- • Pac-Man Physics
- • King
- • 30 Second Hero
- • Zombie Holiday Prologue
What, no theme this week? Actually, there is. The theme is... uh, eclectic. Meaning a collection of things which just happen to go together because I say so. Enjoy this weeks partially themed Weekend Download!
Sea Journey is... well, it's Puzzle Quest with pirates! Built around a tile-swapping Bejeweled-like game, you venture into the great blue ocean in search of treasure, upgrading your vessel along the way. Each match 3 game you play is a fierce battle at sea, complete with cannon salvos and mystical spells conjured by talismans.
Combining some of the best parts of Animal Crossing and Virtual Villagers with a sprinkling role playing know-how, Wandering Willows is something so incredibly alluring you'll burn through a few hours of game time before you realize what hit you. It's a pet-raising recipe-collecting item-bartering friend-gaining character-customizing leveling-up collect-a-thon!
From Spiritonin, creator of Adult Swim's Death Vegas, comes Capoeira Fighter 3, a 2D fighting game with a free online demo and full-fledged downloadable version. Featuring more than two dozen playable characters and a refined, logical system of combos, it's one of the rare fighting games that captures the nostalgia from the genre's heyday while updating everything to fit in with a new generation of gamers.
Curse of the Pharaoh 2: Napoleon's Secret is a hidden-object game with added puzzle elements, such as spot-the-difference games. It's a direct sequel to Curse of the Pharaoh: Quest for Nefertiti and captures the same sense of adventure as the original, now in a new setting with all-new puzzles to solve.
The well-received Farm Frenzy series of time management games has now expanded to include... pizza? HA! I'm joking. Wait, no I'm not. Even funnier than my little gag there is the fact that Farm Frenzy Pizza Party is actually a good game. It doesn't innovate much beyond what the first two titles layed out, but the addition of some new buildings and new products adds a decidedly more strategic twist to the experience.
- • Abuse
- • TAGAP
- • Easter Avenger
In platform games, its standard fare to jump over or on top of your enemies. Occasionally you are granted a weapon with the rather limited range of directly in front of you. Fortunately, every now and then, an often overlooked method of weaponry is employed: control the hero with your left hand on the keys, while simultaneously aiming anywhere on screen with the mouse, providing 360° of free-firing joyous joy.
The Clockwork Man is a beautifully illustrated hidden object game from Total Eclipse. Set in a stunning steampunk world, you follow aspiring engineer Miss Miranda Calomy and her clockwork companion Sprocket as they travel from London across the seas and beyond. The adventure doesn't stray far from the hidden object standard, but the story and setting are exquisitely presented and the game itself a true joy to experience.
Ever wanted to combine a hidden object game with a riddle-centric room escape title? Like strawberries and bananas, the two genres go together remarkably well, as Elephant Games' Lost in the City eloquently showcases. Steeped in mystery, you travel from room to room finding items, solving puzzles, deciphering riddles and completing simple mini-games as you unravel a particularly intriguing storyline filled with strange plot twists.
4 Elements combines classic puzzle matching gameplay with a hidden object game and just a dash of fairy tale fantasy for good measure. Help restore the power of the elements to protect the land from an evil power.
- • Jetpack
- • God of Thunder
- • UrthWurm
- • Revenge of Froggie
- • Primrose
A lot of games featured on JIG are intensive. They require Flash 10, or Unity or some sort of graphics card capable of displaying something more than monochrome. However, sometimes gamers just don'thave the latest hardware requirements to play the latest whiz-bang flavour of the month. So without further ado, here are a selection of games developed for the trusty old DOS system.
Women's Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey is the latest installment in the murder mystery/hidden object adventure game series based on the books and television program of the same name. Investigating the death of a young boy, you play the role of several different experts, each with a specialization and accompanying gameplay mode. Gather evidence and clues and piece things together in the forensics lab to solve the mystery!
The Wonderful End of the World is an off-kilter, Katamari Damacy-like game where your only goal is to pick up random junk scattered across the world. Terra, the goddess of the earth, knows that the world's inevitable doom is coming, so she uses a puppet on the earth to collect as much stuff as she can, for rebuilding the world later.
Cleaning up is rarely fun to do. Unless you're cleaning someone else's mess, right? Hmm, no? How about if you're cleaning up someone else's mess in a casual game? That's the surprisingly successful recipe for fun in Nanny Mania 2 Goes to Hollywood. After helping Mayor Whitby and his family in the original Nanny Mania, Emma moves on to help Sophia Ashford, an incredibly wealthy woman who can't seem to keep her family affairs in order. It's your job to help raise the children, care for pets, and keep the house spotless as clueless teenagers leave unmade beds and babies create problems of their own.
