<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d8701199\x26blogName\x3dIndependent+Gaming\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://indygamer.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://indygamer.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-3885218248821958630', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>
 

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Buster's Iwanaga is close to a release. [Vacant Ark review]

The new HoneyBlaster site is up.

A screenshot from Oddbob's Beast Invaders 3 was recently posted. [Source: the2bears, latest G-Force build]

Fetch (RPG) will be out soon.

Death Worm is finally out. Another fine candidate for Cage Match... [interview, Death Worm review]
 

Mix fluid dynamics with an arena shooter. Release date: next week. [Retro Remakes article, Veck review, Geometry Wars clones]

 

You can drag and drop play-record files into a running Guxt window to watch replays. Here's a replay of all five stages beaten. (major spoilers)

non-zipped version (right-click to save, bonus and anchor not collected)

Get Guxt here. More hints can be found at the Cave Story LiveJournal.

Labels:

 

Sunday, February 25, 2007
As translated by Shih Tzu. (thanks again!)

Here's Pixel's message on his Desktop page:

"WIP shooting game v.0.8.0.0

The archive doesn't include a manual. Here's the basic 'readme' info:

* Game is not complete yet
* Five stages in all
* Controls are the arrow keys and Ctrl
* Supports gamepads

Play records are stored in the automatically-created folder 'play-records'. I'm interested in seeing how players develop from their very first play until they get used to the game. If you could compress and email me all your records (without deleting any), I'd much appreciate it."

Pixel provides his email address as rochet at nifty.com. (Just as a reminder, he doesn't speak much English, so I'd recommend keeping any emails short and simple.)

Some things to try:

- in stage 1, grab both power-ups before the first checkpoint for a special guest appearance (collectible)
- in stage 2, shoot the strange-looking asteroid (the one that's distinctively different) on the right when it appears for a special power-up
- continue shooting at the weak points of a boss (after they have been destroyed) to earn a shield item (thanks Shaheen!)

Labels:

 

Guxt is a new vertical shooter by Pixel, the famed creator of Cave Story and Ikachan.

Click on the first text to download. Use the arrow keys to move your ship, and tap the left control key repeatedly to shoot. Screen size can be adjusted by selecting the menu tab. A key configuration option is included as well.

Power-ups can only be collected after you've destroyed their protective shells. Autofire is possible once your ship gains it's first weapon upgrade.

Name: Guxt
Developer: Pixel
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB

Labels:

 

Insect Invade 2 is a two-dimensional shooter where you are a drunken man trying to defend himself from the invading insects. Of course, these bugs will not give up easily, they will hunt you down.

Name: Insect Invade 2
Developer: cactus
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

Labels:

 

The latest G-Force build can be downloaded by clicking here.

Hold the Z key to shoot, and press the X key to activate your superzapper. [instructions, G-Force, Beast Invaders review]

 

Makoto Nagano is a 34 year old fisherman. Recently he succeeded in completing the last phase of the Japanese game show: Ninja Warrior. Of more than 500 contestants only one other man completed it before he did.

 

Thursday, February 22, 2007
Early screenshot from Nenad's postponed hires vector project, Ablation-X. [click here for a larger version, Ablation review, download link]

 

Out of nowhere comes the versus fighting game entitled Glay - Beatout!, expected to feature the current line-up from the popular rock group and past band mates. Perhaps even guest appearances of members from L'Arc en Ciel and X Japan, with rumors of hide and Gackt being considered as final bosses.

All moves are listed in an accompanying text file. There are special moves and combos planned for each character, but no proper A.I. has been implemented yet at this stage. Definitely a project to keep tabs on, especially for fans of J-Rock music and their outrageous looks. Only Jiro can be selected in this version, but expect more fighters, content and songs in the very near future.

Name: Glay - Beatout!
Developer: ransu
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
 

Pamidama is a rather decent puzzler in which the player has to switch containers around to match each ball's color, two at a time. The challenge is to guess where each ball would end up, a task made much more difficult with the introduction of balls with differing characteristics.

Switch containers around by using the C key. There's also a battle mode included to facilitate multi-player gaming sessions with either the computer A.I. or a friend.

Name: Pamidama
Developer: Harvest Bell
Category: Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
 

Joust 3 - Revenge of the Lava Troll is another brilliant remake by Jph, featuring seven stages worth of action as you battle in the air against enemy knights, bats and even pterodactyls. Hold the K or up arrow key to take flight, and press the J key to fire a stunner arrow. Replenish your supply of arrows by collecting golden eggs.

