Rise and shine, my little masterminds! Another Wednesday means it's time for another Weekday Escape, and that means it's time to party the way we like it... with inexplicable incarceration, improbable situations, and a whole lot of puzzles! This week! MayMay wants you to lend a fin and that's no fluke, which sounds sort of fishy to me. no1game gives you a theme park attraction for couples a little more engaging than sitting in the dark and trying not to imagine what happened last on that ride seat. And Esklavos proves no good deed goes unpunished, and least not when it comes to brandishing tools at stranded motorists!
September 2015 Archives
The kingdom of Oukoku lives in the shadow of the dastardly (and spicy) General Tso. The Sorcerers and Beastmasters of the land have beaten back his armies twice, but have paid a heavy cost to do so: another attack and the kingdom is finished. And yet, the legends foretold of a tiny knight that would one day be the salvation of the land. Are you that knight? Are you that tiny? Well, you'd better be, because you're the only hope we have. Super Chibi Knight, whose free online demo can be played here, is an platform-RPG-adventure hybrid by the PestoForce team; a team comprised of Nick (age 33) and Bella (age 8) Pasto whose collaboration started with the original Chibi Knight. Move Chibi Knight with the [arrow] keys, and jump with [S]. You perform a basic sword attack with [A]. You will find upgrades throughout, including a special fireball attack performed by holding and releasing the attack button. This attack will drain energy from your special meter, as will the Spells or Beast attacks you might learn throughout the game, which will be activated with [D]. Hack-and-slash your way across the world, completing missions to learn new techniques, and defeating baddies to earn XP. Earn enough XP, and you can apply it as an upgrade to you armor, sword, or special meter. (These changes are reflected by changes in your character sprite, which is a nice touch, though Super Chibi Knight does allow you to "lock" your look at various points.) Eventually, you just may become skilled enough to take on General Tso and make the world safe for Chibi (Chibis?) everywhere!
Andrew Ken, Marc Vinyals, and Josh Miller activate their secret power rings to summon Cyndre Phase, a fast-paced, fixed-point shooter where you must defend your base against waves of enemy rockets and projectiles across three levels with three big bosses. Just aim and shoot with the mouse, but beware! Your score depends on racking up points from combos and your accuracy, which influences how much your score increases from every enemy shot down. You'll also want to let the power-ups come to you rather than shooting them out of the sky, and keep an eye on your base's health meter below your cannon, of course. While three levels might not seem like a lot, even on the default difficulty Cyndre Phase packs a punch, while its simple but stylish presentation and snappy soundtrack conjure up memories of arcades past. The levels and enemy progression are all designed around letting you beef up your combos, so while you blasting away isn't that hard, making every shot count and knowing when to take it to maximize your score without getting blown away is, though this does make the game feel a little more mechanical than the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants gameplay of other shoot-em-ups. It's a frantic and challenging action game that proves you don't need an overabundance of mechanics, bells, and other assorted whistles to make a good arcade-based shooter, and one can only hope we see something even bigger and badder from its team down the line.
Suppose you're bored, flipping through your phone, when you're contacted by someone who thinks she's reached her brother. But this is more than just a misdialed text message. She says she's contacted you magically. That there's a whole underground society of magic users in the world, practicing their craft in secret. That some of the more untrustworthy sorts of mages killed her parents when she was a kid, and inexperienced as she was at the time, she accidentally sent her brother to another dimension while trying to keep him safe. Now Arika's out for revenge, and though she's searched for ten years, she still holds out hope of getting her brother back. And she could use a friend and confidant as she tries to collect magical artifacts she needs, if you're willing. Maybe she's crazy, maybe she's not. Either way, get ready to make some tough choices in Lifeline 2, an engaging fantasy text adventure by 3 Minute Games for Apple Watch and iOS.
Chocolala Studios' escape game Molly's Donuts Escape is seriously pretty in pink, and sugary sweet to boot, with the room you're trapped in being furnished in a frilly fashion, and filled with some sugary treats. There's no changing cursor to tell you when something is interactive, so you'll need to click around and investigate everything thoroughly, since in addition to finding everything you need to solve puzzles, there are the seven donut coins hidden throughout the room, which sounds like currency I need to get in on. While some of the hotspots can be a little fiddly to interact with, there's something glossy and fine about Molly's Donuts Escape's presentation, sort of like freshly rolled fondant. There are a ton of cute touches that make it feel light-hearted and welcoming, though you'll definitely find it on the short side, with a comparatively small handful of puzzles to solve. Still, Molly's Donuts Escape is a pleasure to play, and we can only hope we see more from them soon!
Two person away missions are just never a good idea. If there aren't at least three of you, who's going to be the red-shirt? Four is even better, because then you never have to explore that creepy inexplicably closed down science lab by yourself, even if splitting up is the better option. Plus it ups your odds of not dying by...well I don't know how much, but a lot. No such luck for you, though. You've been separated from your teammate Sam on a distant planet as you were investigating an AI facility that has gone dark. You're there to find out what has happened to the scientists inside, but as the game begins you've lost your visual and audio connection to Sam. You can still hear and see her, but can only communicate with her via text in Code 7, a sci-fi themed text adventure by Retragames.
Chess is one of those games that I appreciate from afar. When I see others playing it they look like intellectuals, but when I play it I feel as bright as a rock. My brother once won against me in less than one minutes. I thought I'd never enjoy a strategy turn-based game like chess until I tried BrickRoadDX's indie game Militia, which holds the elegant essence of chess, but done in such a way even someone like me will find themselves playing again and again. You start off with only two units, randomly placed on a board with enemy units scattered around. Your goal is to defeat the units with the stars on their pictures before you run out of turns, or before all your units have bitten the dust. You have two action each turn: moving and attacking. Clicking on your unit, you can see where they are allowed to move, and clicking again will show you where they can center their attack. Moving on a space with an enemy will remove that enemy from the board, but be careful with your main attacks, as friendly fire will kill them as well. The black brackets show where more enemy units respond on their turn, so clearing the board is never possible. Since all minions can only take one hit, you have to be careful where you're moving to, to make sure you use your precious supplies of turns and units in the most efficient way possible.
In Jason Wu's logic puzzle game Boxes, an "accident" at the box factory leaves you in charge of assembling the machinery along the conveyor belt that automatically sorts boxes for customers. Click to place pieces on the field, using the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to rotate them, and tap the [spacebar] when you think you have everything laid out to turn the machine on. Hit [spacebar] again to stop, right-click on a piece to delete it, and use the buttons on the left to clear the field if you need to stop over. Though initially your only tiles are for simple movement, others will let you change the value of boxes to meet specific requirements, including gates that detect box properties, and so forth. If all this sounds sort of familiar, it's because a lot of Boxes echoes Manufactoria in concept, though Boxes mostly struggles with clarity when it comes to communicating what it wants or how things work due to some strange wording. Despite that, if you love programming puzzles, then Boxes, with its plethora of pieces and props, will scratch that itch in a satisfying way.
