Age of Defenders is a nicely executed, but very conventional, tower defense game, with two unusual aspects: It's both multiplatform and multiplayer. Well, two-player.
It can be played on a computer for free, in Flash; and there are clients for both iOS and Android. Given the size of the play area, my guess is it works better on a tablet than a smartphone, although you can swipe across the play area fairly easily. On the server side, the game is platform agnostic, meaning you could be playing against an opponent on any platform.
The fact that it's multiplayer adds a strategic aspect missing in soloplay tower defense games; you use the same resources to build offensive units as defensive towers, so you make a tradeoff between one or the other. Essentially, you stockpile units until you release them in an attack, when they try to run the gauntlet of the enemy's defenses and inflict damage on their base. Base hit points don't regenerate, but with two defense-minded players, the game can go on quite a long time.
SteamBirds is a top-down, turn-based, aeriel dogfighting game with an unusual core mechanic. Each turn, you give orders to your aircraft by moving a pointer that indicates where it will end the turn; the system only lets you drag the pointer to a location the aircraft can reach, so that the turning radius, speed, and ability to accelerate or decelerate is build into the scheme. Elevation, and diving/climbing, are neglected. Guns are fore-mounted, so the trick is to get behind the enemy and stay on their tail.
Solipskier was a 2011 IGF Finalist -- in the mobile games category, and it is available for iOS and Android, but there's also a free Flash version you can play online.
It's a rapidly-moving sidescroller in which you "draw snow" that a little skier skis on, gaining speed on downslopes and losing it on upward ones, doing jumps if you draw a steep upslope. If you lift the mouse button (or your finger in the mobile touch version), the snow goes away -- which is fine if your skier is jumping, as he then does 'tricks' for additional score points, but not so fine otherwise, as he will then plummet to his death (game over, obviously). More...
Submitted by sebastian sohn on Fri, 02/18/2011 - 04:56.
RIZK is a casual, serious, reverse tower defense game. It is part of the British Museum of Science's "Climate Changing..." exhibition, designed as a medium for "exploring the science of climate change." The game has short scenarios in which you invade regions to acquire purple goo resources to grow the tree at your base. In typical RTS fashion, you start with a base where you create two types of units -- harvesters and defenders. Various harvesters are specialized in collecting goo -- e.g., from underground reservoirs or from goo falls. The defender units generate a shield bubble that can protect the harvesters or your base. The goo is guarded by tree tower defense units that hurl homing shuriken-like projectiles. Your goal is to cost effectively deploy appropriate defenders and harvesters to collect goo to grow the tree at your base.
Submitted by TheDustin on Thu, 02/03/2011 - 11:21.
Not an hour ago I called up someone I missed. I said 'I love you' at some point in the conversation. Shortly after I went over to a friend's place, despite the blizzard and despite the fact that it was 3:30 in the morning. I smoked some hookah. They played Black Ops. Bored, I realized I hadn't checked on any of increpare's work in a while. As soon as his homepage loaded this title caught my eye. I went on TIG's IRC for the second time ever and played this with someone I don't exactly know. I won't spill any beans, but this sums up long distance relationships/internet friendships rather succinctly.
Mardek is a Final Fantasyesque RPG (J-ish, but from a British developer) implemented in Flash; at present, there are three of a projected eight chapters.
Oddly, game characters on the map are tiny pixelated creates like something from NES days, while dialog and menu images of the same characters are pretty nice cartoon art; perhaps this is an attempt to have things both ways -- retro and not too retro.
Combat is the usual JRPG tedium; you have a party of characters, attacks are triggered in sequence, you can use items and spells and such. And as usual there are scads of wandering monsters, so you wind up fighting a lot of repetitive battles.
However, there's quite a lot of depth to the system for a Flash game -- character effects such as poison, antidotes, a large number of spells, and so on. There's a system of quests and a quest log and a fairly decent story arc.
Where Mardek works best, however, is in the dialog; the main characters, Mardek and Deugan, may be fantasy adventurers but they a bantering Brit sarcasm down. Not that the dialog is up to, say, Ben There, Dan That level, but it's a lot more amusing than the usual sturm-und-drang nonsense of most RPGs.
So worth playing? Sure, if you like the JRPG style and don't mind the combat.
Submitted by Tof Eklund on Mon, 09/20/2010 - 00:49.
In 1981, after the original Dungeons & Dragons had spawned Gary Gygax's monstrous magnum opus, AD&D, and in the same year that IBM's Personal Computer hit the market, Milton Bradley did a strange and surprising thing. They released a moderately-complex fantasy boardgame with an electronic "tower" that adjudicated combat, random encounters, and even purchasing and haggling for goods at the bazaar.