Touch the Tikki statue once the area is clear in order to advance. A handy save feature can be activated by pressing the F5 key, while quick load is possible using the F8 key.

Name: Joust 3 - Revenge of the Lava Troll
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

Labels:

 



Screenshot taken from nenad's untitled project, a work in progress.

- video preview of Untitled
- right-click here to download another video
- screenshots 1, screenshots 2, screenshots 3
- Retro Remakes article
- previous releases by nenad
 

The Marvel Super Heroes remake by SpiDoL is a decent effort developed with the MUGEN game engine, though some text editing is required to get the sound working. Search for the Data folder and change the Sound configuration value in the mugen.cfg file from 0 to 1, in order to enable the sound effects plus some background music.

Most of the standard and special moves from the arcade version have been retained, hence veterans should be able to figure out the controls in no time. Some of the new characters are pretty fun to play with as well. Thor is especially impressive, but Carnage is rather cheap and Todd's creation has little powers. A simultaneous team mode also allows all four combatants to slug it out at the same time.

Name: Marvel Super Heroes
Developer: SpiDoL
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 120MB
 

The Breakdown is an old school, point and click adventure game. After the intro it will become clear that you're playing the pointy haired main character, and your objective is to get to your home town and cash the winning lottery ticket in time.

Name: The Breakdown
Developer: Jouni Utriainen
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 20MB
 

100 Invaders is an interesting take on the classic Space Invaders theme by jph, in which your ship is able to thrust forward when the up arrow key is held. The allowable travel distance depends on your current Pow level, which can be increased by collecting green pods.

These power-up pods can be created by shooting each orange pod three times, though grabbing them can be rather tricky because when your ship travels in one horizontal direction all pods in the vicinity will move towards the opposite angle.

Large invaders are only vulnerable if you hit them right in the middle. Hold the left control key to shoot, and use the left alternate key to distribute half of your current Pow level to the next ship.

If you can endure the epileptic-inducing effects then this is definitely one remake worth having in your collection.

Name: 100 Invaders
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB

Labels:

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
scottatacama recently posted screenshots from a third Spindizzy remake currently in production. [Spindizzy Remake preview]

As reported by Postman, Studio Hunty is currently hosting all games (mostly demos) by Platine Dispositif.

According to Pixel (Cave Story), his upcoming vertical shooter would probably be released next month.

More miscellaneous stuff from AOU2007 Amusement Expo.

Otomedius: collage (3MB), instructions (338KB), Elebits (556KB).
 

jonathanBlow For those who are thirsting for more Braid coverage (hey, it's been 15 days):

or

For those who want to see a response to the recent comment debate straight from the horse's mouth:

or

For those of you who want to read something about Braid that contains far fewer spoilers than my recent preview:

I give you an interview with the creator of Braid.

Labels:

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
A list of the best freeware puzzle games released last year. Instructions on how to unzip .RAR and .LZH files can be found in this FAQ.

1. Blocksum
2. Acidbomb/Acidbomb 2: Rearmed
3. Clockwiser
4. Pushover
5. Twintower
6. Pozzo - Jello Crusade
7. Packin' Plax/Bombzuka
8. X-It Again
9. Hex-a-Hop
10. Zookeeper

Special mentions: Puyo, Tiltor, Slime Pod, Puzznic, Tripline, Square Cell




1. Blocksum

Tetris, Puyo Puyo, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Lumines are some of the best puzzlers ever made. Soon you can add Blocksum to that equation.

The game is rather simple to learn. Join a number of tiles together by using the Z key, and their corresponding number increases. Gather a large group of blocks with the same number to make them disappear. Grey orbs can be used to remove all blocks with the same number on the field simply by connecting it to a tile.

Hold the X key to move the tiles upward. Press the C key to access a pause menu. Requires the latest DirectX version to run.

Puzzle veterans will love the possibilites of chaining up combos with this one. Highly recommended.

Name: Blocksum
Developer: Shintaro Sato, Ginger, xor
Platform: PC
Size: 32.1 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top





2. Acidbomb/Acidbomb 2: Rearmed

Ac!dbomb is the latest creation from Mr. Chubigans, developer of Vivid Conceptions and Sandbox of God. The game is basically about defusing bombs, in a race against time to uncover the pistons hidden behind the tiles.