In Emily Ryan's interactive comic adventure Secret Agent Cinder, one person's fairytale is another's tale of espionage, as you take control of the titular heroine who's been tasked by her godmother to infiltrate the Royal Ball and steal the military plans before the stroke of midnight. To play, just click the choices you want to make as they appear onscreen, paying attention to the artwork for any clues as to how to proceed, and use the arrows to move around the castle... though if an arrow is pale, you can't go in that direction. (Yet?) Don't forget to play in fullscreen! There are two main endings, but a lot of events and options to encounter, from dealing with a particularly overzealous prince, to incapacitating guards. The artwork is gorgeous, using a limited colour palette to striking effect, and the text is simple but effective, leading you on and fleshing out the gameplay and environment without overflowing with unnecessary description. It's a short game, but the sheer variety of options encourages replaying, especially given the way your final score in several categories changes based on your actions, and leaves us hoping we'll see more adventures and missions from Emily Royal's dashing, daring leading lady in the future.
After a long day of slaughtering the innocent and raising the dead, the last thing you want to come home to is a bunch of bulky guards telling you that they own your domain. When the Lich King encounters this, he does what any purely evil overlord would do... asks them nicely if they can go home. When that doesn't work, he takes the small step from being polite to raising an undead army and slaughtering the lot of them without mercy. Make your own undead army that follows your every demand in Delicious Cortex an action strategy game. Sébastien Bénard's zombie laden game requires you to rid your lands of all living souls by gathering up the the occupants of nearby graves, which is done by simply walking over them using either [WASD] or the [arrow] keys. Once you have them raised, you can get them to obey you by walking in the middle of them and hitting the [spacebar]. As long as they're in your sphere of power, they will follow you and attack anything they can get their jaws around. But the human guards are armed, and are pretty good shots, so plan your routes carefully and take the least risks.
You never know how much you need something until it's gone. That what this magical kingdom found out the hard way. When the once abundant spritelings started to vanish, so did the wizards' source of power. The elderly wizards no longer had enough strength to find out what was happening to their precious supply of magic, but two young apprentices, Zap and Boom, are off to save the spritelings and their way of life. Chillingo's Rescue Quest is an action filled match-3 game that brings new ways to play to your iOS and Android. Instead of reaching a high score or clearing the board in this adventure puzzle game you must create a path from Zap or Boom to the spriteling cage. With the use of your spells, as well as special tokens on board, saving the world couldn't be more enjoyable. But there is always something to be on the lookout for, like goblins, falling rocks, and even your fellow apprentice. You also have limited number of moves on each level, so be careful not to waste them. With no advertisements while you play, and short countdowns to gain a new life, Rescue Quest is a must for all lovers of match-3 games.
Recurring themes and connected imagery? Who needs 'em! This edition of Weekday Escape has a satisfyingly random assortment of games by different developers that are all very different in tone and setting. Vitamin Hana, for instance, is all about putting you to work, while Esklavos gets involved with some seriously weird science, and Twinkle offers up some seasonal ghoulishness heavily filtered through cute.
Sailing toward an uncharted magical land, guided only by legend and rumor, you are separated from your fleet in a storm. Your ship sinks amid the cruel waves, but luckily washes up on a welcoming beach. As you pull yourself from the wreckage, your first thought is of survival, followed only milliseconds later by thoughts of creating and ruling an empire in this new land. Use your natural leadership abilities to found a town in Puzzle Craft 2, by ATGames. In this puzzle matching game it's up to you to help the shipwreck survivors learn new skills to grow into a thriving town. Could it be you've found the magical land after all?
Where is Cat? is a simply sweet little puzzle game crafted by Bart Bonte with his three talented kids for the Oujevipo for Kids contest. In it, accompanied by a slinky soundtrack, your job is to find and click on the black cat hidden in each room of the house, ultimately tracking him all the way out to the garden shed, whereupon he'll send you back inside for several other passes of items to make... well, it's a surprise! The things you need to find get hidden in increasingly tricky ways, so that only the very edge of an object may be poking out, but it's still not very difficult. Nor is difficulty really the point. Where is Cat? plays and feels like an interactive child's storybook, with a lot of the graphics and artwork drawn by the kids themselves, and while many may find it too easy and repetitive, since you're always hunting through the same set of rooms, others will appreciate its lighthearted mood and lovely presentation. Whether you're young at heart or you've got a little one yourself, Where is Cat? is a sweet treat to poke around with.
In Imperious Interactive's puzzle game Blocky's Escape, it's your job to guide Blocky and any buddies through levels of traps, warps, moving tiles and more to the exit, nabbing the stars along the way. Just use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move Blocky, and when available, the [spacebar] to swap between characters, keeping in mind that everyone needs to get to the exit safely to win! For a lot of players, Blocky's Escape is just going to be too easy, since it doesn't have a difficulty curve so much as a difficulty meander, and the entire first batch of levels are almost overly simplistic. The game introduces things like trap tiles, switches to toggle them on and off, as well as warps, moving platforms, and more, making the bigger, more complicated stages later on in the game a little more thought provoking, though still largely something that won't give a lot of players much trouble. Blocky's Escape is still a bright, fun little game that's a perfectly pleasant puzzler for when you want something vibrant and casual that won't make your brain start smoking.
Just because you might be busy, doesn't mean you don't have time for a little escape game, right? Just a mini break from your day? By TomaTea, no less! Missing Colors 1 may be bite-sized compared to some of the developer's other work, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth locking yourself up in while it lasts. You find yourself in what looks like a child's playroom, albeit one attended by some curiously melancholy piano music, and faced with a single wall full of things to examine and puzzles to solve. As usual, if you click on one of those puzzles but haven't yet spied the appropriate clue ferreted around the room, you'll be informed that you have no idea how to solve it, so keep searching! Some of those puzzles are variations on concepts TomaTea has played with before, but there's still a surprising amount of them given the game's smaller scale. So kick back, relax (even just for a little while!), and escape from your day... and don't forget to bring your crayons!
GlobeX is back. Their army of clones is ready to deploy and bring the world under their control. Almost every member of the Strike Force Heroes has succumbed to the GlobeX reprogramming. All but one. But as long as one remains, there is hope. Your mission must rebuild your team, rescue your teammates, and stop GlobeX once and for all. SF- Hero! A real ambiguous-nationality hero! Strike Force Heroes 3 by Sky9Games is a bit of a departure for the Strike Force Heroes series in many ways, but the basic fun of its run-and-gun arena-shooter action at the core remains the same. As in previous installments, your soldier moves, jumps and crouches with the [WASD] or [arrow] keys, and aims and shoots with the mouse. Switch between your weapons with [Q], and charge various "streak" bonuses by killing multiple enemies in a row without dying, activating it with [E].
You were just a young, uneducated street punk when Raymond Black took you and fellow gutter-punk Duncan in, and though it's been eight years since you've seen the old man, you can't deny that with the lessons and new lease on life he gave you, he's the reason you're still alive today. So when in Harebrained Schemes' indie strategy RPG Shadowrun: Hong Kong you get a message from Black begging you to come find him, you head to the rainy, neon streets. Unfortunately, Black is nowhere to be found, hasn't been seen in weeks in fact, and your old friend Duncan, who isn't too pleased at the way you took off on your own all those years ago, paints a picture of your former benefactor as an increasingly paranoid and disturbed man. Soon you're running for your life... from the police that control the city and have framed you for crimes you didn't commit, from underground gangs that smell blood in the water, and an increasingly set of disturbing dreams involving lots and lots of... teeth. Thanks to the timely intervention of dwarven dekker Is0bel and rat-shaman Gobbet, you wind up working with the dangerously temperamental but coldly brilliant triad boss Kindly Cheng who agrees to help you stay hidden... for a price. In a world rich with danger, mythology, and secrets, you're about to become a Shadowrunner for the first time, but whether you sink or swim is still up in the air. And then there are those disturbing nightmares you and everyone else near the Walled City of Kowloon have been suffering. Harebrained Schemes delivers a story-rich, clever, and challenging installment to their Shadowrun series packed with memorable characters, tactical battles, and more.
