Praise Chernobog! He watches over us and tolerates our presence on the bountiful island through his grand benevolence. The five families have grown strong and powerful through his influence, and even the common rabble can feel his blessing upon us. He has granted us so much, and if keeping him pleased requires an iron will to do whatever is necessary to protect the village, its secrets, and life itself, well then you have. After all, he asks for so precious little... The Sacrifice is an island management simulation game developed by foxboard for Ludum Dare 33 under the theme of "You Are The Monster". In it, you'll have to make the tough choices, if not for the greater good, then at least because no one else will.
October 2015 Archives
In Alawar and New Bridge Games' quirky casual time-management game Incredible Dracula: Chasing Love, the count is looking for romance online, but the flaxen-haired beauty who answers his personal ad is a human, and every good vampire knows humans are wicked, cruel creatures who hunt them! The princess is convinced she and Dracula are meant to be, but he's not so sure, and he's only got a little more than a month to escape from her... with a little help from his long-suffering but loyal zombie horde. In each level, you'll need to use your undead lackeys to accomplish tasks, everything from gathering food and resources to building structures to help you get around, and the faster the better, since accomplishing stages quickly means a better rating, and, well, the princess is literally beating down your door! Incredible Dracula: Chasing Love is a ghoulishly goofy good time, with fast-paced and addictive gameplay that blends resource management with puzzle elements, with enough challenge and variety to keep you clicking all the way to sunrise.
Romance is Dead. At least that is what Maddie, a young student of biology, has decided. Having had her own relationship blow up just a few weeks prior, what Maddie really needs is a tub of ice cream and some good horror flicks. What she gets instead is three men who all seem to crash into her life one dark evening before Hallows' Eve. But in Tall Tales' free indie visual novel these men aren't there to prove that love is alive... quite the opposite. Don, Adam, and Maurice are very different but have one similarity between the three of them. The lack of a pulse. Maddie steps up to solve the mystery, help these odd creatures of the night and maybe just find a bit of romance she had since given up on. There are plenty of endings in this macabre tale for you to find, as well as a fresh new story revolving around the supernatural, voodoo, and a little bit of fuzzy fluffy to keep your morbid but yet sensitive side happy.
Freak Out Kid Freaking Out by Carmel Games is a short point-and-click puzzle game about everyone favourite creature... the shrieking, entitled child having a meltdown because he isn't getting his way. In it, you play an easily infuriated teenage boy whose younger brother is taking a lot of glee filming you as you get upset about not being able to sit where he is so you can watch TV. If that doesn't sound like a hero you can get behind, I don't know what does! Click around to interact with things when the cursor changes and try to figure out a way to get your younger brother out of the way... don't feel too badly, since the little rat is deliberately trying to make you upset. Of course, even when you get him out of the way, you'll find there are still obstacles to your goal. Like most Carmel Games titles, Freak Out Kid Freaking Out is short and comically goofy, though you may find the protagonist just a little too shriekingly obnoxious to get behind. If you don't mind a little meltdown mayhem, and maybe are looking for an item to add to the "con" list of ever having kids, Freak Out Kid Freaking Out is a silly little diversion worth a short play.
What should have been a simple missing persons case has gotten pretty darn twisted in Expera Games' supernatural noir point-and-click adventure series. In the first episode, the purple, tentacled detective Mr Gilbert was hired by a suspicious woman to find a missing girl she claimed was a childhood friend, but he quickly learned the young woman, Daphne, might have stumbled into something big beyond the mobsters who ran the club she worked at before she went missing. In the second episode, the hunt lead to a secret cult's lair, and Mr Gilbert tangoed with a dangerous assassin while learning Daphne's disappearance may mean bigger things for the city than he thought. Now, in A Matter of Caos: Episode 3, Mr Gilbert is in disguise in the belly of the beast, so to speak, but is Daphne still alive? And even if she is, will he make it out alive? To play, just click on the icons onscreen that represent people or objects to interact with, and remember to try combining items in your inventory at the bottom of the screen if you get stuck, while your notepad keeps track of the plot. As usual, while there are a lot of puzzles to solve, a lot of the game involves reading the story, so kick back, relax, and try not to get murdered. And don't forget... if you like the game, please support the developer by buying the "complete edition", which contains some extra content, and goes toward funding bigger adventures with Mr. Gilbert!
It's safe to say that Mystery Case Files, Big Fish Games' wildly popular hidden-object adventure series, has gone through a lot of changes over the years as it passes from developer to developer, going everywhere from campy reality show to more serious horror. Now it's Eipix Entertainment's turn at bat with Mystery Case Files: Key to Ravenhearst, and it seems even being burnt to rubble isn't enough to get rid of the titular mansion completely, because someone is trying to rebuild it. You, as a master detective, have naturally been sent out to see who's dumb enough to do so, though as you'd expect, it quickly becomes apparent that there's more going on here than some innocent money-grubbing land development. Aided(?) by a mysterious puzzle box left by an old enemy whose contents you'll unravel as you go, you'll need to solve puzzles and hidden-object scenes to get to the bottom of this. Mystery Case Files: Key to Ravenhearst tells an appealingly spooky mystery that adds a new chapter to the iconic series full of twists, turns, and cinematic camp, and even some of the fantastically elaborate mechanical puzzles the series originally became known for, making it an easy recommendation despite some uneven pacing and difficulty.
Hold on to your socks, folks, and if you aren't wearing any, then go find as closely matched a pair as you can, put them on, and then hold them, because to help distract from the inexorable march of time, this week's Weekday Escape serves up some of your favourite creators in a big way! TomaTea brings you something sweet to eat, but you'll need your most obnoxious fake French laugh to get it. Neutral has the place all done up for Halloween for you, though the language may be a barrier for some. And Ichima offers you a cozy place to get snuggled up and wind down with one fantastic view.