Beams of light can be used to reveal the number of pistons underneath each line of tiles. Just like Minesweeper, you can left click to mark a tile as safe or right click to designate one as a piston. The number of pistons in each level is displayed on the top right of the screen. Press the enter key to reduce the countdown to ten seconds.

A sequel was released in early 2007 though it is recommended to play the Acidbomb series in succession. Made with the intention to distribute over the Playstation Network via Playstation 3.

Name: Acidbomb/Acidbomb 2: Rearmed
Developer: Vertigo Games
Platform: PC
Size: 12.2 MB, 11.6 MB
Direct download links: Acidbomb, Acidbomb 2: Rearmed

Return to top





3. Clockwiser

Two gems in a row from Ishisoft, and it seems like the Puyo Puyo remake will make it three. A second release out only months after the excellent Pushover, Craig Forrester has now updated the Amiga favorite Clockwiser for everyone to enjoy.

The objective of the game is basically to rotate blocks belonging to the section on the left so that they match the ones shown on the right. This can only be done by drawing rectangles and moving them along it's edges, with the pull of gravity in effect at all times.

Special blocks will be introduced at a steady pace, and there are just enough configurable options to please both geniuses and beginners. An unlimited undo feature has been included, plus the doodle city is a blast to play around with.

Practically no fault to be found in this effort, hence it comes highly recommended for fans of difficult puzzlers.

Name: Clockwiser
Developer: Ishisoft
Platform: PC
Size: 4.45 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top





4. Pushover

As a few of us may remember, Pushover was an excellent puzzler published by Ocean about fifteen years ago. The remake by IshiSoft features the same objective as well, to topple all dominoes found in each level. The difficult part was figuring out how to arrange certain pieces in order to successfully cause a chain reaction and finally ending up with the trigger piece being pushed.

For this reason, the protagonist can pick up and place domino pieces in key areas. Some dominoes may have special characteristics, although most are explained during the first few tutorial stages. Press the Z key to grab tiles or push a domino by using the left or right directional key with the action button. Fullscreen can be enabled under options. Later levels are rather challenging, but don't let that discourage you from downloading this fabulous remake.

Name: Pushover
Developer: Ishisoft
Platform: PC
Size: 14.8 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top





5. Twintower

The objective in Twintower is to build as tall of a structure as possible on both sides of the balance by using blocks that fall from the sky. Stacking too many blocks on one side of the balance will cause everything that you have built to collapse. Use the mouse to move the balance around, and right-click to save a screenshot when your end level results are displayed.

The level ends when the player manages to stack a yellow brick on both sides. These bricks are easily identifiable by the red flag on top of each, but will only appear when you have stacked the blocks up to a certain height.

Name: Twintower
Developer: OMEGA
Platform: PC
Size: 3.60 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top





6. Pozzo - Jello Crusade

In Pozzo - Jello Crusade, you play the role of a janitor named Pozzo who works for a jello restaurant. He dreams of saving up enough for a well-deserved vacation on some tropical island paradise. Unfortunately, his manager has found out that the local health inspector is dropping by for an unscheduled check.

You're given the task of cleaning up the entire premise ridden with rotten jellos before the law enforcer finds them. Fail and Pozzo can kiss his planned holiday goodbye. A lousy job indeed, compounded by the fact that Pozzo is stuck with no limbs and has to eat all the jellos that he finds.

With the story out of the way, let's get straight to the actual game. As mentioned earlier, most levels require the player to eat a lot of jellos before being allowed access to the exit. Pozzo cannot retrace his steps once he has eaten jellos off a tile. Not a very innovative concept, but Lazrael has managed to craft a superb puzzler that showcases imaginative use of tile design and graphical effects.

New tiles are introduced from time to time, which include a variety of colored blocks, switches, teleport pads and many more. Later levels provide tougher challenges as you need to plan ahead every move your protagonist has to make.
One drawback is that it uses ripped music, only because the developer could not get hold of an original music composer. The game features forty levels and two unlockable endings based on your score.

Name: Pozzo - Jello Crusade
Developer: Lazrael
Platform: PC
Size: 1.40 MB
Direct download link: http://lazrael.avalanchestudios.net/crap/pozzo.zip

Return to top





7. Packin' Plax/Bombzuka

In Packin' Plax, the player has to stack colored plaques on a table so that three of the same color are connected either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. This is done by catching the plaques using the loader object controlled by pressing the left or right arrow keys. Tap the space key to drop an object onto the table.

