Who knew that something as boring as real estate management would make a good time management game? Hipsoft, the creators of the wildly successful Build-a-Lot series, did, and boy were they right! The latest installment in the series, Build-a-Lot 4: Power Source, has arrived, bringing with it the same balanced and challenging gameplay with a brand new theme: energy efficiency.
After discovering a photo of a young boy in her attic, a boy her parents insisted wasn't real, Rosemary returns home in this bittersweet point-and-click adventure to uncover the truth about her childhood friend. A remarkably well made game that centers around invoking the proper memories to reveal the past, Rosemary is a sweet, sad, thoughtful story that could wind up staying with you much longer than it takes to play.
You reprise the role of the resilient young castaway, Mina, and her adorable primate pal, Jep. When last we left the duo, we thought we had made our way safely off of Nemo's island, but it seems we were a little naive. Now you must guide them both through more explorations of the island in the hopes of getting off of it... again!
Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery is a new hidden object/adventure/mystery hybrid by Sulus Games. You play FBI agent Claire Ellery assigned to a case in a fishing village so small it can't be found by GPS, which should be your first hint that something's rotten.
- • Little Bee
- • Skull Daddy
- • Attack of the Deadly Mutant Fishies
- • Carpe Universum
Normally, I'm not much of a shmup fan. Three of the four games featured below, however, happen to be shooters. And I happen to have enjoyed them. Which is neat! Sure, they're decidedly less "serious" than most games in the genre, but still, you shoot stuff, so that counts, right?
The Lost Inca Prophecy, from Seppia Interactive, blends match 3 gameplay with the look and feel of a hidden object/adventure hybrid. You play as Acua, a young Spanish woman living around the time of Columbus. One day a book in your beloved library speaks to you, giving you a prophecy about the doom of the Inca Empire. The next thing you know you are on your way to the New World with your friend Juan de Salcedo — a brave conquistador — as your only companion.
Rosangela Blackwell is just like any other young writer struggling to make it big in New York. Except for the ghosts only she can see. And the one she works with. When a string of murders breaks out in New York, Rosa smells a story, but the truth behind them may be more than she can handle. An incredibly polished point-and-click adventure from Wadjet Eye Games, The Blackwell Convergence is highly recommended, with an engrossing story, stunning visuals, and full voice acting.
In Burger Shop 2, you are once again tasked with combining ingredients coming from an ever-producing food machine to serve the constant stream of customers coming into the restaurant. In a nice twist on the time management genre, you don't control an actual character, so your speed is limited only by how good you are at clicking.
Picross has returned in World Mosaics 2, a brand new puzzle game from Fugazo. Fans of picross (also known as nonograms, paint by numbers, picture crosswords, etc.) will appreciate World Mosaic's straightforward interface and attractive visual design, while everyone else will get a great introduction to the world of picross. Plenty of puzzles, both easy and difficult, and a little story thrown in for good measure make World Mosaics 2 a great choice for all types of puzzle fans.
- • Spirit Guide
- • Alpinist
- • Category 5
- • The Ascent
It's TOJam time! The Toronto Independent Game Jam #4 was held May 1-3, with participating teams producing 37 games! Below are just a few of our favorites. Be sure to check out the TOJam 2009 games page for other unique titles.
It's word game meets RPG in the excellent release from PopCap, Bookworm Adventures Volume 2! Mother Goose leaps from the pages of her book when the Big Bad Wolf comes a-knockin', and our bespectacled hero Lex is the only one who can help. Spell words to damage each enemy as you work your way through 30 chapters, gaining levels and earning unique trophies along the way. It's everything the original Bookworm Adventures was with a little extra oomph.
If large file adventures are not your thing, here is a special freebie treat for Windows users today: the colored light puzzle game, Prism, can be yours absolutely free.
Ransom of the Seven Ships is a puzzler's dream come true. Cryptograms, slider puzzles, matchstick manipulation, a Blokus variant, and the hardest game of underwater Sudoku you'll ever encounter are just a few of the many challenges you and Nancy must overcome. With hours and hours of casual gameplay, a solid plot, tons of educational content, gorgeous graphics, and a bevy of challenging puzzles, Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships is no mere child's game.
