Nancy Drew isn't as well known or as popular these days as she's been in decades past, which is sort of a shame, since even though the gal is pushing ninety (the first books came out in the 1930s!), she's pretty rad. Nancy has solved hundreds of mysteries over the decades, from small town crime and murder to globe-trotting conspiracies, but there's always been one she's never solved... the death of her mother. In Her Interactive's point-and-click adventure game Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy, Nancy receives a letter telling her what she's always suspected all along... that her mother's fatal car accident eight years ago was no accident, and indeed that Kate Drew may have been killed by a group she was investigating. See, as it turns out, Kate helped thwart a biological terrorist attack nearly ten years ago, and while nobody knows what the ultimate goals of the group known as Revenant were, everyone in Glasgow is getting understandably nervous as the anniversary of the attack approaches. Now drawn in with the promise of finally finding out what happened to her mother, Nancy might get the answers she's always wanted... though figuring out who to trust, and how to stay alive, is another matter.
October 2014 Archives
Short and sweet definitely describes Yonashi's escape game Yonashi Escape 12, that sees you locked in a room with a bunch of rat tchotchkes and seemingly little else. Click around to navigate your (tiny!) prison, and use the information you can find to crack codes in order to get out. Blink and you'll miss it, but if what you've been wanting is a light, tasty snack of a game, Yonashi Escape 12 has you covered.
Some readers may remember the days when you'd once pay $50 USD to play a turn-based fantasy adventure RPG like King's Bounty on your computer at home, and with good reason. The unique creative concepts prompted a plethora of remakes, and even the occasional boardgame. Flash's Bounty is a streamlined, pared-down approach to what has now become a franchise of games derived from a single classic title, which only shows how much there is to be said for developing an original gaming formula. In Flash's Bounty you play a knight of King Maximus, keeping West Liberon safe from monsters and keeping the barbarian attacks at bay so the average peasant can go about their ordinary lives in peace. Maximus has promised to give the King's Bounty to whomever can retrieve the Unicorn Sword, which provides a convenient pretext to adventure through the landscape putting down surreal critters, restoring civilization, building forces and generally living it up with honor and valor.
Sometimes all you want to do is kick back and relax with a disembodied, bikini-wearing torso, and in times like these, Aries Escape has you covered with Aries Escape: Episode No. 15. You find yourself in a cozy little woodland cabin, perhaps ready for one last summer fling judging by your wardrobe and the seasonal decor. But who can really relax with all these puzzles around them? You literally can't sit down without coming across a coded lock box, and if you ever want to escape, you'll need to find and correctly interpret the clues needed to open them. Just click around to move and interact, using the white arrows that appear at the edges of the screen to navigate, and double-click an item in your inventory to view it up close. The text is all in Japanese, but none of it will prevent you from finishing the game. Watch for the cursor to change to indicate interactive zones, and keep your eyes peeled for clues and codes. So many clues and codes. But hey, that's all in a day's work for an escape veteran, right? Especially if you want to get the Happy End...
The great world is tearing itself apart. Every living inhabitant is doomed to die with the planet. A small group, however, realizes they must find The Maker, of whom no one knows if it truly exists or not to plead it to help save their planet. So off our heroes go to find help and information so they can beg The Maker to save the planet. You'd think everyone would be ready to be on board with this plan to save everyone's lives, but apparently talking is done through the sword and fist. Prepare for battle on your iOS and Android devices, with Mistwalkers new mobile battle game, Terra Battle. This tactical puzzle roleplaying game, lets you strategically plan your party and crush your foes, all while enjoying beautiful artwork and a deep in-depth poetic story. Mysteries unfold while you add more and more powerful members to your planet saving group.