You can only fail to catch up to five plaques, though it's possible to replenish your chances by increasing the current level or collecting power-ups. An excellent Klax clone, with only bland textures and absence of gamepad support as minor disappointments.

xCept also released a 3D Bombuzal remake entitled Bombzuka, an item of interest for fans of the original.

Name: Packin' Plax/Bombzuka
Developer: xCept
Platform: PC
Size: 10.4 MB
Direct download links: Packin' Plax, Bombzuka

Return to top





8. X-It Again

X-It Again is an excellent remake of Psygnosis's puzzler for the Amiga, faithful in nearly every aspect. Profiles are used to save progress instead of passwords.

Much like Sokoban, most of the gameplay involves pushing blocks around to fill holes and getting your character to the exit tile. Instructions can be found inside the Documents folder, with some rather useful hints provided. All tiles are described in detail, for example glue tiles can be walked over but blocks get stuck when they are pushed onto them. At least one level contains red herrings as well.

Name: X-It Again
Developer: Puzzlehouse
Platform: PC
Size: 16.4 MB
Direct download link: http://www.puzzlehousefin.com/d/X-It.zip

Return to top





9. Hex-a-Hop

In Hex-a-Hop, your quest involves stepping on all green hexagonal tiles in each stage to make them disappear.

You can take as long as you need to figure out a solution. New tiles are introduced during your journey with adequate instructions. Later stages include walls, trampolines, frozen tiles and more.

Some level hints can be found on the web site as well. Considered by Jimmy of PC Logic Games as the best Game of the Year, slightly ahead of the other favorite Armadillo Run.

Name: Hex-a-Hop
Developer: Tom Beaumont
Platform: PC, Linux
Size: 1 MB
Direct download link: Click here

Return to top





10. Zookeeper, Kiteretsu: Zookeeper, Kiteretsu: Solitaire

No Top Ten lists about puzzlers are complete without a mention of Zookeeper. Kiteretsu's remake is an updated version of the perennial favorite with several changes that would please admirers of the original. Just like it's predecessor, your task is basically to swap tiles around to make matches of three or more. Remove a certain number of tiles as stated on the top right of the screen to proceed to the next level.

Tiles can be moved without the wait for combos to end, plus the help button shows all possible matches instead of one chosen at random. There's a pause and mute option included as well. Definitely a keeper.

For Mahjong solitaire fans, Kiteretsu's offering is a very good clone with cute graphics and colorful tiles. Standard features such as continues, password saves, hints, shuffle and a useful undo option are all available in this package.

Name: Zookeeper, Kiteretsu: Zookeeper, Kiteretsu: Solitaire
Developer: ROBOT, Zip Bear Town
Type: Browser Game

Return to top



Special mention: Puyo

Notable mentions:

Tiltor

Tiltor is a game made using AGS, but surprisingly there's not a single element of adventure to be found in this effort. It's actually a linear puzzler that requires the use of only four buttons for all actions, including menu selection and saving your progress.

The objective in each level is to get a red block to the exit by tilting the screen left and right. Note that the only way to quit is by pressing the left alternate and F4 function key at the same time, though this is just a minor hassle.

Features over a hundred and fifty stages, plus an additional arcade mode that you just can't say no to. Deceptively simple but fun to play, owing much to it's simplistic controls.

Name: Tiltor
Developer: AH productions
Platform: PC
Size: 4.81 MB
Direct download link: http://tiltor.googlepages.com/Tiltor_setup.exe

Return to top



Slime Pod

Slime Pod is a rather manic puzzler by Kaeshirodai, in which the objective is to make eight or more connecting slimes disappear thus creating a Giganto combo.

The number of combos needed for level progression are shown at the bottom left of the screen. Gems count as three slimes, and combos made with the evil eye are rejected outright. You can lose the evil eye by making it fall off the bottom of the screen. They can also be destroyed if you rapidly click on them, although this will cost you five magic points.

There is no penalty for clicking on any number of slimes, but you have to create the number of Giganto combos required in each level before time runs out. Energy can be replenished by making a Giganto combo of any color.

Name: Slime Pod
Developer: Kaeshirodai
Platform: PC
Size: 0.67 MB
Direct download link: http://g-indus.hp.infoseek.co.jp/games/slime_castam.lzh

Return to top



Puzznic

Puzznic is Retrodev's remake of Taito's classic arcade puzzler with a few new elements not found in the original. The gameplay involves pushing blocks with the same symbols to touch each other in order to make them disappear. Remove all blocks within the time limit to proceed to the next level.

