Pause Ahead is a punishing run-and-jump puzzle platformer with an inventive twist. At any given time, you can pause the game, freezing the assorted deadly obstacles (buzzsaws, spikes, monsters, etc.) in their tracks. Your character, however, maintains whatever momentum he had prior to the pause. The kick is that you can't control him during the pause. He just keeps flying along—hopefully not into the arms of another deadly trap. The objective is to get though the levels as quickly as possible. It's kinda like Super Mario Bros. on speed. Better have your fast-twitch reflexes honed for this one.
Girls like robots. The cool ones, anyway. This fact is proven by the new Adult Swim game Girls Like Robots: Nerdfest. It's really just a mini version of PopCannibal's popular mobile gaming series. But this cute 'n' cartoony puzzle game is worth checking out in any form. Your object is to seat people at various events. You must follow certain rules, however. Girls, for example, like to sit next to robots. They don't like to sit next to nerds. (Sorry, nerds.) Nerds don't like sitting next to other nerds. Figure out the proper seating chart and it's on to the next puzzle. Nerds!
In the innovative, experimental game 400 Years, you play a big-headed, kind-hearted dude who just wants to save the world. But you've only got 400 years in which to pull it off. Sounds pretty easy, huh? Unfortunately, you'll be doing it through the unusual mechanic of time manipulation. You have the ability to speed the clock, forcing the world to race through the seasons, letting years zip by at the touch of a button. Need a lake to freeze over, so you can walk across it? Just wait until winter. Need a tree to grow to climb higher? Just wait a few years. Suddenly 400 years seems kinda short. You'll spend a lot of time standing around waiting in this unusual game, so patience is something of a virtue. What are you waiting for? Get to waiting.
Chromatica is your basic shape-matching game. Slide the metallic stars, moons, clovers, etc. around the hexagonal grid (so long as there's an open path) and line them up in rows of four or more. Pile up extra-long chains to unlock special pieces. The jewel-like colors and the classical music accompaniment make this one a soothing exercise in puzzle solving.
Thanksgiving is at our doorstep and we'll soon be stuffing our faces. It only seems appropriate, then, to focus this week's Webgame Wednesday on the art of eating. The simple puzzle game Crumbs asks you to hold your mouse button down and take as big a bite as you can from a cookie. Sounds simple enough. But you've barely got a second or two to complete the task. Should you take a bigger bite, or sneak in a couple of smaller bites? How does the shape of the cookie affect your eating pattern? The objective, of course, is to chomp down as much of the cookie as possible in the time you're allotted. The game is super short, but you can cycle back through, trying to improve your eating ability--just the sort of training you'll need to survive the holidays.
Halloween is over, but Day of the Dead is still on the horizon. Celebrate the occasion with Day of the Dead. This puzzle shooter is obviously inspired by the classic arcader Puzzle Bobble–only the bubbles have been replaced with colorful sugar skulls. Paint your face and get to shooting!
Webgame Wednesday's journey through Halloween Horror Month continues with the darkly atmospheric point-and-click-as-art game The Old Tree. Creepy-crawl your way though a landscape of bizarre bugs and other weird monsters. Less scary than just plain surreal, this one is sure to fuel some strange dreams.
Hexagon is a maddening, impossible-to-survive puzzle actioner. Like, the old arcade hit Tempest, but in reverse, you must pilot your avatar though a tunnel-like maze. There are no enemies to fight, just a tiny, triangular speck to steer in a circular pattern. The walls close in on you at a frightening pace. In seconds, you'll be dead. The key is to get into the game's Zen. Relax your eyes and sense the pattern that the walls are forming. Now, let your fingers follow that pattern: left, right, leeeeeft! Boom.
Dig a trench from the river to water the plants and float the boats. Don't drown the people. Sounds simple enough, but the grid-based puzzler Flooded Village throws enough twists and turns at you to keep the old think-box working overtime. Further impediments (like ice) rear their ugly heads, forcing you to make more convoluted excavations in the landscape. What are you waiting for? Get digging!
Most point-and-click adventures are dull affairs, rewarding blind poking more than anything. But Little Wheel is something altogether different. First of all, the story is an interesting one. You play a robot who must reactivate his mechanical brethren after centuries of deep sleep. Second of all, the shadow-puppet animation is fluid and quite gorgeous. Finally, the game itself is a great deal of fun, feeling far more interactive and action-packed than most games of this type. The whole thing won't take you ten minutes to solve, but its a satisfying little sci-fi journey.
Puzzles are so much better when explosions are involved. Nuclearoids is a unique action puzzler that's a bit like playing pool on a sub-atomic level. Aim your various particles in a direction and let loose. The objective is to create as large a chain reaction as possible. Even if you fail, watching stuff blow up real good is a trippy treat. Get to the end, and you'll wish there were more levels. Boom, baby!
You might know the routine by now. In Wake Up the Box 4, you're asked to rouse a sleeping box from his naptime. How do you accomplish that? By using your mouse to draw various wooden blocks, ramps, sticks, balls or weird blobs. Using them to solve the game's increasingly difficult physics-based puzzles will give the old think-box a workout. It's also mighty addictive. Wake up, you damn box!
Sure, it's the day after Valentine's Day--but I like to think that the love continues. So allow me to introduce you to One and One Story, an absolutely lovely puzzle platformer with a romantic angle. You control a boy who wants to get to a girl. To accomplish this, you've got to traverse an obstacle-filled screen. Sometime she'll wait for you, sometimes she'll run away from you, sometimes she'll mirror your movements. Switch between the two characters to navigate the various traps. Pay attention to the various chapter titles, because they'll give you hints about what you'll be dealing with. This one will get your your heart beating and your mind racing.