Room Fake is just one of those games that makes me smile: a good-looking, nicely thought out room escape game with difficult but not confounding puzzles, a save feature(!) and not too much text to exacerbate the language barrier. It is also somewhat reminiscent of Japanese developer Neutral's offerings with its clean, pre-rendered 3D model surroundings.
Scorching Earth is an intriguing turn-based puzzle game in which you control the actions of an inferno as it seeks to devastate 50 levels worth of landscape. The levels are composed of square tiles, filled with various types of terrain—grasslands, water, trees, and so forth. Your goal on each puzzle is to destroy the required number of tiles. It's a good, solid, innovative puzzle game, and it's fun.
Killawatt is a game about stacking speakers onto a truck with a wobbly, aerial crane. It's the latest addition to Samsung's arcade of surprisingly solid advergames, featuring Sammy, a conspicuously anglo, canine mascot. This time, however, Sammy has his black snoopy ears in a dreadlock-esque style, and he's gone rasta.
Brain Cell is the brain child of Ryan Gibson for the U.K.-based development team DESQ, an organization devoted to the development of Web-based and digital learning projects. In a recent attempt to contribute to casual gaming, DESQ released Brain Cell in the hopes of enhancing your typical room escape game and taking it to the next level. In many ways, it succeeds; featuring a gorgeous (yet bandwidth-intensive) take on the usual point-and-click, room escape genre.
Deep Chalk, from game author Zack Livestone, is a charming and interactive point-and-click, in which you clear the way for a powerful crystal to escape its confines, presumably to reach a higher plane of crystallinity. Its interactive Samorostian landscapes are augmented wonderfully by ethereal music clips to produce a deep, if slightly dry, experience.
Blockoban is the latest from JP, who has just launched a new website that features user-created content, called Bonus Level, along with fellow game designers, Wouter and Tonypa. With names like that attached you can expect high quality, and Blockoban delivers. It's a game where you slide blocks around and try to match their colors to specific spaces. That simple mechanic is fleshed out with challenging level designs and high quality production values, delivering an experience that will keep you hooked.
Recovered from an illness that delayed the game's creation (but produced Grow Nano vol. 3), On has finally released Meet In ver. 0. You control four individual family members, each in his or her own screen, and are trying to guide them through the maze of puzzles to be together once again. Simply click on the square you want to control and use the [arrow] keys to move.
Another popular television game show to make the leap to the casual gaming world. The classic "guess the most popular answer" formula is as exciting on your computer as it is on TV, only now it's much more interactive than just yelling at the screen. With over 3,000 questions to ponder and a tacked-on home decorating game, you won't have a hard time finding an excuse to guess what the "survey says".
It was a foggy day when Mateusz Skutnik took the pictures for 10 Gnomes #4, and the setting is one of the longest buildings in Europe. Get your hidden object fix with the latest installment of this episodic game in which you must find all 10 gnomes in 10 minutes' time.
Tainted Kingdom is a lean, tactical warfare game from Krin, the creator of Sonny. You play a young nobleman assigned to a front-line unit in a lamentable war, only to find that your superiors are not who they seem. The gameplay is taut, playing out as a real-time dance of rock-paper-scissors match-ups. Do you have the skill to lead in battle?
Alex must go to the cheese shop to buy some cheese for his mother. What a nice boy. But the cheese shop is high in the sky and is being defended by flying chickens and people with magnetic headphones. You must navigate past clouds and various enemies, while collecting coins and heart energy, on your way to the holy cheese place ...and back.
A brand new point-and-click adventure from the master, Mateusz Skutnik, and his Pastel Games crew. All the pieces are in place for yet another fantastic escape game experience, as well as an entirely new series of games not to be missed.
Proximity is a classic turn-based strategy Flash game that is somewhat like a cross between Risk and Go. It is surprisingly simple to learn and takes about 5 minutes to play. You can play against the computer, or against a friend at the same computer.