If you've got an Android or iOS device and you like your puzzle games cunningly cryptic, then The Guides, by Kevin Bradford and Luke Lisi, is fluttering its eyelashes and dropping hankies in your direction. You find yourself receiving a series of strange pieces of communication, each with little context and no instructions, and figuring out what's required for you to progress only leads you deeper into the rabbit hole. You may need to figure out what to tap onscreen, or you may need to decipher a code, obvious or not, and enter its solution in order to proceed. You could be faced with personal correspondence, lines of Morse code, flickering columns of digital letters, to name just a few, all rendered with an elegant, minimalist presentation. In each stage, you'll want to tap things, drag to move the screen around, and generally just experiment to see what you're supposed to do. The stage's title will often provide a clue, vague as it may be, and as you progress, you'll unlock various decoders, though of course you may prefer simply to solve stages through brainpower alone. While the game is completely playable on its own, if you want a bit of backstory and potentially an obscure hint or two, you may consider the optional Compendium companion app, which is an illustrated novel in the process of updating, though there are connections to be found within the game itself for the observant...
These days we have some prime choices for horror games with great style, from the realistic graphics of games like Alien: Isolation and Slender: The Arrival to the beautiful retro look of The Last Door and Ib, we were pulled right into the atmosphere by the aesthetics alone. But remember the days where we didn't need such high quality and flashy graphics to scare the pants off ourselves? Beloved games like Scare Dare- The House and the adored point-and-click, The House? Well The Darkest Woods is a throwback to these games. It has the kind of graphics that have you thinking "Wait, really? These cheesy pictures are supposed to sc--OHMYGUACAMOLY!" and then has you turning on the lights in your house for the rest of the game play. Vasily Laschuk's and Martadello's free indie point-and-click horror game is filled with jump scares, unsettling noises, the threat of death at any moment, and a cryptic story that is slowly revealed. Is there anything else you could want?
When you're an evil flying sentient demon potato, you know what people like, and people like seeing carnage, mayhem, and violence. So when you're trying to run the Death Arena Reality Show, Entertainment Forge's horizontal shooter, what's a potato to do but give the people what they want and kidnap a bunch of heroes from all over the realms for you to blast out of the sky? In some levels, you'll be blasting your way through minions to keep the ratings high, but in others, you're up against one of the unique heroes and their abilities. Whatever the case, the game's default control is for our flying potato to follow our cursor and fire automatically, nabbing coins for blasted foes to spend on upgrades between levels. You can replay a stage to grind for more cash if you need to... which, in all honesty, is probably going to happen. Death Arena Reality Show's big appeal is its goofy concept and story, which is told through cheeky cutscenes with solid voice acting across the board to deliver the comedic lines. The downside is that the gameplay is pretty standard by comparison, complete with grinding to afford upgrades to bulldoze past the hectic levels, and just doesn't quite prove as engaging as the snarky tone set by the cutscenes. Death Arena Reality Show is still a very solid little flight-based shooter, however, with appealingly frantic levels, and despite some repetition, will appealing to the flying, showboating, evil demon potato in us all.
Don't ever say no1game never takes you anywhere nice in their escape games to lock you up. Find the Escape Men 165: Fancy Apartment, as it might implies, traps you in a room in a fancy apartment (as a twee anime girl, no less), and you'll need to find ten little green men hidden around the place if you want to get out. Just don't get distracted by that view. Or that flat screen. Or... oooh, this couch is comfy... what's in that bottle?... no, resist! To play, just click to interact with things and move around the room, making sure to check every nook and cranny because you never know where something might be hiding, and don't be shy about messing with something more than once just in case it takes a little persuasion to reveal its secrets. Fancy Apartment is actually a little lighter on obnoxious pixel hunting than some of the series' other entries, and it's a little on the easy side as well, though one of the only puzzles has a rather sneaky clue. Find the Escape Men 165: Fancy Apartment is a short but pleasant little distraction for escape fans, with smooth animations and a clean interface, just as understatedly swanky as its location.
In Mariaglorum's hidden-object adventure League of Light: Silent Mountain, the daughter of the head of your vaunted order of highly specialized detectives has gone missing, taking with her an artifact from the League's vault. When you follow her, however, it quickly becomes apparent that something is off in the secluded town of Stoneville, a fact you deduce using your status as the League's best detective, and also the fact that your totally practical hot air balloon was shot down by some petrification-weilding masked magus. In a nice touch, you can even choice the voice for your main character... male, female, or none at all. Maybe Louise hasn't turned to a life of crime after all? But if you want to find out, you'll need to find her first, and you're not the only one looking. Stoneville and the surrounding area is filled with all sorts of puzzles and mechanisms, the locals apparently being fond of over complicating simple tasks, so you'll need to hunt for items you need, solve hidden-object scenes, and thwart an ancient evil or two in a town that has had some hilariously bad luck with its landscape. Seriously, people. Even Leslie Knope would tell you to relocate!
Hack, slash, repeat! Vitaly Zaborov and Kirill Kashur's Diablo-riffic dungeon crawler is back for more with Loot Heroes 2, the sequel to the original game, where, once again, we're slaying our way through the bowels of the underworld to slay a bunch of demons for one that wants to be the very best, like no one ever was. Choose your hero from an impressive lineup, each with their own special abilities, and set out through randomly generated dungeons filled with monsters to stab and loot to, uh, loot. You'll unlock more heroes as you play (or if you just choose to click the big button on the character select menu), and of course, you'll find piles of powerful weapons and enhancing accessories to equip, too. Just click to maneuver around each area and target specific enemies, and right-click to unleash your character's special skill if you have the mana for it. If you're carrying the items to do so, tapping [Z] and [X] will restore your health and mana, respectively, both of which regenerate over time. Like its predecessor, Loot Heroes 2's simplicity is both its blessing and its curse. It's a fun, straightforward little action RPG with oodles of loot and slaying to be had, but it also tends towards the repetitive due to a lack of variety. If that, or its similarity to the original game, doesn't bother you, Loot Heroes 2 will fill your browser with splats, swords, and demons aplenty for a nice chunk of mayhem.
When you just need to get away from it all without a lot of bells and whistles, you can always count on an Ichima escape to provide somewhere mellow for you to kick back with a passel of puzzles, and Room 9 Autumn is no exception. Though there's no changing cursor to tell you what to click on, the sparse, clean design holds no pixel hunting, so just explore at your own pace, using the transparent bars that appear when you mouse over the edges of the screen to navigate around the room. Don't worry... though the game's text is in Japanese, there's no language barrier for those of us who can't read the lingo. What there are, however, are a lot of very clever puzzles. Ichima excels at making games that marry just the right amount of whimsy with genuinely smart mechanics, so as you explore Room 9 Autumn, you'll need to think, but you'll also find yourself amused. There are a few puzzles where it's easy to overthink the solution, but the game is surprisingly good at never veering into obnoxiously vague or obscure territory when it comes to its clues, even with the Japanese-only text. Room 9 Autumn is a satisfying escape in all the right ways no matter what time of year it is, one that offers some pleasant surprises and never goes too easy on you, requiring thought and an eye for detail in equal measure.
