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With such an ordinary name, one would not expect much from an effort simply entitled ToJam Thing. The game only requires you to inflate bubbles and make them pop.

Then the objective hits you like a truck. Similar to Every Extend, shards from popped bubbles will be propelled in one general direction and cause a chain when hitting other red objects. The number of shards released depends on the size of the bubble when it explodes.

To make red bubbles grow larger, simply inflate them slowly. Bubbles which are about to burst will be unstable, making them easy to notice. A boss is introduced near the end. Game is over when the music ends or all lives are lost, whichever happens first.

Use the arrow keys to move and press the W, A, S or D key repeatedly to inflate bubbles. A bit like Dig Dug, really. Plus it was made in three days.

Name: ToJam Thing
Developer: Queasy Games
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Heavy Weather is an alright mini-game which pits a man in suit against falling objects. Press the A key to move left or the D key to move right. Hold the left shift key to sprint, although it uses up your energy.

Rest to regain more strength to run. Objects will always cast a shadow over the area that it is about to land on. Made in three days for the Toronto Independent Game Jam Competition.

Name: Heavy Weather
Developer: Team Entelechynt
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
 

Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth is a new game by Screen 7 featuring the immortal screen legend on another globe-trotting adventure. Out of all efforts by many other fans, this one resembles it's source material the most.

Like the original, multiple paths can be used to reach the objective. Arcade sequences are optional, depending on your actions in the game. No voice acting yet, plus the length is rather short but this release is well worth downloading even if it's not the full version. The walkthrough can be accessed by clicking here.

Name: Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth
Developer: Screen 7
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

new platformerA 2min video of Team GrisGris' latest platformer has been posted. [Dread Lock review]

Click on the Japanese characters in yellow to download, located at the top of the screen.

Game Tunnel's Monthly Round-Up for May has been posted.

A treasure trove of freeware mini-games by the developer of Bimboman and Teppoman can be found here. Link suggested by Raigan of Metanet Software and Queasy Games. Thanks! [Metanet documentary]
 

Biwa of Blood is a short adventure game developed by spb for the April 2004 MAGS competition. Brush strokes are used to depict sprites and backgrounds, a technique also employed by Jon J. Muth for the penultimate issue of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

It's story is based on an old Japanese folklore, hence the unique setting. The game does not feature any sound or music, which is understandable since the entire effort was coded in less than a week.

Name: Biwa of Blood
Developer: spb
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Sushi Samurai is another updated clone of Burgertime, an arcade classic which was released twenty five years ago. The friendly samurai must walk over sushi ingredients to make Japanese delicacies while avoiding enemies or paralyzing them with wasabi.

Will only appeal to fans of the original. The gameplay doesn't translate too well and won't capture the attention of today's young audiences.

Name: Sushi Samurai
Developer: CBC
Category: Action
Type: Flash
Size: 1MB
 

Kickin' Soccer by Phelios is a rather average soccer simulation, featuring an overhead view of the football field much like Sensible Soccer.

Some of it's problems include missing officials, no substitutions, absence of player names and lack of replays. The developers probably have not heard of the offside rule, and it's a crime not to have England as a playable team in the demo. It wouldn't matter much, since footballers in this title have zero personality.

Billed as an action game, Kickin' Soccer certainly fits the bill but not much more than that.

Name: Kickin' Soccer
Developer: Phelios
Category: Sports
Type: Demo
Size: 10MB
 

Sunday, May 28, 2006
Perfect Run is a 2D vertical shooter by Team Sempai, also responsible for the development of Mr. Blocko and the upcoming Intercept. While it's stated that the game will never be completed, an entire level is still playable with two boss encounters to expect.

This is their first project, and considering the quality it's safe to say that their next shmup release will not disappoint.

Name: Perfect Run
Developer: Perfect Run
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Mr. Blocko is an original action game which mixes gameplay elements from both Tetris and Namco's Mr. Driller. Your objective is to assist a poor Tetris player to create horizontal lines, by using the titular character to push blocks and fill up any gaps.

Pretty fun for a lightweight puzzler.

Name: Mr. Blocko
Developer: Perfect Run
Category: Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Saturday, May 27, 2006
Tank Domination is the latest release from DHC, an acclaimed Japanese freeware shmup developer. As the title suggests, your vehicle can now move around and aim freely instead of being limited to one vertical direction. Hold the Z key to lock your aim and shoot at the same time.

Energy will only be replenished when all enemies shown on radar as red dots are destroyed. Your tank will explode with only one hit but three lives are given at the start of each game.