It seems that a video game generation cannot be truly labeled as "retro" until it becomes possible to accurately re-create it in a browser window. And while games like Dino Run and Super Mario Bros. Crossover have kept the pixel-art flowing online, the gloriously chunky polygons of the Nintendo 64 remain in short supply. At least now, though, there's Kiwi 64 by Marcus Horn, a Unity 3D platform game inspired by those "collect everything in sight" games of yore, and a certain one about a bear named Banjo and a bird named Kazooie, in particular. In it, you play as Kiwi, a cute little flightless bird who just wants to enjoy the sunshine. Unfortunately, the evil King Melon is high atop his mountain, and ready to ruin your day with taunting pieces of verse. But legends have foretold of five magical lamps that, if collected, would unlock power unimaginable! Or at least enough to kick that melon off that mountain! Which is probably just as good!
It's alive! Aliiiiiiiiiiive! Which is a good thing because a game about a bunch of dead monkeys would probably be too weird, even for me. In Pencil Kids' latest Monkey GO Happy point-and-click puzzle game Monkey GO Happy Halloween, the monkeys decide the only thing that will cheer them up is to craft a hideous mockery of life using body parts they find strewn around. Hey, we've all been there. That's why I'm no longer allowed within fifty yards of a cemetery. Just click around to interact, and drag items from your inventory at the top of the screen to use them, keeping your eyes peeled for puzzle clues hidden in the scenery. Despite its aggressively ominous soundtrack and ghoulish premise, Monkey GO Happy Halloween is sweet, silly, and simple Halloween fun for all ages, and won't keep you wrapped up for so long that you'll miss trick-or-treating.
It was a dark and stormy Wednesday in October, wind rattling the shutters and the dilapidated boards of the ersatz roof which offered no shelter inside the JIG offices from the elements threatening to ruin it all. Flicking the light switch repeatedly had no effect—dark loomed on all sides. In the corner, I could see the opening of Selfdefiant's scary dungeon, but knew already of the trap that lie there in wait. Tired from my travails through a minimalist maze of Hottategoya's making, I just wanted some candy. Sure, FunkyLand promised that once more, but my brain was in no shape for solving puzzles. Instead, I felt my way through the darkness until my hands touched on exactly what I needed: the smooth feel of a platinum blonde wig and the cool chiffon of a long, sparkling ice blue dress. Maybe I can't sing, but I can try looking the part. By the way, happy Trick-or-Treating, my ghoulies! Here's a handful of escape games to get you started...
Selfdefiant's Sneaky House of Mystery is a rare escape game in that in addition to puzzles and codes, you're actually trapped somewhere with all the creature comforts. A big fluffy bed. Kitchen. Bathroom. TV and sound system with cutting edge games from just a few years after I was born. But alas, you can't stay, so it's time to figure a way out of here by exploring and hunting down items you can use to get past obstacles. Though the interface is a little clunky, it's a satisfying length with a decent amount of substance for a coffee break, and hey, who can fault its taste in games... or background music?
If you're a master of hell runs in Spelunky and you're getting tired of eggplant for supper every night, you might be looking for a new challenge to shake up your straight-down trips. In Puzzle to the Center of the Earth, available free for iOS and Android, that challenge comes in the form of a match-3 puzzle. The colored blocks you break apart also form the platforms you have to have to traverse in this clever mashup by Foursaken Media. It's a long way down, so watch where you swing your pickaxe!
What do you do when hordes of monsters come a-knocking at your door? If you're a hospital you bring them inside, give them medical treatment and pray you have enough facilities to heal them all! Developers Leon and Francois van Niekerk and Hilgard Bell over at Clockwork Acorn bring us Monsters & Medicine, a turn-based strategy title that reminds us that even monsters need a little care and attention sometimes. Each turn different types of colorful monsters will appear at your door needing urgent treatment. You'll be dragging rooms and hallways onto your building to increase your ability to accommodate them all. Each monster type will need their own type of ward, and they'll also need to be able to get to it. Fortunately for all concerned, monsters will wait patiently outside in an orderly line, no pushing or shoving — in addition to drastically reducing your insurance premiums, your Orderly Conduct Policy has been the secret of your hospitals' success and made your treatment facilities an industry leader and the place for recuperation and healing.
