The fun thing about video games is that they let us simulate actions that we would otherwise be unable to experience. Building Blaster 2 is a physics puzzle game from 2DPlay that lets you enjoy all the fun of blowing up buildings, with none of the risk of blowing up yourself. Plus, real demolitionists seldom get to use aliens in their line of work. Gamers 1, Demolitionists 0.
Now that the Mayan apocalypse is nigh upon us, it is only natural that we doomed mortals should develop a keen interest in all things Meso-American. Tombscape 2 casts the player as an explorer of Mayan ruins, whose quest to understand the mysteries of the pre-Columbian ancients may help you forget the impending advent of the end times.
A photo is slipped under the door of Anton Muller's detective agency late at night. A girl has gone missing, and she's trapped in an unfamiliar building... or maybe it's just a hoax? Unwilling to risk a child's life, Anton sets out to investigate, and winds up embroiled in the strange, troubled lives of an unusual cast of characters in this unfortunately short but clever hidden-object/point-and-click adventure.
Have you ever wanted to tell a story about a kitten? Or an alien? Or a mummy, or a genius, or a demon, or a block of cheese, or a little girl with the magical ability to talk to soap? Well, a little bit of time and effort with Sleep is Death will let you do just that, all in the form of a playable experience for you and a friend.
Steve's drifting through life, and it isn't working out as well as he might have hoped. His relationship with his father is a mess, and his girlfriend has left him because of his lack of focus. The last thing he wants is to spend the summer on his Uncle's farm in tiny, remote Fairbrook, but it could turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to him... provided your choices for him are the right ones in this lovely visual novel and relationship sim from Winter Wolves.
An high paced action reflex game in the same vein of Canabalt, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a promotional game for the upcoming console game of the same name. Unlock the four fountains and use your special powers, your control over time, and lightning reflexes to halt the oncoming sand army.
The house didn't fall on the witch, and we can prove it! She's still flying around out there... or, at least, she was until two kids had a kite flying mishap. Use your powers of deduction to help reach one of two possible endings in the Witch's strange hut in this cute and weird little point-and-click escape title.
Sam and Max are back in another season of episodic adventure games! Expanding upon the established point-and-click formula explored in Sam & Max - Culture Shock and following episodes, the first game in The Devil's Playhouse season, The Penal Zone, lets you see things through the warped perspective of Max. Yes, it's as crazy as you think, if not moreso. But it's still a lot of adventuring goodness with the duo's characteristic sense of humor slapped on every object and situation.
Damon lives under the thrall of the evil vampiress Celeste until one night he crosses paths with the mortal Victoria. Yep, it's another cheesy vampire love story. Luckily, this hidden-object/point-and-click hybrid features a gorgeous presentation, varied puzzles, and more mythological beasts rendered into soup ingredients than you can shake a stake at. Zing!
From the creator of The Company of Myself comes an arena shooter with a surprisingly deep message at its core, offering food for thought alongside fast-paced gameplay. EXADI is a highly advanced artificial intelligence who needs your help to recover her systems after the assault of a particularly nasty virus. But where did the virus come from? And just what makes someone human anyway?
Okay. Look. If you're reading this, chances are you're on the Internet. If you are, you hate other Internet users. It's just a natural law.That's where Berzerk Studio's new hit-people-with-things simulator comes in. Using elements from their various other games, your goal is simple. Take a short, blunt object, and a passing geek who epitomizes everything bad about the Internet, and hit him. Hit him as hard as you can, and see how far he flies.
Poto and Cabenga are minding their own business, riding along and collecting golden feathers, when a giant skybeast swoops down and swallows Poto whole! Now you need to control both characters, racing along on the top and bottom of the screen, to eventually reunite horse and rider under usual circumstances with this challenging one button game of reflexes and action.