Darwin must have been a heavy sleeper on Galapagos Island when he discovered evolution. How else could he have missed the alien abductions happening all around him? Confused? Well don't be. Clearly evolution was caused by an Alien race wanting to help humanity along, but they had to be quiet about it, so they just cleverly altered the animals on earth to help the people grow in the right direction. Isn't that what's being taught in classrooms today? PlanEvo, by High Tree Games, is a simulation strategy game where you fiddle with the stats of animals, such as size and fertility, to complete quests your co-workers bring to you. All with the same goal in mind... to help those sad little humans get their species off on the right foot. But everyone knows about the butterfly effect. What do you think is going to happen to the zebra population when you make tigers have better camouflage? So get to fiddling on the sidelines and see how fast you can help humanity come to the state where they can debate about your existence.
Room Delta, sneakily playable as the banner image on Kotorinosu's site or free for iOS and Android, is an escape game with a presentation so sleek, you're almost afraid to get your smudgy fingers all over it. Once you've click the banner to start it up, playing is as simple as clicking around to interact with things, though there's no changing cursor to tell you what is interactive and what isn't. Items in your inventory at the top of the screen can be examined up close by double-clicking them, which may lead you to uncover new things. As you navigate around the room using the arrows at the left and right of the screen, you'll realise that there's a lot more than initially meets the eye, and some of it is more straightforward than the rest. Room Delta strikes a nice balance between needing to bang your inventory against the screen and using your brain to spot clues to solve puzzles in order to progress, with every inch of it as elegant as you'd expect. Room Delta is trickier than it seems at first blush, so fire up your brain and get cracking!
Room Delta (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
Thanks to William, Questioner, and Iceninexp for sending this one in!
Tomorrow Corporation, the quirky parties responsible for World of Goo and Little Inferno, are back like the return of the prodigal son with their eagerly-awaited Human Resource Machine. What have they got for us this time? It's an indie programming puzzle game (coming soon to Wii U and tablets) about coding in assembly language. Other titles like Spacechem and Infinifactory have done this before to great effect, but Human Resources Machine puts Tomorrow Corporation's signature on the concept. Rather than try to obscure the programming aspect completely in favor of presenting it as a game, Tomorrow Corporation instead opted to use the stark world of coding as a metaphor for the drabness of the standard corporate office environment, or perhaps the other way around. Cheery sort of folk! There's plenty of storyline and the whimsical characterization you'd expect as you advance through levels building up a list of procedural instructions to process a series of boxes according to specifications assigned by your supervisor and ship them out — if your procedures were correct, of course! Each level presents you with an assembly line of numbered or lettered boxes, a programming task, and an outgoing assembly line. You'll need to pick up each box, process according to spec, and then ship. But you won't be doing it manually; even grabbing things from the incoming line is done through code you'll write.
While out traveling through the barren deserts of Utah a flash flood hits. Your jeep doesn't make it, and a split second decision decides if you live or follow your jeep into a watery grave. But making that choice is just the start of your adventure in Michael Sterling and Tia Orisney's survival-based interactive fiction title, Kane County. With only so much food on you and very little water, you must make wise choices as you scour the desert for any sign of life and ways to make sure your own life keeps on going. You have two choices for the type of character you are... a survivalist or an athlete climber. Each one comes with different benefits and weaknesses, but in the end it relies on you and what risks you care to take and the path you chose to follow.
Everything old is new again, or so they say, but can a thing really be considered old if it's barely been around more than a year? That's the case with Tesshi-e's The Happy Escape 7 Remake, which, as you may have deduced, is a remake of the 2014 escape game The Happy Escape 7. While the premise is exactly the same, centering around visiting a friend who wants you to hunt for the ten Happy Coins hidden throughout the room and solve the puzzles along the way, if you played the original, you'll notice things look a little... different. As usual, there's no changing cursor to help nudge you along, so just click around and explore every nook and cranny to find the interactive areas, using the transparent bars at the edges of your screen to move around. Chances are die hard Tesshi-e fans will be struck by a lot of deja-vu, since most of the elements from the original game are still here, just shuffled a bit. You'll recognise a lot of the puzzles, and even how they're solved, so the slicked-up visuals might not be enough to make you want to revisit it so soon. Still, if you haven't played The Happy Escape 7, the remake is another great example of Tesshi-e's craft, and worth locking yourself up with for a while.
When last we left our brave purple, tentacled detective Mr Gilbert, he was hot on the trail of a missing girl who apparently may have gotten in too deep with the wrong people, and those looking for her might not even have her best interests at heart. But in the second installment of Expera Games' point-and-click adventure series, A Matter of Caos: Episode 2, things are just starting to heat up, and they'll get even weirder before they're done. As the game opens, Mr Gilbert has finally gained access to a bar that may look ordinary (as ordinary as a city with ogre bouncers can be), but has its own share of dangerous secrets. To play, just click on the icons onscreen to interact with people, make choices, or move around the area, and remember that in addition to click on items you're carrying to use them, you can also combine some, so go ahead and experiment. If you wind up carrying a lot, a scrollbar will appear below your inventory for you to slide and see it all. And don't forget... if you like the game, please support the developer by buying the "complete edition", which contains some extra content, and goes toward funding bigger adventures with Mr. Gilbert!
Do you know what makes monkeys Monkey GO Happy? You might think bananas, maybe melons, certainly tiny hats... but really? It's bats. Bet you didn't see that coming. In Pencil Kids' point-and-click puzzle Monkey GO Happy Bats, you've got 22 stages to solve in order to let the bats fly free and put a smile on these primate faces. Just click to interact with things, and drag objects from your inventory at the top of the screen to wherever you want to try to use them. You may even need to use them more than once! As usual, Monkey GO Happy Bats is a very casual game in terms of difficulty, more concerned with being a silly Halloween celebration than being spoop/ky or challenging, though at least one level leaves a perplexingly gory (but small) splatter upon failing its puzzle, so player beware. But while you'll most likely fly right through the game, if you want a treat with some sweet tricks, Monkey GO Happy Bats serves up a colourful, quirky collection of puzzles to celebrate the season without breaking a sweat.