What do you really need out of life? Instant gratification? Money? Fast cars? UncleBig2D's March is a short but beautifully executed little interactive art piece that plays like an arcade game and takes you through one boy's life in a series of short stages. All you have to do to play is click, and while there isn't a whole lot of replay value after the few minutes it'll take to play, and some may find the representation of the message a little too cookie-cutter, the core of it is heartfelt and earnest, not to mention presented in a simple but evocative retro style. It's less a "you need this specific thing" thing, and more "you might miss other things if you only focus on the material things" thing... thingy.
Just Pine Games' latest escape game, Alexandria Escape, also free for iOS and Android, plops you straight into ancient antiquity and demands you find your way out. You've gotten yourself trapped in some dusty library in the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria and it's up to you to leap through a series of escape game puzzles to get free. The game's got an extremely attractive Greco-Roman style going on, with a fair amount of historical accuracy to boot. Sure, the game requires some suspension of disbelief through some of the wackier puzzles, but our hat's off to the art department for going the extra mile to give history buffs something to nod knowingly at. Click to navigate your way around the room, collecting the odd knickknacks that you'll combine and use in every possible way. Seriously, these Alexandrians had steam power, gears, and the written word, but they couldn't warp their brains around a Hide-A-Key?
It's the shooter series that turns "shock and awe!" into "shock and draw!" It's the arcade shoot-em-up where a lone pilot sets out to erase all of his foes... literally! It's Notebook Wars Saga, also available for Android and iOS, Francisco Ferreres' vertical-scrolling war game that shows us that the battlefield of the future will just as likely as not be some kid's fifth-period notebook (at least once he's finished covering it in ZOFOs and that Stussy S thing). After the conclusion of the Notebook Space Wars, we're back on terra firma, and while the engine is now Unity, the mission should be instantly familiar: shoot things and make them explode!
With the sages out of town for a convention, a little teleportation spell in their absence doesn't quite go as planned and now it's animals. Freaking. Everywhere. Chickens clucking in the castle hallways. Sheep on cliffs. Horses down wells, and cattle mooing in the throne room. Unless the last words you want to hear in your life are, "Why is animals?" from a council of outraged wizards, you'd better get everything sorted before their return. flapbat brings us this phenomenal free magickal animal rescue action puzzle adventure game that'll have you finding all the animals to bring them home. Farmyard Chronicle, Director's Cut is the beautifully-polished version of a game-in-a-week release centered on bouncing animals around the screen and into teleportation gates ("Fieeeld gooooal!") while getting bounced around yourself by sheep and kicked across pits by horses. No, really. It'll take plenty of artifacts to get everybody home, like rings that make you dash, teleportation wands to swap places with the critters, and even altering the flow of time itself.
We are living in the Age of Information. All the accumulated knowledge of the greatest minds of history are at your fingertips, any time of the day, instantaneously, for only the price of a Wifi connection. Sometimes this can be overwhelming. But developer Science Museum is here to teach us all a thing or two with Transmission, a game about the web of electronic synapses that makes our connected world possible, and also available free for iOS and Android. It's a puzzle game that has you connecting various receivers and transmitters with glistening streams of information via the mouse. Each circle can transmit and each square can only receive. It's up to you to juggle corrects amounts of information, represented with glowing cubes, between each circle and square. There are some optional objectives you can fulfill for some extra credit, like using the fewest connections possible or leaving info cubs on the right circle. All of it combines to create a brain teaser with a capital B.
Don't be afraid! Though we draw ever closer to that freakiest of holidays, Spoopy Saturday has three free indie horror games for everyone from the scaredy cats to those who giggle at even the goriest of ghosties. We've got a house you can't escape from (even though the developer is known for escapes... ), a disaster where a little girl goes missing and you seem to have some serious psychological trauma dogging your steps in addition to monsters, and finally, a masquerade party with a little bit of romance and a lot of really skimpy costumes.
