In Five-BN Games' hidden-object adventure Lost Lands: The Four Horsemen, after a boring shopping trip on your way home to make boring dinner for your boring kid, you suddenly find yourself whisked away from the parking garage to a strange world where you're told by a sexist hermit mage that, though he was praying for the "Chosen One" to come defeat the evil plaguing the land, you, despite being a "fragile female", are responsible for saving the world. Which seems like a lot to ask for someone wearing red pleather and shoulder pads, regardless of gender, but hey. What's this "great evil" you ask? Well, it might have something to do with the fiery destruction you glimpse being rained down on the very cottage you find yourself standing in front of, though that's a future that will only come to pass if you can't find a way to stop the flaming swordsman who caused it. With mermaids, halflings, portals through space and time, and much more, Lost Lands: The Four Horsemen is a satisfyingly epic and lavish fantasy adventure that's perfect for casual fans looking for a lot of magic.
January 2015 Archives
ScriptWelder's Don't Escape was, as the title suggests, a sort of anti-escape game where you had to figure out a way to lock yourself in to a place as securely as possible, with puzzles to match, and its unique concept proved itself very popular indeed. In Don't Escape 2, it's two weeks after a zombie outbreak, and you and your friend Bill are holed up in an abandoned building... maybe just a little too late for Bill himself, who got bitten in your most recent escape. Still, you're not quite ready to abandon your friend, and you've got more pressing matters on hand... namely, the massive horde of zombies headed your way. You figure you've got until sunset to figure out how to lock this place up snug as a bug, and it's going to take more than just shoving some furniture in front of a door. To play, just click to interact when your cursor expands its crosshairs and turns yellow. Mousing over the top of the screen will drop your inventory down, and also show you the clock. Unlike the original game, you really are on a limited time schedule here. You have eight hours, and since you can travel to more than one place in the surrounding area, time is deducted whenever you travel away from the abandoned building. So explore areas thoroughly, combine items in your inventory, and, well, here's hoping you live to see another sunset!
Please note that this game deals with themes some may find upsetting. Please see my comment below the review if you need further details to make an informed decision about whether to play.
The first episode of Life is Strange, the new episodic action adventure from SquareEnix and DONTNOD Entertainment, starts off with a literal bang as our heroine, school student Max, wakes up on a dark and thunderous coast that's being ripped apart by a tornado that looks big enough to swallow the world. When she snaps to and finds herself in photography class moments later, she's more than a little rattled... she didn't fall asleep, after all, and that didn't feel like a dream, so maybe she's losing her mind? Or maybe she's just having trouble adjusting to prestigious private school Blackwell Academy, which hasn't turned out to be the glorious dream school she thought it would be... Max has never been comfortable around people, and the teasing of school snobs combined with her loads of homework and an unexpectedly sharp difficulty curve isn't making things any easier. Especially since Max grew up in the sleepy town of Arcadia Bay, and she's trying to work up the courage to speak to Chloe, the best friend she hasn't spoken to in the five years since she moved away. But there's something strange about Arcadia, like the missing girl everyone is talking about... and there's something strange happening with Max, too. She's just your average eighteen year old girl who discovers she has the ability to rewind time and change the past... something she can use to help people, but also, she thinks, make all the right decisions for her life. Guided by your choices, Life is Strange is a gorgeously rendered and acted tale about growing up, identity, power, and what you choose to do with it.
Also free for iOS and Android, Homeworld Arts' Pixel Staff is a very classic feeling action-based adventure where you control a wizard who senses something is amiss one dark night... maybe not that impressive a feat since the skeletons shambling around outside should be enough to clue anyone in, but hey, maybe we shouldn't backtalk the guy with a magic bolt shooting staff. Use the left and right [arrow] keys or [A] and [D] to move left and right, [Z] or [O] to fire, and [X] or [P] to jump. If that sounds pretty simple, it's because it is, though you'll have to deal with enemies, bosses, find heart pieces, and more. Pixel Staff looks great and perfectly captures the feeling of retro console games in style and play, but might prove too easy for most players. Just be warned that while if you die, you'll restart at the beginning of the room you died in, but there is no save feature, and closing the game or exiting to the menu means you'll have to start from the beginning. So pick up this one when you're looking for a nostalgic trip down classic gaming lane, and take your time doing it... there's no need to rush. A wizard is never late.
In Tesshi-e's Escape to Mr. Y's Office Room, the titular Mr. Y, who as you know is a fan of both escape games and the Detective Conan anime, has sent you a letter inviting you to check out his newly renovated office. Turns out just getting in is a puzzle in itself, but would you expect any less? To play, just click to interact, and make sure you check everywhere and anything since there's no changing cursor to nudge you along. Check items you're carrying with the About Item function, just in case they have secrets to reveal, or use them by highlighting them with a click, and then clicking on the main game window. True to Mr. Y's passions, this escape game requires some good old fashioned deductive reasoning, making paying attention to your surroundings a necessity. There are some seriously cunning puzzles hidden throughout this game, with an emphasis on using your brain over your inventory, though the latter will present its own challenge in several places. If the swanky soundtrack doesn't make you feel like a detective, the challenges you'll need to overcome in this top-notch escape game will!
Welcome to Metro City, where streets are busy with gangs, vigilantes, cleaning droids, police drones and one very busy hitman who is just itching to get out of the city. With everyone having twitchy trigger fingers and cops shooting first then asking questions, you can't blame the assassin-for-hire for wanting to get in and out as fast as they can. Flatearthgames' Metrocide is a high difficulty, bird's-eye view, stealth game where you take on jobs, find the mark, and put them out of their misery without getting spotted by drones and humans. A normal civilian will rat on you to the cops and that's all, but other civilians think they are some sort of hero and start shooting at you to paint the streets with your blood. They have good aim too, because one shot and you're dead. Being a roguelike game, death results in a new, penniless you. It's a rough life, but every hitman has got to work to get food on the table or in this case, papers to travel to get far, far away from such a mess.
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Note:This game contains flashing elements and intense movement which may trigger photosensitive seizures in people with epilepsy.
Don't do drugs kids, unless you're taking part of a trial study sanctioned by a doctor. Just prepare for the consequences... the mind melting, reality bending consequences. ViViD, by The Layabouts, seems like a relatively easy platform game, and starts off on such, until the pills kick in and everything gets distorted. Burt is the name of the little jumper whose only goal in mind is to get back to the doctor who told him to come in if the pills he's testing start showing negative symptoms, like nausea. Burt has every symptom but nausea, and the only thing he can keep in focus is getting back to that little medical sign to see what can be done. He'll have to get through spikes and bottomless pits with only his jump ability, [Z], and using the floating arrows that give him a boost in the direction they point. Add on top of this the jittery, reality twisting symptoms and that feat becomes something only the bravest will take on in this free indie game.
It doesn't matter if it's Christmas when you play TomaTea's One Holiday Scene, because any day with a TomaTea escape game is worth celebrating! With a festive tree, candies, and a whole lot of Christmas cheer, this is one cozy little room, but all the decor holds a sneaky secret... puzzles and codes! When the tip of your cursor glows when you pass it over something, it means you can click to interact, and if you're told you "have no clue how to solve this", it means whatever puzzle you're looking at has a clue you haven't yet seen. True to its title, One Holiday Scene is a little smaller in scope than you may be used to seeing from the developer, but no less smart and fun for any escape fan. Relax, put your feet up, and enjoy this seasonal offering no matter what time of year it is... just don't forget the batteries!
Long considered to be one of the greatest classic point-and-click adventure games ever created, LucasArts' Grim Fandango is the sort of funny, smart, wickedly creative game players deserve, though considering it was released in 1998 and often doesn't play nice with new systems, it's both difficult to track down and harder to play. Well, no longer! Thanks to Double Fine, Grim Fandango Remastered has arrived, with a new coat of polish and a lot more compatibility, allowing new players to experience the iconic hit for the first time, and old fans to revisit without the hassle. The game follows Manny Calavera, who's been stuck in his (literal) dead-end job trying to upsell travel packages to those who have just died and want to cross all the way over for quite some time. His boss wants him to sell more luxury packages, but it's not easy when he's constantly being outdone by his slimy coworker Domino Hurley. Manny used to be on top, but now he can barely keep himself from getting fired when he's stuck with crummy clients, and he can't even remember what sin he committed in life to find himself stuck in this afterlife holding zone. He thinks he's finally found his salvation when he winds up with a crack at a soul who should be bound for the greenest pastures possible, but something is rotten in the Land of the Dead. Will Manny ever get his final reward? Or has he stumbled across a mystery that could prove more dangerous than he ever imagined?