Kullors is a cute new puzzle game in which the objective is to mix and match colors to remove all the cute little kullors from each level. Matching the kullors looks super easy at first (and it is!), but the real challenge comes when you run out of matching colors (and you always do!) and must begin to mix colors to make just the right combination of kullors to clear the board.
dRive is quite possibly the first calculus-themed game to get a review on this site, but don't go fleeing for the high country quite yet; you don't need to understand the math to play the game. At its core, dRive is a simple "catch the falling objects" game, but the unusual, calculus-based method of controlling three games at once turns dRive into an innovative, fascinating game.
The Hapland-meister strikes again with a wacky new puzzle game. Use your point-and-clicking skills to figure out what needs to be done (and when!) to reach a solution to this odd and very ...purple puzzle. I'm particularly loving the soundtrack.
A brick-busting title centered around one gameplay element: destruction. It doesn't try to woo you with a fancy story or strategic power-ups, instead opting for ancient Egyptian temples and spears, hammers and ballistas to speed up the destruction. Throw all that carnage into a pleasingly crisp presentation and, well, you'll have a lot more fun than you thought you'd have with a simple Breakout game.
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!
Proo, a mischievous but good-hearted little girl who accidentally crash-lands her father's spaceship on a bizarre planet, must relearn basic skills like walking and jumping in order to navigate an enormous and beautiful world. With rising plumes of energy that can lift you to new heights, streams of red-hot lava that cascade into underground pools, and adorable pixel art, Pieces fulfills in ways most unexpected.
Gride is an arcade-style action game in which the objective is to apply and remove abilities to an always-moving little pink sedan at just the right moments to make it as far as you can along the never-ending terrain. It was good enough to take 3rd place in our 5th game design competition, and it earned the coveted Viral award by receiving more than one million views more than the next most played game!
Qink is an innovative puzzle game that is the unholy union of a Rubik's Cube and a Tangram. You might not think there's anything wrong with mixing those two ingredients. They are both puzzles, after all. But consider that one is a three-dimensional puzzle and one is a two-dimensional puzzle, and mating two entities that follow entirely different physical laws is wrong. The result is unusual and unique, scoring major points with us.
What do a hamster, an umbrella, and half a pair of glasses have in common? I'm not telling, but The Great Living Room Escape just might. The just-released follow up to The Great Kitchen Escape from Pastelgames.com (the site Submachine creator Mateusz Skutnik calls home) is filled with brightly-colored art, zany items, and excellent point-and-click room escape gameplay.
Super Energy Apocalypse, 2nd place prize winner in our 5th game design competition, plays a bit like a tower defense game, in that most of the time is spent getting ready for the next wave, and the player is offered no control over the targeting of the enemies. Planning for the battle is the critical strategic element, rather than the battle itself. The zombies come out only at night, so use the daylight wisely!
Planet of the Forklift Kid is a whimsical physics-based platform puzzle game, controlled with the keyboard. Your goal in each level is to reach the exit, usually by operating switches to open the doors blocking your path. It is an all-around well-crafted game that is so charming and odd that it's worth playing even though there are, at present, only 8 levels.
A tribute to the Moai series, Doeo takes the same basic principle of frantically mousing over moving targets while racking up enough points to move to the next level. Instead of the statuesque Moai that inhabit previous games, here you try to collect as many pink and blue Doeo as quickly as possible.
Harvest: Massive Encounter is a survival-based real-time strategy game with several modes of play that lend a free-form tower defense feel to the experience. You play the humans defending an expanding plot of land against swarms (and I do mean swarms) of alien UFOs, mechanized bots and other baddies. It's an extremely frantic game that's usually more nerve-wrecking than brain-stretching.
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.
The sequel to Sandlot's Virtual Villagers-esque hit sim Westward has finally arrived! Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier continues the old west drama with a whole new batch of improvements, including 3D visuals, new buildings to construct, more scenarios to complete, and a brand new sandbox mode. Keep your townspeople happy, fed, and busy gathering resources as you expand across the uncharted territory in search of the elusive Copperhead Gang.
Netshift is the Web-based successor to Blackshift, an action puzzle game download from Rob Allen, the man who brought us the Hapland series and many other excellent titles. Netshift, currently in beta, makes the original game more accessible, and it even includes a level editor with which to create and share levels with the Netshift community.
