Almost everyone knows the story of Briar Rose, or more commonly known as Sleeping Beauty, thanks to Disney. A princess falls under a curse that puts her and her whole kingdom to sleep, thick briar bushes fill the forest leading to the kingdom, and the only way to break the curse is for a prince to awaken her with a true love's kiss. Elf Games' free indie point-and-click adventure Little Briar Rose brings us back to this tale we all enjoyed from our childhood, but takes a different look at the tale. Namely, how the Prince got to the castle in the first place. These are magical thorny vines so the good old hack and slash won't do. Thankfully the woods are full of magical creatures needing help and some talking to and your little Prince is armed to do just that. This beautiful little tale will remind you of all the magic of your childhood. Just be sure to get the puzzles right the first time, or there won't be any happily ever after for your prince.
February 2015 Archives
In the grand scheme of things, match-3 puzzle games might be some of the simplest to make in their most basic incarnation, but taking that simple formula and making it feel fresh and fun takes a bit more ingenuity. Good thing Playcademy seems to have that in spades, with Runefall being one of the most relaxing and enjoyable additions to the genre to come along in a long time. In it, you find yourself in the tiny town of Riverfell, which has had difficulty making ends meet and finding enough to make their tribute to the kingdom ever since the war brought the trade routes to a screeching halt. But when you discover magical, valuable runes while out searching for the resources needed to pay tribute? Well, that's another matter entirely, and suddenly sleepy Riverfell isn't so sleepy at all. Despite some issues with repetition and variation, a genuinely likable cast and engaging story alongside addictive match-3 gameplay makes Runefall a rocksolid addition to the genre that's well worth checking out and losing a few hours to, as comforting and enjoyable as loading up your favourite light fantasy film while wearing your comfiest socks and sipping your favourite beverage.
Varagtp's Tap Heroes, also free for iOS and Android, is a simple idle/incremental RPG that will feel fairly familiar to you if you've played Clicker Heroes, but darned if it ain't pretty. You start off with a simple warrior in a forest, and you click on them to heal, while clicking on enemies deals damage. Slain enemies drop coins you can use to upgrade both your clicking strengths and your party, and after you've knocked off ten monsters in one area, you can move on to the next, where they'll be stronger, but your rewards will be even greater. Every so often you'll fight a powerful boss, and slaying it will earn you diamonds (also dropped randomly while playing) you can spend on more party members or other upgrades like the coin doubler. If you're already sick of the clicker genre, Tap Heroes isn't going to do much to win you over. It's fun in the way all of these games are, a frenetic mix of arcade clickery and the simple satisfaction of upgrading and bigger numbers, but despite elements like the way the wizard and the rogue both have different abilities, it still doesn't offer much in the way of depth. The incentive to play is largely seeing what new areas and monsters you discover, and in that the game's lovely Paper Mario-esque retro visual style is a large mark in its favour. Tap Heroes may have been done before, and likely could use some fleshing out to make it stand above the crowd, but its oddly addictive and easy on the eyes, making it a solid addition to an increasingly popular genre.
In Terry Cavanagh's Grab Them By The Eyes, you were just minding your own business, slinging burgers out of your modest food stand, when a pair of upstarts with a much flashier sign set up shop literally a few feet away and began stealing all your business. A little shocking considering they're literally called Filthy Burgers, but it turns out there's a secret to drawing in the glazed masses, and that secret is making the best flashy sign you possibly can by combining message, colour, and other punch cards at the sign shop. See, you use your cash to buy various punch cards at the start of each day, and each card has a value that determines how many customers will be brought in. You and your competitors will take turns buying cards until they're all gone, and then you'll build your sign by selecting which cards to use to try to maximize your pull, which is harder than you might think... especially since cards become less effective the more they're used, though they can only ever decrease to a minimum value of one. It makes a deceptively simple looking game into something much more strategic, and you'll need every customer you can get since the food stand with the least by the end of the week needs to leave!
Find the Escape-Men Part 140: Snow Shovel by no1game is yet another short and sweet escape game with a snowy theme as you try to find the ten little green men and clear your driveway in the process. In that sense, at least, it's actually less an escape game, and more of a simple puzzle, unless you count escaping from the cold! As usual for a no1game title, there's no changing cursor, so you'll need to hunt everywhere for interactive areas, including some that might not appear right away. This is one of those games that might not even fill up a coffee break, but uses some clever tricks for its few puzzles that will have you smacking your forehead once you figure at least one of them out, as well as a cute method of giving you a few hints. So finish it up, snuggle up somewhere warm if you aren't already, and then, well, what else? Play even more no1games titles, of course!
Warning: This game contains flashing and strobe-like elements that may be hazardous to players with certain sensitivities.
This game is available in Pay What You Want format, including free, but please consider paying the developer if you enjoy what you play!
Mibibli's Quest is a great free indie retro platformer that keeps all the great points of the old days. Well, mainly the one where the games are just ridiculously tough and you spent more time retrieving the controller you threw across the room than you did alive in the game. But there was always something about that that kept us locked in and it will be no different in this high difficulty action game. Your goal is to reach the end of each levels (using the [arrow] keys to move), shooting with [Z] all the bad guys you can and jumping with [X] over those you can't. Except in the level where you're a spaceship. Or the level where you have to dance DDR style to avoid death. Or the one where... well you'll just have to see. Ryan Melmoth's Mibibli's Quest has some of the most unique enemies and gameplay I've seen in a long time. The game gives you different difficulty options to try out, but even on easy you're going to be weeping into your smashed keyboard. Still, you'll find yourself going back again and again for its creative levels and its satirical humor.
Ah, the joys of minimalism. Who needs flashy graphics and sounds, anyway? When a game's as unembellished as Blue Box by Hamster On Coke Games, it becomes downright zen, and the soothing puzzle challenge becomes as meditative as it is fun. This game (which is still in an early build and will likely soon expand, by the way) has you playing as a little blue square, bouncing rhythmically and energetically across a white expanse adorned with blocks you have to eliminate. Use the [arrow] or [A] and [D] keys to move left and right. One bounce on a block shrinks it and the second bounce makes it grow, so you have to plot out your course carefully so you don't wind up stranded out on a limb, having bounced away your only path back to safety. Later levels involve launch-pads that shoot you up to higher levels, teleporters, and other modifiers that keep everything fresh for all twenty-three levels of smooth puzzling fun.
You're trapped in a house, and the only way to escape is to Find 10 Yellow Cupcakes and eat a few others? Just what sort of fiend are you, MayMay? Just click around to explore, and remember to try interacting with everything since the cursor won't change to tell you if something is useable. To use an item, click it in your inventory to pick it up, and then click wherever onscreen you'd like to try it, while clicking the item you're holding on the About Item button will let you view it up close, which can potentially allow you to mess around with it further! Find 10 Yellow Cupcakes is practically by definition short and sweet, with the only real issue apart from its mildly clunky item interface being occasionally having difficulty telling what an item is, or a lack of feedback as to why something isn't working... or whether it's worked at all in the place of inputting codes! Still, the sense of whimsy and light-hearted puzzles go a long way towards making this a lovely little treat to reward yourself with, no matter what else you may have eaten today.
The second month of the year may be short on days, but it stands tall and defiant against anyone wanting to squabble about its lack of length. After all, it beat the odds and with this smaller net caught the birthdays of four American presidents, a decidedly love-centric saint's day (which a friend of mine dubs "singles awareness night"), is also Black History month, all while heralding the beginning of a new season. Those are just some of its better known accomplishments, which are nothing to sneeze at. So as we start saying our goodbyes to this particular February of this particular year, lets do it while enjoying our favorite pastime—playing escape games. To that end, here are three especially selected for such an informal occasion: An unlit maze from Hottategoya, a pruny kitchen from FunkyLand and a Rose Key escape in which February somehow plays a titular role...
