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House of dead ninjas

This is one of the very few arcade games in flash that actually perform well on the laptop I'm using! It seems like it's mostly running in 1vbl, and that's quite a feat :). Anyway, the game involves you running around and decapitating stuff or throwing stars at them, or even bombs! The action is very in-your-face, as the game moves so fast. You have to keep getting to lower levels fast as time is running out. There are lots of (intentionally I guess) low quality samples a la IK+ to keep the hilarity up.

All in all, fun!

Kaleid

As you might have guessed from the title, this game's about kaleidoscopes. Actually you get to create them. Each level has a target pattern to achieve, and you have to use simple shapes like squares, stars, circles etc. You need to place the items at the right positions and then it's level done.

Liked it, it has a bit of originality in it!

Bat country

Take a cute helicopter, move it around with the mouse, shoot the hell out of giant bats, throw bombs at them, and generally have fun! There's a script in there too, and it's not forced into the game, it's more like a part of it.

Play

Mountain maniac Xmas

To get into the X-Mas spirit, play this: Santa's gone berserk and tries to destroy a town instead of giving it presents. Drop boulders into penguins, small animals, skiers, houses, trains... rocks!

As I lay Dying!

With a title like this, one would expect an artsy-fartsy game. But no! This is just the pretext for yet another platform game. To keep it short, you have to carry your boyfriend's dead carcass through various levels, avoiding hazards that might ruin it(vultures, crows etc) or yourself (stingy bees). The idea is that you can't carry the corpse all the time, since you have to perform some jumps that aren't reachable otherwise. There is also a throwing mechanism thrown in for extra fun.

Despite the morbid theme, an otherwise fun game!

We are the robots

It seems I haven't recommended any match-3 games in this thread, so I guess it's high time I did! This one's got every aspect done properly (especially the cute animations and character sprites), so, err, try it :)

After years in dark tunnels

Not a cheery title, is it? Well, the game is very dark, so this simply sets the mood.

The plot says that a ship crashed on a planet and that you must search for parts to fix the ship and set up a beacon so someone will spot you. Yet another platformer with exploration elements then. It does start innocent enough with the character in the surface of the planet. As you start exploring, soon enough you get into the tunnels, where the lights dim out pretty quick and the flashlight kicks in. Right then you start noticing the eerie background track (obviously because before this your mind is occupied by watching the gfx and the map). After this you'll probably encounter one of the crew's dead bodies, and a description of the unlucky person will hover above the character's head. Later you find some ship parts and some personal items from the deceased. Bringing the later to the right persons will make their ghosts more at peace.

As if the above weren't enough to creep people out, there's another feature (which seems like it's lifted from the amazing Amnesia: The dark descent): if you don't progress quick enough, or fall into some dark watery/muddy areas, you begin to lose hope. The background track becomes a heartbeat. You then can either keep going, commit suicide or pray: the last option brings up some hopeful sentences on screen, and by picking them up the character gets his hopes up again, so the music starts playing again (great choice, some would say, either a heartbeat or eerie track :)).

Depending on a few decisions, there are 5 possible endings. I'm really not a fan of multiple endings and I can't say for sure if I'll pursuit all of them, I'll see how it goes.

In my opinion, this game is executed very nice: I really felt claustrophobic and had a feeling of urgency while playing. However there were a few things that I didn't like, for example, the y dister of the sentences that come up while you pray is, well, crap. Also, it's quite confusing trying to remember crew names and the items they require, so it's soon getting very confusing. Not forgetting the multiple endings I mentioned above, which to me is just a gimmick excuse to add replayability to a game. Hey, if I want to play a game again, I just will; I don't need the game to force this upon me. Other than that, the game runs pretty slick on my craptop, which is a rare thing - most of the games I try run in slow-o-vision and kind of ruin the experience for me.

So, not exactly a recommendation (unless you like the atmosphere I described above), but definitely not bad.

Gil

Hehe, there are a few tabs open in my browser of lately, waiting for me to write about them and close them, so I'd better get started!

This is the simplest of the bunch, a pretty bare bones platform game with jumps, switches, teleporters, spawners, homing missiles, all wrapped up in static levels. It's in fact so simple that there's no gimmick involved :). I liked it though because everything is tiny, so you can cram lots of gameplay in a single level.

Gfx are very plain and simple as you see from the screenshot, and the music consists of some easy listening (non computerized) tunes.

