- • Sparkle
- • Knytt Nano
- • Gravitation
- • Neverball
- • Out of Order
- • Return to Sector 9
A very special treat reaches lucky gamers this weekend: a mini-release from Nifflas, author of Within a Deep Forest and both Knytt games. KnyttNano isn't much more than two tiny experiments Nifflas cooked up while trying out new ideas, so don't expect a life-shattering sequel-sized experience, just two simple games worth their weight in atmosphere alone.
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.
- • The Nightshift Code
- • Painajainen
- • Beneath a Steel Sky
- • Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection
- • Avernum 5
The Weekend Download arrives with glee, Bringing fun games to you, from me. Just download and play, Then sit there all day, On Saturday you couldn't be more free!
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.
Every time we review a picross game, there always seems to be a hubbub about what site does it right. Either there's not enough puzzles to solve, not enough variety in the puzzles, it's all too easy or too hard, or the pictures look like someone sneezed on a piece of graph paper. (I'll admit to being among the gripers before.) And every time, there's at least one person who suggests Griddlers.
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.
Here's a game that needs no introduction around here, the next game in the amazing and wonderful Grow series from Eyezmaze has just released today. Grow Nano Vol. 3 has the same familiar gameplay, graphics, animation and soundtrack as the others, and it is sure to put a smile on your face.
Haluz 2, the sequel to the surreal Samorost-like point-and-click adventure Haluz, is now entirely free! When it was first released in August, players could experience the first half of the game and pay a modest fee to access the second chapter. Now the creator of Haluz, Tomas, sends word that both versions are available online for the low low cost of absolutely nothing.
In Spin the Black Circle you must rotate the game field to move a ball to the goal in each stage. Gravity pulls it to the center, however, making physics and fast reflexes vitally important to your success. Avoid obstacles and enemies in this well-polished game of skill!
Trying to describe a game using splendiferous prose just seems so... right-brained-centric. How discriminatory! Thus, as a public service to all you left-brainers out there, I hereby present this mathematical description: Retroid = (Pong + Gravity - 1 player + Ball2 + 3Enemy) * 4 modes + Bob.
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.
A great, terrible man once said: "Your flower power is no match for my glower power." That man's name was Charles Montgomery Burns, and he clearly never played Kaichou. The brainchild of Ali Maunder and finalist of our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Kaichou is an and beautiful abstract shooter where you have to break down bouncing glower with flowery projectiles.
The pickles are attacking! Run! And while you're running, why not set up a few defensive towers to take out the Horripickles and Fisquitoes chasing you? In Sandlot's latest game, Monster Mash, you must protect storybook villages and their people from evil fairy tale monsters. It's a tower defense game with artwork, characters and plot taken right out of a children's book, and it's every bit as surreal as you might think.
We've just finished a complete walkthrough (with images) for Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze!! Be warned: contains major spoilers, so proceed only as a last resort.
The Eternal Maze continues where the first game left off with a beautiful blend of puzzles, adventure, object finding and Myst-like environments. You play Faye, a mortal woman whose fairy husband has been kidnapped and daughter imprisoned by Lilith, the Queen of Fairies. By solving a series of puzzles you can reach Fidget and awaken Lyra, but the Queen is always one step ahead!
In Entropic Space, no one can hear you smash planets together. It's true, sound does not travel in space, but what does travel are "fun-waves", those mysterious quanta of play that science is just beginning to understand. A submission to our 4th Casual Gameplay competition from Studio Cypher, Entropic Space has you pilot an mega-scale space pod that can bump planets into each other, engineering parsec after parsec into entropy.
Aquanaut is a game of underwater exploration that puts you in the driver's seat of a small submersible pod on a mission to discover hidden treasures. Using your mouse, click and hold to guide the pod around a colorful undersea world. Navigate through dangers of the sea, up and around rocks and structures and, with a steady hand and a little luck, you will find the treasure chest at the end of each level.