Hotel Berkley is haunted, though I don't know what you'd expect from a place with more menacing statuary than rooms and peeling wallpaper, exposed wiring, and spiderwebs abound. While the guests have been fleeing in fear from apparitions and nightmares, including one woman whose husband is trapped inside when she bravely runs off to leave him to fend off the green ghostly stink fog himself, the hotel owner seems more mildly annoyed by it than anything else. Luckily, she's called you in, a journalist who knows that a leaf blower is the best answer to unruly spooks, and your uncanny ability to notice that the really obvious mechanisms around you might be worth fiddling with. Elefun Games' hidden-object adventure Fear for Sale: The 13 Keys might be more unintentionally funny than freaky as its characters react in really put-upon ways to the cosmic horrors after them, but is still a fun romp for fans of campy horror. As you soon discover, there's a reason for all the passive-aggressive haunting going on, and maybe that whiny hotel keeper knows a bit more than she's letting on. Maybe a good night's sleep will shed some light on things? Either that or pull you into a series of bizarre, distorted nightmares through the machinations of some creepy "hey gurl" looking specter who peeps in through windows at you wearing a top hat. Whichever.
When we last left our hero, the sole remaining practitioner of ninjitsu on a distant world, he had just finished annihilating an army of mutants in a mad scientist's lab in order to prevent them from overtaking the galaxy. Now all he wants to do is go home and kick up his footie pajamas for a while and unwind. But a ninja's work is never done, and in The Last Ninja From Another Planet 2, Dharmasta Adriwara Widhayaka's interstellar ninja finds himself in the depths of another puzzle adventure. This time, he's made a pit stop on his way to his home planet, in order to liberate another innocent world from the grasp of the mafia. (Seriously, ninjas vs. mafia. Why haven't MORE people jumped on this train?) Just like in his previous adventure, this anti-gravity assassin leaps from wall to wall with the [arrow] keys, moving straight forward until he hits something, much like in a sliding block game. He's out to exterminate every mafia goon he can, and while the minor minions provide no resistance to his blade, not all the mobsters will go down without a fight! It's a familiar formula for those who played the first game, but it's got plenty of new enemies, skills, and hazards to tempt them back for a second round.
Legends have told of the great warrior Kon, a cursed Enkian, who, with his strength and skill, saved the fair Princess Narya from the evil King Blazer, and saved the land of Naturia. Unfortunately for Kon, that life of ease he earned in the last game seems to have been revoked by the fates, as he has found himself shipwrecked on Drumdrum Island, where it just so happens that the evil ice witch Merody wishes to bring about an eternal winter, Kon is the only one who can stop her, and the local shopkeepers don't seem to be accepting his Hero of the Realm discount card. Isn't that always the case? But adventure calls, and there are baddies to fight, and treasure to swipe, so Kon had might as well enjoy himself. Land of Enki 2 is a retro-style action-platform game by VoidForce where players will travel to an engaging fantasy world, discover fascinating creatures, then slice them in half with a sword, because what else?
Being a ghost isn't half bad. Everything's comfortable when you can float just above it, the grocery bill is a lot smaller, it's always peaceful and quiet, and transportation goes a lot faster when you can just appear. Yep, life is easier as a phantom, until people start to invade your peace and quiet by moving into your homestead. Time to break out "Haunting for Dummies" and prep your hair-rising wails for Glitchy Pixels' new indie game, Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror. Henry B. Knight, now dead and transparent, is a little obsessive over his house and the new tenants need to go. Plan your scares to chase everyone out of the house, work around bosses, and gain back your peace and quiet in this puzzle game. Quite similar to Haunt the House, Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror has some of the charm and much more of the challenge to really test your strategic side.