Cheese Dreams is a cute little platformer from Nitrome starring a bouncy bit of cheese (which just so happens to be the moon), mice in spacesuits, and Mario-esque pipes that send you soaring. As our orange protagonist snoozes one night, a massive mouse spaceship comes along and scoops it right up. Is it all just a bad dream, or are these mice really that obsessed with cheese?
Bow Street Runner is a mystery adventure series commissioned by Channel 4 (UK). Set in London's Covent Garden in the 1750s, crime in the city has risen to such a level that local magistrates were forced to take action. The Bow Street Runners were born, created to instill order in the increasingly crime-ridden city. It's a dark and historically accurate journey through old London, presented with live actors, voice narration and full motion video for an impressive cinematic experience.
A good shoot'em-up is like a symphony. The enemies are the musicians, the bullets the notes. And the player is the soloist at center stage, riffing a melody over the chaos, flirting with death, performing miracles. The Last Canopy is a landmark Flash manic shoot'em-up that feels dramatic and entertaining from beginning to end, which is a testament to the level of detail and professionalism that Easy Only! Games is capable of.
In the latest puzzle romp from Nitrome, you play the part of Magneboy, an orange robot powered by clockwork, with a dial in his chest set permanently to Neutral. He exists in a strange technological void, with pillars jutting out of the infinite blackness beneath. On each level, you must guide him to a checkerboard-patterned platform (robots are naturally attracted to early 60s diners).
In Lost Pig, you are Grunk, a rather dim creature who works on a farm and who, evidently, loses a pig. Using your best typing skills, find your way through the forest and beyond and retrieve that darn swine. It won't be easy, since pigs in Grunk's world are not cooperative. Utilize your intuition (and maybe a little luck) and you'll find your way out of Grunk's mess in this hilarious interactive fiction.
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.
Youda Camper is a slow-paced simulation game along the lines of Sim City. You're put in charge of creating and running a camp site, from where to put the toilets to how many spaces for tents to allocate. Keep campers happy by building amenities and learn from their complaints to construct a campsite that rakes in the cash day after day.
Hoyle Enchanted Puzzles is a mixed take on a number of common casual gaming puzzle types such as the marble popper, match-3, mahjong, and samegame. Strung together by a wizard-filled fantasy plot, you travel throughout the Valley of Skye completing puzzles to earn Craft, Nature, and Mind experience points that open new types of challenges. It's an enticing blend of puzzle and RPG elements with more than enough variety to go around.
Attak is the game I've wanted to play since I was fourteen years old. If you ever tried to raise your power level while on the bus, and had an invisible energy duel with your buddy during class, you know what I'm talking about. Every single game ever made about Dragon Ball Z has been a lame cash-in, a modification of fighting mechanics or RPG mechanics, hobbled Frankensteins that never really grasped the dynamic of Power Level 1,000,000. Today, the brothers at JohnnyTwoShoes have delivered with sonic, accessible Flash.
Uchuforce2 is designed for shooter neophytes. You control your ship with the mouse, you're firing a ridiculous swath of bullets all the time, and there's only one button to worry about. Click the mouse to change your weapon to a powerful laser, and click again to switch back to the endless waves of bullets. A meter in the lower-right shows you how close your laser is to over-heating, so if you want to avoid an extra-long cool-down delay, turn the laser off before that meter fills.
XSketch is a multiplayer Pictionary-style game with an interesting twist on gameplay and scoring. Players can jump right into any game already in progress and begin to have fun immediately. Points are earned by drawing and guessing successfully, and monthly competition leader boards give the game a real competitive feel.
Magic Pen is a physics-based puzzle playground created by Alejandro Guillen (Spin the Black Circle). It's easy to see the design, from visual style to overall concept, was taken from Crayon Physics, but because Magic Pen was done in Flash, it's much more accessible. Using the mouse, simply draw shapes to create bridges and guide the red ball to the flag. Making shapes and dropping them from the sky will set the ball in motion, and you can also craft structures with hinges (both fixed and movable) for more complex maneuvers.
