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.
Yes, it's true--the twelfth and final episode of 10 Gnomes is here. Let's bid a fond farewell to our timid multitude of miniature friends. The next time you look out at the world and fail to see any magic there, just imagine a gnome hiding around every corner. Then imagine you have only ten minutes to find them all.
Andrew the Droid is a retro-looking title that utilizes the familiar level rotation concept found in a number of games. Work your way through over two dozen levels, avoiding hazards as you unlock exits, collect chips to grant you new abilities, and rotate the stage to let gravity pull you where you need to go.
A simple and charming room escaper from Japan that is just right for an afternoon tea. Filled with objects to find and puzzles to solve, and just a few smallish pixel areas to give you pause. It's simple, short and sweet, like a new year's baby offering promise of a better life ahead. So Happy Birthday 2008!
Take the simple kid's game Concentration, disguise it as something even easier and more kid friendly, then make it much more challenging and evil with each passing level. Flipped out is a super-polished and all around entertaining twist on a familiar game mechanic.
Grid is a moody, deliberate puzzle game from two-man development team Atomic Cicada. Your job is to rotate the available tiles so that every space has power and none of your tiles have any unconnected ends. The catch is that you can only rotate a tile if it already has power flowing through it, which bumps Grid up a few notches on the thoughtfulness index.
The latest brilliant-yet-simple logic puzzle game to hit the Web goes by the intriguing title of The Codex of Alchemical Engineering. Called a "game for engineers" by its creator, your goal is to build machines out of mechanical arms that move and transform basic elements to create compounds required to pass each level. It's a cerebral puzzle game that tasks you with arranging and tweaking objects on both a small and grand scale, the final result of which is a burst of euphoric gaming bliss.
Nicholas' Weird Adventure 2 is an adventure game that takes itself about as seriously as Chuck E. Cheese might take quantum physics. After escaping from the mall with the last copy of the Ramon Osborn Show Season 2 DVD, you emerge victoriously from the menacing double-doors, only to have your DVD stolen by the dark wizard Morth and your body transported to a faraway land of grass and houses.
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.
Cottage is an escape game that manages to successfully combine cleverness with a relatively low level of difficulty; while the puzzles may seem simple, they are still creative and inspired enough to delight even the veteran escape gamers among us. Fabulous graphics, fun puzzles, and an adorably surprising ending... it warms even my cold, grumpy New Yorker's heart.
Aaaarrrrr you ready to push some crates and unlock millions of doors, matey? The next installment in the pirate-themed Phantom Mansion II series is here to satisfy your need to steal from the dead. This one has lots of ice, because it's about the North Sea. In the North. Where they keep the ice. That means you often get to sit back and watch Hector skate around helplessly, in between avoiding ghosts.
Viking Defense is a close cousin to Canyon Defense, a re-think of the tower defense genre that was released earlier this year. Game elements are introduced incrementally through a quest system. Once you build certain temples to the Norse gods, you get to use rechargeable powers, like the nuclear super-strike of the hammer Mjolnir. Fans of Canyon Defense will be happy that everything has been improved--the artwork, the map layouts, the weapon variety, and the overall game balance.
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.
Yoshio Ishii, of Nekogames, succeeds in the ambitious endeavor to redesign Breakout. And while the game is still about destroying bricks to clear the board, what's gone is the boredom the game usually suffers from when trying to get that last brick or two. Instead, what we have is more of a twitch game where reflexes rule the landscape of a simulated (and antiquated) vector graphics display.
Fishing Girl, the first game from developer Luna Drift, is the most tranquil, unhurried game about a life-or-death rescue operation you're ever likely to play. Rescue a boy stranded on an island, using only your humble powers of fishing! This game manages to capture the peacefulness and melancholy of fishing without bending to realism, and it's built on an emotional foundation of devotion and perseverance. What a neat little game.
John Cooney, author of TBA, TBA2, Grid16, and the Ball Revamped series, has unveiled his latest epic adventure. Along with timeless, classic platforming gameplay, Achievement Unlocked offers you the opportunity to earn no less than One. Hundred. Achievements. Holy bat farts on a bus.
For those who don't have the time to devote to those addicting match-3 games, Tonypa may have found the perfect alternative. Pushori pares things down to a much more simplified match-2 concept. It is a refreshing and simple new puzzle game from a game designer who has a knack for creating simply refreshing new ideas.