Also free for iOS and Android, Pine Games' Hacker's Escape is, as the title would imply, an escape game that looks like it's set within what one of those primetime cop dramas think a hacker's room actually looks like. You know. Where they hack your firewalls and plugin your interwebs. But then, that campy aesthetic is sort of the point, as you see from the various homages to classic technothrillers around the room. To play, just click to interact. The text that appears at the top of the screen will tell you what you're looking at when it's interactive, and also show you if you're about to change orientation by moving around the room. The, ahem, fist you start out with in your inventory at the bottom of the screen is actually "force", so you can use it on objects that require a little bit of exertion to move or use. To combine items, or use one item on another, click them both in your inventory one at a time. Not only are codes hidden around the room, but you'll find a lot of electronic equipment you'll need to put to good use if you ever want to find your way out. So get cracking, and get hacking!
Here in the Weekday Escape studios, things tend to be rather heavily biased toward free online escape games. Which is great: What's not to love about being able to turn on your computer, open your browser, and plug into fun puzzles all centered on the concept of escaping from your confinement? There's not only enjoyment in the actual mental stimulation, there is immense satisfaction in the symbolic escape from your surroundings. So this week, besides living up to expectations and presenting three typical escape games—brought to you by Hottategoya, No1Game and FunkyLand—I thought I'd break out of the mold and suggest a few things different. After all, if it's been a while since you've dug through the JayIsGames archives, perhaps this week's featured trio will be the inspiration to get you started...
Techland's Dying Light combines everyone's two favourite things... zombies and intense physical activity. At the start of the game, you're air-dropped into what is essentially a war zone... an entire city under lockdown for months after the spread of a plague that turns people into the mindless undead. You're there trying to retrieve a stolen file and tracking down a rogue agent, but the survivors who save you from turning into zombie chow don't know that. To them you're just Crane, a guy trying to get by and willing to pull his weight by helping them survive. They've even set you up with some Antizin following an unfortunate bite... the only thing capable of staving off the zombification process. It's safe to say they might not be so friendly and sympathetic if they knew why you were really there... especially since their doctor is working on a cure that your superiors are very interested in. By day you'll spend your time helping the other people living in The Tower, while also trying to accomplish your own objectives, but when night falls, well, something else joins the hordes roaming the city streets, and not even the rooftops will keep you safe. Dying Light combines rooftop, wall-climbing, parkour action in this thriller, along with crafting, skill trees, and sidequests galore, not to mention a "be the zombie" multiplayer mode, for a surprisingly immersive and definitely gorgeous adventure in a sprawling, dangerous city, but clunky combat and (as of this writing) serious performance issues are as ugly as the zombies themselves at times.
Lovely, dreamy, and "look, Ma, I made a bunny!" are just a few of the words you could use to describe Triada Studios' iOS puzzle game Shadowmatic, a title that combines the shifting perspectives of Starlight with shadow puppets and tchotchkes. In each level, your goal is simply to figure out how to twist and align whatever object(s) you have so that the shadow cast on the wall creates something. Well, something specific, anyway. Just press and hold on the screen and drag your finger around to rotate. If there's more than one object, you can swap between them by tapping the button in the lower-left corner, or hold down the button with one finger and swipe with another to move them both relative to one another. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a progression of dots that will slowly light up depending on how close you are to figuring out what you're supposed to be making. No special skills or ambigous "gamer" cred required here... just an appreciate for eye and ear candy, and a willingness to, like, relax, maaaaaaaaan.
Functu's bunny is back for another short but sweet and swanky point-and-click puzzle, neon-soaked trip in Easy Joe 3. To help Joe through each screen, it's your job to figure out what things to click, and in what order, to allow him to proceed safely through. The game lives up to its name for the most part due to a general amount of simplicity to the puzzles... most areas only have a few things to click on, making the hardest part forcing yourself to stop grooving in your chair long enough to play. Still, what the game lacks in complexity, it makes up for in sheer bizarro charm. Why don't you like the guy on that scaffolding? What's up with the (presumably) girl bunny and the bow? Who knows! Just help Joe get through it all, and everything will be okay.
Having your city transformed into a retro video game doesn't sound so bad, if you ask us. Having multiple lives is a sweet deal, and you could recover from a sprained ankle just by eating a roast chicken! And for that matter, you could eat an entire roast chicken in a single sitting! But when there are alien invasions involved, things have a tendency to get less fun. So it's up to the heroes of Retroacan, by Pixcomp, to save their home turf from the alien army that's pixellated their world. With an arsenal of corn chips, tamales, and even an NES Zapper, they'll have a platform-hopping, monster-exploding adventure inspired by classic shooter games such as Contra. Choose from one of two characters to start, with four more waiting to be unlocked. You'll move with the [arrow] keys, and just like in a proper retro game, you only need two other buttons: [X] or [S] to jump, and [Z] or [A] to shoot. But how many of those classic games can say they contain rabbits that turn into helicopters, top hat-wearing frogs, and wacky inflatable arm-flailing tubemen? Retroacan bills itself as 80's-game pastiche, sure. But it's also a joyously weird, whimsical, and surreal little platform adventure that looks and plays like an explosion in a third grader's imagination. In a good way.
Less an actual game and more a piece of lovingly rendered fanart wrapped in a somewhat interactive narrative, Ghostbusters: Bust In Peace is the pixel-tastic comic crafted by Francesco Muja. Created in three parts, this comedic story follows everyone's favourite iconic Ghostbusters on a series of the sort of jobs they're uniquely qualified for, though it quickly becomes apparent there's something bigger going on behind the scenes. All you need to do to play is click to advance the scene, and occasionally make a choice that determines the way the chapter plays out. Making the right decisions will impact how well you're graded on certain outcomes. So, yes, it's a lot of reading, and, yes, your enjoyment is going to depend on how much you love the hits '80s films, though even if you don't know what to do if someone asks you if you're a god, Bust in Peace is still funny and well made enough to be worth a view. Because it's made of a lot of different edited sprites, not all of the characters and scenery look as if they "go" together, but the panels unfold with great cinematic execution and an eye for detail that gives the scenes a lot of life. Ghostbusters: Bust in Peace is far more funny than freaky as its source material would seem to demand, and if you're in the mood for a satisfying supernatural yarn with a lot of yucks that pays homage to the series in an almost note-perfect fashion, it's well worth loading up for a read.
Note: This game deals with themes some may find upsetting
You wouldn't think there can be much to a game that takes place in a cell you can only move a foot in in three directions. Wertpol proves that wrong by giving us this, best described as a free indie visual novel, Presentable Liberty. You start off with no back story, and only know you are in a prison cell, trapped and locked away from the world. The only connection you have to any living person are letters that are somehow slipped under your door. There is no way for you to reply, so all you can do is click the letters to read them, and accept their gifts to you, which is done by using the number keys to select them, and then right-clicking to use. Through these letters a terrifying story unfolds, but all you can do about this is stand in your cell, watch your little pet bug run around, or play the games given to you by your Personal Buddy™ that is meant to keep you happy and non-suicidal... though the letters are really all you have left.
You might think you're starting out as an ordinary fruit farmer, harvesting normal tangerines til your heart's content, but then the ordinary tangerine doesn't grow a mustache nor sport a dapper hat, now does it. Inspired by the ever popular Cookie Clicker, Gaz Thomas, creator of the Red Remover series, brings us Tangerine Tycoon. In this silly incremental game, start by clicking the tangerine to produce more tangerines (I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for that somewhere), then use your earned tangerines as currency to buy fruit producing shrubs, trees, farms, and other... not so conventional things that produce tangerines automatically.