In short, free indie adventure Grandpa Pip's Birthday by Snozbot, Pipsville is a tranquil, calm place, which is sort of strange because most of it is currently on fire and being carried away by monsters. But hey, if the Alarmist hasn't, y'know, raised the alarm, everything must be fine, right? But even if you can motivate him to do so, it turns out he needs someone else to ring it... someone currently on fire... and the only way to douse him is with the town's only bucket, which, wouldn't you know it, resides with Grandpa Pip. As it happens, Grandpa's sort of upset that the village seems to have forgotten his birthday, and he's not about to part with his bucket unless he gets the cake he knows he deserves, consarn it, so I guess you'll have to talk to the villagers not currently being immolated or carried off by demons and dragons and try to make that happen. To play, just click and drag on the screen to move around, and click on characters and certain objects to interact. In Whack Mode, which you can play from the main menu or later on in the Story, tap [Z] to swing your sword and [X] to raise your shield, making sure to time it right to avoid taking any damage until you reach the end. Tally-ho!... not that there's, like, any hurry or anything.
Congratulations! You've found Grandma Bethlinda's Variety Box! Why, what does it do? You haven't the faintest idea. But when curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back, so start poking around. All you can do is discover and have fun in this interactive fiction puzzle game by Arthur DiBianca. It starts off with a simple, plain looking box. But the more you poke, pull, crank, and solve, the more entertainment arrives out of it. With no way to fail besides giving up, this box is a treat for all players who can read and type. With its cute descriptions and sassy display screen the box is equipped with, you'll wish Grandma Bethlinda left even more behind. Find your way to the surprise inside by interacting with what is presented to you. Things are ever changing and you'll realize that this simple little box is holding a lot more than you could ever have imagined.
It's Wednesday, and you know what that means! During the night, the developer fairies flew from town to town, leaving behind pixie dust and freshly crafted escape games for all the good little players, and ruthless pixel hunts for all of the stinkers. This week! Esklavos takes you on a jungle trip, but doesn't show you any way to get home. Funkyland wants to make sure that this Halloween you're looking fabulous. And Vitamin Hana wants you to appreciate the little guys by making you rely on some tiny critters to help find a way out. Cohesive themes for an article? Who needs 'em!
Hurry up! It's time to collect things because reasons! Well, not every game has to have a story line to be entertaining, and such is the case with action game Land Sliders from Prettygreat for your iOS device. You start with one character, the adventurous roller skate master Turny. Swipe the screen to move. The faster you swipe, the faster your character will move. The default control scheme is swipe the land to move, but you can change it to swipe the direction you want your character to go if it's easier for you. The goal is to collect as many items (in Turny's case it's treasure maps) as possible before you die. If you collect all the items on a level, you are awarded a bonus which ups your score.
Everyone knows the number one medieval training "must have" is a scarecrow dummy, and it's 100% true that the more dapper they look, the better you'll train. That's why Sir Scarecrow is the best training dummy ever with his trusty monocle, tight bow tie, and sharp looking top hat... you'll never get better training anywhere else. It could also be because he's a sentient being stuffed full of more tips than he has straw. He's your perfect guide for fighting your way through Swords and Souls. "A talking, fighting scarecrow?" you think. "Sign me up!" But wait! There's more! Not only is SoulGame Studio's game an Duck Life-like RPG, there are also secret medals, an incremental twist, and handful of minigames all there to make this one of the most fun death arenas around.
Let's face it... when you're an NPC in an RPG, your options for glory are pretty limited, especially when it comes to your ability to plumb the depths of the unholy dungeon next door for treasure. But what if you could find some way to motivate all those hapless heroes to do the work for you? In Soda Dungeon, a light simulation RPG hybrid from Armor Games, The Pox Box, and AN Productions for iOS (coming soon to Android), you'll have your pick of heroic hires to choose from as the bartender at the most popular soda tavern around. Seems people are willing to do anything if you have their favourite sugary drink on tap, and by purchasing different kinds, as well as increasing your reputation by upgrading your humble establishment, you can entice different hero classes who you can then add to a party, outfit, and send into the dungeon for you. You won't have much in the beginning, but as heroes are defeated, they flee, leaving behind all the gold and treasure they earned, so you can use them to improve your next party. The gameplay is a series of progressively difficult battles you can either fight manually in classic turn-based style, or have the game auto-battle its way through for you. Once your heroes are all soundly thwomped, and they will be eventually, it's back to the tavern to make use of what you've earned to try again. Once you've conquered all of the dungeon's levels, well, that's just the beginning, and even greater awards and treasure await in different dimensions. With limited ads and completely optional in-app purchases, Soda Dungeon is truly free-to-play with no timers or special currency whatsoever, allowing for endless addictive soda-guzzling fun.
There is a saying that goes, when you're on your deathbed, you never wish you worked longer in the office. But you had better believe your higher ups don't have the same wish for you. In Out of Bounds' strategy game, Turncoat Protocol, you're the last survivor of a scout group laying on your death bed... or, well, whereever they found your body. Though you are slowly dying, you don't have time to let your life flash before your eyes as your headquarters contacts you. They need you to piece together from your memories a simulation of the strategies your dying brain is losing its grasp on. Using the bombs that are given to you, you must place them in the right spots to destroy the simulated cities. Time is not on your side, as you are literally in the last few minutes you'll ever have. As time passes in this scifi puzzle, the screen becomes more glitchy, making it harder to pass on this vital information.
[Mac user? Try freeware tool RPG Hub]
Please be aware of the developers content warning for this game, which will be quoted in the comment section of this review.
