This might come as a surprise, but there's a lot of discrimination in the ninja industry, or the "ninjustry" as those of us in the 'biz call it. If you're not a mutant turtle from New York chances are you're going to have a little trouble finding work. Sure, every so often you see a rising star from Beverly Hills or something like that, but for the most part in this job it's go sewer or go home. Thankfully for those of us who aren't reptiles, there's Mark of the Ninja, a stealth action game developed by Klei Entertainment that provides ninja excitement without the heavy shell or outdated surfer lingo. As an unnamed ninja, you'll use your weapons, skills and the powers of a mysterious tattoo to seek revenge for an attack on your clan.
Gridrunner Revolution is a frantic, visually-intense shooter from Llamasoft. You play an unnamed little spaceman, alone and braving the neon, explosion filled depths of space. Suddenly, enemy ships approach. Do they want your ship? Your knowledge? A key piece of technology you have? Nobody knows. All that we can be sure of is if you blow enough of them up, space sheep wander on to the screen — and you can collect them.
Her parents spent their time searching for an artifact called the Severed Heart. Now, Edwina Margrave is driving through the dark woods to a remote village where her mother and father were last seen. Probably not the brightest idea she's ever had, but Ed knows a thing or two about the supernatural realm. The hidden object adventure Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart opens up with our heroine arriving at a dimly-lit cottage in the woods. She is seeking answers, but naturally she'll find many more questions as things begin to unravel in a most peculiar way. Ghostly animals haunting the realm of the living, anyone?
In this massive, complex visual novel simulation, you're given a chance to change your life some people may dream of but most never get to experience. When a particularly fierce fever breaks, you awake to find yourself back in time at the beginning of high school, watched over by the excitable but well meaning angel Satsuko. Will you make something of yourself? Find the close friends you've always wanted? Have an impact on someone's life or maybe even find... love? If you have the time to invest in it, Shira-Oka has the engrossing experience and production values to deliver.
Gibbage is a one-panel player verses player bloody shoot-out that was created over the period of 2 years by the talented indie game development newcomer, Dan Marshall. Its gameplay is not quite like anything else currently available on the market and has the graphical sensibilities of the pixel games of yore.
Isn't it about time you had a good old fashioned quest? Spud's Quest by Chris Davis is a retro-styled platform adventure that draws inspiration from classic games such as The Legend of Zelda and the Dizzy series. It takes place in a fantasy world complete with items to find that unlock new areas, a sprawling map with non-linear pathways, and plenty of characters to interact with. A metroidvania, if you will, and a frightfully good one at that!
Sneak around, craft tools, dig tunnels, and slyly hatch your bid for freedom in this quirky indie off-color action-loaded 8-bit prison escape simulation originally made for the XBOX One, now breaking onto your PC!
As the name would suggest, Digital: A Love Story by Don't Take it Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story author Christine Love, is a downloadable romance/mystery set against the backdrop of 1980s online technology. Part interactive fiction, part Uplink-style hacker game, and part nostalgic pastiche of a time of low-res graphics and crackling dial-ups that many current gamers never got to experience (which, for the record, this includes me, and, presumably, the author herself!). Digital: A Love Story offers a short, sweet and occasionally heart-wrenching trip back in time.
Prince (now King) Arthur and his lovely Queen Helen are back for more time management shenanigans in Nevosoft's My Kingdom for the Princess III, which explores what happens when the kids try their hands at running the kingdom. This is the story of what happens after "they lived happily ever after", although the gist of the tale may just be never have kids. Ever.
Gazillionaire's characters have certainly got faces only a mother could love, but if you just get to know this addictive lemonade-stand game you'll come to appreciate its inner beauty. You play a budding entrepreneur in the galaxy of Kukubia. The object of the game is to reach a certain amount of wealth, depending on the length of game you select.