Entertainment Forge's Epic Boss Fighter was all about big bosses, big arcade action, and relentless bullet-h-e-double-hockeysticks gameplay, liberally sprinkled with upgrades to boot. Epic Boss Fighter 2 continues that tradition and dials it up a notch as you are called upon yet again to defend the planet from a whopping twenty huge monsters, and the kicker? You need to defeat them all in one go... die, and you'll need to start over from a certain spot depending on how many bosses you've beaten, though you can spend the cash you earned from landing successful shots on new equipment that'll boost your stats, as well as handy-dandy droids that can fight alongside you. You can play with either the keyboard or the mouse, but you'll automatically fire, and different equipment will come will various special abilities or attacks you can activate to give you an edge. As you progress through the game, more items will become available in the shop, and you can unlock more slots for equipment as well. The question remains, however... epic being one of those words that's been bandied about so often in pop culture it may have lost its impact, is Epic Boss Fighter 2 really double the epicness of its epic predecessor?... well... yes!... sorta!
no1game's POKO escape game traps you in a room that doesn't have much in the way of creature comforts... unless, of course, all you really need to relax and thrive is a bunch of cryptic clues and strange puzzles. Then you're all set! Click around to explore, and click the question mark on an item you're carrying to view it up close, which may let you manipulate it further. Some items can even be used on or combined with one another, so if you're stuck, try fiddling with your inventory. POKO is one of those games where getting the ball rolling might initially be more tricky than solving the rest of the game, and you'll need to remember that some items may be used more than once, or for, um, odd things. Despite this, there's a lot of charm to be had from the mildly offbeat way the puzzles are presented, and there's actually a nice amount of cleverness to them to appreciate. It won't take you very long, but, well, time flies when you're having fun, right?
Sanpoman's escape game Tulip Garden will have you going in circles and finding new ways to look at things as you explore a very sneaky garden and house looking for the clues to solve the puzzles that will let you find a way out. To play, just click to interact, and the cursor will change when you pass it over something you can click on. Though the text isn't in English, you'll be able to solve this one just fine without speaking the lingo... as long as you have a keen eye for detail, of course. Despite a minorly clunky puzzle or two, Tulip Garden is largely surprisingly intuitive and clever, favouring observation and perception more than anything else. It doesn't hurt that it's cute either, making it a fantastic cheery break from whatever your day brings you.
Awooga! Awooga! The Escapists has finally emerged for Windows and XBox One users in a full release version of this beloved and quirky prison break simulation role-playing game. Mouldy Toof and Team 17 Digital bring on the cheeky pixelated 8-bit goodness as you go through the motions of being a model inmate while slyly hatching your plans to make it home free. It's a unique and eerily unsettling feeling if you're one of the teeming multitudes who've played Minecraft and built massive structures of stone to now find yourself having to stealthily escape from them, but there's plenty of wry humor and action in this crisp and colorful just-one-more-day release to make it an insatiable compulsion.
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The things we'll do for our favorite food. Pay lavish amounts of money. Travel to neighboring cities. Swing on ropes past dangerous spikes. Your pigs will do at least one of these things in Piggy Wiggy 3: Nuts, by Qabogames.com. This physics puzzle game has you eating acorns like, well, a pig. Similar to Cut the Rope, draw a cord from a pig to any yellow knob within reaching distance. You can also connect knobs to each other or pigs to each other. Click and drag to slice a rope and hit [R] or the [spacebar] to reset a level.
Please be aware this game deals with themes of suicide and depicts some scenes that some players may find upsetting.
Ladies and gentlemen of the JiG-iverse. I have a confession to make, that I hope we can deal with together, as a community. I... kinda like "Walking Simulators". Yes, those first-person exploration-based adventures that tend to take place in lonely houses/islands with random documents scattered all over the place, and are home to a depressingly small number of zombies or orcs. First it started with Dear Esther, then Proteus and Gone Home. One fears that soon I will be relegated to writing for JayIsThingsThatMayOrMayNotBeGames. But before that happens, let's talk about The Static Speaks My Name by Jesse Barksdale: it's a first-person exploration-based adventure, available in Pay What You Want Format (including free, but please tip your developers if you enjoy their games!), that takes place in a lonely house with random documents scattered all over the place. And while there are no ghosts or jump scares, there's no shortage of atmospheric creepiness as you step into the shoes and home of a man obsessed with a truly not-that-impressive painting.
When a game comes along with a name like Mourn, it's a pretty safe bet to assume that it's going to be challenging. Not even necessarily in sense that it's difficult to complete, although this puzzle platform game by Keybol will certainly test your skills. But "Mourn" is the kind of title that implies a certain heaviness of theme; the kind of game that wants to make you stop and think, and not just about how to solve it. The protagonist of Mourn finds himself in a place that's dark both physically and metaphorically, and the only one he can rely on to get out is... himself. Specifically, the various copies of himself who lie around, frozen in time, until you press [shift] or down to hop between bodies and animate them. He'll wander around with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, jump with up or the [spacebar], and discuss his situation as he traverses a dark mine that may or may not be metaphorical, collecting the pickaxes that will help him make his way out. And since there are only so many of him to go around, he'll have to carefully rely on the limited numbers of himself that exist to escape the dark mines. It makes more sense to play than it does to explain, which is good, because Mourn is tightly-designed to try both your reflexes and your brains.
Ish Games' Awesome Conquest is proof you can do a lot with a little, provided you're a deity with semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic powers of course. The blue tribe you watch over has had its amulet stolen and been overrun by the evil red army, who attack at the end of each day, which is pretty stressful given each day is only sixty seconds long and you're drastically outnumbered. During your sixty seconds, you'll need to manage your tribe... miners produce gold, which can be spend on buying more units, and monks produce mana you can spend on single-use spells. When the clock runs out, your warriors will automatically charge into battle, where they'll fight on their own... you can help them out with any spells you've purchased, or by telling some or all of them to retreat if things are looking grim. Soldiers who survive will actually earn experience and get stronger! At the end of each battle, you'll get a single upgrade you can spend on one of your structures, allowing you to get, say, more miners to produce more gold, or different types of soldier units. Awesome Conquest is a simple but addictive little game, suffering a bit by a lack of explanation of certain elements in the beginning, but a fun and clever take on incremental/idle games, and the sort of thing that would be even better if it were fleshed out further.
In addition to being a mouthful, Dark Tales™: Edgar Allan Poe's The Mystery of Marie Roget is the name of ERS Game Studios' creepy new hidden-object adventure. You and your companion, the insufferably smug Dupin (why couldn't it be Dale Cooper... just once?), are called in to investigate some strange happenings plaguing a newly married couple. Glass has been shattering all on its own, young Marie has fallen into a depressed fugue and won't tell her husband why... oh, and there's the sinister skull-laden magic mirror, too, making it rather loosely based on the original tale to say the least. You and Dupin (ugh) quickly discover there might be more going on than simple superstition, and it seems like this sleepy little burg is hiding more than its share of dark secrets. And crazy puzzle mechanisms. And elaborate gate locks. And evil one-eyed crows and cats. How does anyone get anything done around here when you need two puzzle pieces, face cream, and an old candle just to get into the local bakery? Though perhaps the scariest thing about this game is... comic sans is the default font. AAAAEEEEEEIIII!
Bandai Namco's One Piece Treasure Cruise, free-to-play for iOS and Android, is weird to talk about. On the one hand, it's a fairly simple blend of turn-based RPG gameplay and reflexes, with stamina, timers, and several different types of currency. On the other, it's a colourful riot of weirdness, with an enjoyable story that loosely follows the plot of the wildly popular anime/manga series, with tons of collectable characters, and a high degree of polish. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy, who's out to become the king of pirates and assembling the crew he needs to track down the legendary One Piece, a treasure hidden by a great pirate who was executed a long time ago. Which would seem a fairly basic premise, until you throw in the fact that Luffy accidentally ate the "Devil Fruit", and now he's a literal rubber person, and along the way he's duking it out with a seemingly never-ending parade of over-the-top villains and taking on weirder and weirder allies. Despite some frustrating monetization and ultimately repetitive, basic gameplay, One Piece Treasure Cruise still manages to serve up a vibrant, funny, and cheerfully off-beat adventure with loads of cutscenes that'll appeal to fans and newcomers alike.