Passport to Perfume is the latest time management game from Mean Hamster Software, creators of Everything Nice. Play as Sophia, a 1940s perfumer who collects ingredients (via hidden object scenes), assembles perfumes, mixes her own scents, and sells her goods to customers as efficiently as she can!
- • Tanaka's Friendly Adventure
- • Alexitron's Journey to Learn GML
- • !Xorpl
Games exist to expand your mind, train your reflexes, broaden your appreciation of all things— naaah! I'm kidding, who cares about all that stuff, amirite? Really, most of the games we play exist just so we can have fun. And that's exactly what we have on this edition of Weekend Download: three tiny, simple games to deliver a bit of mindless fun.
The casual village sim Many Years Ago drops itself in a crowded genre, competing with games like My Tribe, Virtual Villagers, Escape from Paradise, Totem Tribe, and many more. Why, then, should anyone bother with another village sim? In four words: laid-back and relaxed gameplay. In one word: dinosaurs!
Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy stamps its way into the hidden object scene and holds its ground with well-integrated story and gameplay, great artwork, and logical hiding places for items. It's perfect for casual audiences who aren't looking for a lot of challenge but want a good gaming experience nonetheless.
Pure Hidden is designed to be a hidden object game unlike any other. There is no story, no mystery to solve, no thinly-veiled plot designed to accommodate the endless locating of things that have nothing to do with the story, much less the surroundings. Pure Hidden takes a very zen-like approach to the hidden object genre. The games exist to be played, not to serve any external plot or characters. It makes the entire process of playing a relaxing, soothing experience.
- • Heed
- • Kung Fu 2
- • QQUAK
- • Post I.T. Shooter
Ohhhhh, sometimes I can't get enough of that old-school retro-styled CRT TV in the living room playing games when I'm supposed to be learning my multiplication tables goodness! An incredibly low-res Quake-inspired game is a heavy dose of nostalgia, but pile on top of that a short Lucas Arts-style adventure game and an unofficial sequel to a near-forgotten NES title, stick a Post-It note on the front, and you've got a recipe for a relaxed weekend.
Department 42: The Mystery of the Nine is a hidden object adventure game from Frogwares, creator of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened and Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser's Submarines. Take the role of an agent working for Department 42, a secret organization that investigates paranormal events. Yes, kind of like X-Files! Nine malevolent artifacts that were sealed away in Grimstone mansion have gone missing, and it's your job to find them before their evil influence spreads chaos around the world.
Yes, Guybrush, Elaine, and even LeChuck are back for more adventures in the first installment of the new Monkey Island episodes from Telltale Games. I'm happy to report that this classic adventure series is in very good hands.
Magic Encyclopedia: Moonlight is the sequel to Magic Encyclopedia, which sent young magic student Katrina chasing all over the globe in search of her brother. Katrina is a little older now, but her brother still has the habit of getting himself lost. Once again she must travel the world, searching for her wayward sibling and a favorite professor, who also happens to be a werewolf. It's a solid and satisfying hidden object adventure.
- • Bunny Blaster
- • Frobot
- • Proto Shooter
- • Egg Worm Generator
The Experimental Gameplay Project has returned! Originally started by Kyle Gabler and Kyle Gray, the site encourages rapid prototyping of new gameplay concepts in a short period of time. World of Goo began as an experimental game called Tower of Goo, so you can see how much creative potential an idea like this has.
In the hidden object game, G.H.O.S.T. Chronicles: Phantom of the Renaissance Faire, you play a ghost hunter called in to aid a renaissance faire/theme park that has seen better days. It's one of the better hidden object games around that doesn't resort to cheap tricks when hiding items, and the beautiful presentation and haunting adventure aspects make it a true winner.
- • DinerTown Tycoon
- • Kitten Sanctuary
- • Pahelika: Secret Legends
Our goal is to bring you only the games that are worth playing, meaning most of these titles are left in the forgotten realm of Didn't Quite Make It land. This is especially true with downloadable games, as it's a bit more of a commitment to buy a game than just click on a link and play. Some games look good, play well, and are entertaining enough to be featured, but for one reason or another they just didn't make the cut. Here are a few games that are, by all rights, excellent titles to play, but for one reason or another didn't quite get their own review.