Do you enjoy reading badly punctuated stories about romantic heroines dancing the masochism tango with a number of dully irritating heroes? Ok then, I'll add a full helping of solitaire card games with packaged with gorgeous artwork. There you have it, everything a card game/romance novel lover could want, all bundled together in Heartwild Solitaire: Book Two.
This week's room escape is... well, not an escape, per se, but an adventure disguised as an escape. How quick are you? How are you at decision making? Escaping the Prison by Puffballs United will help you find out. It will also help you find out how to fail. A lot.
After dancing the hemp fandango you are greeted by the Grim Reaper and offered an interesting proposition: run the gauntlet of Hell and be resurrected with a happier life. Run, jump, and dodge a host of deadly enemies and traps for a second chance in this challenging platformer.
Bucking the trend of ever shorter hidden object games, Settlement: Colossus is an odd, unique, and fun hidden object/casual simulation hybrid, and it will keep you occupied for hours and hours as you work towards your final goal. Gorgeous to look at and fun to play, this unique hybrid is a winner. Now go build a civilization!
You're dangling from a chimney on a rooftop six stories above ground, looking for spider silk. Your brother's making sure the door to the stairs back down stays open. When he appears below you looking nonchalant, you get a deep sinking feeling. Roofed is an offbeat interactive fiction title with a clever narrative that'll leave you wanting more.
Imagine, if you will, a world torn straight from the action-packed sketches doodled in a third-grader's margins. Knights fighting robots, aliens dueling vampires... the craziest, unlikeliest match-ups, set against one another solely for the fact that, deep down inside, your inner child knows that this is the stuff of awesome. Welcome to Chaos Faction 2, the bombastic brawlfest from Dissolute Productions.
Monkey GO Happy 2 is the perfect way to get rid of the office blues. How can you resist a game where your only goal is to cheer up a pair of adorable monkeys? The mini-games are all fun, cute diversions, bite-sized and only require a few clicks to solve. That's good, because your clicks are tracked, and at the end of the game you're ranked on how you did.
Step into the shoes of the greatest naval hero of all time... you! In this sister-sequel to the popular "Choice of Dragon" text RPG, Choice of Broadsides lets you embark on a high seas adventure ascending through the ranks of the Royal Navy and dealing with whatever life throws at you. Think carefully about your choices as they could be the difference between death and promotion.
Some days, don't cute and furry animals just make you want to go all Ted Nugent on their...bums? Mushroom Madness 2 fulfills that inner madman in all of us who just wants to smack, smash, DESTROY! Play Mushroom Madness 2, animal control in the form of casual gameplay.
Genu is back and wants his revenge! Who's Genu? Who cares! It's another excuse to pilot overpowered, flashy spaceships against legions of enemies in this fast-paced shooter full of big bosses, big upgrades, and big fun. While not quite perfect, it's an enjoyable and challenging space adventure for every fan of lasers.
Stinkoman 20X6, an old Videlectrix classic, follows the saga of the titular Stinkoman, an egocentric super-boxer who lives on Planet K and can never seem to keep his priorities straight. Even when his old friend, the rotund panda Pan Pan, is kidnapped, all he cares about is playing video games, eating chicken broth, and the occasional challenge.
Dark Parables: The Curse of Briar Rose is moody, atmospheric, gorgeous, involving, challenging, and fun. What more could you ask for in a hidden object/adventure hybrid? It even sets itself up for a sequel, which we can hope continues the quality of design and implementation seen in this game. It takes us back to a time before folk tales went politically correct; when bedtime stories caused nightmares; and when happy endings weren't always possible. So take a walk down the darker path of folk tales, and go rescue the town, and the princess!
The ancient Malgray Manor will soon be up for auction and you have been selected to appraise the mansion as a potential purchase prospect for your firm. Over the course of twenty-four chapters your task evolves from simply appraising the worth of a mansion to solving a centuries old mystery to ultimately fulfilling a very bizarre request in this quirky, offbeat and campy hidden object adventure.