Pinata Hunter is a weird concept, an arcade game centered around wildly flailing at an apparently aware pinata and collecting the candy that falls from your beatings to spend on things to make your beatings more powerful and expedient. It was popular enough to make for Pinata Hunter 2, and now Pinata Hunter 3 is here for another round. To play, just wave your mouse back and forth... as it passes over the pinata, candy will be knocked from it, and if the candy lands in your bag (which you can drag around the screen), you can convert it to cash for upgrades. Waving your weapon too much too quickly increases the pain bar on the left, and if it fills up, your hand will cramp and render you unable to do anything until the bar depletes. From the shop you can buy bigger bags, better weapons, protection for your hand, and more, and once you bash a pinata to smithereens, you'll move on to the next. If you liked the originals, Pinata Hunter 3 offers more of the same, and is at the very least a way to indulge your sweet tooth without the empty calories and wrist strain!
no1game's Find the Escape-Men Part 139: Convenience Store begins, unlike the rest of their escape games, with very little fanfare, as you find yourself in a convenience store exactly as the title suggests. You can't get out for some reason, but by now you should know the drill... find the ten little green men hiding around the store, and they'll open the way forward for you. While some of the escape men are simply hiding in places that may take a bit of clicking to find, even with its few puzzles Find the Escape-Men Part 139 is still the work of a shorter break than usual. Like your average convenience store pit stop, it's short and to the point, but still a pleasantly silly little game for any time of the day.
When you hear the name Fatal Fighters, you might picture a game filled with SPIN KICKS and SPINES BEING REARRANGED and disembodied voices telling you to FINISH HIM while two characters dance sideways back and forth like little mating spiders. Deqaf Studios' newest title isn't... quite that, being more a blend of match-3-esque-ish puzzle and turn-based fighting game, like a pared down Puzzle Quest. You choose your character, then face your opponent across a board with different coloured tokens. Clicking a token causes it and any other adjacent matching tokens to be added to the percentage chance the corresponding coloured skill has of being executed. During your turn, you get to make three matches, and then you can try to use the skills your character has available, though again, their chance of success is tied to how many matching coloured tiles you accrued during your turn. Unused abilities will roll their percentage over to the next round, so don't feel like you have to risk a ten percent chance of success. You and your opponent will go back and forth like this, whittling away at each other's defenses and hit points, and provided you win, you'll move on to your next foe. Defeat four in a row and you'll win the tournament, and if you collect enough achievements, you can unlock a different character, with different abilities. Though a little slow and in need of some fleshing out, Fatal Fighters is a neat idea and a solid diversion for when you want to lay some smackdown, but, you know, without all that button mashing that's so hard on the thumbs.
Silly, sassy, saucy, and unexpectedly smart, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker from Magic Notion is the dating and matchmaking simulation you didn't know you needed for your iOS or Android device. You've just been set up with your very own dating agency by drag queen extraordinaire Kitty Powers herself, and with her guidance, you'll grow and expand your business and clientele by matching people and leading them towards their happily ever afters... hopefully. Based on their interests, personality, and more, you'll comb through your black book to try and find a suitable match, and then use an earpiece to help nudge them along on their dates, both by selecting the proper responses and choosing whether to lie when asked about something, and by playing a variety of minigames. But more than just knowing how to match people with similar interests, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is about your own observation and deduction. If your client's date pops off to the bathroom and returns asking how they like the change, you better be able to spot exactly what's different about them. You'll need to be able to remember details about the potential match's profile to properly steer the conversation. You'll need to know how to order from them based on what they say they want to eat, and also be able to pick it out of a lineup of different dishes whose names you might not recognise. Heck, if your client goes on a second date with them, not only will you need to keep track of what they've already discussed so they don't get bored, you'll also need to know when to ask to see them again, or even if you should take the next step. Throw in tons of unlockable content, no in-app purchases, unexpected depth, same-sex relationships, fantastic writing and a great sense of humour, and Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is head and high heels above the rest. Also coming soon to your computer via Steam!
I don't know about you, but when I found out the Italian plumber Mario had nothing to do with plumbing in his games it was a serious let down. Thankfully, Keygames have noticed this lack of legitimate plumber games and has brought us Plumber Game 2, a puzzle game that is also available on iOS and Android. You're hired by a horribly overheated monster named Clifford, whose pipes have gotten all rearranged. He needs that fresh cool liquid fast, so swap the pipes positions as quick as you can, by using the mouse, to connect one end to the other. It doesn't matter if you have water spraying out of unused ends of the pipes as long as Clifford gets his drink. Well, the water spraying out in unused ends wouldn't be a problem except Clifford has a collection of bombs. If any liquid sprays on them, or if their timer goes off, Clifford is out his eyebrows and you're out of a job. It's a simple take on a very classic type of game, but pulled off very well.
Did you know that doodling during class or meetings can help improve your recollection? It's true. While we can't promise that playing Aleksander Suvak's Doodle Brigade will grant you photographic memory... And we definitely don't advocate slacking off during algebra, even if this game is available on Android devices to play on the go... we can promise you upgrade-tastic tower defense game action! Your paper kingdom is being invaded by stickman zombies! How can you tell they're zombies? Because they're drawn in green ink, of course! Fight them off with a stick-army of your own, full of snipers, bombers, mines and more. Click on any empty square to draw in a new soldier or tool, keep an eye on your precious ink resources, and make sure all the rows on your graph paper are amply defended! There's no denying it's a familiar and well-worn formula, especially if you're a fan of the by-now legendary Plants vs. Zombies. But Doodle Brigade is one of those rare copycats that actually understands what made the original great, and manages to emulate it while still putting its own spin on things.
So now, this Mardi Gras 2015 business is behind us. Oh, are you not accustomed to this extravagant phenomenon? Well then, here is a brief synopsis: Mardi Gras is, in certain cultures and localities, a time to stuff yourself silly with as much beloved indulgences as you possibly can in preparation for then, during a forty-day season of lent, denying yourself said indulgences. Eh, it makes perfect sense when you think about it. As far as indulgences go, none can be better than logging into JIG and playing games 'til your fingers grow numb and your eyeballs dry out. Or at least until you have to go do more, how do you say? re-spons-ible things. Alright. Enough small talk. Let's get serious here: nobody is giving up games here and escape games ain't going away anywhere. And, as is the Wednesday tradition in these parts, we have three of them for you to escape your weekday worries with...
Little Alchemist, how does your garden grow? With ace chinchilla jet pilots, sea horses, headless horsemen and armored flying dragons all in a row! And it's a good thing too, because you'll have to master the elements and combine them to form cards like these and then some if you want to save Little Town from the villains in Chinzilla Games' action-packed free role-playing card game for Android and iOS! Collect cards, research new and better combinations to get the most out of your cards, explore Little Town and duel the bad guys for a chance to get new cards, or battle your friends and rivals in the online arena to improve your ranking on the leaderboard... because who among us hasn't wanted to become internet famous for siccing a Skeletal Dragon on unsuspecting strangers? Combine cards like Metal, Rainbows, ever-present Chinchillas and Sunshine to make Final Form cards like Bionic Chinchillas, Thor, and even Puff the Magic Dragon. Coming back each day will increase the gold bounty in the versus matches, so there's no time like the present to start
trouncing the general public for utterly obscene heaps of gold rescuing the people of Little Town from wrongdoers everywhere! You'll start out in your study with plenty of options like Research, Edit Deck, the multi-player online Arena, a Shoppe with thankfully completely optional in-app purchases, and a portal to the Adventure map. Each map area has several baddies you can defeat multiple times for a random treasure including gold or a free card. You'll take turns throwing cards from your decks at each other, each with a given Attack and Defense rating, or you can combine certain cards into even more potent cards with better stats. As you form combinations you'll accrue up to five Combo Spheres each of which can boost the stats of many of the cards you can play. Best your enemies to reap the rewards, and best all of them in an area to unlock the next map area.