The version available for download features six short stages but does include four different difficulty levels to choose from. Simplicity equals fun.

Name: Tank Domination
Developer: DHC
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

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Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World is a new adventure series from Naphtalite Productions, featuring a slightly absentminded titular character, his sidekick and an accompanying robot.

Graphically reminiscent of classic 2D LucasArts titles, a verb coin called The Badgotron is used for interaction with objects and characters. The story kicks off with a rescue mission, but soon after Kaptain Brawe finds himself branded as a fugitive from justice for a crime he did not commit.

It's interesting to note that the entire game was made by one female developer, with a little help from a musician.

Name: Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World
Developer: Naphtalite Productions
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 20MB
 

Thursday, May 25, 2006
reviewed by dessgeega

formerly CG_01, bullet candy is a single-screen area shooter in the style of robotron: 2084. which is to say that the player can move and shoot in any direction, and moving and shooting are independent of one another.

as such, the game was clearly designed for a dual-stick controller. i couldn’t get my playstation2 pad to work with it, so i was forced to use the less desirable default control scheme: keyboard for movement, mouse for aiming. this is somewhat awkward, though it does allow a 360-degree range of shooting, which the developer seems to feel is essential to the game: there’s no keyboard-keyboard setup (if there was i could at least use joy2key to map the controls to my pad manually).

the game’s agenda is reflected by its final title, chosen late in development. a seeming allusion to “eye candy”, the game makes use of a number of tempest 2000-like screen and particle effects. (a bonus game mode, “minter mode”, is even named for llamasoft’s YaK.) though the sprites themselves are somewhat bland, the graphical effects are pleasing to look at, even if they sometimes add to the confusion on-screen.

the waves of the game are varied in an arcadey sort of way, refreshing when most developers think “next stage” equals “current stage plus ten enemies”. the waves contain the prerequisite hapless victims, who are hunted by invincible enemies and captured by others for defender-style upgrades, and the player attempts to balance rescues with dodging and returning enemy fire. bullet candy also - hinted again by the title - attempts to introduce a manic bullet-dodging element to the genre. it’s hard to navigate bullet curtains when you’re using one hand to move with the keyboard and the other to aim with the mouse (especially when bullet-like particle effects are exploding across the screen).

i can see this game being quite desirable to someone with a compatible controller. i, however, am not that person.

Name: Bullet Candy
Developer: Charlies Games
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 10MB
Reviewer: dessgeega
 

Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Chronon is the latest effort from Flash game developer Eyezmaze, famous for his popular Grow series. Your objective in this one is to assist the protagonist of the story to escape before his captor returns home for dinner. Much like ON's previous releases, the end result is achieved by selecting items in the correct order to solve the puzzle.

Current time can be changed by clicking on the buttons at the top of the screen. The weather changes depending on the hour, allowing the use of certain items to produce different results.

Walkthrough can be accessed by clicking here.

Name: Chronon
Developer: Eyezmaze
Category: Puzzle
Type: Flash
Size: 1MB
 

Nearly Departed is an adventure game made using a relatively new scripting engine named LASSIE. As a professional illustrator working for Disney, John Green has done an amazing job with the graphics for this upcoming release.

The final version will include voice acting. A short walkthrough can be accessed by clicking here. No full screen option for the demo, unfortunately.

Name: Nearly Departed
Developer: John Green
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 20MB
 

Ether Vapor is a 3D shooter that looks very impressive, with plenty of special effects and cutscenes to set up boss fights. The action switches from vertical to horizontal halfway through the demo, practically offering two types of gameplay for the price of one.

Three weapons are available to the player but only one can be used at any time. Enemies do look a little bland with gray as their primary texture color but credit to Edelwiss for squeezing in so much into a 10MB trial version.

Name: Ether Vapor
Developer: Edelwiss
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
 

Tuesday, May 23, 2006
reviewed by dessgeega.

the name alone convinced me to download within a deep forest. it was all i expected it to be. the game is emblematic of 16-bit game design--not the excess of unnecessary buttons and meaningless trinkets to find, but rather its abilty to create and sustain lush, moody worlds that deceive the player about their size through layers of mystery and detail.

the game is drenched in twilight, the horizons frayed with purple. small pixel creatures lend hints of life and detail to the game’s massive rooms. a downtempo soundtrack ranges from hushed to softly jazzy, and hovers at the fringe of the player’s perception. the game itself is about a ball, with small eyes that sometimes blink and a short mouth that never moves. the ball bounces naturally against the looming walls and ceilings - holding the A button makes the ball bounce further, holding the S makes the ball bounce less. it’s a simple command set, but lends enough nuance to the gameplay to keep navigation engaging and tricky.