Panda's back and going deeper in time than ever before in this quirky sequel! After a dastardly pirate strands Panda in the past, he must find help from an unlikely source to gain access to some of history's... um... lesser known events in order to get his way back home. And if that involves using your point-and-click skills to rescue a super villain's cat, brew some terrifying rotgut, or battle futuristic cyborgs... so be it!
After receiving a desperate phone call from an old friend who vanishes immediately after, Kate tracks down a briefcase that may hold important clues to his disappearance. But before she can find out what's inside, the FBI confiscates it. Not to be deterred, she sets out to investigate herself, and winds up in the middle of a conspiracy involving an ancient curse in this fun, cinematic point-and-click adventure reminiscent of old Indiana Jones movies.
Think you know whodunnit? Think you can prove it? Use strategy and logic to figure out who's the killer and who's innocent in this simple but clever combination of classics Clue and Minesweeper. While not as robust an offering as you might hope for, it's simple and easy to pick up, and will happily eat away at any spare time you happen to have.
I don't suppose you've ever felt trapped at a really tedious party, wishing you could throw off the shackles of social convention and impale your host on a cocktail weenie toothpick, make a rope out of your own hair to escape out the bathroom window, beat yourself unconscious with the cheese tray--anything to avoid listening to some guy tell you another story about his golfing ability? In real life it's the opposite of entertaining, but in Party Foul, it makes for a hilarious puzzle to test all your escaping power
Experience the world from the point of view of an alien who only wanted to help and ended up paying the price for it.
In this unique offering, you dive into the dreams of sleeping babies only to find yourself taking on the guise of strange aliens in an even stranger universe. Through the dreams of infants you will explore the lives of each of these aliens, experience their hopes and help them attain their dreams. You will do this despite the encroaching darkness, and the ever growing warnings of a dying world.
What happens when infatuation becomes complacency? Or dependence? You take on the role of a young man having doubts about his current relationship, and whether it really is what he wants out of his life. Air Pressure, a visual novel by Bento Smile, might be a simple story about falling out of love... or something else entirely.
Enter into the experience of visualizing visualizing (whoa, meta!) in the CGDC7 award-winning interactive fiction title Dual Transform by Andrew Plotkin. Take on the role of a virtual engineer, of sorts, feeling the pressure of really making this project something to remember... something that really feels real.
All Jonah wants is to be happy. He's courageous, loyal to friends, and kind even to strangers. Unfortunately, Jonah is one of "the malformed", rejected by society because of his hunched back. He lives at a fair with the other outcasts. Then one day the wind blows him a handbill advertising a celebration in glittering Loondon. Could this be the answer to Jonah's dreams? You'll need your point-and-click skills to find out.
Caster is a third-person action-shooter with distinct influences from the glory days of console gaming; it cooks up some of the most-enticing features of high-energy, super-powered shooter action and serves it up on a silver platter.
Secret Mission: The Forgotten Island is a hybrid hidden object/adventure game with a slight leaning towards the latter. That's no surprise, really, as the game was created by Frogwares, veteran adventure game studio that also crafted Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser's Submarines. Explore the island one still screen at a time, gathering items, poking your nose in every corner, and assembling things in your inventory to help you uncover more secrets on this strange tropical paradise.
A turn-based aerial dogfighting game may sound bland in writing, but as SteamBirds conclusively proves, it's the whole nine yards of awesome. Working from a top-down perspective, you fight a series of increasingly difficult enemies with your small squadron of planes. Set your course, unleash a fancy ability if necessary, and try to maneuver yourself to a direct line-of-sight to your foe to set your guns blazing. And, you know, don't get shot down yourself.
Lost. In space. Alone. On a badly damaged ship. It's a bad day for anyone, and it's even worse for you since you can't remember how you got into this predicament. Fragile Shells is a clever, clean bit of interactive fiction from Stephen Granade, and a runner-up in Casual Gameplay Design Competition 7.