The main focus of Knytt Stories is atmosphere, environment and exploration, not complex gameplay and a barrage of media. With Knytt Stories you'll spend most of your time wandering around sparsely populated worlds looking for a few rare items, enjoying the beautiful visuals and ambient music the whole time. It's a unique experience in gaming and will pull you in from the moment you start playing.
Drawn: Dark Flight is the direct sequel to last year's hidden object/adventure hybrid Drawn: The Painted Tower, and it spins another intricate tale of dark mystery and intrigue. It pulls you in with a delicious atmosphere crafted by sublime visuals and strong storytelling, and its adventure-centric gameplay builds upon that by getting you to think about the environment, the items you find, and the puzzles in front of you. It's easily one of the best casual adventure games ever released.
A great Calamity rocks the world, wiping out all of civlization in an instant and leaving behind only a handful of floating islands in a vast void. As the Kid, along with your ever-present Narrator as a guide, search the remnants of the world for something that might rebuild it, uncovering the truth about the Calamity (and human nature) as you do. Featuring stunning visuals, an engrossing story related in a unique, immersive fashion, and fast-paced combat with upgradeable weapons, Bastion is a top-notch indie action RPG players looking for another realm and a good story will definitely want to investigate.
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.
What's in a dream? April Ryan, a struggling art student, doesn't think there's much to the strange nightmares she's having. But she's wrong. A classic point-and-click adventure of epic proportions, The Longest Journey is the story of two worlds thrown out of balance. Featuring stellar dialogue, memorable characters, a haunting soundtrack and rich environments, this is a fantastic adventure that shows other titles in the genre how to do it right.
The classic point-and-click game Myst is still alive and well, living on over a dozen gaming platforms (including the iPhone) with a number of sequels and a few remakes, all going strong. Even decades after its original release, Myst is still a force to be reckoned with.
Eufloria, formerly known as Dyson, is a real-time strategy game built around the concepts of simplicity, ambience, and gentle pacing. It plays like an evolved version of Risk or Galcon, where sheer numbers and a good strategy are all you need to dominate. Eufloria isn't about warriors battling over blood-soaked soil. It's a slow, organic game that uses plants as its inspiration, challenging you to expand a seedling empire one asteroid at a time.
The first time I saw my velociraptor avatar trying desperately to outrun the scary wall of doom, I was completely sold. Three years have passed since the release of that Pixeljam racing platformer, and I find myself returning to its charms again and again. However, with time comes change, modification, upgrading, evolution. So is the potent rationale for the release of Dino Run: SE... And from what I've seen so far, it won't be going extinct from my hard drive any time soon.
A demo download for Windows only, Immortal Defense is a tower defense game with some aces up its sleeve. It's a game with impressive special effects and a captivating storyline, the latter of which is unusual in the tower defense genre. RPG Creations has put together a long-lasting demo experience should you be brave enough to take on the volunteer mission to fight millions of aliens using only the power of your consciousness.
A pirate-themed adventure game that draws inspiration from the Monkey Island series in more ways than one. You play Nelly, a "fearsome pirate and lover of tiny and adorable creatures" who is charged with investigating the disappearance of a fleet of birds by a dead pirate's ghost. The visuals and dialogue are so much fun, even adventuregameaphobiacs will have a great time.
Plantasia is a charming and addictive downloadable game about gardening that requires you to dig up rocks and soil, plant a variety of multi-colored flowers and vegetables, water them, and defend your garden against malicious bugs. These gardening chores earn you mana, which can be spent on upgrading your tools, moving plants around the garden and buying new seeds.
Master of Defense is a simple strategy game about defending your townspeople from the dangerous monsters that lurk just beyond the town gates, and these monsters wish to do them harm. The game is a simplified real-time strategy (RTS) game, and it is downloadable for Windows only.
Cave Story, or Doukutsu Monogatari, is a superb 2D platformer reminiscent of early platform games for the NES. Created by Pixel, it is a well-made and highly polished game with a superb storyline and brilliant gameplay that is altogether very enjoyable to play. The game requires a download, for Mac or PC, and is most highly recommended!
