It's time for Mysterious Mysteries of the Unknown! Mysteries! We've uncovered an old, import-only Japanese Game Boy Advance puzzle game from a company that folded shortly after publishing the title, leaving only a ten level PC demo and countless frazzled eBay searchers. Furthering the mysterious mysteriological setting (that's not a word, is it?), in Blood Ties you'll investigate kidnappings with a 450 year-old vampire, and a recent Cactus release drops you in a dream-themed platforming game that makes no sense. What a world we live in.
Blood Ties (Windows, 44MB, demo) - Based on the television series that's based on the Blood Books by Tanya Huff, Blood Ties brings the familiar law enforcement/mystery setting to casual gamers as a hidden object game. Vicki Nelson is an ex-cop and private investigator with failing eyesight. Working with a 450 year old vampire who is also the son of King Henry VIII (yes, you read that right), you'll investigate the disappearance of 14 members of a secret society called the Hellfire Club. Each member carries a fragment of a magical tablet that keeps a demon named Astaroth banished, and if the pieces aren't reunited once a year the demon will break free. Which is bad. The plot is a bit convoluted, but makes for interesting scenery, and the game itself is straight-up object finding, no pesky minigames to get in the way.
Swarm Racer (Windows/Mac, 1MB, free) - Why race one vehicle when you can control a whole swarm of them? Why race vehicles when you can control bees?! Zoom around each stage collecting gems while trying your best to keep the group together. Funky backgrounds and a stylish audio package make it an almost psychadelic experience.
Psychosomnium (Windows, 1.6MB, free) - From Game Maker developer Cactus, Psychosomnium is a short experimental platformer using the dream world as a setting, complete with illogical puzzles and scenarios that make little to no sense. Expect strange things to happen, and don't give up just because an obstacle seem impossible! As Cactus said, the game is not a prank.
Big Box of Blox (Windows/Mac, 11MB, free) - Tetris is so two decades ago. Not only do we want to stack blocks nowdays, we want to smash them as violently as possible. Enter Big Box of Blox and its multiple game modes, tiled themes and satisfying crashing sounds as you make matches. As groups of blocks descend from the sky, switch their position with the [arrow] keys and try your best to line up groups of three. It's sort of a cross between Lumines and Tetris.
Guru Logic Champ (Windows, <1MB, demo) - A sad tale in portable gaming history, Guru Logic Champ was the brainchild of Japanese developer Compile. Released only in Japan for the Game Boy Advance, the company tanked not too long afterwards, leaving a superb puzzle game to wither in obscurity. Fortunately a ten-level PC demo was released, allowing many more gamers to experience the sometimes infuriating logic puzzle bliss. The full game is import only and is a tough one to find, but if you enjoy this kind of puzzle, download PopCap's Pixelus for a similar experience.
Millenipede (Windows/Mac, 1.1MB, free) - A retro-themed arcade game inspired by Centipede. Shoot mushrooms, dodge spiders, flying saucers, snails and the millenipedes themselves as you climb your way up the high score board. Blocky pixel graphics included, sticky arcade buttons and annoying little kids picking their noses omitted.