Deadly Sin doesn't try to reinvent the role playing game. Instead, it chooses the path of flattering imitation. With great art direction, a superb soundtrack, a deep skill tree to explore and, most notably, the ability to turn off random battles, Deadly Sin hits that soft spot deep inside that's longing for a good RPG to enjoy.
- • Holdover
- • Ninja Robot Winning Gameshow
- • Gray & Green
Painfully difficult retro gaming time!!! Three platform games on this edition of Weekend Download, each one doing its part to remind you just how bad you are at playing games. Until you play the same part a dozen times, then you're awesomely talented!
Kuros is Sandlot Games' first foray into the realm of hidden object adventure games. Taking a page from the Dream Chronicles series, Kuros blends gorgeous environments with a slew of inventory-based puzzles along with clever mini-games that round out the experience. It's a beautiful game from beginning to end, one that you'll be glad you ventured into!
Time Gentlemen, Please!, a direct sequel to Zombie Cow's Ben There, Dan That, is a playground for just about every type of humor that is likely to get you ousted from civil society. It's old-school adventuring at its best and manages to both parody and canonize classic Lucasarts games while providing a stiff set of puzzles to solve.
Enlightenus is a story-driven hidden object adventure game made backwards. Instead of looking for and collecting a list of items in cluttered rooms, your job is to find where items belong and put them back. Compare your inventory with the objects on the screen and decipher which items go in which location. It's a simple gameplay switcheroo that shoves Enlightenus away from the pack and into the spotlight.
Finally! It's about time a resource management/casual tycoon game came along that's more than a fresh coat of paint and a few new tricks! Hollywood Tycoon puts you in charge of a movie studio, giving you the power to buy scripts, hire actors, build sets and much more. As you earn cash you get to upgrade everything from your sets to actor trailers, prop studios, script centers, distribution buildings and more, allowing you to make bigger, better movies that rake in millions of dollars of profit. And it's fun for hours upon hours, too!
- • Space Exploration: Serpens Sector
- • Bitfortress
- • Tombed
It's the weekend!!! That means you have a little extra time on your hands. That means I get to take away some of that time with a handful of free games. That means you get to have fun on your weekend. Don't forget to mow the lawn, though.
Avalon is a beautifully illustrated casual simulation game that focuses on gathering resources and exploring a magical forest. It ditches the traditional top-down point of view in favor of a sidescrolling 2D perspective which, surprisingly, diminishes that cerebral simulation feeling. As with any casual sim, it's easy to see the influence Virtual Villagers has had, but Avalon strays well off the rails with its setting, graphical style, and the ability to inspire you to explore the world around you.
Mystic Mine is a track-switching action-puzzle game. Much like classics such as Candy Train and the current iPhone offering Trains, you must switch tracks ahead of your mine car, which is always in motion.
Sprouts Adventure is the latest in the increasingly long line of casual sim games made famous by Virtual Villagers, Totem Tribe, My Tribe, etc. This one separates itself from the pack by clearing away the bloat to leave a streamlined experience behind. Sprouts Adventure gives you a clear, goal-oriented simulation that meters out its rewards at a careful pace, ensuring you are never overwhelmed with choices and fully appreciate each new upgrade you get to use.
- • Storm
- • Save the Planet
- • Heresy War
This week, we'll take a look at the finalists in the 2BeeGames Indie Game Competition. Out of the six, we have previously featured two: Auditorium and Bumps, and the other is technically not a download Buccaneer Battle. Here is a quick rundown of the remaining three amazingly deserving titles. You like to vote, right? After playing these games, go vote for your favorite!
As one of six mythical heroes, each with their own set of goals, sail off in search of treasure and your place in history in ancient Greece. Discover legendary cities, meet interesting people . . . and pound the snot out of them for your own financial gain. It's a thankless job, being a hero.
Free Realms is one of the most-accessible MMOs ever made, targeted at everyone from young children to adults. It's free to play and features a unique mini-game progression system, aimed at tearing down the usual tediousness of modern MMOs.
