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Four Text-Based Adventure Games That Modernize the Genre | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Text-based adventure games may seem old-fashioned, but modern ones are re-interpreting the genre in inventive ways by rethinking what "text" means.

The humble text adventure helped define video games. From the days of Colossal Cave Adventure and Zork, players engaged in intricate gameplay through words alone, which described environments and provided a way to indicate actionsby choosing from sets of verbs and nouns. While the format may seem limiting now, modern versions of these text-based adventure games are working hard to redefine the genre. Incorporating novel twists and more poignant premises, games like Adam Cadre's 9:05 have made text-adventures more complex and interesting through twists on seemingly mundane tasks like "go to work."

Modern text-based adventure games have created scenarios that are truly a delight to play and have helped players reconsider what it means to adventure. But more than that, they've also asked players to reconsider what "text" even means.These four games offer different interpretations of "text" and what services it can render in the pursuit of good gaming that go beyond the original expectations of the genre.

Related:Nancy Drew: Midnight in Salem Brings Nancy Back with Some Changes

Disco Elysium has graphics -- really interesting and moody graphics. It also has character designs, voice acting and a soundtrack to go with it. Despite these nods to a modern style of adventuring, the critically-acclaimed2019 gamefrom ZA/UM presents its quests, information and narrative choices through a text interface.

Disco Elysium's text interface is visually rich, using different colors to signify different speakers during a conversation, as well as to highlight which portions of the interface are interactable. This is part of what setsit apart as a text adventure -- text is no longer just a combination of letters to signify a word, but also a complex interaction between words and their presentation style to signify something more.

Related:5 Video Game Adaptations Ready for the Front Lines of the Streaming Wars

Focusing on the text interface in Disco Elysium is maybe doing the game a disservice, and it's certainly not the first game to play with how the text in an adventure is presented. But it's worth considering this game as what a fully modern interpretation of a standard text-adventure might look like, where text is at the heart of the story and the way of interacting, but not the only way that a player engages with the game.

The 2019 puzzle game Baba Is Youfrom developer Arvi Teikari reinvents text by asking players to think of words themselves as objects. Each level of this puzzle game explicitly lays out its rules on the screen, defining the player, the objective and the things standing in the way. But none of these rules are static -- in fact, players are meant to interact with the words,moving around these linguistic blocks to change the very nature of the level.

For instance, removing the verb from the declaration "wall is stop" means that the wall no longer stops a player's movement. Instead, they can move freely through walls, into new rooms and outside the bounds of the level altogether. Pushing the noun "wall" into the sentence "flag is win" can change the win condition to "wall is win" and, ultimately, be the solution to the puzzle.

Even with this unique gameplay mechanic, the fundamental building blocks of the text-adventure genre are still in place here.By making puzzles from the words themselves, Baba Is You reinterprets what it means to be a text adventure. Players don't enter text; they manipulate it visually, redefining what it means tointeract with text.

Related:Animal Crossing: New Horizons - How to Build a Rock Garden

A more straightforward addition to the idea of "text" is the use of emojis. Epic RPG, the Discord bot created by user lume#0001 in 2019, allows players to join in battles by reacting to text-based messaging with emojis (at least until the most recent update). Here, a player declares themselves involved in a fight against a miniboss by adding a "dagger" emoji, visually signifying theirintentions tofight.

Epic RPG's re-imagining of "text" falls in line with a general movement to incorporate images into the textual space as the number of emojis continuously increases and new, relevant ones keep being codified into Unicode practice. But these visuals aren't the modern graphics players might be used to, but rather individual signifiers being used the same way a traditional text adventure might have them write the word "fight."

Perhaps the most straightforward progression from the early days of text adventure games, AI Dungeon uses the same type of text-only interface. However, instead of pre-programed responses and limited narrative trees, it creates a game's story using machine learning and natural language processing algorithms. AI Dungeonallows players or groups of players to roleplay different scenarios using text commands and descriptions, but the machine learning back end means that players are never limited to a set of options like directions to walk or items to interact with.

Related: D&D: Mythic Odysseys of Theros - How to Build a Triton

AI Dungeon doesn't re-imagine "text" so much as "the production of text." If Disco Elysium was a modern version of what a text-adventure could look like, AI Dungeon is a modern version of how a text-adventure could act. Without limitations on content and choices, AI Dungeon can feel even more like a real-life game of Dungeons & Dragonswith the computer responding in real-time to a player's choices.

For AI Dungeon, "text" is an ever-changing target rather than a choice in a dialogue tree or a Boolean in code. While natural language processing algorithms aren't perfect, and sometimes are laughably poor at maintaining semantic continuity (or even good syntax), AI Dungeon shows players the possibility of text that isn't pre-written.