This hybrid board/electronic game was called Dark Tower -- just in case you were wondering, it preceded the first book in Steven King's series of the same title by a year, but came after the story began to be serialized. This suggests that they were in simultaneous, independent development, as a title and a central, dark, tower is about all they have in common. The Dark Tower game shares a lot more with D&D, including a Tolkeinesque fantasy setting, random combat, and resource management (food and gold).
Perhaps due in part to the expense of the game, and certainly in part to an intellectual property lawsuit that Milton Bradley lost, Dark Tower soon went, and stayed, out of print. A "failure," it would have no clear successor, and the potential for hybrid electronic-board games, and especially for "geeky" ones, would die with it. But, to quote Lovecraft, "with strange aeons, even death may die." A number of fan-sites exist, of which the finest may be Arioch's, hosted at Well of Souls.
This comprehensive site features Bob Pepper's original art for the game (which appeared on film cells on a rotating carousel inside the tower, somewhat like a slide projector), along with detailed information about gameplay, and almost every imaginable related interest. But if you, like me, begged and pleaded your parents for a copy of the game and were denied (due to sticker-shock or simple lack of availability), you can now play the game without having to shell out $300+ dollars for a used copy that may or may not work properly.
The Hot Flash Games version of Dark Tower isn't the only adaptation out there, but it does a fantastic job of re-creating the look, feel and gameplay (complete with irritating quirks) of the original. The most obvious difference is that the original game supported 1-4 players and the flash version is single-player. Multiplayer games are "not yet supported," and there doesn't seem to have been an update since 2006, so I'm not holding my breath.
You start the game with a certain amount each of three key resources: warriors, gold, and food. You move one space on the map at a time, either facing random encounters (such as brigands or plague), or special encounters at a handful of locations, including "dungeon" sites with bigger rewards but larger bands of brigands, a sanctuary, and the most useful location, the bazaar, where you can buy more resources as well as purchase (hire?) allies: the scout, who prevents the "lost" encounter, the healer, who inverts plague encounters from bane to boon, and the monstrous-looking but nearly useless beast, who increases the amount of gold you can carry.
I still remember my cousins (who had the game, lucky sods) laughing at me for using all my gold to buy a beast.
To make a long story short, you have to adventure until you find all three keys needed to open the dark tower. Then you face the hordes of brigands within and, if you come out victorious, you save the kingdom and win the game. This is where the lack of multiplayer (computer of otherwise) really hurts - the game is a race against the other players, more like Dokapon Kingdom than anything else, just with much less emphasis on bashing your friends. The only dirty trick in Dark Tower is using the randomly-appearing Wizard to curse another player.
There is also a Java version of Dark Tower with multiplayer (human and/or computer) support that also attempts to correct some of the flaws in the original: you can download it from the "About" page of Arioch's fansite. Arguably superior, the Java version fails the "nostalgia test" -- it just doesn't feel like the old boardgame. This matters a lot, because an experience of what was (aeons ago, in electronic gaming time) and what might have been is the reason to play this game. In the end, Dark Tower isn't a lost chapter in gaming history, but it is an interesting bit of marginalia.
Submitted by TheDustin on Thu, 09/02/2010 - 17:28.
It was around five in the morning last Tuesday when I found this bike in the middle of the road. It was an old-style bicycle that was at least as old as me -- a Huffy I believe. I took it for a spin, naturally, and rode it through the single road that leads outside of my Arctic village. Everything was completely silent and perfectly still. As I breezed through the foggy and slightly hilly tundra I caught the occasional glimpse of a caribou or hare. It was absolutely and utterly tranquil. Playing Seasons felt just like that.
Little Wheel is an elegantly implemented little Flash "point-and-click" adventure, with stark but engaging graphics and a swinging lounge score. Based, I suppose, on the 'casual game' theory that there's no such thing as "too simple," white circles appear on all hot spots in each scene. There's no inventory; all puzzles are what Johnny Wilson used to call "plumbing puzzles," after the puzzles of Myst which were largely and literally based on plumbing: Using various controls to get the plumbing to work.
Submitted by TheDustin on Wed, 06/30/2010 - 20:18.
This game hates you. It may seem innocent enough with it's patchwork graphics (courtesy of TIG's Assemblee crew) and Canabalt premise; be forewarned that this game despises you, your keyboard, and everything that you stand for. Well, not so much that last bit, but you get the idea. Did I mention that this game hates you?
Arthur Lee (a.k.a. "Mr. Podunkian") is a man of words, pixel art, and satire. And here I mean satire in the sense of: "What did Doug do? - He used... sarcasm! ...and, satire." He runs an infrequently updated but excellent blog called PIGScene, where he makes fun of TIG and Derek Yu, for some reason. His best known games, besides a Rogue-like series he's working on, are the Merry Gear Solid games, which send-up Hideo Kojima's watershed series and takes it out back to another kind of shed for ritualistic defilement.
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