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.
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.
N is an award-winning action platform game of skill developed in Flash and available for download only (for Mac, PC, and Linux). The objective is to traverse a series of rooms using speed, dexterity and honed senses, as well as the ability to hold onto and jump from walls, which allows you to reach greater heights. The end result is an excellent game that is unique, original, and fun to play.
One of Spore's most touted and talked about features is how it leverages user-created content to populate the countless planets within the Spore universe. The Spore team accomplishes this by putting powerful and easy-to-use tools to create elements of the Spore universe in the hands of the masses. One of those tools is being released today, the Spore Creature Creator.
Man-eating plants! Skeletons! Giant spiders! Falling boulders! What do these things have in common? They're all very, very deadly. And they, along with a host of other unpleasantness hungry for your demise, are waiting for you in Spelunky, an incredibly addictive roguelike platformer from Derek Yu. Explore, descend, discover... just remember to watch your back and keep one hand on your whip!
Knytt is a downloadable game of exploration and atmosphere for Windows created by the author of Within a Deep Forest, Nifflas. The game emphasizes discovery and intrigue over everything and creates a massive world with varied environments and lots of places to explore. A spacecraft kidnapped the cat-like Knytt from his home but crashes on its way back, sending pieces of the ship across a mysterious planet. Your job is to traverse the barren world in search of the missing parts and try to get back home.
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!
Instead of playing the usual part of "hero who saves the world", Recettear fits you in behind the scenes as shopkeeper, the thankless job of providing an endless supply of items. You'll haggle with customers, make smart purchases as the guild, and even hire adventurers to strike out on your own, looting dungeons in true action/RPG form!
Terraria, a new action/adventure/creativity game from Re-Logic, is perfect for a sand emperor like myself. It offers the thrill of discovery mixed with the chance to meticulously construct your own little village, city or empire. And before you think it: yes, it's a lot like Minecraft, only in 2D!
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.
Originally released in Japan back in 2007, Recettear is the story of an item shop, a girl, and a fairy. Recette's father took out a loan and then skipped town, leaving her to pay off the debt. Soon, she meets Tear, a fairy who is as persistent as she is... well, persistent. She teaches Recette to run an item shop out of her house, purchasing stock for adventurers who head out into the world to slay monsters. Buy and sell swords, shields, food products and more, haggling with each customer and placing items in ideal locations to attract business.
Airport Mania from South Winds Games is a time management sim that drops all the trite settings and food-related themes we've grown tired of in the genre. Instead of serving cake or pizza or sandwiches, your job is to direct airplanes, load passengers, and make sure everything runs smoothly. All of this is accomplished with a simple interface and airplanes that are too cute for their own good. And unlike real airports, you can actually have flights arrive on time or even early!
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.
Two years after your victory in the first game, Eschalon Book II finds you living a quiet life... perhaps too quiet, since your skills are beginning to erode, and you find yourself forgetting important details, but troubled by strange dreams. When you awake to find a note on your doorstep from a stranger who claims to know who you really are, you find that the adventure has only just begun in this turn-based isometric RPG featuring open world gameplay.
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.
Just over two years ago from this day, a relatively unknown indie programmer called Notch posted about a work-in-progress version of a sandbox building game on the TIGSource forums. It was called Minecraft, and at the time, people thought it was really very cool. Fast forward to the present and Minecraft has sold over four million copies, been through extended alpha and beta phases, spawned the Mojang indie studio, and gained so much popularity, the launch of its official version took place at a Las Vegas convention dubbed MineCon. That's an impressive feat for any game, let alone one started by a single person. But now, Minecraft is officially out. No more beta, no more alpha, it's here. Time to lose yourself in a voxel world all over again!