Empress of the Deep: The Darkest Secret is an adventure/hidden object hybrid with strong leanings to the Myst school of gaming. Featuring thick environments rich in detail and atmosphere, you'll encounter loads of great puzzles as well as unique mini-games that never repeat themselves.
Lateral is a word game that pushes you to think outside the box. Try and guess the hidden word or phrase by looking at the words it's connected to. Cat plus fish equals catfish, but rarely will your task be that simple!
Where do robots come from? Well, first you need an idea. Put down the paper and pencil, friend, since we're going about this the Mogo-Mogo way! Take a trip into a strange land in search of inspiration to save the hardworking Mogo-Mogos from their endless toil in this vibrant point-and-click prequel to 2009's hit game Little Wheel.
All it takes is one stranger on the road on one dark night to unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that could change the world. Choose your party members from nine distinct personalities and set off on a side-scrolling free RPG adventure through lush environments full of strange characters. Featuring nine chapters, a complex battle scheme, and more, it's a stunning linear adventure that will delight fans of the genre.
Ionic is a new sci-fi strategy-shooter that joins the ranks of popular tower defense spin-offs. Enemy fighters simultaneously advance from both sides of an almost-ridiculously long and horizontal map, which represents the size and shape of your Dreadnought battleship. Instead of the usual tower-building mechanic, weapons and modules are constructed atop various "slots" scattered across the ship's hull.
Think you finally kicked your Plants vs. Zombies habit? You are so wrong. Just released on the iTunes App Store: PopCap's crazy-awesome casual defense game Plants vs. Zombies. It's got all the cherry bombing, squash pounding, sunflower sprouting, zombie dispatching wildness of the original PC/Mac download, now in the palms of your hands.
Choice of the Dragon is a choose your own adventure browser game where you live the life of a dragon, moving from decision to decision and being as docile or cruel as you want. It emphasizes character and story interaction, not puzzles, allowing you to grow into the game's world like few modern titles allow you to do.
Go To Hell is a skill- and reflexes-oriented puzzle game by Metasauce, creator of Hex Empire. One part digging game, one part physics playground, the title welds the two elements together into a tightly-structured experience that's as intriguing to play around with as it is to beat.
With his first big job completed in Nick Chase: A Detective Story, our hard-boiled P.I. slips into his favorite bar to get out of the rain. Only then, things get interesting. A bit too interesting. So begins our gritty pal's latest hidden object/adventure hybrid, Nick Chase and the Deadly Diamond.
Where We Remain is a quiet game. It is also an action adventure game of exploration in a randomly generated world. You're a lost youth stranded on a haunted island in the Aegean Sea, searching for your lost love among the ruins of a wasted civilization stalked by mysterious spirits. Find 10 possible power-ups to help you complete your quest while avoiding the mysterious spirits that populate the island. You'll also discover that there's more to the island than initially appears.
It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine... wait, no I don't! As one of the last survivors of a zombie apocalypse, you've managed to hole up inside an abandoned house. But without any supplies, your safe haven is more of a prison. You'll need to find a means of escaping, and it'll take all your point-and-click, combining skills in this horror adventure to do it.
Rhianna Ford & The DaVinci Letter is a fun wild ride through a captivating story that grabs hold and doesn't let go until you reach the resolution. Pretty to look at, easy on the ears, and with a story and characters that actually make you care, Rhianna Ford stands above the ever crowded field of Hidden Object/Adventure hybrids and offers lots of entertaining gameplay.
Four teenagers have awoken something very old and very, very dangerous in the bottom of an old well hidden in a house. A point-and-click horror mystery designed to be played alongside the BBC miniseries of the same name, The Well trips itself up with bland or occasionally confusing gameplay, but is worth a look if you're a fan of good stories and ancient Pagan ceremonies. Hey, aren't we all?
