FRACT first teased our eyes and ears back at the beginning of 2011. It's been a few years, but the full release is finally upon us in the form of FRACT OST, an abstract first person puzzle game steeped in mystery and musical riddles. It's the kind of game that rewards you for jotting down notes on a piece of paper, as you never know what odd shape/color combination might be used to solve a puzzle later on.
David is a game, an arcade game, and David is a very unusual game. Our little polygon hero finds himself in a world of abstract shapes and giant evil beasts that are out to eviscerate him one angle at a time. His only powers are the ability to run away like a little yellow belly and fire slingshot-like blasts at his foes. Sometimes he feels powerful, sometimes victorious, but there's always nagging feelings of helplessness and hopelessness in this dangerous world that just wants David to go away.
Think you can make the trains run on time? Well, Mini Metro, a strategy simulation from Dino Polo Club gives you the chance to do just that! While missing most of the features promised for the eventual complete version, one gets the feeling that they're getting in on the ground floor of something special as they play through a round of this hectic but relaxing title.
Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love is the kind of game you fire up when you know you want to play something but aren't quite sure what you're in the mood for. The delightfully abstract experience from Doppler Interactive puts you in a gray world and says "now go out and do stuff". That "stuff" involves bumping into trees, painting the ground different colors, knocking corners with other shapes, collecting some of the many strange items hidden throughout the environment, and just generally rolling around to see what you can see. Somehow, it's bizarrely entertaining.
Oquonie is one of those puzzle games that will befuddle you with its complex no-assistance design. Created by Hiversaires developer Aliceffekt and illustrated by Rekka Bellum, you must work your way through the innards of a twisty isometric megastructure as you "speak" to various characters to unlock "clues" that will apparently help you proceed. Or maybe you, as a player, are just going mad and the whole thing is really a flashlight app?
The simple things in life are often the best, and Green-Eyed Games has managed to turn a simple sliding-block puzzle into a game about flowers, just by arranging blocks the right way. The rules of Petals are as simple as the idea behind it: click to combine like-colored tiles in a grid, but avoid combining tiles of different colors. That's all there is to it, and it's a great way to spend a few minutes stretching your mind. You don't even have to water it.
The winner of the minimalism-themed Ludum Dare 26 game jam, Mono, a Java game by Timtip Games, is a uniquely artistic top-down mix of puzzles and skill. In it, you must guide an eye through a series of eight levels. It's over far too fast, but it's densely packed with interesting ideas and a well deserved victor.
Now you too can be a minimalist artist! Mondrianism is an ingenious interactive art game, in which you get to play with Mondrian's paintings. Move one coloured rectangle around, absorbing all the others, until there's only one colour left on the screen. And you thought this art thing was difficult...
Starseed Pilgrim is a very, very unusual game. Created by droqen, author of Probability 0, it's best described as an abstract puzzle game with some light musical elements and a touch of sandbox-style gameplay. That doesn't do the experience justice, though, as its real value comes from the sense of exploration and wonder you'll get trying to figure out which seeds grow which blocks and what exactly you're trying to accomplish in this bleak world.
Proteus is a exploration-based piece of interactive art by Ed Key and David Kanaga. In it, players take a walk through an abstract procedurally-developed island. While Proteus is probably not going to challenge the conception some have of art games as low-rez inaction-fests, that niche of gamers who'd be interested in a chill 45-minute retro vacation will find it a place worth hearing, and a song worth exploring.
It's Snake! It's Snazzy! It's Snazzle! A simple idea puzzle game by Amidos, Snazzle takes its inspiration from the classic formula of slithering reptiles extending themselves by chomping on fruit, and trying to avoid crashing into itself. However, by modifying the premise with a shiny coating of tile-based programming logic, it makes for a fresh and cleverly designed experience, though perhaps a little off-putting in its symbolic minimalism.
Robot wants dots! Okay, the star of Robot Arm, a simple idea puzzle game by Amidos2006 might be missing his torso, head, and legs, but his desires are no less poignant. Robotic Arm offers a cunning test of spatial logic that should appeal to any fan of mechanical manipulation puzzles.
It's always great when Japanese developer, Yoshio Ishii, gets experimental, and his RPG, Parameters, is certainly that. It looks like an Excel Spreadsheet, and plays like a computer hacking scene from a 1980s action movie. Abstract, but very addictive, Parameters won't be for everyone, but those looking for something a little different should find it quite compelling.
Drop is a fine physics-puzzle game with a musical theme that shows a little clever attention to detail can liven up an otherwise ordinary game. Offering both Sandbox and Puzzle modes, the goal of Puzzle mode is to fill all the end pipes with bouncy white projectiles. Draw lines across the screen to maneuver those projectiles around obstacles and to their goal.
If you like edgy atmosphere, mysterious trappings, and figuring things out without instructions, Eli Piilonon's puzzle/riddle game This is a Work of Fiction is well worth your time. Just be persistent, and don't let the paranoid ambiance get to you. It is a Work of Fiction, after all.
In this unique offering, you dive into the dreams of sleeping babies only to find yourself taking on the guise of strange aliens in an even stranger universe. Through the dreams of infants you will explore the lives of each of these aliens, experience their hopes and help them attain their dreams. You will do this despite the encroaching darkness, and the ever growing warnings of a dying world.
Shy Dwarf is a gorgeously animated little adventure where you play as a little black blob with a jaunty red hat. But Shy Dwarf is something of an enigma. Fun, short, and completely baffling. We're not sure exactly what it all means, or if it's supposed to mean anything at all. Whatever the case, we couldn't resist its unmistakable charm.
Actionscript guru Keith Peters has released a sequel to Gravity Pods, his unforgiving physics puzzle challenge from last year. Place gravity pods to direct a projectile from your turret to a purple exit gate. The level design is stunningly difficult, but that kind of adversity can be rewarding.
ShoOot 2: revenge of square, a cathartic circle extermination simulator, is more of a spiritual successor than a direct sequel, since you can now move in two dimensions and the gameplay focus has shifted from overwhelming rapid-fire madness to a more deliberate and unusual rhythm. The very latest from the casual game master: Tonypa.
Mono is a downlodable Windows game that is described as 'one part Asteroids, one part Robotron, and one part Paint Shop Pro'. Created by the talented guys over at Binary Zoo, you play as a plucky yet resourceful circular object set on changing its surroundings from black to white (or white to black, depending on mode). Coupled with three difficulty modes and the ability to import your own music, Mono is a well-designed little game.
An fantastic Flash shoooter with fast action and stunning visuals, ShoOot is the certainly one of the greatest and most addictive games from the house of Tonypa. Borrowing an element of gameplay from Pang and Duo, the veteran casual game developer serves up an accessible and immediately gratifying experience using Web-efficient stylized graphics.
Squares 2 is an addictive action Flash game with a phat beat. Very similar in concept (and sound) to Manuel Fallmann's Bubbles collecting game, Squares 2 has you collecting all the black squares while avoiding all the red ones. The game is extremely easy to pick up and play, and good fun for a quick diversion or two.
From Japan, created by Kenta Cho and available on his ABA Games website are a bunch of shmups, and all with source code. Highlighted here is Noiz2, a game that runs as an applet in any Java-enabled browser.
Noiz2 is an excellent little game that can keep you mesmerized for hours. Your ship is the mouse pointer, move it around the screen to shoot a...