July 30, 2014

Crypt of the NecroDancer

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux — Crypt of the NecroDancer Roguelike strategy meets Dance Dance Revolution? This gorgeous, addictive indie game proves it can be done, and done amazingly well! When a young woman's heart is stolen by an evil necromancer, she must descend deep into his crypt, moving and slaying unique beasts to the beat. Play with your keyboard, controller... or USB dance mat! Tagged as: action, arcade, braceyourselfgames, dbaranowsky, download, earlyaccess, ebalster, fantasy, game, indie, jturner, linux, mac, music, mwiebe, otrujillo, powerupaudioroguelike, rating-y, rclark, rhythm, rpg, silverstringmedia, skill, steam, strategy, tmartens, windows

Tomorrow and Yesterday

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Javascript/HTML5 — Tomorrow and Yesterday Tomorrow and Yesterday, an HTML5 simple idea puzzler by Firecaster, combines a simple and elegant presentation with clever and challenging time travel puzzles, making it a great time both at home or on the go. Tagged as: browser, firecaster, free, game, html5, linux, mac, mobile, puzzle, simpleidea, timetravel, windows

Game Design Workshop Wednesday Exercise 1.2: D.O.A. #GDWW

from GBGames

Welcome back! Last week, I pretended to be a tester for the indie hit FTL and documented everything I experienced and did in the game. This week, the second exercise of the Game Design Workshop Wednesday series makes me nervous: writing down what I didn’t like about a game.

Each week, I’ll go through an exercise from Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Third Edition. Fullerton suggests treating the book less like a piece of text and more like a tool to guide you through the game design process, which is why the book is filled with so many exercises.

This section of the first chapter discusses what it takes to make a game. Good communication skills, teamwork, and a good dose of process are all needed.

Exercise 1.2 asks you to think about a game that was dead on arrival, then write down what you didn’t like about it and identify how the game could have been improved.

As I said, I’m nervous about this exercise.

Nervous about writing that I didn’t like a game? This is the Internet! People do it all the time!

I’m nervous because I don’t like raining on someone’s parade. Even if a game was flawed, there are people behind it who put their livelihoods on the line, who may have struggled and fought to get this game out the door. It’s easy to complain about the quality of something when you don’t have an idea of what went on behind the scenes.

In this case, I have some idea. I attended the post-mortem of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory back in 2005, hosted by the Chicago chapter of the International Game Developers Association. It was a fascinating look behind the scenes, with tight schedule pressures, lots of stakeholders, and a team that managed to pull it off despite having to throw away a lot of development effort more than once throughout the project.

I can’t find any information for how well it sold, but reviewers weren’t impressed with the game. I remember reading that it bombed in the market, although even poorly made licensed games tend to sell fairly well so it’s hard to say.

I met a developer who worked on it, and he had mentioned what a frustrating experience it was…to put it nicely.

I purchased the Gamecube version when I saw it discounted and put in the impulse-buy section of the checkout line at the store. My thought at the time was that playing bad games means I’ll better appreciate what it takes to design a good game.


I haven’t played it since I got it, and even then I didn’t get too far before giving up. When I started a new game recently for this exercise, I was experiencing it almost as if it was the first time.

Starting The Game

The first thing that struck me is the music loop on the title screen. Most of the time, music loops are seamless, as if you couldn’t tell that it stops and starts. Instead, there’s a noticeable cut. Now, this might be a minor thing, but I started noticing quite a few areas that felt similarly unpolished.

The game starts with a pre-rendered movie introducing the story, including the other children finding the golden tickets and Charlie feeling poor, until a $10 bill appears at his foot. Then the game starts, with you chasing the bill as it flies improbably around town.

Whenever you get close to the money, wind blows it somewhere else, and so you go chase it. When the money gets caught on a chain-link fence, some help text appears and says, “You have the knock the money off the fence.”

Now, what comes immediately to mind is that I need to perform a specific action, such as throwing something at the fence, or walking up to the fence and pressing an action button of some kind. But no sooner did I have this thought when I found out that walking up to the fence is all that is required. The fence shakes as you near it, and the money flies away. Now, why the heck did I need help text to tell me to do something if the most natural thing to do, walking towards the bill like I’ve been doing the entire time, works just fine?

Later I found myself frustrated because I didn’t know what to do and there was no such needed help appearing.

Ah, I can pick up boxes, which means I can put them down and climb on them to get to higher places. The help text tells me what button to press, which is fine as I’ve never done it before and so wouldn’t know what to do to pick a box up.

When the bill ends up flying onto a roof, I noticed the cutscene was not pre-rendered and seemed to use in-game graphics. Charlie slides down a roof for about a second, and then I can play again. Uh, ok. So I walk over to the bill, which is stuck on a chimney, and…another cutscene.

This one is another example of a lack of polish. Charlie screams “Oh, no!” yet doesn’t look like he is doing anything that matches. It’s as if they recorded the audio and made the scene separately, then never put them together until the last moment. It takes a few seconds after the scream before Charlie starts to fall.

