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eXceed is a vertical shmup by FLAT that features three characters to choose from and the same manic bullet patterns made famous by other Japanese shooters. There are no power-ups to speak of, instead the player has to collect violet gems to level up.

Smartbombs can be configured to go off automatically when you're hit by a bullet. Bullet grazing has been implemented as well, which increases your charge shot when executed correctly and can be unleashed upon enemies for substantial damage.

Name: eXceed
Developer: FLAT
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 30MB
 

Sunday, January 29, 2006
Duel Toys is a new fighting game by Diefox that features redrawn sprites of popular Capcom, SNK, Rare and Midway characters plus several new ones. Just about all their moves have been faithfully translated to this version, including multiple special attacks which can be executed by using up your energy meter.

If you've played any of the Yu-Gi-Oh Gameboy Advance titles then this is probably familiar territory. Go around town challenging random NPCs to a duel for a chance to win duel points. These points can be used to unlock new Duel Toys from the shop.

Window size can be adjusted by clicking on either 1x, 2x or 3x on the top right of the screen. A save point is conveniently located in your room, although you have to use the public transport to get back to your house.

All moves can be found here. There's a comprehensive manual included in the zip file as well.

Name: Duel Toys
Developer: Diefox
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Friday, January 27, 2006
Gunners Heart is a new 3D shooter from EasyGameStation that plays more like an unconventional shmup than a title that features classic dogfight sequences. There are two planes to choose from in this one level demo that is divided into three parts.

The first portion takes place in a town while the second one will have you flying through the sky as you do battle with enemy fighters. The Z key is assigned as the primary shot key and a barrel roll can be executed just by tapping the C key while holding down a directional button. Handy for dodging enemy bullets.

Highlight of this short preview is the boss battle, where you have to take down an airship by blowing up it's parts one by one. To download the game just click on the trial version image.

Name: Gunners Heart
Developer: EasyGameStation
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 30MB
 

Thursday, January 26, 2006
Exolon DX is basically a remake of an old Hewson game with updated graphics. The original was a favorite among fans and this version is just as good. Besides the graphical overhaul, the animation is much smoother this time around as well.

Your quest is simple as you seek to eliminate as many aliens as possible with your standard blaster or rocket-propelled grenades. Both weapons have limited ammunition though these can be replenished by collecting ammo pickups.

This review does an excellent job of explaining the gameplay. Not exactly Metroid material but still manages to remain fun despite being nearly twenty years old. The classic, that is.

Name: Exolon DX
Developer: Graham Goring
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 15MB
 

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Azutama is basically a remake of a very old arcade tank battle game. Protect your base from fellow colleagues by knocking them out using snowballs. There are power-ups to collect and mid-level bosses as well, judging from the screenshots.

The trial version is a bit on the short side but it does show promise. You can download it by clicking on the link with the largest font.

Name: Azutama
Developer: EasyGameStation
Category: Action
Type: Demo
Size: 3MB
 

Monday, January 23, 2006
Cedric and the Revolution is a new AGS effort by Bernie, creator of A Game with a Kitty. An old school adventure in the style of classic Lucasarts titles, you play the role of the titular character in his quest to gather enough people for a peaceful demonstration.

Expect a well-written story, witty dialogues and memorable characters brought vividly to life by his distinct art style.

Name: Cedric and the Revolution
Developer: Bernie
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
 

Sunday, January 22, 2006
S.W.I.N.E. is a 3D commercial real-time strategy game by StormRegion that was graphically impressive when it was first released back in 2001. Thanks to the developers, they have made the full version free to download from their site just in time for Christmas.

The complete package offers campaigns for both sides, multiplayer options and a complete tutorial section. Unlike many other RTS, a few things are done differently in this game. Strategy points are used to purchase combat units and there's no resource collection activities to speak of. Units require fuel and have limited ammunition, although these can be replenished by using the appropriate supply trailers.

Name: S.W.I.N.E.
Developer: StormRegion
Category: Strategy
Type: Freeware
Size: 700MB
 

Saturday, January 21, 2006
Gunroar is the latest release from Kenta Cho that again sets the standard for Japanese shmup developers to follow. Like the manual states, steer a boat in your neverending quest to sink more enemy fleets. That's about it really.

There are four play modes on offer including one that allows you to control two ships at the same time. As if the game is not hard enough. Mouse mode is probably the best choice as it offers flexibility in directing your weapon aim. You can use either a concentrated or spread shot by alternating between the Z and X key.