New from the snowy peaks of Mt. Nitrome comes Frost Bite 2, a direct follow-up to last year's Frost Bite platforming game. Work your way up the snowy mountain peaks using a grappling hook that can latch onto almost anything. Stomp or harpoon enemies to clear them out of your way, move boxes to reach high spots, and collect bonus letters to unlock secret stages. A few new tricks can be found up Frost Bite 2's fuzzy parka, such as new enemies and new objects to grapple.
Lamb Rover 4x4 puts you, as Shaun the Sheep, in the driver's seat of a creaking rustbucket of a pick-up truck, as you complete tasks here and there on the farm, under the supervision of the long-suffering sheep dog Bitzer. It's all about off-kilter pluckiness, from the double-pun-dipped title to the roundabout approach to missions. This is also your only chance this week to stack six sheep in the back of a truck and bounce them around like a bleating slinky.
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.
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.
This version of Tetris is very friendly indeed. Bright, clear visual and sound effects accompany your every move. A three-tiered strategy guide and a basic history of the game are just a click away. Even if you think you're burned out on Tetris for life, give Tetris Friends a try. You might just re-discover what once made this your favorite game in the world.
Charger Escape, from Pastel Games, is not simply an excellent escape game, it is also one that features ponies! And farm animals! And kittens!! It is a rare game that manages to soothe and relax you even as it challenges your mind. Although not particularly difficult, nor is it very long, Charger Escape contains puzzles that are well-executed and creative.
Meeblings is a fun and quirky new action puzzle game from NinjaKiwi. If the title makes you think "Lemmings" then you're on the right track, but Meeblings is something different still. The objective is to get the target number of little Meeblings to any of the "Way Out" signs present in the level. Some levels have only one "way out", others have more.
It's like regular bowling, but it's on a volcano. And the ball is rolling down so fast it's on fire! And then the ball learns to fly! And then the ball gets really big and then it gets really little and then it rolls into a tree trunk and a raccoon throws it way up in the air! And the raccoon's brother rides the ball in the air because he can steer it because he is a smart raccoon. Shoot the ball out of a cannon! And that is how Downhill Bowling plays.
The Esklavos series is a seventeen-chapter series about two outer-space delivery men named Ungo and Virop. One day they get distracted and crash into a planet called Akea, and as they find out after getting separated, it's in a state of war. With their help, the Akean population must face the Uros and defeat them to restore peace to the planet.
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.
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.
Nitrome creative duo Simon Hunter and Aaron Steed have been very busy being amazing, and Fat Cat is the strange hybrid product of their amazingitude. It wears the face of an exacting bullet-fest such as The Last Canopy or Pararalyzer, but underneath, its heart pumps the blood of a tightly choreographed puzzle game. We've never seen anything quite like it.
It's sad to see Mateusz Skutnik's delightful hidden object series coming to an end. This penultimate installment of 10 Gnomes, titled "The Remains" takes place along a quiet village street, and might be one of the most charming and challenging yet. Can you find all the gnomes? Try for it yourself! Or, go and replay all the 10 Gnomes games.
A short and sweet old-fashioned adventure game from Videlectrix, the faux video game company of the animated Homestar Runner universe. For the Homestar un-hip, "Dangeresque" is the hard-boiled detective alter-ego of Strong Bad, who is the lead narrator and practical jokester at homestarrunner.com. Strong Bad/Dangeresque must solve a murder case from the confines of his office, because the chief thinks the case was solved months ago.
Minions is a Flash version of the ridiculously popular Defense of the Ancients mod, but instead of medieval fantasy warriors, you control little tank-bots with powerful weaponry and big muppet-like googly eyes. Created by Flash tower defense gurus David Scott and Paul Preece.
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!
Onamis seems to be a portmanteau of the French words for "friendly" and "one". As soon as you are trapped inside, you might start to wonder just how friendly people really are. There you are, with no map, no guide, and no inventory. You don't have the ability to turn around or look back. There's not even a clue. Well, except that scrap of paper on the floor. Maybe someone was being friendly, after all.
Nitrome's Toxic 2, baby. It's here. In a world where machines rule over humanity with a literally iron fist, a lone, slightly overweight, Hazmat-suited warrior must discover and destroy the robot overmind. That's right, it's Man Versus Mechanaloid: Rumble in the Nuclear Waste Processing Plant. If you liked the first game, you'll love this one; and if you had criticisms, they've mostly been addressed. Just brace yourself to take many an acid bath.
enDice is a puzzle game that is based on a very simple objective: move all blocks the number shown on each one to bring them all to rest on the dotted spaces. You will have to use your logic and reasoning skills to get through all 35 levels in this engaging and thought provoking new puzzle game.