Crop Defenders is inspired by several tower defense sub-genres; instead of protecting a goal via strategically-placed towers along a fixed path, you're tasked with using an army of birds to guard a small patch of crops from invading rabbits, deer and other hungry wildlife.
On the fifth day Peter Groeneweg finished his game and he saw that it was good. Then he decided to freeze himself into stone as a tribute to the next generation... in a manner of speaking. We The Giants is an experimental platform game about wisdom, its controls are very simple and it is very short. You should play it before reading the analysis and then come back to ponder a bit.
It is almost impossible to describe the joy created by wandering in the strange, surreal universe that Enu (Hanamushi) has created in Flower Insect. The synthesis of art, animation, game, and experience is nearly flawless, and will leave the casual gamer breathless as they wander deeper and deeper into the morass. Stunning beyond all belief, this is not necessarily a game to play all in one go. Rather, the Hanamushi game is something to consume in small bites, lest you find yourself deep in the abyss that is the imagination of an extremely talented individual.
Terry Cavanagh's ambitious and charming little game of platformer-esque exploration contains a lot of fun, but may demand too much from your reflexes for some players. Seek out your missing crew across a sprawling map packed with secrets, symbolism, and a whole lot of challenge that will put all your skills to the test. Buckle up, Captain.
A minor scoop turns into a major crime when Nancy Drew's student reporter friend Maya vanishes without a trace in an antique theater where Houdini once dazzled audiences, and it's up to you to figure out what happened. An adventure game lives and dies by its plot, and I really cannot think of any complaints to make about The Final Scene. The story is revealed through a vivacious and extensive script, performed by voice actors who are clearly having fun.
What do you when you have a yen for some online puzzle platformer fun, but find that no one game will satisfy your itch? Why not try three puzzle platformers at once? Paradox Embrace, by Zeebarf and Steve Castro, provides exactly that. The trick is in switching between 3 distinct game-worlds, achieved by activating pedestal-mounted "changers".
Defend Your Honor!... by retrieving the golden walrus for the Walrus King in this quirky defense game. Short and sweet, it's designed to fit into your coffee break, it features not only quick strategic battles, but a good old fashioned dose of humour that delivers a much needed jolt of energy to the tower defense genre.
Based on the classic short story by Edgar Allan Poe, delve deep into the heart of Paris as you track down a brutal killer alongside one of fiction's most influential detectives. While it may not be as challenging as some veteran gamers might like, this is still a gorgeously rendered hidden object game, and a lot of fun, with just the right amount of... monkey business?
Inspector Poirot is on the case again! Detective novelist Ariadne Oliver suspects that a murder may be committed at her high-society murder mystery fete. Sure enough, instead of a girl pretending to be a corpse, an actual corpse appears, which really casts a pall over your evening, let me tell you. It's up to Poirot to determine who is innocent, who is lying, and who is a murderer in the third entry in the series of hidden object games, Agatha Christie: Dead Man's Folly.
Taking over the world wasn't easy in ancient times, but with some smart tactics and powerful magic, you might just take your empire to the top of the heap. Click on whichever outpost you'd like to deploy soldiers from, and then drag the cursor to your target and release. Half of that outpost's forces will be sent out to occupy the object of your ire. If your army is bigger than that of your foe, that's one base down, one whole planet to go.
Strap on your lasers in this sequel to 2008's Robokill as you're forced to make an emergency landing aboard a suspiciously silent space station. Shoot down waves of enemies, buy upgrades, and above all else, stay alive as you delve deeper into the mystery. If Holmes had death robots at his disposal, he totally would have used them instead of Watson.
Everybody in town is depressed, but you've got the cure! In the arcade game Pill Cannon, you are a robot with just one arm, and it's your job to feed pills to the sad people, firing them at their little pods as soon as they show signs of growing morose. The faster and more accurately you work, the better your score!