The original freeware platform adventure game Cave Story was released by Daisuke Amaya (Pixel) back in 2004. An English translation from Aeon Genesis followed just two months later, opening the game up to a much wider audience and allowing to vault to the top of the indie gaming world. Featuring amazing music, a well-written story, power-ups, upgrades, and a big world to explore, saying Cave Story was a hit is a gross understatement. Several years later, the game has been ported to half a dozen other systems and re-released with remastered music and updated HD graphics. Now, Cave Story+ is here, upgrading the freeware experience to something your eyes and ears can more fully appreciate!
Kiss your free time and your loved ones goodbye. Torchlight is here. The indie rogue-like/action/RPG title has been highly anticipated, but is it worth all the hype? Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Stop talking to me, I'm trying to play. With randomly generated dungeons, an obscene amount of treasure and monsters to hunt, and a faithful animal companion at your side, Torchlight is a stellar example of indie gaming at its finest.
The main goal in Osmos is simple: you, an amoeba-esque organism known as a "mote," must absorb smaller motes to become bigger. As your size increases, you are able to absorb more and more motes until you are the largest one in the area. This seems like a simple objective, and at its core it is. But, in order to propel yourself around to capture motes, you must expel a part of your own mass, which in turn decreases your size. It's a beautiful and unique game of calm strategy and intense thought.
Drawn has returned. The third game in the series, Drawn: Trail of Shadows, dares to outdo its predecessors in what simply must be the most enchanting hidden object adventure game to date. The visuals have improved (if you can believe it!), the storytelling is even more intriguing, and the puzzles are as rich as before. Good hidden object games are hard to come by, so when you find a game this great, you'd best dive right in.
All of mankind vanishes from the universe in an instant... except for one person. Saira, a photographer, has spent years alone, trying to figure out what happened that day. Now, she's very close to discovering what happened, and finally tracking down who might be the only other person left alive. Nifflas's newest puzzle-platformer is a beautiful journey of exploration and discovery, where the few gameplay hiccups are only minor bumps in a long road.
Bioware's classic single and multiplayer experience finally goes DRM free. Is it worth your time after eight years? Absolutely. This computer adaptation of classic Dungeons and Dragons fantasy roleplaying not only features three robust campaigns, it also allows you to play a massive trove of community content completely free... or create your own. Explore new realms, create great heroes or villains... and maybe take a buddy along with you. Just remember to shout dibs on loot.
Blue Lacuna is one of those rare experiences that turns your set of assumptions about a medium on its head. Like Memento or The Usual Suspects or The Outsider, Aaron Reed's game transcends its medium to become more than the sum of its parts, an artwork that leaves a measurable change in the player. You might finish this game, but it may never leave you alone.
On the surface, it's easy to put Thomas Was Alone in the puzzle platform genre, citing games like The Lost Vikings when you discuss the gameplay mechanics and mentioning VVVVVV as another possible source of lo-fi indie inspiration. But after you've spent some time with the game, you suddenly realize it's much more than just a platformer. Thomas Was Alone is an interactive, character-driven puzzle experience with a beautiful audio visual presentation and gameplay controls/physics that were no doubt fine-tuned with fastidious precision.
Mortimer is back with another hidden object adventure in Mortimer Beckett and the Lost King! In case you couldn't tell, this time around a king is missing, and even though Mortimer is still stranded in the Time Paradox, he hops to it to set things right. Beautiful cut-scenes, superb inventory puzzles, and a well-made game on every front!
Warning Forever is a downloadable 2D shooter written by Hikoza Ohkubo of Hikware software. You pilot a tiny green ship with a single versatile weapon and must face off against a constant stream of bosses. No stages, no obstacles, no power-ups, just epic fights with massive enemy ships. And the surprising thing is they learn from your patterns and fight back. Yikes.
At long, long last, Jordan Mechner's (creator of the original Prince of Persia game) adventure gaming masterpiece The Last Express is available as a digital download! The game was first released in 1997 where, despite being an amazing interactive experience, it failed to gain much commercial traction. Its cult status survived the turn of the century largely due to the unique nature of the gameplay, the incredible writing, and a visual style that's more like an animated television show than a video game. No more tracking down rate copies of the original CD-ROM. Just download, install, and enjoy!