Each of these games modifies the idea of a "text adventure," expanding how the text is created and interacted with or what "text" even means. As designers keep experimenting with ideas of the text-based adventure genre, players will continue to be able to interact with games in new ways. Even if this is the oldest type of adventure game, it is clear it doesn't need to remainstuck in the past.

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Marvel's Avengers' Spider-Man Addition Was a Last-Minute Decision

E.L. first saw the game Myst when she was in elementary school, and it has irrevocably changed her aesthetic, She is currently a graduate student in the history of the exact sciences in antiquity, and *has thoughts* about ancient math and modern astrology. She has shared these thoughts (and her writing) with digital venues like Eidolon, Lady Science, and the Journal of the History of Ideas blog, and if you sit still for long enough she'll probably try to share them with you, too. In her downtime, E.L. enjoys puzzle games and pet care, and is currently training in the circus arts.

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Four Text-Based Adventure Games That Modernize the Genre | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources

Best new mobile games on iOS and Android August 2020 round-up –

Creaks is worth discovering (pic: Amanita Design)

GameCentrals monthly review of the best mobile titles takes in Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales and Samorosts new game Creaks.

Blinding sunlight and stifling heat may not be all that conducive to hunching over a small, increasingly greasy touchscreen, but fortunately the past few weeks release schedule seems not to care. This months reasons to dry off sweaty thumbs include the superb and ultra-long lasting Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, Amanita Designs characteristically charming Creaks, and the absurdist thrills of LFDR.

iOS & Android, 5.99 (Focus Home Interactive)

After launching quietly onto consoles in 2017, MudRunners unusual blend of simulated heavy goods vehicles and off-road motoring cuts an unlikely figure on mobile. In it youll need to drive, hitch up loads, deliver them, and navigate maps fraught with terrain thats distinctly unsuitable for articulated lorries.

What youll discover is a game almost sadistically opposed to arcade-style instant gratification, regularly bogging you down in soft mud, in surroundings that are realistically plastered in mid-brown, for minutes at a time. A bit like Death Stranding, the sense of relief when you complete one of its astonishingly laborious and painstaking missions is palpable.

There is a satisfaction to completing stages with all three bonus goals intact, but the games glacial pace and realistic but intrinsically clunky onscreen controls, that offer no option to connect a controller, will not be everyones cup of tea.

Score: 6/10

iOS, 9.99 (CD Projekt)

Players of The Witcher fall into two camps: those who see the card game Gwent as a deep and irresistible distraction included free with the main game, and those who ignore it entirely. Even if youre in the latter group, this mix of deck building and role-playing may still be a more alluring mix than you might expect.

Telling the story of Meve, queen of Lyria, and replete with familiar characters from the games and books, Thronebreakers games of Gwent mix standard one-on-one matches with a plethora of puzzle levels, each with its own set of rules and constraints.

The result is a rich and varied tactical tour de force, comprising dozens of hours of entertainment backed up by a story thats as twisted and interesting as Witcher fans have come to expect.

Score: 9/10

iOS & Android, 4.99 (Antler Interactive)

Sequel to Krystopia: Novas Adventure, this is another point n click puzzle game built around a series of drag and drop challenges gaining you access to new rooms and more puzzles.

While it has neither the gentle humour of Broken Sword, nor the surrealist joie de vivre of Escape From Monkey Island, it has its own atmosphere and sense of place in this case deep space.

Unfortunately ,it suffers from the same problem as the rest of its genre, namely relying on random-seeming and counter-intuitive combinations of equipment to overcome many of its problems. YouTube will get you unstuck but cheating your way through feels as hollow as it always does.

Score: 6/10

iOS & Android, Free (Lionheart Applications)

With a heavy rock soundtrack and powerfully weird theme, characters, and Google Play Store description, LFDR stands for live, fly, die, repeat; four things youll be doing a lot of in this wilfully peculiar roguelike side-scrolling shooter.

You ride a flying motorbike that auto-fires lasers from its handlebars and uses the same tap to fly upwards/release to descend control scheme as Flappy Bird and dusty old classic, SF Cave.

It has an interesting risk and reward structure where you have to shoot enemies, then fly through the souls they drop, whilst avoiding further incoming fire. You also get to choose your path every so often, branching to take on dangerous bosses that drop more resources, or opting for easier but less rewarding routes. If utterly deranged is your thing, this is worth a download.

Score: 7/10

iOS, 3.99 (Daedalic Entertainment)

Already out on PC, Mac, and consoles, the touchscreen iteration of Felix The Reaper works just as well as its hard key-controlled forebears. In it you play Felix, a romantically inclined grim reaper whose destiny plays out in a series of grid-based puzzles.