Hearth... who? What? It's always refreshing when a third-party developer finds inspiration in a successful idea and innovates with their own take on it. Suppose for instance that you enjoy a current title, but you don't particularly enjoy long loading times (what's wrong with you, anyway?) or don't particularly need an onslaught of retina-scorching special visual effects to get the most out of a collectible card-based strategy game. Or you occasionally feel the yen to play a game but don't happen to be permanently strapped to the internet 24/7. Or for some players you're playing on a midgrade smartphone because you... left your Quantum Tunnelling Nanotech Supercomputer phone in your other pants. Y- Yeah, that's it. Running Pillow brings on Cardstone, their streamlined version of a wildly-successful game mechanic for the rest of us. Choose from character classes like Warrior, Mage, Paladin and Assassin each with their own special abilities and weaknesses, clear floor after floor of monsters and get the option after each battle to swap a card in your per-game deck out with one that you like better. Use the cards available to build and improve a deck that succeeds with a strategy that works, be it plenty of Heals, a strong attack, or mana boosts and plenty of hardcore spells. Each gold to level your hero classes and permanently unlock new and better cards to make them become available in between combat rounds to add to your per-game deck!
Finding yourself dead is a real downer, but when a mysterious voice informs you that you can live again, as long as you do what he says, hope will spring right back in your step. Which is saying something since you're a floating mass of darkness. Only instead of having to redeem yourself, or enlighten your mind, his quest for you is much, much darker. Your only goal each level is to enter a portal, but you must have a body to do so. There are other living creatures around that you possess with [X], but then a new rule appears, and sacrifices are needed in order to power the portals. Are you willing to commit such crimes? Do you really have a choice when there is no other way in this macabre puzzle platformer by Jord Farrell, Mark Sparling, and Emma Mochi? AnIMa is a haunting game, with the disturbing sound effects and the chilling white noise that spreads across the screen with each possession. With its unsettling themes and clever puzzles you'll be sure to enjoy it even if it is a small package.
In Keybol's challenging platformer The Video Game of Life, getting through every level is easy as pie, and straightforward to boot... unless you want those gold coins. Each of those three coins in every stage represents a gold star, and goodness knows we'll do anything for the gold, right? And for our furry friendly protagonist, nabbing those coins gets increasingly hectic and crazy, as you deal with deadly chasms, plunging spikes, moving platforms, and more, all of which usually need to be navigated as quickly as possible before you miss your chance. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and (double) jump, and hit [R] to restart a level if you get stuck. The Video Game of Life isn't exactly a subtle game, and if you play without trying to grab any of the coins, the lion's share of the levels are going to feel pointlessly easy. But where would the fun in that be? Heavens know we gamers love our shiny things. So pull up your overalls, straighten your whiskers, and go for the gold... literally.
Many years after the war between humans and monsters that saw the monsters imprisoned beneath the earth, a small child (you!) climbs a mountain, only to stumble and find themselves lost in a vast and bizarre underground world whose rules they know nothing of. So begins Toby Fox's surreal indie RPG Undertale, where you quickly discover that the Underground isn't as harmless and friendly as it seems. Patient and kind Toriel takes you under her proverbial wing, teaching you how to solve the many puzzles before you and how to resolve conflicts, but even her warm maternal care isn't a substitute for returning home. Will you be able to brave the world beyond her care where Asgore waits? Undertale delivers a finely crafted adventure that is at once funny, ridiculous, heartwarming, creepy, and not a little weird. And, yes, you can date a skeleton, if you want. And, yes, there are several dogs. But you'll also star in a taping of a psychotic robot's cooking show. Make friends with a socially awkward dinosaur. Open a dog couple's mind to alternate petting. Get a pair of bulky bro guards to be honest about their feelings. And much, much more. Undertale is a powerhouse of an indie RPG that should not be missed.
Elementary, my dear Kloo! Inspector Kloo, that is! In Esklavos' point-and-click puzzle game Inspector Kloo 9, an anxious maid calls you in to help with a missing art collection, and it's up to you to find evidence, solve puzzles, and track it down, all from the confines of the cozy seaside apartment. To play, just click on things to interact when the cursor changes as it passes over them. Some objects in your inventory can be used on one another, while others have more straightforward uses in the apartment. The biggest issue with Inspector Kloo 9, apart from some typos, is that its mechanics are still a little clunky, and some item uses feel unnecessarily awkward and vague because not everything is labeled clearly. Despite that, however, Inspector Kloo 9 is surprisingly complex, with a ton of items to find, and a satisfying amount of puzzles, all rendered in Esklavos' signature sleek style. It ain't murder most foul, but at the end of the day, a mystery is still a mystery, even if it's open and shut!
Salutations, bright and shining reader! Another Wednesday rolls around, coaxing every escape fan from hither and thither to scurry blinking into the light for another heaping helping of Weekday Escape to give us the vital nutrients we need to survive. This week! Funkyland doesn't give a fig... they give seven! Vitamin Hana doesn't care who, who, who let the lizards out, you just need to trap them all! And Self Defiant gave you a little more fun than you could handle at the local water park.
Best regarded as a short experiment in environmental storytelling, Tom van den Boogaart's deceptively serene free indie game RED AMAZON opens quietly, with you peering out the window a small house in the middle of nowhere. Boxes are stacked against the walls. A fire crackles cheerily. Outside, the weather is overcast, but calm. Why not go for a walk? Use the [arrow] keys to move, and click to interact when your targeting square expands. (Yes, the game is over when it closes itself on you at the final sequence.) The less said about RED AMAZON the better, since while it's short, most likely at around five minutes, if much more, piecing together the story by picking up on subtle details in your environment is a large part of the appeal. While some may find the gameplay too short or simplistic and the abstract storytelling abrupt, others will appreciate the finely crafted atmosphere that's rich with tension and "show, don't tell" style narrative. RED AMAZON feels like a bit of a tease for how quickly its over, but one meaty with potential to carry a much bigger experience if it were expanded upon. If you like short fiction, give RED AMAZON a try. Though it may leave you hungry for more, it's still a tasty morsel on its own.
Get the free full version
Mac OS X:
Get the free full version
Animal Crackers, programmed by Muhammad Abdul-Rahim with art by Renée P and music by Louie Zong, is a simple but adorable puzzle game/adventure where you play a tie-wearing mouse desperately trying to assemble all the ingredients for a presidential birthday party that will satisfy not only the president herself, which means figuring out what a Libeartarian such as she would enjoy. Using the [arrow] keys to move and [A] to interact and advance text, explore the world and find the food, decorations, guest of honor, and more you need to make your party a success... though considering how many options there are for each, that's easier said than done. You can see the descriptions for items and people you're standing next to in the bottom-left corner, while picking up an item of a type you're already carrying (say, another drink or snack) will swap the two, so take your time and return to party central when you think you have everything sorted, though some items are hidden. There are four endings to uncover, but the biggest appeal is definitely exploring the quirky world and interacting with all its weird inhabitants, like the shark who regrets the stereotypical anti-shark movie roles of his youth, an excitable okapi otaku, and many more. Animal Crackers is a ridiculously cute and cheery game, with a great soundtrack and colourful visual style, making it a perfectly pleasant little game that wants to make you smile and is practically begging for a bigger, more fleshed out adventure in the same world and style.