Chances are you know Shimage from the addictive Megami Quest, in which case you may be interested in adorable simple strategy-lite RPG Village Guardians, also available free for Android. In it, your goal is to keep the town safe for thirty days by managing a party of heroes who automatically do battle with the monsters who show up. Heroes who take part in battle and live automatically gain experience and level up, though even if a party member gets trounced, they'll be revived the next day. Your involvement is mostly limited to Scouting, which tells you what monsters are coming next, and spending hard earned gold on new party members or equipment. Every few days, the things sold in shops change, so properly managing your cash in order to ensure your party is best equipped for the coming days is important. Do you buy up a bunch of low level warrior grunts? Save up for more powerful equipment even if it means struggling along with only a few heroes? Sadly, while the game will run in another tab or window, it only does so very slowly, so for the most part, you'll be better off watching the game run. (I know, I know... what is this, olden times?) Just save frequently and in different slots on different days, since if you fail a battle, it's game over.
So apparently as of this writing it's Chemistry Week! Awesome! But no matter what week it is, what better way to brush up on all those chemicals and formulas you slept through in high school than with Test Tube Games' new title, Bond Breaker! It's a puzzle game with a healthy dose of educational material woven in, subtly enough that it doesn't lecture you yet deeply enough that's completely fascinating. Control your proton by clicking to guide it through each level, pressing switches, avoiding spikes, and bonding with other particles for a variety of scientifically-accurate effects. There's a wealth of humor on display as well... who knew video game spikes were the proton's natural foe? You won't even notice you're learning. Seriously, why can't textbooks be this fun?
Soothing pastel palette? Mellow soundtrack? "I have no clue how to solve this"? Awww yeah, it's TomaTea time with the escape game Salvadoor, which is... uh... gosh that's pink. Surrounded by painted eggs, flower arrangements, and puzzles aplenty, in order to get out of the locked door, you'll have to hunt for clues to decipher the combinations to TomaTea's customary code locks. Just click around to navigate and interact, watching the tip of your cursor for a glow when you're passing it over something you can click on, and click the little "i" on an item's portrait in your inventory to view it up close. Doing so can allow you to manipulate them into different things when possible, or even combine them with other things you're carrying.
Pegas Games' Tiny King is short on stature but big on d'awwwww in this point-and-click puzzle game where our miniscule monarch cruelly awakens from a snuggly dream to find his cake has been stolen. As he travels in search of it, through a magical fanged blue door because reasons, you have to figure out what to click or otherwise manipulate in each level in order to proceed, usually by finding the key and dragging it to open the door's maw. Of course, just because you can see the key doesn't always mean you can get to it, so you'll have to click around and experiment with everything in each stage, be it sentient bookshelf, pile of worms, cow shelf... whatever. Don't expect it to make sense, just expect it to be cute and weird. Each level, apart from the first, also has a secret golden piece hidden in it, and if you want to find out what's behind that door on the stage select screen, you should probably track them down!
A most auspicious Wednesday to you, dearest, prettiest, best-pony-est, best-smelling readers! It's time for another installment of Weekday Escape, and we have a batch of fine, fresh, and of course free escape games to tickle your fancy. Elle is off taking her annual amateur piggy-back sabbatical, or at least that's what she's doing as long as I'm the one writing this and nobody is around to stop me, so this week you're stuck with me again. And Neatescape. And Yomino Kagura. And no1game. So I hope one of you remembered to bring snacks and board games, because it's getting crowded in here.
After his debut in Sweet Revenge, Carmel Games' Crazy Dad continues to live up to his name in his latest point-and-click adventure A Day at the Library. See, he's just started working there, and he's decided his first task is to clear out the kids breaking the rules, the rude ones, the ones being nuisances... basically everyone who annoys him. To clear out all the kids, click around to explore and gather items, and prepare to use what you find in rather... uh, unorthodox ways. All of which beg the question... what sort of lunatic actually bore Crazy Dad two equally unhinged children?