- • Mario Paint Composer
- • Mono World
- • Balldroppings
- • The Crowd
When you think about it, music is all around us. That's usually because we have our iPods in our ears. Or our MP3s blasting through our computer. Or some concert DVD on the telly. Or we have the radio on. The point is, now you can play games and actually make music at the same time, isn't that something!
The Serpent of Isis is a new hidden object game by Gamgo with some considerable mystery and adventure game elements added into the mix. Beneath the ever shifting sands of Egypt, untold treasures remain buried. These are the kinds of treasures that drive men mad, possessing the minds of the adventurous and luring explorers into catacombs that twist and writhe beneath ancient pyramids. The Serpent of Isis was just such a treasure, and your grandfather was just such an explorer.
In Ice Blast you take control of Skye, Luna, and Sun and destroy ice crystals to restore the world to its happy warm-like state. Using a fun puzzle/strategy layout reminiscent of The Lost Vikings, you must find the most efficient way to clear each field of ice to earn points and upgrade the girls' abilities.
Unwell Mel is a light-hearted and humorous match-3 puzzle game. In the grid comprised of Mel's organs (some of which are shaped like dogs and birds, which we'll assume is normal), click two adjacent pieces of food to swap them and form a line of three in a row to clear them. Thrown in with the food are medical packs, which can restore your power-ups, and bugs that, in some instances, actually help you clear away disease.
- • DroneSwarm
- • Beast Invaders 2
- • Boidtrancer Maniac
- • The Fool and His Money
Shooters! Shmups! Games where you hit buttons and destroy things! Vertically scrolling, arena, clones, remakes, minimalistic... shooting games! Thusly is the theme of this edition of Weekend Download. Except for that other game at the bottom...
The Wizard is missing and with the help of his magical pen you must conjure up all that is hidden to find him. This game is about finding what's missing, both by revealing pictures in magical books, and figuring out from the word clues which items are NOT in the scene. With the magic pen you reconstitute the mysterious invisible world to make it visible.
Dreamsdwell Stories is a unique match-3 type puzzle game with some strategy game (as in the village building variety such as Totem Tribe or Westward III) elements that build into the experience. Wrapped in a package of crisp, sometimes beautiful, graphics and catchy theme music, the core of Dreamsdwell will have you enjoying the game for hours.
Boonka is a cute, kid-safe and surprisingly challenging puzzle game with unique gameplay that combines strategy, timing and satisfying explosions. A luscious green paradise has been invaded by Skours, nasty black clouds who cut down trees and turn the whole world grey, chasing away the adorable rainbow-coloured Boonkas and generally being total downers. The sage Bababoonka introduces you to each tree, and gently encourages you through the process of growing them from a stunted stump to a magnificent specimen of hardwood by doing what you do best: making color matches and blasting them skywards!
- • Jumpman
- • Kakuro Nichiyou
- • Where
- • Classic Night
Four simple but stunning games this week, ranging from strikingly bare-bones to the artistically slanted. Classic Night breathes a rare sense of wonder into a normally stale genre, while Where doesn't pull any tricks and simply drops you in a gorgeously-drawn maze.
Point and click adventure games will never die, thanks in part to the efforts of Wadjet Eye Games, creator of the Blackwell series, The Shivah, and now, Emerald City Confidential. In the studio's latest title you are cast in the role of Petra, a young private eye trying to make a living in the strange Wizard of Oz-inspired world known as Emerald City. The handdrawn artwork is utterly captivating, the storytelling and writing top-notch, and the game itself is a package you won't be able to tear yourself away from.
Loco Mogul is a new casually-oriented sim game from ApeZone. Accurately described as a cross between Oasis and Railroad Tycoon, your job is to survey uncharted territory, build a railway connecting towns, then run a train from station to station, picking up and delivering shipment carts as efficiently as possible. It's an ambitious combination of genres that plays both like a strategy game and a resource management title, complete with rail-themed music and visuals.
- • Din
- • Restraining Order
- • The Illusory Persistence of LOVE
Hello humans, and welcome to the Global Game Jam edition of Weekend Download! The GGJ is a three-day event held in dozens of cities around the world. People show up, pitch their ideas based on a theme, form groups and start making games! The results (of which there are also dozens) range from spectacular to quirky to artistic to downright weird, but all show enormous creativity in one way or another.