Name: Gunroar
Developer: Kenta Cho
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

In Torus Trooper, you pilot a ship through a tunnel chasing after other enemy pilots in a race against time. Every level is split into two sections, and progress can only be made after defeating a number of ships and one mid-level boss.

As mentioned earlier, there's a strict time limit and the only way to replenish it is by defeating bosses or reaching certain scores. It's a good idea to keep pressing the up arrow key to accelerate, because your shot strength increases as you go faster.

Enemy bullets might seem a little difficult to dodge compared to other Kenta Cho's efforts, but this is where he tops himself again. You can slow down with nice grinding effects by pressing the X key. Holding down this button actually charges your special shot that can be unleashed to absorb harmful projectiles, destroy enemy ships in it's path and gain more bonuses as well.

Name: Torus Trooper
Developer: Kenta Cho
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

PARSEC47 is an attempt by Kenta Cho to recreate the addictive gameplay of classic arcade shmups with his own spin. Select either a lock or roll special weapon from the main menu by pressing the X key. Holding down the same key in Lock mode activates the ship's lasers which will home in on the enemy vessels in your sights. You're basically presented with a charged shot in Roll mode.

Progress is automatically saved every tenth level. Neat.

Name: PARSEC47
Developer: Kenta Cho
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Friday, January 20, 2006
Area 2048 is an excellent shooter developed by Hello World Project, in which the player has to clear each room packed with enemies before being allowed to proceed to the next.

Arrow keys control the ship's movement, while the Z key is assigned as the primary shot button. Pressing the X key while shooting will activate the wide shot, which causes the screen to zoom out so that you can have a better view of your surroundings for a short moment.

Name: Area 2048
Developer: Hello World Project
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Thursday, January 19, 2006
Lunar Rescue is a one level remake of an old Taito classic by Bamboo Bong Productions. A few spacemen are stranded on the moon in an unexplained incident, so your job is to save them by landing the rescue pod on the surface and bringing them back to the supply vessel.

The mission itself consists of two sections, landing and returning to the mother ship. Release your pod by pressing the CTRL key, then guide it around the asteroid field using the arrow keys. You need to use the same action button to land safely on one of the nicely arranged rocks, because coming down too fast will cause your ship to crash.

Once an astronaut is safely transported into the ship, the second part of the journey begins. The asteroids will disappear magically, replaced by hostile enemy units bent on halting your return back to the ship permanently. The CTRL key now turns into a speed boost as well as the shot button. Rescue all spacemen to complete the game.

The developers have promised more levels in future versions.

Name: Lunar Rescue
Developer: Bamboo Bong Productions
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 3MB

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006
The Life in Matter is an interesting one key effort by Jph Wacheski, where all actions in the game are carried out through the use of one button. Your objective is to reach the core by moving the grey creature clockwise. You need to avoid objects that are orange in color, but any other items can be collected for bonus points.

The creature is always in perpetual motion, but you can change it's direction by pressing any key. Going counterclockwise will actually move it further away from the core, so keep going clockwise to reach your objective and advance to the next level.

Name: The Life in Matter
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 3MB

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Samorost 2 by Amanita Design is a flash game that is free to play online for the first few chapters. The second half is included in the downloadable version once you have purchased it.

The developers have chosen to use graphics to portray the story, so there's practically no text to read throughout the entire journey. Most puzzles are solved by figuring out the order in which the items on screen are supposed to be clicked.

The Samorost 2 walkthrough can be found here.

Name: Samorost 2
Developer: Amanita Design
Category: Adventure
Type: Flash
Size: 20MB
 

lockOn is another release by Jph Wacheski of Iteration Games that can be described as shooter with weird psychedelic effects. Guide your ship around using the arrow keys and shoot at enemies with the G key. Shot aiming is automatic unless you decide to target the nearest hostile unit by pressing the F key.

A forward gun can be fired but the projectile's movement is decided by your own speed velocity and current travel direction. There are collectible power-ups which increases your weapon strength but whenever your ship takes damage it weakens by one level. Enemy ships which have been destroyed will turn into blinking objects that you have to pick up. If you leave them around for too long, they will respawn into new ships.

Game instructions can be found here.

Name: lockOn
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB

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Monday, January 16, 2006
Melon Squash is a side-scrolling shooter that features stages like the ones found in Konamis' Contra series. Gameplay involves piloting a vehicle at high-speed, taking out enemies and blasting through obstacles to reach your objective.

The player can aim high by pressing the shoot key (Z) and up at the same time. Gems and power-ups can be collected to increase your weapon strength level, although taking damage will bring it back down again. A short jump can be attempted by pressing the X key, while tapping the C key will activate your special weapon. All four types can be accessed by pressing either the A, S, D or F key.