David Scott has just released a sequel to the stylish tower defense game, Vector TD, appropriately titled Vector TD 2. Using Vector TD, a computer simulation of Vectoid attack scenarios, deploy and upgrade towers to zap foes as they walk by, preventing them from reaching the end points on each map. Earn cash by defeating foes and keep your defenses strong to stave off the increasingly powerful hordes!
The Daydream starts off with a familiar text message from your son to come play hide-and-seek in his room at the top of the building. "I want you to find me," he writes. But when you get there the room seems different, and he doesn't seem to be around. You turn to find the door has locked behind you(!) Is this a new twist to the game, or something else...?
Control a ship in a miniature-yet-epic battle against undulating bubbles and their mindless minions. Weave in and out of the bubbles in a race against the clock, dodging drones and collecting enough energy to move on to the next stage. Another excellent and original game design entered into our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition.
Have you ever wondered about what happens to all the bling that gets lost in the Bermuda triangle? Wonder no more! Treasure Seas Inc. is a business that makes its profit looting the submerged caves of a remote archipelago. This game will have you driving a cruiser around, submersing a sub, and looking for treasure. Treasure buys upgrades that allow you to explore further. It's like Metroid at the waterpark!
ShoOot 2: revenge of square, a cathartic circle extermination simulator, is more of a spiritual successor than a direct sequel, since you can now move in two dimensions and the gameplay focus has shifted from overwhelming rapid-fire madness to a more deliberate and unusual rhythm. The very latest from the casual game master: Tonypa.
Fall in, troops! It seems we've got ourselves another attack on our hands. Menacing spiders are descending from the skies, and it's up to our platoon of cannons to stop them! We've got to divide our forces to gather bullets on one side, and shoot down the spiders on the other side, so you'll need to divide your attention to win the battle!
Rmvblls is a goal-based action game in which the objective is to remove the required number of balls from play. It represents designer Eduardo Omine's first entry into one of our competitions, and hopefully not the last! The CGDC4 Ball Physics theme is implemented in a fairly straightforward manner, with four kinds of balls bouncing around the screen like they're on a pocketless pool table.
- • The Sims Carnival BumperBlast
- • Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden
- • Teewars
- • Legacy of Flan: Flan Rising
- • Ethereal Dreams
It's old-school RPG fest here on this installment of Weekend Download! Three out of five games featured have that special "console flavor" those of us who grew up playing SNES games can't get enough of. Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is a must-play simply for its odd setting and premise, while Legacy of Flan turns the RPG battle system on its head and Ethereal Dreams brightens your day with nice artwork. And if you aren't into the role playing scene, give BumperBlast or Teewars a shot for a little more action.
The fashion business has changed quite a bit since Jojo Cruz took an early retirement a few decades back. So, now that her daughter, Rosalind, has convinced Jojo to make a comeback, is it any wonder that she needs your help? Grab your eye for style and get ready for Jojo's Fashion Show.
Save The Planet is a simple shooter in which you aim with your mouse, and fire by holding the left mouse button and releasing after charging the shot. Use the gravity of the titular planet, as well as that of the attacking aliens and even your own prior shots, to defeat the endless waves of attackers. Keep in mind that you're more likely than not to cause your own destruction by shooting the planet you're trying to defend. Oops.
I/O is a brain-teaser of a puzzle game along the lines of the fabulous Click Drag Type series that comes with no instructions. Use your skills of discovery, intuition and creative problem solving to figure out what must be done to arrive at a solution.
A brand new point-and-click room escape game has just been released by Japanese developer neutral, creator of RGB and Sphere, titled Vision. For some unknown reason you're trapped in a room with no exit. Search the exquisitely rendered (and eerily silent) environment for items that can help you escape!