All Pia wants to do is help people, but she doesn't have much confidence in herself beyond her abilities as a pharmacist. When she sets out determined to help a town ravaged by an incurable disease, however, she winds up on a journey that proves she's made of sterner stuff than she thinks in this massive free indie action RPG packed with crafting and randomly generated dungeons from Fantasy Factory, and translated by vgperson.
Wik and the Fable of Souls is an engaging action platfomer classic developed by Reflexive Entertainment. Help guide the frog-like Wik as he swings and jumps using his grapple-like tongue, collecting coins, gems and grubs along the way. Watch out for enemy bugs and shoot them down with an array of objects or other insects you spit from your mouth.
Build the city of your dreams in this simulation game. Decide on zoning, taxes, education and more as you strive to keep your residents happy and healthy. Coal power or wind? How high can you let the crime rate get before spending hard earned cash on another police station? All this and more is up to you as head of an ever expanding city.
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.
Why are so many of the most difficult video games also the cutest? Maybe my brain just automatically forgets games that are both ugly and frustrating. Added to the "cute but evil" list comes Within a Deep Forest, a completely free downloadable game for Windows that casts you as a little blue ball, bouncing around a delightfully whimsical little world filled with the most frustrating jumping puzzles known to man.
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.
The creator of The Codex of Alchemical Engineering and Bureau of Steam Engineering (not to mention the grandaddy of Minecraft, Infiniminer) is back with a full-fledged indie game ready to provide a serious logic puzzle challenge. SpaceChem is anything but simple, anything but easy, and one of the most satisfying puzzle games released. If you can solve its challenges, that is. SpaceChem is a game you'll spend a few minutes learning but weeks trying to master, and its 50+ levels are more than enough to strain your poor brain matter more than it's been strained in quite some time.
Ben There, Dan That! is an old-school adventure game in the classic sense. You know how this works. Right click to access the interactive menu. Interact with objects. Pick them up. Use them with other objects. In this game, you default to playing as Ben, but you can switch to being Dan when the occasion calls for it. It features some fairly witty writing with that rather unique British self-deprecating sense of humour.
Miss Management is, in fifteen words or less, one of the most entertaining, captivating and hilarious casual games I've played in months. Developer Gamelab has really gone out of its way to craft unique characters that fuel the game from beginning to end, making it play like an interactive sitcom rather than your typical time management game (such as Diner Dash or Nanny Mania).
Described as a "spaceship simulation roguelike-like" by its developers, Subset Games, you won't be doing a whole lot of boldly going where no one has gone before in FTL: Faster Than Light. In fact, most of your time will be spent directing crew members and putting out engine room fires. But scifi strategy fans will love every minute of it, even with the hardcore difficulty.
Nethack is a classic singl-player (randomly generated) dungeon exploration game that runs on a wide variety of platforms, and yet each implementation uses the same game engine. But whether graphics or text-based, emphasis is on discovering dungeon detail rather than just killing everything in sight.
The Museum of Broken Memories is a beautifully woven interactive narrative that may even be considered a work of art. It is a point-and-click game, yes; and yet it is so much more than that. Like any work of art, personal interpretation plays an important role here, as there are many images and words to browse through and interact with, and an array of emotions that will be evoked.
In this lovely indie adventure, you find yourself deep in the snowy woods on Longest Night, fulfilling a promise and seeking the forest god. It's gorgeous, funny, and just a little creepy... so it's too bad everyone seems certain you're going to die.
Gemsweeper is a casual game of picross (picture crossword puzzles) created by Lobstersoft. Your goal is to uncover hidden treasure by breaking rocks to help Topex reconstruct the temples of El Dorado. Stones are arranged in grids with sets of numbers above and to the left that serve as clues as to which tiles contain gems and which are cursed. Bash cursed tiles with a hammer, then grab gems from the rest of the grid to complete each puzzle and re-build the temple, one brick at a time!
