Happy Friday, dear reader! I hope that wherever you are, the sun is shining and the birds are singing, and after you finish with today's batch of games you plan on getting outside, catching butterflies, running on the beach with golden retrievers... er... chasing hoops with sticks... save kids from wells with the help of plucky collie dogs... whatever it is people do outside. Look, I'll be honest with you. I don't do well under the judgmental glare of the Daystar myself. But maybe these fine titles will provide some measure of comfort when you slink back indoors covered in sweat, bug bites, and newly irritated red flesh.
- Pokemon Tower Defense - I love Pokemon, and I don't care who knows it! I also love tower defense games, so this would seem to be a match made in heaven if not for the potential threat of Nintendo's legal department hanging over this title like the Sword of Damocles. Sam Otero brings us this geek-tastic title complete with a story that stays faithful to the original silly, fun source material; a mysterious man and woman are set to attack Professor Oak's lab with a bunch of hypnotised Pokemon and steal all the Rare Candies they can find. Select your Pokemon and go on an adventure, tower-defense style, getting stronger and evolving to save Oak's stash! WATER TYPE FO' LIFE, YO!
- Epic Charlie - I have to wonder how epic the protagonist of this platform game can really be if he doesn't have a jetpack or a rocketbike or a group of dogs with bees in their mouths (and when they bark they shoot bees at you). When his mentor meets an untimely demise at the hands of the prerequisite Big Bad, Charlie is blamed by the townspeople and given time to prove his innocence, which appears to involve spikes, enemies, wall-jumping, and more. It is a little disappointing... I mean, now that everyone knows about the "ancient evil struck down my mentor" ploy, when the heck am I going to say the next time I need to strike my mentor down?! "He just got overly enthusiastic cleaning his lightsaber?" "I'm not going to name any names because He Who Must Not Be Named?" Way to make things harder for the rest of us budding megalomaniacs, Charlie.
- Jhink Toy - Oueo brings us this simple puzzle game with pleasing spherical shapes and the only demand that you "think widely". The goal is to clear the board, which sounds easy enough, at least until you start shifting rows around. See, only rows of one colour will be cleared, while the rest sit there silently mocking your attempts to plan three moves into the future. It's a stylish workout for your brain that will send you out into your day much better suited for any important tasks you might be called upon, like... eh... man, I dunno... sorting magic jelly-beans? Not much call for a glowing thinger mover arounder since Wonka closed up, I'm afraid.
- From Beyond - As my great grandmother used to say, there's a little bit of unknowable cosmic horror in all of us, and Super Flash Bros will help you unleash it in their latest arcade game/intergalactic griefer simulator. Ping destruction down on unsuspecting planets, trying to rack up as much damage as possible, though if you're clever you'll make sure to leave at least one author still alive so the next generation of Hot-Topicers can know what mythological horror trend to follow next. Quirky, colourful, and oddly satisfying in a way that sates the galactic voices inside our heads for the time being, it's a fine way to get a little carnage in your day.
- Alien Attack 3D - You may disagree, but for my money the finest first-person-shooter arcade experience to be had lies with House of the Dead 4 Special. While Alien Attack 3D doesn't have seats that swivel and full surround sound, it still manages to capture that gleeful old rail-shooter arcade feeling quite nicely. You're a prisoner whose reprieve comes in (surprise!) an alien attack on the base you're being held at. Blast your way through headcrab thingies (I still need to play Half-Life, I guess. Priorities!), grab med kits, and admire the swinging camera that faithfully recreates the arcade experiences of yore.