1o Gnomes is a brand new (released only moments ago) point-and-click game from Mateusz Skutnik. His latest creation, the first episode of what appears to be an upcoming series of games, is more of a hidden object game that puts you to task of finding 10 cartoon gnomes in 10 minutes by pointing and clicking your way through a series of black and white photographs of rooftops. Clicking on certain areas (the cursor will change indicating a hotspot) reveals an enlarged view, and the scene auto-pans with your mouse movement.
Coming out of Wildsnake Software, from the chilled steppes of Russia, comes an entry into our 4th Casual Gameplay competition: Chap Hai - Way Of The Dragon. But what is the "Way Of The Dragon"? Does it involve superhuman martial arts, or maybe a method of braising reptile meat? Actually, it involves flicking marbles at each other. It's Zen baby.
Created to promote Microsoft's TechNet service, Server Quest is an adventure game lovingly crafted in the style of early 90s Lucasarts/Sierra titles. From its blocky visuals, kooky musical score and off-beat sense of humor, it's like stepping fifteen years in the past without having to fire up the ole time machine. It's also one of the geekiest games you'll ever play with a number of minigames quizzing you on your knowledge of IT lingo.
It's a zany platform game from the creators of Fool Yoo that gets everyone in on the action! As you begin each stage, different-colored players pop out of the same vortex your character falls out of. Each one is a replay of a previous player's actions, so study them carefully for clues as you dash across each stage.
Coil is a game unlike any other; it may confuse you, it may offend you, or it might mystify and move you. Coil is a game about discovery. It is also a series of mini-games involving the gestation of what appears to be an alien fetus, from initial insemination through adulthood when a murky twilight leaves its fate in question and the cycle starts anew.
Rob Allen continues to impress with Day of the Bobteds, a game in which you must obliterate all of the Bobteds to save the Kingdom of Implements from their menace. What exactly are Bobteds? Ah, if only it were that simple. Bobteds can take the forms of a number of different Earth-objects: barbecue grills, stars, %s, even spinning LOLs!
Boulders Never Die is a fantastic physics-based action puzzle game where you must build defenses around a red ball using a set of rubbery blocks. Boulders are constantly pelting your fort, and if the ball touches a block or a boulder it's game over. If you've got a couple hours free, or if you're looking for a game that you can play on your coffee break, you should definitely give it a try.
It's SimCity meets isometric Tetris in this new casual mash-up from Electronic Arts, The Sims Carnival SnapCity. As mayor its your job to build a thriving city and keep its citizens happy and prosperous. Three colors of blocks descend onto the grid, each one representing residential, commercial or industrial zones. When the blocks land and are connected by roads, citizens begin to move in and your population grows. Extras like puzzle zones and natural disasters keep the action lively, but it doesn't take much more than that to keep you hooked on this addictive game.
When you think of what this medium is capable of it's easy to grab for lofty terms like "emergence" or even "organic beauty", but have nothing solid to hold onto. The Powder Game is a rare beacon of hope for those who dream of deep interactivity. It is a fondue of loose goals and free play; creation and destruction wrapped in a tumbling embrace. Oh yeah, this game is that good and will keep you engaged for hours.
Shift embraces the same negative-space-centric platforming concept as Yin Yang, but in a style more elegant, more minimalist, and more pulsating with sexy-sweet spy music. With a press of the Shift key, you are flipped beneath the floor on which you are standing, and reverses both your body color and gravity. It's a unique platformer with a twist, and it's a good deal of fun.
- • Caribbean Hideaway
- • Hurrican
- • Nimuh
- • Excelsior Phase One: Lysandia
- • Really Rather Good Battles In Space
This week we've got a few mega-doses of nostalgic bliss for our seasoned gamers. At the top of the list is Excelsior, a deceptively simple-looking role playing game that doesn't try anything unconventional but still manages to deliver an excellent experience. Hurrican, on the other hand, modernizes a classic shooter by leaving the gameplay intact and giving the visuals a facelift. And if retro gaming isn't your thing, we've also included some not-old titles that are sure to please your twitching gaming fingers (and eyes).