like most games of the 16-bit school, progress in the game means finding power-ups which unlock new abilities, then finding places those abilities allow you to reach. but it never becomes lock-and-key--the game works you hard for each new ability, and each ability comes with its own little trick that must be mastered: your new ball bounces higher and faster, but is consequently harder to control. it is always skill and perserverence that determines your progress. expect to replay many sequences until you are capable enough to pass them. replaying is instantaneous and painless--the game keeps just above being frustrating.

in what seems like another homage to the 16-bit school, within a deep forest contains a needless mine cart sequence. it’s over quick--bear with it. it is worth seeing this game through.

Name: Within a Deep Forest
Developer: Nicklas Nygren
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 20MB
Reviewer: dessgeega
 

Zero Hour is a decent shooter by pixeltheather, unfortunately it's also a work in progress featuring just one level.

Only two buttons are needed to play this game. Holding down the primary shot button will halve the speed of your ship in exchange for a rapid fire mode. Press X to launch your smart bomb.

Up to six power-ups can be collected to upgrade your firepower. It does have a nice Raiden feel to it, especially during the second half of the demo.

A Flash-enabled browser is required to view the web site. The development blog can be found here.

Name: Zero Hour
Developer: pixeltheater
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 5MB
 

Monday, May 22, 2006
Penumbra is an amazing achievement by a small development team with only four main members, although quite a few people have helped out during it's production. Termed as a horror adventure game, the graphics are actually on par with recent commercial FPS releases.

What's unique about this particular title is that most of the objects in the game are affected by physics. For example, boxes can be stacked on top of each other to access higher ground. Some puzzles require the manipulation of items in creative ways.

The flashlight battery runs out quickly, but fortunately a glowstick lasts forever. Alternate between both by pressing the F or G key for a little illumination. Game is saved automatically.

Worth a download if you have the bandwidth to spare.

Name: Penumbra
Developer: Frictional Games
Category: Action
Type: Demo
Size: 200MB
 

Wrath by HardUserK.I is an excellent shmup that has more room for movement sideways than vertically, much like Capcom's Mars Matrix.

Unlike other shooters, your ship can take more than a few hits before going down. It's current health is shown on the upper left of the screen. Power-ups can be collected to upgrade your firepower or replenish the ship's energy level.

Both your bullet dodging and grazing skills will be tested here, because the only way to charge up your special weapon is by grazing enemy projectiles. Press the X key to activate it when the counter passes one hundred, else it won't work at all. Tap the same button twice to save it's energy while removing all enemy bullets from the screen.

Name: Wrath
Developer: HardUserK.I
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Sunday, May 21, 2006
Described as a physics-based puzzle game, Armadillo Run plays like a combination of Jeff Tunnell's The Incredible Machine and Chrono Logic's Pontifex. The game requires you to carefully guide a brown ball towards the blue target area to successfully complete each level. This can be achieved by buying and placing different parts and pieces around a simulated 3D area, which can result in complicated contraptions all over the place just to achive a simple objective.

Experiment with structure length and object tension, even place a timer on any of the items to make them dissolve after a certain period of time. There is a budget to abide to, so going crazy with your designs can be rather fun although it won't get you anywhere quick. The full version includes a level editor, additional materials and downloadable solutions.

Name: Armadillo Run
Developer: Peter Stock
Category: Puzzle
Type: Demo
Size: 1MB
 

Saturday, May 20, 2006
Guru Logi Champ is originally a puzzler developed by Compile for the Game Boy Advance, which recently had a reincarnation in the shape of PopCap's Pixelus. In each stage there are usually several white spaces and immovable blocks. These blocks are the only objects which can stop the movement of the pieces that you shoot out of your cannon.

The main objective is to place these pieces on the designated areas indicated by the white squares. Pieces shot out of a cannon will continue sliding until they hit another block. Some tile manipulation skills are required as the number of blocks assigned to you is just enough to complete each level.

These pieces can be retrieved at any time by pressing the down arrow key, providing that the route is clear to do so. The board can be rotated by pressing the Z or X key.

Stages can be played in any order although only ten are present in the demo. A download link for the trial version can be found at the bottom of the page.

Name: Guru Logi Champ
Developer: Compile
Category: Puzzle
Type: Demo
Size: 1MB
 

Hot on the heels of Pug Fugly's Super Blazing Vortex is the latest effort by Swooshysoft simply entitled Circle Hunter. No shoot button is assigned since firing is automatic. Use arrow keys to rotate the ship or activate it's thrusters.

