Recommending casual games

I thought that I was finished with my series of browser game reviews, but perhaps I’ll do one more yet.

“Skill games” are the genre that to me seems like the linchpin of the popularity of browser games in general. They are the perfect casual games, and always have been, long before browser games existed and the genre flourished in arcades and home computers. The casualness is well affirmed by the uncaring attitude that gamers tend to have towards these games; I myself almost didn’t notice that I should actually write a bit about these games as well if I’m supposed to be reviewing the browser game media in general. Considering how much I’ve been playing these games while trawling through the browser game selection, it only makes sense to highlight some of the ones I’ve returned to several times. Read the rest of this entry »

Recommending Game Poetry

My series of browser game reviews continues with another title Markku linked for me.

Small Worlds, according to its title screen, is apparently some sort of casual game contest competitor. This is easy to believe, as the game is certainly pretty casual. It is also exactly the sort of minimalistic, concerned design that I’d make myself if I were in the computer game business. I’d compare this with Hey Wizard! I discussed earlier in that both are platform games with a minimalistic bend; it’s just that this is much more minimalistic than Wizard ever, making it the extremist wing of browser minimalism. Read the rest of this entry »

Recommending Tower Defense Games

My series of browser game reviews continues, this time with the seminal genre of browser games.

Tower Defense games are perhaps more than any other single genre characteristic of browser games – so much so that many of the games reviewed so far in this series of mine actually had clear tower defense logic in them: a passive player against actively attacking enemies that come in waves, with the player improving his defenses as best he can in between. I have no absolutely clear favourite within the genre, but I definitely recommend checking it out – the specific game could be Desktop Tower Defense, Gemcraft or something else entirely. Read the rest of this entry »

Recommending Forever Samurai

My series of browser game reviews continues with a quite current game – apparently it was published just a couple of days ago. I certainly wouldn’t have stumbled on it if I weren’t writing these reviews and doing background research for them.

Forever Samurai is a simple and beautiful side-scrolling fighting game from Pixelante Game Studios (AKA Evan Miller, not to be confused with Auntie Pixelante) that is set apart by an immaculate sense of style. The game is not very long, but it makes up for this with intense action and a suitably challenging difficulty level. I’m not an easy customer for action games, as they usually fail to reward me sufficiently to keep me invested, but the carry-over of experience points and gradual increase in my own skill of play keep me nicely with the game here. Read the rest of this entry »

Recommending Sonny

My series of browser game reviews continues.

The two Sonny games are console adventure games (CRPGs, as they’re called) in style, closely akin to Final Fantasy and the like. Now, I don’t remember that I’d have spilled my full invective against the genre here at the blog, but those who know me might have heard me say some very unflattering things about the combination of passive consumership, bad writing and atrociously grinding gameplay typical of this Japanese genre of games. Thus it is all the more surprising that I actually like Sonny – it might be the best game (series) in the genre that I’ve ever played (depending on how you define the boundaries of the genre, anyway); and it achieves this by being sensible and matter-of-fact about the core activity of this type of game, rather than by pushing out into other types of game like some other good runners do. Read the rest of this entry »

Recommending Hey Wizard!

My series of browser game reviews continues with a third installment. The premise of the series, as can be found in the original post, is that I’m telling you about browser games that I recommend for their quality of design. I’m no expert on the subject, I just mostly play what my brother Markku recommends to me. Click on the game’s icon to play it, it’s as easy as that in this new age of free ready-to-play browser gaming.

There are actually two titles in this series of platform games, Hey Wizard! and Quest for the Magic Mojo. The basic content is similar enough in the two – the wizard guy, who can’t jump, has to navigate his way through various levels filled with monsters by using the magics in his disposal. The minimalistics graphical representation makes the games very atmospheric (not to speak of the technological benefits of using pure vector art), while the freely navigated levels add a sense of exploration. Both games involve the wizard gradually gaining a more powerful repertoire of magics that allow him to jump, float, climb and blast his way through to his goal. The two mostly differ in tone, with the first game being more difficult and grim, while the latter focuses more on the exploration. Read the rest of this entry »

Recommending Elona Shooter

My series of browser game reviews continues with a second installment.

This is a pretty new game, I understand. Another title with tower defence roots, except this time you’re managing a team of fighters defending a castle from various attacking critters. The core activity is point-and-click shootery, with switchable weapons and managing reload times. After each “day” of combat you get to invest the money recovered into better defenses, such as more fighters, better walls and so on. Experience points flow, too, so your fighters get to learn fancy new skills. The game strives to hit all the hardcore buttons at once, and succeeds rather well. Read the rest of this entry »