It's just not a proper week without a new jmtb02 game. But if you're expecting the usual jolt of hyperactive skull-smashery from John Cooney—like the previously reviewed TBA or Grid16—you'd better slow down, Miss Sally Brown. Compulse is John's attempt at a tightly packed zen experience, and it's 98% adrenaline-free, with extra soothing strategy flavor.
The latest from OddGoo and the sequel to the first Amberial game released last June. The mechanics of the original are put to an olympic workout; rolling a ball around has never felt so fresh. From the terrestrial furnace to the skyways, to outer space and distant nebulae, this game explores both increasingly exotic settings and increasingly clever level design.
Fashion Solitaire is a surprisingly challenging blend of solitaire and dress-ups. You must dress a certain number of models with at least a hairstyle, top and bottom garment and shoes before you can progress, and there may be conditions attached, such as including a red item. You can earn more dollars by designing your own clothes and adding them to the solitaire deck. On the solitaire side, each card represents a garment type (i.e. shoes, jewelry, skirts, etc) and features particular colors and patterns. They are stacked in piles with only the top card exposed, and you use the exposed cards to dress your model.
Come on down! You're the next contestant on The Price is Right! One of the oldest televised gameshows still in production today, The Price is Right has seen several dozen seasons in the United States and is broadcast in almost as many countries. That's a whole lot of people sitting in their living room trying to guess the price of a wine rack with removable shelves. Now, developer Ludia is bringing the same formula to the casual gaming realm, dropping you front row center as one of the contestants!
Casual adventure games are gaining ground as titles such as Azada and the Dream Chronicles series cut out the complexity and serve up a little lighthearted gaming alongside item-based puzzles. Natalie Brooks - Secrets of Treasure House follows suit in an adventure that uses optional hidden object scenes to earn hints to solve puzzles in the main quest. It's a good blend of genres that, despite its rather short length and occasional grammatical hiccup, holds your attention with an interesting story and varied gameplay.
Kava-what? Is it a Pacific island drink of shamans and storytellers? No, Kavalmaja is the latest game from the brilliant Tonypa. A departure from his usual explorations of the abstract, Kavalmaja is a tile-based, Zelda like exploration game, except you have a wacky, randomly generated name. Unlike Zelda, it strips away combat, re-emphasizing the flow of the maze.
A platforming adventure game has just been released from Nitrome: Dirk Valentine and the Fortress of Steam! Dirk Valentine uses similar mechanics as Nitrome's own Frost Bite. Move Dirk with the [arrow] keys and aim with the mouse. Press the left mouse button to fire the ricocheting chain gun. The slightly more serious tone and steampunk setting is a departure from Nitrome's usual fare, but the high quality of artwork, music and overall design remains the same.
The Final Spell is a charming and fun point-and-click game of the escape-the-room variety. Its most redeeming quality is its sense of humor, provided mainly by the many pamphlets and books scattered around the room, and sheer cuteness; an endearing amateurish sensibility is combined with just enough substance to leave you grinning.
The gameplay of Patchworkz is addictive and the presentation is top-notch. Wellgames has included a near-endless variety of designs and patterns, and if the graphics aren't exactly soft and quilt-like, they are at least crisp and attractive. The cheery dink dink dink of correctly placed patches is sonic comfort food, like a bottomless bag of jelly beans.
You've been looking for some kind of escape. a vacation to paradise, maybe. but you'd probably just settle for a nap. So, here, you now find yourself sitting in front of this screen once again. But why are you wearing those pale green socks? Welcome to the Tipping Point, a new point-and-click adventure by Dan Russell-Pinson. Now with 3 chapters!
10 Gnomes episode 3: Early Spring Garden has been released! The third installment in the 10 Gnomes series by Submachine author Mateusz Skutnik continues the point-and-click "find the gnome" gameplay that holds our attention for precisely ten minutes. The goal is simple: click your way through a photographic landscape searching for hidden cartoon gnomes. You only have ten minutes to find all ten, so speed is just as important as a sharp eye.
Sonny is most likely the best Flash RPG yet made. Imagine fluid battles that don't feel like a grind, complete with fluid animation and tactics that are actually interesting and fun. Now, imagine that you're a superhuman zombie. Yes, Sonny, this is it.