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is an ambitious mystery adventure from Frogwares. It simultaneously attempts to remain faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's eponymous sleuth, provide a crossover with another body of work with its own cultish following, and blaze new trails in the well established adventure game genre.
In the mood for more beach-themed Virtual Villagers-style simulation gaming? Escape from Paradise 2: A Kingdom's Quest is now available, and it delivers exactly what its predecessor did and quite a bit more. Instead of straightforward village management, Escape from Paradise 2 blends in mini-games to break up the action, and combined with a little hidden object finding and character stat upgrading, you have a game that will quickly sink its hooks in you.
- • The Mirror Lied
- • Takishawa is Dead
- • Somnia
All three games featured this week seem to be a bit on the chilling creepy eerie ominous side of things. Nothing like hordes of zombies leaping from behind locked doors, more like quiet, haunting environments that are suspiciously empty but filled with cautious intrigue...
Once upon a time, in a kingdom ruled by a red-hooded princess, there lived a young wolf. Unlike the rest of his family, this wolf was neither very big nor particularly bad. His mother wasn't too pleased with this, but first morning he didn't hear her howl, the not-so-big, not-so-bad wolf knew something was wrong. Thus begins Big Brain Wolf, an adventure/puzzle game that parodies nearly every fairy tale and fairy tale character you can imagine, providing some surprisingly challenging puzzles along the way.
Best described as a cross between Teeworlds, Team Fortress 2, and an RPG, Altitude is a shockingly addictive online multiplayer game from indie studio Nimbly Games. Grab a plane and take to the skies as you compete (and co-operate) with other players and earn experience points bombing the enemy base and taking down foes with a variety of power-ups.
We've just finished a complete walkthrough for Braid! Be warned: This guide contains spoilers so use it as a last resort.
"Avernum" is the name of an underground domain that's home to the Avernites, a group at war with the surface-dwellers, collectively called the Empire. This time around, a group of adventurers is sent back to Avernum to hunt down an assassin who tried to kill the Empress. The story and its development is actually pretty thick for a closed-in dungeon crawler, unfolding constantly a simplified "choose-your-own-adventure"-styled dialogue.
Alabaster is an exquisite and addictive piece of interactive fiction created by a team of eleven talented writers and spearheaded by Emily Short, one of the Grande Dames of the genre, authoress of such classics as Floatpoint, that takes the oft-Disneyfied, candy-coated tale of Snow White and recasts it in rather darker hues.
Faerie Solitaire is, at its core, a version of the classic golf-style card game found in Fairway Solitaire. Take cards off the pile or pull cards from the play area that are either one above or one below the target, the ultimate goal being to clear the screen. The usual suit of numbered cards (two through ten, jacks, queens, kings and aces) are at your disposal. It may seem a simplistic set-up, but if you throw in power-ups and a Pokemon-esque pet raising game, something magical is created!
- • Type Fighter
- • De Toren
- • Toast Boy
- • Sheep!
This edition of Weekend Download makes me hungry. Hungry for TOAST! It also, by extension, makes me want to ride on the back of a sheep, but that's a completely different thing, innit?
Nelly and Tom are at it again! Yes, the kids from the original Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold have returned, and this time they're all grown up! Just like the original game, Treasure Seekers 2: The Enchanted Canvases a unique hybrid of adventure and hidden object gaming that makes use of context-sensitive actions rather than laundry lists of items to find. Add to that some much-improved visuals (which is saying a lot!) and you have another potential hit on your hands.
Slouching Towards Bedlam is a work of interactive fiction created by Daniel Ravipinto and Star Foster. Set in the Bedlam Hospital insane asylum in a steampunk-style 1885 London, you begin in an office with a brass-laden phonograph playing a demented soliloquy. It's a subtly disturbing game that draws you into a rich, elusive world of intrigue and allows you to react to the story however you see fit, carving out five unique endings based upon your interpretation of the plot.