A new addition to the Wonderland series, retro-themed isometric puzzle/adventure games that are of the best around. They retain the spirit of what makes the genre so enjoyable while adding new, more modern twists to the experience. Wonderland is threatened once again, only this time the quest to save the world goes terribly wrong. Shipwrecked and marooned on the shores of Fire Island, its your job to maneuver through sets of puzzle challenges and make your way to freedom.
- • Syberia
- • Dracula: Origin
- • Syberia II
Hungry for a good, meaty adventure game? We've got three excellent titles that will draw you in with a deep story, keep you hooked with delicious artwork, and perplex you at every turn with some seriously challenging puzzles. They may not be as casual as some might prefer, but they more than make up for it with a heavy-hitting presentation and well-designed gameplay.
- • NUD
- • MacHeist 3
- • Afterlife: Rickard's Quest
If you were looking for the latest edition of Weekend Download, I'm sorry to inform you it's been in a terrible accident involving scissors, a blowtorch, and those annoying little pudding cups in the aluminum tins that, if you snap off the "easy open" tab, suddenly become an impenetrable fortress of pudding protection.
Nick Chase: A Detective Story is a gritty, film noir-style casual adventure game flavored with hidden object scenes and loads of delicious inventory puzzles. Based on classic detective stories and graphic novels, you follow the down-and-out Nick Chase as he embarks upon his first job in ages. From his messy office to shady hideouts of even shadier characters, you'll have to use your own detective skills to piece together evidence and solve puzzles. It's one of the most enjoyable detective games I've played in quite a while, and the stellar voice acting and gorgeous hand-drawn art scores major points in my book.
The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge is an unconventional point-and-click narrative adventure by Jonas Kyratzes, the same developer who brought us Infinite Ocean and Museum of Broken Memories. It's not actually a game, per se, so much as a trans-dimensional portal or a window. Above all else, this game is a story. A cute, endearing, wonderful story that gradually peels back its soft-edged veneer to reveal something that is indeed a little sinister, thrusting the player from humor into apprehension into sadness.
Laxius Force is your latest old-school fix. Inspired by classic 16-bit role playing games, Laxius Force boasts 17 playable characters, multiple storylines that gradually weave together an intriguing plot, and original artwork and music. All while battling countless foes, earning experience, and equipping your party with powerful weapons and armor.
- • Walkie Tonky
- • Tag: The Power of Paint
- • Puzzle Quest: Galactrix
- • Legend of Princess
It's a weekend of power-hitting downloads! *shock and awe* Four huge games lurk below, each bearing the hopes and dreams of a different set of gamers on its respective creative shoulders. It's enough to make a grown gamer cry. *sniffle*
Based on the Defoe classic, Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is a game that straddles the now-familiar gap between hidden object and adventure genres. Young Robinson Crusoe was born to a merchant in the mid 1600s, but his heart belonged to the sea. After years of traveling across the oceans, a storm ravages his vessel, stranding him on a deserted beach. His ship seems mostly intact, so Crusoe boards it in the hopes of finding food, supplies, and any surviving shipmates. It's your job to help the boy stay alive and repair the ship so he can find his way home.
A game that combines the standard hidden object game with a detective story and forensic tools, in the vein of the CSI games or Women's Murder Club. Play as Detective Carrie Chase as you question suspects, hunt for clues, and rummage through run-down apartments in search for a murderer.
PrismaPix is a logic puzzle game that uses elements of Minesweeper and Conceptis Puzzles' Fill-a-Pix to create a new kind of experience that's both challenging and intriguing at the same time. Use clues to fill in spaces on the grid, switching between different layers (colors" to complete the entire image.
- • Aquarium
- • Little Ghost Joe
- • Nexuiz
- • Harvest: Massive Encounter
Two tiny games and one behemoth in this edition of Weekend Download. Aquarium and Little Ghost Joe are both rather cutesy and simple, whereas Nexuiz is gritty, serious, and all shooty with guns and stuff. Variety's neat, innit?
Chocolatier: Decadence by Design is the latest installment in the popular Chocolatier series. Decadence by Design returns Chocolatier to its original format, allowing you to make chocolates in factories, explore new ports around the world, running errands and completing quests. So, even though this sequel is set a half a century after the first, fans of the original Chocolatier will feel right at home.