In Boxhead: The Zombie Wars, your goal is to stay alive for as long as possible, but there are several ways to go about it. You can choose to take a more offensive front and plant traps for the zombies like exploding barrels, or a more defensive approach by building yourself a base complete with rocket launching turrets.
C'mon, everyone is doing it! Let's tear apart the place, looking through piles of stuff or branches of plants, looking for colorful, small, and oval objects! Eggs, you say? No, no, who searches for eggs anymore? We're hunting for dolls. Ok, just one doll: Lion's doll. But we might just collect a basketful, anyways.
With DragonStone, dev studio PlayPond bravely mashed a marble-grouping game with a shoot-em-up, spray-painted it with a medieval fantasy theme, and literally turned the whole thing on its head. The result is an exciting and perilously addictive experiment, with the friendly face and high production values of a casual game.
Another casual game that tries its hand at blending genres, Curse of the Pharaoh: Quest for Nefertiti takes two popular game types to ancient Egypt for a fascinating puzzle-adventure experience. The game's main tricks are spot-the-difference scenes along with a few simple hidden object excursions. You'll also unlock minigames and solve adventure-style puzzles using artifacts you find and assemble in dusty old tombs. It's a relatively easy game, making it accessible to a wide range of players, but the real hook is the deliciously mysterious Egyptian setting based on the real-life mystery of Queen Nefertiti's burial.
Hopickston is the latest casual puzzle game from Tonypa, and like so many of his other games, it offers a uniquely original experience that is both simple and elegant. It just may have that perfect balance between strategy, luck, logic, and memory. Randomized parameters ensure that no two games are ever alike.
The PonPon House is an adorable point-and-click adventure from the Japanese game design group, Orange Biscuit. Short and sweet, this one isn't likely to take up much time or energy. However, with the soothing background sounds of a gentle sea combined with elegant scenery, the game is more like a journey through a landscape painting rather than an adventure.
Puzzle Boy Flash is a puzzle game of the block-pushing Sokoban variety. Your goal in each level is to get Puzzle Boy to the exit stairs, using only the [arrow keys] to direct him. Push blocks and rotate turnstiles by walking into them. Bridge gaps by plugging them with boxes. If your brain likes to be teased, tickled, maybe slapped around a little, give this one a try.
Aah, gardening. One of the most relaxing and rewarding hobbies one can undertake. There's nothing like planting flowers and watching them grow, especially when you get to sell them for loads of cash and smash gigantic bees and snails with a shovel from time to time! This is the basic premise of Magic Farm, a resource management simulation along the lines of Grimm's Hatchery and Alice Greenfingers. As a magic-wielding gardener, you must plant, water, protect and raise a variety of flowers to sell for cash. You also have three basic skills that can be increased as you play, lending a delicious RPG flavor to the game.
Step into another surreal world created by Amanita Design (Samorost). With eight totally separate environments, Questionaut feels like a cohesive whole. It's like stepping into a story book and becoming one of its characters. And thanks to Questionaut's powerful imagery, it feels like a living universe that continues to exist even after you've shut down your browser. Just delightful.
Escape the Museum is an intriguing adventure/hidden object game that reaches into room escape territory for inspiration. You play as Susan Anderson, a museum curator showing her daughter a dinosaur exhibit when a fierce earthquake suddenly rocks the building. Falling debris knocks Susan unconscious, and when she awakens she discovers she's trapped in the room and Caitlin is missing! Find the objects you'll need to fashion an exit, then recover precious museum artifacts as you work your way through the rubble searching for your daughter.
Gooey gooey goo! Time for another Sling review! The third full installment in the Sling series has just been released. Once again, evil monsters have stolen an element from the Oozeville power source, destabilizing it and threatening to destroy life as they know it. As you grab, stretch, sling, and bounce your way through each of the game's 50 levels, watch out for spikes, freezing water, special grabs, monsters, and more!
Open Doors is a clever puzzle game played over a gridded blue-print of a building complete with doors and swinging circles meant to identify their hinges. As you move past these contraptions, they slam shut behind you! It's like a house-of-mirrors boiled down to sheer design, and it's fun.
