Gorgeous Time Consumer

December 27, 2006

bells.jpgWinterbells is an absolutely gorgeous flash diversion. It falls into the same category as the other flash games that are unbelievably simple, but, at the same time, will devour your time as you find you are addicted to bouncing around on gorgeously rendered bells.

This mouse-driven game has you guiding a bunny as he hops from bell to bell. Each acts as a sort of trampoline to get you to the next one. You don’t technically need to bounce on the bells, you can bounce through them, too. Oh, and using birds as springboards earns you double points.

The game also records your high score, so you can, in effect, try to beat your own best score. Unless, of course, other people are also playing on your machine. Then you’d be competing against them.

happy.jpgThe graphics make this flash game stand out, so much so that the first time you play you’ll be drooling. And the gameplay makes it stick.

Winterbells is from a website by Ferry Halim called Orisinal.  Her other games are equally beautiful and playable. Thanks to Carina for the tip!


Take this ticket to ride

December 11, 2006

ticketfuzzy.jpgMost times, board games translated into ones and zeroes don’t turn out so hot. Case in point: any console Monopoly game and The Game of Life for PC. But Days of Wonder, a prominent card and board game maker, managed to do with their javascript games that companies like Parker Brothers have not: made them engaging. Currently, I tend to play “Ticket to Ride.”

ticketcardsfuzzy.jpgBasically, you try to claim as much of the available train track as you can. Okay, no. That’s pointless. You have to make very long continuous tracks while connecting destinations on ticket cards. Ticket cards ask you to go from city to city. In the USA version, it could be anything from a ticket pointing you on a route from Los Angeles to New York or one that requires a quick jaunt from New York to Miami. While the more ambitious ticket choices have higher point values, if you fail to connect the dots, the points are deducted from your score.

You can only set down trains if you have card colors that match the track colors and if you have the right number of cards to claim the track. Locomotives are like wildcards (I guess not all trains need them?), so they can be any color.

Of course, while you’re trying to hoard enough purple cards and locomotives in order to claim that long stretch of railway between two cities, someone might take it before you. Yes, I’ve cringed a few times at the computer screen when a fellow player (probably sitting pretty behind his computer console in some place interesting like New York or Paris) took my much needed route from Point A to Point B.

The game challenges its players to plan multiple routes for their trains so they don’t get trapped without a railway to their destination point. Or, and this has happened to me more often, I ran out of train cars. That’s right–you only get a limited number of cars to work with, and once someone has only one or two left, the game cycles into its last turn. Because of this, creative thinking is a must-have quality in the game.

By itself, the game is a great javascript version and will only take about 45 minutes to an hour of your time. An account on the Days of Wonder site is free. However, the folks at Days of Wonder hope it will entice you enough to buy the board game.

happy.jpgWhether or not you wish to invest in the actual, real-live board game (do they still make those these days?) you should definitely check out Ticket to Ride. It’s enjoyable, and, dare I say it? Fun.

Falling Diversion

November 18, 2006

falldown.jpgFallDown 2 is a game specifically designed for those people who need to sit in a cubicle all day and need a diversion from endless monotony. The basic gist is that you guide the ball with your left and right arrow keys and keep it from running into the ceiling. In essence, you need to fall to live.

Which is not something you should try in real life, just to warn any of you who have some problems determining between fantasy and reality. (Although, if you think you’re a black ball whose only goal in life is to see how far you can fall, you need some help. Now.)

happy.jpgIn any case, FallDown 2 is good at what it’s supposed to be good at: being a diversion. Yes, it’s not the most spectacularly interesting game ever made, but it’s addicting, fun, and short. Very, very short. Unless you’re an uber-Falling Down master.

Eating squares == diversion

November 7, 2006

squares.jpgSo, Squares 2.  Apparently, there was a Squares 1, but who’s counting?  Playing games like this offered for free on the Internet makes you wonder what the big deal of the multi-multi-million polygon count on the PS3 is.

Basically, you play as the one square that is definitely not like the others: it’s rotated 45 degrees.  See?  That one.  Right under the score.

This game involves your rotated-45-degrees square and the other black and white squares.  And some circles.  You need to guide your square into the other black squares (apparently, it’s cannibalistic)  and eat them.  Well, there is no animation that actually shows you eating the other black squares, but Snake didn’t have an animation, either.   Also, the red squares are diseased and they kill you.  Actually, I’m not sure what they are, but they aren’t good.

You can also eat the black circles.  They’re power-ups that make gameplay easier (an extra thousand points, smaller square, etc).  You can eat the red circles, which aren’t quite as deadly as their square counterparts, but they do mess you up.

happy.jpgOverall, the gameplay is simple but fun.  It will keep you busy for a little while, and it’s one of those quick diversions to an otherwise unfun day.

Prelim Review: What’s slimy and green all over?