Waking up alone in the snow Annellie finds herself cold and disoriented. Luckily she is close enough to her house to make it inside to warm up. Instead of a warm fire and a rush of servants and doting parents, Annellie finds an empty home lined with dying flowers and torn pages smeared with red ink. But the house isn't as empty as she first believes, and spirits are roaming the halls. Annellie must slowly gather her thoughts to find out the truth in this free horror indie game, The White Path. Arty Vn's game will have you searching through the house for clues and items needed to solve puzzles and soothe angry spirits. Use the [arrow] keys to move, [Z] for your main action and [shift] to run. Be sure to save often in your menu, using [X], as death can be waiting just around the corner. With four different endings, you'll be able to follow the White Path to your success or your endless misery.
I thought Raccoon City had the monopoly on monstrous viral outbreaks, but hey, why should they have all the fun? In Esklavos' creepy escape game Outbreak Escape, you need to find ten vaccines before you can evacuate in a city where humans have turned into horrible beasts... so basically training for anyone who plans to hit the shopping mall at Christmas time. To play, just click on objects to interact or move around the area, watching for your cursor to change when it passes over something clickable. Objects you're carrying can be used from your inventory at the bottom of the screen, or potentially combined, so don't be afraid to experiment. Instead, be afraid of what might be lurking in the shadows of this extremely dark and foreboding hospital. Like most of Esklavos' titles, Outbreak Escape has great atmosphere, with sullen yellows and moody lighting helping to create a mood of tension. However, also like most Esklavos titles, it does suffer a little from finicky hotspots that mean you might get stuck just because you didn't realize something in the environment had a different contextual action just a few pixels shy of where you clicked. Still, if you want something spooky that isn't gory (though you will see a small patch of blood) or laden with jumpscares, Outbreak Escape and its clutch of puzzles and codes is a pleasantly macabre diversion for a short break from your day.
20 Days left. One could look at it as having "only" 20 days left, or, perhaps "still" 20 days left. Right now, 14-year-old Bridget, lying in her bunk at summer camp, is leaning towards the latter. She's been told that this is a summer for which she will have nostalgia for the rest of her life. But she's not feeling it. But there's a world of dreams she goes to whenever she falls asleep. It's a world filled with bird people. Sometimes those bird-people need a deputy. Or a pirate ship captain. Or a hockey player. Those bird people need a lot of things. Mostly occupations that Bridget's feeling much more qualified for than camp life, but maybe both will let her learn on the job. BIRDLAND is a twine interactive-fiction adventure game written by Brendan Patrick Hennessy and illustrated by Izzy Marbella, where the life and dreams of a teenage girl fly round in circles together.
Please note this game deals with a subject matter some may find upsetting.
What do you get when you have a secluded cabin, a rapidly setting sun, and a car that is out of gas? Add a dash of no cell reception, and the mysterious origin of the cabin, and you probably have a set up to a cliche horror movie. But Shadow and Ash a free indie game, isn't your typical story... though it may seem that way. As you go to stay in this shady cabin, you spy a barn a bit deeper into the woods. Against common sense, you decide to check it out, and in there you find a box, a map, and a note about the greatest treasure of the previous owner. Deciding that the sun is still giving off enough light, you venture off to explore deeper this eerie place. This visual novel mixed with a point-and-click adventure by Ardent has its own unique way of telling such a story with puzzles and riddles along the way to keep things interesting. Throw in some creative mazes and the strong feeling someone's watching you just behind your back, and you've got yourself a vastly different kind of scary tale.
Lily is a little girl who loves to dream, and one night her dreams take a turn for the surreal when she finds herself in a strange, magical word that seems to have a lot in common with some of her favourite books. There, she meets Faith and Curly, an unusual dog and cat pair, who work for the Fairy Godmother defeating the creatures known as the Phobius who invade dreams and turn them into nightmares. Faith and Curly are pulled off duty to watch over Lily until she awakens, but neither of them wants to sit still while there's adventure to be had. Sweet Lily Dreams by Rose Portal Games serves up a surreal indie RPG adventure with a hefty amount of playing time and some gorgeous, bizarre environments that blend fairytales with unique storytelling, though some may find it a little too childish in places to stay invested in.
October 2015: Dust: An Elysian Tail is now available on iOS!
In a perfect world, I would just tell you to go buy and play Humble Hearts' indie action adventure Dust: An Elysian Tail, also for iOS, Playstation 4, and XBbox360, and you would so I could get back to playing it myself. In this visually stunning and captivating Metroidvania-esque platforming RPG, originally an XBLA exclusive, you control Dust, a mysterious warrior who awakens deep in the forest with no memory of who he is. Fortunately for him, the mysterious talking sword known as the Blade of Ahrah has awakened and been drawn to him... even if he has no idea why. Together with the sword's unlikely guardian, the excitable flying Fidget, Dust sets out on an epic journey of self-discovery, never suspecting that his true destiny might be bigger than anyone ever imagined. Enormously impressive and stylish with a loveable cast, exciting combat, and a beautiful world to explore, Dust: An Elysian Tail is a game that deserves your attention immediately.
Libertechno's torso is back, and this time it's getting funky with a karaoke party for one in Aries Escape No. 18, where stylish scarves and laser balls await. To escape, you'll need to scour every inch of the room and keep your eyes peeled for items and clues, especially since there's no changing cursor to help show you what's interactive and what isn't. Double-click an item you're carrying to zoom in on it and interact with it close up, and be sure to pay attention to the white navigation arrows at the edges of the screen, which could lead you to a different way to look at something you're viewing you might otherwise miss. Don't worry if you can't read Japanese... there's no language barrier in this game. Especially not when the language of music is concerned! Now go forth and let your voice be heard... or at least find the two endings! Players with difficulty viewing certain colours should be aware that this game features several colour-related puzzles.