Turbo Subs, a follow-up to Turbo Pizza, is a food serving time management game along the lines of Cake Mania 2 and Diner Dash. On vacation from the hectic pace of serving pizza (at turbo speeds), Rebecca and Robert travel to New York to relax. The entrepreneurial bug has bitten them, however, and when they see a small subway car they just can't help themselves. With Robert behind the sandwich counter and Rebecca serving food, the pair opens up a subway shop and hopes for success.
One of the entries to our 4th game design competition, Particle Blaster is a simple yet intense space shooter. You play as a small, triangular space ship whose only goal is to destroy everything that moves. Although it starts easy, you'll be hard pressed to make it through all 14 levels, let alone obtain the coveted A ranking.
Orbita puts you in control of a cute little guy with a trapezoid-shaped head. Venture around the planet, visit different perilous locations, and solve puzzles to discover the three batteries that power his ship. Yes, it appears that the little guy's spaceship runs on Duracells.
Fresh out of the oven from PastelGames.com is a short but zany point-and-click room escape game called The Great Kitchen Escape. You start off staring at an extremely colorful kitchen that looks like it was lifted straight from a cartoon. It's an easy point-and-click game that scores major points for its artwork and slightly wacky puzzles.
Your role in Scuttle Buggery is that of of a lowly beetle, trudging through a grimy, moth-infested world stitched together from burnt paper and rusty typewriter parts. Your burden is to find drops of oil and liquor near the discarded musty bottles from which they spew, and push them into the appropriate drains. The artwork is sumptuously detailed, perfectly matched to the music, full of decadent textures and decay. The liquid transparency effects are especially noteworthy, but everything, right down to the creepy flutter of a moth's wings, has been rendered with sickly beauty and realism.
We're used to suspending a little bit of belief when it comes to the games we play. Off-Road Velociraptor Safari, however, really tests the limits. You play a raptor driving a jeep with a spiky ball and chain attached to the rear. Your goal is to chase down other raptors and throw them into a teleporter that sends them to the future. At this point it's a good idea to throw intellectual understanding out the window, because this game is all about hitting dinosaurs with cars for points.
It's here. The next installment in one of the most popular and critically acclaimed Flash point-and-click adventure series ever created. Submachine 5: The Root promises to take us to the very first (historically speaking) built submachine structure. At least as we know it.
Whether you're going for the gingerbread transmutation or the old fashioned stew, you gotta respect the rights of satanic magick users to extend their lives indefinetly by robbing life from the young. If you're on board with that proposition, you'll like Witchhunt: Nooboo Mary, a time-based defense game where you defend a witch's house from an angry mob of villagers.
Planet Cruncher lets you satisfy your appetite for destruction by casting you as an omnipotent exterminator of worlds. It doesn't exactly feel like a game about the deaths of billions, encased as it is in a shell of relaxing arcadey puzzle gameplay. But sometimes you have to play a game in your own way, and I choose to play this one while cackling maniacally and stroking an imaginary long-haired white star-cat named Lord Galaxathon.
Factory Balls may be the most immediately appealing entry of JIG's Casual Gameplay Design Competition #4. Maybe it's the elegance of the core concept and the out-of-the-box thinking it provokes; maybe it's the simple awesomeness of making ball-people with rabbit ears. Either way, Factory Balls is a great, albeit short, game that displays the clean design and quirky sensibility that I've come to love in Bart's work.
Basho Kioku is the latest puzzle game from prolific designer Yoshio Ishii. You are faced with a grid of 36 squares, and your goal is to click on each of them in turn. Each round, a random combination of these squares lights up orange, and you must choose one of them. There is no indication of which squares you've previously selected, but if you pick a square more than once, you lose a life. It's a nearly flawless koan that plays on the tension between the randomness of your choices and the solidity of your strategy.