Set sail for action, adventure, and... spelling? When Lucy runs away from home to avoid being shipped off for her tomboy behaviours, she never imagined she'd get wrapped up in a conspiracy involving the powerful East India Trading Company. Now she has to fight her way through a horde of pirates and rivals in her efforts to save countless lives and her family's name. Sink your opponents by spelling out words that charge your cannons in this clever new adventure release from Moonpod and unleash the Pirate Princess in you! We know you've got one.
Natalie Brooks: Mystery at Hillcrest High is fun, casual gameplay at its best. With this game Alawar shows its determination to go toe-to-toe with the big guns of the hybrid field, Mystery Case Files and Hidden Expedition. The narrative structure is delightful, the games and puzzles fun, and the action cut-scenes thrilling. Quirky, charming, exciting, and just plain fun, give Natalie Brooks a try! Even if it does mean going back to high school, however briefly.
NinjaKiwi's follow-up to its first defense game is better in (almost) every way. Protect yourself from wave after wave of enemies by mixing potions and lobbing them across a wall. Each concoction will have a different affect, allowing you to mix and create your own recipes of doom.
Avalanche casts the player as a sled-bound penguin who is just trying to get home to his brood in the face of a relentlessly adversarial natural disaster. It's a running game that will test your agility and reaction as you pilot your little Antarctic hero to safety. It captures many of the features that made Dino Run and Canabalt great and presents them in its own unique way. It is a fine example in company with its worthy forebears.
A strange and even unsettling little experimental game about every day in the life of a faceless, unnamed man, Every Day the Same Dream somehow manages to be oddly affecting despite its grim and dark presentation. Is there anything at all that can break him out of his cycle? It won't take you long to play, but it may stay with you well after you've shut down the browser.
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.
Artist Colony is fascinating, absorbing casual simulation and time management game. For those who love casual sims, such as Virtual Villagers or My Tribe, this is the game for you. Just be warned, it is very addictive. You can while away hours as you manipulate your little people to and fro, searching for hidden pieces of the past or creating masterpieces for the present. It's time to dress in all black, slap on a beret, and get ready to create some art!
Ever wished that someone would combine the free-roaming, street-racing style of Grand Theft Auto with the vehicular sabotage of Mario Kart? And then throw in a little bit of Nintendogs just for good measure? Fortunately, the good people at Big Pixel Studios have stepped up and made our dreams into reality with Big Pixel Racing!
Androgynous teenagers with gravity-defying hair wandering a mysterious world armed only with cranky comebacks and improbably large weapons? Yes, everything you either love or hate about Japanese RPGs is waiting for you in a convenient Flash package in Ge.ne.sis, a turn-based tactical RPG by An Lieu.
The clans of the Norse-themed world of Nitrome's popular Ice Breaker series are gathering, but they need your help to release their Viking warriors from their icy, impossible, Goldbergian prisons! Ice Breaker: The Gathering provides short but succulent tidbits of new Ice Breaker levels for fans of the series.
What happens when jmtb02's Elephant series and his Four Second series love each other very, very much? Control your elephantine avatar through a number of quick mini-games in rapid-fire succession. Microgame collections like this one tend to encourage the player to mash buttons, any buttons, so Obey the Game really innovates in the way that it requires the player to take a moment and wait for further instructions.
Perfect Balance 2 is all about balance in its simplest form. Its down to the basics of physics here, where your goal is to stack a bunch of weird pieces on top of a bunch of other weird pieces and get them all to stay. Get it all assembled, then try and drop a few bonus diamonds on the pile for huge bonus points.
Prepare yourself for an interactive fiction that peels back the truth in layers as you become more and more entwined in this tale of superscience and space exploration. The narrative begins with an itsy-bitsy clue that not all will be as it seems, followed by your character waking up in a fairly unadorned abode. From there, it's up to you as to what you do and how you go about it, but be wary of those who comment on your every move...