A boy, his gun boots, and a deep, deep well full of monsters, treasure, and randomly generated levels. Thus is the strange but glorious premise behind Moppin's (Ojiro Fumoto) retro indie action-platforming arcade game Downwell, also available to tantalize and grit your teeth at on iOS with Android coming soon. While the game recommends a controller, the default offering of [A] and [D] to move left and right, with left [shift] to jump and trigger your gunboots while in air, works quite well... and yes, there are other configurations too. The premise is simple. You're descending down through a well filled with hostile critters, blasting them apart with your gunboots by firing when they're beneath you as you fall. Your gunboots are automatically reloaded whenever you touch down, and if you venture into caves beyond special protective forcefields you can find different power-ups that change how your boots work, like devastating shotgun blasts or a burst of three spread shots. The gems you pick up can be used to purchase items at shops, and whenever you complete a stage, you can pick a single upgrade to enhance your hero with... until he ultimately dies when his hitpoints run out and you have to start aaaaaaalll over from the beginning. Fast-paced, happily weird, and addictive, Downwell is guaranteed to make you dissatisfied with anything you find in a shoe store going forward.
What should have been a get-rick-quick business idea quickly turned into a PR disaster, and, you know, a large death count of employees. Who knew making service robots with built in weapons would have gone so wrong? Luckily, most are still stuck in the factory. So what can stop malfunctioning killer robots? Why, a killer robot that is functioning perfectly. Project Borgs is Out of Control has you at the gears of a defense drone taking on an army of nearly endless robots. Save panicking scientist, collect gears for better upgrades and unlock new stages so you can achieve all 2000+ missions. This arena shooter comes from Ish-games, whose two other games have been, well... awesome, and Project Borgs is Out of Control is of no exception. With the crazy amount of achievements and a "Regenerator" button that restarts everything but increases the amount of experience and scrap you earned, plus more, this is easily a game you'll be thrilled to come back to play after day.
Look, you raze a village, you kidnap royalty, you open a rift in the sky to bring about the end of the world, all of that's fine. You mess with my cat? We got a problem. In 23 Turtles' quirky RPG adventure Cursed Islands, the ruler of a flying fortress abducts your feline friend to combat loneliness, leaving you determined to strike out and bring your kitty back home. Upon arriving on the island, all you have to do is click to move around the map and select choices when available. Defeating enemies in turn-based random encounters levels up both your magic and strength, but don't forget to rest at the village (which also saves your game) to restore your life if it gets depleted from taking damage! Cursed Islands is largely a pretty short and simple game, leaning towards a sort of Kingdom of Loathing style, albeit with a more restrained sense of humour. It might actually be a little too short to the point of feeling experimental, given its abrupt ending and grindy nature, but if you're a fan of silly RPG parodies, the ten minutes Cursed Islands will take you will be worth it for you to make an example of anyone who dares so much as glance at your cat in the future.
It's a whole new day, and a whole new Weekday Escape, thanks to the tireless efforts of talented escape game developers who I have by no means been keeping locked up in my basement and sustained on a thin nutritious gruel as they produce such wonderful games for free. (Don't look at me like that. I said I haven't. What are you, some sort of cop?) This week! CHOKO-CHAI's trio of curious cats is about to make entire generations of nerds insane with jealousy thanks to one very special acceptance letter. Primera knows you've been eyeing their violins and that is totally not okay dude what the heck. And Amajeto takes a few influences from a popular developer to serve up an escape that calls upon the skills of a thousand grannies.
Seven days to stop an evil blood cult from murdering a bunch of children for a horrific ritual? Well, I mean, I can barely manage to pay my cellphone bill on time with multiple e-mails and text reminders, but... okay. In roguelike RPG 1Quest, also available for a fee on Android, by Ratz'n'Godz and Storybird Games, you'll create your character by choosing your sex, race, and class, and then set out to save the abducted children, one of whom happens to be the princess. Actually, while the ritual begins in seven days, it will take another nine to complete, with one child being lost each day until the princess is used as the final sacrifice. Obviously, the king wants her back safe and sound, but a true hero would not let any lives be lost, right? To play, just click to interact once you've entered a dungeon from the map. Everything is turn-based, so think carefully about your moves and attacks, as where as how you allocate your skills as you level up. While ultimately a simplified example of the roguelike genre, with its click-to-act gameplay and option for auto-distributing skills, 1Quest is still robust enough to be both satisfying for fans looking for something more casual, and a little off-putting by newcomers who will miss the lack of any sort of real tutorial or explanation. Most of the game can be picked up rather quickly by playing around, and mousing over most things onscreen will give you a description of what they are and how they work. It's still a little small and cluttered, but with plenty of places to explore, monsters to slay, randomly generated dungeons, powers to unlock, and magical glowing treasure to find, 1Quest is worth strapping on your breastplate of +2 cult slaying for a while.
Being a penguin ninja is very hard, because your biggest concern is to keep the emperor happy. And when he decides he needs a roll cake, well... Ninja, Make a Roll Cake! In Detarame Factory's adorable point-and-click puzzle adventure, you'll need to travel around hunting for ingredients to make the perfect roll cake... or at least, the perfect roll cake if you want to get the best ending. Just click to interact with things onscreen when the cursor changes as it passes over something, and travel around the map to find the things you need, and solve puzzles to make progress. The whole concept is very Isamu Carre, which was also made by Detarame Factory, but Ninja, Make a Roll Cake! thankfully has an English translation, so you don't need to brute force anything or guess at what the text says. Of course, being a ninja in a world populated by sentient fruits and vegetables, you aren't just going to be able to go to the supermarket for what you need, and instead you'll need to figure out creative ways to find (or subdue) the ingredients you need. It's extremely cute, and also a surprisingly robust chunk of itty-bitty adventure, though to say you'll need to think outside the box and examine every bit of every thing is sort of an understatement. So what are you waiting for? Royalty is starving. Ninja, Make a Roll Cake!