Are you the type of person who walks into a room and immediately thinks about a remodel? "Ew... who put those curtains with that carpet? And that coffee table is way too close to the couch. How do you reach the window?" Perhaps you like to dabble in feng-shui. Or, maybe you're one of those weekend warriors when it comes to home-improvement. In any case, you're ready to try out your hand at design. If so, welcome home. Home Sweet Home, that is.
You all are in for a treat. King's Quest III is a classic from the early age of graphic adventure games. Originally designed by Roberta Williams and publisher under Sierra Online, the game has been completely re-made by Infamous Adventures in the Adventure Game Studio engine and released as a free download. They even have a voice-pack! Somebody canonize these people as saints.
- • Blood Ties
- • Swarm Racer
- • Psychosomnium
- • Big Box of Blox
- • Guru Logic Champ
- • Millenipede
It's time for Mysterious Mysteries of the Unknown! Mysteries! We've uncovered an old, import-only Japanese Game Boy Advance puzzle game from a company that folded shortly after publishing the title, a 450 year-old investigator/vampire, and a Cactus release drops you in a dream-themed platforming game that makes no sense. What a world we live in.
If you've seen one match three game, you've seen 'em all, right? Azkend aims to change that, but not in the way you might think. Instead of shaking up the gameplay or introducing awkward new features, developer MythPeople spent time polishing the game to a brilliant shine. The end result is typical puzzle gameplay with an absolutely gorgeous visual design and sound package. It goes to prove that a rich presentation can turn an otherwise ordinary game into a real gem.
Stunt Pilot is a challenging, high-quality game of precision acrobatics. It transcends the familiar trope of flying through rings with a sophisticated scoring system and singular control. The result is a simple but engaging test of skill that would fit comfortably in any 80s video arcade, although it would probably be the prettiest game there.
At first glance, TBA appears to be of a game of extreme simplicity. As you blast through the first level of this arcade action game, doing nothing but striking the space bar until the ball flies into the goal, you may wonder "What's the point?" But don't let any first impression fool you. Once you get going, the game really shows it's true colors.
Accurately described as a "drag action game", Irritation Stickman has you picking up and dragging stickmen through each stage, avoiding spikes and other traps along the way. You can only keep your grip for a few seconds and must drop stickmen to recharge, forcing you to think before flailing the cursor around the screen. It's a simple but fun action game that produces some hilarious moments of stickman insanity.
Following in the well-trod footsteps of games like Geometry Wars and Robotron 2084, ZunderFury is a hardcore arena shooter that is happiest when it's overwhelming you with throngs of spiky blob-things. You can even spend money in between rounds to upgrade your ship, and the game comes with a full set of Xbox Live-style achievements, called "Feats", which is a smart way to personalize and flesh out the experience.
Paint Wars challenges you to fill in the outlines of different shapes using as little paint as possible, while an army of vehicles tries to destroy your masterpiece. It's an unusual game that incorporates a familiar draw mechanic in an interesting new way. But it's not as easy as it sounds.
Imagine the wandering ball of Within A Deep Forest encased in metal and set loose in your browser, and tell me you don't want to get into that Sky Tower. Bug Bug is the latest game to be released from Aqui Griffin's studio, a re-release of a game entered into our "ball physics" game competition in October with crucial improvements.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Library of Wales, Pokedstudio was commissioned to create Nanw's Great Adventure, an adorably cute adventure that has the player rounding up (overdue?) books and returning them to the librarian like a good little bunny.
Flora Dale has been having one of those days. First there was the excitement of the birthday party and the lottery ticket, and then later, the horrible fall down the stairs. Now she finds herself in a hospital bed, trapped inside her own subconscious. If she hopes to survive, she must discover what has happened. Faced with obscure puzzles and hidden clues, Flora must pull off the most challenging of escapes: from her own mind. If you think you can handle the disturbing landscape of the victim's mind, then you must play Hidden Secrets: The Nightmare.