This update still utilizes the same slick interface and near-flawless gameplay mechanics as before to create a serious action-puzzle challenge. If you didn't play Contour when it was first released, there's never been a better time to give it a spin. Since then, the community embraced the editor and set to work creating new levels. In fact, so many new levels were created that Sean hand-picked some of the best and updated the game.
Canyon Defense is, not surprisingly, a tower defense game with nice pixel art and that does things a bit differently. First of all, there are no upgrades. What if I told you this heresy against form also has time-based special abilities? And support buildings? If you want some fresh TD with a Mad Max aesthetic, try Canyon Defense.
The N riddle game is a URL-changing puzzle game that is somewhere in-between a wonderful, mentally stimulating journey and a migraine in the making. The first few levels are encouragingly easy and serve as a makeshift tutorial for the new player; soon, a comfortable rhythm of gradually increasing difficulty and clever puzzling has been established. And then...BLAM! ...see for yourself.
Nanotube is a stylish action game that tasks you with preventing an army of colored orbs from escaping the center of a circle. You have control of a wall of segments at the perimeter of that circle, and you must block each orb with a wall segment of the same color. It is a satisfying treat on many levels, with orbs flying at you with a regular rhythm and popping with a musical sproing, so if you're playing well, the game will automatically play a random tune for you.
John Cooney (jmtb02) is back again. Less than a month after giving the world Grid 16, he brings us Elements, a high-tech cross between Breakout and his own Ball Revamped series. Control the game by rotating the level, and make your way to the "go down" brick on each of the game's 25 levels.
For those who enjoyed the previously reviewed Ambivalence, there's a brand new game, Confined, just released today from the same Japanese developer, FonGeBooN. This appears to be a fairly standard point-and-click room escape game until you dig a little deeper. From what I can tell so far, pixel hunting is minimal (though present), instead the focus is on puzzle solving, which is always a plus when it comes to games like this.
The original Shift was an interesting platform game that used negative space as an entertaining hook, but it came with a few problems that ultimately made it feel unfinished and experimental. Now, Tony of Armor Games has released Shift 2, which is basically the game the first one should have been. It's not enough of a leap forward to warrant the "2" in its name, really, but it refines and expands upon the original concepts to deliver a smoother, more drinkable dose of run/jump/puzzle distraction.
Super Smash Brothers Brawl: it has arrived. After multiple delays, countless stunning revelations, and years of speculation, the third edition of Nintendo's bizarre tribute to itself has hit store shelves. This isn't a review so much as a place for JIGsters who have Brawl to exchange friend codes and hook up for online battles.
Following the highly-successful footsteps of puzzle-RPG hybrids, Spandex Force combines several match 3-style jewel swapping games with a sim-like spoof of superhero life. Patrol the city surrounding your headquarters searching for thieves and citizens in need. When you engage a bank robber or intervene to save a helpless human, a simple puzzle interface appears as your challenge to complete the task. It's a surprisingly fresh take on a rather tired genre that scores major points for wearing a wacky sense of humor on its sleeve.
Jasper's Journeys is a downloadable platform game that plays much like an old-school side-scroller where exploration is essential, power-ups are few, speed is often encouraged, and secret areas are plentiful. In many ways it's similar to Brad Borne's The Fancy Pants Adventure games (or even Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros, or Jazz Jackrabbit), though with a decidedly different atmosphere and feel.
In his ongoing, mad quest to give us all nightmares about geometry, Tonypa has unleashed Cobacoli upon the world. It sounds like a deadly bacteria, but no, it's an elegant puzzle game based around 2-dimensional ball physics, although in many ways it qualifies as an infectious disease. Symptoms include intense concentration, swearing, and the inability to pry your hand away from your mouse. Updates include a level select screen and better high score memory.
Do you like cake? Do you like double-decker cake? We are about to lay on you a triple-decker cake, with helium! When you eat this triple-decker cake, and then attempt to speak, your voice will sound squeaky and distorted. For lo, besoothe thee, from Ninja Kiwi comes the final installment of a trilogy that may well become a tetralogy if its popularity continues at this pace!