Thanks to Cyberjar88 for sending this one in!
Is it even possible to be unhappy while playing a kart-based racing game? Just look at the adorable cast of XForm's GoKartGo! Ultra! Look at 'em. They wouldn't be anywhere else for all the world, and that's because they're slinging fireworks at each other, driving over red-and-yellow nitro pads, and leaving one another in the dust. Oh, sure, they might grumble because they were this close to the finish line and then some pink bespectacled guinea pig who shall not be named managed to grab a homing bomb from one of those antigravity presents just left out on the racetrack, and suddenly they were in fifth place and everyone else was streaming on by. But they know it's all part of the game, really. Their world has just about everything you could ever want out of a cartoony kart racer: Nine different tracks full of secrets and shortcuts, nine adorable animal characters with their own playstyles, an assortment of weapons you can use by either pressing [X] or the [spacebar], the ability to jump and drift with [shift], and even a two-player mode where one player uses the arrow keys and one uses [WASD]! Which makes it all the more happy-inducing that it's something you can play in your browser, for free. Yeehaw!
Few escape games are as immediately recogniseable as they are made by no1game's little green men, and for good reason. They've been providing free entertainment for a long, long time. How long? Oh, just a whole decade, and Find the Escape-Men 167: No1Game's 10th Anniversary is a well-earned celebration, even if no1game's idea of celebrating does mean locking you up in a strange room with a coffin, a punching bag, and some questionable reading material. As usual, to escape you'll need to find the ten little green men hidden sneakily throughout the room, and, also as usual, there's no changing cursor, so you'll really want to search everywhere and everything for interactive spots. Some of the puzzles you'll encounter here may feel as if they stretch the lengths of intuitiveness to their breaking point, or are a little awkwardly implemented. Which is not, of course, to say that Find the Escape-Men 167 doesn't have its share of surprises, some silly and others, ahem, risqué, and you'll definitely need to think outside the box more than once. While No1Game's 10th Anniversary as a game might be a little rough around the edges, it represents an amazing achievement by a generous developer, and we can only tip our hats and hope for ten more.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but technically you're both parties in The Shpufa's gory puzzle platformer Infinity Inc. Turns out when you start cloning people, you can wind up with a lot of trouble on your hands, and this old facility has seen a lot of bloodshed. To escape, you'll need to make use of the cloning gun to make duplicates of yourself to help get past hazards, but hey... what could possibly go wrong this time? To play, use one of the two optional control schemes... I was partial to the [arrow] keys for movement, [X], [C], and [V] to erase, clone, and swap control respectively when available, and the [spacebar] to self destruct if you get stuck. The number of clones you can spawn once you find the cloning gun is in the upper left corner, and you can control them to do all sorts of things, like trigger traps so you can pass by safely. After all, they're just expendable clones, right? The gun can also be used to erase certain blocks out of existence, but you'll need to scour the facility for keycards and more if you want to get out alive. One of you, anyway.
City planners don't have it easy. Making a functioning place for people to live and work, be it bustling metropolis or cozy hillside tourist trap, takes a lot of care and strategy, so when you get called in to fix the mess the local mayor has made in the indie card-based puzzle game Concrete Jungle by Cole Powered Games, you know you have your work cut out for you. The city is, put bluntly, a mess, but what can you expect from a place designed by a guy who thinks a school surrounded by prisons is a good idea? Thankfully, you've got brainy Laney Thompson on your side, and despite the dunce of a mayor and a money-grubbing would-be land owner or three, she's got a plan to get the place back on track. Unlock and play cards in each level with their own positive and negative effects on tiles around them, carefully planning out your available land to meet your goal before you run out of space... or someone gets to it before you do! Though deceptively easy to initially pick up, Concrete Jungle is definitely hard to master, and even harder to walk away from. Featuring clever, strategic mechanics, a fantastic tongue-in-cheek cartoon style and characters, and smart gameplay, Concrete Jungle is an easily recommended game of cards and construction for just about anyone that's addictive and clever in equal measure.
Ask any town planner and they'll tell you... three out of five planned city expansions are derailed by exploding heads and screaming winged skeletons, which is why every building contract has that lesser known "emergency time traveling ghost busting" clause to take care of things. In ERS Game Studios' hidden-object adventure Redemption Cemetery: Clock of Fate, being tardy earns you more than just a lame reputation when the underground train station you were hurrying through hurtles you back through time to the 1940s during its construction. Seems a bunch of people died mysteriously while the place was being built, and while the police have called in paranormal investigators, that doesn't do you much good when you're trapped in the crumbling construction zone. But between all the skulls, creepy dolls, and the fact that the place is being built on an old asylum burial ground, maybe the city should reconsider this project. If you want to survive to tell them that, however, and presumably leave the world's most epic nasty Yelp transportation review, you'll need to help the lost souls of the asylum find peace. Hunt for the items you need to solve puzzles, gather things in hidden-object scenes, and of course, rewrite the course of history to save the wayward souls from a torment of their own devising. All of which sounds like a lot of pressure for someone incapable of making a train on time, but, well, okay.
Like so many other Pine Studio escape games, Old City Escape begins with you being thrown in the slammer, with only a slice of bread to keep you going, and what seems like the world's most ineffectual jailer. Just click on things to move around and interact, and remember that the fist in your inventory actually represents using force on things, while items you're carrying can (and often will!) be combined. In addition to a changing cursor, Old City Escape actually displays the text of things you can click on at the top of the screen, so pixel hunting is kept to a minimum. Old City Escape is one of those games whose puzzles are mostly logical, yet with solutions that aren't always your first instinctive reaction. Just because a door is locked, for instance, doesn't mean you necessarily need a key, so you may waste your time looking for something that doesn't exist when you already have the solution. It's on the short side, but does have a satisfying chunk of puzzles to work through, all presented in Pine Studio's clean and tidy graphics. Does freedom lie just over the horizon? Or will your escape attempts get sunk? And why does this place rely so much on birds for security?