Birthdays are always stressful, never more so than for the harried parent. You've got to make sure all the kids get the right presents and keep everyone safe and be extra careful no one gets a bigger slice of cake. It's especially stressful in Alexander Fedoseev's physics puzzle game Gift Rush 3, since you're a tiny spider-ball-thing with a mess of sleepy kids who need their cake. Luckily, they're heavy sleepers. In the latest entry in the Gift Rush series, you click to shoot strands of web to swing around each of the 20 levels, trying to get the cake to your kid or your kid to the cake, which ever is easiest. You can grab the sleepy toddlers by pulling them close and you can press the [spacebar] to drop them. Just make sure you don't grab the cake by mistake. Your harried little spider person just can't help himself when he's too close to cake, and he'll scarf it down.
SCFWorks' Exit Fate is a massive free indie RPG that's got a bit of a bad reputation. Originally released in 2009, it sported an enormous playtime with hand-drawn artwork, an epic story, a huge cast of recruitable characters, and a story a lot of people felt was a pretty clear rip-off of Konami's 1999 Playstation release Suikoden 2. And, y'know, for the first few hours, it's hard not to see a comparison. Stop me if you've heard this one. A group of friends who grew up together and now find themselves in the army get caught up in the conflict between two rival countries and ultimately fall in with a rag-tag faction of rebels they'll need to lead to victory, which pits them against former friends and allies as they make hard choices and lose people they care about along the way... oh, and, uh, there's a battle with a wind monster early on, too. Though the plot specifics are actually very different, Exit Fate's format, mechanics, and even graphics and sound are so clearly taken from or "inspired by" Suikoden that it had a lot of people crying foul. Despite this, however, there's an undeniable amount of work, passion, and talent behind Exit Fate that makes it an ambitious game that succeeds more often than it fails in saluting the genre and source material. With hand-drawn artwork for every character, a whopping 75 party members to recruit for your growing castle, challenging turn-based battles, and a complex story that blends fantasy with political turnabout, Exit Fate is a huge achievement from a single developer that will keep JRPG fans busy for a long, long time.
Note: At this time, Episode Two is available only as an in-app purchase after installing Episode One, which is free.
One of our favorite average Joe heroes is back in House on Fire's point-and-click adventure The Silent Age: Episode Two for iOS and Android. If you're like me you might need a little memory jog on what happened in Episode One, so let me sum it up. Joe is just your average guy working as a janitor in a government facility until he's tasked by a dying man to use a time traveling device to save humanity from extinction. When last we left Joe, he was on his way to find this time traveler as a young man, hopefully to get some answers, and Episode Two picks up right where we left off. Swipe your finger around the screen to see what you can interact with, then tap on the object you'd like to learn more about. Tap to make Joe walk, or double tap to make him run. Your inventory runs along the bottom of the screen, just tap an item once to pick up, and tap again to make the object interact with any item on the screen. And, when available, tap the time machine to travel in time, a fun mechanic which is again integral to the story line as well as to solving puzzles.
Sometimes all we need is a little follow-through in life. Aspiring developer Amidos found that out when he created a game called Random RPG for a bi-annual Arabian game jam. Convinced that it was a total wash, he stuck with it for another week of overhauling anyway and came up with The Rogue Puzzle Game, a puzzle game deftly shuffling together the feel of a Sokoban title, a look reminiscent of Legend of Zelda, and some utterly killer NES-type soundtrack music. Result? The Rogue Puzzle Game was picked as one of only three finalists in the Game Nomad competition and is set to be presented at Gamer's Day, Arabia's largest gaming event. More importantly, fans became fascinated by the game's unique play experience. Find your way out of fifteen dungeon levels by attacking monsters with swords laying conveniently strewn around the dungeon floor. The swords re-orient as you move so they're always hilt-towards-you, and need to be pushed into monsters. Each sword does one point of damage to whichever immediately-adjacent monster you push it into, but monsters could have more than one hit point. Fortunately, their hit points are visibly displayed clearly on each monster.
