Posts from ‘Casual’ Category

Spike: A Love Story

By: Derek Yu

On: May 16th, 2011

Spike: A Love Story, by Matzerath

In Matzerath’s Spike: A Love Story, you play a spike trap who’s fallen in love with the “player” but can only express its affection by smashing him repeatedly. It’s a cute backstory that lends some humor to an entertaining game of timing and memorization.

TIGdb: Entry for Spike: A Love Story

SpaceChem Currently 50% Off

By: Alehkhs

On: May 12th, 2011

If you’ve not yet tried out Zachtronics Industries’ gem of a puzzler SpaceChem, now is the excellent time to do so. Currently on sale for 50% ($14.99 $7.49) on both the game’s site and Steam, SpaceChem has kept me awake for what is certainly an unhealthy length of time: Increasingly difficult, consistently rewarding, I continue to be amazed by the simple-yet-ingenious mechanics of this highly addictive game.

Check out the trailer above, grab the demo, and if you like what you see, be sure to grab it while it’s cheap!

Game Site / Steam

Haiku Hero

By: Derek Yu

On: October 4th, 2010

Haiku Hero by Paper Dino

Haiku Hero is a game by Montoli/Paper Dino where you write haikus – three-line poems consisting of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. There are three modes: a Deadline mode where you write as many haikus as you can in 5 minutes, a Survival mode where “good” haikus earn you more time, and a peaceful Endless mode where you can take your time and drink tea or rake sand gardens or whatever inspires you. The game determines whether your haiku is good based on whether you followed the 5-7-5 structure and whether you fulfilled the challenges that it set out for you based on one of three difficulty settings (e.g. “Use at least one word with 3 syllables.”).

It’s really quite fun, and I was surprised by how well the game was able to recognize fake, overused, or (for certain challenges) non-rhyming words. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to decide whether you wrote a truly awesome poem, which is why a multiplayer version of Haiku Hero or an easy way to see other people’s haikus would be great. Also, for a game about such a delicate artform, I was pretty unimpressed with the presentation, which, while serviceable, is kind of ham-fisted.

TIGdb: Entry for Haiku Hero


By: Derek Yu

On: August 12th, 2010

Solipskier by Mikengreg

Mike Boxleiter and Greg Wohlwend (aka Mikengreg) have released a wonderful new game, called Solipskier. In Solipskier, you use your mouse to paint snow on the screen for a little guy to ski on. The skier will build up speed on downslopes and can perform jumps over gaps in the snow. The goal of the game is to obtain a highscore by skiing through gates and catching air to build up your multiplier.

It takes a while to learn how to build up speed effectively, but once you get going fast, it’s blissful (gotta love it when the heavy metal turns into wind as your headphones fly off). Solipskier is a very polished game, which is not surprising, considering that Mikengreg also worked on Fig. 8, Effing Hail, and Dinowaurs as part of the Intuition Games collective. But in my opinion, this is their most enjoyable release yet.

Solipskier is also available on the iPhone and iPad for $2.99.

TIGdb: Entry for Solipskier

Kometen (iPhone)

By: Derek Yu

On: May 28th, 2010


[This is a guest review by tim_the_tam. If you’re interested in writing an article for TIGSource, please go here.]

What is a game? Does it have to be something fun to play? Do you need to be able to win or lose? Does it need a clear objective? Is it a series of choices? Kometen is a “game” that will mess with some people’s ideals of what a game is, which is no surprise coming from the guy who made Blueberry Garden. It’s because Kometen is not a “traditional” game as you can’t win or lose – there is no conflict, no official goals, and no way to die. Personally, I consider Kometen a game but I can also see an argument for it to be an interactive screensaver. But let’s not get too bogged down with the definition and for the sake of this article, Kometen is a game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Revenge of the Titans Beta

By: Derek Yu

On: May 26th, 2010

The beta version of Revenge of the Titans recently came out. Puppygames, the creators of Droid Assault and Titan Attacks, have worked their mojo over the tower defense genre this time, crafting a fun game that looks and sounds great. Hats off to Puppygames’ artist, Chaz Willets, for creating a distinct art style that improves upon his previous work in every way. It’s awesome.