Heard the one about the ancient curse? Well you're about to live it in this exceptional hidden object game. When you suddenly find yourself transported hundreds of years into the past, you have no choice but to solve a mystery involving a royal family if you ever want to find your way back home. With gorgeous visuals, clever puzzles, and smartly designed hidden object scenes, Royal House of Stone is a short but stylish start to a fun new series.
Destruction is fun! There's something to be said about games that let you take out all of your pent up anger, especially when you get to take it out on an unsuspecting village. And the pachinko-style gameplay as you're rolling a boulder down a mountain makes this latest game from PixelJam more than just a simple smash-and-destroy type of game.
Forget Beetlejuice, you're the ghost with the most! And you'll have to prove it in this strategic game if you ever want to get out of Hell. Easy to pick up but hard to put down, Hell Tour's addictive, board game style gameplay lacks polish and real punch, but is still devilishly entertaining.
Track down your stolen hens with Dale and Peakot; one armed with a shotgun, the other possessing amazing magical powers... but a mediocre little bird brain. An old-school platformer that would be at home on any console, Dale and Peakot is simple in premise but big on style and charm.
A point-and-click adventure set in a magical and mystical world that never was. Created by 3dpi Games, makers of the Tortuga series, Mandrake 1 begins a new series on the foibles of the Van der Dooms and their increasingly bitter dispute. The artwork has a nice, stylish hand drawn look done up in shades of black, white, and gray with just a hint of color here and there to liven things up.
Are you an adventurer who just can't seem to adventure? Are you a villager whose name is Villager? If so, you'll find the perfect home in Wildhollow, a well-crafted RPG/adventure/simulation game from KarjaSoft, creator of Spandex Force. In this light-hearted, humor-filled game, you play the role of a young boy/girl returning home to find your parents missing and your family ranch destroyed. Don't frown, though, as this game takes itself about as seriously as a clown working at a pie factory.
Westward IV: All Aboard is a solid addition to the ever increasing Westward pantheon. There's not a lot of change from Westward III, but why mess with a winning formula? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Of course, Westward IV offers new characters, new scenarios, new upgrades, and the same casual gameplay fun of its predecessors.
Dire Grove is a beautiful game that incorporates live action video sequences to tell the chilling tale of an ancient Celtic legend. And although it picks right up where the previous game in the series ends, it is a stand alone game that can be enjoyed without ever playing any previous installment. Dire Grove is perhaps not as long as Return to Ravenhearst, and yet it still manages to buck the current trend of ever-shrinking gameplay time now seen in most adventure/hidden object hybrids. Between the exploration, the hidden object scenes, and the puzzles you are looking at hours of fantastic casual gameplay.
Fantasy of the Sord is a classically styled adventure game and a finalist in our 6th Casual Gameplay Design Competition. In answer to the call of the competition, Klint Honeychurch has taken the theme of "exploration" and given us a sweet little nugget that harkens back to the early days of console gaming; a time when a flurry of pixels was as well-designed as the high-polygon count, 3D models of today.
Take a journey through one introvert's convoluted mind as you work to cooperate with your past selves, recorded in time. As soon as you reset the clock, the level starts anew, except now there's a phantasmal double of yourself scurrying about, re-enacting your first playthrough move for move. Press [space] again, and add another one to the mix, this one also moving according to the steps you laid out. Some levels will place a restriction on the number of ghostly doppelgangers you can conjure, and these are the levels where you'll have to see just how adeptly you can work with...well, yourself.
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.
Seek out your destiny, young knight! Or candlemaker. Or beast tamer. Or cook! In Cute Knight Kingdom, a fantasy life simulator from Hanako Games, you'll guide a young girl with a mysterious past to any one of dozens of endings. Will you become a renowned warrior? Or will you settle down and carry on the family business? Despite some repetitive gameplay, Cute Knight Kingdoms is an addictive little title that will be right at home with anyone who enjoys open-ended simulators.