The original Sentry Knight was basically everything you want a defensive shooter to be... addictive, vibrant, simple to master, and totes adorable to boot. So with Sentry Knight 2 here from Justin Wolf, Tyler Myers, Jason Coates and tunes provided by Kat "Dloot" Angeloni, we had our fingers crossed for more of the same... and luckily, it delivers in spades. As before, you control a brave, cute little knight cloistered in a tower and armed with a bow and arrow, while goblins, skeletons, spiders, and all other manner of nasties will try to get close enough to attack, though some do ranged damage. If they topple your tower by destroying all your hit points, you're done for, so mouse over any red potions dropped to bolster your health. Your knight aims where you point your cursor, and will automatically fire. You'll also have several spells at your disposal, which, when activated using the  to  number keys, will be cast at your cursor's location, ranging from fireballs to pools of poison and more. Enemies destroyed drop gold that can be spent on upgrades to your knight or the tower itself, but also experience points, and whenever you level up, you can spend talent points on enhancing and unlocking new spells. Monsters eat your face off? Well, if you find yourself getting trounced, you might have to replay a few earlier stages to earn more experience points and gold, 'cause it's all about that grind, 'bout that grind, and levels.
Things get a little mad in Funkyland's latest escape game Alice House No. 6: A Mad Tea-Party, where to find your way out of this festooned room you'll need to find five Mad Hatter-themed items. As usual, there's no changing cursor to show you what you can interact with, so you'll have to poke and prod while you explore. Once again it's on the short side, with a nice balance of deciphering clues and using items to get you through the puzzles, but if you want an escape that a little bit weird and a lot bit festive, pull up a chair and enjoy. Just don't sit on the Dormouse.
By the pricking of my thumbs, a bunch of free indie horror games this way come... s? Okay, so I didn't think that one out very well. But hey! Welcome back to Spoopy Saturday, where we post three free super scary freeware games every Saturday leading up to Halloween. This week, a young girl moves into a dusty old house and gets more than she bargained for, a late shift at the office turns terrifying when you discover you're not alone and the doors are locked, and you wake up confused and disoriented in a strange house filled with secrets someone is trying to make you remember. Ghosts, cryptic messages, frantic chases, and of course jump scares await, so let's get started. Just remember not to look over your shoulder...
In Elephant Games' hidden-object adventure Riddles of Fate: Memento Mori, it turns out Death may be big and scary, but he also stinks at his job. There's a delicate balance between life and death, he tells you, and souls must die in order for the new ones to be born. Which, y'know, makes it sort of a big deal when a bunch of wicked souls decided to run from him rather than to go gently into that good night. Death claims he's afraid of accidentally punishing an innocent soul, so he needs your help as an expert detective to trot around the world and root out those who have gone to extremes to literally cheat Death. Not that that's apparently hard to do if running away takes you beyond the reach of his immortal powers. Using his magic ball (stop that snickering), you'll travel to different places around the world, each acting as its own contained story revolving around a different wayward soul. Periodically you'll also need to return to your home to make use of your tools to copy keys, decrypt writing, or develop photographs and so forth, but the bulk of your work is in solve puzzles, hidden-object scenes, and identifying suspects on the ground. The farther you go, the more it becomes apparent someone is actively meddling in Death's business, and yours.
Michael Brough's iOS action arcade game Helix is best described as Loop by way of Hotline Miami's brutal one-hit KO gameplay and all those really weird artsy sci-fi movies from the 70s. It may also be a conspiracy to get me to destroy my iPad in the most violent way possible, I haven't decided. In it, you control a flying... amoeba-looking thing whose only defense against the creatures who come after you is to encircle them, which destroys them, although some enemies need to be circled more than once, or in specific ways. Just put your finger on the screen, and the creature will follow your motions, though it won't stay "attached" to your fingertip. While you can encircle more than one enemy at once, backing off as you will often find yourself doing to avoid other foes will cause the line of your snare to "rewind" as it follows your movements. Since a single hit will end the game, it's all about seeing how long you can last, and in that regard Helix is a formidable challenge indeed.