Ok, so Charlie falls. He lands on a garbage can lid, apparently at the highest point of the town, and now you’re chasing the bill while sliding through the icy streets. You can knock over snowmen and garbage cans, and trucks pull out from side streets, but nothing actually hurts you and there’s no point but to get to the end of the sliding, where Charlie lands in front of a candy shop with his new treasure.

The Cutscenes and Augustus Gloop

If the introduction was a pre-rendered cutscene, and the other cutscenes were using the in-game engine to render them, Chapter 1 starts now, with page-turning transitions and…suddenly everything is hand-drawn? Oh, and Chapter 2 starts right after without any game play in between. These inconsistencies contribute to the feeling of a lack of polish, as if the game wasn’t finished or was rushed.

When I finally can play, I’m supposed to find two Oompa-Loompas to work on some machines to pump Augustus Gloop out of the tube he is stuck in. Now, the bellows are hidden under the meadow, which was a neat way that the level designers were able to work around the fact that they were required to use the movie sets, which normally aren’t created to make for good game play.

Once Gloop is freed, you are told to find some Wonka-Vite for energy in a quick cutscene. You are also given Ever-Lasting Gobstoppers, which function as a projectile weapon. You can throw them at trees and objects to knock candy down.

So, using some gobstoppers and an Oompa-Loompa’s help, I manage to procure some Wonka-Vite. Now what? Grandpa Joe’s advice to find Wonka-Vite when I already found some didn’t help matters. I must have walked around that meadow a half dozen times trying to find an exit before I discovered I had to find multiple Wonka-Vites before I could proceed.

Why couldn’t there be a mission objective to indicate how many I had to get? Also, it wasn’t clear what “energy” it was giving me, as I didn’t notice I was using any energy in the first place. The HUD shows some tubes on the top right, but the game gives no context for them and they didn’t seem to matter, so I ignored them. Plus, the controls felt a bit awkward, as it was difficult to aim the gobstoppers, jumping around felt sloppy, and occasionally the camera would end up in an bad angle. All of these things combined made me feel confused and frustrated as I played.

The Jelly Beanstalk Level

The next level shows that Gloop is still stuck in the pipe, only this time in the jelly beanstalk room. You can now use Jelly Beanstalk Candy, which you can throw to create vines which snare the unwary. Oompa-Loompas seem unaffected, and they don’t seem to do anything to Charlie, either. Oh, I see. Once I get the Wonkabots to appear, I can trap them into a ball of vines, then throw those balls into the vents to help increase the pressure to get Gloop through the tube.

The vine balls appear near where the robot and the vines are, but they never seem connected quite right. The vents are in a thorny patch I can’t walk on, and it took me some time before I realized I could throw a vine ball into the area to try to get them into the vents.

The entire level is geared around multiple floors of vents arranged in various angles in a patch of thorns, with nearby Oompa-Loompas who I charge with fixing the machine to create Wonkabots so I can create vine balls and throw them at the vents over and over until I succeed in getting them all. Oh, and between each floor, I need to jump from leaf to leaf of the giant jelly bean plant, which is not very easy to do. Haven’t enough people complained about jumping puzzles over the last few decades? And the target audience has to be children who may or may not be as dexterous with the controls, right?

So after saving the jelly beanstalk plant, I find that Chapter 3 starts, and I end my play session.

Summarized Thoughts

Again, I feel bad about writing about all of the bad things about this game, knowing what the development team went through. And perhaps it isn’t fair to call it “dead on arrival.” I’m leaving out the bits of delight I experienced because I’m focusing on what was wrong for this exercise. Considering how rushed it was and the constraints they were under, they managed to put together something. It just never felt cohesive or polished, and the few times I was pleasantly surprised by the game were marred by the confusion and frustration and tediousness of the rest of it.

For instance, why was I allowed to hit the Wonkabot with a gobstopper and see an animation of it falling down if there wasn’t supposed to be combat? Or why was candy allowed to get stuck on top of trees, resulting in Oompa-Loompas tasked with collecting the candy running in place? Why were some cutscenes pre-rendered, some in-game engine, and some illustrated, and why were there so many of them?

Possible Improvements

Some consistency would have helped, and I think if they had more time to playtest, they would have found areas which were confusing to new players. Letting the player know that Willy Wonka wants you to find five Wonka-Vites, for instance, would have meant that after finding the first one, I wouldn’t have felt lost. Perhaps the controls could have been tightened up, although I wonder if part of the problem is how Charlie was animated. I recall picking up a vine ball next to the thorny patch, only to be surprised that Charlie’s pick-up animation moved him forward into the patch, which forced him to drop the ball. I also wonder if the game could have been improved if there were fewer cutscenes, allowing more of the story to be revealed during game play instead.