Turning Burning, the third in Zibumi's Tom "Tucker" Crubucker series of games, picks up where the last one left off. Tom has just escaped the room he was trapped in, and confronts the mastermind behind it, a bizarre prince who asks him to rescue his rose, which has been stolen by a sheep...
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.
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.
Auditorium is a fantastic new puzzle game of music and light. Solve each level by manipulating the flow of light to create the perfect balance of music. The streams of light represent sound particles that you bend toward boxes until the audio levels are full. When the flow is correct, the audio levels fill up with the proper color and all the parts of the music will play. Delightful, brilliant and stunning.
Buggle Stars is a well-executed platformer with tight controls and over 15 interesting levels and 4 mini-games to unlock. Each level presents a sequence of stars that you must collect, in order, to advance. A variety of goals change up the gameplay just enough to keep each level interesting and addictive, and a bit intense at times.
NASCAR fans and origami collectors unite! Grab your paper cranes and giant foam fingers, and prepare for one of the most beautiful races you've ever seen. Scenic elegantly combines digitally-rendered landscapes with F-Zero-style racing, and delivers it all in using an impressive 3D engine in Flash.
Spiky-haired Hector has returned in a new Phantom Mansion series, Treasures of the Seven Seas. Having found a map, complete with a glowing red X, Hector is sailing the first sea, the Black Sea, in search of treasure. Before he can get to the treasure, he must first find his way through a maze of locked doors, moats, and puzzles. The Black Sea offers 20 new and challenging levels and fun for all ages.
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.
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.
You are the CEO of a major international oil company, your job is to make money: Democracy, environment, and global economic health are irrelevant. Explore, drill, corrupt governments, hire mercenaries, engage in covert operations, fix elections (which are clearly broken without you) and most of all: have fun.
From The Fancy Pants Adventure creator Brad Borne comes a 2D re-imagining of the 3D action-adventure console game Mirror's Edge. Mirror's Edge 2D uses the Fancy Pants engine and adds a whole host of new acrobatic moves, allowing you to jump, climb, scramble and run across rooftops with surprising fluidity.
Escape from the Starship is an escape game that uses sound to convey the relative proximity of monsters that you must avoid. The starship is composed of a maze of rooms, each of which is composed of homogeneous grey dots. Each dot represents a floor tile on which you may land. The sound you hear, however, ultimately determines whether that tile is safe.
IncrediBots is a brand new physics-based webtoy from Grubby Games, creator of the Professor Fizzwizzle series. Much like Fantastic Contraption and Line Rider before it, IncrediBots gives you a handful of simple tools and sets you free to explore your creative impulses. Draw shapes, connect them with joints, and tweak their basic properties to create living, moving, and functioning 'bots that can perform any task. You can even make movies, complete with text, than can be shared with the IncrediBots community.
Your goal is to build stacks of animals as high as you can. Combine identical animals along with their favorite food and they begin to breed, multiplying their number and pushing your totem even higher. Each animal interacts differently with others, so learning their relationships is key to creating massive stacks of animals.
Tortuga Episode 1 is an escape-the-room game set on a pirate ship; the first installment of a series, from Mateusz Skutnik and Marek Frankowski, that promises to be adventuresome, if not epic. Parrots, treasure, peril and puzzle awaits those intrepid enough to brave the pirate ship.
A dice game of luck and strategy, race against the computer (or a friend) to 10,000 points. Earn points by rolling 1's and 5's, or by rolling 3 or more of a kind, or several other special configurations worth big points. Also known under a variety of different names, Zilch is definitely one of those games that's "easy to learn, hard to master."
This piece was submitted to the 2008 SBGames Independent Gaming Festival in Brazil and it pushed the envelope of gaming and received high initial reviews. Yet, on the surface, the game seemed like nothing more than an awkward, weakly executed platform game. So what has everyone thinking about Estamos Pensando? Play the game then read our review and find out!
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.
In a twist on the classic block stacking game, 99 Bricks challenges you to make a brick tower using standard Tetris play mechanics. The twist is that as the tetrominoes fall and stack, they don't disappear when lines form. This time, your goal is to make the tallest tower that you can. A higher tower means a higher spot on the leader board.
Ball Drop One, produced by Finnish developer Ville Helin, is an interesting blend of pachinko and pinball. Drop your ball into the playing field, trying to rack up as many points as possible. If your ball hits a skull ball or stops moving, it explodes and the round ends. Simple enough, right?