Get home

WARNING! ARTSY-FARTSY GAME COMING UP!!!!!

Well, the screenshot below tells everything you want to know about this game! Sorry about this inclusion, but since

a) This game had nice gfx and a nice audio track (ruined a bit by the dreaded 8bit leads),

b) It's short and sweet,

c) Even if you do finish it you need to play it again because of the narrative,

d) It was fun,

I felt it should be posted here. You had your warning. Click at your own peril :)

Seiklus

And, to finish off this small section of cool platform/exploring/puzzle games, here's another oldie I should have mentioned ages back. I actually played this even before WADF, and it's every bit as enjoyable.

Very nice graphic style, loses a few points for using "retro" modules, nice and varied areas, easy to pick up and play. Its ending is not so obvious to reach, but it really gave me a few hours of pleasure.

Boundaries of Truth

...and yes, I admit it - it was this Knytt rip-off that triggered me to remember writing about it in the first place.

Well, rip-off might be too strong a characterization, but it does borrow an awful lot of stuff from Knytt. But I fail to see how this can be a negative thing, so if you can't play Nifflas games (no windows machine), or you want to spend a few careless minutes at the office (for shame!), try this one for size!

My only criticism would be that you get a speedup pickup early in the game, and this tends to make the character a bit uncontrollable, but oh whattahell it adds to the challenge a bit.

Oh yeah, when you die, you get a very cool screen melt effect - I liked it :)

Within a Deep Forest

"Two attempts have been made to build a bomb, capable of freezing the entire world. The first was a failure, and resulted in a living blue ball. The second attempt was a success. Now the clock is ticking, and the world is in grave danger. That is, unless..."

That was my first encounter with game creator Nifflas. I saw that this game is a platformer and it's free, which back then (around 2005) was a rarity, so I thought I'd give it a try. What I quickly realized was that it's also a quite excellent game.

The presentation is quite lovely, with nice pixelly graphics, lite but very functional tilesets for the platforms, dreamy backgrounds and chilly music as soundtrack. Hell, the music alone gets a thumb up; I wish more people would use tracks like these in games instead of the typical pseudo retro horsecrap tunes people did back in the 80s (and they did those because they had no better audio capabilities in computers anyway). Paying homage to that era is all fine and dandy, but goddamn it, does every platform game has to use that? (</rant> :)).

Game mechanics is also spot on. Initially you can explore only so much of the world, because the ball has limited capabilities. However, as you collect power ups, the ball becomes able to reach parts of the world unaccessible by that point (because there were some platforms out of reach, or required a more durable ball and so on). It definitely had me hooked pretty fast, and I would take long sessions playing it. That's always good!

I wonder how come I haven't mentioned this game from the start of the thread. I suck. In any case, get downloading and playing!

Knytt Stories

So it seems that within a deep forest was merely a warm up for Nifflas. In Knytt stories he took all good points of WADF and refined them to perfection.

Knytt stories is addictive like crack cocaine. Everything visual and audio is so nice, it really makes you immerse inside the universe of the game and get inside the character. As with WADF, the flip screen nature of the game gives Nifflas the opportunity to create a very challenging map, with different puzzles/actions in each screen to give variety. Also, because of the flip screen, he can change areas (and tileset themes and music themes) with ease. That's another thing I forgot to mention in WADF incidentally: the different areas make the game varied and keeps interest.

I could be writing for much longer, but I think I'll stop now. Try it out!

Gunblood

Everyone loves a good old western shootout, right? (I don't :P).

This game is pretty simple, point the mouse at the lower left of the window, wait till it's time, then start shooting at your opponent! It's all pretty unpredictable, and with the physics model doing weird things to the bodies as they're getting shot, I find it fairly amusing!

I only posted it because I can't stop playing it, so it's gotta be worth something!

[EDIT][EDIT] In the year 2017 we actually received an email about a HTML5 version for modern browsers over here: https://www.crazygames.com/game/gunblood Many thanks to Katie for reporting this!

Trilby: The art of theft

When Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw isn't being a total xunt reviewing trashing newly released games (rightfully so most of the times though ;)), he makes some games of his own. Not bad too. Here's one I caught myself playing lately.

In this one he uses his main protagonist of his adventure games (more about those on another post, they are very nice too), Trilby, in a more action/arcade game. As you might have imagined, since the guy is a thief, he should sneak into people's houses/buildings and steal stuff. However this isn't a walk in the park; guards, lasers security cameras and inhabitants move around the screens (it's a flip screen game incidentally), making your job harder. So you have to hide in shadows or use a taser to silence the people. Also you have to use a mini-game to unlock doors and another to crack safes.