Ready to go boldly forth as a mighty shining paladin, braving untold legendary creatures, saving princesses from horrific fiends, proving your valor and saving the land by completing heroic quests, reaping huge treasures and gaining prestige and reknown? Wait... you know what? Hang on a sec. As any fan of RPGs can tell you, there are only so many times we can reuse those old gaming tropes. Just for once, could we do something different? What's that? We can? Righteous. I'll come in again.
Welcome to cozy Perlan Farm. Meet Farmer Jerrat as he tends the livestock early each morning, plays handyman around the farmstead, and dotes devotedly on his loving wife Meerla. Together they manage to keep the farm going and raise their newborn son, Pellan. It's not a glamorous or lucrative way of life by any means, but together they manage to get through it all with plenty of love and support to make up the difference and Jerrat considers himself the luckiest man in all the land. This humble yet fulfilling existence is brought to a sudden halt when Meerla and their son Pellan are brutally slain by a platoon of soldiers on the move, in urgent need of supplies and unwilling to leave any witnesses to their presence alive to tell the tale. Returning to find his farm and homestead pillaged and his family in an unspeakable condition, Jerrat finds he must bury them both himself and resolves to find whoever is responsible and avenge their deaths. So begins The Tale of a Common Man, the unconventional RPG by Aldorlea Games that presents a whole new take on what the genre can be. Though you'll still duke it out with enemies in classic turn-based combat, when you level up, you can allocate stat points to build your party as you wish, and craftable potions add another interesting wrinkle to the gameplay. With seven party members (including one more optional character!), secret rooms, sidequests, and more, The Tale of a Common Man is a satisfying whopper of a classic RPG with a very un-classic premise.
Sometimes you want a puzzle game that's brutally difficult, complicated, and full of flair. Sometimes you want a puzzle game that feels like your favourite person gently stroking your hair and murmuring soft reassurances to you on a lazy evening while a cup of your favourite hot beverage warms your palms. Elio's Invert Selection was definitely firmly in the latter's camp, and so of course so too now is Invert Selection Levels Pack. The premise is still the same... your goal is to make the grid image in the main play area look like the one shown in faded overlay by using tools that add, delete, or invert portions of the screen. Just click and drag to select what portion of the grid you want to transform, and then release to activate the change. You have limited turns to recreate the image, and you have to use the tools in the order in which they're presented to you. Throw in a beautiful soundtrack by PiperockArts and a clean and lovely user interface, and you've got a sleek and smart game to engage your brain... now with fifty additional levels!
Life's not easy for a cube. You're not the most aerodynamic shape, you can't exactly roll or squeeze through tight spaces. But you'd never guess it from the jovial little polygon at the center of Qubed: New Adventures. Your little avatar is always grinning... assuming you can avoid the spikes that it is. This physics platform game has you controlling the little square dude with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to maneuver through all 20 levels of swimming, box-pushing, switch switching, and star-collecting. You can also split into smaller cubes with the [spacebar] which can be controlled individually, allowing for a little puzzle gameplay to work its way into the mix.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
Depths of Boatmurdered is a free indie, horror game that it a lot like a Zelda dungeon with its push puzzles and somewhat maze like layout. Only in this dungeon, there are plenty of creepy things that want to remove your face, and there isn't a master sword to save you. Steve Hayden's creepy adventure starts off with our bearded hero lost, alone, and confused. His first reasonable goal is to find shelter, but then continues to advance forward exploring the depths of darkness with nothing but his trusty lantern he found along the way. He still stays lost, but finds out rather quickly, that he's not alone anymore. The few items you can pick up are used with the [Z] button and the weapon you finally find is used with [X], but it doesn't kill the beasts. Swinging your lantern with [Z] on fire pits will cast some more light in the area, but you'll find these demons from below aren't scared of a little light. This game can also be controlled with a Xbox controller so there are two ways to lose yourself to this terrifying tale of survival.
Worry not, witch lovers of the world! No witches were harmed in the making of Godseed's new tower defense game, Witch Hunt. In fact, it's the witch herself doing the hunting! Saucy young sorceress Lucrea has discovered that the giant crystal obelisk she's defending contains a demonic entity of greed, and any living thing that dies in its presence gets immediately transformed into money. And if a bunch of common sense-challenged goblins happen to try attacking her to steal it, well, she's only making the best of a bad situation! Using her mystical powers of fire, ice, and lightning, she'll drive away the goblin army and make a literal killing doing it. Oh, and something about getting the crystal to a magical tower or something, but more importantly, money. Swap between her three elements with [Q], [W], and [E], and aim her attacks with the cursor. You can click to fire at will, or even enable automatic shots if your trigger finger isn't that itchy. Blast away everything that wants to get its mitts on your crystal, and reap the delicious rewards! It's an intense, high-action, almost shooter-like take on tower defense, and it also packs a killer sense of humor. How many other games let you summon fiery penguins to do your bidding?
Grozzler's puzzle platforming series of games, Fractured and Fractured 2, has always been both strangely intriguing and perplexing, as you guided children through a broken, topsy-turvy series of levels into what appeared to be the arms of a spectral mother or father figure while mysterious poetry was read throughout. Fractured 3 continues that tradition, though it ditches the level-based format and the spectral adults to send our two wayward tots staggering throughout a broken landscape filled with posters, platforms, and also lava. The controls are the same, with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump, while trying to figure out which was is up since each area has been broken into pieces and jumbled every which way. As you move from piece to piece, the challenge is properly orienting yourself and adjusting your navigation accordingly whether you're upside-down or otherwise flipped around, made even more difficult by the fact that area pieces are often lain out in no particular order. Miss a step and land in the lava and... well... you'll see. Despite the soothing soundtrack and narration, some players may find Fractured 3's maze-like layout too much of a nightmare to navigate, especially given how little variation there is between areas, but if you want more mind-bending platforming with a dreamy atmosphere, you'll gird your loins and persevere.
Owls are kinda weird, what with all the hooting, the 270 degree neck rotation, and the constant thievery of my Tootsie Roll Pops. But according to Owls Ever After, a cute and puzzling piece of interactive art originally made by Mike and Tanya Mezhenin for Ludum Dare 31, they just want the same things that we do: a safe home, a loving family, food on the table, and a new game console every three to five years. Owls Ever After lets you take a peek into to the secret life of owls, one year at a time. And it's pretty friggin' adorable.
This is going to be hard to hear, so it's better if I come straight out and say it. So, you know, get prepared. Just squeeze eyes shut, focus mind on a happy place, and look away as the bandage's ripped off in one swoop. It's for the good—it's only by knowing the truth, and confronting the reality of it, that any positive progress can be made toward a solution. So...ready? It is Wednesday already! I mean, sheesh! We're already three weeks into 2015 and time continues rolling on as if ignoring our efforts to, like, hang onto precious moments and all that like. Alright. I didn't surprise you at all. Did I? Yeah, I can see that by how you're rolling your eyes and clucking your tongue. And I bet you think you know which three new escape games are spilling out of the Weekday Escape inbox on my desk, too? Ah, fine then. I won't be rambling on with details, repeating myself and having you think: "Here she goes on about that again." We'll just get directly to the matter at hand. Have a look...
Please note that this game features brief, non-explicit sexual situations, and alludes to both the implied threat of sexual assault, and of it having happened in the past.
In Aloners, the free indie post-apocalyptic visual novel from sonnet009, the last man in the world is pretty surprised when he comes home to find a naked girl passed out in his bed... and as the girl in question, you're pretty shocked yourself since the last thing you remember is the world very distinctly not being a wasteland. You have no idea how you got there, and the fact that decades apparently have passed since your last memory seems impossible, though the fella whose abode you find yourself in, "Trash" by name, at least seems to be inclined to let you stay... as soon as he realizes you're human, anyway. What happened nearly forty years ago? Why can't you remember it? To play, just click to select whatever choice you like when some are presented. You can save and load your game at any time, too. For the most part, your choices are cosmetic, largely there to drive the personality of the protagonist (you!), or to colour the way certain things play out, but still ultimately veering you to where the story wants to take you. In spite of feeling largely "on rails", Aloners is fantastically written with one of the most charming and relatable characters to come around in a long, long time, and more than worth the read for any fans of romance after the end of the world.
Bombocracker's twee puzzle platformer Shifter is a little bit Continuity, a little bit "tiny bearded trucker hat man adventures", and a lot bit cute. Your goal in each level is to get to the door, but the catch is that doing so literally requires shuffling the level around you. While [WASD] or the [arrow] keys are your standard move/climb controls, hitting the [spacebar] splits the level into several chunks which can then be swapped around with the movement keys, which moves the square our hero is currently residing in around, shuffling the others it passes through. Hit the [spacebar] again, and they'll all snapped together in whatever new configuration you like, though you'll want to make sure scenery and obstacles line up in such a way as to let our hero move around. Doing this will allow you to help our hero, who can't do anything so grand as jump, and has a fatal allergy to spikes, to bypass hazards and reach the exit... though of course sometimes you'll also need to figure out how to power the door with switches to keep it open.
Part RPG, part match-3, and liberally dosed with unexpected sass and strategy, HeatPot Games' Hero Emblems for iOS is a fun and silly but also surprisingly clever spin on an increasingly crowded genre. When the princess is kidnapped by monsters, it's up to a band of four heroes to get her back, and then to save the ailing king, presumably while the entire rest of the kingdom's army sits around picking its nose or something. As you travel around the world map, you'll naturally have to contend with enemies through battles that play out like a high-stakes Bejeweled match. Each hero has a different token that, when matched, will activate their attack or ability, and your goal is to kill all your enemies before they reduce your hit points to zero. Matching the red tokens allows your priestess to heal you, for example, while the blue tokens will return a portion of your defense points (which reduce incoming damage), or cause your guardian to attack if they're full. Every time you swap tokens, it counts as a turn, and when the number of turns above each enemy's head reaches zero, they get to attack. Here's the kicker, though... while you can just make matches willy-nilly, you're not going to get combo bonuses to damage unlike, say, Puzzle Quest. Instead, there are certain match numbers and even a formation that yields powerful bonuses that you'll really need to create in order to take your foes down... especially the bosses! Match more than three tokens to create a super-powered token you can then combine for a stronger attack, for instance, or match five or more to create a massively powerful token that, when swapped with any other token, will unleash a strong spell or special ability from the corresponding hero. Toss in wrinkles like enemies being able to poison or lock tiles, and you have a game that's just smart enough to keep you on your toes, with a serious dollop of whimsical charm on top.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click adventure Space on the Case, you are the galaxy's premier (or maybe only?) robot space detective, so naturally you're called in to help when a bunch of cows go missing. Space cows. From a space barn. In space. You get a tip-off that lets you know where they've probably been taken, but how can you prove it? Just click around to interact when the cursor changes, and hop around to different planets to gather items and solve puzzles. As you'd expect from a game with celery aliens, dinosaur bathrooms, and robot detectives, Space on the Case is more than a little weird, but in the sort of happy, delightfully silly sort of way that makes Carmel Games such a nice treat, apart from a somewhat meanspirited jab at a fat person that doesn't really fit the otherwise harmlessly goofy vibe. Will the great detective Space ever find the cows? Only one way to find out, but you can bet it involves poop!
Need a new rage fix? Switch is what you need for all your high difficulty, platform, puzzle game needs. Brought to us by Alberto A. Braga, Guarav Sharma, Daniel Wallner, Sven Waschk, and Vulcan Brimstone, Switch's goal is to reach the portal door exits. To do so you need to switch the light bulb your little bot uses for a face... pressing the down [arrow] or the [spacebar] swaps between red and blue, while the standard [WASD] or the [arrow] keys moves and jumps. When he is glowing blue, he can see and use blue platforms, while when the bulb is red, the only platforms he can use are red as well. We've seen this before in games like Color Theory, but what makes Switch stand out besides the snarkiness of our hero is the high challenging levels that take all the skill, wit, and luck you got.
Pinball isn't exactly a game of strategy. You launch the ball and watch it bounce here and there making noises, sipping a slushie and absently glancing at the claw machine in the corner. Well what if the formula got spruced up a little bit? Maybe with some action RPG fairy dust sprinkled over the top? The result is Spotcos' Ricochet Heroes, a Ludum Dare game which has you launching your merry band of spiky-haired heroes from town to town, pinball-style. Use the mouse to aim, charge, and release your little avatars and watch them bounce off mountains, trees, inns and gateways, doing battle with monsters along the way. Use the [arrow] or [WASD] keys to tilt your characters in a certain direction to give them a little bump. Keep an eye on health. Too much time spent in the field battling slimes and fox beasts will cause your heroes to die. If you want to save that princess at the end, you'll need all the help you can get.
You're trapped in a room with no memory of how you got there and must get out. Sound familiar? Well it's anything but. There isn't any screwdriver here. No puzzles and most importantly no door. All you can do is think. Storm Alligator brings us Break the Limits!, a game made in 48-hours and may I say, what a game! In the beginning of this experimental incremental game all you can do is think, which is done by clicking, and which nets you thoughts. As you gather more thoughts, you can open up to more possibilities and a whole range of human emotions by spending these thoughts to gain memories, or find loneliness and many other ideas and feelings. Break the Limits isn't a game you can lose or even one that makes you think hard about the gameplay, but it tells a beautiful story of one soul's struggles when they finds themselves lost, alone, confused and abandoned, but most importantly hope filled.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
In AtlasAtrium's free indie horror adventure Follow the Darkness, Rina's got a problem. I mean, more that she just woke up from a coma and can't remember anything that's happened in the last month. She's begun seeing a girl following her wearing a fox mask, a girl nobody else can see who vanishes at will, and according to local legend, Rina's running out of time. Because she's been targeted by the Fox, who will follow Rina for seven days and then kill her... unless Rina can atone for a great sin she's committed, which is sort of hard to do when you have no memory of what you might have done. But hey, at least she has seven days to figure out... what? What's that? This game starts on day four? That's it, I call shenanigans. But Rina's got no time for that, and there's something else she hasn't considered... just because she doesn't remember what she did, doesn't mean nobody else does, and she might not be able to trust everyone she meets, making the Fox only one potential threat. To play, use the [arrow] keys to move, [spacebar] to interact, and [ESC] to open the menu to view your notes and journal or items, or save your game. You can hold left [shift] to run, but doing so depletes your stamina, which regenerates slowly over time. Taking damage depletes your health, which also regenerates or can be recovered using certain items, but four hits and it's a big fat game over for Rina. Conserve stamina, move quickly, and save frequently and in different slots.
Please be aware that this game deals with themes and contains some scenes that some players may find upsetting.
In Cheritz's enormous indie otome visual novel adventure Nameless, Eri has been alone ever since her grandfather died, and it's made her throw herself even more into obsessively collecting expensive ball joint dolls and accessories from them. She knows a young woman her age is probably too old to play with dolls, so she's too embarrassed to tell even her close friends at school, even though she finds herself talking to the dolls as if they're real more and more often. So imagine her surprise when she wakes up early one morning to find them all cooking, bickering, and even using her beauty products in the kitchen one morning as full grown humans. All of them still consider her their owner (at least, for now), and since they don't really have anywhere else to go, they come up with an elaborate scheme to stay with her, even winding up going to the same school. Nameless is a massive, fun, funny and touching visual novel with many hours of content thanks to its multiple (and secret!) endings and extremely high production values. But be warned... despite how cute and sweet it often is, there's more going to Nameless than meets the eye, and there are some potentially troubling behaviours passed off as cute or romantic.
Phantasmat has bounced from developer to developer over the years, with Phantasmat: Crucible Peak after the original, and now it's Eipix is up to bat with the next installment of the horror-themed hidden-object adventure, Phantasmat: The Endless Night. Let's get one thing straight right away... if you're a school organizer and the prom falls on the 50th anniversary of the tragic accident that shook your town half a century ago, wouldn't you, I don't know, reschedule just to be safe? Especially when said tragic accident was actually the deaths of everyone who attended prom fifty years ago? I'm not saying the townsfolk headed to the prom are guaranteed to be run off the road by mysterious apparitions appearing in front of their cars, waking up only to find themselves back in the sixties and their child is missing and the town has suddenly turned dark and hostile, beset by forces beyond our understanding, just... y'know... why risk it? But because nobody ever listens to me, that's the predicament you find yourself in here, forced to hunt for your daughter in a town that seems to have gone back in time, with a whole lot of spirits who don't seem to know (or care) that they're dead, and one mysterious figure who seems to want to help you join them. Despite a somewhat low level of challenge and a struggle with its own pacing, Phantasmat: The Endless Night delivers a genuinely intriguing story, fantastically creepy atmosphere, and just the right amount of jumpscares to craft a stellar casual horror adventure.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click puzzle adventure Cap'n Marcela: Parrot Charmer, Cap'n Marcela finds herself dealing with the dread Puffy Shirt Morgan, who's going to burn her island and its tiny village to the ground at sunrise. She needs a solution, fast, but it seems like she's the only one around competent enough to get things done, so before anyone will help you, you'll need to find things for them and solve puzzles. Just click to interact, and click an item in your inventory to highlight it for use. You'll need to come up with some rather unorthodox solutions for some of your obstacles in order to foil Puffy Shirt's scheme, but hey... if anyone can soothe a surly tavern owner or inspire a wizard, Cap'n Marcela can!
Folks, we don't want to frighten you, but we felt you all needed to be warned. The kitties of the Internet... are in danger. Horrible beasties known as spiters are rising up out of the underworld and are taking kittens hostage. If you don't do something immediately, our favorite time-wasting videos and image macros might go away... forEVER! Luckily, Alex2Dio has provided us with the perfect vehicle for taking them on: Spiters Annihilation 2, a physics puzzle game loaded up with all the rocks, bombs, ice cubes, and pits of horrible fiery death you'll need to destroy those spiters. Sometimes you'll be clicking to drop stuff from a specific height, a la the Cover Orange series, to smush the spiters. Other times you'll be clicking to remove stuff, so the spiters fall into something unpleasant. However you do it, just make sure to bid "good riddance" to all those spiteful spiters... and don't hurt any kittehs along the way. It won't be an easy task. ...No, really, it won't. Spiters Annihiliation 2 is a surprisingly devious puzzler that wants to do to your brain what you do to the eponymous spiters! The game relies on a mishmash of well-known physics-puzzle tropes, so it treads familiar territory for those who have been around the physics-puzzling block. It's not quite "new", but the various elements do work together nicely, in a peanut-butter-and-jelly way. Rather than innovate in gameplay, this has put in real love and effort to make its levels truly fiendish.
Kelly just wants to prove that she's a good sister, without doing all the work, of course. So when her younger sister, Zoey, wants to go to a haunted house on Halloween night, after some pressure from their mother, Kelly agrees to take her. But not too far in this cult-themed spook house Zoey gets too scared and runs off only to turn up missing. With the help of a worker who seems to know more than he's letting on, Kelly must find her and along the way find out this pseudo-haunted house is a lot more real than she once thought. Created in just 48 hours, Saving Zoey, by Kaleidofish and his many teammates, (r-bit, Doran, Geckos, Auro-Cyanide, Chocojax, Railgun, Phrostylicious Productions, Nathan, Thestral, and Cirno) is a free indie visual novel with a horror theme that can let even those with weak hearts enjoy because it keeps itself creepy without the jump scares. It's the atmosphere that will really suck you in as you try to make the right decisions to save your little sister. With three endings and plenty of game over screens you'll have to tread lightly and find out the right steps to get a better ending.
Yea verily, forsooth, and any other pseudo-Medieval babblery I can think of, Little Giant World serves up more cute tycoon simulation goodness in Shop Empire 3... now with more dung, bards, and taxes! As before you're trying to build a profitable, towering mall filled with shops, staff members, and hopefully as little theft as possible, but unlike before you're doing it all in a ye olden time-y setting. Little Giant World basically wrote the book on how to make cute, teeny-tiny sims for your browser (since Kairosoft basically has the mobile market cornered), and not much has changed, with a lot of colour and personality packed into this curiously addictive game.
Who says vampires are always children of the night? Not Eyesteam! The plucky protagonist of The Sun for the Vampire is an adorable little wraith who's grown tired of the nightlife; he just wants to see the sun without worrying about a killer sunburn. And since his previous excursion in learning how to day-walk didn't work out so well, he's back for another platform game challenge in The Sun for the Vampire 2. At the behest of an old wizard, he's plumbing the depths of a brand-new dark and spooky castle in search of the secret to vampire sunblock, and this time, he'll be putting his noggin to the test! While his last adventure was a foray into high-difficulty platforming, this castle brings far more puzzle elements to the party. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move around. The vampire still can't jump; instead, he uses the up [arrow] or [W] to turn into a bat and fly around. But all the flying he did in the last game must have tired him out, because now, he can only go batty for a limited time! On the upside, he's been working out, and can now lift and throw boxes using [S] or the down [arrow]. He'll have to cleverly flip switches, toss crates, and even figure out how to use his deadly enemies to his advantage! So although there are still plenty of wooden stakes and silver knives in his path, this vampire's second outing feels like a surprisingly different game from his first.
We all have different schedules, different motivations and different ambitions, sure. But if you're reading this, I'm willing to bet we have certain things in common. It's that time during the week when our thoughts start drifting toward distant horizons. Dreams of "What if..." and "Maybe I should..." occupy thoughts as we start to tune out the current issues and responsibilities pressing in, demanding importance. There's no need to shamefully admit to feeling a little lazy—take a break. Enjoy it. And if anyone complains, send them the Google results to this phrase: "taking a break increases productivity". Because, it's true. It really does. Ergo, here are three escape games that are suitably break-proportioned to aid in your escape from the weekday...
Bearface Games' Merchant, the new simulation game for Android, is a combination of crafting, RPG, incremental and resource management elements all deftly shuffled together into one neat release. It plays a bit like an incarnation of Recettear's formula for your phone: As a merchant, you hire heroes to go off to slay nifferous creatures and then use the materials gleaned to make items you can either sell or equip for your heroes to improve their mighty-deed-doing, as it's known in the biz. Critters generally yield their own resource types, along with the occasional rare, and these become important when you decide you want to craft specific items. Unlike many games you have five different crafters with their own specialty and plenty hero slots, each of whom can do their thing independently and noticeably level for it. Crafting merchandise not only requires specific resources to produce, but also varying amounts of gold as well. Selling merchandise typically garners about twice the manufacturing cost, which is where the resource management aspect comes in. Do you churn out mass quantities of the same low-level items for steady profiteering, or do you make a few pieces of high-quality equipment for your heroes to enable sojourns into more dangerous territories to enable you to put better and more profitable wares on offer back at the shop?
In PencilKids' latest point-and-click puzzle game Monkey GO Happy Western, the monkeys are out West, and the only thing that will cheer them up is a visit from the Indian Chief. Click around to interact, dragging items from your inventory at the top of the screen to use them when needed, and put that devious monkey brain to work cracking the codes used to lock away many of the items you'll need. Fair warning... as a person of Native American descent, I did make a sound of mild consternation in the back of my throat at this one. "Indian" is always going to be one of those terms that people are going to fight over, with some Native Americans finding it distasteful even as others are ambivalent about it (no one person can speak for an entire race, after all), and the inclusion of "Indian Corner" and the squinty, big-nosed Indians in the game might be too much for some to ignore, so play mindfully, though it was doubtlessly made with no ill intent in mind. As usual, our monkeys have to contend with a series of puzzle locks that are just sneaky enough to make your brain perk up a little, as the solutions are usually hidden away in the backgrounds of the areas you'll visit. You never have to worry about pixel hunting or obnoxious, unintuitive puzzles... as long as you keep your eyes open, you'll most likely do fine. It's a coffee-or-whatever-your-favourite-beverage-is break sized game, a format PencilKids have basically perfected with their beloved series of monkey capers, and Monkey GO Happy Western is another rootin'-tootin' entry, even if there's no Will Smith to be seen.
Sweeping square environments are all the rage these days. It's no wonder that that eventually, someone would have to start hiring park rangers to keep track of all that breathtaking blocky wilderness. Luckily for us, said rangers just so happen to be awesome. Awesome Ranger, by Vladimir Nayata, is the platform-y story of one brave little keeper of the cubical wilds, who must save the local population of adorably kitty-like fairies from poachers. Like all good platform heroes, the Awesome Ranger can move and jump with the [arrow] keys. But the Ranger can only move left or right, and sometimes the imperiled fairies are trapped in, horror of horrors, the background! Good thing the entire world literally revolves around the Ranger! Press [Z] or [X], and Awesome Ranger's environment spins around them, giving you a new perspective (and a new dimension) on things. Flip between dimensions and points of view, rescue the fairies, and get safely back to your spaceship so you can both blast off! Previous games such as Fez have tackled the concept of moving two-dimensionally through a flippable 3D world, but it is, dare we say, awesome to see the idea move into the realm of free browser titles.
Michel Gerard's Boomerang Chang is a fast-paced, simple-but-not-easy arcade game where all you can do is throw and jump as you stand atop a spire, constantly assaulted by enemies from both sides. Tap the up [arrow] to jump, and the right [arrow] to throw. The catch is that all you have is boomerangs, and you can only through them to the right, so if you want to hit something on the left, you'll need to time your throw to be able to jump over your boomerang as it flies back at you so it passes underneath. A single hit from an enemy will kill you, and, oh, guess what? You can also be decapitated by your own boomerang if it hits you, so pay attention to where it is! Also available free for Android, Boomerang Chang is a simple but also simply addictive little arcade game. It's got a great style with nice, subtle details in its itty-bitty artwork, and the way you can never tell what enemies will show up, or when, means you can't just "learn" the game's order straight to a high score. How many enemies out of an endless tide of them can you take down before they get you... especially when your own weaponry can be turned against you?
Is no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 133: New Year 2015 really an escape game if you're locked out of something? Coming home from the first shrine visit of the new year, you realize you can't find your house key, and nobody else is home to let you in! You'll want to click everywhere in this one, not just because of the lack of changing cursor, but because there's more to see than you might otherwise think with the "turn around" button in front of your door. Naturally, before you can get in, you also need to find ten little green men hidden around the area. It's cute, silly, and definitely as weird as you'd expect from no1game... just the way we like it! So go on and find a way inside... either before you catch a cold, or the garden comes after you!
U mad, bro? More like, U Mad Max, bro! Because that's what U will feel like while playing Road of Fury 2, a vehicular arcade rail-shooter by IriySoft. It's been but months since the bombs dropped, and with winter setting in, the quest for a safe haven has become all the more dire for our hero Cole. Pursued and ambushed at every turn by the Bloody Gear Gang (who, it must be admitted, was the party Cole lifted his sweet ride from), he must make his way across a post-apocalyptic hellscape, crashing and blasting everything in his way. Maybe he'll find allies. Maybe he'll find safety. No matter what though, he knows he's going to see a road full of fury. No really. That's what the opening narration says. Just roll with it.
Can't a bad guy leave anyone to enjoy a rainbow in peace? But then again, if they had, you wouldn't be about to play Keeper of the Grove 2, Booblyc's latest tower defense game. The team that brought you Incursion is back with another solid addition to the genre as you once again try to save magical gems from your attackers.You start out with three basic defenders... a long range guardian, a slowing ice magician, and an area of effect rock throwing monster. Your goal is to use these defenders to keep your treasures from being stolen. No time to dilly-dally under the lovely sky, you have a grove to protect!
Please be aware that this game is intended to be played with an XBOX Controller, though keyboard play is not impossible.
Guess what? I've battled an endless army of samurai ninjas to restore honor to my throne!... Alright so that last one was vicariously through Fowl Play Games new free indie game, Reign of Blades. Reign of Blades is a beautiful, well crafted hack and slash action game where you must avenge the death of your mother and take your rightful place on the throne. Using your Xbox controller, defeat all the enemies by hacking and slashing with [X] and using the special powers with [B], given to you by wearing the mystical helmets dropped by your fallen enemies. While the makers recommend the use of an Xbox controller, it should really be said that it's nearly impossible to play without one. There are keyboard controls, but no instructions for what button does what, as all information on how to play is directed for the controller. The mouse is the direction you turn, but it's a real workout just to turn around. It's such a shame for those who don't have an Xbox because this game is just plain fun to play. There is a blink ability that lets you pop up all over the screen and take your foes down from behind and it just doesn't work as smoothly with the keyboard. But if you have a controller then you're in for a wonderful treat.
What the dickens is this? (Just wait, that was clever, you'll see.) Charles Dickens (told you!) is in danger in Game Forest's hidden-object adventure Midnight Mysteries: Ghostwriting, and someone doesn't want you interfering. Seems he vanished after receiving a desperate call for help from his friend Washington Irving, and though his daughter Mary wants your help finding him, the super-fast and supernatural mysterious masked character lurking in the shadows really thinks you should mind your own business. This ain't your ordinary baddy either, since he can use books to travel to the locations described in them. Too bad for him, this ain't your first rodeo, and it's going to take more than magical book whirlwinds, forcefield green stink, a bunch of flaming jack-o-lanterns presumably filched from Norman Osborn, and an overload of vicious booby traps to throw you off the case. I got my own mansion, son! You'll use your foe's own bookery powers to hop from location to location, solving puzzles and hidden-object sequences, and getting a little help from your fine feathered friend along the way.
Terry Cavanagh and Stephen Lavelle's Moving Stories is part player-driven experimental narrative creation, and part packing simulator, as you control a young woman who's trying to figure out what to take with her as she moves out of her apartment. The catch is she's got limited space, and you can only take what will fit in her small suitcase, with different items being different sizes and shapes... and no, you can't rotate them. What you take and what you leave behind changes the dialogue and the reason you're moving... you could be leaving because she's moving in with someone, breaking up with someone, or, well, you'll see. You won't know until you finish packing your (occasionally strange or saucy) items and throw the rest out, and see who comes to the door after and why. Each time you replay, you'll also unlock new items to pack. It's a simple game on the surface, but also surprisingly addictive and clever as you discover what different combinations of items grant you.
David Surn's surreal roguelike-ish puzzle RPG-sy type game D.O.E.S. is weird, and I want to make sure you understand the irony of that coming from a woman who went to her most recent spin class in a Deadpool t-shirt and leopard print sweat pants. In it, you play U, a little creature searching the Dungeon Of Existential Surprise for all five Things in order to escape. To play, just click the tiles in the large grid... tiles can reveal anything from nothing at all to monsters (defeated in a simple fast click-fest that might make the game impossible for trackpad users), to "fun things". The latter are a series of random events, and you're given options as to how to deal with them. You'll notice these options rarely seem to make a lot of sense, and here's the kicker... your luck stat, represented by the four leaf clover to the left of the main screen, is then rolled dice-style against the evil dice roll, for each choice. Roll higher than the evil dice and get a good result, roll lower and lose, and some choices have a higher base dice number for disaster than others. So, yes, the game is kinda-sorta stacked against you, and there's a lot of trial-and-error involved in figuring out what does what, exactly, though you can uncover various power-ups that can make things easier, such as allowing you to see the numbers for each option on Fun Things. Die from your hit points running out, and you'll have to start all over, whereupon the board will scramble so you won't know where anything is. Unfair? Sure. Crass? Definitely. Potentially frustrating? Well, that all depends on you.