From the creator of Youda Camper comes another overtly-titled casual game: Youda Farmer. In this resource management sim you play the role of a farmer growing and gathering crops and other food products to sell in town for profit. Using the money you earn, buy new facilities and upgrade existing ones, stimulating the town itself to open new shops and expand current ones.
The premise of the time management/hidden object game Fabulous Finds is that your eccentric old Aunt from Carmel, California (most famous to me as the town where Clint Eastwood was Mayor for a time) died and left you her house with all her crap, er, priceless treasures in it. You're stuck with the property taxes, so you'll need to have a garage sale!
- • Spaceball 2000
- • Squid Yes! Not So Octopus!
- • The Manipulator
We polled over 800,000 random people on the street and asked them one simple question: are you a squid, or are you an octopus? The response was overhwelmingly the former, prompting us to re-evaluate our personal belief systems so that squid occupied the highest echelon of importance.
Totem Tribe manages to pull together some of the best elements from a number of popular casual games and create something twice as engaging without upping the complexity. Gone are resource managing, complex building/unit requirements, and villagers who act while you're away, but in are over 20 islands to explore, friendly and not-so-friendly characters to encounter, mini-quests to earn spells, and unlockable artifacts that grant your tribe special abilities.
Build-a-lot has a new competitor in town: Divo Games' Be Rich, a strategy-oriented casual tycoon game of real estate planning, building and investing. The game's title gives away your ultimate goal of raking in cash by constructing and upgrading houses in various cities to increase your profits and up your credibility. It takes a more real estate-centric approach to building than the Build-a-lot series does, although the similarities between the games are hard to ignore.
- • Caster
- • Abandoned
- • greenTech
Serious question: if you were a failed experiment of genetic engineering, what would be your weakness? In the case of the poor critter from this week's game Abandoned, it's a limited supply of oxygen. Personally, I would be unable to comb my hair without first dislocating my left shoulder. Think about it. That'd be a rough life.
Petri Purho of Kloonigames has a reputation for churning out experimental prototypes in a matter of days. In 2007 one of these prototypes was the sandbox-style puzzle game Crayon Physics. The premise was simple — use a "crayon" to draw shapes that immediately come alive and interact with each other, the ultimate goal being to collect a star somewhere on the screen. The experiment was a hit, and soon it was announced that a full-fledged version of the game was in the works: Crayon Physics Deluxe.
Now here's a new genre-crossing idea: a hidden object game and mahjong-style tile matching. Bet even your strangest of late night dreams wouldn't have paired those two, would they? Liong: The Lost Amulet dares to try something different with the Chinese-themed item finding/tile matching game. The visual presentation and soundtrack are nothing short of exotic, and the gameplay mashes some interesting ideas into an unfamiliar frame that works better than you might imagine.
While Depths of Peril focused heavily on strategy and diplomacy, Kivi's Underworld is a lot more action-oriented; in some regard, what you might expect from a platformer, even though it's an isometric, top-down RPG game. Instead of a sprawling game-world like in most RPGs, you'll find a progressing series of level-like "adventures" with quests, achievements, new characters to unlock and skills to beef up.
From newcomer World Loom comes the latest resource management game to take the action out of the diner/restaurant/shop/airport: Fix-it-Up: Kate's Adventure. More of a business simulation along the lines of Build-a-lot, you must help Kate expand her profits by buying cars at low prices, fixing them up, and selling them for a hefty profit. The combination of time management and business acumen creates a delightful final product made even better by its whimsical art style and soundtrack.
- • Spelunky
- • Gravity Bone
- • Widelands
- • Ivory Mahjongg
If you ask me (trust me, you did... and if you didn't, you know you wanted to), the selection of games on this edition of Weekend Download are some of the most well-rounded and fulfilling titles ever to grace a single article. We've got a pixel-perfect 2D platformer, a 3D spy game, an old favorite RTS title re-imagined in open source, and the classic mahjong puzzle game. Can I get a "YAY!" along with a few high fives?!!
Casual sim/strategy fans (and anyone who enjoyed Virtual Villagers or My Tribe) take note: Westward III: Gold Rush has arrived! Following last spring's release of Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier, the third installment in the series continues the new 3D visual style and basic premise introduced in the second game. Take control of three new heroes as you collect resources, construct farms, saloons, granaries and more to keep your settlers happy and healthy.