In Charisma, you play an orange-jumpsuited, blue-afroed dude who is trapped within what appears to be a combination living room/recording studio. There is a second gentleman inscrutably watching you from behind a glass partition, his hand poised above two buttons. He, for whatever reason, is not going to be of any help (and, in another departure from reality, smashing the glass and demanding he release you is not an option). So, it's up to you to explore the room, figure out what he wants and, eventually, set yourself free.
Hanna in a Choppa is a physics-based puzzle/action game where you fly around and do stuff in a helicopter. It's true! Across 21 levels you'll perform a handful of ordinary, challenging, and downright funny tasks such as bake a cake (even though it's a lie), pull down a tower of goo, herd sheep, and give a giant a haircut, all with the aid of your trusty winch. The game creates a fun sandbox-type atmosphere and encourages you to play with the environment as much as possible. And play you shall!
What irRegular Games has done is to take Conway's Game of Life and apply goals to it. On one level, you might have to maintain a constant number of living cells. On another, you might need to exterminate them all within a certain limit of turns. The reason this works as a game is that Conway's Life is an efficient factory for stories and characters. The winking Traffic Lights. The steadfast Boat. The expanding Bee Hive. And everyone's favorite, the sidewinding Glider... and his nemesis, the Block.
StarShine 2 is the sequel to last year's celestial puzzler, and is the latest in a line of jewel-like games from Hero Interactive. You control a shooting star, positioning it somewhere on the circumference of a circle surrounding the play field with the mouse. Your goal is to set-up a chain reaction that hits and lights up every star.
Bomba is a new arcade avoidance game from Nitrome. Look just beyond the surface and Bomba reveals itself to be much more than a simple "don't touch the walls" game. There's strategy, there's speed, there's planning, there's even backtracking and careful timing involved. Think of it as an adventure/avoider and you'll get an idea of what to expect.
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.
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.
The 4th in a series of Great Escapes by Mateusz Skutnik and the Pastel Games crew, The Great Basement Escape is another short and fun room escape game in the same whimsical style that we have come to love and expect from the series.
A new Bart Bonte game has just been released, this one a sequel to an entry from our "ball physics" competition a year ago. Factory Balls 2 is a unique and original puzzle game in which you must match a target ball by adding elements from those given, one at a time. Order is important, and so you must plan your moves carefully.
Nion is a stylish arcade-style game that incorporates a number of gameplay modes, including puzzle, accuracy, speed, survival, and several combinations of the above. It's built around the simple mechanic of shooting shapes that hover around the top of the screen.
Boohbah Zone is a surreal journey-- wait, no, it's not really a journey. It's more of a... thing. A thing with lots of colors. Well, it's kind of like a webtoy, but you actually do stuff in some parts of it. Interactive art? You know what, forget classifying it, Boohbah Zone is an extremely bizarre collection of game-like scenes where you play with color, sound, and flobby-looking hippopotamus-like people things.
10 Gnomes episode 10: Seashore is the tenth installment of hunt-and-click gnome-finding from the indefatigable Mateusz Skutnik. That means if you've been following the series from the beginning, you've already ferreted out 100 gnomes. A hundred gnomes!
Thank you for your interest in the the Numbskull puzzle playset from Nitrome toys, the makers of the Twang construction set, Final Ninja combat gear, and In the Dog House sliding puzzle game. This manual will teach you how to use this playset, unleashed just in time for the Halloween season.
A follow-up to the original Draw Play, Draw Play 3 retains most of what made the original so interesting and introduces a more action-oriented approach to gaming. Like any platformer around, you control a little character who must jump and run to the flag at the end of each stage. The catch is that in Draw Play you create the platforms. Make stairs, hop from ledge to ledge, or use the pen and push yourself up as you move.
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.
Tasha's Game is a whimsical platform adventure about a woman rescuing her friends and co-workers from evil black tentacles with the help of her magical flying cat Snoopy. Did I say "whimsical"? I meant "insane".
At first glance, Off Balance looks just like all those other maze games where you move your mouse from Point A to Point B without hitting any walls. And indeed, that's the general idea. You control a preternaturally cheerful ball of cotton on a mildly psychedelic quest through 25 stages full of obstacles. The trick is in the steering.
An attractive, isometric block-shifting puzzle game about patience, spacial skills, and not getting your feet wet. All you have to do is position the wooden blocks so that they form an unbroken path from one bank to the other. There aren't a lot of tricks after you learn the basicsm, just pure, solid puzzle-solving.