Braid is a groundbreaking platform game created by Jonathan Blow. With a deep, intriguing storyline, gorgeous artwork, enchanting music, and the unique ability to manipulate time, Braid is built from dozens of unique puzzles (no filler material) that will challenge your ability to think laterally while inspiring your philosophical mind to search for meaning with every object you encounter.
Adventure, monsters, and betrayal in 16 bits! Eternal Eden is a surprisingly hefty RPG following three young men who set out to save the world . . . after accidentally setting its destruction in motion themselves.
You'd think that being able to do magic would make things like running a magic shop a snap. Just wave your wand and POOF everything is taken care of. Well, turns out it's not all that easy, if Mystic Emporium is any indication. In fact, it's going it take all of your time-management skills to be a successful magic shop owner and satisfy the mystical people and creatures of the realm.
- • Ivory Springs
- • Kaivo
- • Storm Assault
- • The Gutter
- • Squid Yes, Not So Octopus: Squid Harder
Something for just about every type of gamer in this edition of Weekend Download, including a few titles heavy on exploration (one with a grappling hook! :-O ), a psychedelic shooter, and an experimental art game complete with vomit!
Sugar-coated, filled with rainbows and sunshine and love, and cheerier than a dentist the day after Halloween, Yousumin! is a new puzzle game from Square-Enix. In the same way Bejeweled Twist put a spin on the matching genre, Yosumin! shifts things around to deliver a new kind of puzzle game that's unique yet familiar at the same time.
Fail-Safe is a work of interactive fiction created by Jon Ingold. It could be one of the strangest text-based games you've ever seen (in a simple, subdued kind of way), as Ingold removes all meta-commands from the parser, forbidding you do to things like saving your progress. But there's a good reason for this. Fail-Safe immerses you so deeply in the world that even the conventions of playing a game would snap you out of it. And when you start playing, you'll see why that's a crucial part of the experience.
Dead Like Ants is a sublime piece of interactive fiction by C.E.J. Pacian. You are an unnamed female ant, a simple worker. You and your thousands of sisters labor ceaselessly in the service of your colony; an unexciting, if productive, existence. Today, however, is very different. Your mother, the Queen has requested your presence Every spring, it seems, five dangerous creatures come to the colony and threaten the safety of all therein. When this occurs, the Queen sends one of her daughters to negotiate with these monsters, thereby averting trouble for another year. This spring, you are the chosen emissary.
Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon exists within that journey from the reality of Vlad the Impaler, the madman the Count was based upon, to the myth of the best-known vampire, Dracula. It's a long, deep and satisfying adventure game laden with volumes of text, and a pleasantly eerie setting that's brilliantly illustrated.
The Fairy Godmother's monopoly on the potion business is on the verge of collapse due to some healthy competition, so she hires a promising young assistant to reestablish her empire. A tired genre gets a sorely needed infusion of creativity in Fairy Godmother Tycoon, a basic tycoon game wrapped in a pretty, pretty package.
Pew Pew Pew Thwak. Thwap Thwup Splat, Wheeee! The review of Platypus could end there, but in the interest of, you know, explaining things, I'll continue. Platypus is a wonderfully unique side scrolling shooter created by Anthony Flack. Everything in the game — from the enemies to the backgrounds and even the weapons fire — is made from plasticine. This playable claymation shooter is filled with action and quirky design choices that have made it an instant cult-classic.
- • Enviro-Bear 2000
- • Okkuplektor
- • Star Cannon
- • Vector Locust
TIGSource has long been a focal point where independent game developers congregate, and its recent TIGSource Cockpit Competition inspired several dozen programmers to craft over 40 fine games for our playing pleasure. The following are the four winners as chosen by votes on the TIGSource forums. Aah, independent games, how we love your rampant sense of freedom and unchecked creativity.
As you might expect, the objective in Youda Marina is to run a successful marina. You do this by building facilities, attracting visitors, and earning money to gain fame. It's a unique simulation game that offers a very casual gameplay experience, along with the appeal of pretty boats and steel drum reggae music. Make yourself a Pina Colada (or a Shirley Temple) and settle in to live the dream!
Plants vs. Zombies is now available from Big Fish Games for a mere $6.99! That's a steal of a deal for a game that will likely be in the running for Casual Game of the Year 2009.