This free demo is quite long, and features some 20-odd levels that charge you with protecting your home base with turrets and other, more exotic, weapons. In between levels you can also research new lines of technology to bolster your defenses. This research costs money that’s earned during battle, either from destroying gidrahs (the game’s requisite hostile alien race), collecting power-ups, or harvesting energy crystals using refineries.

Reloading turrets and collecting money from refineries is handled manually by the player, by clicking on them. One of the main challenges in the game is keeping track of your turrets and refineries and making sure that they’re always firing or collecting whenever possible. Although it makes the game feel more frantic, it also reeks slightly of unnecessary micromanagement. That, and I think it might impact the strategy of the game negatively, putting too much emphasis on keeping your buildings close together (the strange acceleration of the map scrolling doesn’t help).

Another problem is that you can get kind of screwed later in the game if you’ve done badly, either by not harvesting enough crystals or by frittering away your research on things that you don’t end up using. It is possible to start over at any previous level, but right now the game doesn’t appear to update your starting state with subsequent replays. And alas, there’s really no way to know what kind of research you need until the challenge starts ramping up dramatically. Oh well.

Those issues aside, I’m having a good time with the beta and decided to purchase it for its pre-order price of $13.37 (the final game will cost $27.72). Unlike many tower defense games that move at a plodding rate, Revenge of the Titans is very fast-paced, and the production values are top-notch. I also like the levels are somewhat randomized each time you play. It doesn’t seem like it’s making any sweeping innovations to the genre, but the execution really enhances what makes these games so addictive. Definitely my favorite Puppygames project so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Poto & Cabenga

By: Derek Yu

On: April 16th, 2010

Poto & Cabenga

Honeyslug just released Poto & Cabenga, their browser-based one-switch game that was made for the Gamma IV party (and was chosen to be displayed there). You control both Poto and Cabenga with one button, and the way it’s done is pretty nifty… definitely a bit of a mind-bender at first, though. I like the art style!

TIGdb: Entry for Poto & Cabenga

Synopsis Quest Deluxe

By: Derek Yu

On: April 5th, 2010

Synopsis Quest Deluxe

Skipmore is a prolific Japanese game company that develops micro-games for mobile devices. They have a bunch of free browser-based projects on their website, but Synopsis Quest Deluxe is the first to be translated into English (thanks to Benito C.). The game consists of a series of micro-games and puzzles that poke fun at JRPG conventions. I thought it was pretty funny, and the clunky controls that are present in most of Skipmore’s titles are relatively bearable in SQD due to the tiny scope of the game.

(Source: Tim W., via

TIGdb: Entry for Synopsis Quest Deluxe

Fish Face

By: Derek Yu

On: March 22nd, 2010

Fish Face

Beau’s Fish Face is a fun one-switch game made for GAMMA IV. You control a fish with a face and your goal is to save the Cephalopod Princess and party with your friends at the end of each of the three stages. Pressing either “Z” or the down arrow makes you swim downward, and when you release the key the water will buoy you up and send you flying into the air. Despite the game’s dark color palette, the graphics and music are really cute and cheery, and each stage is varied and filled with nice little details, like rain, waterfalls, and various flora/fauna (I noticed the awesome homage, Beau!). I found the level design to be well done, also – it’s fairly challenging and provides lots of opportunities to make tricky jumps, one of the most satisfying things to do in the game. Good work!

TIGdb: Entry for Fish Face

Desktop Dungeons (v0.051)

By: Derek Yu

On: March 18th, 2010

Desktop Dungeons

A new version of Rodain “Nandrew” Joubert’s Desktop Dungeons was released recently (read the original announcement here). Version 0.051 adds a bunch of new stuff like new player classes, level features, challenge levels, and graphics. The game also comes with an option to use custom tilesets, which is nice, because the default graphics are still rather homely (albeit endearing).

And since I love 16×16 tile graphics, I couldn’t not make my own tileset to use. I based most of my designs on the originals, which I like, but tried to make everything more crisp and readable. You can grab the tileset here. Just unzip it into your “tilesets” folder and select “derek” from the main menu screen. Let me know what you think, and share your own if you have any!

TIGdb: Entry for Desktop Dungeons