When their ship was attacked, the prisoners were grateful that each cell was also an escape pod. The pods were made to survive any landing and sure enough, the inmates awoke to find themselves buried far underground in what seems like an endless dungeon. Ironic, since they were being sent there to work off their prison sentence. Dungeon of the Endless by AMPLITUDE Studios is a roguelike, strategy sci-fi adventure RPG, with even more elements besides. The goal of the game is to get your team of heroes to find the exit, which leads into the next level. Not as easy as it sounds when you're in a mostly abandoned building filled with monsters. You only have so much "dust", which is converted into power to light the rooms, limited food to heal and upgrade, and also limited industry to build much needed defenses and mods to make more of the needed supplies. It is definitely a game of balance and one that will keep you busy trying to win for a long, long time.
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Please be advised there are themes in this game some people find upsetting.
I'm not sure I've heard of a more depressing game title than We Are All Going to Die. (Perhaps When the Bomb Goes Off?) But the premise isn't as depressing. You find on your spaceship someone has set a self-destruct to go off in one minute. One minute doesn't seem like a lot of time to explore this puzzle experimental game by Brwarner Studio, but due to [insert scifi space-y science talk here] you're trapped in a time loop. Ship blows up, you wake up in your bed. The timer doesn't start till you get out of the covers. Apparently you're the only one that can still retain the knowledge from the previous time, so it is up to you to find if you can save your crew. To do that you need to explore the ship (moving with the [WASD] keys only), find items that pick up as soon as you walk over them, and eavesdrop onto conversations your crew is having nearby. You'll have plenty of redos of the sixty seconds to solve this enigma. And an infinity of the same minute, if you can't.
Nothing's quite so thrilling as the Wild West. Open sky, hot sand, and an endless line of desperados in dire need of a bullet between the eyes. This is the world of Witchhunt's Smokin' Barrels 2, a duel-based shooter game where you need to be quick on the draw if you want to survive. Each round has you moving your cursor into the lower left corner to "holster" it for the countdown. When it's time to draw, drag the cursor to a target that appears somewhere on the screen and fire before your opponent does. Bonus damage is awarded for bullseyes but if your opponent is still standing you'll have to do it all over again. To the last man standing goes the loot, which can be spent in an upgrades shop for a variety of fun add-ons including armor, extra-damage bullets, and the odd belt of whiskey to get your cowboy back on his feet. Whatever you do, don't miss.
Even if you've tried only a handful, you know escape games come in a variety of wrappings and difficulty levels. Sometimes the best thing about a particular escape is the way it transports you to a scene of beauty and serenity, providing an affable assortment of tasks to amuse you while you soak in the surroundings. Other games are less about eye candy and more about putting your brain to work in one way or another. The main enjoyment in any Gatamari escape game comes from the pure logic of its puzzles. That's not to say that the art style, with static line drawings and a limited palate, is without its own charm. In fact, design and function line up perfectly here to become Gatamari's distinguishing characteristic which includes elements that will possibly remind you of Detarou. That is, minus the demented weirdness, and in a more abstract, less tangible sense; rather than an exact likeness, it's something about the way the puzzles are set up here. They'll keep you thinking, tease your brain in a good way, with some unexpected outcomes to amp up the fun factor. It's not the most difficult we've encountered by Gatamari, but it is sure to keep you busy for the next half hour or so...
This is the story of Wednesday. Wednesday, the little sister of Tuesday, sometimes got left behind. Everyone else seemed to have all the fun and, being a middle child, Wednesday often felt overlooked and under-appreciated. But Wednesday was clever—she had more than a few tricks up her sleeves. Everyone likes games, she thought, Especially escape games. So she devised a way to gather up all the escape games herself, be special, be unique, be attention-getting. This is how Weekday Escape came to be; it was Wednesday's master plan for popularity. Did it work? Well, you are here, aren't you? And you're not alone. Making an appearance this week, Selfdefiant presents a dragon cave from which you must escape along with two quickies from new guests, Pixel Kobo and Umi Escape...
When you think of thieves, what do you envision? A ski mask. Black, tight clothes. Sneaking around in the middle of the night. Well, Wonderstruck's indie stealth title for PC and Mac has little of them! In The Marvellous Miss Take, you go out on the prowl as cute and colorful Sophia as she attempts to steal back the collection that was wrongfully taken by Mr. Blackstone after her art-curating aunt passes away. It's a nonviolent trek you take through dozens of art galleries and personal collections to return your bequeathed paintings and sculptures. Cause who needs attorneys and lawful justice anyway? Take the law (and your expensive, fine art goods) into your own hands!
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Choice of Robots, from Kevin Gold and the inestimable Choice of Games, playable as a download, paid browser purchase, or for iOS and Android, is a meathy and philosophical sci-fi-esque text adventure presented "Choose Your Own Adventure" style that takes you through thirty years in the life of, well, you. Though of course here "you" means "a young man or woman building their first robotic intelligence and deciding both what that means for them, the world, and what will become of them". You'll literally design your robot from the ground up, and its purpose, personality, and ultimate destiny comes down to the choices you make. Virtually everything you do has an impact on your robot's system in the form of stats like Grace and Autonomy, while other decisions can impact your personal wealth, reputation, or even your relationships with the many characters you'll meet. Make the right connections and you could end up running your own robotics company, falling in love, or developing important friendships that could help you in the future... after all, you never know who's going to turn out to be President. Your path can branch in a truly enormous number of ways, and the world will change drastically over those three decades... will you fade into obscurity? Become a tyrant who crushes the world with a merciless army of your own? Find the person of your dreams... or build them? Thoughtfully written with warmth, humour, and intrigue, Choice of Games is an intensely satisfying text adventure that will keep you coming back for more with its myriad of endings and decisions that let you play the game how you want to, making for one of the most compelling text games in a long time.
no1game continues their quest to drag one little girl kicking and screaming into self-sufficiency with My First Recital, a cute escape game where you, a kindergartner who's used to having her mom help with everything, have to get ready for your hula recital all by yourself. To do so, you'll need to find all the items on your list and place them on the table in the middle of the room. There's no changing cursor, so click everywhere to interact and hunt for items! Like My First Christmas Tree Escape, this one is a little simpler than no1game's usual style, and almost seems intended to be a kid-centric escape game... which isn't necessarily a bad thing, since I've always said you've got to get your ankle biters started early on the good stuff if you want them to appreciate their genres! And hey, maybe this time they'll even learn to do things for themselves a little in the process... though we might offer if your kid's daily routine consists of solving multiple puzzles and tussling with squirrels, you might want to ease up a bit.
Neither rain nor snow nor really enormous vampire bat will keep William the Conqueror from rescuing the princess in this simple incremental game that plays a bit more like an "endless runner" arcade game, only with lots and lots of stabbing. And upgrades! William will move and automatically attack enemies as he walks, and all you have to do is spend the cash he earns from his slaying on upgrading his skills and abilities. Chances are he's going to need some help, however, so you'll also have to click on the screen to increase his damage, or on his fireball and freeze spells to use them. Make sure to check the Achievements tab to claim your rewards when you reach various milestones! If William is slain, well, it's right back to the beginning to keep on ploddin', but things will move much faster once you've upgraded several skills a few times. While William the Conqueror plays by itself, it does so very slowly, and the need to manually respawn means you can't just let the game run to rack up coin unattended, though the expense of upgrades tends to be balanced by increasingly higher bonuses. Coupled with its relatively simple, grind-y nature, that means it won't necessarily be for everyone, but once it gets rolling, the enemies, upgrades, and bright cartoon style makes this a solid little diversion to let you save the kingdom without lifting a finger. ... well, just the one, I guess.
Ninjadoodle's point-and-click puzzle game Lightybulb is just the sort of browser game you need now and again... just thinky enough, beautifully made, and ridiculously cute. In each level, your goal is to figure out how to turn on the lightbulb, but it's rarely as simple as flipping a switch. All you need to do to play is click to interact with things, but you'll need to experiment in each level to figure out what you need to do, since it often isn't obvious. Some levels are more clever than others, largely because Lightybulb is more satisfying when it relies on solutions that incorporate brainpower and ingenuity rather than simple reflexes, and some levels "repeat" by using the same puzzle style in others. Still, Lightybulb is smart, simple, and gorgeous, a testament to why Ninjadoodle makes some of the sweetest little point-and-click puzzle games around, and the perfect size to shed a little light into your day.