- • The Great Tree
- • The Griffon Legend
- • Fishie Fishie
- • Tile Crawl
Enjoy a feisty romp through a flat, 2D dungeon now and again? That's good, because this weekend we've got two games that drop you in the middle of a maze of corridors and monsters with only a pixelated sword to save your hide. And then there's a fish that eats other fish and faeries that collect shiny pollen. Go figure.
As evidenced by a flood of Flash-based titles in the last year or so, tower defense games are all the rage. Now, iWin is throwing its hat in the ring with Garden Defense, a full-blown downloadable tower defense game where you save your garden using gnomes, flamingos, cupid statues and a host of plants to fight off waves of attacking bugs. It's eat or be eaten in this easy to learn but surprisingly challenging strategy game!
As odd as it may sound, Skyrates is a game about human-like animals flying biplanes between floating continents. Think Star Fox meets The Kingdom of Zeal from Chrono Trigger. You're a young pilot out to make an impact by trading, performing missions, and fighting pirates. Here's the catch: flying between islands takes at least an hour of real-time. The game was designed by a group of then-CMU grad-students to explore sporadic play, something you check like e-mail a few times a day. The result is not only interesting, its good enough to thread its way into your life.
Space Kitteh is a unique action game created by Zach Archer and Miles Johnson for our fourth Casual Gameplay Design Competition. Run around planets bouncing around in space as you search for lost kittens in distress. As you leap about, gravity toys with your momentum in strange ways. It's a great-looking game with just enough wackiness (saving kitties from planets?) to make it a winner.
It looks simple, like what computers experience when they practice zazen. And it is, my brothers and sisters, it is very simple. Therein lies the beauty of Avoid! (I bet that exclamation point was jarring), a compilation of short vignettes by Alex Miller that plays off the theme of avoidance.
Remember Line Rider? That was a pretty sweet webtoy made by a guy from Slovenia. But did you ever get the feeling that Line Rider could have been so much more amazing if there was more of a game to it? Fresh off the CandyStand, we have Line Golfer. It's like Line Rider, but you can golf your way through the mouse-drawn levels instead of watch a character sled through them. Frankly, it's money.
Jakub Dvorský of Amanita Design brings us another glimpse of his fantastic world of Samorost in this short animation entitled Plantage. Set to music by Under Byen, Plantage is not so much a story as it is a solemn celebration of life and rebirth.
An adventure game designed by Ben Leffler (of Exmortis series fame) to promote the upcoming Mars Volta release, The Bedlam In Goliath. The story is based on the experience of the band's sick guitarist, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, who goes to Jerusalem for vacation and walks into a curiosity shop. Of course, when you walk into a curio shop in Jerusalem you're bound to leave with a demonically enchanted artifact, right?
Hydro is a side- scrolling shoot-em-up with a methodical pace and an odd premise. Armed with a water gun, a jet-pack, and a snazzy shorts 'n t-shirt combo, you must battle a horde of flying robots that are all shaped like sea-life and have names like "Roboctopus". It's just a simple, well-told story of a flying man and his deadly water pistol.
As is easy to guess, the object of Filler is to fill the playing field with large white circles. Just click and hold the mouse to start a circle growing. It will stop growing either when you let go or when it collides with a circle already in play. If it collides with one of the small "atoms" bouncing around, not only will it stop growing, it will disappear completely and you'll lose a life!
As the name suggests, Balancing Act requires you to keep a number of balls (and other ball-ish things) balanced on top of each other. Click on a ball and drag your mouse to rotate it, but remember that each action has an equal and opposite reaction! The stylish and humorous presentation and simple control system are to be particularly commended in this worthy game design competition finalist.
An experimental game created in seven days, this arcade/pseudo-strategy game puts you in control of two robots marching through a dark city destroying everything with lasers. Pump up your machines to gigantic city-destroying monsters and crunch buildings and pitiful humans all day long!
