becomes apparent that the computer players are programmed to work against you as much as possible, and it doesn't take long to adopt an every-man-woman-and-child-for-themselves mentality.
What do you dream of at night? Taking tests in your underwear, or bug-eyed monsters chasing you, perhaps? Nobody likes those nightmares, and waking up in a cold sweat surely isn't your idea of a good time. But what about supercharged bubble cannons, disgruntled jellyfish, or clouds with bipolar disorder? A ruined temple in the sky, complete with fallen marble pillars and ancient architecture? Now these are the makings of a really interesting sounding dream. It's all there in Askiisoft's quirky, short-but-sweet platformer Dream Hopper, made for the 2014 Nitrome Jam in just a few days. You'll use the [arrow] keys to move and [Z] to jump, with the [X] key allowing you to shoot bubbles, but happily the game also offers the alternate control scheme of [WASD] and the [spacebar]. Playing as some sort of drowsy emissary of the body, you are trapped in the dreams of someone named Jayson, who really just comes across as a huge egotistical jerk (a la Blue from the Pokemon games). Your progress forward will be hampered by his subconscious mind, which creates the monsters that inconvenience you so. Luckily, the labyrinth of Jayson's mind also harbors a good few powerups designed to help you fight these enemies.
Bigfoot has been found - Or, he will be, anyway! The Tap Lab is preparing to launch Bigfoot Hunter later this summer, a photo safari game that turns iOS devices into Sasquatch locators. Using the iPhone's camera, Bigfoot Hunter creates a colorful virtual reality world that can place you in a number of different environments, from snowy mountain peaks to muggy jungle basins. Scan the area for rare creatures, then take a picture as quickly as you can. There are some fun features thrown in the mix, too, such as the Bigfoot Photobooth that lets you take selfies with surprise photobombs by the hairy beast himself! Keep an eye out for Bigfoot Hunter later this summer!
Warning: Flashing screens.
Carrill Munning's dark science-fiction platform adventure Perdition is about as mystifying as it is unsettling, and it's pretty darned unsettling. At the start of the game you awaken, a voiceless robotic girl with a mop of purple hair, in a dark and decaying place. As you search for a way out, you find yourself mocked by a voice that seems to know far more about what happened to you than you do, and when you finally reach the outside world, you discover a place perhaps even harsher and more disturbing than the one you left. Use the [arrow] keys to move and [X] to jump, and if you die, you'll be reassembled at checkpoints scattered throughout each level... they look like shattered scientific tubes, so keep an eye out for them. Throughout the game you'll receive instructions from two voices who seem to hate each other, but whether you obey them is up to you. There's always another option, but going your own way might be even harder than whatever fate the voices have in store for you.
Grindy-looty goodness awaits in Finder's Keep, a sleek new dungeon crawler with turn-based RPG elements for iOS from Big Blue Bubble (makers of Muse). Choose your avatar and start your looting adventure through a never-ending tower full of goodies and baddies. An excellent tutorial will walk you through the first few levels, showing you the ropes and explaining how to manage all the booty. You tap your way through mist-covered floors of the tower picking up lots of armor, weapons and materials, as well as meeting gruesome enemies in dark corners. The design of this game shines in the balance between the items you collect and the enemies you meet. A tarnished shield is just a shield until you reinforce it with the dust of unneeded items you've dismantled, or fuse it to a shard you've collected. Now you have a 4-star Aegis of the Dragon that can block just about anything those monsters throw at you. And that's just in the first 15 levels!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPhone. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.
Gunfox! We need your help! MonsterBoss is back and is climbing the skyscraper in his robotic suit for probably, we assume, nefarious purposes and you're the only one that can save us! Your adorableness is the only match to the monstrous cuteness of his minions. So jump, shoot, and slide to climb your way to the top to have your face-off. No barrel rolls needed in Kipper Digital's new action shooter game, Gunfox vs. MonsterBoss. Fabulous upgrades, convenient check points, and charming little foes that come with a new tacit to defeat them, make this a well polished, delightful adventure you're not going to want to miss. Gunfox aims the way he's facing or pressing the up [arrow] makes him aim his gun to the high heavens, letting you take out your targets before they land. Slide with the down [arrow] into enemies on the ground to knock them back up and give you another shot at their soft underbellies. Collect coins to buy upgrades and pick up bombs to use when things get a bit hairy and over all just enjoy being hard core and looking adorable while doing so. Upgrades are handled a bit differently than most games, using five different tree charts. Even though checkpoints happen every five levels, you can spend coins to skip back to where you died, though once you hit a checkpoint you can't go back to replay.
Our base is under siege. The enemy is smashing wave after wave of their superior numbers against our ever-weakening defenses. All that's left is to stand our ground, put a bullet in as many as we can, and hope we can last long enough for help to arrive. This is Storm Ops 4, a military first-person defense shooter by 3KG Games, developers of the popular Dead Zed 2. The first couple of levels offer a steep learning curve, but shooter fans in the mood for a more realistic edge will find it worth sticking to. The gameplay has you stationed on a hill, overlooking the path leading into your army's camp. From the left will come soldiers of various kinds, besieging the base to the right, hoping to reduce its defenses from 100% to 0%. Use the mouse to aim and fire, hitting [R] to reload, [Q] to swap weapons, the [spacebar] to change your choice of scope and so forth. Each successful kill and headshot grants you money to purchase upgrades, new weapons, support and repairs for your base.
The plot of Tasty Blue, the new arcade "eat-em-up" from Dingo Games and latest installment of their Tasty Planet series has the feel of a children's story to it: Once upon a time, there was a little fishy who wanted to escape his bowl. So he ate as much food flakes as he could, and grew big enough to escape down the drain. Once in the big sea, he grew bigger and bigger as he ate krill, other fishies, manatees, orcas, krakens and, eventually, helicopters, lighthouses and coastal townships. A dolphin at a local aquarium, tired of endlessly pushing balls through hoops, saw this now-big-fishy, and emulated him by eating everything in site. The World Military, pushed to the brink by these dual threats, commissioned the creation of a Grey Goo Shark to combat the menace, unaware of said Shark's desire to consume the entire world if he could... Okay, so it's probably not going to become an Aesop Fable any time soon, but this engaging combination of Fishy and that Katamari Damacy Mini Game is definitely good for an afternoon munch.
News bit number one: VVVVVV is on iOS and Android! News bit number two: Super Gravitron is also on mobile! Special bonus third news bit: Super Gravitron is free! Terry Cavanagh delivers a simultaneous bounty of ultra-challenging platform and arcade gaming entertainment for just about anyone with a touch screen device. All we can do is nod our heads and in great appreciation. Just before downloading both games.