Roguelike strategy meets Dance Dance Revolution? This gorgeous, addictive indie game proves it can be done, and done amazingly well! When a young woman's heart is stolen by an evil necromancer, she must descend deep into his crypt, moving and slaying unique beasts to the beat. Play with your keyboard, controller... or USB dance mat!
Dinos in Space is, apart from being a very cool thing to draw in your notebook while ignoring the math lecture going on in your class, a cerebral flow-based logic puzzle game from John Saba. Using arrows, switches and teleporters, your goal is to send dinosaurs from their dispensers into the appropriately colored satellite elsewhere on the grid. Sure, it sounds simple on the surface, but get your head wrapped in this game, and when you take a break, you'll still be solving puzzles in your brain.
The Silver Lining is a fan-created King's Quest adventure game that got the unlikeliest support: the backing of publishing giant Activision. This ten-year old project has nearly been shut down twice by lawyers, but it has finally seen the light of day in the form of its first episode, What Is Decreed Must Be. But is it what fans of the series wanted? And what about people who never donned Graham's cap?
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?
An Untitled Story is a perfect blend of tough platforming challenges, intimidating boss fights, and cunning secrets, all wrapped up in a layer of childlike mysticism and rough-shorn beauty. It is a chilled-out hardcore wonderland of action discovery, plus an unidentifiable je ne sais quoi that just makes you want to drink it down in one gulp and then spit out a rainbow.
Battle for Wesnoth is a free, open-source turn-based strategy game originally designed by David White. It's similar to games like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars and Shining Force in that each player commands an army of units, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Battles take place on a hexagonal grid and layers take turns moving armies and issuing commands.
Another World, or, as it's known in North America, Out of This World, is a stunning example of storytelling in a video game originally released in 1991 (and re-released with better visuals in 2006) by Eric Chahi. Built as a cinematic platform adventure, you take on the role of Lester Knight Chaykin, a young physicist who is teleported to a barren alien planet while running an experiment using a particle accelerator. You soon make friends with one of the humanoid aliens and together work your way through the subterranean environments trying to escape with your lives!
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.
Floating Islands Game is a puzzle title, created by Hempuli, that plays a lot like Rob Allen's Hapland series with a distinct Lemmings slant to it. In each level you must guide the main character through the stage, collecting all of the gold stars before reaching the flag at the end. You can only affect his movements indirectly, however, by clicking and changing different parts of the environment at just the right time.
On the list of things that are more useful in video games than they are in the real world, grappling hooks are certainly near the top. Acquiring a grappling hook in the real world is positively thrilling, until you start thinking of ways you can actually (and legally) use it. Fortunately, the aptly-titled Grappling Hook isn't grounded in reality. The puzzle platformer from SpeedRunGames is filled with 22 levels of quick-thinking grappling goodness that is sure to keep you zooming around for hours.
Delicious Emily's Holiday Season is a fantastic time management game from Zylom Game Studio. Much like the often-forgotten Miss Management, this game plays like a TV sitcom, complete with incidental music and cheesy sense of humor! The variety of gameplay is a welcome addition to the genre, and unlike most games that make the same attempt, it doesn't come across as forced innovation.
Think you know ghosts? Think again. When they discover their dream house is host to a gaggle of unruly spirits, the only place a young couple has left to turn is the strange little man who shows up on their front step and seems to know a little too much about what's going on. Mishap: An Accidental Haunting represents a benchmark in quality for the hidden object genre by Namco. Featuring eight chapters, 32 hidden object scenes, riddles, minigames, and more ghosts than you'll know what to do with, it's a fun, beautiful romp through an out-of-this world location.