A logic puzzle reminiscent of Minesweeper and simple enough to pick-up and play immediately due to its similarity to other puzzles like it. And yet it feels like a fresh new puzzle all its own. A variety of puzzle sizes and difficulty levels are available to tailor your game play experience to match your own personal comfort level. It's a no-frills design that minimizes the superfluous to maximize what it does well: classic puzzle gameplay.
What do you get when you put Global Warming, Peak Oil, Nuclear War and good old-fashioned oligarchy in a blender? You get Fallout meets Elite ...in a browser! Caravaneer is a game by Dmitry Zheltobriukhov that has you playing a caravan leader in a post-apocalyptic desert, trading goods from town to town while fending off hungry raiders. It's got turn-based tactical fighting, strategic economic decision-making, and a political storyline! Tactics, economics and politics!
Moving is quite a hassle. There's no easy way to go about it, no matter how much manpower is on your side. Getting everything into boxes and into a waiting truck takes hours, and who knows how much stuff you might break. In Jig Easy, Sam, you've got about eight minutes to move out, but thankfully you have the miracle of ball physics to aid you in your quest.
Trigger Ball is an attractive puzzle game of magnetism and attractors. Complete a level by bumping each black orb with a smaller black ball, which is launched with a click of the mouse. You only get one shot, so use it wisely! With just 41 levels, Trigger Ball isn't likely to keep anyone playing long into the wee hours. But I bet you'll wish it did.
In Stranded, you play as a castaway turned fisherman on an almost deserted island. Gather fish by throwing rocks at them, and the natives will reward you with experience to boost your abilities. The timing and soothing music make it a very Zen experience, one that may keep you playing even after you beat it.
Miss Teri Tale is the first installment in a planned series of mystery-themed hidden object games. In a delicate departure from the established formula, Miss Teri Tale takes on more of an adventure guise similar to the recently-released Cate West - The Vanishing Files. The subtle shift from object finding to crime solving lends a lighter focus to the experience, and the game's hip soundtrack, gorgeous scenery and slightly satiric tone complete a surprisingly polished and entertaining package.
The theme of Casual Gameplay Competition #4 was "ball physics", and you can tell that Monsterkodi was taking it seriously. So very, very seriously. You see, in Koogel, you're using six medium-sized balls to indirectly manipulate a bevy of smaller balls, in order to light up a collection of even smaller balls. This all takes place on the surface of one huge ball, displayed on a screen you are watching with your eye-balls.
Escape from Paradise (Windows/Mac) is a simulation/adventure game similar to Westward and Virtual Villagers where you lead shipwrecked castaways on a quest to build a tropical paradise. The interesting twist is the inclusion of minigames that help you earn supplies as well as distract you while your villagers work. It's an intriguing genre-bending concept that puts you in the role of resource manager and resident puzzle solver, and despite its not-so-polished presentation, pulls it off quite well.
Mr. MothBall is a classic piece of platforming action: using the arrow keys, roll the hero through each of 21 levels collecting as many points as possible before hitting the exit. As the game progresses, new elements such as gates, switches and push-able blocks are introduced. Its lovable style, finite length and gradually increasing difficulty will persuade most to play it right through to the end.
The Perfect Shot is an action game of skill and finesse created for our 4th game design competition. To play through each of the game's 20 levels, just throw the ball to the goal. It's a ball-tossing game that uses a bit of gestural input to give this entry a bit of english over the others in the field. The result is a game that is well-polished a lot of fun to play.
Making interactive Web art is a dangerous business. When you dabble in the language of games, you risk the wrath of gamers, who despite their lip service to "innovation", are often terrified by anything really experimental. So one possible MO for developers trying to smooth out this prickly transition is to make something like Haxed by Megahurtz, a game so cracked, so exuberant, so imbecilic it could not possibly be trying to outsmart you. Hating it would be like slapping a candy raver—part of you might want to, but it's easier to just go with the flow and accept her offer of Sweet Tarts and a back massage.