Prasan Games' Kichu returns in puzzle platformer Little Life Adaptivity, where he's moved on from being worried about what others think, and now he's simply trying to figure out how the world works in order to get by. He's pretty confident about it, but the catch is, each level changes the rules slightly, or introduces something new, so he'll need to observe and adapt in to progress. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump to reach the exit in each level, but the way forward is usually a little more complex than a hop, skip, and a jump, though you'll have to pay attention to see how your surroundings react to the things you do, as well as to how things work in general, to learn the ropes. In addition to boxes that can be pushed on switches, for example, some platforms will raise or lower depending on the way you're facing. Though the momentum-based physics and movement might take some getting used to, and still feel just a little too clunky for some players, Little Life Adaptivity is still a fun little platformer. It continues the positive message of its predecessor and expands on it without turning into a soap box, and the pixel makeover looks great too. The level of challenge is steady, and the new elements that are introduced require a satisfying bit of thought in order to make work for you as you go on. Despite some awkward controls, Little Life Adaptivity is a cute platformer that's about learning to work with the world and take things one challenge at a time.
Dropsy, the greasepaint-wearing clown star of A Jolly Corpse and Tendershoot's surreal surreal indie point-and-click adventure, isn't a bad guy. Sure he's big and kind of... creepy... but really, he just wants one thing, and that's to make the world better, one big hug at a time. Problem is, the world doesn't want much to do with Dropsy since the fire that destroyed his circus five years ago, killing his mother and leaving him struggling to get by in a battered, slapdash shack on the edge of town. Still, Dropsy's a simple guy, and it doesn't take much to make him happy, but he'll need every ounce of that childlike cheerfulness to bring happiness to the residents of town. And maybe, just maybe, Dropsy will uncover the truth of what happened that horrible day five years ago and clear his name, too. Though it struggles with some unintuitive puzzles, Dropsy's eye-catching, toe-tapping style and underlying message of love and acceptance make it a charmer in a big way in an era of cynicism.
Death. It will happen to all of us. Sooner or later. The protagonist of In Between, a physics puzzle game from gentlymad and Head Up Games, has just found out that, for him, it will be sooner. And all that is left is to ask, why? Why him? Why now? And why, if it was just going to end, was he even here in the first place? Was everything that happened just for... nothing? Taking place in the realm of the mind, the laws of physics are a little in flux, and you'll be twisting gravity to get to the end of each of the 60 levels. Use the [WASD] keys to move left, right, up or down, depending on the way the world is falling. See, you're not much of a jumper. But using the [arrow] keys, you can point yourself into direction you want to fall. You must be on solid ground to change gravity, and watch out for those spikes, though! Make it to the door, hit [spacebar], and you're on to the next thought. Later levels will feature new elements like consuming darkness that needs to be faced to avoid, moving orbs that will consume you with rage and so on Also, be on the lookout for the random memories floating through the cracks: some are a little harder to get to, catch them and they'll paint a more complete picture of the past.
Roman Petriv, Yaroslav Rubash, and Gregoire Lourme's Trinitas is an action-centric defensive shooter that might be best regarded as a Sentry Knight-alike, only, y'know, left-sided rather than right. Your hero is in a tower they must defend, and they automatically fire wherever your cursor is pointed, with the number keys available to you to unleash special skills when available. Knock down enemies before they reach the tower to damage it, and use the coins they drop between levels to upgrade your stats and equipment. Eventually, you'll unlock heroes who'll fight alongside you, which is handy given the plethora of baddies that quickly show up to ruin your day. The difficulty still ramps up slowly, and as you might expect in any gold-based upgrade system, you may have to do some grinding to beat some of the more frantic levels. Trinitas is a solid game with a clean and appealing presentation, though it all might feel a little too familiar to some players. Not all of the upgrades feel as useful as they could, such as the way the knights don't always target what you want them to or deal much damage, ditto your "rain of arrows"-y spell, and it isn't immediately clear what the expensive bows do. Though some more enemy variety early on would keep things fresh, completing one campaign unlocks the next character to play as with their own enemies, abilities, and upgrades, making Trinitas a meaty chunk of gameplay for any fan of the genre.
Working at a theme park for no1game's iconic little green men? Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, except for the part where you're stuck in a hot costume all day long, and when you finally get to take a break, you find yourself trapped in the staff room. In Find the Escape-Men Part 164: EM Land, click around the room to find the ten little green dudes and ultimately escape... which, as you might have guessed, involves solving a handful of strange puzzles and looking under every proverbial rock you can, since there's no changing cursor. As a result, the place you might get hung up the most is simply missing a hidden spot or two to click on, which can be frustrating given what a small space you're working in as you spin in circles. Stick with it, however, and no1game's quirky sense of humour will remind you why they've been a hit for so long now, though the ending is a little bit strange. Maybe we'll get to explore more of EM Land than the locker room in the future? We can only hope!
You know that old mantra "Don't like, don't play?" Yyyeah... Ron doesn't have that option. Ron, you see, is a game critic who's had the misfortune to get sucked into his least favorite type of game: a point-and-click adventure game by Interactales. Now there's only one thing left for him to do: Escape THE GAME! But even if Ron doesn't like point-and-click games, developer Interactales does, as they've crafted an adventure that's stuffed to the gills with references to genre classics, as well as many gentle jabs at the genre conventions. But Escape THE GAME is more than just parody! It's also a clever adventure game in its own right, as it offers puzzles with multiple solutions, three different endings, and even the proverbial barrelful of laughs. And you don't even have to be well-versed in classic adventure games to find them... plenty of the humor here is universal!
Parents. Servants. You try to make it so easy for them. But despite explaining exactly what you wanted in small, quite understandable words, they had to go and ruin your birthday party with their incompetence. However, you have never shied away from a learning opportunity (particularly when it is other people that are doing the learning and you are the teacher), and if the proper educational tool was a sharpened knife, who could blame you for using it? Well, the authorities apparently. And despite being a child genius and an orphan (... albeit self-made on both counts), it was determined that you should be treated at the Glaxochem Center for Mental Wellness. As an asylum, it has seen better days. Particularly the days before the aforementioned Glaxochem took over and turned it into a glorified test lab. Clearly the adorable heiress to the Enough family fortune cannot be expected to remain in such deplorable conditions. All you need to do is talk to the right people... Emily Enough: Imprisoned is a classic (circa 2005) darkly comedic point-and-click adventure game by Logan Worsley that takes you deep into the halls of an asylum that would be a whole lot better if the inmates were running it.