A follow-up to the 2008 hit Escape the Museum, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure continues to bend the hidden object/adventure barrier with a captivating game of inventory puzzles and interactive scenery. You play Dr. Susan Anderson, an archaeologist who receives a treasure hunter's journal and embarks on quests to find new pieces for her museum. The slick visuals paired with an impeccable presentation and strong puzzle design make it a solid entry in the cross-genre adventure wars.
Heartwild Solitaire is "made for romance readers", so if your second-favourite thing after casual gaming is sinking into a hot tub with a lychee bath bomb and a copy of Love's Turgid Kransky, you're going to love this game. The nice thing is, if you're the sort of person who prefers lampoon romance novels with titles like Love's Turgid Kransky, you'll still enjoy the challenging gameplay, soothing music and intense colours.
- • Verge
- • From Primordial Egg
- • Eversion
- • Lost in Eldritch
- • Theatre of Cruelty
The recent TIGSource Commonplace Book Competition has ended, yielding heaps of creative, unusual, and slightly dark games. Entrants were challenged with using a line from H.P. Lovecraft's "Commonplace Book", a notebook of disjointed, cryptic ideas, and create a game around these snippets of text. Below are a few of the top picks as chosen by the TIGSource community.
An entrant into the 2009 Independent Games Festival, 2DEngine's Chains is a game of color connecting that puts a new spin on the same-game genre. Twenty unique levels challenge the player to clear circles while balancing a coat hanger, cleaning a clogged pipe, painting a pyramid, and dodging giant pinball flippers. But of course, we all do that every weekend, don't we?
In Cortex Command, you assume the role of a disembodied brain (floating in a jar, actually) that's able to network with—and telepathically control—a variety of machines and soldiers. The basic premise is that you're setting up shop on hostile alien worlds to mine for resources, while your enemy is doing the same. Superficially, it sounds more like a real-time strategy game than a turn-based warfare game, which is one of the main reasons Cortex Command has so much potential; it's both.
Casual games built around sets of mini-games are gaining popularity, as are pared-down strategy titles that keep the spirit of the genre intact while trimming the bloat. Then something like Floating Kingdoms comes along and somehow manages to combine both: a simplified strategy game that's one part resource management, two parts mini-games. And it does it in a light-hearted, fun kind of way that just about any age group can enjoy.
- • A Tale of Two Kingdoms
- • The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge
- • AssaultCube
- • Hideous Sounds in the Dark
His consequent newspaper exceeds orange juice after a patronized disclaimer. The vehicle concatenates soil. When can soil compose above an individual? A deserted outline ministers to soil past a rotten attribute. WEEKEND DOWNLOAD WOOOO!
Hidden object adventure games are a well established genre now, meaning that the way games distinguish themselves is through presentation — beautiful artwork or a well-developed story. Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser's Submarines has chosen to go with a fictionalised version of the life of Mata Hari, born Marguerite Zelle. The names of real people are used, but the story itself is pure speculation. All told in a part-adventure, part-hidden object, part— dress-up game?!
Lyle in Cube Sector is a relatively old Metroidesque platformer in traditional NES style. You play as Lyle, who adventures through Cube Sector, using cubes for everything from attacking enemies to playing basketball to feeding a dog, with the ultimate goal of retrieving his cat Keddums.
Archibald's Adventures is a puzzle platform game from Rake in Grass, creator of Larva Mortus, KingMania, and others. You play the skateboard-riding Archibald who accidentally becomes trapped in Professor Klumpfus' twisted underground lair. Roll your way through 100+ stages, moving boxes with bubblegum, leaping gaps with a running start, and hitting switches beneath pools of acid to work your way out of the mutant-infested passageways.It's one of those rare games that keeps begging you to come back for more.
With the increase of popularity of hidden object games, it seems there has been an almost equal rise in hybridization of the genre in an attempt to keep things nice and fresh, and Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses! is no exception. True, much of the gameplay involves hunting around different settings for specific objects, but from the very beginning you'll realize that this isn't your run-of-the-mill object finder.
- • This is a Cry for Help
- • The Gear that Works
- • SudokuAdept
- • QWAK
- • Ghostbusters
This edition of Weekend Download answers a question that has been plaguing mankind since 1984: who ya gonna call (especially if there's something strange in your neighborhood)? The answer is, unequivicobaly, QWAK. Wait, no, the other thing. Ghostbusters. Yeah!
A hidden object game that follows its prequel, Nightshift Code, closely in terms of style and story. Join Mike and Isabel as they travel through the jungles of Guatemala, across Spain and to the streets of Moscow researching the mystery of the ancient Jaguar's Eye. It's got adventure, it's got comic-style cutscenes, and it's got all the cheesiness that makes the Indiana Jones films such entertaining adventures.