Your objective in each level is to destroy round objects and fulfill the required quota. Health is shown at the top of the screen. The game is pretty fun, but quickly turns into a power-up collecting exercise in order to survive. An older version can be found on the same page.

Name: Circle Hunter
Developer: Swooshysoft
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Friday, May 19, 2006
Jaywalker: Take Back the Streets is the sequel to dessgeega's original release, featuring updated graphics and a new soundtrack to accompany your bloodthirsty quest for revenge.

Gameplay is essentially the same. Jump in front of a car to make it swerve, hopefully causing it to crash into another object for major points. Chain car crashes to score a multiplier bonus. Hummers and vehicles with spoilers will not attempt to avoid a collision with the protagonist.

Name: Jaywalker: Take Back the Streets
Developer: dessgeega
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
 

Don't be misled by the name, Prototype is no half-finished effort. Featuring a pod that you can use to direct your shots, the game only showcases one level but it's long enough satisfy most shooter veterans.

There are quite a number of power-ups to collect, which is always an added bonus.

Name: Prototype
Developer: X-Out
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 20MB
 

Thursday, May 18, 2006
That Night Before Act 4 ends the series with a bang. If you've played and enjoyed the first three episodes, the final chapter will not disappoint.

Expect more funny encounters and situations that will leave you in stitches. It's quite unfortunate that the adventure has to end, although it does provide a satisfying ending and closure.

Name: That Night Before Act 4
Developer: Scurvyliver Entertainment
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

That Night Before Act 3 is the penultimate chapter to an engaging series from Scurvyliver Entertainment, featuring our reluctant hero in another adventure full of mystery and plot twists.

There's a mini-game or two in this effort, new locations to explore and hidden easter eggs to discover. The story is well-written although a few typos did slip past beta testing.

Name: That Night Before Act 3
Developer: Scurvyliver Entertainment
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
A brief review for an equally short game. That Night Before Act 2 involves escaping from a cell and making a quick exit, which will probably take about fifteen minutes to accomplish.

Name: That Night Before Act 2
Developer: Scurvyliver Entertainment
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

That Night Before Act 1 is a decent but short adventure game developed by Scurvyliver Entertainment, which is understandable due to the episodic format employed. It features a lad named Roy Haliway who loses his memory in a strange incident. Accused of kidnapping, he must embark on a quest to find his missing girlfriend.

Only three interaction cursors are available, eliminating any unnecessary guesswork. A walkthrough can be downloaded from the web site although most puzzles are relatively easy.

Name: That Night Before Act 1
Developer: Scurvyliver Entertainment
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
 

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Fuzetsu is a curtain fire shmup by oNyx, where you control a pixel surrounded by a bluish aura with no proper shot button. Bosses in the shape of red circles will attempt to deplete all three lives that you begin with. The only way to retaliate in the face of such odds is by scraping the bullets that are fired by these dangerous adversaries.

The window size is rather small, so it's advisable to configure the screen resolution before starting a game. Requires Java 1.4 or better to run.

Name: Fuzetsu
Developer: oNyx
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Warning: Contains nudity.

Yakouga is a freeware shooter developed by Artesneit, and much like the rest of their releases it features intricately drawn alien landscapes and creatures.

Hold the left shift key to shoot and press the Z key to activate your special weapon. It's worthwhile acquiring both versions as they present different level designs and challenges.

Name: Yakouga
Developer: Artesneit
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Warning: Contains nudity.

Presented by Artesneit, Yakouga 2 is another excellent freeware shooter that might be a tad too difficult for beginners. The level indicated on the top right of the screen reflects your weapon's current firepower, while the HP gauge shows how much damage you're able to take before going down in a pool of blood.

Green emeralds increase the amount of time you have before entering critical condition, with the unfortunate side effect of gradual HP loss. The download links can be a little difficult to access but it's well worth the trouble.

Name: Yakouga 2
Developer: Artesneit
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Monday, May 15, 2006
Reviewed by Zambonista.

GalCon 2006 is essentially a twitch reflect coffeebreak game with modest strategic elements. The gameplay revolves around ships and planets. Each planet produces ships and clicking on one of your planets, then double clicking on another, sends ships from the first planet to the second. Each attacking ship kills one defending ship; overwhelm the defenders, the planet is yours. Each short game has about twenty planets of varying sizes; larger planets produce more ships. The player always starts with a single large planet and a hundred ships. The number of planets (and seemingly of ships) that the AI possesses varies with the difficulty level. The players planets and ships are green; the AI's red. Any planet not belonging to the AI or to the player is gray and still produces ships, but never sends them out.