In Carmel Games' point-and-click adventure Vortex Point: Time of Your Life Carnival, when a little boy steals a rare and powerful statue from a collector of mysterious items, the Vortex Point's premier (and only) detective agency dealing with the occult is on the job. The boy was seen fleeing into a nearby traveling carnival, but nobody's been able to track him down since. To play, just click to interact whenever your cursor changes as it passes over something, and click an item in your inventory to "equip" it to use on the next thing you click. You can also combine items you're carrying when possible by clicking first one, then the other. Like most of Carmel Games' titles, Time of Your Life Carnival is designed to fit cozily into a break rather than take up an entire afternoon. It might be one of the developer's best looking recent games, with great detailed backgrounds, and a quirky story to match. The downside is that some of the puzzles aren't that intuitive, most centering on solutions that do technically make sense, but aren't necessarily clearly telegraphed. "Why would I think to use item X on object Y?"... well, because that's what you do when you're stuck in adventure games, obviously. Still, Vortex Point: Time of Your Life Carnival is otherwise an appealingly weird and fun little game, with a story that has a satisfying twist, and serves up a tidy, appetizing dose of adventure.
Thanks to Moti for sending this one in!
Everything in Roshka Studios' Cquence, also for iOS and Android, seems beautifully simple. From the graphics to the whole goal of this puzzle game. This slickly designed game has you trying to achieve one goal, and that is to create a path to the numbers that come next in the series. If, for example, you had numbers one and five on the board, clicking a tile adjacent to the one would turn that tile to a two, and then the next adjacent tile you clicked to a three, and so on, with your goal of making an unbroken, connected sequence of numbers from one to five. Time is always ticking down, though, so you need to be quick to raise your score and see how many levels you can beat as the chains become longer and take a bit more thought process to get through. Play online or on your mobile device alike, where you can challenge your friends to see who can do better or just have it for those times when you need a break but want to keep your mind still active. The free price tag and the infinite random levels just makes it all better.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
They say police officers can get married to their job, and nobody knows that better than Keith. He's a fantastic detective, but a cold one, whose callous attitude fails to endear him to the media. When he's ordered to take a leave of absence, his wife Helena thinks they'll finally have some time to spend together as they tour an old castle on vacation, but there's still a gulf between them she can't seem to get past. Keith doesn't think much of it, but Helena's almost at the end of her rope... but they might never get the chance to talk about it. In Uri's free indie horror adventure The Boogie Man, translated by vgperson, Keith wakes up their first night at the castle to find his wife and the rest of the tour group missing. It's the work of a theatrical maniac calling himself The Boogie Man, and unless Keith can stop him, he's going to slaughter his way through the rest of the castle. With full English voice acting, the return of familiar faces from Uri's previous games, and a creep-tastic thriller plot, The Boogie Man is a return to Uri's dark and gory roots, with five endings to find... though only one of them is a happily ever after! It's a tense game of cat and mouse, with plot twists and exciting sequences aplenty, though some frustratingly unintuitive gameplay mars some creative and impressive work.
Sometimes, all you want to play is a nice friendly addictive tapping game on your Android. Cheery, colorful and high-gloss, Arkadium Games brings us a smooth and well-animated free sliding block puzzle which they call Match and Merge, and which I prefer to think of as 'Mike and Ikes Gone Wild'. Slide colored jellies around the board — displacing tinier jellies around in the process — to match same-colored jellies into bigger ones. Match those into even bigger ones, and then into giant jellies! Objectives for each of the 150 levels vary, from making a certain number of matches, to breaking adjacent wall tiles, smashing overlayed glass squares, or matching jellies with a bunch of little virii in them to make all the virii disappear. There's a limited number of moves and it's easy to get blocked with a bunch of badly-placed tiles if you haven't planned things out just right, so there's plenty of gameplay value to this upbeat, innocent puzzler. There's a knack to sliding jellies around and combining them that feels very natural and you'll get it right away, but explaining that in words is another matter. One-square jellies combine with adjacent jellies of the same color to make either vertical or horizontal two-square jellies. Those combine to make four-square jellies, and two of those combine to make gigantic eight-square jellies... which promptly dissolve back into a bunch of one-square jellies of various colors. If any of those can combine into new two-squares, they do — even if that produces a higgledy-piggledy arrangement of badly-placed two-square jellies that prevent anything from sliding around in their midst.
Also free for Android, Kings Kollege's Hivex is a simple puzzle game where your goal is to light up all the hexagons in each level. Clicking on one lights up all its adjacent neighbours, while if you click on a tile that's already lit (or a have one adjacent to the unlit one you're clicking), it's light will go out, and the number of clicks it takes you to get everything shining brightly influences your star rating at the end of the level. Later on, some hexagons are only able to be toggled a certain number of times, while others can't be turned off or on at all, and a few other rules added in keep you thinking. Cap it all off with some silky smooth animation, bright colours, and a funky yet relaxing soundtrack, and you have the sort of puzzle game that's perfect for passing the time. Hivex is the sort of thoughtful, well put together puzzle game players looking for something casual but smart will appreciate, no bells and whistles required.
Don't listen to any computer animated camels. It ain't hump day... it's Weekday Escape Day! Forget your worries and your woes, your obligations and your responsibilities, for at least as long as it takes you to break out of the digital confines of three very different yet cunningly constructed escape games. This week! no1game doesn't even need a key to lock you up in this deceptively empty looking box. MayMay wants to blind you with science, and maybe some colours too. And Esklavos strands you somewhere mystical while going whoooooooommmmm in your ear. Sounds like a good Wednesday to me!
In Amiralo's visual novel Saccharine, Branwen is in a pickle. She's been trying to avoid the king's guards and their inspections, which isn't easy when her luggage happens to be one of the most wanted men in the kingdom, and even forcing the young girl running the local inn to secrecy over Branwen's arrival isn't a guarantee of safety. But when Branwen learns the prince is looking to choose a bride from the common populace, she sees her chance... after all, who would dare question royalty if she were to become the prince's consort and claim that her sickly friend, Isador, was her relative and not the infamous serial killer everyone thinks he is? Branwen has 30 days to successfully woo the prince, and it's up to you to get her there by having her decide what to do each day. Manage Branwen's money to purchase recipes to bake presents, and "spend" her hit points on actions like talking to the prince or working at the inn. There are actually other choices for romance, but you'll need to unlock them by earning the codes to do so from completing the other character's endings in order. As a visual novel simulation, Saccharine is a little rough around the edges, mostly in that its UI feels clunky, and certain aspects of its plot are definitely rushed. As you spend more time with the characters and unlock more content, however, the story takes an interesting turn, and things clearly aren't as straightforward as they seem. While the gameplay may be too simple and repetitive for some, unlocking the other bachelors and their stories fleshes things out considerably, making Saccharine an appealingly creepy twist on more traditional otome games. Just don't expect a traditional happily ever after, either...
The title of Carmel Games' latest snack-sized escape game says Katja's Escape 2: The Mad Scientist's Lab, but as it opens, Katja is cordially greeted by a voice over the intercom who welcomes her to Escape the Room Inc, so at the very least, this scientist is an entrepreneur as well as crazy. Katja and her trendy-chic outfit have an hour to escape before the lab (maybe) explodes, but you definitely won't need that long. Just click when the cursor changes as it passes over different things to interact, be it picking something up, taking a closer look, or just moving around the area. If you want to combine items you're carrying, click first one in your inventory, and then the other. Like Katja's first escapade, The Mad Scientist's Lab is on the short and easy side, though this one might be a little less logical, at least as far as some item uses go. Still, you'll be in and out before you know it, making Katja's Escape 2: The Mad Scientist's Lab perhaps feel as if it's over too soon for some, but still a pleasant light break for escape fans not looking to break a sweat.