Alabama Smith in Escape from Pompeii is a new adventure game that builds inventory puzzles into a hidden object-style interface. You play the young Alabama Smith, an archaeology student who has just been given the opportunity to study in Naples. His mentor tells him of a mysterious amulet buried in the ruins of Pompeii that is rumored to grant the owner the ability to travel through time.
Who would have thought parking cars could be turned into a casual game? Parking Dash, following in the long footsteps of other time management games such as Diner Dash, Wedding Dash, Cooking Dash, etc., twists the genre's formula around a bit to park the game at a safe distance from Cloneville. The end result, like Airport Mania, is a breath of fresh air that breaks the mold in all the right places.
- • Meritous
- • Marathon Trilogy
- • Verge
- • Cosmic Invaders
Did you know that the original meaning of the word "weekend" referred to the time from noon Saturday to Monday morning? Did you also know the word "download" seems to have originated in 1980? AND, did you know I spent a little too much time reading about the etymology of these words?
Hungry for a great-looking adventure/puzzle game? Travel through time searching for pieces of scattered objects that have fallen through a series of time portals. Solve puzzles, put objects together, and work your way through each area to earn a piece of your uncle's Time Bomb, the only item that can close the time portals. A follow-up to Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of Spooky Manor.
- • Akrasia
- • Portile
- • The Lake
- • Glider
While playing all the games that I do to find something worthy of a Weekend Download, I get to see a huge variety of wacky, creative, strange, bland, and forgettable game titles. Not featured in this edition of Weekend Download (nor in this plane of existence): The Dentist is Fun, Party Games for You and Your Ex, Three Reasons Tofu is Evil, Help! I've Swallowed an Ant!, Give Me Some Cake, and Super Reptile Diploma.
In My Tribe, you play as sort of a guardian angel for a tribe of island-dwellers, telling them what to do, dragging them from place to place, and occasionally sprinkling them with a (hopefully) beneficial potion. Harvest food, wood, and stone to build with. Your tribe continues to work even when your computer is off. It's remarkably similar to Virtual Villagers but better in a number of ways.
The wait is over! The release of the latest Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst is finally here. Big Fish Games Studios takes the hidden object genre to unprecedented new heights with an absolutely gorgeous, hidden object / adventure hybrid that is sure to please a very wide range of casual game players. This is one game you don't want to miss!
Back before you were referred to as "Master Detective," before your journey to a haunted English manor, before your exploits in a rundown carnival, you were nothing more than a lowly intern. When an epidemic of crime breaks out in the once quiet town of Huntsville, though, your chance to rise to detective greatness finally arrives. Now you must work against the clock to catch the wrong doers in the act by using your keen eye to pick up on the clues that no one else seems able to find.
Want something charming that you'll play with a wry grin on your face? Mark & Mandi's Love Story is exactly that, packaging spot the difference puzzles, memory matching, jigsaw-style challenges and more with a great hand drawn art style. Play the role of Cupid's helper on a quest to sculpt Mark and Mandi's relationship to perfection.
- • Last week
- • Enigma
- • Iter Vehemens ad Necem (IVAN)
- • Elona
- • Rock Boshers
Last week, on Weekend Download, I had the tiny problem of listening to the constant drone of a leaf blower somewhere in my neighborhood. This week it was back, with a vengeance, and it directly affected my downloadable game playing experiences. When I was playing Oxyd, all I could do was smash into walls. When I played IVAN, I couldn't kill a bat. I couldn't explore all of Elona because focusing was out of the question. And zombies in Rock Boshers took me out a few times too many because my mind was elsewhere. Maybe I should take a hint from the protagonist in Violet and start eliminating the distractions by any zany means available?
Normally, mixing real estate with casual gaming wouldn't seem like a smart move, but HipSoft's latest release proves you can take a complex subject matter and make it fun. Build-a-lot 3: Passport to Europe continues the highly successful Build-a-lot series with just the right balance between familiarity and innovation to lure new and veteran players alike. Hone your real estate skills as you buy, upgrade and sell houses, collect rent, and attract new residents to neighborhoods that need your expert eye.
Violet is a richly engaging one-room puzzle game from the annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2008). The problem? You're a graduate student working on your dissertation, but you haven't gotten any writing done in months. Your girlfriend Violet has put her life on hold, waiting for you to finish, and she's getting fed up. If you don't get a thousand words written today, your relationship is over and she flies home to Australia.