I love these kind of games. You can cram tens of puzzles in the same screen, you have to create strategies on how to move and when, and in the end you feel you've played through 5-6 screens when the whole level is just 2 screens - the rooms/apartments/hallways partitioning of the screen and the smallish sprites makes the game look huge.

There is also an upgrade system, so the character gets more agile and learns new tricks as you play, so you can revisit a finished level and try it again, which adds a bit of replay value to the game. Also, some later levels require you to upgrade so you have a chance of finishing them.

Some negative points: if you fail a level, you have to replay it from the beginning - some checkpoints might have been a good idea. Also, because some puzzles are reset to random values (for example, safe combinations), you have to go through the whole ordeal of going back and reading those values before you proceed. Dunno, it seemed a bit taxing to me.

Still, it's a whatnot promising hours of gameplay. Have a go :)

The trader of stories

Apparently, what I played here is one story from the full game which will be commercial, but was enough to spark my interest :). It's been a while since I played a nice point'n'click adventure (Machinarium, and before that it was flippin' ages ;)).

Nothing out of the ordinary to report gameplay wise, it's all kept down simple. It more feels like the game is a vessel to the story and art, which are both very well done. I must say I felt obliged to play it until I finished it, and that's only a good thing!

I'll be looking around for the full game as I enjoyed it tbh, here's the game's blog for those interested.

Lackadaisium

Quote the author:

Lackadaisium is a short autobiographical game. It's probably the most "artsy" game that I've done, in that it contains some metaphors and symbolism that pertain to my own personal experiences. It also contains some scenes that are based on dreams that I've had.

I hope you enjoy it!

So it's a game about a guy floating. And hitting stuff with his head. And solving puzzles with that. And it has nicely drawn backgrops and anims. And the puzzles are pretty (dare I say) innovative. Even if you think it stinks as a game (because of the lo res gfx or artsy fartsy theme or its abstractness or whatever), it still tries to be originall-ish!

It only lasts for a few screens and there's plenty of variety, so I liked it!

My first quantum translocator

Yet another platform with yet another twist. Why do I keep falling for these all the time? :)

TBH I was sold from the first 2 seconds I moved the main sprite around (the title screen is actually a game screen, no menu. In order to continue a saved game you'll have to know how to get to the upper platform, which is a part of the game mechanics. I love these menus where the menu itself is a part of the game). The cute sprite is animated very nice and moves around the screen smoothly - yay :).

Anyway, it's a platformer without weapons, so you only have to run and jump around. The twist in this game is that you can leave a "shadow" of yourself at any place of the level you can visit, and you can teleport to it at any given time. Sounds crap? Well, moving platforms, blocks and some other stuff makes the level's puzzles very enjoyable. In general they are very well designed and you get to learn to abuse your ability in order to pass the progressively harder levels (the difficulty step is set just right in my opinion).

So go ahead, give it 2 minutes of your time. It can't hurt that much, can it? :)

Leave me alone

I was a bit torn about posting about this game here. On one hand it's pretty hard and flawed (read below), but on the other hand it's a good idea and executed in 48 hours. So here goes!

A quite minimalistic game really - you have a dot on the screen, which you have to maneuver into making the other static dots that shoot non-stop kill themselves. That's it really. It's quite fun and requires some strategy (well, you have a very limited time to think, but it is essential :)). The 2 flaws I see with it as is are: a) after a few levels it becomes quite difficult, b) on my laptop I can't get past by the 5th or 6th level, while when I tried it on a desktop machine, I passed it quite easily (something to do with the deflected bullets).

Anyway, a nice concept!

P.S. It turns out that the difference between the desktop/laptop is that I played the offline version on the desktop, which allowed the bullets to travel a bigger distance on screen, so that level was possible!

Infiltrator

Now, this is simply amazing! So many cool ideas crammed inside this, I'm afraid I'll forget a couple while trying to summarize the game :).

What we have here is a top-down stealth game. As you see from the screenshots (err, I hope so at least ;)), you control a grayish blob trying to get past by bluish and reddish blobs that scan the area. If anyone catches you on their site, they come at you and start pounding you. You can plan how to lure them into traps though, including mines and holes, so you're not entirely defenseless. The feature I liked most though is that if a red blob catches sight of a blue blob, then they forget about you and they start attacking each other :D. To top this all off, in some levels you even get to play Sokoban, by pushing crates into the aforementioned holes in order to build bridges to get across levels!