Evan Rosson's Swarm Simulator is an incremental idle game about creepy crawlies with bad attitudes. In the beginning, all you have are larvae, but from them you'll create drones who can hunt for meat, which in turn can be used to breed even more powerful units, unlocking territories and more as you play. Unlike a lot of incremental games, there's no need to click here, except to spend the bugs, meat, and other "currencies" you generate to create new ones. The game's tutorial will walk you through the basics, including upgrading and more, but eventually it'll be up to you to figure out how to unlock new units and actions. Because everything you can make or, well, hatch, is done by sacrificing a number of something else (such as making queens by spending drones and meat, for example), being able to afford the staggering costs of some purchases means knowing how to manage what you have in the most efficient way possible. Why spend ten thousand units of one type to create a single of another, if those ten thousand are all you have and the new unit is initially going to produce paltry amounts of something else? Even if you cave and purchase that expensive new unit, you may actually find selling it to purchase an upgrade you can't otherwise get is the best course of action. Though a little dry, Swarm Simulator's piles of unlockables, achievements, and interesting ideas makes it a smart and welcome addition to the genre.
The little girl in no1game's cute point-and-click puzzle game My First Laundry Day may think she's too small to do laundry all by herself, but she's already several leagues ahead of a lot of people, some with decades on her, just by trying at all! Her mother's too busy to help, but she's written down some instructions, telling you what you need to gather, and then how to wash it all. To play, just click to explore the apartment, and click the question mark beneath items in your inventory to take a closer look at them. My First Laundry day is a little more elaborate than the other My First games no1game has created, taking place over multiple rooms and even consisting of multiple objectives beyond simply gathering a bunch of items in one place. Despite some finicky hotspots to find some items and angles, it's still as adorable as you'd expect, and a nice step up in complexity from other games in the series.
Though now available in early access as a significantly more complex game, Subsoap's FaeVerse Alchemy began life as the much simpler yet still addictive match-3/Tetris-styled puzzler Faerie Alchemy. The concept is easy... elements drop from the two of the screen in pairs. Use the left and right [arrow] keys to move them from side-to-side, the up [arrow] to rotate the way they're lain out, and finally the down [arrow] to drop them into place on the screen. Each group of three or more identical "elements" you make earns you points, but also combines to form an element one tier higher, and adds that element into play, making the aim of the game to unlock all available elements and get the highest score possible before the screen fills up. It's a neat, tidy twist other games have since spun off of, and though significantly lower in feature than its (pricey!) commercial cousin, still an elegant concept that's perfect for fans of match-3 gameplay looking for a slower, thoughtful game to play when you have a spare minute or ten.
If it's a Yonashi escape game you know it's going to be short and sweet in the best possible way, and Blue is no exception. One look at the decor and you'll realize the game lives up to its name, but don't let the weepy artwork fool you... if anything, this cuddly game is going to put a smile on your face. Just click to interact with something when your cursor changes, and use the transparent bars that appear when you place your cursor at the edges of the screen to move around the room. You can click the magnifying glass on item icons in your inventory to take a closer look at them, or just click the item itself to "equip" it for use. Blue isn't a game that will keep you tangled up for very long, but it's not trying to, either. It shows exactly why Yonashi is so well loved for creating cute but clever little games that brighten your day without taking a big chunk out of your time.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click puzzler Tammy Jo Superstar, the titular big-haired country belle works in a hotel that's going downhill fast, largely because Neel, the in-house singer who only got the job as a favour to his mother, is... kind of the opposite of good. Tammy Jo's convinced she could do a better job, and her boss gives her his blessing to do whatever she can to make Neel leave. Easier said than done since everyone in the hotel seems to want her to do something for them, and as you'd expect from a point-and-click adventure game, even simple tasks can get a little... weird. Just click around to interact and travel through the hotel. The cursor will change when you mouse over something you can use or talk to, and clicking an item in your inventory will highlight it for use. Tammy Jo Superstar is weird in a good way, and getting the egotistical Neel (actual show name: Kneel Before Neel) off the stage is going to take some work, but with your help, Tammy Jo can turn her dreams into a reality.
It's a mad world out there with werewolves, vampires, mutant rats and more zombies than all the others combined. But thankfully there seems to be an equal amount of bullets and endlessly flowing alcohol so at least we can join in that madness and have one heck of a time. IriySoft's Tequila Zombies 3 has our two heroes, Miguel Tequila and Officer Jaqueline, finding a third party member who convinces them to take a detour from safety to gain a powerful...thing... but the path will lead them through more zombies than ever before. And what more could you ask for in an action shoot 'em up game? How about upgrades and unique character specialties, and secrets that are hidden throughout the game? Yeah, they got that too. [WAD] or the [arrow] keys moves your character and jumps, while the mouse is used to aim and shoot. Hitting [R] will reload, while  to  or [Q] and [E] will cycle through weapons, and the [spacebar] will activate your character's special power, with [S] used to search for things. The game plays like a classic beat-em-up sidescroller, and you choose your character to play through it... zombies will come in waves from either side of the screen, and when you've killed them all, you can move on to the next area. In addition to cash you can spend on upgrades between levels, they can also drop special power-ups, like peppers that double your damage! You need ammo to use any of the weapons you find, so if that runs out, you'll default to melee until a zombie thoughtfully drops some bullets upon death.
Enlightenment isn't easy. Most of the time it can take years of dedication, study, focus, and meditation. Or you can just have the local philosopher lob you a scroll. Yes, that's your job in Flash Chaz and Bitnest Software's Age of Wonder: The Lost Scrolls, also free for iOS and Android, a physics puzzle game involving your little bald wise man bringing the gospel to the masses, one bouncy scroll at a time. Use the mouse to aim and control the power of each throw, sending the scrolls ricocheting this way and that through the sandy, ancient locales. You can also press the [spacebar] to switch to rocks, which are best used for hitting levers to activate doors and platforms. You know, typical ancient stuff.
Things are a little funky this time around for Pencil Kids' latest installment of their Monkey GO Happy point-and-click puzzle games, Monkey GO Happy Valentines. Love is literally in the air every time you look around as they hunt through a psychedelic sweetheart wonderland, solving the problems of the people (and critters!) they meet while they track down the only thing that will turn their frowns upsidedown this holiday... a whopping 70 fluffy Valentine bunnies, who are hiding absolutely everywhere, and often in everything! Just click around to interact, and drag items from your inventory at the top of the screen to whatever, or whoever, you want to use it with. It's sweet and whimsical in all the right ways, with just a dollop of puzzle solving as you try to crack the codes in your way. So go ahead. Make a monkey your Valentine.
Thanks to Cyberjar88 for sending this one in!
2-13-2015: Regency Solitaire is now available from Big Fish Games!
Grey Alien Games' Regency Solitaire is as lovely and elegant as you'd expect an indie card game to be, which is quite lovely and elegant indeed. The game follows Bella, desperate to escape an arranged marriage to her less than desirable neighbour after her layabout brother gambles the family fortune away. Bella has dreams of marrying one very particular handsome suitor, but with the restrictions of regency society, that can't happen unless she restores her family wealth and reputation. Which you accomplish, naturally, by playing lots and lots of solitaire. Nothing weird about that. That's how we paid off our house. With 180 levels spread across 20 chapters, a beautiful, hand-drawn art style, and a few twists on the familiar solitaire formula, Regency Solitaire is an absolute pleasure for slow, relaxing card game strategy from start to finish.