Mushrooms. It's all about mushrooms. And keys and crates and stuff, too, but really, mushrooms. In Corrypt, a puzzle game by Zaga-33 creator Michael Brough, your job is to work your way through maze-like screens as you hunt for the items you need to appease unsettled citizens. Using a slightly tweaked sokoban-style setup, be ready to sit and scratch your head as you wonder at the logic of carving a path through groups of wooden crates.
You thought you had it bad when you were forced to trick-and-treat with your twin, but things only get worse when he (or she!) is mistaken for an actual piece of candy by the real monsters that are pillaging the town! None of the adults will believe you, but unless you want to be in a lot of trouble when you come home alone, you'll have to embark on a rescue mission in this charming, laugh-out-loud funny adventure RPG from DoubleFine. Create and unlock new costumes and do epic battle as you become the very thing you're dressed up as, and stop a candy conspiracy that could threaten the world!
Who doesn't love Trilby? All debonaire and gentlemanly in that pin-stripe suit, it's enough to melt even the chilliest of hearts. He's a fine character to introduce us to the Chzo Mythos, a series of four point-and-click games (Windows, freeware) in which the player is offered the chance to unravel the mystery of... well, that's really for you to find out.
Legend of Grimrock is a retro-styled first person dungeon crawling RPG that borrows liberally from the classic genre and updates everything for modern gamers to enjoy. From the visual overhaul to the lax but somehow intriguing storyline to the stripping of complex menu screens and stats, Legend of Grimrock will easily capture your attention and hold it for hours on end, whether you're an old school RPG master or a casual gamer looking for a little diversion.
Following in the tradition of the classic sandbox games (Sand Sand Sand and Powder Game), The Powder Toy by HardWIRED is a small download which stretches the boundaries of what is possible with a few simple elements. In fact, you can do almost anything with it, the only limit is your imagination.
Aquaria is a beautifully detailed game of exploration from independent developer Bit Blot. You control the restless young Naija, a curious underwater dweller who sets out to discover her world. The ocean is teeming with mysterious caverns to explore, strange sea creatures (some friendly, some otherwise), and troves of ancient secrets buried by time. Aquaria is as much about interacting with and exploring the environment as it is telling a story. And it does both with a level of beauty rarely seen in independent games.
A shoot-em-up game without guns is like a library without books, or an office chair without wheels. Sure they might have some other purpose, but what fun are they without these essential little elements? Fortunately, Super Crate Box is a retro-styled platform shooter that has more guns than you can shake a stick at in the time it takes to play. (Or a katana.)
Build-a-lot 2 is a real estate tycoon sim game where you must improve the value of different towns by meeting goals set by each area's mayor. Tasks range from building a number of houses/buildings to earning a set amount of cash or increasing rent income to a certain level. All the while you must manage three things: cash, workers, and materials. It's simple, extraordinarily fun, and could easily be one of the best casual games of 2008.
From the developers of Delicious Emily's Holiday Season comes another gem of a time management game every casual gamer needs to experience. Heart's Medicine: Season One takes place in a hospital where the newly-arrived Allison Heart is just beginning her residency. Help sick patients by tending to their needs, shuffling them through the hospital as efficiently as you can, never forgetting to take good care of each person. The storyline is fantastic, the presentation is superb, and both the variety and the game's pacing are perfect. Heart's Medicine is simply one of the most well-balanced and entertaining time management games you can find!
One the surface, Gratuitous Space Battles, from Kudos developer Positech Games, looks like your run-of-the-mill space RTS, something in the vein of the Homeworld series or Star Wars: Empire at War. But when that glance turns into a longing stare, you'll realize it's very different from both of those series and isn't really, in fact, a real time strategy game at all. Gratuitious Space Battles has a whole new system of gameplay going for it that, in many ways, feels more like a tower defense game than anything else.
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.