A very ingenious and playable game! It gets the  award :)

Money thief

Bit of old news now, but another Ludum dare has come and gone. For those unfamiliar with it, it's an online compo to create games within 48 hours, with the rules being published exactly at the start of the countdown! This one (#18) had the theme set to "using your enemies as weapons" which, quite predictably, produced a lot of games which the enemies attract to the main character and get killed on impact and so on. In any case, here's my pick from some of the entries, starting with this.

On the surface it's a simple run'n'jump flip-screen platformer, but what makes it stand out is that you run around, picking people's pockets. Up till you do that, the people don't move. Upon nicking their moneys, one by one start running towards you to catch you! So you have to employ strategy before you start nicking wallets! There's also a trashcan on some levels, touching that will make you invisible until you start nicking again!

Fun idea, nicely executed :)

Wrath of Annubis 2

In lieu of a review, here's a few things that crossed my mind while playing:

  • "Hmm, either I'll mute the music or I'm seriously going to hurt someone!"
  • "Hey, this reminds me of Gold of the Aztecs! With shrunk sprites! And stuff move quicker!"
  • "It's a bit jerky."
  • "Wall jumping seems very crap."
  • "So, navigate to switch, push it, hurry to the exit, collect treasures."
  • "Lots of levels in there. But you can play them in any order. Just like crystal caves!"
  • "It's challenging"
  • "Argh! The music!"
  • "Can anyone port crystal caves or do I have to do it myself?"
  • "The jerky movement/frame skipping kinda ruins it for me"
  • "Well, it's still fun"

League of evil

Continuing with the small sprite games, this one's a 8-way platform beat'em'up. Again, small sprites give agility and planning ahead, all good and fun!

Gfx are nice, with some parallax background scrolling etc. Music reminded me of some megademo loading tunes - short and repetitive. I guess it's the curse of all beat'em'ups :). Small negative for me - the controls. Why do I have to use a button for jumping that's close to the punch button? I got it confused all the time - since my right hand is already occupied with movement, it would be better if it would handle jumping, leaving beating the shit out of people to the left hand. Oh well!

Play

Bungluwa

And here's what both previous games are lacking: more smooth movement. Here the sprite is tiny (smaller than the mouse cursor), and moves much smoother around the screen. Plus there's a trail of particles behind it while it moves, making it look very nice, and some parallax scroll, making it look even better.

The gameplay is very simple, just get to the other side of the level (top or bottom) and collect stuff along the way, avoiding hazards. Oh yeah, there's double jump in there. Or, better, multi-jump. Well, there's limited jump power, but you can jump a lot of times around the screen. This ruined it a bit for me, because in essence I could fly around the screen at will. But anyway, it's challenging enough still.

Before I forget, the musics reminded me of Mad Max's, especially one's bass tune seemed like an outtake from Ghost Battle :)

Anyway, jump to it!

Depict1

In contrast to Tower of Heaven, which sets very hard and clear rules for you to follow, in this one you don't have to trust any rule it displays. None. It's a constant deception all throughout the game (well, with a few minor exceptions here and there). The game is short, which is a plus because the deception gimmick would become tiresome if it was, say, double in size. While the game isn't hard, the last level is very (for lack of other words) xunty.

Gfx are okay. Music - hmm, I don't think it fit the game (not that it's bad). The game plays fine.

Tower of Heaven

Well, I gotta admit the authors' sincerity: This is not an easy platformer! Normally it wouldn't seem hard, but with each level new rules are added, like "dont walk left". So it becomes much more challenging.

I wasn't a big fan of the main palette or music, but the gfx are nicely drawn and animated, plus the gameplay is mostly nailed correctly. Props to the authors for getting out their thinking caps and coming up with new ideas (instead of just inventing a gimmick, this can only grab your attention as a player for some time) and building levels that make good use of them (something like games like color theory above kinda fails to do).

Solipskier

Now this is FUN! Instead of you controlling a skier racing against the terrain and performing stunts, you get to draw the terrain for the skier! This might sound boring after a couple of mins, that's why the game introduces goals like a specific area appearing where your guy has to pass through, or perform jumps, or tunnels etc.

Full marks! This is addictive as hell - I'm off to have another go :D