JayisGames.com is now available ad-free!
Jay is Games recommends Cheat Happens with 8,000+ games and 35,000+ trainers!

  • Review

  • Browser Games

Oliver & The Basilisks

  • Currently 4.1/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 4.1/5 (57 votes)
Comments (22) | Views (5,761)
Bradoliverandthebasilisks_title.gifHello, sir or madam, do you have a moment to spare? I would like to tell you about a new movement that is quickly gaining influence in social, political and economic circles. We are called the Society for the Advancement of Under Represented Mythological Creatures or SAUR MC (pronounced: Saur M.C.). We feel that vampires, werewolves, goblins, trolls, unicorns and other creatures get too much press. What about the cockatrice, the Jack-in-Irons, the forest bull or the basilisk?

Well, brothers and sisters, the basilisk is finally getting some attention in the new game Oliver & The Basilisks. It's a turn-based strategy board game in which you'll take control of the wizard Oliver in his quest to destroy the basilisks. It's not the most pro-basilisk game, but there's no such thing as bad publicity.

There are three game modes: simple, normal and deluxe. The rules for simple still apply for the other modes, but with each mode additional rules are put into effect. Here's the basics: the basilisks are trying to kill Oliver and vice-versa. Each turn Oliver can move one space in any direction (buy either hitting the numerical keys or using the mouse to press the directional buttons in the top right corner), the basilisks also only move one space and will always move straight for Oliver. You can kill a basilisk by making two basilisk run into each other, making a basilisk run into a stone or by using one of your spells. Kill all the basilisks to beat a stage.

Normal and deluxe add a few things, most notably golems. When playing these two modes you'll notice little pink orbs moving around the board, these are magic spirits. If Oliver grabs one of these it'll recharge his spells, but if one of them hits a stone they transform it into a golem. Golem can destroy stones and kill basilisks, but the only way to kill a golem is with your disintegration spell or by getting two golems to run into each other. Don't worry though, you don't need to clear the golems to get to the next level.

Analysis:oliverandthebasilisks_screen2.gif The first level of any mode in Oliver & The Basilisks is kind of slow and doesn't really show the challenges of the game and the strategy needed to beat a level. But it doesn't take long for the difficulty to ramp up and the fun to begin. The rules are very simple, which makes the game accessible, but you'll need to put on your thinking cap and your strategic planning pant suit. There is one annoying downside to the difficulty. The biggest one is that there's not way to select what level you want to start out on. It's a bummer to get to a level with a ton of basilisks, make a misstep, get killed and go back to a level with just four. However, in some modes this is necessary because there's an experience system for your spells and if you're having too much trouble you can always switch to an easier mode.

The three modes give the game a lot of variety and not just in terms of difficulty. In simple mode you only get three spells, but in normal there's seven available and in deluxe you get a whopping 14 spells. In normal mode, you'll be able to change spells in between levels and it's a lot of fun to test out the different kinds of spells. In deluxe, your starting spells are randomized. Not only does this give you the fun of exploring spells, but it also creates a bunch of different game scenarios of different difficulty. You might end up with spells that just move you or the enemies around and you'll only have your wits to rely on.

There are some annoyances, the most noticeable being that after awhile my game started being interrupted by in-game pop-up ads. It'd also be nice if you could just click on a space to have Oliver move there. These small problems aside Oliver & The Basilisks is a great choice for folks who like their games with a nice helping of strategy. Even if you're not up for a big challenge you're sure to find a mode that you'll find comfortable. Once you get into this game, you'll be into it. You'll find your time being gobbled up as you try to out-maneuver your foes and find the right set of spells that will serve you best.

Play Oliver & The Basilisks



cloud19568 October 14, 2010 10:07 PM

Honestly it's not the best, but still pretty darn good. I did find two things of note that bugged me. One was the feeling you get once you finally get enough magic to teleport away from the horde in a later, only to appear next to a beast. I know it's supposed to be like that, but I thought it's a relatable experience, and it's nothing to the second thing. Ads. Normally I don't mind, but it went too far. The amount of them was excusable, but there seemed to be a bug that mutes the game once the ad is finished. Now the sounds aren't THAT good but it's still better than nothing. Sincerly, cloud of the 19568 variety


Out of two game restarts and one restart from the menu, I got two ads... for "Saw 3-d," with the sound already on. I wouldn't have minded the ads right there, but I can do without that particular ad, and I can definitely do without the sound.


I'm looking into getting a version from the sponsor with the interlevel ads turned off for us here at JIG.


Hi, the author here. First, REALLY sorry about the ads. I'd prefer to release a game with no ads at all, or at most preload ads, but many sponsors make interlevel ads a requirement. Also, really sorry about there being a Saw ad... I didn't know CPMstar had ads for such things. Oliver's a family-friendly game so it's a shame they'd display trailers for R-rated movies. :-(

Glad you liked the game itself, though. Regarding starting at any level, that's an interesting idea. I didn't put in any sort of "continue" feature because it's not the sort of game you beat; it's just about achieving high scores. But many versions of Tetris, for instance, allow starting at a later level. That wouldn't have been a bad idea.

But you shouldn't regard the early levels as easy or boring! They're easy to get through, but it's about beating them as quickly as possible and using as little magic as possible. You score higher the more elegantly you beat a level and more importantly, on Normal and Deluxe mode, the rewards you get (in terms of wand charges and scrolls) are based on your level score... if you want to get really high scores (and 100,000+ is definitely doable), it's all about building up a big pile of scrolls and wand charges in the early levels, and then using them efficiently to clear the later ones.

Anyway, thanks again for the review. I'll be sure to pass on everyone's displeasure with the ads to the sponsor, and reiterate your request to let me make you an ad-free version to use here.


Me again. I've been trying and failing to find an ad with sound... were you playing here, or at the sponsor's site? I noticed that he was additional ads of his own that play elsewhere on the page, and some of them might have sound. The only ones that are built into the game are the preroll one, and then one that appears in a box with a "CONTINUE" button at the end of each game, after the "GAME OVER" screen and before you're prompted to submit your name for a high score... and as far as I can tell, none of those have sound.

Also, the article mentions "pop-ups." Brad, are you referring to the game over ad, or an actual browser pop-up? If the latter, then there's something funny going on that I'll have to look into.


Very enjoyable. A bit like the old Seven Seas game from PopCap, which unfortunately doesn't seem to be available any more.


Talked to the sponsor, who's also been talking to Jay, and we're going to have an ad-free version up here for you soon! (I've sent the SWF to the sponsor, who just has to check it and pass it on to Jay.)


Thanks Xopods and Jay for addressing the ad issue. I look forward to trying it again -- this seems like a nice expansion on my old favorite "robots."

I also had intrusive A/V ads for a horror movie after each failure. I was playing it here, not at the sponsor's site. I imagine they use IP location to do targeted ads?


New version is up without ads.

Jochen, of Smiley Gamer, was very accommodating, and I appreciate his willingness to work with us. Thanks also to xopods. :)


-jS: Thanks for the further info. I'll contact CPMStar to complain about it. I had no idea that they advertised things like horror movies. Like I said, all the ads I saw in testing were silent, and for other games.


I've gotten to the bottom of the Saw / ads with sound thing. It's a new feature of CPMStar... they've got new "overlay" ads that pay better, but do this kind of thing, and the Saw II ad campaign uses those. Developers are able to toggle overlay ads on and off, but they're enabled by default and it's not made clear that you have a choice.

I've disabled overlay ads for both the preloader and in-game. Apparently the Saw campaign ends after Hallowe'en, so I'll probably turn the preloader overlays back on after that time, but leave the in-game ones off, since those are the ones you're finding obtrusive.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who pointed out this issue, and I'm glad you're all enjoying the game now that we've resolved it. :)


So... this is a game from the early days of the Mac. I remember playing this on a 128k Mac in 1984. It was called Darleks and featured Dr Who. You teleported and used a sonic screwdriver instead of spells.

This is exactly the same. Nothing different except the artwork.


@carldec: I wouldn't say nothing is different. I remember Daleks (I bought a Mac in February 1984) and it was far more simplistic than Oliver (at least the version I remember playing), though it does share similar gameplay. (But that's not a bad thing!)


This game is most certainly and proudly based off of Daleks, or rather Robots, which was the BSD precursor to Daleks. It's a great and underappreciated mechanic.

But this is the "folk process." Old ideas get reused and expanded on as time goes on. Oliver is no more like Daleks than, say, Doom was like Wolfenstein 3D. I took a great old game and tried to expand on it. If you think Oliver doesn't add enough new stuff, try it on Normal or Deluxe mode! Even Simple mode is a little more complex than Daleks, but only a little, which may be why you feel it's just a clone.


Well said.. the mechanics of the spells, spirits, and "earning" spell credits balance very nicely to make this challenging and unique.

One thing keeps tripping me up.. in the original Robots, you couldn't walk into your death (you could only die by teleporting or waiting). I keep suiciding! :)


That's a good point, jS. The problem is that in Robots/Daleks, you could always teleport, there was no recharge time or limited uses... if I forbade suicide, then you could get completely stuck. I suppose I could do as you say, and prevent suicidal moves but not suicidal passes, but then veteran players might complain about not being allowed to make a final move before dying that might let them take more basilisks with them. Another thing I thought about was having a warning beep if you try to make a suicidal move, and you have to confirm by hitting the same key again... but then that would be one more thing I'd need to explain to the user. People who ignored the instructions might even think it was a bug.

In any case, you'll find that once you start shooting for the really high scores, you'll end up putting a fair bit of thought into each move (since it's not just about beating the level, but doing it in as few turns, and using as little magic as possible), so the accidental deaths will be less frequent.


Thanks xopods and Jay! For the record, it looked like the ad I was getting was supposed to have a "Turn sound on" option, but that the sound was automatically on. This may be a problem with my computer/browser, which sometimes behaves oddly. I was playing it here. Anyway, thanks for getting it fixed!

And now, I'm pleased to leave a comment about the game -- anyone got a strategy tip? I'm awful at this. I don't seem to be able to do anything without using magic.


I don't understand what "Meditate" does. It seems to break out of the turn-based element and let the monsters roam freely. Are you just supposed to click this once you think you can finish out the level by standing still?


Maybe I'm not as bad as I thought -- I have the fifth-highest score on normal right now.

This was the main thing that works for me:

If you can see that two basilisks are going to run into each other, and you have room to maneuver, you probably want to run in that direction. You can get a lot done dodging around a single rock.


Use your magic. Don't be shy. I think that the initial setups may often be impossible to beat without magic.

keith -- I think that's the point; the meditation will also stop when an enemy is next to you, so it's also useful if you'll be able to win at that stage (say by stepping around a rock). It gives you a score bonus, if you're going to be able to finish under the time limit.

Nice little game. I fully expect to get wiped off the board soon.


I should probably make a proper strategy guide at some point. In the meantime, I posted two of the tutorial videos I created for my playtesters on YouTube. Don't know if it'd be against the site rules to post the links here, but you can just do a search for Oliver and the Basilisks and they're the first two results.

Regarding meditation:
I couldn't think of a way to explain it simply in the instructions, so I decided just to let people figure it out. Essentially, it makes you pass repeatedly until you're in danger (with an enemy next to you) or the level's over. If you manage to beat the level in less than the turn target, you get bonus points for meditating. The bonus goes up exponentially... if you manage to meditate for four or five turns straight, it's a significant number of points, which also affects the rewards you get (on Normal or Deluxe).

It's also a convenience thing for experienced players. Once you're behind a rock with all the Basilisks in such a position that they're sure to crash into it, you can just meditate rather than hitting pass repeatedly.

Some tips regarding magic use:

You're right, it's not always possible to beat a level without magic. However, what you want to do is try to avoid using your Wand, so you can build up lots of charges. On Simple, you get a new Scroll every level regardless, so use that liberally, but on Normal and Deluxe what you want to do is treat your Amulet as your "go-to" device. Try putting Lightning or Earthquake in it for the first few levels on Normal and blast it as your first action if there aren't any nearby basilisks lined up for a collision.


Oh, and a tip about rock placement:

If two basilisks are next to each other, you have some control over exactly where they'll collide. Hard to explain in words, but you'll figure it out. Anyway, if there are already rocks on the board, try to get the basilisks to crash so as to put the rock diagonally adjacent to another rock. This forms a little "bunker." If you get behind that, you only have to worry about basilisks coming in exactly on the diagonal. Like this:

. . . . .
. . X . .
. X O . .
. . . . .

If Oliver is the O here and the X are rocks, and most of the basilisks are above and/or to the left, he's almost entirely safe (assuming no Golems).

You can also make a bunker with one rock and a Stonewall spell, of course.


^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

Leave a comment [top of page]

Please consider creating a Casual Gameplay account if you're a regular visitor here, as it will allow us to create an even better experience for you. Sign-up here!
  • You may use limited HTML tags for style:
    (a href, b, br/, strong, em, ul, ol, li, code, spoiler)
    HTML tags begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions.
  • To post spoilers, please use spoiler tags: <spoiler> example </spoiler>
    If you need help understanding spoiler tags, read the spoiler help.
  • Please Preview your comment before posting, especially when using spoilers!
  • No link dropping, no domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! (rel="nofollow" in use)
chrpa Jayisgames needs your help to continue providing quality content. Click for details Welcome to the Roundup 66 - Retro with four games! After you find the ten monkeys in the chapter, look in the inventory. You will find a...  ...
chrpa Jayisgames needs your help to continue providing quality content. Click for details Welcome to the Roundup 65 with three games! As mentioned in the previous roundups, only odd-numbered episodes are featured since even-numbered are for Robin Vencel's patrons (the...  ...
chrpa Jayisgames needs your help to continue providing quality content. Click for details Hi! Weekday Escape and Weekday Puzzle are here! First we have two new cans from tomoLaSiDo and then two small rooms from isotronic. That's all for this...  ...
chrpa Jayisgames needs your help to continue providing quality content. Click for details Welcome to Mobile Monday! We have another beautiful game from Nicolet and it's a winter game as it should be. Tasuku Yahiro have released another of their...  ...

HELP Jayisgames.com

Recent Comments


Display 5 more comments
Limit to the last 5 comments

Game of the week

Dark Romance: Vampire Origins Collector's Edition

Your Favorite Games edit

Save links to your favorite games here. Use the Favorites editor.

Monthly Archives