Left click to move a block to the left, likewise for the opposite direction. None of that casual match three action here, later stages require plenty of brainpower to solve.

Name: Puzznic
Developer: RetroDev Games
Platform: PC
Size: 6.64 MB
Direct download link: http://www.retrodev.co.uk/RetroGames/Puzznic.zip

Return to top



Tripline

Tripline is a decent puzzler by Joakim Sandberg, developer of Noitu Love and the Army of Grinning Darns. The objective of the game is to draw a line across all shapes in each level, but three shapes with the same pattern must first be crossed out in a sequence before another can be engaged.

There are sixty pages to flip through. Pretty good for an effort made in three days.

Name: Tripline
Developer: Joakim Sandberg
Platform: PC
Size: 3.14 MB
Direct download link: http://www.konjak.org/tripline.zip

Return to top



Square Cell

Essentially a match three game, but with a twist. Only horizontal rows will disappear, and the player can only achieve this by clicking and stacking rows of blocks in an attempt to arrange them in an order that will cause this effect. Includes an online high score submission feature, implemented seamlessly into the game.

Name: Square Cell
Developer: JaJ
Platform: PC
Size: 2.18 MB
Direct download link: http://www.jajproductions.nl/SquareCell.zip

Return to top
 

Sunday, February 18, 2007
The Jeluvian Project is primarily an action game, but you need to implement some strategy and tactics. You will have to decide which path your squad will take, which enemies you will attack, when to cease fire and when to open fire.

It uses the familiar RTS controls, where you command your drones with the mouse. But at the same time, you get to make immediate decisions for them - you will have to aim, shoot, and reload. You take control of the action, not merely the strategics: More like being a Sergeant of a squad, rather than a General of an entire army.

Name: The Jeluvian Project
Developer: Pondwater
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB

Labels:

 

New additions to jph's Aetherzap:

- obstacle in the form of four giant spikes that are moved towards the player's base as the other targets move over them (this greatly changes the game play)
- updated sounds
- changed some sprites
- spiffy background

Screenshots from earlier versions of Blocksum can be found at the CESA and Success Corp.'s web site.

Froggy Ribbit - One Switch version released.
 

Here are three excellent Ikaruga tributes worth mentioning.



eXceed2nd-VAMPIRE- is a brilliant shmup by FLAT which mimics the polarity gameplay system made popular by Ikaruga. The color of the circle surrounding your character can be changed by tapping the C key. This will determine the type of enemy bullets that your ship absorbs while charging the special weapon in the process.

Press the Z key to shoot and use the V key to bring up the pause menu. There are only four stages in this trial version, unfortunately. The 70MB file package may take a while to download, but rest assured that it's one shooter well worth the effort especially for fans of Treasure's classic.

Name: eXceed2nd-VAMPIRE-
Developer: FLAT
Type: Demo
Platform: PC
Size: 69.6 MB
Download page: http://flat.web.infoseek.co.jp/EXCEED2nd/eX2-sam.htm





Kairuga is a short shooter demo by Kairos, also featuring the iconic gameplay system from Treasure's Ikaruga. You can switch the polarity of your ship by pressing the X key to absorb enemy bullets with the same color and charge your special weapon. The emphasis is on scoring where destroying three enemies of the same color in a row will earn you one chain, and bonus points are awarded for getting a high number of chains.

The only drawback to an otherwise brilliant shmup is it's length, with only one level on showcase.

Name: Kairuga
Developer: Kairos
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 8.03 MB
Direct download link: http://64digits.com/games/3625/Kairuga_v.1.4_Final.zip





rRootage is an abstract scrolling shooter created by Kenta Cho which featured four gameplay modes. One of them is actually based on Ikaruga itself.

IKA mode allows the player to switch between white and black. While white, similarly-colored projectiles reflect at the enemy, and vice versa with black. This mode tends to be the easiest of the four because you only have to dodge half the enemy's bullets at any given time, and also because the half that you don't have to dodge end up doing extra damage when you collide with them.

The game has the player fight a large boss. The boss changes form each stage, and there are five stages for each of forty levels per game mode. Stages cannot be played separately, but any level in any mode may be played without playing the lower-sequenced levels.

Name: rRootage
Developer: Kenta Cho
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, PSP
Size: 4.21 MB
Direct download link: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/%7Ecs8k-cyu/windows/rr0_23.zip
 

Thanks to jph for sharing one his unreleased creations with us, we now have a brilliant isometric take on the classic Wizard of Wor to enjoy. Return to Wor features gorgeous pixel graphics courtesy of Gabe Brooks, though many players feel be slightly disorientated at first due to the skewed view presented throughout the game.