Clash'N Slash has the makings of a great one. Big guns? Check. Hordes of attacking aliens? Check. Lots and lots of explosions? Check and check. There's more happening on-screen than any namby-pamby little puzzle or hidden object game. This is an action game, for action game players. Do you have what it takes?
3 Days: Zoo Mystery, a new hidden object game from Realore Studios, drops you in the middle of a mystery at the local zoo. You play as the owner's niece, Anna, whose job it is to find several animals that have mysteriously disappeared. You have three days to solve the crime, otherwise the feds sweep in and shut the place down for good! Serve meals, work with the police, become a salty dog, circumvent hi-tech security systems and so much more in this eclectic mystery.
- • RunMan's Monster Fracas
- • Crush!
- • Acwabatiacs
With the review of Tom Sennet's "When The Bomb Goes Off," last week, a grave realization came to hand: our site is tragically void of Cool Moose games! This travesty is now rectified. Thank you and have a lovely day.
New from Myth People, creator of Miriel the Magical Merchant and Azkend, comes another matching-based puzzle game with a new take on an old mechanic: Dragon Portals. The friendly dragons have been bound to earth with dark magic. Young Mila is called in to save them by dropping orbs from one dragon to another, matching groups of like-colored ones to keep the dragons aloft. It's a nice departure from most matching games, and combined with Myth People's signature art direction and epic power-ups, makes a game well worth trying out.
Martians vs. Robots from Tommy Twisters is an attempt to take the classic gameplay of Asteroids and bring it into the new century, using 3D graphics, expanded gameplay, and multiplayer options. The single player game features loads of great combat action, but the real meat is in the robust multiplayer modes where 24 people can battle it out over the internet!
While it may be built upon the same time management foundation we're already familiar with, Everything Nice skirts the perimeter of the genre with a recipe-based setup reminiscent of Miriel the Magical Merchant. Fed up with all the violent toys flooding the market, Abby has the idea to create classic, "happy" toys such as teddy bears and jack-in-the-boxes. A local businessman rejects her idea, but then she stumbles across the Wondermachine9000, a magical device that can create anything her imagination conjures. Just the thing she needs to start her own factory!
- • Crazy over Goo
- • Dad Would Be Proud
- • Portals thru Dreams
This edition of Weekend Download is brought to you by: Platformers. Platformers, making you run, jump, stomp, dodge and run (some more) to the exit for almost 30 years!
The Tales of Bingwood Chapter 1: To Save a Princess is a 2D point-and-click adventure that is a throwback to every Sierra and LucasArts game ever made. Maybe not every single one, but most of them. The ones that were made in the '80s in which the main character went on some sort of quest and had to click on everything and try to combine all the items in the inventory with all of the other items and where do they even get pants with pockets that big?
If you don't already own the unique, puzzle-filled game Azada, or the epic hidden object adventure Hidden Expedition: Everest, or the remarkably fun and challenging Fairway Solitaire, or the time management hit Spa Mania, then you can get the full version for any or all of these titles, FREE! Offer good only until May 31, 2009, so don't delay — do it NOW...
Help guide Spewer, an adorable pink blob, through a series of diabolical tests put forth by a watchful scientist in this physics-based platformer. It's a journey of adventure, excitement, and child-like wonder. Also, vomit.
The undead hordes are on the march, but your back yard is standing in the way, covered with fresh, fertilized topsoil. In this cheerfully absurd melding of resource management and tower defense, you must defend your delicious brains with an assortment of warrior plants. Plants vs. Zombies is the strangest, most original game from Popcap yet.
If The Incredible Machine met the classic board game Mouse Trap, TubeTwist would be the result. Arrange tubes, accelerators and other contraptions to manipulate the path of the Macroton (a colored marble-like object) from the Injector Tube (the start) to the Reactor Tube (the finish). It's that simple!
Mevo and the Grooveriders is a funky music game that'll get your fingers a-snappin' and your toes a-tappin' (and your lips a-chappin' and your GPS a-mappin'?). You play as Mevo, a red alien that needs to reunite his band to save the universe from perpetual silence. (And the cats a-nappin'? Sorry, I'm done with that now.)