Martin Kool's 0h h1 was the very best kind of puzzle game... simple yet smart. 0h n0 has now arrived, also free for iOS and Android, and it's every bit as elegant and addictive as its cousin. The object of the game is to mark which circles on the board are blue, and which are red, using logic to figure out their positions. See, blue circles will tell you how many other circles they can "see" in their own row and column by displaying a number atop themselves, while red circles block their view. Click an empty circle once to make it blue, and again to mark it red, clicking the little arrow in the menu at the bottom of the screen if you need to undo something. The game can generate several different sizes of the puzzle for you, making sure you always have just the right amount to sate your appetite, and its clean, minimalist design and easy to pick up, Minesweeper-esque concept means it can be played by just about anyone... and, well, it probably should be!
It seems in many platform games the narrative is what makes it so amazing. We wouldn't have been moved about the love between zombie and human in I Saw Her Standing There if it wasn't for the floating text on each level, and goodness, what would Thomas was Alone be with out its brilliant story? But Zhuravlev's game Prophet has no story. It has no voice over, no hovering text to fill you in. All it has is a little pixel man and some beautiful atmosphere. There is a story there, but it doesn't let you in on it. Are you running from something? Why is the world in chaos? It's never really told. All you know is you must run, jump, and bounce off walls to cross the treacherous landscapes to find some oddly flickering doors that are standing in the middle of nowhere. It's not an easy trip and rough land is not a jumpers friend, but the smooth spots let you dash, slide, and leap to your unknown goal. Just watch out for bubbly spots, crumbling platforms, and falling debris that want to halt you to your mysterious goal. Use the left and right [arrow] keys or [A] and [D] to move, and tap [spacebar] to jump!
Good seafood can be so hard to find. Cyberkat has a hankering for some digi-fish, and this electronic, supersonic feline isn't going to sit around waiting for his next meal to just fall into his bowl! Instead, he's going fishing with rockets and lasers in Adventure Cat's new shooter game, available for Android, iOS, and the browser you're reading this in right now. The big twist is not that the fish he's aiming for are in barrels, but that his entire adventure is controlled entirely with one button! Click (or tap) and hold the left mouse button (or your screen) to fly up, and release it to descend; Cyberkat takes care of the gunning on his own. This gives his buttery, shoot-'em-up adventures the extra, lemony zip of a jump-and-run game or an avoidance game. The streamlined control makes for a shooter that's incredibly simple to play, but make no mistake! There are some real lunkers waiting for Cyberkat on his fishing trip, and reeling them is no picnic. Cyberkat is one of those ever-so-elusive "easy to learn, hard to master" games, and that fact alone tends to be a pretty strong recommendation whenever it appears!
There's a lot to be said for horror that leaves things up to your imagination, and RAC7's Dark Echo, a supremely unsettling sound-based stealth-game for your iOS, takes that to the extreme by making you rely entirely on the way noise interacts with your environment to navigate... and escape. Originally conceived as a game for Ludum Dare in 2013, in Dark Echo you control someone lost, unarmed, and blind in a hostile environment. To find your way to the exit in each level you need to use the sound of your footsteps to find your way around and avoid hazards. Tap and hold on an area and you'll see the footprints move towards it, while white lines radiate out from beneath them. Those lines will travel around and bounce off walls and other obstacles, giving you an idea of what your surroundings look like. Press and hold on your character's footprints and release to tap loudly and send out a great circle of sound from wherever you're standing, but beware... you're not alone. See, while dangerous spots are marked with red and should be avoided, some danger comes looking for you, and the more noise you make, the easier it is for you to be tracked down. You can quickly and repeatedly tap to make yourself creep and make as little sound as possible, but that makes it harder to navigate since you're making much less noise to echo off your surroundings. You'll need to be both quick and cautious to survive, and with 80 increasingly deadly and unnerving levels, your nerves may never be the same even if you make it out. Be sure to play with headphones, and turn the lights down low!
If you don't know Zachtronics, my friend, you have a wonderful journey ahead of you. Known for developing some of the smartest and most satisfying logic-based programming puzzles around, like The Codex of Alchemical Engineering and SpaceChem, they're creators of games that challenge you in the best possible ways. Currently available in Steam's Early Access is their latest title Infinifactory, which takes all those clever, cerebral puzzle concepts somewhere out of this world. No, I mean... literally. While driving home one night from work, after spotting a bright light in the sky you find yourself aboard a spaceship, outfitted with a suit and a nifty jetpack, the apparent prisoner of a bunch of aliens who want you to... do... something... for... reasons? Surprisingly, being burbled at in alien lingo isn't particularly enlightening, though the fate that could await you if you fail should provide sufficient motivation to learn. So, hey. You're stuck in a tiny room with nothing to eat but food pellets, and nothing to do but solve the various puzzles and problems you're presented with from your monitor, which in turn zaps you to various alien locations to do so. It might sound like a bad situation, but look on the bright side. Infinifactory is fun, morbidly funny, and mentally engaging in the way few games ever manage, making it a fantastic puzzle experience for new fans and old.
Not convinced you'll ever make a million? Hyper Hippo's incremental idle game AdVenture Capitalist will have you rolling in dough in no time flat thanks to donuts, car washes, newspapers, and... lemons? Well, you know what they say about life and lemons. Click 'em! When you click an item, its progress bar begins to fill, and when it reaches the end, you'll be paid based on how many of that item you own. You start with lemons, and as time goes by you'll be able to afford other business ventures, or simply more of the ones you've got. Since you might not want to sit around clicking forever, you can also hire managers to run things for you, purchase or unlock upgrades to increase your earning capabilities, and even get a little heavenly investment help. (Click and drag or simply use your mouse scroll wheel to navigate through menus!) AdVenture Capitalist is cheek-tastic, with puns absolutely everywhere and nods to all manner of pop culture icons, and its vibrant, clean art style is easy on the eyes... though if you want to mute that soundtrack, make sure you visit the Swag and Stats screen! It doesn't have quite the unexpected charm or surprises of Cookie Clicker, but its practically oozing professional polish, and has come a long way from its initial incarnation thanks to frequent updates by a devoted team, and an equally devoted fanbase. It even calculates your earnings when you're offline! Now that's a part-time job I can get behind.
Don't get me wrong, I've been on some bad dates, but never really "accidentally doomed the world with Lovecraftian horrors from beyond the veil" bad. In MorbidWare's arcade shooter Nether Runner, it's just you and an itty-bitty helpful elder god against the seemingly endless horde of monsters standing in the way of rescuing your date, who is probably seriously reconsidering dating someone who goes poking at clearly sinister ancient tomes. Chose your control scheme by selecting the controller icon on the main menu, and then set off with your Cthulhu chum atop your head. He can carry you until he runs out of fuel, allowing you to fly around the enemies and projectiles hurtling at you, but when the fuel runs out you'll have to be satisfied with simple jumping... oh, and you never stop running either. While you will die, since every hit knocks a heart off the meter in the upper-left corner of the screen, you can spend the cash you earn from slaying monsters and your score on upgrading your abilities and even unlocking new skills. Eye-catching production values and challenging arcade gameplay liberally dosed with big boss battles makes Nether Runner a lot of fun, though the tremendous amount of grinding for upgrades and cash may wear off some of its appeal. Besides, everyone knows what works best when it comes to evil books, right? Klaatu... verata... n... Necktie. Nectar. Nickel. Noodle... ? Oh well. I'm sure it wasn't important.
In Tesshi-e's plinky-plonky-soundtrack'd escape game Escape from the Knight Room, you're just looking to take it easy when you get a note from your old friend Mr. K about a strange room he's found, and wouldn't you know it? Now you're trapped inside, and all you've got to keep you company are a few suits of armor, some fine art... oh, and puzzles and secret mechanisms, of course. To play, just click around and explore! Without anything so fancified as a changing cursor, it's up to you to discover what's interactive and what isn't by combing every surface... seriously, there's some sneaky things going on here. To make progress, you may need to be persistent, or even a little rough, but hey, you don't play an escape game without breaking a few eggs... or... omelets... or... something. Somebody really needs to create a list of escape game proverbs. A Happy Coin in the hand is worth a pixel hunt in the bush... ?
The cyclopean robotic protagonist of Martin Magni's Android and iOS physics puzzler Odd Bot Out may have just gotten rejected from its factory and dropped down a garbage shoot for not meeting standards, but it's still going to waltz right into your heart. Or, well. Pitter patter awkwardly into it like a nervous budgerigar. In each level, your goal is to get Odd Bot to the exit, which is easier said than done. Tap on Odd Bot and drag in the direction you want it to move, and it'll totter in that direction until you let go, though it can only step up onto obstacles one block high. As a result, to get Odd Bot safely through, you're going to need to get creative... literally, since many objects onscreen can be combined or manipulated. Red blocks can be stacked and snapped together, for example, or even onto Odd Bot itself, making stairs or weighing things down, while some buttons can be wired to different robots or contraptions to activate them when pressed. It's up to you to figure out how things function and interact with one another, especially since there's no tutorial or text to help you!
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
Please note that this game is currently incomplete. Future chapters will be released, also for free, as updates as they are completed.
A long time ago, in the magical land of Equestria... No, wait. Sorry. Got confused. In the first chapter of Miwashiba's free indie RPG adventure 1bitHeart, translated by vgperson, you play the reclusive but good hearted boy Nanashi, whose days spent shut in playing games, sleeping, and eating pizza, just like everyone else, are interrupted by the arrival of a strange girl. The girl, Misane, doesn't remember how she got into his apartment, or why he found her asleep in his bed, and she also doesn't really seem to know much about all the technology that's commonplace for everyone else. What she does know, however, is that she's seriously troubled by Nanashi's lack of friends and his willingness to let everyone walk all over him and call him whatever terrible names they like, and so to Misane the goal is clear... help Nanashi make friends! But something strange is happening in town, and odd as it may be, everyone's safety may wind up depending on Nanashi and Misane. With a fantastic soundtrack, gorgeous stylized artwork and environments, 1bitHeart is cute, funny, and professionally polished to a remarkable degree, though the friendship-making "battles" a la Phoenix Wright-esque format might be a bit rough around the edges.
Created in just five days for Nitrome's Game Jam by Ryan Carag and Bill Kiley, A Kitty Dream is a sweet and not-so-sleepy little Metroidvania-esque platformer about a kitten exploring a strange and surreal world while unlocking new abilities as you find them. The [arrow] keys move, with [S] is jump, which is your only real "skill" in the beginning. Take damage from something and you'll be zapped back to your last save point, which you can activate by tapping the down [arrow] when standing in front of one. The charming retro style and initially sleepy atmosphere may feel too at odds with the somewhat exacting platforming required later on for some players who pick it up in hopes of something as mellow and relaxing as it presents itself to be. As a result, A Kitty Dream probably won't be for everyone, but if you don't mind getting your paws dirty and think you can handle some pixel-perfect leaps, it's still a seriously cute little game that's just the right size for a Metroidvania-flavoured snack.
Originally made in just 48 hours for Ludum Dare and then tweaked and polished, Wolve's Hanoka is a simple yet gorgeous action-packed game of acrobatics and arrows, as you control a young woman who bravely dives beneath the waves her village sits atop to lure giant spirits to the surface. There, she can leap above the water and fire her bow at the creatures chasing her, before she plummets back down to try again. Use [WASD] to move, and the mouse to aim and fire, though initially you can only do so when our heroine is above water. As you slay the spirits, you'll gain experience points you can spend on opening new chakras, which can give you new abilities, or enhance the ones you already have. Available upgrades start from the bottom of the menu where they're displayed, with more options becoming available as you unlock others on the tree. The blue bar in the top left corner of the screen represents your experience level and how close you are to opening another chakra, while the red bar above it is your health. Health regenerates automatically overtime, but if you die, you'll lose a little experience (but keep your chakras!), and if you were in the middle of fighting a big spirit, you'll need to lure it back up and start the battle again. Don't forget to hit [P] to pause if you need to take a breather or want to change the volume!
A wise man once made this rather astute musical observation about human behavior and it got me to thinking: You'd think people have had enough of silly love songs. But have they? Nope. Seems people are kind of suckers for all these love related things like sappy tunes, banners made of red hearts, bouquets of flowers, and random lines of sugary words that also happen to rhyme. They even came up with a holiday to celebrate it. Well, I understand. Sort of. Although I do not have three love-themed escape games this edition of Weekday Escape, I thought I'd at least write some poetry for you. They're not great poems. In fact, they're truly horrible. So how 'bout I try distracting you from that point by including these lovely snapshots from the games...
Failbetter Games' Fallen London is best described as Welcome to Night Vale meets alternate-history Victorian-Gothic, a strange combination of horrifying, hilarious, and mysterious that takes players on a bizarre tour through a dangerous and strange world where London exists underground (it was stolen by bats... long story), and with that comes a host of surreal creatures, characters, and customs, where whispers and secrets can be currency, and playwrights make pacts with demons. Sunless Sea, set in the same world, is the team's first commercial product, and one that expands on the beloved series mythology by placing you in command of a vessel on that vast subterranean sea, the Unterzee, where new cities, cultures, monsters and more lurk across the dark depths. Part choose-your-own-adventure style text story, simulation, part nautical RPG and player-driven narrative, you'll craft a character, decide their background, and give them an ambition... maybe you'll want to write the next great masterpiece, or find your father's bones. It's all up to you, and a vast world filled with intrigue, wonders, and horrors awaits you, but be warned... the zee is a dangerous place, and anything can happen. Sailing darkened waters and encountering strange events can increase your crew's terror, and leave you dealing with mutinous, panicked fools, while supplies and fuel can run out and leave you stranded. Even if you die, well, that's not really the end. The zee is endless, and you can just create a new captain, one who can have a variety of ties to your last, or even pick up their inheritance.
No matter what time of day it is, it's always a good time for TomaTea, so why not kick back and relax with Early Evening Escape? I mean, not that I can think of a reason why you'd actually want to escape from this picturesque little cafe, with its cakes, flowers, presents, and even a well-stoked bar. Assuming it has free Wi-Fi, you're all set. To play, just click around... the tip of your cursor will glow when you mouse over something you can interact with, and if you're presented with a message claiming you have no idea what to do, it means you're faced with a puzzle whose particular clue you haven't stumbled across yet. Though it initially looks rather simple, TomaTea proves yet again with Early Evening Escape how great they are at packing in a lot of smart puzzles in a relatively small space through clever design, so get ready to sharpen your brain even while you take a break and unwind.
It doesn't matter if you have a special someone because no1game choo-choo-chooses you with My First Valentine's Day, a cute point-and-click puzzle game about a little girl who desperately wants to give something to someone she likes. First, however, she's going to have to assemble all the ingredients to make a truly magnificent Valentine's chocolate box herself... even if she is just a kindergartner! To play, just click around to explore the room and interact with items, trying to find what you need from the list your mother left and solving the puzzles in your way. When I was little we just cut up red construction paper, but hey, I've always been a slacker. If you want something cute and light to make you smile, and maybe make you feel better about your own organizational skills (seriously, who puts chocolate there?), fire this up and prepare to be twitterpated.