October 27, 2006


Know how people are invariably attracted to slimy things (including people, I’ve noticed)? Sling capitalizes on that strange attraction we have to all things slightly gross and weird. The main character, who is referred to only as Apprentice by a slighter older slime, resembles snot. He’s green, slimy, rounded at the edge, and hangs from spherical objects.

The storyline is basic and nothing to be surprised about.  A thief steals one of the crystals that keep the very fabric of their world together, just as the stereotypical babbling old master tells his Apprentice that they should be guarded at all costs.  It’s should be no surprise to anyone that the Apprentice needs to go out and retrieve the crystal, as the Master is, you know, too busy watching cartoons.

The game takes some time to get used to, but that time investment is worth it. I haven’t played through the whole game yet (hence the prelim review), but the basic gameplay doesn’t change. You play as the Apprentice, who acts like a slingshot. You pull down on the slime and he bounces in the opposite direction when you let go. If you pull more, he goes further and faster. The object is to turn all of the white spheres in the stage green (that happens when you manage to grab hold of the white spheres). Then you need to transport to the next level through a swirly blue… uhm… portal… thing.

The levels get progressively harder as more obstacles are added, included spiked floors and the occasional monster that steals the white spheres.

And there is no life system.  None.  Meaning, Apprentice can die as many times as you need, and you don’t have to worry about starting from the beginning.  The game will remember where you were when you left your computer.

happy.jpgThe game is a pretty interesting blend of strange (but oddly, nice) graphics and engaging gameplay.  Some levels require thinking.  Or just random experimentation.

Sling can be found at Miniclip.  A nice feature of the game is the save button.

Puzzle game turns your time into gold (I think)

October 17, 2006

talismania1.jpgTalismania Deluxe 1.0 (that’s the whole, mouthful of a name) is one of those downloadable puzzle games most subscription game services offer. Unlike its puzzle-game counterparts, Talismania presents a quirky storyline with a thoroughly enjoyable gameplay.

You take the role of King Midas, the man whose touch turned everything to gold. Unfortunately, this time, he made quite a mistake: he turned his daughter into a gold statue. Now, he needs to do charitable deeds around the (Greek) neighborhood in order to restore his daughter to perfect health. You need to raise coins to build such monuments as the walls of Troy and the Temple at Delphi.

All you need to do is connect pathways between various animals made of precious metals. Okay, you’re probatalismania2.jpgbly thinking I could do a better job of explaining myself. I probably could, but that would involve a lot of convoluted writing. Looking at the picture on the left will probably be easier. You have to connect the like talismans together. Unlike other games, this game does not reward speed so much as your ability to make the longest possible trail between talismans (men?). Some talismen cause problems (the Medusa turns your paths into stone), and some reward you with extra coins.

happy.jpgAll in all, Talismania is a great puzzle game. It’s simple, so there’s not much more to say about it.

Talismania can be downloaded from many subscription games sites. I downloaded it from Shockwave Unlimited.

Ore no Ryomi 2: Serving food at a frenzied pace

October 14, 2006

ore1.jpgOre no Ryomi 2 has many things that detract from it: the graphics look like scribbles, it takes at least a half-hour to pick up the snail’s pace of the beginning, and there is a slight lack of female customers.

And yet, I found myself glued to my computer screen, attempting to increase my profit margin like a greedy capitalist. I found myself weighing the disadvantages and advantages of buying a new item for the menu or four days of television advertisement. I also found myself cursing at the screen when five people were ordering at the same time while my oven was on fire.

Yes, you do not just serve your customers. You also have to wash dishes, run the disposal, catch crooks, make sure yourore2.jpg oven doesn’t spontaneously combust, and many, many other restaurant-running essentials. After awhile, the graphics don’t even bother you anymore: you’re too busy trying to make ice cream while hoping the time window for washing dishes doesn’t close before you’re done.

ore3.jpgAh, yes. The frenzied atmosphere of Ore no Ryomi is deliciously difficult — if you have the patience to build your restaurant to that state. The first few “days” are slow: depending on what you buy, you may only be serving beer for many a day. Your customers will be sparse, and you will fancy you can hear a virtual pin drop during the minutes between customers. But stick with it. The game picks up, and you will soon be fully immersed in the game’s schedule.

Another upside of Ore no Ryomi 2 is the off-kilter sense of humor Mr. Chubbigans possesses. How strange is it? It features a parody of “Iron Chef,” if you’re good enough to be inviting onto the show for eight different unlockable challenges. Also, take some time to read the news flashes in the beginning of each day. They’ll definitely give you a chuckle or two.

happy.jpg It takes awhile for this game to pick up speed, but, once it does, you’ll be having such an enjoyable experience, you’ll be saying, “I can’t believe I didn’t pay for this.”

Ore no Ryomi 2 is a free download from Vertigo Games. You will need a file extractor like WinZip to play the game.