Nonetheless, everything works as it should and much of this is credited to jph's expertise at making old classics new again. As a Worrior, your task is to hunt down monsters in a maze-like dungeon with a unified field disruption rifle and several useful abilities not found in the original.

An extreme rarity.

Name: Return to Wor
Developer: Jph Wacheski, Gabe Brooks
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

Labels:

 

Counter Spark: Weaving the Blue Orient is an alright horizontal shooter which features two stages worth action, and though sprites are rather lackluster the game does include an adjustable difficulty level to challenge both beginners and veterans alike.

Hold the Z key to shoot and press the X key to use your special attack. Use the C key to switch spells. Continues are allowed, so you can jump right back in even after losing miserably.

Name: Counter Spark - Weaving the Blue Orient
Developer: Elfield
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 10MB
 

Saturday, February 17, 2007
Possibly the best Balloon Fight remake ever, though the game itself is practically nothing like it's source material. Balloon Tournament 2006 features multiplayer deathmatch with a very capable A.I. controlling your opponents and teammates.

There's plenty of characters to choose from, and even more to unlock by completing challenges with the best times. Land on an opponent's balloon twice to ground them, then proceed to knock them out before they inflate a new balloon. Certain stages require the player to capture an object and hold it for a certain period of time.

It's also interesting to note that the developer of this game was also responsible for programming Blocksum.

Name: Balloon Tournament 2006
Developer: Ginger
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
 

Skywaymen is a short demo for the upcoming horizontal shooter by Ishisoft, though getting it to work may require a certain SDL.dll file which can be found either in the Clockwiser or Pushover installers freely available from Ishi's web site.

Name: Skywaymen
Developer: Ishisoft
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 2MB
 

Thursday, February 15, 2007
Twenty of the best freeware adventure games released in 2006 (roughly). Mac and Linux versions of the AGS engine are available. [show all twenty entries on one page, part 2 only, Digg this article]

1. Duty and Beyond
2. Reactor 09
3. Spooks
4. Knightsquire/The Family Treasure
5. Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth
6. Automation
7. Heartland Deluxe
8. Missing
9. The White Chamber: International Edition
10. Nathan's Second Chance

1. Duty and Beyond

Your 'quest' in Duty and Beyond is simply to deliver a pizza. But who knew that the adventure would take you on an epic journey across several exotic locations in search of the mysterious customer. Simply a winner in the content category, with multiple endings to achieve depending on your final score. Fans of classic LucasArts games (especially Maniac Mansion) will love this one to bits.

Name: Duty and Beyond
Developer: Wandering Adventures
Resembles: Maniac Mansion, The Longest Journey
Size: 4.25 MB
[ direct download link | walkthrough ]

Return to top



2. Reactor 09/Cedric and the Revolution

Warning: contains a short discussion about a mature subject.

Reactor 09 is simply a fine piece of work by Bernie. Featuring multiple endings and gorgeous art with hues resembling those found in Beneath a Steel Sky, this game demonstrates what the AGS engine is capable of in the hands of a professional.

A bit less controversial is Cedric and the Revolution, in which you play the role of the titular character on a quest to gather enough people for a demonstration. Both are definitely adventure games worth having in your collection.

Name: Reactor 09/Cedric and the Revolution
Developer: Bernie
Resembles: Beneath a Steel Sky
Size: 4.70 MB, 1.72 MB
Direct Download Links: Reactor 09, Cedric and the Revolution
Walkthroughs:
- Reactor 09
- Cedric and the Revolution

Return to top



3. Spooks

Spooks is an excellent AGS adventure game by Erin Robinson, where most of the sprites and backgrounds were drawn using MSPaint and nine shades of gray. The story begins as Mortia finds herself in possession of a goldfish on a day out at the carnival. The prize she won from a game of darts is the catalyst of her adventure to seek the meaning of life.

The writing stands out and most of the music employed doesn't disappoint, although puzzles can be slightly perplexing at times. A small drawback to an otherwise amazing achievement, considering that it's a first effort and a sign of things to come.

Name: Spooks
Developer: The Ivy
Resembles: King's Quest IV, Grim Fandango
Size: 4.88 MB
[ direct download link, walkthrough ]

Return to top



4. Knightsquire/The Family Treasure

Knightsquire is basically a remake of buloght's earlier one room adventure, with new backgrounds and a complete quest involving the rescue of the king's daughter.