We live in a fascinating age. Interest in science and the universe is growing, physicists and educators like Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson are bona fide celebrities, sharing the same couches on talk shows as A-list actors. It's about time some of that wide-eyed curiosity with the nature of our universe made its way online. Enter Rebuild the Universe, a fun and popular incremental and educational game that uses the very fabric of the universe as its currency. You start with "quantum foam", the absolute basest concept our current model of physics can conceive of, and gradually work your way up through the subatomic particles, making neutrinos and protons and all those other bits and bobs you half-remember from high school science class, until even cells and life forms become part of your journey. If you find yourself scratching your head trying to tell a prion from an angstrom, the game offers short, fascinating blurbs describing each particle you create. There's also a black hole you can dump your universe into for a permanent increase in atom production efficiency. Because when you want to make a cosmic omelette, sometimes you have to break a few cosmic eggs.
Blink and you'll miss it, but if you love simple yet clever point-and-click puzzle games, you'll still want to fire up Sean James McKenzie's What Do We Do Now? Made for the 2015 Global Game Jam in under 48 hours, each bite-sized level tasks you with figuring out what you need to do in order to advance to the next level without any directions whatsoever. Each stage is a different sort of puzzle, and simply by clicking around (sometimes dragging things with your mouse), you'll gradually figure out the goal of the level and how to go about achieving it. Though some might feel it ends just as it's really getting warmed up, it still showcases some smart ideas and encourages you to play to puzzle them out. Hopefully it's a concept that gets expanded on in the future, but as it stands, if you only have a little window to play, What Do We Do Now? is a great choice.
At first it's just you and a white cube on a table in an otherwise empty room. To play, click the areas on or around the deceptively plain box. While it seems basic to begin with, turning to the sides of the cube reveals small buttons, switches, and compartments all with various interconnected functions. Any objects you find by discovering and dismantling the box's secrets are added to your inventory at the bottom of the screen. Just like the hidden caches sprinkled around the box's surface, Tsure Game 5.2 has surprising depth. Its elegantly simple design that conceals a handful of engaging puzzles may remind you of similar titles like The Room or Dismantlement series. When one side has a puzzle that might seem confusing or obtuse, tinkering with another side often gives you just the item you need to unravel the mystery. At its essence, this is an escape game that rewards experimentation... you need to think "outside the box" to get inside the box!
Someday, instead of kids playing Oregon Trail to see how easy it was to die of dysentery back in the day, or playing Organ Trail to learn how easy it was to die from a zombie bite, they'll be playing Orion Trail, a prototype of a game currently being Kickstarted by Schell Games, to learn how easy it was to die because your ship ran out of fuel during early intergalactic travel. In this fun resource management choose your own adventure simulation, there are four resources you need to keep track of... food, fuel, crew members, and hull damage. If you run out of any of these, it's game over. Plan on that happening a lot. Start by selecting a mission you'd like to undertake, which involves getting to the end of the trail with high numbers of one of the resources. Next you'll go through a selection process where you chose a captain, a ship, and three officers. Each come with a skill set that will be added to your overall effectiveness in one of five categories indicated on the bottom of the screen.
They say there's gold in them thar hills, and in Monkey GO Happy Western 2, the latest rootin', tootin' installment in Pencil Kids' point-and-click puzzle adventure series, it's up to you and your posse of primates to track it down. And with that, I have officially exhausted my supply of Western-sounding verbage. To play, just click to interact and move around the different locations. As usual for a Monkey GO Happy game, you'll find a lot of obstacles in your way, from people who want you to bring them things, to coded locks whose solutions are cunningly hidden in the backgrounds of the areas you can visit. It's just the right size for a puzzley pick-me-up, packed with all the colour and charm you've come to expect from the talented developer.
In Artogon's creepy hidden-object adventure Shiver: The Lily's Requiem, you play Dr. Thompson, returning to the sleepy town of Blackwill after 17 years. Things get weird in a hurry when, on your way to your first night on the job, you stumble across a girl passed out in the street. She begs you for your help, claiming to be the daughter of a former patient of yours who has been comatose for years, but there's something hunting her that doesn't want you interfering. Lured off into the night by a strange siren song, she needs your help before it's too late! So go collect a bunch of pearls to decorate your office. And find some items for your fish tank. And crack open this random tin to solve a puzzle to enter your own office. And play Battleship with this mechanic. But other than that, saving her is your priority. Despite suffering from an abundance of backtracking and having shed most of the horror elements fans of the previous games in the series might be hoping for, Shiver: The Lily's Requiem still blends urban legends and classic mythology in new and intriguing ways for a gorgeous adventure with a diverse and meaty amount of puzzles and hidden-object scene variants.
It's a simple life being a knight guarding the border of the land of Ederra. The lands are generally at peace, everyone tends to have their paperwork, and the most contentious situation is the daily sparring session. That all changes when a group of mysterious, armed men claiming to have "business" with the King charge past your station (apparently you forgot to make sure that the enemy gate was down). With their destination the kingdom capitol, it's a race against time as you make your way cross the continent, determined to see what their "business" is, and if it needs to be stopped. It's Ender Story: Chapter 1, a retro-styled turn-based RPG by Jordan Allen, Cat Hoang, and Matt Jones (some of the team behind Land of Enki 2).
Currently available in Steam's Early Access program, Red Hook Studios' Darkest Dungeon is a misery simulator masquerading as a dark turn-based strategic RPG. You've been called back to your ancestral home after a relative dug too deep beneath it in search of rumoured riches and instead awoke something evil and foul that tainted not only your sprawling manor but the land for miles around. As you delve into dangerous places to search out and destroy the darkness within, the expeditions take a toll on the heroes you've hired, both psychologically and physically. Their sanity will begin to gradually erode due to the horrors they encounter, not only making them weaker, but also warping them as they despair. They'll gain quirks that impact them and those around them, turning on one another, growing more cowardly or irrational, and even time at rest in town between quests might not be enough to make them recover, and of course if they die on a quest, they're gone forever. With a gorgeous visual style and grim, claustrophobic atmosphere, Darkest Dungeon is a striking and immediately engrossing game with a fantastic premise, though its relentless difficulty may at times border on the unreasonable.
Indie developer Aleksandr Solovyev has brought us and absolutely gorgeous modern take on the brick breaking genre for your iOS device. Impulse! is an arcade game with beautiful graphics and sound and innovation at the same time. Tap near the bottom of the screen to release the ball, then tap and swipe to move the paddle. If you need to pause, tap the top of the screen. Though the mechanics are basic the bricks are something different. They range in shape from your ordinary rectangles to circles, to hexagons, arranged in all sorts of clever designs, including a pool table and a space invader game. The game is free to try, with an in-app purchase to unlock it all!
Being royalty isn't necessarily hard, it's just tedious, as the protagonist of no1game's Bored Prince Escape can attest to. He's sick of never having a moment to himself, of having every minute of his day planned out, so one day he plans to escape during one of the brief times he isn't under watch. With bodyguards stationed outside the room, getting out is a little more complicated that sneaking out the door. To play, just click to interact, though keep your eyes peeled and search everywhere since the cursor won't change when you mouse over something even if you can use it. The prince's escorts aren't messing around with keeping him under his thumb... there are plenty of locks and codes, as well as a tricky hidden item or two. But hey, when you need some "you" time, you gotta go what you gotta do!
How much keep would Kram Keep cram if Kram Keep could cram keep? As it turns out, it can, and the answer is "an awful lot." Ryan Ledohowski, also known as metaknight3000, began work on this platform game for Ludum Dare 31 so this entire Metroidvania adventure is squeezed and smushed into single screen! Emphasis on the "Vania" portion of that portmanteau, as this exploratory, power-uppy quest draws a lot of inspiration from the classic Castlevania series. Jump into the shoes of a blue-haired vampire hunter, and rid this labyrinthine citadel of the bloodsucking menace who lives on the top floor! You'll start off with a single, basic jump on the [X] key, and the ability to throw knives with [C]. But since this is a Metroidvania, as you make your way into the depths of the keep, you'll soon discover new skills that will help you explore deeper and fight more dangerously. Oh, and you can change the controls too, if [X] and [C] don't suit your fancy. Don't be caught off-guard by this adorably teeny-weeny castle... It's only too happy to claim its next victim!