Back in 2005, Takumi Naramura released a retro-styled exploration game called La-Mulana. Starring an archaeologist professor named Lemeza, it introduced modern players to an aesthetic not seen since the days of the MSX home computer, bringing with it all the convoluted puzzles, items, and high level of difficulty retro gamers love. Fast forward to 2012 for the worldwide release of a graphically enhanced update to La-Mulana that carefully reworks the look and feel of the old game to spruce it up for a new audience. Nigoro has done a fantastic job with the new La-Mulana, and the translation to the slightly-less-retro modern version is almost flawless!
Think open world platform adventure games like Knytt Stories are falling out of favor? Treasure Adventure Game is happy to prove you wrong. With its massive open world stocked from end to end with treasures, secrets, characters, quests, puzzles, and more, this old school throwback manages to combine adventure, RPG, and platforming genres into the kind of game you'll only have the honor of experiencing a few times in your life. Also: it's free!
It's a blast from the past in this remake of and tribute to the original M.U.L.E., one of the great pioneers of multiplayer gaming. Stake your claim on an alien world with three friends and make the best of your time and resources to come out on top at the end of the game. Just remember to keep an eye out for the wampus.
They say it's all in how you look at things... and they might be right! Perspective, by the fine students of Digipen, is a unique game that combines two-dimensional platforming with three-dimensional worlds to explore. As you switch back and forth between the two modes, you'll see that there's more to this well-crafted challenge than first meets the eye.
Serve the Pact, serve Avadon, serve Redbeard. So it goes for you, a new recruit to the fabled Black Fortress, eager to make a name for yourself and help uphold the ideals of your land. But all is not as it seems; Redbeard, Avadon's commander, seems to inspire as much fear as he does loyalty in his followers, and murmurs of dissent ripple through the ranks while rumours of traitors both unnerve and intrigue you. Decide for yourself what path you will follow in this massive, engrossing turn-based fantasy RPG from Spiderweb Software. Just remember to watch your back so someone doesn't stick a dagger into it. Who can you trust?
Are they conveyor belts? Are they fallen trees? To be completely honest, we can't figure out what those strange laser-emitting bricks in increpare's aptly-named Puzzles are supposed to be. All we know is that they cause trouble if you touch them, but yet that danger might be the key to solving the eight enigmas in this game.
Tossed into a hostile, dark fantasy world that hates you and wants you to die with only your wits and the clothes on your back, how long can you stay alive? Klei Entertainment brings us a gorgeous indie survival exploration adventure as your scavenge for food and supplies, craft weapons and armor and more, and learn the rules of a strange land filled with stranger creatures.
In this creepy Choose Your Own Adventure Kindle horror tale (use one of the free Kindle apps to play!), a desperate phone call from your eccentric brother sets you off on a mission to find and rescue him. But time is running out, and there are things in the dark you may not be prepared to deal with.
From the city lofts and apartments comes the sound of home improvement: hammers pounding, saws buzzing, and paint rollers slopping. Is it a new season for Do-Up-My-Home-TV? No, even better. The crack design team of the now-classic game, Home Sweet Home, has returned. But these designers aren't content with country living rooms any more. Home Sweet Home 2 takes style to new heights by tackling big city high rise apartments, along with some sleek improvements and additional rooms.
It has had its ups and downs, but the entire first season of Back To The Future The Game is now out and doing the time warp. Can Marty save the past, present and future in this epic adventure series? It looks like he just might...
The fashion business has changed quite a bit since Jojo Cruz took an early retirement a few decades back. So, now that her daughter, Rosalind, has convinced Jojo to make a comeback, is it any wonder that she needs your help? Grab your eye for style and get ready for Jojo's Fashion Show.
Striking a balance between highly tactical, challenging combat and one of the deepest, most engrossing stories of all time, Bioware's original real-time RPG series still holds up today, almost thirteen years after release. Create a character and discover the truth about yourself in this complex game filled with memorable characters, dangerous encounters, magic, plot twists, and much, much more. Enjoy this deep Dungeons and Dragons game "vanilla", or install one of the many fan-made mods from the robust community to give you even more reason to replay.
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.