Old City Escape (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
Old City Escape
In between all the backflips, the dual pistols, the ancient monsters, the snow mobile chases, and the snappy British banter, it can sometimes be easy to forget that Square-Enix's iconic leading lady Lara Croft is just as much brains as brawn, though turn-based puzzle game Lara Croft GO for iOS and Android is the best possible example we could hope for. Lara's still raiding tombs and ruins, of course, but here she's doing it one step at a time, as you swipe onscreen to lead her pace by pace through isometric levels filled with switches, snakes, traps, and more. Each level's goal is typically merely to get to the exit, but doing so requires figuring out how to make a path and avoid the hazards in the process. Snakes, for example, will strike at and kill you if you pass in front of where they're facing, while crumbled pathways can only be crossed over once before they give way. Be sure and keep an eye out for optional collectibles hidden in glowing jars throughout each area that can be picked up with a tap, and unlock new costumes for Lara to wear. Say... what's that rumbling?
On the great list of car problems you expect to have, "car went on a date and then got sucked into a 3D movie world" likely isn't going to be covered by your insurance, so if you want to save Wheely and his girlfriend, you'll have to solve the point-and-click puzzle game Wheely 6: Fairytale to avoid one seriously big deductible. To play, just click objects in each stage to try to remove obstacles so Wheely can move forward. Click on Wheely once to start him moving, and then again so he stops, and don't forget to try dragging some objects in your environment around. You might need to fix a switch to move a bridge so you can get across a river, for example, or get Wheely set up for a jousting tournament. If the gameplay feels familiar to you, it's likely because it's very Snail Bob-sy, down to the click-to-start/stop movement and collectibles in each stage, but Wheely is appropriately charming and bright enough to stand on its own, though older or just more experienced gamers may find it a little too easy. With colourful, cartoonish levels and silly situations, Wheely 6: Fairytale is unapologetically goofy in a good way, and a nice light break from your day.
When a young woman known to be associated with mobster Little Big Bog goes missing, her childhood friend hires Detective Gilbert to take the case and find out the truth behind her disappearance. So far so standard, right? But in Expera Games Studio's point-and-click adventure A Matter of Caos: Episode 1 (no, that's not a typo), our Detective isn't so much hard boiled as he is squishy, purple, tentacled, and rocking mind powers, though he's hardly the weirdest character lurking around the unseemly shadows of Mavropolis. To find your mark, you'll need to travel around the city, solving puzzles and greasing palms, and hopefully not getting devoured by ferocious infernal guardbeasts in the process. As you make progress, more locations will open up around the city. To play, just click to interact with things, though the game is primarily text-based and people to talk to or items to use are represented as icons onscreen. At the bottom of the window is your inventory... click an item to "equip" it to use on something, or try to combine things you're carrying. And don't forget... if you like the game, please support the developer by buying the "complete edition", which contains some extra content, and goes toward funding bigger adventures with Mr. Gilbert!
Rise and shine, gentle reader! Wednesday waits for nobody, and while we may have crested that foul hill that is the work week, we yet have miles to go before we hit the weekend. Fortunately, Weekday Escape is here to make it sting a little less, bringing with it the usual trio of games by the developers who spend all their free time slaving over the crystalline fires and forges of Mount Doom... what, how did you think escape games were made? This week! Yuuri gets spoopy and so do those little yellow fluffballs. no1game needs you to find a familiar green face to escape, but you'll have to assemble it first. And Lu-Taru channels their inner gameshow contestant by asking what's behind door number one?!... two? Three?... it's a lot of doors.
Ain't it great to be a hip, happening young teen? In Steph Cherrywell's interactive-fiction adventure Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!, you're good ol' teen gal Bonnie Noodleman, whose date with your sorta-boyfriend up on Make-Out Mountain may or may not be going so well, but that doesn't matter since, as the title implies, he goes and gets his brains guzzled by an alien monstrosity before he can even give you his letter jacket. Jeepers! Now it's up to you to warn the townsfolk... but even in an alterna-history 1950s era of rocket boots and space travel, you might just be taken for another kooky female who's got her head all twisted up in a lather, so maybe you'll need to do the saving yourself. To play, just hit [Enter] to advance the text, or type your actions and hit [Enter] to execute them. Most of these are straightforward... things like LOOK AT __ to take a closer look at something specific, or TALK TO __ to strike up a conversation with a character, and reading the yearbook in your dearly departed beau's glove compartment will give you more instructions. The most important, however, is that if you make a decision that leads to unfortunate circumstances, just type UNDO to, well, undo your previous choice and try something else. Jinkies! What will they think of next?
Simple can be pretty slick, or at least FRVR's puzzle game Untangle proves that you can be both. All you need to do in each nineteen levels is, as the title implies, click and drag the dots to untangle the lines onscreen so that none of them overlap. It's the sort of thing that's been done before, usually relegated to minigame status in larger titles, but Untangled's elegant, minimalistic presentation (not to mention melodic soundtrack) proves that it works just fine as a casual puzzle game on its own, albeit without any real bells and whistles to speak of. If you need more variety, Untangle's straightforward approach might lose its luster early on, though its snarled levels do get tricky early on. If what you're looking for is a mellow puzzle game that scratches that particular itch of "weirdly satisfying to tidy up, intensely frustrating to get there", Untangle's slew of knotted starry skeins is just what the doctor ordered. After all, how hard could it be... ?