It shouldn't be much of a surprise that different developers, each creating a game called "Perspective", would approach the concept from their own unique... viewpoint, let's say. First there was a depiction of life from the experience of a pet in NFyre's 2D Perspective. Then there was the 3D platformer where the world around you changed depending on your point-of-view in DigiPen's Perspective. But now, Steve Warman and his team of students has given the world of casual gaming a whole new Perspective, and this time it's a puzzle platformer that straddles the second and third dimension like no other!... Okay, Super Paper Mario and Sky Island may take issue with that "like no other" part. But since those were fun games, it's no spoiler to say that this one is too!
Everyone knows when someone tells you they want you to bring them "the stars in the sky" to prove your love, you're supposed to bring them a bucket of water, but apparently nobody told the hero of Yuriy Votintsev's charming little physics puzzler Starry Knight because he's taken to flinging himself violent through the air via the use of an enormous elastic band to snag the stars for his lady fair. To play, all you need to do is click the knight or the tree his band is attached to, and he'll launch automatically... you need to nab all three stars and land on the princess in order to proceed to the next level. But because not everything is placed in a straight line, you'll also need to drag and rotate strategically placed wooden planks for our knight to bounce off of. It's a simple game, but surprisingly a lot harder than it looks, and its lovely pixel style and relaxing soundtrack make it a nice light treat to brighten your day.
Hidden Expedition: Smithsonian Castle, the newest hidden-object adventure from Eipix Interactive and Big Fish Games, opens with a lady scientist in the 1800s having a science-like breakthrough. Hooray! But then of course her children ruin everything, with her Darwin Award-winning daughter gleefully wandering up to the dangerous electrical device to get sucked in, and the scientist destroys the device in a fit of despair, so it was nice while it lasted, I guess. Back in present day, you and your fellow H.E.L.P. agent are called to the Smithsonian Castle, the Smithsonian Institute's administration building, when a strange power outage reveals an intruder making a strange theft. It quickly becomes apparent this ain't your average burglary, however, and your thief ain't your average thief either. It's a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey adventure as you uncover a love and a caper that spans centuries. You'll hunt for items through a variety of hidden-object scenes that change how they play, solve so many puzzles and minigames it's a wonder anyone at the Smithsonian can get anything done, and learn that the Smithsonian's insect cabinet was built in the 17th century and assembled from walnut, oak, and fruitwood, and... wait... I feel... weird. What's happening to me? Am I... learning? Is this an... educational game? NooooOOooOOoo! Someone fetch me some episodes of The Real Housewives of Wherever, STAT!
Originally available as DLC for Harebrained Schemes' lovely indie turn-based strategy RPG Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut is a polished, standalone version of the stellar cyberpunk campaign that improved on its predecessor in all the very best ways, and also available for iPad and Android Tablets to boot. Taking place in 2054 Berlin, in a world where shamans, orks, elves, "deckers" and street samurai work alongside humans, trolls, and dwarves, you find yourself on what should be a simple job with your old friend Monika and her team. When things suddenly go very, very wrong, you not only find yourself trying to unravel a deadly mystery before it gets you first, but you're also now in control of a group of Runners who, frankly, don't know or respect you very well. You'll need to prove yourself to them and the city, but now that it's clear you have the attention of some very big powers, you might not even survive. With snappy writing, an engaging story, memorable characters and even more choice and freedom than before, Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut is a top-notch RPG that addresses nearly every complaint about Shadowrun Returns without losing the things that fans loved.
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In Krutovig's point-and-click adventure Abandoned, everyone else in your family thought your brother was rather eccentric but harmless with his talk of doors to other worlds until he goes missing in what was presumably an epic fit of "I'll show them. I'll show them all!" Heading to Tibet where he was last known to be and armed with a letter from him, you quickly discover your brother maybe wasn't completely crazy after all, and you set out to follow his tracks. To play, just click the edges of the screen to navigate to other areas when available, and your cursor will change whenever it passes over something you can interact with. Items in you inventory can be used by clicking them to pick them up, or combined by clicking first one then the other whenever possible. When in doubt, retrace your steps! You may find that something you've done has revealed something else in a place you've already been before. Keep an eye out for secrets as well, as there are four hiding throughout the game.
It's the end of the world as we know it, and you feel fine. Of course, by "fine" I mean "You woke up confused, disoriented, and barely closed in some sort of dilapidated cryogenic facility being stalked by some sort of beast monster, and the world outside is hostile and in ruins where other bedraggled survivors will stab you with a broken bottle for a Twinkie, and you may die of hypothermia before you can even find out what that mysterious glow on the horizon is." But other than that, totally fine. Blue Bottle Games' NEO Scavenger is a brutal post-apocalyptic indie turn-based survival adventure, with a bit of a rogue-like flair. As you begin the game with nothing more than the hospital gown on your back, and a strange talisman around your neck, you're cold, weak, and very, very vulnerable. You don't know what's going on, or really even who you are, and the entire world is out to get you. You'll explore a huge, til-based world turn-based style, scavenging for supplies when you can, while at the same time coping with hunger, thirst, the elements, and the creatures and characters hunting this strange new land. You may get lucky and find a ratty old shirt and a single shoe in some ruins, or you may get stuck in a hole. You might be able to craft traps, weapons, and other useful items, or you might be attacked by a cultist and left to bleed out. Will you ever find out who you are and what happened in the world? Or will you die an unknown... or be manipulated by forces far greater than you? After years in development, NEO Scavenger is an impressive, deep, and engaging survival simulation adventure who rewards the patient and the clever... but also sometimes just caves your head in.
My Friend Pedro was a game about a talking banana encouraging you to do Matrix-style levels of acrobatic violence against a volatile gang, and because people really like twirling through the air in slow motion wielding dual pistols at the behest of a sociopathic piece of fruit, now there's My Friend Pedro: Arena from DeadToast, a shorter arena shooter style spin on the original bizarre concept. The controls are fairly simple... [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump, aim and shoot with the mouse, and of course, hold the [spacebar] to slow down time. You'll need to backflip off walls and other surfaces to reach higher ground, and you'll also want to keep an eye on your health to the right side of the screen. A single headshot will take out most enemies, but you're outnumbered, so watch out for health kits, and if an enemy drops their weapon, nabbing it will give you more ammo. You can spend the coupons you earn for how stylishly you fought each level on more weapons, but they're only good for one time for whatever level you purchased them on, so you'll need to buy them again if you die or complete the stage. But hey, waste not, want not, and if an enemy drops their weapon and you don't already have it, you'll gain access to it for the remainder of the level as well. My Friend Pedro: Arena is short, but action-packed and weird, and if you've ever dreamed of firing two guns into the air while going arrrrrrr, then this is probably the game for you, you glorious, bizarre banana, you.
Head for the hills! It's a headless undead... oh wait! It's just that Headless Zombie, Carl. Poor old Carl. Once a rich bloke with nothing to lose or so he thought 'til he lost his head. What? Too soon? Long story short, Carl is stuck in his undead form but with a little help from that wonderful electricity genius we all know and love maybe he can bring our charming little Carl back to life. That's right, Meowbeast brings us the second installment of this zombie platform puzzle, Headless Zombie 2, where Tesla is willing to help bring our hero back to life as long as he agrees to find the cogs Tesla needs strewn throughout levels. As before, Carl can pop off his head and use it to press switches and so forth, even if that head is a robotic substitute... though there's nothing like the real thing, so Carl still needs to have his head on his shoulders before he can go through a level's exit. That robot head has its own uses, however, and in addition to being a surrogate noggin, if it touches any electric orbs it'll be charged so that if it's placed on (or lands on!) a robot body, it'll move on its own, and can even be used to activate other electrical components like magnets... handy if you, say, have an anvil for a head, which you very well will. Sometimes Carl's head may land on a different body, and when that happens, both it and his headless body will move at the same time... just be careful, since a robot torso may be fireproof, thus allowing you to get through flames safely, but Carl's good old zombie body is not, and those electric balls can burn you up good too!