Clicking on the portraits allow you to swap between two characters, since certain actions can only be attempted by either the squire or the knight. Items can be passed around to each other by simply selecting an object, then choosing the recipient. Use the left mouse button to interact and press the right mouse button to examine your surroundings.

The Family Treasure is another lovingly crafted AGS adventure game by buloght that uses a point-and-click interface made popular by classic Lucasart titles. A story about pirates and hidden treasures may not be original but the gameplay more than makes up for it.

Name: Knightsquire/The Family Treasure
Developer: buloght
Resembles: Discworld, The Secret of Monkey Island
Size: 849 KB, 985 KB
Direct Download Links: Knightsquire, The Family Treasure
Walkthroughs: Knightsquire

Return to top



5. Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth

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.

Name: Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth
Developer: Screen 7
Resembles: The Indiana Jones series by LucasArts (of course)
Size: 5.83 MB
[ download page | walkthrough ]

Return to top



6. Automation

Automation is a winner of the first One Room One Week Competition, in which all entries are small games made in a relatively short period. The story is centered around a bloke who met an accident while transporting a rather expensive droid, and must attempt to recover his experiment back in one piece or risk losing his job.

The kick command yields some interesting actions when used on certain objects. Most puzzles are logical though some items require a bit of pixel-hunting.

Name: Automation
Developer: Mr Colossal
Size: 5.62 MB
[ direct download link ]

Return to top



7. Heartland Deluxe

Originally an OROW competition entry that won the prize for best writing, Heartland Deluxe now includes cutscenes and a panoramic view but it's relatively short length may disappoint many adventure game veterans, plus an abrupt end to proceedings does little to improve the situation. A commendable effort nonetheless.

Name: Heartland Deluxe
Developer: LimpingFish
Resembles: Hotel Dusk - Room 215
Size: 24.4 MB
[ direct download link | walkthrough ]

Return to top



8. Missing

Warning: Contain scenes of violence, strong language, blood and gore.

In Missing, you play the role of an ex-cop in search of his missing wife and child with only a handful of clues as leads. Most players will struggle with the controls at first but persistence is rewarded with one of the best stories this year. It's important to note that save games are only allowed in your room and nowhere else.

Tension builds up rather quickly after the protagonist settles into bed for the first night. There's a mystery to solve and a few twists in the story that will keep you playing right till the end. Full marks for one of the best games of it's kind.

Note: Try setting your monitor refresh rate to 60 Hertz if the game doesn't display correctly the first time.

Name: Missing
Developer: RPGCreations
Resembles: Uninvited, Shadowgate, the Deja Vu series
Size: 3.09 MB
[ direct download link | walkthrough ]

Return to top



9. The White Chamber: International Edition

Warning: Contain scenes of violence, strong language, blood and gore.

The White Chamber: International Edition is a new version of Studio Trophis' debut effort. There are plenty of easter eggs to be found, and some are hinted at the end of each adventure. Fans of the original certainly won't be disappointed with the extras.

Worthy of another mention in the 2006 list, owing much to the inclusion of four new endings and voice acting.

Name: The White Chamber: International Edition
Developer: Studio Trophis
Resembles: Silent Hill
Size: 299 MB
[ download page | walkthrough ]

Return to top



10. Nathan's Second Chance

Nathan's Second Chance is an excellent freeware adventure game made by Tim Knauf. Much like what the title suggests, your character has a sudden heart attack and finds himself embarking on his final journey.

Only this time, the trip involves a bus ride to meet a Brit. The eccentric man offers Nathan another opportunity to return to the land of the living, but under one condition. He must reconcile his differences with his daughter, who no longer stays together with the family.

And so the grand adventure begins. It's fairly simple to get into, thanks to an extensive tutorial. All the puzzles are relatively easy to solve as well, contributing to the gameplay because the story continues to move along without long pauses or unnecessary side quests.