At long last, after a year and a half of waiting, Tucker Bowen has released Something Amiss Chapter 3, the final installment of his truly excellent point-and-click adventure saga. This chapter finds the intrepid escaped test subject Alice back in custody, awaiting her fate at the hands of persons unknown.
Grave Shift from Tangerine Pop Games provides all that plus a little puzzle solving, item collecting, door unlocking, and a dose of Halloween-esque spook for good measure. On the trail of the White Warlock who has covered the land in darkness and stolen the king's crown (it hides his bald spot, you see), you must trek through graveyard and tomb, keeping your health and courage up while avoiding snakes, zombies, spiders and plenty of other baddies.
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.
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.
You are a plucky gun turret in the center of the screen that has to survive while bad guys attack you from all sides. Rotate the turret with your mouse and shoot the black-and-white enemies by clicking. If you see a coloured orb, do not shoot it. It's a power-up. The game is so very good in virtually every aspect of its design despite the lack of sound effects.
Talesworth Arena: Death Watch, by Mr. Jinx, is an RPG with a strong focus on one-on-one combat and a cool industrial fantasy setting. Choose one of three characters (Engineer, Psionic, or Juggernaut) and battle your way through 10 levels of deadly gladiators with a combat system familiar to anyone who has played a MMORPG.
Breaking the Tower is a slow-paced strategy game where you build a village, raise an army, and eventually topple a tower on the other side of the island. Think Settlers or the original Warcraft, but simpler and with more automation. All you have to do is decide what to build, plunk down a building and your pixelated little peons take care of the rest.
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.
An arena shooter even casual gamers can enjoy, a sort of mash-up between Asteroids and Space Invaders where you pilot a tiny craft against waves of incoming enemies (which happen to be aliens and geometric shapes). Power-ups appear from time to time to give you a hand, but otherwise its just you and your reflexes keeping you alive.
Dr. Ichie's Room is a solid escape game experience from Japan with polished and appealing graphics, logical puzzles and no pixel hunts necessary. Although the game is from Japan, there are English translations included for all descriptions and explanations, making this Weekday Escape a worthy investment of your time.
As the title implies the field before you is not empty, but hides balls. Your colored box along the edge of the playing field can fire a beam in the direction of your mouse, ricocheting off of any hidden balls and exposing them. Clicking the mouse will clear these balls from the screen, and the onslaught of balls will inch its way down the field.
An anagram puzzle game from Martin Sears, presented with the distinct flavor of British educational programming. Don't be fooled by the charming hand-drawn appearance and the curiously twisted vignettes between levels; don't worry if the first few levels seem too basic. This turns into a serious brain-twister.
Traces of Hope centers around 16-year-old Joseph; survivor of a vicious civil war in Uganda, he was wrenched from his family and forced to flee his home. Now, five years later, Joseph is on a dangerous quest to locate his mother. Can you guide Joseph through the perils of a war-torn civilization to maybe, just maybe, locate the Red Cross messenger who can provide the information he so desperately desires?
The fourth in the "Core" series of point-and-click adventure games created by John Feltham has just been released. Soul Core is similar to other games like this, and yet introduces a unique concept as well. Use your mouse to add items to your inventory; click on inventory items and drag them to the game view to use them. Try to complete the game with 100% "soul" rating.
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.
Ticket is a brand new game from the talented room escape designers at Gotmail. Like so many of their games to come before, this one features the same highly detailed, gorgeous pre-rendered scenes and the same point-and-clickery puzzles one would expect to find in a game of this nature. The only downside? There is no English version, so that will surely turn off a few.
Dogfight 2 is the newest entry into Rock Solid Arcade's quality series of arcade-style airplane fliers, which includes the first Dogfight and the previously-reviewed Stunt Pilot. Once again, they have based some nail-bitingly tough levels around the tricky but satisfying flight controls from classic DOS game Sopwith. All told, a difficult game with high production values worthy of your time investment.
The Japanese Map Game (for lack of a better translation) is a Flash-based guessing game where you choose regions of Japan and add their population to a counter on the right. The goal is to fill the counter to the outlined squares without going over!
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.
There is something oddly compelling about gnomes. They are cute, mythical creatures that spark the chemistry in our brains that control imagination and curiosity. Perhaps that's why when someone hides a bunch of them within a series of interactive images we jump to task of finding every one of them.
Worry not about secret codes or enigmatic messages; Lab Escape simply requires you to take stock of your surroundings and act accordingly. This isn't a bad thing, however; it's kinda nice to take a break from more fantastical situations.