Out of Order is a humor-oriented, mouse-driven adventure game in the style of the old Lucas Arts and Sierra titles. You play as Hurford Schlitzting, an ordinary human being in a green bathrobe and bunny slippers. Late one night he's awakened by a storm and goes to get a midnight snack. And then the game ends... wait, no, it doesn't, or we wouldn't have much of a game.
There's nothing quite like a day on the farm: the smell of freshly tilled soil, tender plants sprouting, and honeybees buzzing in search of nectar. Some call it work, but if you've ever met Alice Greenfingers, you know it's more like play. The lovable pig-tailed girl is back, tending her Uncle Berry's farm in Alice Greenfingers 2, a sequel that does nothing but improve upon the original.
- • Xoldiers
- • MageGuild
- • Argonaut
- • Lightmare
- • Aquaria
- • Crayon Physics Deluxe pre-order
I compose this edition of Weekend Download with the sound of leaf blowers screeching through my windows. Not only does half my neighborhood believe leaves in their yard are evil, but apparently creating hours of noise pollution for everyone in the area is an acceptable price to pay to shove them in the street. I miss the good old fashioned, non-air-and-noise-polluting leaf rake...
Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold is another superb hidden object adventure game from Artogon Games, creator of The Mystery of the Crystal Portal. Both titles share a unique design among hidden object games where you are presented with contextual search clues instead of generic lists of objects. In essence, your goal is to explore the physical objects in each scene and collect items to solve individual puzzles. It's a new and interesting take on the genre that opens up many new puzzle possibilities.
- • Lynchmob HD
- • Karateka Mania
- • 10800 Zombies
- • Now Boarding v1.1
- • World of Goo for Mac
Along with three slightly crazy games, in this edition of Weekend Download we have a few games that have gone through a metamorphosis of sorts. World of Goo is now available for Mac (!), and one of my favorite resource management games, Now Boarding, has had a significant upgrade.
A blend of Virtual Villagers, Westward, and strategy games such as Warcraft and Tribal Trouble, Forgotten Lands: First Colony is a casual RTS game that hits the sweet spot between challenge, complexity, and captivating casual gameplay. The game puts you at the helm of a young civilization looking to strike out and settle new lands. Everything about Forgotten Lands is geared towards easing you into the experience, yet there's no shortage of depth or intrigue.
Farming used to seem like a chore, then the casual game market took hold and turned caring for crops into a resource management experience. Farm Mania is the latest of those games, following a similar path as Farm Frenzy 2 but keeping things fresh and interesting. Yes, it's yet another game with "mania" in the title, but the experience underneath is subtly different and twice as rewarding. And much cuter, I have to admit.
- • Tile World
- • Red Spheres
- • Pirate Fishing
- • Run for It 2
The following message was stolen from artbegotti: This episode of Weekend Download has been brought to you by Triangles. Triangles are three-sided shapes that have three corners with internal angles that add up to 180 degrees. Triangles come in several varieties, including right triangles, equilateral triangles, isosceles triangles, obtuse triangles, and more! Triangles are also well known for their structural stability in architectural design. So go out and try some triangles today! "Triangles... We're Not Square!"
Bejeweled Twist is PopCap's latest installment in the well-recognized series. Instead of clicking a single tile and then choosing an adjacent space to move it to, Bejeweled Twist turns your cursor into a 2x2 circle that spins its contents one quarter turn clockwise. The result is a new kind of match 3 that's fresh and fun all over again.
From the same group that brought us Agatha Christie: Peril at End House and Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet comes an equally alluring hidden object game, Dr. Lynch: Grave Secrets. This entry veers away from the more adventure-oriented direction and hugs the item finding wall fairly close, but the same high production values and great storyline remain intact.
- • Tumbledrop
- • Off-Road Velociraptor Safari
- • Rasta Monkey
- • Mars Explorer
Now it's time to break the rules. A little. This edition of Weekend Download highlights winners of the 2008 Unity Awards, games created using the Unity plug-in that are playable right in your browser window. Technically they're browser games, but since you have to download and install something, they're downloads, too.
In Iji you play as, well, Iji. Iji is a human who has been enhanced with nanotechnology after Earth is abruptly invaded by aliens. Her new nanotech field provides her with a kind of shield and also gives her the incredible weaponry that every action-platformer hero needs to survive.