It does take a while to load, probably because the unzipped contents are actually 40MB in size. The download section can be accessed by clicking on one of the tabs at the bottom of the page.

Name: Melon Squash
Developer: Ichigo-Citron
Category: Action
Type: Demo
Size: 20MB
 

Sunday, January 15, 2006
Zugya DX is an excellent shooter from Chinchilla Softhouse that can be described as Robotron: 2084 in space. Arrow keys control the ship's movement, and your shot direction is locked when you hold down the X key. Pressing the C key will activate your plasma charge, which is basically a short moment of invincibility.

Your main targets are the space stations which you have to destroy by shooting at it's core. It won't be easy as they're usually protected by substations equipped with all sorts of defensive weapons. Some of the substations carry power-ups which you can collect to boost your spread shot.

Name: Zugya DX
Developer: Chinchilla Softhouse
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
 

Thursday, January 12, 2006
In The Green Pill, you're in control of an organism that has to collect the titular object. For this item to appear you would have to pick up a number of other pills first. Pills will cause different things to happen to the cell when eaten, depending on the color.

Yellow pills will cause another head to grow. Collecting red pills will cause your circulatory system to bloat, while another tentacle sprouts if the blue pill is eaten. Avoid the purple pills at whatever cost.

Plays a bit like an experimental version of Snake.

Name: The Green Pill
Developer: Tomasz Dobrowolski
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Noiz2sa is another excellent shooter from Kenta Cho that features abstract shapes to shoot at. It doesn't sound particularly interesting at first but once you dig in you'll find that it is just as addictive to play as the rest of his games.

The red dot located inside your ship is the object that you need to protect from an endless barrage of bullets. Each stage consists of ten sections, and your current progress is conveniently displayed on the top right. A boss awaits at the end of each level if you manage to survive that long.

Name: Noiz2sa
Developer: Kenta Cho
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
 

Tumiki Fighters is a shooter by Kenta Cho that is quite different compared to his other efforts. Just about all the objects in the game are made out of colorful blocks, including your own fighter plane.

Enemy ships that have been destroyed will break into pieces. These parts can be collected by simply touching them, and they will act as extensions to your own fighter plane. Your attack strength increases with each part you collect, although they will fall apart if an enemy bullet hits it.

You can retract the enemy ship parts by holding down the X key, although no further parts can be picked up until you release the button.

Name: TUMIKI Fighters
Developer: Kenta Cho
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
MaWaRu Maid-san wo Nemigi is an excellent WarioWare clone which can be described as a collection of mini games that usually lasts a few seconds. The player only has a short moment to figure out what the objective of the level is and go about completing it.

The game is in Japanese so the instructions given at the beginning of each stage is useless, although it's not that hard to figure out what you have to do after a try or two. Arrow keys are mostly used for movement, and the Z key is assigned as the action button. You can only fail four times before losing the game, indicated by the number of maid characters in between levels.

Requires the latest DirectX version to be installed.

Name: MaWaRu Maid-san wo Nemigi
Developer: D.N.A. Software
Category: Action
Type: Demo
Size: 15MB
 

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Alien Stars is a top down vertical shooter from Awem Studio that showcases very well drawn 2D sprites. Controls are a little awkward though, as the player can only guide the ship by using the mouse.

Just like Raiden, your weapon can be upgraded by collecting power-ups of the same color. You can also pick up secondary weapon supplies such as missiles or mines in addition to ship energy and shield recharge units. Not too sure what money is used for though, besides increasing your score they have practically no use since there are no shops in between levels to purchase items.

Level progress is shown on the top left, which is a nice feature. Bosses have multiple weak points to shoot at and a health indicator to represent the amount of damage they have taken.

Name: Alien Stars
Developer: Awem Studio
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 10MB
 

Monday, January 09, 2006
Escort Wing's gameplay can probably be described as a mix of Space Wars and Star Control. Essentially a top down shooter, all missions involve escorting convoy ships from one point to another.

The radar is your best friend as you will use it often to intercept incoming enemies before they reach your fleet. A few wingmen will double as your teammates who can assist and provide backup in times of need. Choose to gang up on hostile units or break from formation and divide into separate groups.

One of the OMG Cup 2005 finalists, and favorite to win as well. Planned updates in the near future include more missions, a variety of backgrounds and more ships. Available for both Windows and Mac platform.