Name: Nathan's Second Chance
Developer: Upper Orbit Software
Resembles: The Adventures of Willy Beamish (Dynamix)
Size: 6.84 MB
[ direct download link ]

Return to top

Labels:

 

Here's a summary of scores awarded by AGS forum users, presented Famitsu-style:

Duty and Beyond Wandering Adv. 79, 90, 92, 91 [352/400]
Reactor 09 Bernie 94, 89, 88, 91 [362/400]
Cedric Bernie 96, 88, 90, 91 [365/400]
Spooks The Ivy 85, 87, 86, 92 [350/400]
Knightsquire buloght 88, 82, 86, 85 [341/400]
The Family Treasure buloght 87, 85, 89, 85 [346/400]
Indiana Jones: FoY Screen 799, 81, 81, 85 [346/400]
Automation Mr Colossal 92, 84, 88, 81 [345/400]
Heartland LimpingFish 96, 91, 66, 79 [332/400]
A Cure for the... MashPotato 75, 73, 88, 77 [313/400]
The Winter Rose BaRoN 88, 85, 90, 88 [351/400]
Trilby's Notes Yahtzee 82, 92, 85, 92 [351/400]
6 Days a Sacrifice Yahtzee 86, 89, 86, 86 [347/400]
1213 Episode 1 Yahtzee 66, 71, 63, 66 [266/400]
1213 Episode 2 Yahtzee 77, 84, 72, 77 [310/400]
1213 Episode 3 Yahtzee 83, 85, 72, 83 [323/400]
The Heist AJA and MadReizka 85, 75, 65, 70 [295/400]
Hallway of Adv. Wandering Adv. 96, 85, 97, 90 [368/400]
Linus Vince Twelve 92, 88, 79, 83 [342/400]
King's Quest III Infamous Adv. 78, 70, 71, 75 [294/400]
Ben Jordan Case 5 Grundislav 80, 80, 81, 80 [321/400]
Ben Jordan 1 Deluxe Grundislav 81, 77, 75, 73 [306/400]
Sven Gordan buloght 93, 81, 77, 80 [331/400]
Sydney Finds... iSTVAN 83, 75, 86, 81 [325/400]
Chicken VS. Road Strange Visitor 79, 86, 85, 85 [335/400]


From left to right - Visual, Immersion, Puzzles and Pacing, Overall Enjoyment
 



The old GR3 Project's web site was closed recently. A 50MB zip file (design documents for La-Mulana) and the remixed soundtrack (high quality, 54 songs) were posted on the front page for download.

Click on the open door to visit GR3 Project's new web site. [La-Mulana download page]
 

Monday, February 12, 2007
Ablation is basically a four color vertical shooter with an interesting concept. Touching a white bomb neutralizes all projectiles, while activating a black one destroys every object in range. Collect power-ups for a firepower upgrade. Hold the control, Z or space key to shoot, and use the function keys numbered 5 and 6 to switch window sizes. Press the P key to pause the game.

Black pixels do no damage, though contact with a white pixel will cause your ship to lose one power-up degree. Destroy an enemy's weak point for a special core bonus.

Shades of Clean Asia, but very different at the same time and well worth downloading.

Name: Ablation
Developer: Nenad
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB

Labels: ,

 

Aetherzap is a rather loose remake of an old Midway arcade classic entitled SpaceZap, featuring an updated control scheme and a mind-numbing soundtrack to assault your auditory senses.

Use the arrow or W, A, S, D keys to launch an attack in any of the four available directions. Enemy patterns begin to vary as the game progresses, while your base is rebuilt automatically after some time. Collect green pulsating dots for bonus points.

Name: Aetherzap
Developer: Jph Wacheski
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

Labels:

 

New screenshots posted at the Honeyblaster site. [4 color compo releases]

BenH's 4 Colour Shooter (now dubbed Axion) updated with an end of level boss. [web site, Axion, Pyoro review]

According to various sources, FLAT has handed development responsibilities of eXceed3rd-JADE PENETRATE- to TENNEN-SOZAI. [eXceed2nd-VAMPIRE-, eXceed review]

Results for the AGS Awards 2006 are out. The wiki site has been updated with all nominees.

Project Aon updated with two new additions. All four books from the Combat Heroes series are now available as free PDF downloads.

Information about a new project was posted over at the Acoders' web site.

Wolverine is currently developing a platformer for the Retro Remakes mini compo, featuring Robin Hood and his group of merry men.

News about Pixel's upcoming shooter can be found here. As translated by Shih Tzu:

Thanks for your posts. I'm sorry to make you all wait. The shooting game is slowly coming along. As usual, I'm resisting the impulse to show it to people early. There are a number of reasons that I can't release a half-done version: I wouldn't be able to keep up with the number of player requests that would come from players using a work-in-progress version, and it would also risk ruining players' first impressions.
A Lyle in Cube Sector desktop wallpaper by Sergio can be found here. [mirror, Lyle in Cube Sector review]