Walk in the Park is the second installment in the 10 Gnomes point-and-click series released by Mateusz Skutnik, creator of Covert Front and Submachine games. 10 Gnomes tasks you with finding ten cartoon gnomes in ten minutes by clicking your way through a series of black and white photographs. In this installment you'll sift through pixels in a park, tapping hotspots to zoom in and look for those crafty gnomes.
You're put in control of a medium-sized yellow ball with a mission: destroy the enemy red orbs! Click the mouse to launch the yellow ball in the direction of the pointer, holding the button down for more power. Use the yellow ball like a cue ball to knock the red balls into spikes or holes. There's a timer, so be fast, but be careful too, as you are just as susceptible to the dangers as the red balls! Ice and conveyor belts add another layer of complexity, in ways that are both helpful and hindering.
Sola Rola is a topsy-turvy turntable of a time, published by Gimme5Games. Wiz and Waz are two spherical buddies who are just cruising through space one day and happen to get caught in a series of mazes, a scenario we can all relate to. Together they must escape, but they only move when you rotate the maze. It's your job to roll them right into the red and blue beacons that represent their exits.
Why play a game of dominoes when you can line them up and watch them knock each other down? Developer Tom Methven may have been in that exact frame of mind when he created the puzzle game Sky Blocs, the lovechild of youthful domino play and The Incredible Machine. Each level presents you with a starting block (bloc?) and an inventory of pieces to the left-hand side of the screen.
Ubiquitous developer jmtb02 has added another prize race horse to his growing stable of ultra-fast-paced minigame collections. While his Four Second series stuck pretty closely to the formula established by Nintendo's Wario Ware, this new game feels like its own entity, with a unified visual style and a strong sense of purpose. Grid16 is nothing less than an exploration of our primal gamer instincts, and although it isn't a complete triumph, it's a giant step in an intriguing direction.
The goal of Fluke Ball is to throw objects into the mysterious waves of force surrounding the office microwave, and knock out your opponent's objects when necessary. It's essentially shuffleboard, but sideways and with gravity. It sounds complicated, and it is at first, but it feels instinctive after some experimentation. And once you break through the layer of initial confusion, you'll have an whole miniature world of strange physics to explore.
Chess is a classic, easy to learn and hard to master. What would happen if chess was bitten by a zombie and then rose again as an undead shadow of its former self? You'd get Tomb Chess, an intriguing variation on the dynamic, where two ghoulish armies battle across a graveyard.
In Angular Momentum players are plunged into what looks like a futuristic ant farm and must guide the requisite ball through a series of chambers to the exit. The levels boast twisty, up and down landscapes worthy of Sonic the Hedgehog; tools such as speed boosts and jump platforms will help you reach the exits, but beware of the eeeevil orange panels that will send you back to the start.
An unusual point-and-click adventure that drops the conventions of item management in favor of supernatural abilities. There is no inventory, as you don't pick up and carry objects in this game. Instead you gain a battery of ghostly powers that allow you to interact with the environment just like a flesh-and-blood human. It's a refreshing take on the adventure genre with a good sense of humor, unique puzzles, and a captivating game world.
Cate West - The Vanishing Files is a hidden object game that strays as far as it can from the genre without turning into a minigame-focused mystery adventure. In addition to your usual "find all the objects on the list" gameplay, Cate West weaves a number of evidence-related games that keep the pointing and clicking from getting stale. Paired with stellar artwork and an interesting storyline, the final result is something that provides the charm of a hidden object game with new experiences and lighter, more engaging gameplay.
Taro Ito has been a favorite of ours here at JIG for several years, so it is with great fanfare that we welcome new releases from his GameDesign.jp website. The latest of his designs is this sliding-block puzzle game called Shot. The objective is to progress as far as you can, through a series of increasingly more difficult levels, by knocking all but one of the balls from the play grid.
An entry from Dom Camus (The Turtles of Time) into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Ballrooms plays more or less like a standard table-top pinball game with an added element of exploration. It's sort of a pinball adventure game where you earn points, grab power-ups, and travel between boards via a network of warp holes. The end result is a pinball universe that's as much flipper pounding as it is exploration.