The filip to these simple rules is that planets have morale, which improves as other planets send ships and as that planet is surrounded by other friendly planets. The higher the morale, the higher the production. As a practical matter, morale never seems to play much role in the game.

At anything but the highest difficulty, the game presents almost no challenge. At the highest difficulty, matches vary from very challenging but fun to simply impossible, as some random configurations of planets, combined with the huge starting advantage the AI possesses, makes victory unattainable.

As a coffeebreak game, GalCon 2006 is hit and miss. It is perhaps too involved -- too much clicking, too many things going on at once -- to provide the peaceful zone-out of a break game. It is also frustrating to get unwinnable boards. Nevertheless, it is a fun timewaster and a victory of elegant design. Despite few rules, simple graphics, and brute force AI, GalCon creates fairly exciting matches and is easy to pick up and play. Definitely worth a run, and one hopes that it will be updated to improve balance issues.

Name: GalCon 2006
Developer: philhassey
Category: Strategy
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Friday, May 12, 2006
Codemasters recently announced the signing of PomPom Games' latest release entitled Bliss Island, as reported by GameSpot and Next Generation.

More details can be found on the official web site. To play the three level demo, click here.
 

Bliss Island is a Breakout variant by PomPom Games. You assume control of a little creature named Hoshi who must use furry or feathery balls to complete level objectives. Some tasks require a player to knock matching boulders together, destroy moving bricks or feed fruits to large animals.

Hoshi can shoot puffs of air to move the ball around. A life is lost if you can't keep the ball in play. Quite a departure from the type of releases we would expect from the developer of Mutant Storm and Space Tripper.

Name: Bliss Island
Developer: PomPom Games
Category: Action
Type: Demo
Size: 20MB
 

Rayging Blue 2 is a work in progress from FREAMS, featuring two short levels and three playable characters in the latest version.

The gameplay system is rather different compared to other shooters. Your ship is protected by a shield which replenishes it's own energy over time. The sub-weapon can be activated by pressing the X key, extending the ship's wings and increasing it's firepower.

Press the directional keys quickly using a left-right-left or right-left-right combination for a temporary rapid fire power-up. Your alpha-strike beam charges automatically when no shots are fired. A decent effort if not for it's length.

Name: Rayging Blue 2
Developer: FREAMS
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 30MB
 

Glowy is a Shmup Dev competition entry by Tom Beaumont, the creator of Hex-a-hop. There are some Japanese shooter elements to be found here, for example the inclusion of a hit point to indicate your ship's vulnerability.

Bullets can be grazed to increase the strength of your weapon temporarily. Tap the Z key repeatedly to use your spread shot or hold down the button for a common rapid shot.

The author has decided not to include any background music or sound effects, although it does have a final boss encounter and runs at a consistent frame rate without any problems.

Name: Glowy
Developer: Tom Beaumont
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Jaguar 2nd Stage by Ham Corossam is a vertical shooter reminiscent of early Raiden series. Unlike other freeware Japanese shmups, bullets travel faster than your ship although they hardly occupy every inch of the screen. Which is a good thing, since we get to see the amount of detail in each sprite as they make their swift appearance before being blown to bits.

There are four ships to choose from, each with it's own strengths and weaknesses. Shields can be replenished during the journey. Hold down the Z key to shoot, tap the X key to launch the civil bomb and press the F1 button to pause the game.

Name: Jaguar 2nd Stage
Developer: Ham Corossam
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Crisis Divider is an older release from Onion Knights, the same development team involved in the production of Visionary Wings. Unlike other Japanese shooters, your ship is able to take more than just one hit before going down. Shield energy can be restored by collecting blue orbs left behind by the enemies you've destroyed.

The secondary weapon system is taken right out of RayCrisis, minus the need to target your opponents before launching the missiles. For a 50MB download, it's surprisingly short with only three playable levels.

Name: Crisis Divider
Developer: Onion Knights
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 50MB
 

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Feel free to use this account, in order to access the Ludum Dare downloads section.

Name: indygamer
Password: blogspot

Click on home, then scroll down to see the final competition entries.

[DrPetter - 7th Swarming of the Machines, sol_hsa - And the Sky Full of Stars, Factory - Bullet Swarm, Skalle - Exodusk, philhassey - Galcon 2006, lexaloffle - Swarm Racer]

A zip file containing all Ludum Dare competition entries can be downloaded by clicking here.
 