But of course, these things take time, and when your deadline is the release date of the movie with a quick production schedule, things can slip. It’s hard not to imagine what the game could have been with a little bit more polish, as the people who worked on it loved the story and probably feel terrible for every flaw they know about that I might not have noticed.

Exercise Complete. Pencils Down.

That’s it for this week’s exercise. If you participated in exercise 1.2 on your own, please comment below to let me know, and if you wrote your own blog post or discuss it online, make sure to use the hashtag #GDWW.

Next week, I’ll describe five areas of my life that could be games.

Game Design Workshop Wednesday Exercise 1.2: D.O.A. #GDWW is a post from: GBGames - Thoughts on Indie Game Development

Weekday Escape N°34

from Jay Is Games

Weekday Escape N°34 Games featured this week: Escape from the Similar Rooms 13; Chick Hide and Seek 19; Candy Rooms No.14: Sky Blue Modern; Wanpa's Quest Another 9 — Since we have four escape games this week, we might as well party! FunkyLand provides place: hip and happening and loaded with sweets. Wanpa's Quest adds the quirky characters and oddball jokes. Hottategoya's a bit of a wall flower but contributes to intellectual stimulation. Finally, Yuri brought ten very cute chicks for you to pick up. Tagged as: blog, browser, escape, free, funkyland, game, pointandclick, puzzle, wanpa, weekday-escape, yuri

July 29, 2014

Star Admiral

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS — Star Admiral Gain the rank of Star Admiral in this excellent new strategy card-collecting game for iOS from Hardscore Games. In a game that takes free-to-play mobile gaming to new heights, you won't be sorry when you join the Empire to take on the Shadow and Moxxu - and maybe become one of them as well - on your rise to the highest rank. Tagged as: card, game, hardscore, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, mobile, rating-y, space, strategy, tablet

Theft Super Cars

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Theft Super Cars You're working off your debt to a crime lord by stealing cars for him, but things are a little weird in this chaotic racing game. You'll have to make it to the garage before time runs out in each level, but with rings of fire, giant basketballs, cops with electrifying rockets and more, this ain't your grandpappy's car chase. Tagged as: action, arcade, browser, flash, free, game, linux, mac, physics, racing, rating-y, smokokosa, stunt, upgrades, windows

July 28, 2014

Hero in the Ocean 2

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Hero in the Ocean 2 Check out the world under the sea in this relaxing physics puzzler, the second in what should become an excellent series. Guide your submarine past traps and dangerous creatures to find stars and treasure chests. Tagged as: adventure, browser, flash, free, game, lampogolovii, leric, linux, mac, physics, puzzle, rating-g, windows

Making A Shoestring Budget Game For The Xbox One

from GameDevBlog

Just last month Happion Labs launched Sixty Second Shooter Prime for the Xbox One through their ID@Xbox program. Now, I’m one of the cheapest game developers I know. I’ve been indie for almost nine years now and am still in...

Zombie Riot

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Zombie Riot Get by with a little help from your friends in this tower-defense game of apocalyptic proportions. Find other survivors with unique abilities as you try to cross town, holding off zombies in each level and capturing command points to place down new defensive units. Tagged as: browser, defense, flash, free, game, goodygameworks, linux, mac, rating-o, strategy, towerdefense, upgrades, windows, zombies

Started prototyping a 2D murder mystery

from Game Producer

I started working on a 2D murder mystery, pixel art style. The basic gameplay is about deducing the murderer based on stuff you see on the screen. You play a “coroner” (or “medical examiner”) in early 20th century world and help the local police to figure out cases.

Each case can be played in a pretty short time (I think it will take like 10-20 minutes maximum to solve a case). There won’t be any pixel hunting or that type of work. All the information will be presented to you, and it’s up to you to interrogate suspects (who are also present at the scene)… and then choose who is guilty (if anyone).

After all, maybe it was a hunting accident?


July 27, 2014

So Many Me

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — So Many Me Life as a little green blob becomes a lot more exciting when you encounter a malevolent force out to take over your whimsy-filled cartoon world. But, by gathering up ark seeds, you build a team of doppelgangers who, in a friendlier twist on lemmings-style mechanics, help you solve your way through this puzzle platform adventure. Tagged as: achievements, action, adventure, download, extendstudio, game, indie, lemmings, mac, platform, puzzle, rating-y, steam, windows

Command & Control

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Command & Control Tense, realistic, and gorgeously rendered, this tower defense/strategy hybrid puts you in command of a defensive force in several real world battle zones. Upgrade your units and deploy choppers and planes for maximum strategic effect. Tagged as: achievements, browser, ccgamestudio, flash, free, game, linux, mac, rating-o, strategy, towerdefense, upgrades, windows

Stopped survival co-op prototyping

from Game Producer

I decided to pull a plug on my co-op wilderness survival game prototype. This happened couple of weeks ago or so.