World of Goo is a phenomenally creative physics-based building game where you assemble bits of goo to form structures leading to an exit pipe in each stage. The visuals are stunning, the sense of humor wry, and there are gameplay innovations at every corner.
Musiac Box is a unique combination of a puzzle game and a musical toy that will challenge your brain and delight your ears all at the same time. Using tiles that represent individual musician's portions of a song, arrange the Tetris-like pieces on the grid and listen to the results. It's an extraordinarily simple premise for a game and the "match the tiles to the melody" puzzle solving is surprisingly enjoyable, even for non-music lovers.
- • Garden of Coloured Lights
- • Treasure Hunter Man
- • Timerocketxby
- • Skullpogo
Some odd news to go along with your games: Recently the American Heart Association announced that the Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive" provides the perfect beat to follow while performing chest compressions as part of CPR on a heart attack victim. While this will certainly help save a number of lives, I really don't want to see disco (or qiana shirts) make a comeback.
Miriel the Magical Merchant is a medieval-themed time management game from Myth People, the same folks that brought us the well-polished puzzle game Azkend. As per the developer's reputation, Miriel the Magical Merchant takes a familiar formula, pulls out some of the set conventions, replaces them with something much more interesting, and slaps a shiny coat of paint on the top. The final product is something familiar but remarkably fresh that looks almost as good as it plays.
Kudos 2 is a turn-based life-simulation game in which how you spend each day defining who your character becomes. Does she prefer to stay at home and watch TV all day, go to evening classes to improve job prospects, or hang out with buddies down at the local boozer? Kudos 2 packs more oomph than its predecessor with better artwork and more sophisticated... everything!
- • Avert Fate
- • Alex the Allegator 4
- • Little Machines Still Goes Deeper
- • Waxy's Sushi Party
Look! Over there! It's a giant robot alligator with a bunch of little drills going out to get some sushi! Before he sees us, reload your grenade gun with cherries and tap the appropriate key when his sushi order floats over the red zone!
Standing toe to toe with games like Azada, Dream Chronicles, and even the Mystery Case Files series isn't an easy job, but Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena matches (and, in many areas, surpasses) its contemporaries with a fun blend of adventure and hidden object gaming.
Swarm Gold is an update to, and replacement for, the original Swarm created by Reflexive Entertainment back in 1998. The new Swarm Gold features an impressive emulated 3D graphics system and realistic sound. You have free range to fly around the entire map just as we've seen in many modern top-down shooters.
- • X-Moto
- • Zatikon
- • Love
- • Lugaru
Sometimes indie game developers really impress me with their rampant creativity. This week, for example, we have a surprisingly deep strategy game from Chronic Logic that looks like it was stolen from 1992, a fighting game starring rabbits, an unfairly tough platformer called Love, and a physics-based racing motocross racing game. When "Hey, I have a neat idea!" is the driving force behind a game, you know you're in for a good time.
- • G2: Geeks Unleashed
- • Scrapbook Paige
- • The Hidden Object Show: Season 2
More games to make you scratch your head, this bonus edition of Weekend Download features a few titles that caught my eye in one way or another. I especially enjoyed G2: Geeks Unleashed, not only for its corny references (every one of which I understood!), but for its unique strategy/puzzle gameplay.
- • Mystery Chronicles - Murder Among Friends
- • The Lost Snowmen
- • Cavern of Doom
- • Goban
Two really fascinating blasts from (or to) the past this week: The Lost Snowmen, which spiritually resurrects one of my favorite games from the 90s, The Lost Vikings, and Cavern of Doom, which takes pixelated graphics to an almost painful extreme.
Jump Jump Jelly Reactor is a matching puzzle game that isn't afraid to try out new ideas. Instead of flat and boring blocks, tiles or even gems, this game fills your screen with lively jellies that can be combined to form larger characters with brand new properties. Gameplay is a unique combination of strategy and puzzle matching that extends a good variety of tasks your way. It's rare that a matching game really catches my eye, but Jump Jump Jelly Reactor provides such a full experience, it's hard to pass up.
Released in 2005 by German game developers FAKT Software, Crazy Machines was a cult classic that only recently began to breach the barrier to "fan-favorite" status among casual gamers. Publicized mainly by word of mouth, this out-of-the-ordinary puzzle game staked its claim as the next-generation leap from The Incredible Machine, which reached its height of popularity almost a decade earlier. The common theme in both games is the use of Rube Goldberg-inspired machines and contraptions to solve a puzzle or obstacle in each level.