Lights... camera... URK. Lottie's got a problem the night of her big stage audition, and she's not willing to go down without a fight. Sarah Morayati's snappily written interactive fiction piece about teenage girls under the limelight suffers slightly from some unintuitive puzzle design, but is easily carried by a memorable cast of characters and some genuinely funny storytelling. Broken Legs is an over-the-top and snarky adventure worth a look from anyone who has at any point ever been a teenager, stereotypes aside.
In What You See, a new point-and-click puzzle game, sometimes what you see isn't what you get. Just follow the instructions for each level, trying to figure out what they mean and then performing the action(s) required. It's a bit like a classic riddle game, but with a large dose of pointing and clicking added to make it accessible to a more casual audience.
Slash your way through monsters of myth and legend in this off-kilter side-scroller where you play as a lone samurai, pursuing a great dragon. Master special moves before they master you, buy upgrades, and drink in the sleek scenery as you race towards your destiny.
Byzantine Perspective is a tight little heist game from this year's annual interactive fiction competition. You're a student with less-than-legal plans for how to fund your education: get into a museum of Byzantine artifacts, get the valuable antique chalice, get out again. You're rigged out in your best cat-burglar clothes, with your best cat-burglar tools — some of them borrowed from an acquaintance, which raises never-answered questions about what sorts of company the protagonist keeps.
Are you old enough to remember sitting down in front of the TV on a Sunday night, anticipating the appearance of Angela Lansbury in one of the longest-running mystery series ever? If so, you will be thrilled with Murder, She Wrote by Legacy Interactive, a wonderful mystery hidden object/adventure hybrid based on the long-running television series of the same name. Murder, She Wrote allows the player to join world-renowned mystery author Jessica Fletcher as she makes her way through five brand new murder mysteries.
Taking home first prize in the Casual Gameplay Design Competition is no small feat, but David Shute's deceptively simple game of exploration does it with just a few small worlds. A short platformer that may stay with you a long time, Small Worlds offers detailed and surprising environments for you to reveal in your search for... a little peace and quiet.
Valerie Porter and the Scarlet Scandal is a stylish hidden object/adventure hybrid set in the roaring 20s. Wander back to a time when men were guys and women were dolls, when gin joints and speakeasies were the happening places to be, and when an intrepid girl reporter could really make a difference. There are 11 chapters and a prologue to this messy tale, each chapter containing multiple HOG scenes interspersed with a variety of mini-games.
The popular Battalion series continues with Ghosts, your solution to the daily ain't-go-no-tank blues. It's turn-based strategic warfare at its pixelated finest as the story continues. It's puns, explosions, and tactics galore. Will you emerge triumphant from the ten stage campaign? Or is it back to boot camp for you?
The Control Panel is an oldie but a goodie. Despite its age the game is a tight, well-constructed puzzle solving treat. Stripped of everything that usually accompanies a puzzle of this sort, no story, no background, no instructions, be prepared to sit back and let the gameplay blow your mind (and perhaps cause a concussion, if you end up banging your head against the nearest flat surface in frustration).
If you could rotate the world and change gravity, things like golf, juggling, balancing a spoon on your nose and standing upright after you've been laying down for three hours would be easy. Attracting Twist teases us with that concept by giving you control over the direction gravity flows, allowing you to move the game world and change where things "drop". Using this ability, your goal is to shoot your way to massive chain reactions as enemies slowly spawn near your ship.
With its stylish black and white art and haunting music by Coin, Colour My Heart continues to blur the line between game and experience, between play and art. Using a less linear structure than the first two games allows the player to wander back and forth through the stark, cold landscapes. Although there is a conclusion this is more (much more) about the journey.
Zombies. Those creepy undead creatures. Ever since George Romero showed us just how nasty the undead can be, zombies have become a staple of good (and bad) horror. And they come in all shapes and sizes. The only thing as varied as the zombies are the ways in which resourceful protagonists come up with to send them back to the grave. But one of the most interesting weapons of choice has to be the bowling ball, as we see in Zombie Bowl-O-Rama.