In Funkyland's latest makeup-strewn escape game, Girl's Room No. 13: Foundation, we're going back to basics with five pieces of the essential stuff hidden around this frilly room. Well... "essential" provided you want to wear it to begin with, and can do so without sweating it all into your lap five minutes after application, but I digress. Leave no decorative throw pillow or billowing curtain unturned as you click your way around the room... especially since the lack of a changing cursor means you need to experiment to find out what you can interact with. Naturally, while some of the makeup is simply laying around haphazardly, the rest of it is tucked away behind the puzzles every makeup user employs to keep their hoard safe, much like a particularly bedazzled dragon. Girl's Room No. 13: Foundation, like most of Funkyland's titles, is of the short and sweet variety, and most of the puzzles you'll encounter simply require paying attention to your surroundings, something expedited by how little there is to explore. If you like your escape games bright, cheerful, and decidedly bite-sized in a good way, Funkyland is always a good friend to have on call, and this latest is no exception.
Worry not, arachnophobes! Despite her name, Spider the Fox is 100% all vulpine, all the time. And she's about to embark on the, dare we say it, feel-good adventure of her canine lifetime to grow her very own floating sky-island that she can call home. Developed by E & E Games, with art and characters donated by Megan Turner, this sweet little exploration game tasks you with gathering seeds, planting and climbing crazy vines, and chatting it up with adorable and amusingly-named animal locals as you complete your, in Spider's own words, "sorta coming-of-age story." And while you can play with your keyboard, using the [arrow] keys to move, the [spacebar] to jump, [E] to talk to people, and [F] to plant the vines that will let you reach places too high or far away to jump to, her Bildungsroman also has XBox 360 controller support! Cheery, cute, and surprisingly poignant at times, Spider the Fox is a sweet but not saccharine journey that's also got a pretty satisfying destination.
You've come a long, long way, baby, and in Rusty Lake's immensely popular creepy and surreal escape series, you've got miles to go before you sleep. In Cube Escape: The Mill, also free for iOS and Android, once again you're surrounded by four walls (plus a ceiling a floor, naturally) and a whole lot of cryptic contraptions that don't seem to be working. Click on things to interact, and use the tiny black arrows at the edges of the screen to move around the room. To use an item, click it in your inventory on the right, and then again wherever you'd like to try it. There is, as usual, no changing cursor, so make sure you hunt everywhere. Sometimes you may need to click things in the right spot to interact with them properly, and if things get weird, well... this is a Rusty Lake game we're talking about. And yes, you will want to gird your loins for a jumpscare or two.
In Eyesteam's action-packed platformer Call of Sword, swords aren't actually swords. ... well, I mean, yeah, they are, you can totally do sword-y stuff with them, like stabbing and cutting a tin can in half on late night TV. But they're actually powerful symbols of leadership and alien technology that might be able to save a crumbling world, so when a young boy discovers one, it's sort of a big deal... not that other people are content to let him hold on to it. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move and jump, with [C] or [L] to attack, and press [S] or the down [arrow] to block. If you can reach a ledge, our hero will pull himself onto it, and he can also wall-jump to reach high places. Make sure you keep an eye on your health in the upper-left corner (healing items can be found in crates), and touch terminals to save. Call of Sword's gameplay is simple, but well-executed, though maybe not as fast as some might hope for. You'll need to make use of blocking to get enemies to open themselves to attack, and crawling around the big, lovely levels is fun. It's considerably more complex than Eyesteam's previous titles, and looks great too. Though it may start to feel a little repetitive, Call of Sword is still a fun, well-crafted action platformer for the spiky young swordsman out to save the world in all of us.
Sometimes a game is exactly what it says on the tin, and Mad Puffers' physics puzzler Just Golf is, well, just that. In each stage, use the mouse to aim, then click to select your swing strength, and try to get your ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. If your ball passes over a subtraction token, the number of strokes pictured will be deducted from your level score. And that's... it, really. Just Golf really is just golf, with no frills or real surprises to be had, not that that's a bad thing. The ball will roll on grass, but not on sand, whereas water will just make the ball sink so you waste the shot, and some holes may require trick shots to get around hazards, making it more challenging than it seems. Just Golf is a pleasantly mellow, straight-forward physics puzzle game to pass the time, and that's just fine by us.
Best regarded as a gonzo match-3 RPG Puzzle Quest-alike, Ino-Co's Gunspell, also available free-to-play on iOS and Android, is a little bit bonkers in a good way. As the game opens, you play good ol' John D., a policeman in search of his sister, Alex, who he quickly discovers he doesn't know as well as he thinks. In short order, you find yourself stranded in a bizarre world full of monsters, demons, and the undead, because of course you do, and the only way to defeat them is in turn-based match-3 combat, because of course it is. Swap any two adjacent tiles on the board to make matches of three or more identical tokens. Gemstones restore mana appropriate to their colour, while green tokens restore health, purple grant experience, silver gives cash to spend, and skulls deal damage. Your goal, naturally, is to slay your enemy before they can do the same to you, and if you win, you'll be granted treasure and even valuable equipment. Of course, that's just the basics. You've got an inventory of weapons and armor with passive and other abilities, magic spells, quests, and more. The end result is a goofy and enjoyable match-3 hybrid with a great aesthetic and simple yet addictive gameplay, but frustrating remnants from its free-to-play roots and some rough edges make the desktop version feel unpolished.
Funkyland is one of those developers who you can always count on to deliver a short, clever escape game all packaged up in cute and lavish visuals, and Alice House 2 No.01: Looking Glass House is no different. You need to find five "white kings" before you can get out, but you're not looking for powdered Caucasian dudes in mile-high wigs and stockings hiding under the furniture. Instead, watch for images bearing royal pictures, though many of them will be hidden behind locks you'll have to puzzle out. Looking Glass House recaptures some of the whimsy of design from the original series, albeit in a more subtle fashion. Where next will Funkyland lead us into Wonderland? Wherever it is, it'll be weird... but stylish!
Elena Elkhorn's father is missing, and she knows it's got something to do with the strange, isolated mansion he was working at as a groundskeeper. She's been having strange dreams about him trapped inside, and unable to bear it any longer, she grabs the amulet he gave her and sets out to investigate herself. What she never expected was to find the tormented spirits haunting the grounds, or that her heritage was so... otherworldly. In Night Light Interactive's indie horror adventure Whispering Willows, also available for iOS and Android as well as Playstation 4, the XBOX One, and the Wii U, Elena discovers her ancestral amulet glows in the presence of spirits, and can be used to enhance her shamanic powers and leave her body. Scary? Sure, but she's going to need all the help she can get to find her father, especially since she's trapped on the mansion's grounds herself, and she'll need to uncover its unhappy history in the process. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move around, the [spacebar] to interact, and [E] to open or close your inventory. Pressing [Q] will allow Elena to exit her body, which means she can converse with spirits, slip through cracks (no, she can't just pass through whatever she wants), and possess and manipulate glowing objects. She can't venture too far from her body, however, and in her physical form Elena is vulnerable to certain dangers. Though short and potentially too easy for some, Whispering Willows is still a gorgeous piece of spooky storytelling to see you through an evening.