There are artists and then...Well, there are those who critique. I'd like to think there can be an amalgamation of both in anyone who loves art, in all its forms, but that can be argued another day. As Anton Ego puts it: "The work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But...the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so." Thusly I'm often hesitant to lay in too heavily in my own critiques as what makes games enjoyable is very subjective. Perhaps the loudest criticism I offer, though, is silent: Those games which don't often make it into the Weekday Escape lineup. Well, it's not that they're not enjoyable or rendered through talent and cleverness, it's just that there are quite a few new escape games born each week. Why did I pick this week's trio from FunkyLand, MayMay and Amakuchi Game? Well, good question. I'll answer that soon enough but for now, I've talked enough. Besides, I'd rather know what you think...
In Psionic's jumpscare-tastic horror escape game Ghostscape 3D, you've always believed in the paranormal, despite the best efforts of a local reporter to paint you as crazy in his column. You're a little surprised and suspicious, then, when you get a letter from him inviting you to come see "something the likes of which you've never seen before, or ever will again", and cautioning you to come alone. Armed with only your trusty camera, you soon find yourself trapped inside... now who could have predicted that? To play, just click to interact... your cursor will change when you mouse over something you can look at, use, or move to, displaying helpful text, though sneakily some things you can interact with won't do change your cursor or show text at all. Open your inventory by clicking the big "i" in the upper right corner, which allows you to read any notes you've found, check on your progress for collectibles and objectives, and equip items for use by clicking on them. Your camera is going to be a pretty valuable tool... while sadly you can't use it to photograph puzzle clues, taking pictures of certain things like paintings or the glowing white orbs will check things off your list of objectives. Just be careful... this place has more than a few skeletons in its closet. Well... bodies, really. Parts of them. Maybe you should have worn gloves.
Still in development, Marc-André Toupin's SPOINGS, aside from being fun to shout and presumably snack food for Mr. Saturns, is a minimalist turnbased roguelike RPG that's all about luck. You move your little avatar with the [arrow] keys, jumping from one quadrant to another, but the catch is the square you land on in each area is random, and moving out of a quadrant causes it to be replaced with a completely new one. Figuring out what each different icon represents, and what they do, is part of the challenge since the game offers no instructions. It's sort of like if someone dumped a bunch of unassembled IKEA furniture at your feet without instructions, and you had no idea what any of the tools were or what they did, and also you might be a little on fire. Run out of hit points, as indicated in the top-left corner, and the game will inform you that U ARE DED, prompting you to start anew, hopefully a little wiser for having had your nose bloodied. (Was this game designed by Q?) Some will find it infuriating for lacking any instructions and leaving so much up to chance, while others will find it addictive for the same reasons, especially since once you learn the ropes you'll realize it's not nearly as baffling as it seems. (Or you can just cheat and read the official TIGSource development thread for more clear instructions.) SPOINGS is planned to eventually land on mobile devices once more work has been done, so give it a spin, and drop the developer some feedback when you're done!
If you've ever unwittingly come upon ninjas while shooting picturesque photos on vacation, only to have your camera stolen because you may have inadvertently taken a photo or two of said ninjas, then you can relate to the plight of 3 Pandas in Japan, a charming point-and-click puzzle game by FlashTeam. And despite the unwritten rule that you should never ever try to take on a ninja, the panda friends are determined to get their camera back by working together to figure out what order to click things in order to reach the exit on each screen.
Roundabyte's iOS exclusive Dwelp is exactly the sort of simple yet oh so sweet puzzle game that makes my heart go pitty-pat and my free time fly out the window. Conceptually, it's a straightforward mechanic, where the goal is to link up all matching coloured dots in a limited number of moves. Drag and drop to place one dot near one of the same colour (don't worry, they have colour-blind mode!), and they'll link up, but other matching dots will become faded, and from them on only linked dots can be moved. As a result, you need to figure out how to move your linked dots around the field to collect all the others, which gets harder when you consider your linked shape has to fit within the grid of the field, without overlapping any dots either. I've probably made that sound more complicated than it actually is, which is probably the least helpful superpower anyone has ever conceived of, but despite changing up the rules a little in later levels by giving certain dots special rules, Dwelp really is a breeze to pick up and play. Put down? Not so much.
By far the hardest part about being a hero is schlepping your way through all those dungeons. Yes, the dragons, skeletons and bats are hard too but c'mon, walking?! Ugh. Fortunately, this game made in 48 hours for Ludum Dare, One Screen Hero by Wes Selken, Izzy Aminov and Brian Bunker, brings all the action right to you in one convenient screen. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move and [Z] or click to attack the various mobs that pursue you through each level. There are four portals on the screen in each corner, and a timer counting down right in the center of the screen. You've got to scamper about collecting coins, open treasure chests, and doing battle with all manner of ghouls before the timer gets too low. When it hits zero, the level reshuffles into a new format, so you'd better make sure you're on the right portal so all the madness can start again. This turns the game into a mad dash of collection and combat. Maybe it's not so convenient after all.
Prepare to vanquish hordes of mighty foes in valiant battle in Altairworks' medieval high difficulty tactical role-playing game! The catch? You're playing as the slimes, which just begs the question, If you fight and win, but have to be a repulsive transparent creature made entirely of goo to do it... did you really win? Only if you're good enough! While you're menaced by swordsmen, archers, martial artists, riflemen, ninja and more all ready for battle, these guys will apparently just throw back their heads and obligingly swallow your gelatinous askeletal mass to enable you to take them over! And you'll need to do just that, as slimes aren't exactly known for their ability to take damage very well. Even then you're not out of the woods yet. Perhaps it's the slack-jawed look, the slow mechanical movement or the preternatural red glow to their eyes, but any unit you've taken over is instantly regarded as a threat to their former comrades who will proceed to dogpile them immediately and pummel them without remorse. Not only tactics but strategy are needed in spades if you're going to make it through Ambition of the Slimes, free for iOS and Android!
Part of the magic of video games is how they can make what is mundane and bland somehow joyously addictive. Surgery isn't what you'd call a laugh riot, nor is food service considered a thrill, yet somehow clever game designers can turn tedium into delight. Well here's a weird one for you: furniture assembly. Yes, that's right. Studio TheStorkBurntDown's new title, Home Improvisation (also playable on itch.io), manages to turn the dreaded task of building your cheap bit of IKEA nonsense into a gleefully daft puzzle game. Left click to select each piece of furniture, use the mouse wheel to adjust elevation, and right click to control its orientation to fit each peg into each hole. The game's exceptional Unity-based physics system can sometimes cause parts to scatter as they knock into each other, but rest assure, this is a game that's just as fun to fail as it is to succeed.
Those vile eggs are always coming up with some way to bunk up the place. Apparently in the first, second and third games your efforts weren't enough and now the population of dino eggs is at an all time high. Time for you to thin the crowd and save us all from the over population of eggs with faces, in Qiabo's new Disasters Will Strike: Ultimate Disaster. In each round it's up to you to crack those eggs using quakes, floods, plagues, bees, and sinkholes in this physics puzzler game. In each level you have a certain number of natural disasters that you can call down, such as earthquakes that can shake the screen and shatter glass, or wind that can blow round objects left or right, and you need to figure out how and where to use them in order to manipulate the structures on each level to bring these eggs their doom. Don't forget to make use of the environment, like large boulders and the very touchy 100%-natural bundles of explosive (Yep. Pretty sure those were normal back in the day.) So bring out your sadistic side and get egg-cited (Sorry. I'm l-egg-ally obligated to put in at least one egg pun. But that one was just for fun.) for this wee-bit-morbid adventure.