The first Flash Element Tower Defense was a kind of revolution. It single- handedly brought tower defense games out of the realm of Warcraft mods and into the world of free online gaming, kick-starting a new genre practically overnight. Now that Dave has teamed with Paul Preece to create Novel Concepts, he has built Flash Element TD 2 according to the Casual Collective aesthetic — the audio/visual style pioneered by Desktop Tower Defense and perpetuated by Buggle. In other words, it's totally cute.
- • Mystery in London
- • Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues
- • Pingus
- • Midnight Mansion
- • Battleships Forever
- • Passage
- • Large Animal 50% Discount Survey
Lemmings as penguins? A game for Mac only? A shmup-based RTS title? A game about mushy emotions and feelings? Games that are award finalists for design innovation? It can only be... Weekend Download!!!
The second chapter in Brad Borne's epic tale of a man with righteous pants is here, and it is spectacular. The Fancy Pants Adventure: World Two is a Flash platform game focused on high-speed acrobatics, like a hand-drawn Sonic the Hedgehog. Twice the size of the original, World 2 is one of the most ambitious, audacious Flash games out there, bursting with thrills, imagination, and whimsy.
Tarnation is a clever real-time strategy game by Brad Merritt that bears some resemblance to a tower defense title. You control a garden with rows of seeds ready to sprout into flowers that will dash off and dispatch incoming bugs. The bugs are made of Tar, you see, and if they reach the stream in front of your flower bed, they start to gunk up the water. Merely defeating all the bugs is enough to pass, but real excellence comes by releasing only as many flowers as you need.
For our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Brazilian game author Guilherme Töws has tapped the philosophy of yin and yang to bring us Bisection Dominion. Your charge is to defend a pristine river against a falling tide of poisonous bubbles, using a sword controlled by your gestural input. We often talk about the zen of gaming, but rarely does a game embrace the idea so whole-heartedly.
Job Pico is the name of Gotmail's latest point-and-click, room escape effort, and this one puts you to the task of escaping from a room as a sort of "recruitment task" as you look for something new—presumably disillusioned with your previous line of work. Your new job? Making room escape games, of course!
Superelectronic is an online interactive art piece by Aoineko, a group of award-winning Web artists specializing in audiovisual aesthetics. The piece blends various styles together to achieve something unique, an amalgamation of interactive multimedia. The result is a stunning work of art that is wonderful and inspirational. A creative cornucopia of sensory delights.
The Dark Cut series consists of two surgery games where you use the mouse to make incisions, stitch, scrub, saw, whatever is required to save the patient in each case scenario. These are not games for the faint of heart, both in terms of graphics and gameplay, and are therefore recommended for mature audiences only.
Synapsis is an exquisitely detailed, 3D modeled and animated, point-and-click adventure game that was just dropped into our suggestion box by one of its authors, Rob, and he had this to say about it: "It's really hard to explain it, I made the game and I'm not entirely sure what its about. It's the voyage into the mind of David Carter, possibly dead, possibly mad, or maybe just in an alternate reality."
Sheeeeeep!!! Hyper cute (and fuzzy) critters star in Phillip Reagan's Osmosis, an entry to our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition. The object of Osmosis is to guide one or more sheep-type "balls" through each stage by drawing symbols that change gravity, friction, or make the sheep move. It blends action and puzzle elements into a webtoy-like atmosphere that's as inviting as it is entertaining.
A generation has passed since you last helped the Baumeister reach sweet fame in Chocolatier. Since then, the company has fallen into the wrong hands. Evangaline Baumeister's granddaughter, Alexandra Tangye, needs your help to save their chocolate empire by stirring up a little competition. Uncover secret ingredients as you mix your way to chocolate-induced success!
Real estate sounds about as exciting as dentistry when it comes to casual games, but in HipSoft's latest tycoon-style game Build-a-lot, managing your empire turns out to be quite entertaining. You assume the role of a contractor working for towns to improve property value. Tasks include building houses on vacant lots, upgrading homes to higher-rent properties, and managing cashflow to feed all your ventures.