- • Ninjah
- • Plobb!
- • Ten Ton Ninja
The introduction to this weekend download has been stolen by a ninja and replaced with a depressed bubble. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you happen to see a ninja, please attempt to stop him and ask for this paragraph back. That would be very much appreciated.
Fans of Samantha Swift's previous caper have cause to rejoice. Samantha Swift and the Golden Touch, the newest hidden object adventure in the franchise, offers a compelling combination of well-integrated mini-games and adventure-style item puzzles that do an excellent job of keeping the game feeling fresh throughout.
Virtual Families is the latest addition to the impressive lineup of simulation games from Last Day of Work, makers of the Virtual Villagers series. Virtual Families takes the basic concepts of Virtual Villagers and brings them home — literally. No longer are you concerned with a village of people trying to survive the ravages of the wild. Now it's just a single family in a single house. While the concept may seem over-simplified when compared to Virtual Villagers, you'll find that it's less about simplifying the game and more about concentrating on the details.
Building upon the classic franchise released over two decades ago, Defender of the Crown: Heroes Live Forever is an excellent successor to the original game. It keeps intact many of the important things from the original game, including the minigames, much of the strategy of the main game, and the beautiful graphics, while giving the game an update that helps to bring it into the modern realm of casual gaming.
A new hidden object mystery game has appeared: Cate West - The Velvet Keys! Following the style, story and gameplay conventions set by Cate West - The Vanishing Files, The Velvet Keys casts you in the role of the young scarlet scarf-wearing author/psychic as she digs through occult legends in search of a way to contact departed souls. It's a great-looking game with surprising variety and an enticing plot that gushes out as the game progresses.
- • The Mushroom Engine
- • Madhouse
- • Gate 88
- • Pandaland
This edition of Weekend Download is dedicated to cells. No, not the kind you find in prison, the kind you find right here, inside your body. The squishy little things surrounded by a lipid bilayer membrane. How about a hand for cells? All 100 trillion of them!
To celebrate Earth Day (April 22), National Geographic has sponsored Plan It Green, a casual building sim in the style of Build-a-lot that joins the sparsely populated ranks of "green" games. True to its name, Plan It Green focuses on boosting your energy credits by designing green buildings and communities using four types of structures. It also manages to have an environmentally friendly message that doesn't smack you over the head at every turn.
With a solid story and hours of gameplay, Cindy's Travels: Flooded Kingdom is a game that builds upon the basic match-3 mechanic with additional gameplay elements. While character perspective may take a bit to get used to, it certainly doesn't detract from the fun packed into this title. Take up Cindy's mirror, clear the land of refuse, and get back to the business of "happily every after."
Are you ready for adventure? Are you ready for mayhem? Are you . . . feeling a bit peckish? Then grab yourself some crackers and your favourite brand of cheese and get comfy in your favourite sweater vest. Telltale Games, developers of the equally tasty Sam and Max games, have just released the first adventure in a new series plucked straight from the popular British cartoon and movie, Wallace and Gromit. Fright of the Bumblebees is point-and-click adventure at it's finest in a rollicking good time with everyone's favourite cheese-loving inventor and his beleaguered pooch.
- • Icy Tower
- • Frog Hunt
- • Zombiepox
- • Gate
This week, three of the four games featured come from the development group Free Lunch Design. Why? Because one of their games turned this writer onto the world of free games and further to that, in all its history JIG has featured just one of their games. What better way to say, thanks for all the lost time spent playing, then to shine a bit of light on their highlights.
A little-known sequel to an even lesser-known original, UfoPilot 2: The Phadt Menace is a fun little action shooter that pays homage to the classic Defender, with gravity-based elements reminiscent of all those "moon lander" games that you've probably played throughout the last decade. You're tasked with leading rescue missions to save your fellow pilots, who are being held as prisoners-of-war by the Phadt Armada, a hostile alien enemy.