So you've been kidnapped by robot aliens. Hey, it happens to everyone now and again! The important thing is to figure a way out in Sunarsoft's cute point-and-click puzzle game Luka & Lara: Robo Abduction, where you need to find and click on things in the correct order to make a pathway for our little abductee to safely move across. You'll also eventually get an inventory to use items from. Some things you can click on are just red herrings and don't do anything, so try out everything to see what works, though be careful... some things can harm you! Despite that, Luka & Lara: Robo Abduction still isn't particularly difficult, or very long, so it winds up feeling aimed more at kids than anything else. Levels do get more complex, though sadly you never do get to play as Lara despite what you may have expected based on the title screen, and the ending feels rushed. Still, Luka & Lara: Robo Abduction is cute, silly, and snack-sized, exactly how you occasionally want your games to be, and hopefully future installments will be a bit beefier.
Back in 2010, we were introduced to the fast-paced, gravity-flipping world of G-Switch, an action-packed platformer where the tap of a key caused the gravity of your perpetually running hero to invert, allowing them to run along ceilings, dodge obstacles, and sail across chasms... if you were fast enough. Now Serius Games serves up even more with G-Switch 2, which keeps the familiar gameplay intact, with polished visuals and its local multiplayer bumped from six to eight. As before, your character never stops running, so just click or hit any key you want to cause them to flip up and down on the screen, running along floor or ceiling (whatever that may be for the direction the track is going), and trying to avoid obstacles or plummeting to your death on your way to the forcefield-like checkpoints. If you hit something, it's not the end of the world unless you get knocked offscreen, and even then you'll just reload at the last checkpoint until you get it right. Some points along the track will speed you up, while others will slow you down, and if you're playing in Endless Mode, everything is procedurally generated. If all this sounds familiar, it's because it isn't substantially different from the original game, though it feels like it plays a lot more smoothly. It's still a lot of fun, and its funky soundtrack makes grooving through endless or multiplayer a treat, so if you're looking for simple yet snappy, reflex-based, high-score gameplay on your desktop, G-Switch 2 is worth tying on your running shoes for.
Imagine you are sitting in your living room, bored and with nothing but your iOS device to keep you your loneliness at bay. As you listlessly swipe through the app store, you stumble upon Sage Solitare, by Zach Gage, and think, "Why not? I'm already alone." Soon you'll be engrossed in a nice twist on solitaire games and be glad there's no one around you have to share it with. The object of the game is to clear the board of all cards while getting the highest score possible. But this is no ordinary solitaire game! Instead of one row of cards, there are three rows of three piles each. The number of cards in each pile decreases from top to bottom. Unlike traditional solitaire and a lot like poker, you have to make hands from these cards to clear the board. Hands are very similar to what you find in poker, with pairs, straights, and flushes, though not exactly the same. Hand types and their point values are listed when you tap the hand type button at the top of the screen. But of course there's a catch! You have to use cards from at least two of the three rows or the hand is invalid. That nice row of lucky sevens you were dealt isn't so lucky after all. When you can't make any more hands, it's game over.
Alexander Ocias' Loved remains one of the most intensely debated and discussed games on our site, so his new interactive short Foggy Shore, with music by Stefano Guzzetti, may make your interest perk up, though it won't take you more than a literal few minutes to play. In it, you control a young woman wandering down a lonely, misty beach, moving with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, interacting with [E] with a prompt appears, and using the [spacebar] to jump. Just... wander. Follow the shoreline, interact with the objects you can find that have washed up, and take in the atmosphere... which, it must be said, is very well executed for a game that looks like it leaped off the original Playstation. The tone is somber, if not quite melancholy, with little touches like the footsteps our character leaves behind and the way the wind tugs at her hair making the world feel chilly but alive, and encourages the sort of reflection the game is going for. You might call it a "walking simulator" if not for the typically derisive tone that's given, so "interactive short", as the developer himself calls it, feels apt. The ending changes slightly based on the things you interact with, and how, and can be surprisingly insightful and emotional if you're in the right frame of mind for something like it. Contemplating the meaning the actions you take with the things you choose to interact with, and how they could be interpreted and be used to construct a narrative or meaning, is surprisingly clever. Foggy Shore is simple, yes, but also an elegant little experience whose untold story can change in your mind drastically depending on how it ends up, making it for a delightfully calm and introspective piece of interactive art.
Get the free full version
Mac OS X:
Get the free full version
Get the free full version
Happy September, escape amigos! It's my pleasure to tell you that from here on out, every edition of Weekday Escape will be pumpkin spice flavoured. Just really, you know, luxuriate in it. Let it seem into your pores. Buy some pumpkin spice flavoured bacon. Wear pumpkin spice scented deodorant. Think pumpkin spice thoughts. Where are you going, pumpkin spice hivemate? Neither Vitamin Hana, nor Rukonohako or no1game can save you. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.
Bloober Team's Layers of Fear, an indie horror adventure game currently available through Steam's Early Access, is not the sort of game to play alone, late at night, in the dark. Unless you like that sort of thing, then it totally is, you wonderful, like-minded sicko. In it, you play a bitter painter tormented by his failures, grimly bemoaning his fate and cursing life one stormy night. Initially the mood is somber and reflective as you explore, the house littered with broken bottles and scattered letters, but things begin to change. Subtly at first, but then with a greater sense of urgency and wrongness, and the more you look around, the more it becomes apparent that something happened here... but what? Use [WASD] to move around, holding left [shift] to move a little faster, and the mouse to interact. The game uses physics-based controls... click on a drawer with an icon to mark it as interactive, for instance, and push or pull the mouse away from yourself to slide it open and shut. If you find an item you can carry, like a key, it'll be used automatically when you click on the object that needs it. The farther you go into the house, the darker things get, and every door and new corner only gets you more and more lost. Layers of Fear is a macabre, beautiful horror game with finely crafted scares, atmosphere, and a disturbing story to match that focuses on the dangers of obsession, though its "on rails" experience and limited gameplay may not be for everyone.
In Script Welder's puzzle sim Excavate!, you've been hired by a university to lead excavations surrounding an old cemetery, but you've got 14 days and they want to see the best results you can get in that time. Pick your crew of four, taking into consideration their proficiency in skills that impact your work, such as Perception to inspect things or Strength for physical labour, and then set out to the dig site, where I presume your honorary pith helmet, khaki shorts, and knee-high white socks are waiting for you. While you'll start out with basic funding to purchase supplies like tools that give bonuses to actions such as inspecting or clearing dig sites, you'll be granted more funds daily as you catalogue and send back the things you find. The main game takes place on a map made up of various tiles, and each character can perform different actions daily depending on how many action points they have. While certain upgrades can help you figure out where to begin work, when you choose to inspect an area, it'll give you a Minesweeper-esque description of how many tiles away in either direction something interesting is hiding. Dig to find ruins, explore them, and then catalog what you discover to send it back to the university. Accomplish everything you can in a day before your workers run out of points, but don't forget to leave some so you can set someone to guard duty at night. I wonder when you unlock the button to ignore Brendan Fraser's dire warnings and get devoured by a swarm of scarab beetles..