Biggest findings/reasons:

  • Online multiplayer requires time: I had major plans for different scenarios, where threats and many things would happen… but putting these together in an online multiplayer game requires quite a lot of time. I spent much time on networking, too little on gameplay. I really wanted to try out Unity networking, and it’s a really good… but testing multiplayer is a headache for team of my size (that would be me).
  • No graphics budget…: I don’t have the budget to do the things I wished to do. I must pick something simpler.
  • Not fun after one month, not fun after a year: If a prototype isn’t fun (or have something that would give reason to dig further), there’s not much reason for me to continue. I progressed too slowly for this type of game.

Too big scope for me. Going to try something smaller.

July 26, 2014

Inner Demon: Soul Trader

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Inner Demon: Soul Trader Possessing humans and stealing souls is all in a day's work for one demon. Too bad there's a human wizard trying to stop him from doing it! Now he'll need to gather enough souls to have the strength to challenge the wizard in battle! As a demon, you'll be zipping along the ground and finding the best path to get to the humans. But once you enter a human body, you'll be pushing blocks, potions, and buttons and collecting gems on your way to the exit! Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, linux, mac, olip, puzzle, rating-y, simpleidea, slidingblock, sokoban, windows


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux — Oneshot You have exactly one shot at this fantastic atmospheric adventure game, made for the 2014 Indie Game Maker contest. Help Niko, a whiskered boy with glowing yellow eyes, to bring the sun back to a mysteriously broken world. You'll find a few surprises along the way, but don't look up any spoilers! Tagged as: adventure, download, experimental, free, game, indie, linux, mac, mvelasquez, nightmargin, puzzle, rating-g, rpgmaker, unique, windows

July 25, 2014

Nevertales: Shattered Image

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Nevertales: Shattered Image Alice is able to open portals to other worlds through mirrors, but when a creature pulls her in through one, you soon discover her power could threaten the entire world... and all the worlds connected to it in this gorgeous hidden-object adventure. Tagged as: adventure, affiliate, casual, demo, download, game, hiddenobject, mac, madheadgames, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-y, windows

Nekra Psaria

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Nekra Psaria In this bizarre point-and-click adventure/escape game, your generator has run out of fuel while you're trying to watch TV. Your talking generator, who is also a head. That's not the weirdest thing you'll see in this surreal yet oddly intuitive game that will creep you out while keeping you oddly intrigued. Tagged as: browser, drawmaneater, escape, flash, free, game, linux, mac, onlytea, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-o, surreal, windows

The Wizard

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Javascript/HTML5 — The Wizard Kevin's a wizard without a face, but that last part is sort of a surprise to him when he wakes up one morning and looks in the mirror. In this puzzle game, Kevin will pursue the thief across deadly stages filled with enemies he'll have to defeat using symbol-based spells he'll unlock as he goes. Tagged as: browser, free, game, html5, hypnoticowl, linux, mac, puzzle, rating-g, rpg, turnbased, windows

July 24, 2014

The Phantom PI: Mission Apparition

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS — The Phantom PI: Mission Apparition Cecil's a Paranormal Investigator, and he's been called to spooky Ravensmaw Manor to help a ghost with a problem. In this gorgeously charming puzzle adventure that all ages will adore, you'll track down a greedy demon and learn the surprising truth behind your customer's death and the manor itself. Tagged as: adventure, game, horror, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, mobile, mystery, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-y, rocket5studios

Freezy Mammoth

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Freezy Mammoth It's freezing outside, and all these mammoths want is to be inside their igloos, which are... warm... somehow, I guess? Click to unfreeze and REfreeze both the beasts and elements in each level in order to get them home and nab all the stars in the process. It takes more timing and thought than you might believe! Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, gameshot, linux, mac, physics, puzzle, rating-g, windows

July 23, 2014

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iPad, Mac, Windows — Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Looking for an addictive and incredibly strategic yet easy to pick up multiplayer card game? This turn-based title knows how to do free-to-play right. Available as a free download or on your iPad, it's packed with content and rewarding multiplayer that will keep you coming back for a long time. Tagged as: blizzard, card, download, free, game, ios, ipad, mac, microtransactions, mobile, multiplayer, rating-y, strategy, turnbased, windows

Game Design Workshop Wednesday Exercise 1.1: Become a Tester #GDWW

from GBGames

Welcome to the first exercise of the Game Design Workshop Wednesday series!

Each week, I’ll go through an exercise from Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Third Edition. Fullerton suggests treating the book less like a piece of text and more like a tool to guide you through the game design process, which is why the book is filled with so many exercises.

The first chapter explains that the role of the game designer is to be an advocate for the player. Playtesters are essential for the feedback they provide because otherwise you are designing games in a vacuum. If you don’t bring in playtesters early in the design process, you will have no idea how your game will be received when other people finally do play it.

And so exercise 1.1 challenges you to take on the role of a tester. Play a game, and document what you are doing and how you are feeling.

I chose to play FTL: Faster Than Light, the space-based roguelike from Subset Games. I purchased it a couple of years ago, but I saw people mentioning online that it had some updates, so I fired the game up again.

My First FTL Game Over

I started a new game, and I noticed that there was an option to enable Advanced Edition Content. I opted to leave it disabled for this playtesting session. I left the difficulty on Normal, and I hit Start.

I read the brief text telling me that I’m trying to get data to the remaining Federation fleet before the Rebels can catch up to me. It occurs to me that I’m the kind of person who roots for the underdog, and I wondered about the design choice of being on the side of the presumably better-equipped and much larger Federation.

I remember I preferred to have one member of the crew in the shield room, so I reassigned the one from the engine room. I found that a good part of the game was spent moving crew around to repair damage, put out fires, fight off invaders, and enhance capabilities such as those shields. I don’t remember if the hotkey to assign people to specific stations was there in the original game before the updates, but I just noticed them this playthrough and really appreciated it. When new crew members joined the ship, I found myself assigning them to their strengths, juggling responsibilities if needed.

Rather than risk the lives of my crew to out-of-control fires, I found I liked the idea of venting the air out into space by opening the doors and waiting. I lost too many good people in multiple playsessions before I learned that lesson.

When it came to jumping from one beacon to another, I thought about how I made the decision of which one to choose. While I kept the approaching rebels in mind to make sure I didn’t dawdle, I found that I preferred circuitous routes in order to get more opportunities to answer distress calls and collect supplies. I only took more direct routes to the exit beacon when I was my hull was badly damaged and I wanted to avoid as much interaction with the locals as I could.

After arriving at a beacon, there would be a random encounter. Sometimes it was a fight with a pirate or rebel scout. If I had a choice, I found myself coming to the rescue of another ship or attacking slave drivers. It seemed that despite the main mission, I made choices based on principle and morals. Well, most of the time, at least. I needed to ensure I survived, so the times I chose not to enter a fight were the times I couldn’t.

Sometimes I jumped instead of fighting so I could live to fight another day. Sometimes I fought rather than surrender needed supplies.

Often, I died. So much dying. If I was juggling crew members at the start, it’s nothing compared to frantically trying to move the lone surviving member of the crew from one fire to another while the ship has been boarded and the enemy ship is still attacking while your own weapons are down. He or she could not repair anything fast enough before the lack of oxygen or lack of hull ended the game mercifully.

During a fight, I had to choose which room of the enemy ship to attack. I liked knocking down their weapons, which saved my hull while I continued the attack with impunity. If it was a scout ship revving up its FTL drive to alert the rebel fleet, I would try to attack the engines to stop it. Sometimes I found that I couldn’t get a missile past the drone defending the ship, so I started striking at the drone control room to disable the drone. I sometimes attacked shields, but often I found that my multi-shot lasers would knock them down and still get some hits in, so early in a game I focus on weapons instead.

If I collected enough scrap, I could upgrade the ship. Did I improve shields? Weapons? Engines? Do I improve them now, or wait a little longer in case the scrap could be used on better purchases and upgrades later? If I waited too long, I would fight stronger and stronger ships until they badly outclassed me, but if I upgrade too soon, I might not be able to afford new crew members or better weaponry if I find a store.

When I did get new weaponry, I found new attack options opened up. Attacking empty rooms means bonus damage? Well, ok then. Also, if I upgraded my sensors, I could see the enemy crew on their ship, so I could purposefully try to attack them if I see they are weak. Fewer of them means less opportunities to board my ship or repair theirs.

Every so often, I come across a quest marker. For instance, I was asked if I was willing to defend a space dock from a rebel assault. Well, why not? The fight was easy, and I get a reward. Or I would have, had the rebel fleet not overtaken the area where I would go get my reward. Oh, well.

When I find myself in rebel fleet space, the battle is intense. There’s no quarter given or taken, and I find myself frantically trying to repair hull breaches and engines to jump away to safety, but I rarely succeed.

When I do lose the ship and the total score is tallied, I see how this session compared to previous sessions. I want to get a higher score, and I also want to make it past the latest sector I’ve arrived at. It’s enough to make me want to replay each time.

So there you have it. I documented my experience playing FTL, and I gained an appreciation for just how much is going on in this game. If you participated in exercise 1.1 on your own, please comment below to let me know, and if you wrote your own blog post or discuss it online, make sure to use the hashtag #GDWW.

Next week, I’ll be writing about a game that was “dead on arrival”, talking about what I didn’t like about it and how the game could be improved.

Game Design Workshop Wednesday Exercise 1.1: Become a Tester #GDWW is a post from: GBGames - Thoughts on Indie Game Development

Weekday Escape N°33

from Jay Is Games

Weekday Escape N°33 Games featured this week: Fruit Kitchens No.9: Grapefruit Yellow; Escape from the Three Colored Diamonds Room; White Night — This week's escapers' curation contains some reliable standards as well as a few surprises from FunkyLand, Yomino Kagura, and Sneedle (teamed with No1Game). It comes with a money-back guarantee to please whether you like looking for fruits in a whimsical kitchen or would rather stick to pure puzzling simplicity or prefer a point-and-click style adventure with bewildering charm. Tagged as: blog, browser, escape, free, funkyland, game, linux, mac, pointandclick, puzzle, sneedle, weekday-escape, windows, yominokagura

July 22, 2014

ReactionLab 2

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Android — ReactionLab 2 Forget the Planeteers... you've got way more than those piddly elements at your command! In this sequel to the popular Android sandbox simulation, twelve new elements have been added for a total of 54 that you can draw and manipulate any way you please to discover reactions when they interact and even create and share. Tagged as: alchemy, android, elements, game, hfgames, mobile, physics, puzzle, rating-g, sandbox, simulation, tablet

Escape To Hell

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Escape To Hell Work your way through to get deeper into Hell to make it back to your home. Take on odd jobs from smashing important statues, collecting magical items, saving smaller demons, or just the good old slaughter to earn your way across the hellish dimensions.. Tagged as: action, browser, dungeoncrawler, flash, free, game, jarmstrong, linux, mac, rating-o, rdonkin, upgrades, windows

Secrets of the Dark: The Flower of Shadow Walkthrough

from Casual Game Guides

Our Secrets of the Dark: The Flower of Shadow Walkthrough will guide you through your next grand adventure in this latest addition to the Secrets of the Dark franchise! Trust in our comprehensive instructions, our custom marked game screenshots, and our detailed puzzle solutions to help you save Maria and stop an evil goddess from being reborn!

» Secrets of the Dark: The Flower of Shadow Walkthrough & Forum

» Secrets of the Dark: The Flower of Shadow Free Trial & Related Games

Nautilus Escape

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android, Flash — Nautilus Escape Something's gone horribly wrong aboard the legendary Nautilus. All the power's gone out, and you're the only crewman left alive! But there's still hope for this submarine, and if you can get it started once again, you'll be able to escape it! Using your wits (and the items on board the submarine, of course), plot a course for survival and make it back to the mainland! Tagged as: android, browser, escape, flash, free, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, justpinegames, linux, mac, mobile, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-y, tablet, windows

July 21, 2014

Space Trading Profiteer

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Android — Space Trading Profiteer You are just one human in a race against eight aliens for monetary dominance. The Ferengi game, Tongo? Or just RokSoft's mobile game of turn-based strategy in the trading of goods (and services)? In Space Trading Profiteer, it's your job to trade and transport your way to the number one spot as you fight to earn 1 million Chings. Only the best can survive with the losers forever in debt to the nasty loan sharks. Tagged as: android, demo, game, mobile, rating-g, roksoft, scifi, simulation, strategy, tablet, trading, turnbased


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Quebrix Slow, relaxing, and surprisingly tricky, this puzzle game has you slide quadrants of images around to achieve the desired picture. Enjoy the smooth elevator music while you do so; it's like a vacation for your brain. Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, linux, mac, puzzle, rating-g, simpleidea, tactictos, turnbased, windows, zen

July 20, 2014


from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android — DOOORS 4 58Works started the trend of endless escapes: a game where you must find your way through a door only to face another door that you must also puzzle your way out of. And 58Works still does it best, with this latest installment in the series. Once again you're called on to experiment: tapping, swiping, shaking and doing anything else you can with your mobile device to affect the scene on each level. Plenty of puzzles mean you'll always be on your toes, discovering new ways to have fun with just one wall and a door. Tagged as: 58works, android, escape, free, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, mobile, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g

Kick the Critter

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android, Flash — Kick the Critter It's been raining for forty days and forty nights, and M. Critter's home is seriously losing ground (as it were). But that jerk Noah won't let him on the ark! Thank goodness Critter's got an assortment of fantastical kicking machines he can use to launch himself toward the boat. Bounce off bats, get spiked on thorns, and shoot yourself out of a giant robot's arm cannon to reach the boat and give that Noah a piece of your mind! Tagged as: android, arcade, berzerk, browser, flash, free, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, launch, linux, mac, mobile, rating-o, tablet, windows

Painted Heart

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Painted Heart A young, acolyte named Corbin, who is training to be a Pictomancer, is called in to restore a very historical painting. But, it's not the paint cracking or fading on this piece that's causing its destruction. Pestilence, a strange mysterious monster, is actively destroying the grand image and Corbin must stop it before the prominent picture is lost forever. Fight the minions of the Pestilence and recover the painting before it claims Corbin himself. Tagged as: action, adventure, chaude, download, fantasy, free, game, indie, rating-g, rpg, strategy, windows

July 19, 2014

Matryoshka (New Edition)

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android, Flash — Matryoshka (New Edition) The appeal of this charming escape game from the always cleverly inventive Kotorinosu, like the Russian nesting dolls it's named after, is in its many layers and surprises held within. As an all new edition of a previously released browser game, here you'll encounter fun new puzzles and a completely revamped visual design, with one of the most intuitive UIs a mobile escape game could ever hope for. Tagged as: adventure, android, browser, escape, flash, free, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, kotorinosu, mobile, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Somnium Help Thomas gather his memories while traveling through the surreal labyrinth that is his daydreams. Explore and experience the madness of one lonely child's mind in this free indie horror adventure game. Tagged as: adventure, download, exploration, free, game, horror, indie, m256, rating-o, surreal, windows

July 18, 2014

Divinity: Original Sin

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Divinity: Original Sin Larian's massive RPG adventure makes a comeback in a huge way. With an enormous world, challenging and uniquely strategic combat where the elements come into play, and all the humour, sidequests, treasure and surprises you've come to expect, this is one rare game worth its hefty price tag. Tagged as: affiliate, download, exploration, fantasy, game, gog, indie, larian, mac, rating-o, rpg, steam, strategy, turnbased, windows

Dead Reckoning: Silvermoon Isle

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Dead Reckoning: Silvermoon Isle (movie trailer voice) "A movie star. A secluded island. A party. A shocking death. Everyone's a suspect on Silvermoon Isle." Come along, detective, we're going to the 1930s! Veronica West, a beloved Hollywood star, died under suspicious circumstances on her birthday. As you interview her guests and look for clues in her huge, wonderful mansion, you'll discover that this case is much more complicated, intriguing and exciting than you could have imagined. Tagged as: adventure, affiliate, casual, demo, download, eipixentertainment, game, hiddenobject, mac, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-y, windows

Viking Saga: Epic Adventure Walkthrough

from Casual Game Guides

Our Viking Saga: Epic Adventure Walkthrough will help guide your journey through the most harrowing levels of this intense time management game as you attempt to help King Ingolf complete his quest to find the biggest diamond in the world in order to win his future bride. 

» Viking Saga: Epic Adventure Walkthrough & Forum

» Viking Saga: Epic Adventure Free Trial & Related Games

Cut the Monster 2

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Cut the Monster 2 Destroy all monsters! Use the environment to your advantage in this physics puzzle game, knocking down walls and activating machinery, all to get each disgusting monster in range of your deadly laser gun. Tagged as: bestphysicsgames, browser, flash, free, game, linux, mac, physics, puzzle, rating-y, volik, windows


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Cut! In this whimsy-doused escape game from Yonashi, you'll do some slicing, snipping, trimming and chopping to reveal the clues you need to solve puzzles and open cupboards, all in the quest to obtain new ways to cut things down to size in a search for the exit key. The challenge is enough to make you think while the fun visuals will paste a smile on your face throughout the gameplay. Tagged as: browser, escape, flash, free, game, linux, mac, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g, windows, yonashi

More Game Mechanic and Algorithm Visualizations

from GBGames

Sometime back, I wrote about GameMechanicExplorer, which was a new site that allowed you to explore game mechanics interactively.

Seeing a new technique represented in a visual space can help make it easier to understand, especially if the math or algorithm is complex.

If you’ve ever done searches online for game development, you’ve probably come across Amit Patel’s website, which acted as a public set of bookmarks for various game development resources.

RedBlobGames 1

In the last year, he started posting interactive visualizations to explain topics such as lighting and visibility, A* pathfinding, probability, and using noise to make procedural generation look natural, among others.

RedBlobGames 2

I enjoyed his article on procedural map generation in the past, but being able to see (and hear) how noise works and learning about the different kinds of noise in one place is amazing.

In general, you can find a lot of great game development resources at Red Blob Games, but these new visualizations add a lot of value. Thanks for posting these, Amit!

More Game Mechanic and Algorithm Visualizations is a post from: GBGames - Thoughts on Indie Game Development

July 17, 2014

Castle Doombad

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android — Castle Doombad It's good to be bad in this gorgeous and funny little tower defense game for iOS or Android where you must place traps to fend off the heroes trying to rescue the Princess... after all, you're trying to harvest her screams! Pay for it outright, or go "free-to-slay", but the most surprising thing might be how UNobnoxious Castle Doombad's free version actually is. Tagged as: action, adultswim, android, defense, free, game, grumpyfacestudios, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, microtransactions, mobile, realtime, strategy, tablet, towerdefense


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Purrmageddon Cat + Laser Robots = Everything the Internet Ever Wanted in Purrmageddon, a fun arcade sidescrolling rail shooter by Ice Fix Games. While more explanation and customization would have been preferred, Purrmageddon is still a fancy feast for the eyes and ears. Tagged as: arcade, browser, flash, free, game, icefixgames, linux, mac, rating-y, robot, shooter, sidescrolling, windows

July 16, 2014


from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android — Ingress Something is very wrong. There is an energy of unknown origin and intent seeping into our world. It is known as Exotic Matter. Join the Enlightenment or the Revolution in this massively popular mmo and hunt down that unknown energy in your local neighborhood. Tagged as: adventure, android, free, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, mmo, mobile, multiplayer, narrative, online, rating-g, tablet

Laser Cannon 3 Levels Pack

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Laser Cannon 3 Levels Pack The monsters are here!... well, I mean, they're just sort of standing around, usually in close proximity to dangerous materials. But still, they're monsters, so you should probably figure out how to blast them all in this colourful physics puzzler. Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, linux, mac, physics, puzzle, rating-y, sigmastudio, windows

Introducing Game Design Workshop Wednesdays #GDWW

from GBGames

Recently I was sent a review copy of Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Third Edition by Tracy Fullerton. Fullerton is the Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and won the IndieCade 2013 Trailblazer award, which is an award given annually “to a working game creator who has both made great contributions to the field of games and captures the independent spirit.”

I’ll have a review of the book itself published at a later time, but I’ll quickly highlight the vitals.

The book is split into three parts. The first part is all about game design basics. Terminology is defined, and games are broken down into formal elements, dramatic elements, and system dynamics.

The second part is about taking what you learned in the first part and putting it into practice. You’ll learn how to generate ideas, prototype them, conduct playtests, and refine the design until it is functional, complete, and balanced.

The third part focuses on working as a game designer in the industry, both in terms of job descriptions as well as what life is like working on a team. I note that going independent was given roughly a page in a 10-page chapter on getting you and your ideas into the industry.

I think the book overall covers a lot of ground, provides lessons as well as examples, and even features the wisdom and advice of many prominent game designers such as Richard Garfield, Josh Holmes, Jenova Chen, and Will Wright. I think this book is a great addition to my game design library.

Of course, merely reading a game design book won’t teach you game design anymore than reading an art book will teach you to be a painter.

You need to DO game design to become a game designer.

This book has plenty of exercises throughout its chapters to guide you through creating your own playable game designs. As Fullerton says in the introduction, “If you think of this book as a tool to lead you through the process of design, and not just a text to read, you’ll find the experience much more valuable.”

On that note, I’d like to introduce Game Design Workshop Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, I’ll take an exercise from the book and go through it myself, sharing what I’m doing. If you’d like to follow along at home, you can click on the link above to get your own copy through Amazon.

So join me next week as we learn and create games together. I’d love it if you left comments to share how you did on your exercises as well. Alternatively, if you would like to write your own blog posts, or tweet or otherwise participate on your own, use the hashtag #GDWW so we can all keep in touch.

Introducing Game Design Workshop Wednesdays #GDWW is a post from: GBGames - Thoughts on Indie Game Development

Weekday Escape N°32

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Weekday Escape N°32 Games featured this week: Candy Rooms 13: Black Modern; Button Escape 22; Find the Escape-Men 112: EM Express — As it turns out, with another quest for five sweet treats by FunkyLand, a search for ten green men from No1Game, and a game of hide-and-seek for eleven buttons in Tototo Room's single-walled scene, the theme for this week's selection of fun free escape games is: can you find it? Of course, there is no shortage of puzzles and quirky amusement to go along with your investigations. But we can chat about those details after you're done playing. Have fun! Tagged as: blog, browser, escape, flash, free, funkyland, game, no1game, pointandclick, puzzle, tototoroom, weekday-escape

July 15, 2014

A Few Billion Square Tiles

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS — A Few Billion Square Tiles Multi-player minesweeper sound like fun? Using classic minesweeper rules, diffuse mines to capture as many tiles as possible while competing against other players or clans for the biggest kingdom. Use your accumulated yellow tiles to buy bonuses to help your score and your territory get bigger. Join forces with friends if you want to rule the world, or try on your own to win the hourly top score contest. Tagged as: free, galta, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, logic, minesweeper, mobile, mulitplayer, online, puzzle, rating-g, tablet

Bump Bump

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Bump Bump One room, one view... right? The creator of the popular and enormous Find the Escape-Men series gives an escape game an unexpected twist in this short but clever game that will fit right into your lunch break. Tagged as: browser, escape, flash, free, game, linux, mac, no1game, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g, windows

Hidden Expedition: The Crown of Solomon Walkthrough

from Casual Game Guides

Our Hidden Expedition: The Crown of Solomon Walkthrough is prepared to help you on your quest to find the missing pieces of the legendary crown before a nefarious thief can get his hands on it. Trust in our custom marked screenshots, our detailed instructions, and our simple puzzle solutions to see you through your latest expedition!

» Hidden Expedition: The Crown of Solomon Walkthrough & Forum

» Hidden Expedition: The Crown of Solomon Free Trial & Related Games

Spy Bear

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Spy Bear Gleefully pick off a roomful of unfortunately-placed nefarious henchmen with just a few well-placed billiards-like trick shots in this embarassingly-safisfying physics projectile puzzler. With everything from grenades to insane Tesla guns, you've got a lot of tools for the job. Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, jvillegas, linux, mac, physics, projectile, puzzle, rating-y, windows