Hey look, it's Dream Chronicles 3: The Chosen Child! The latest installment in the Dream Chronicles series has arrived, and its as breathtakingly brilliant everyone would expect. A little bit of hidden object finding, a little bit of puzzle solving, but a whole lot of adventuring can be found in this superb sequel, along with some of the most gorgeous scenery you've seen since looking out your own window (assuming you live in a fantasy world with fairies, fountains, and vibrant gardens). It's an excellent follow-up to the previous Dream Chronicles games and a fantastic game in its own right.
We've just finished a complete walkthrough (with images) for Dream Chronicles 3: The Chosen Child!! Be warned: contains major spoilers, so proceed only as a last resort. Be sure to read our review of Dream Chronicles 3.
It's been quite a while since I've been genuinely excited about a hidden object game. They usually look fantastic with immense effort put into the artwork, but the hidden object aspect of things suffers from a lack of diversity along with a handful of poor mini-games thrown in because, well, that's the done thing these days, isn't it? So I'm very happy to say that Flux Family Secrets: The Ripple Effect is a quality addition to the hidden object genre. And I like it!
Bumps is the latest physics puzzler from Utopian Games, and it has cute coming out of its ears. It's a charming combination of games like Eets and Loco Roco-esque Tau-ri Bedrock or Rolando. Bumps is something a little different: a little bit of strategy, a little bit of experimentation, and a lot of bubbly-eyed cuteness. Bumps is a great diversion for any afternoon!
Paradoxion is a classic logic puzzle game from VSBgames. Not the head-pounding hurts-your-brain kind of logic, this one's a sit and stare, look and compare sort of game. Using gems, orbs and other materials from your inventory, arrange everything on the grid to set off chain reactions that clear the board. It's a relaxing game that manages to stay challenging without resorting to timed rounds or combo systems.
This week, word skills and paint skills will go head to head in a dazzling array of visual and wordy deliciousness. In the left corner we have the book smarts, with knowledge of words and quick thinking. In the other corner, painting, featuring brushes, stamps and a burning desire to see a creative vision realized. It's the author vs. the auteur in this weeks... Weekend Download.
Is your current job getting you down? Does it feel like you need a microscope to look at your paycheck, or like your boss doesn't truly appreciate your creativity, knack for finding hidden objects, and aptitude at matching three or more objects of the same color? Are you at a dead end in your career? Cheer up! An exciting field is open and waiting for you as an Alchemist's Apprentice!
How great is it to be a detective? You wear expensive suits, your hair always looks perfect no matter what angle you're seen from . . . oh! And of course you get to utilize everything from hidden objects, spot-the-difference, fun puzzles and more to catch your man! And if you do it by playing one of Big Fish Games' newest releases, CSI:NY, you get to do it all with a substantially decreased likelihood of getting shot! And hey, who doesn't like not getting shot?
The land of Wonderburg has been laid to waste by evil minions, and it is up to a wizard and a stalwart gnome to travel the lands putting right what has gone wrong. That is the premise of the time management strategy game Wonderburg. While it doesn't venture far beyond what games like the Build-a-lot series have established, it's a charming title that stands firmly on its own two feet.
- • Annie Android
- • You Probably Won't Make It
- • Assassin Blue
- • Ping Pong!
- • House Globe
You like old games, right? Games that were made before everyone had a computer in their home. Or games that were made last week and just look like they came out of the decade that brought us Prince, Trapper Keepers, and rolled-down socks. Simplicity knows no age, of course, and that's just what these games strive for in one way or another.
The Legend of Crystal Valley is a mini-epic adventure game with an eclectic mix of fantasy and sci-fi elements. Gather items, solve both environmental and inventory puzzles, and examine everything you see as you travel through over 150 locations, each just as extraordinary as the last.
One of the more unique tower defense titles that's been released this year, Plant This! is a highly-stylized, maze-based strategy game. Instead of featuring a pre-defined path for "creeps" to follow like we see in most tower defense games, it employs the "open field" design, in which you create the path by using your towers to corral the creeps down the map as inefficiently as possible.
Be a King is a new fantasy strategy title from 300AD. It follows in the tracks of games such as King Mania, Forgotten Lands: First Colony, and the Build-a-Lot series and blends a streamlined building-centric real-time strategy game with a handful of casual knowhow.