With a title like Find the Escape-Men Part 121: Appetite for Fall Food, you might think no1game's latest escape game is all about Pumpkin Spice Lattes and roast turkey, but no, it's about someone getting trapped in a bathroom stall at a festival. To help them out, you need to click around, solve puzzles, and hunt for not only items, but the ten little green men hidden everywhere. As usual, the lack of changing cursor may trip you up a little if you're used to using it to spot interactive areas, but the festive theme (well, not so festive for your friend) and quirky puzzles make this one just the right size for you to escape from your day with.
Smilegate's iOS RPG sim game Faraway Kingdom - Dragon Raiders may be free-to-play with in-app purchases and timers, but before you hiss and recoil, hear me out, because this is one seriously adorable and addictive little game that never pushes you for money and manages to be generous enough with its timers and currency that you'll never feel pressured to spend. Best described as a combination between Tiny Tower and a simplified fantasy kingdom simulation, Faraway Kingdom tasks you with rebuilding the land after a great dragon destroyed it, and training up an army of heroes tough enough to take it down. This essentially splits the gameplay into three parts... the town, the dungeons, and the portal. The town is where your heroes stay, and as it grows, you can hold more of them, who pay you taxes as long as they're living in the houses you build. Beneath the town are the unlockable dungeons where monsters roam, and you can send parties of heroes to each level to slay enemies and earn you cash and minerals used to upgrade equipment. The portal allows you to send raiding parties to different areas using energy (which refills at one point for every five minutes), and this is where you'll actually accompany your heroes to duke it out. They'll fight on their own, but you'll need to pick up the coins that appear and the class power-up icons... nab a warrior sphere, for instance, and you can tap the icon to use a powerful attack, or stack multiples to make your attack more powerful. After a few battles in a row, your heroes will go up against a boss, and unless they defeat it before the timer runs out, the boss will become enraged and its damage will jump. Survive and you'll level up your heroes, as well as earning valuable equipment and other treasure. It's a simple formula, designed for multiple quick bouts throughout the day rather than marathon sessions, but a gorgeous art style and unobtrusive in-app purchase options that are truly optional makes this one feel like it might just get free-to-play right.
I could complain that Andy Brown's puzzle game Assembots undoes all the important psychological work of that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data was put on trial and we all learned a valuable lesson about humanity, but at the end of each level, the robots do a cute little dance where you live, and it turns out I'm just that shallow. The goal in each stage is to get the required number of factory made robots where you need them to be, and they require a lot of hand (metal appendage?) holding to make it happen, since on their own they'll just trundle forward until they hit an obstacle and then turn around and do it again. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a bank of commands that will affect a bot's behaviour. They can dig through blocks, climb walls, and more, but each command only has a limited amount available, so you need to think carefully about what bot you use them on, and when. Click a command's icon, then click the bot you want to apply it to onscreen. Some commands will last until you apply another, while others are only temporary, such as digging only lasting for a single obstacle. In the bottom left corner, you'll find buttons to speed things up or slow them down, as well as the button to restart the level without getting stuck. You might not need to use all the bots available to you to meet your goal, so try to finish the level using as little resources as possible, as fast as you can!
It's a crossover more exciting than the Flintstones meeting the Jetsons, or that one time Urkel showed up on Full House! The plots of two of Hyptosis' popular fantasy point-and-click adventure sagas join and continue in Kingdom of Liars: Stonepath, featuring characters from the Hood series. With plots and plans to unleash demon of all kind upon the mortal realm apace, a contingent of the Ashbane watch, joined by a group of allies (including a young witch in a familiar red cloak) has traveled to the ruins of Ardan to investigate the fiend activity in the area. Click the red navigation arrows to navigate yourself through ruins. Move the cursor onto items to get a description, or click to manipulate or add them to your inventory. Once in your inventory, items can be selected in order to "use" them on part of the scenery. If a character is present in an area, they will be listed in the upper left of the screen. Clicking their name will allow you to converse with them by asking various questions.