Swarm Racer is another Ludum Dare competition entry by lexaloffle, creator of Zen Puzzle Garden and Neko Puzzle. The objective of the game is to guide a swarm of bugs to collect all gems in each level. This is achieved by using the cursor keys for directional movement and the Z or X key to change bug formation.

Get all gems before the time limit expires to progress. Certain tiles have different characteristics, all conveniently outlined with sparse but fairly complete instructions found in the main menu. The lack of sound is it's only drawback.

The original development log can be found here.

Name: Swarm Racer
Developer: lexaloffle
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Exodusk is a competition entry by Skalle which draws it's inspiration from Psygnosis' classic Lemming series. Duskers appear out of a tap in each level, and your objective is to get enough of them to the purple tent without losing too many to deadly traps and dangers.

This is achieved by left clicking to make the Duskers jump, or right click to halt them in their tracks temporarily. A Dusker will turn around and walk in the other direction when bumping into a wall or another Dusker. The game features ten levels in total.

Name: Exodusk
Developer: Skalle
Category: Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Monday, May 08, 2006
According to philhassey, Galcon 2006 is a remake of an old DOS game. Imagine that you could send ships from Earth to populate other planets. Left click on a planet which your soldiers are currently occupying, then click again on a destination to initiate an invasion. Colonized celestial bodies appear on the star map in a bluish hue instead of the original gray.

Aliens from Mars can do the same as well, sending their fleet to invade other planets. Both humans and Martians engage in a race to conquest the stars and total domination or slavery.

Grey planets will put up a fight before submitting to a large force. Ships are automatically replenished, and the rate at which they are produced depends on the size of each planet.

Name: Galcon 2006
Developer: philhassey
Category: Strategy
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Bullet Swarm is a competition entry by Factory, mixing bullet-dodging action with minimal graphics to good effect. Use the blue dot which conveniently follows your cursor to touch red dots. Coming in contact with white dots causes the loss of a life.

The game has no proper menus and will exit automatically when all lives are lost, which is but a minor hassle.

Name: Bullet Swarm
Developer: Factory
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

7th Swarming of the Machines is a competition entry by DrPetter, placing you in the shoes of an explorer equipped with a jetpack. Platforms float dangerously in space, attempting to crush you between their walls when given the chance.

Your objective is to collect all the jetpack items indicated by the radar on the top left of the screen. The jetpack boost can be activated by pressing the Z key, and certain tiles can be shot at using the X key. Pretty fun for about fifteen minutes.

Name: 7th Swarming of the Machines
Developer: DrPetter
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

And the Sky Full of Stars is a competition entry by Jari Komppa, combining elements from both Katamari Damacy and Fumito Ueda's Ico. Shadowy figures are attempting to destroy your town, but fortunately you have the ability to pluck stars from the sky and use them to smash these evil creatures.

To collect stars, just move your mouse cursor over these celestial bodies and they will follow you obediently. Then it's just a matter of hurling them towards the shadows to dissolve them and save your fellow townsmen. Sounds crazy although it is rather fun to play.

Name: And the Sky Full of Stars
Developer: Jari Komppa
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 

Reviewed by Peter Mackay.

5 Days A Stranger is a great adventure game from well-known AGS developer Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw. You take control of Trilby, a gentleman cat burglar who finds himself trapped in an english country estate known as the Defoe Manor. Quickly you discover you are not the only one trying to escape and that is when the murders begin.

Those familar with any Sierra or AGS game will feel right at home with the point and click interface. However even for the novice it only takes a couple of seconds to figure out.

The graphics are tight and consistent. There are several cut scenes throughout the game and they do a great job of adding to the tense atmosphere.

The writing is well-done, characters are developed through a clever use of dialogue and feel unique. While there are some jokes they are not overly used.

The puzzles work well, are quite logical while not too obvious. The team work element was a nice touch. The length will vary depending on experiencing but I would expect it to be in the range of 3-5 hours for most players. At under 2 megabytes its small enough to download even for the slowest of connections, a testament to the AGS engine.

Winner of 5 AGS awards it certainly speaks for itself: best gameplay, best game, best scripting, best dialogue and best puzzles for 2003. For adventure fans this one is a no brainer, even if you are not a fan of the genre I would still highly recommend giving it a go.

Name: 5 Days A Stranger
Developer: Yahtzee - Ben Croshaw
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
Reviewer: Peter Mackay