Name: Escort Wing
Developer: William Hogben, Stephen Johnson
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
 

Sunday, January 08, 2006
PreCure-ACT by Chinchilla is a side scrolling action game similar to Final Fight and River City Ransom. The combat system is a little limited and gameplay is nowhere near as addictive as those classics.

Most enemies only require one hit, and the game is quite easy if you learn how to time your attacks. Bosses are the only opponents that would probably offer a challenge or two. But even that would not pose much of a problem because the player can continue as many times as they want.

The 32MB download is available here.

Name: PreCure-ACT
Developer: Chinchilla Softhouse
Category: Action
Type: Demo
Size: 30MB
 

Saturday, January 07, 2006
End Effector Accomplished Edition is another superb freeware shooter from Japan that actually showcases 3D graphics for sprites and backgrounds, although gameplay is still very much on a flat 2D plane.

Textures are poor but that's practically the only drawback of an otherwise excellent SHMUP. The Z key is assigned as the cancel/secondary button, while the X key is used for selection and shoot. Pressing the C key will bring up a menu.

No power-ups to collect as you're already equipped with a powerful charge weapon that can be used like a slingshot. The first level is quite plain, but things do pick up after the initial boss battle.

Name: End Effector Accomplished Edition
Developer: KMC
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 70MB
 

Friday, January 06, 2006
Ele Paper Action is a game based on a popular Japanese anime called Read or Die. Characters in the original manga do battle using paper as their weapons, and it's no different in the game itself.

You control three sisters at the same time using the arrow keys. The Z, X and C key will cause one of the character to execute an attack, depending on which key is being pressed at that time. By hitting a key repeatedly, a combo can be executed although the combat system is poorly implemented and not much fun compared to other side-scrolling fighters.

Graphically impressive for a 2D effort, the developers have included a zoom camera for close ups as well. Direct download link here or here.

Name: Ele Paper Action
Developer: EasyGameStation
Category: Action
Type: Demo
Size: 20MB
 

Thursday, January 05, 2006
Chainsaw Maniac is basically a recreation of the hit console release in Game and Watch format. Looks simplistic but it's actually quite fun, especially if you've enjoyed playing one of those handhelds before.

Help Leon survive against a horde of chainsaw-wielding maniacs by collecting knives from nearby sheds and using them to repel their attacks. The protagonist can only carry three knives at any time though, so you need to replenish his stock quite often.

Controls are limited to the left and right arrow key. Starts off slow but gets really frantic after a while.

Name: Chainsaw Maniac
Developer: Capcom
Category: Action
Type: Flash
Size: 1MB
 

Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Tontie 1980 is a reinvention of the original Flash effort by Eyezmaze, in the form of a Game and Watch handheld. The objective is simple, place the hammer above any hole that a Tontie appears from by using either the left or right button. Earn one point for each successful placement. Lose a life if a Tontie manages to escape through an exit.

As mentioned by the author, it's about 12kb in size so not much variety in gameplay can be squeezed out of this one.

Name: Tontie 1980
Developer: Eyezmaze
Category: Action
Type: Flash
Size: 1MB
 

Grow Ornament is the latest game from Eyezmaze, where you attempt to click on items in the correct sequence to solve the puzzle. In this case, the objective is to light up the tree and spread Christmas cheer.

There are six decorations to choose from this time around.

Name: Grow Ornament
Developer: Eyezmaze
Category: Puzzle
Type: Flash
Size: 1MB
 

Monday, January 02, 2006
Fortune Tiles Gold is a match-three puzzler by TikGames that allows the player to pick up pieces directly instead of just swapping them. Even though chinese characters are used, it's pretty easy to differentiate the tiles because of the vibrant colors associated with each type.

The objective of the game is to replace all marked pieces before time runs out. Tiles and backgrounds change every few stages to keep things fresh.

Name: Fortune Tiles Gold
Developer: TikGames
Category: Puzzle
Type: Demo
Size: 10MB
 

Sunday, January 01, 2006
Super Sprout is an interesting little mini-game that was originally coded in two days by Joseph White for the Ludum Dare 48 hour competition.

Instructions from the readme file are as follows.

Use the cursor keys to turn left and right. Press space to fork the sprout. The longer you hold down space, the greater the angle becomes. Hold down the up cursor key to go faster.

To complete each level, you must collect all of the leaf and flower pickups without having any shoots left over. You must not let the shoots crash into each other, or the side of the screen.

Recently updated to version 1.02 to include more levels. Available for the Mac as well.

Name: Super Sprout
Developer: Lexaloffle Games
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB