Inquisitive Dave is one of those "breaking-the-fourth-wall" sidescrolling adventure games wherein you're aware that you're playing a game. You know, the ones with the witty dialogue where you press "Talk" because the game suggests an interaction with a chair, only to be told "This is a chair...You could sit in the chair, but you have a world to save."
What happens when a game's mechanics are affected by, well, themselves? That's what Mark Essen of Messhof Games might have been wondering when he devised the idea for Flywrench, a downloadable freeware game in which you must guide your bat-like ship through a maze of obstacles to the exit.
Think of the classic Space Invaders mixed with a dash of Galaga and you'd have a pretty good understanding of what Titan Attacks! is all about. The classic "aliens descending from above" scenario is showcased with a stylish, blocky pixel motif featuring a richer move-and-shoot routine than classic predecessors. Titan Attacks! took the golden age concept and loaded it with a variety of new action elements and ship upgrades.
In Ginormo Sword, you play a pink, ninja-looking hero equipped with a sword that you must upgrade, making it bigger, longer and more powerful. A fantasy action game with subtle RPG elements drawn from the golden age of Atari and Intellivision games, packs a satisfying punch for such a pixelated style, like most other games from Japanese designer Babarageo.
Wonderland Secret Worlds is an isometric puzzle adventure similar to Mr. Robot. Take control of several characters who push boxes, flip switches, roll boulders and build bridges to make it to the exit in each stage. The setup is nothing new in casual gameplay, but somehow the combined package is an extraordinarily fun play. If you don't mind the dated visuals and rather cutesy presentation, Wonderland Secret Worlds will be one of the most enjoyable and satisfying games of its genre you'll ever dive into.
If something considered "retro" gets remade, is it still considered retro? Such is the question to ponder while playing Arcadia Remix, the juiced-up retro remake of Gamelab's multitasking classic, Arcadia. This newer version adds to the retro insanity with more mini-games and gameplay features to make your head explode in a neon rainbow.
The fine folks at Pixeljam have really managed to outdo themselves, bringing us an outlandishly retro, high stakes, mad multiplayer dash for survival called Dino Run. Although there are three modes of play, the idea is basically the same: run as fast as you can! What we love most about Dino Run is neither the perfectly captured retro feel, nor the immense replay value, but the total interactivity your dino has with its surroundings.
If "retro" to you means huge chunky pixels, bleeping and blerping sounds and gameplay that doesn't lead you by the hand, then Attack of the Meeplings may be just the game for you. This Java-based shooter is glorious, retro-styled fun from top to bottom, especially its soundtrack.
Jasper's Journeys is a downloadable platform game that plays much like an old-school side-scroller where exploration is essential, power-ups are few, speed is often encouraged, and secret areas are plentiful. In many ways it's similar to Brad Borne's The Fancy Pants Adventure games (or even Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros, or Jazz Jackrabbit), though with a decidedly different atmosphere and feel.
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.
Thule Trail is a re-imagining of the grade school classic, Oregon Trail, but instead of playing a family of 19th century immigrants, you play a group of 20 somethings road-tripping to a music festival. Instead of going to Oregon, you're going to Santa Barbara. The game takes its name from the 20th century occult society that sought the road to Atlantis; the music festival you travel to is called Atlantis, so it works. The rest of the game follows suit like a friendly slacker.
Hearken back to those adrenaline-happy days with Vector Runner, an arcade action game concerned purely with the sensation of speed. Control a humble blue cube on its journey down a futuristic highway, dodging deadly pyramids of various shapes and sizes. Wherever you need to be, you're going there fast.
The next entry is a game from a team of developers, three representing Stimunation Games and a couple others from the Flashkit Games forums. JayIsAdventure is an old-school style graphic adventure game with a creative interpretation of the "ball physics" theme. I will say no more than that, the rest is up to you to discover and comment freely about.
Pile O'Bubbles is a new action/puzzle game from the creator of Gravity Pods, Keith Peters of Wicked Pissah Games. It combines fast reflex mouse clicking with a bit of thinking to create a game that's brain wrenching with a touch of (very) old-school arcade style as well.
The Sea of Glomp is an adventure-themed Flash game created by Paul Kramm that draws heavy inspiration from old-style adventure games such as ... Adventure! You play a young fish whose egg has been stolen by a creature that looks like a bat. An underwater bat. You set out on a quest to find the egg, a task that takes you through some of the strangest parts of the sea you could imagine.
The main focus of Knytt Stories is atmosphere, environment and exploration, not complex gameplay and a barrage of media. With Knytt Stories you'll spend most of your time wandering around sparsely populated worlds looking for a few rare items, enjoying the beautiful visuals and ambient music the whole time. It's a unique experience in gaming and will pull you in from the moment you start playing.
Gravity Pods is a physics-based vector shooting/puzzle title created by Wicked Pissah Games. The goal is to fire a projectile and hit a target across the screen. Barriers are usually in the way, but by using gravity pods you can bend the path your projectile takes to send it virtually anywhere on the screen.
After months of waiting, it's finally here! Nitrome has just rolled out Hot Air 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the balloon physics game Hot Air. The new incarnation is bigger, better, more intricate and more stylish than the original, proving it's possible to take an already polished game idea and turn it into something even better. Plus, you get to make your own balloons!
In Rat Maze 2, you are a mouse in a maze and you must collect all the pieces of cheese in the shortest time possible. Use the arrow keys for movement to zip around the maze. Running over a cheese is as good as eating it, so no time is wasted collecting them all. Simple retro fun from the highly talented developers at PixelJam.
Sunday Lawn, a game from the creator of Castle Smasher, Donut Games, puts you in control of Charlie whose job is to cut the grass around his house. Unfortunately there are dogs, hedgehogs, and various other obstacles standing in the way of monocotyledonous perfection.
Benjamin Colwell of Indie Flash Arcade has just released this remarkably attractive arcade Flash game that blends the casual gameplay of classic video games with a stylish (and stunning!) presentation. The result is POD: Planetary Orbital Defense, a 15-level shoot-em-up bonanza that culminates in a boss fight against an alien invasion.
Dot Action 2 is a cute little platformer with a personality. For those seeking some old-school gameplay, OffGao of Japan may have just what you're looking for. At first glance these games may appear as nothing special, but as was the case with many early video games, it's all about the gameplay.
In Flatland, it is your mission to destroy wave after wave of... things. You get points. OK, the idea isn't completely original, but the design is quite interesting. At first you start off in a tiny ship with litle armor and a miniscule weapon. Destroying enemies will cause them to explode in an array of large blocky pixels, the collection of which upgrades your ship. The interesting bit is that collecting an odd number of them gives you an odd shaped ship until you gather more and regain composure.
Snake Classic takes this simple game mechanic and gives it new life with catchy music, tons of gameplay options (how many dots to grab, sound effects, etc.) In addition you get to choose what colors your snakey protagonist will have using a grid of dots that looks like something out of a kid's dream box of marbles.
Knytt is a downloadable game of exploration and atmosphere for Windows created by the author of Within a Deep Forest, Nifflas. The game emphasizes discovery and intrigue over everything and creates a massive world with varied environments and lots of places to explore. A spacecraft kidnapped the cat-like Knytt from his home but crashes on its way back, sending pieces of the ship across a mysterious planet. Your job is to traverse the barren world in search of the missing parts and try to get back home.
Those of you who enjoy a stripped-down text adventure game and don't mind a bit of repetition will get a bit of fun out of these DHTML-based Enchanted Forest games. The point is to get as much gold as you can. For such a simple game it's surprisingly addictive, but don't worry—if you're a true casual gamer, you can leave your game at any time and when you return, it will be waiting exactly as you left it.
Bill the Demon is an action adventure platformer with a very nice old-school flair to it. In the game you play as Bill, a lowly demon with a voracious appetite for human souls. To prove himself worthy to his peers, Bill sets out on a mission to the Ninth Circle of Hell to fetch the devil's autograph.
Pod Panic is a gorgeous little arcade Flash shooter that is simple to play and terribly addictive. Each level presents you with an increasing number of pods, round bumper-like objects that tend to gravitate towards your ship, and a string-creature that is rather hypnotizing to watch. Great old-school arcade fun in a tight little package.
Empires and Dungeons has been receiving a lot of praise for its stripped-down mechanics and surprisingly captivating gameplay. Taking on the role of a medieval emperor, you must gather resources to help build an army, both to attack your rivals and to defend your castle. Along the way you'll venture into deep dungeons, meet mysterious traders, pillage in the name of the empire and much, much more.
Skatefall is John Freeborn's tribute to one of the earliest platformers, the Atari 2600's Pitfall! With a bodacious new skateboard, online scoreboard, bonus items and powerups, 2D platforming has a new name: Skatefall Harry. As a homage, Skatefall is extremely effective and faithful; the graphics and sound are perfect and the difficulty, while formidable, is appropriate.
An adventure game in the classic sense of the genre, as well as in a more low-tech DHTML implementation, the Mystery of Castle Wildenburg combines original photography of Germany's deep woods with the cartoon drawings of artist Aurèle Mechler, which together produces a unique visual appeal to this engaging and compelling Web-based game by Jörg Jochims.
Gamma Bros. is a deliciously slow-paced old-school space shooter created by PixelJam. It's written in flash and offers both an online version and downloadable files for the Mac and Windows. Although simple in looks and design, Gamma Bros. gives the illusion of a massive game world interspersed with moments of action and quiet space floating.
Rainbow Wars is a retro-style arcade shooter available as a free download for Windows, and it is one of those rare finds that becomes an instant favorite once you see it in action. Sporting similar controls to that of the classic Robotron, in which two joysticks are used to control movement and firing separately, this game captures the essence of a classic arcade experience in a well-developed albeit small package.
Why are so many of the most difficult video games also the cutest? Maybe my brain just automatically forgets games that are both ugly and frustrating. Added to the "cute but evil" list comes Within a Deep Forest, a completely free downloadable game for Windows that casts you as a little blue ball, bouncing around a delightfully whimsical little world filled with the most frustrating jumping puzzles known to man.
Thy Dungeonman 3: Behold Thy Graphics! is a parody of the old 5¼-inch floppy text and graphic adventure games. Made by Videlectrix, Homestar Runner's fictional software design company, Dungeonman 3 sports "state-of-the-art amber monochrome visuals" (circa 1980), real-time simulated medieval English text, a parser that talks back to you, and enough mocked adventure game cliches to fill your beer stein twice full.
GridWars is a free downloadable (for PC or Mac) old-school-style shooting game that's remarkably similar to Geometry Wars on the Xbox. Your small ship sits in a one-screen grid and vectorized enemies spawn to attack. Use your any-directional gun to stay alive while you rake in points.
From Mark Arenz and his Ridiculopathy site full of ridiculousness comes this hilarious new adventure with an old-school dungeon flair. The game is light-hearted and pokes fun at some classic games as well as itself. Good fun and a nice change from the usual point-and-click approach to Flash adventure games.
Yard Invaders is a Shockwave action arcade game similar to Space Invaders, and yet with some unique gameplay twists. The game features RobotDuck's characteristic child-like hand-drawn graphics and animation, and yet it is packed with gameplay that is surprisingly refined for the game's appearance.
Hot Air is a delightful action game with irresistible pixel graphics reminiscent of an old-school Mario game. Navigate a hot air balloon from its green starting platform to the red landing platform within each level. To succeed you will need to maneuver around obstacles and onto platforms, collecting keys to open gates while avoiding just about everything that will make the balloon pop. Much easier said than done.
Another one for the classic games section, I made a reference to this game when reviewing Swarm due to the way the enemies swarmed onto the play field.
Galaca is a Java applet 'clone' of the classic action arcade game Galaga. Originally created by Namco and released as a coin-op amusement...
Let Swarm take you back to the golden days of classic arcade shooters with this fast-paced and addictive DHTML action game from Brent Silby. Like its name implies, bugs swarm onto the play field single-file, as in the classic arcade game Galaga, and begin infecting solar cells. Protect the cells by shooting the bugs to kill them off. You may also shoot the cells to disinfect them and earn additional points.
Pong was an amazing and innovative game in its time. Unfortunately, after the novelty wore off there just wasn't much gameplay left to hold our interest. And by today's standards, it's just too simple a game to be much fun anymore.
GameLab leverages the simplicity of Pong, as well as that...
From Sony Pictures comes these three (3) Flash games from the Kung Fu Hustle movie website, each featuring classic-style videogame pixel graphics and gameplay.
Kung Fu Fighter is a simple old-school fighting game that offers special moves and opponents to unlock. You must defeat the opponents the game pits you up...
As a tribute to the classic Atari Centipede arcade game from 1980, Emil Korngold has attempted to recreate the game in Flash. The game is still in beta form, and yet his attempt seems to capture much of the action and addictive gameplay of the original.
Other than using the mouse...
A Worm's Life redefines the classic game of Snake and turns it into a fresh new experience. The game features an array of elements that change-up the gameplay formula of the simple arcade game and transforms it into even more addictive, fast action fun.
While on the topic of Snake, here is a variation of the game for all those who believe snakes should appear, and move in paths, with round edges.
This version of the classic game of Snake is remarkable in that it comes with source code and a complete tutorial explaining the code by its author, Strille of Sweden. Available on his website, the tutorial is a great way for anyone to get started programming games in Flash. The...
Brent Silby has created one of the coolest arcade games I have played in a very long time. Think retro-cool as in Galaga, Defender, Centipede and Robotron, and you'll be close to what the action is like in surely one of his best games to date. Replicator captures the essence of arcade action fun and delivers it lovingly in a browser window.
It shouldn't be surprising that from the world's smallest website comes the world's smallest games. From British game and Web designer Alan Outten comes this very tiny website, only 18 pixels wide by 18 pixels high, yet it is packed full with games such as Pong, Pacman, Footy, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pinball, and others. Everything old is new again.
This Mr. Driller clone, created in Flash by Max K., is a decent version of the original game by Namco. Driller uses the arrow keys for movement, and the space bar for drilling. The object is to drill down through the blocks as far as you can without running out of air, or getting crushed. The level of difficulty determines how many rows of blocks y...
The 1982 classic arcade game of Q*bert, re-created in Shockwave for online play over the Web. The object of the game is to move your Q*bert around the play field, hopping onto each square to turn it to the target color shown. While the default keys to use for movement are U, K, H, and M, the game does allow you to change them to suit your preferenc...
The classic game of Qix, released by Taito in the arcades back in 1981, and brilliantly reproduced in Flash by Drunk Men Work Here. The objective is to claim portions of the play field by drawing Stix, or block areas, with the cursor marker. This Flash version of the classic game is very close to the original design and captures the essence of the game well.
XGen Studios is behind this Flash game that is reminiscent of the old-school arcade games Dig Dug and Boulder Dash. Hired to mine the dangerous planet of Mars, you are given a robotic mining pod and sent off on a mission to bring home the Motherload, a fabled cache of rare and valuable minerals. Dig far below the surface of the Earth to earn money for upgrades and find treasure.
The Curse of Sylvaniah is an action adventure platformer game created in Flash that has a decidedly old-school feel to it. Stylish pixel graphics, sampled sound effects, multiple weapons and a simple targeting system—just point-and-click with the mouse—make this game unique and fun to play. Coding by Mattias Stridsman, graphics by Cyril...
VirtualApple is a website that boasts over 1100 disk images of Apple II, IIe, and IIgs games and other software. Through the use of an ActiveX application and an Apple IIgs emulator, you can now enjoy Apple II software from years gone by, and do it all online using Microsoft IE and Windows—though, ironically, there is no current support for M...
I did a double-take when I first saw this on a French Flash games site. Fighters were the one genre that I had seen very little if anything done in Flash, yet now you can relive those arcade glory days by playing Street Fighter with your friends, on your computer.
Julien Philippe has created a version that allows you to play single player against ...
A version of the original Prince of Persia game recreated in Flash. The original game, created by Jordan Mechner and released in 1989, used an animation technique called rotoscope to give the characters human-like qualities. It was also a lot of fun to play. This special Flash edition isn't quite the whole experience, but you should be able to at least get a taste of what the original was like.
Written in Flash by Johnny Slack, an interactive multimedia technology student at Purdue, this version of Duck Hunt uses the mouse for aiming and shooting. It looks, acts and sounds just like the original (though it offers only one mode of play).
Created by Klas Kroon of Sweden, this little game is one of the tiniest Flash games I've ever seen. The objective of Blockdude is to move the little dude to the exit door by picking up and moving blocks to solve each level. This game is actually a remake of an old TI-83 game originally written by Brandon Sterner.
PsychoPong is not new, as it dates back to 2001; yet it is a worthy game just the same. With gameplay similar to Pong, the granddaddy of all video games, this Shockwave game has a mind of its own. There are five (5) levels of increasing difficulty... though I bet you'll have trouble making it past even the second level. Click.
The designer of the ...
I've been having a lot of fun lately playing this old-school style, top-down shmup (shoot-em-up) called Hurricane developed by Nuvorm in the Netherlands. Along the lines of the arcade classic Galaga, this one has power-ups to increase shields and weapons with lots of cool pyro-technic particle effects. There is also a downloadable PC version of the game available.
While on the subject of Pacman, several months ago there was a posting on Slashdot games about a Japanese programmer who re-created Pacman entirely in an Excel spreadsheet. Upon reading the story I was both amazed and curious, so I downloaded the zip file from the site linked-to in the story. And it really was Pacman, right down to the cut scenes b...
Another classic game, and this one needs no introduction. Arguably the single game that injected the most excitement into arcade video games during their infancy. Original game: copyright Namco, 1980; this version hand-coded in Flash by Paul Neave.
A fantastic Asteroids recreation from Shawn at Hot Flash Games, and boy does it rock! Very authentic classic gameplay with a serious modern soundtrack that just... ROCKS! Shawn did an excellent job designing the sound for the game, as it contains a mix of classic Asteroids samples and some phat rocking beats.
This is simply amazing. Someone that goes only by the name of Voxel, has created a 3D version of the original Metroid game in Director! By taking the Metroid tileset, he built a utility that allows him to convert 2D sprites to 3D sprites, and then he uses those to build the levels of the game.
Back in the day, Space Invaders, by Japanese company Taito, was one of the coolest games to come along as it was one of the first (if not the first) electronic game ever to offer open-ended gameplay. What that means is that it's impossible to 'beat' the game, the aliens just keep coming at you relentlessly.
Another favorite of mine is this game by Squid S O U P. Snake delivers classic-style gameplay in a 3D Shockwave implementation. Very nice indeed.
Bubbels is a strangely addictive Flash game, like Bust-a-Move, from the Netherlands. There are actually five (5) different versions to choose from.