Neptune, Venus, and Jupiter are just your average teens, sweating and groaning through another year of being with the Summer Scouts. Between the bullies and the frustrating camp activities, which of course include your typical teenager chores like fighting evil and getting ready for Magical Girl style transformations, the group is just waiting for it all to be over so they can get back home and back to normal, or at least as normal as they're expected to be. But in between all the religious songs and charm practice, all the sunscreen and bugspray, Jupiter, Venus, and Neptune keep their own secrets, even from themselves, even from each other. Because if they were ever to be found out, well, they'd be left all alone when the devil comes for them. Aevee Bee, Mia Schawrtz, Alex Lambert and their team bring you We Know the Devil, a surreal psychological indie online visual novel about being "weird and queer and wrong and hoping no one finds out when the actual, literal devil comes for you". To play, just click to advance the text, and, when offered, choose character combinations to undergo certain tasks. The game has four different endings, with the "true" one only available under certain conditions once you've got all the others, and you'll want to chase down every interaction and character combination to flesh out not only the relationships, but the kids themselves and how they relate to and see themselves and one another.
Funkyland's whimsical escape game series wants you to stop and smell the roses, among other things, with Alice House 2 No. 02: The Garden of Live Flowers, where you need to find five items bearing the silhouette of the Red Queen before you can get out. Just click to explore and interact as you move throughout the garden, and make sure to check everywhere, since this is a little bit bigger in scale as far as environments go than many of Funkyland's more recent titles. Despite its initial maze-like impression, The Garden of Live Flowers is still the sort of game that doesn't wear out its welcome, and is more a plate of delicious cookies to nibble on at the Hatter's tea party than a substantial meal. Most of the handful of puzzles you have to sift through are logical enough, and the quirky design makes the game fun to explore, without any potential hay fever. Alice House 2 No. 02: The Garden of Live Flowers is another welcome, brief stop on your Wonderland journey... and you'll even get to keep your head when you find the queen!
08--n7.r6-79.84 and Stranger087 fire up the Wayback Machine with Serious Dave, a not-so-serious retro action-packed platformer about a bunch of babies being kidnapped to open an eeeeeviiil portal, and the bearded hero who sets out to save them. Use [W] and [S] or the up and down [arrow] keys to hop between platforms, avoiding enemies and grabbing coins and health pickups, as you speed through stages. When you've unlocked weapons by proving your trustiness to Dave's friend (by bringing him ice cold brewskis, of course), you can fire weapons with [Z] or the [spacebar], and use [C] and [V] to swap between them. Serious Dave is absolutely aces at capturing that old school feel, from the aesthetic to the gameplay, and fans of simple, twitchy reflex platforming will appreciate its classic pixel flair. Where it stutters is perhaps being a bit too simple and repetitive for a modern crowd, since the gameplay doesn't really change significantly throughout, but the bonus levels and achievements add a little extra challenge to a game that doesn't wear out its welcome. Serious Dave is seriously retro from its pixels to its soundtrack, and for some players looking for something snappy and simple without being too easy, it'll scratch the proverbial itch.
What kind of charmed life must you live to have the sort of friends who spend all their time carefully crafting rooms into elaborate escape game scenarios for you? In Tesshi-e's N's Room Escape, your buddy N has sent you a note to try out their latest room escape scenario, and in addition to all the puzzles to solve and cunning contraptions, it's got one heckuva view. To play, just click around to explore and interact with objects, making sure to be diligent in checking things as there's no changing cursor to help guide you. Though the design may seem spartan, refusing to succumb to that relaxing guitar soundtrack and take a nap will reveal that there are a lot of sneaky tricks strewn around if you can sniff them out. It may not take you as long as you'd expect (or hope), but where there's Tesshi-e, there's a smile... and a Happy Coin!
7Days, a first-person horror adventure game developed by RevoLab, has simple fears at its core: Waking up and not knowing where you are. Waking up in a place where there appears to be no obvious escape. Waking up and realizing that someone you don't know has been watching you sleep. And the only thing there is to do is explore. Move with the [WASD] keys, and interact with the environment around you by clicking. [E] brings up the inventory screen where you can choose an acquired item to use on the object in front of you. (It's mostly going to be a key/door situation there). Hold [Shift] to run, and tap [Ctrl] to crouch. You'll be doing more of the former, than the latter. The basic goal is that, on each "day" you must find a note, which will take you to the next day. No points for guessing how many days there are in all. But know this: you won't be alone.
Blink and you'll miss it, but In Between Games' The Mammoth: A Cave Painting, made in just three days for Ludum Dare 33's "You Are the Monster" jam, is well worth the few minutes it'll take out of your day. In this piece of striking interactive art, you'll go through the history of one of the world's most iconic great shaggy mammals by playing as one who initially goes in search of her child, separated from the herd, and then must reconnect with the herd herself. Use [WASD] or the [arrow] keys to move, and, when available, hit [X] to trumpet, which will cause you to call your baby to sprint to you quicker. Later, you can use [C] to charge and trample dangers. The game tells a fairly familiar story, largely because it's been repeated throughout history with so many different animals in a very Potter/Voldemort "neither can live while the other survives" sort of way, and while it doesn't actually do anything tremendously different or unexpected with its story and moral, its striking visual style and somber storytelling fits the mood and setting extremely well. It likely isn't telling you anything you already know, but its well paced and executed. The Mammoth: A Cave Painting is a snapshot of well-crafted interactive art foreshadows good things from its development team in the future.
Volik and Best Physics Games get toasty when it comes to physics puzzler Bread Pit, which is all about helping a piece of boring ol' bread get golden brown and delicious by interacting with its environment to lead it to the toaster in each level, nabbing all three pieces of... cheese? butter pats?... along the way. Just click on different things, or the bread slice itself, and see what happens. You might need to press a switch to activate a mechanism that pushes the bread around, or make the slice bounce to break through things, or get within range of some new critter or mechanic. It's simple, sure, but also simply cute in a big way, thanks to its adorable graphics and the clever way familiar physics puzzle concepts are incorporated as mice, spiders, or other things. The physics can be a little fiddly, and some segments require quick reflexes to pull off, but Bread Pit is still a fun, tasty charmer, and besides... what sort of monster doesn't like toast? Pass the butter!