As well as rotating the board to get a better angle, you can also swivel the sun in 90-degree increments, the twist being that Felix can only survive in shadow. With those simple mechanics youll need to move obstacles, create new areas of shadow, and complete each levels objectives.

Felix moves beautifully, and the games narrated by the eternally sonorous Patrick Stewart, but it suffers from a patchy difficulty level, supplying five-ish hours of mildly frustrating and often repetitive puzzling.

Score: 6/10

iOS, Apple Arcade (Amanita Design)

From the much-admired studio behind Samorost, Machinarium, and Chuchel, amongst others, comes Creaks, an atmospheric puzzle game of subterranean exploration.

Finding a hole in the wall of your heros bedroom, youre soon heading down into the labyrinthine and curiously animate depths of a world filled with mazes of interconnected ladders and aggressive automata.

Amanitas distinctive art style and wonderfully expressive characters, whose movements and expressions convey chapters worth of emotion, are as effective as ever, even if the ladder mazes and robot baiting eventually get to feel a bit samey.

Score: 7/10

iOS & Android, 1.99 (Playdigious)

Another port of a PC game, this time with a hand-drawn and animated feel, and a set of gentle, lightly puzzle-flavoured interactions, none of which has any sort of difficulty level to detain you.

Its story is equally languid, with mysterious picture-only interludes and no obvious plot exposition to link together its almost-puzzles.

Clocking in at under an hour, with no challenge and a story that is at best highly confusing, Arrog is beautiful but strangely empty.

Score: 5/10

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Mobile Game Developer Zynga is on an M&A Frenzy as it Announces Another Acquisition after Reporting Record Q2/2020 Revenues –

eResearch | Last week, Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) reported Q2/2020 earnings with record revenues and bookings, as the mobile game company fueled growth through focusing on its portfolio of live service games, while acquiring Rollic, other high-growth franchise.

Zynga - logoZynga is an American game developer headquartered in San Francisco, California, with a diverse portfolio of popular live service games, which it adds ongoing content and additional micro transactions to create a sustainable monetization model around its products.

Zyngas portfolio of live service games:

CSR2Empires & PuzzlesMerge Dragons!Merge Magic!Words With FriendsZynga PokerToon Blast! (acquired from Peak Games)Toy Blast! (acquired from Peak Games)

Zynga Acquisitions

On the same day of the earnings report, Zynga announced a US$168 million all-cash acquisition of 80% of Rollic, an Istanbul-based game development company focused on hyper-casual mobile games, with more than 250 million downloads, 5 million Daily Active Users (DAU), and 65 million Monthly Active Users (MAU).

Rollics latest games, Go Knots 3D and Tangle Master 3D, ended Q2/2020 as the top two most downloaded free games in the U.S. App Store. So far, Rollic has developed eight games which reached either the number one or number two ranked spots for free downloaded games in the U.S. App Store.

In the press release, Frank Gibeau, CEO of Zynga, said, We are excited to expand into the hyper-casual category with the acquisition of Rollic, one of the fastest growing hyper-casual developers and publishers worldwide in 2020, led by an incredibly creative team.

The acquisition of Rollic came only two months after Zynga announced a US$1.8 billion acquisition of Peak Games, another Istanbul-based game company. Peak Games popular mobile match-3 puzzle games, Toon Blast and Toy Blast, boosted Zyngas DAUs by 60%, as the two games brought a collective 12 million DAUs.

Zynga Financials Q2/2020

In Q2/2020, Zynga reported revenues of US$452 million beating S&P Capital IQ analysts consensus estimate estimations of US$434 million, with a loss per share of US$0.16 versus the consensus estimate of a loss per share of US$0.14.

Zynga experienced a 47% increase in revenue year-over-year, as mobile games sales grew to US$370 million, a 65% increase year-over-year, accounting for 82% of Zyngas total revenue. Total bookings increased to US$518 million, which includes US$66.4 million in deferred revenue.

Zyngas top two revenue generating mobile games were Empires and Puzzles and Merge Dragons!, which accounted for 25% and 18% of total mobile games revenues, respectively.

Mobile DAUs reached a record 22 million, a 4% increase year-over-year, while mobile MAUs remained unchanged at 70 million. Strong audience engagement increased mobile average bookings per mobile DAUs to $0.248, a 32% increase year-over-year.

However, Zyngas net loss increased further to US$150 million, a 169% increase year-over-year, mainly attributed to a significant increase in R&D expenses to US$228 million, a 123% increase year-over-year.

Zynga Financial Highlights Q2/2020

Revenue of US$452 million, a 47% increase year-over-year, which includes Online games sales of US$388 million and Advertising and other sales of US$63.5 million.

Costs and expenses of US$581 million, a 57.9% increase year-over-year, which includes Cost of revenue of US$179 million, R&D costs of US$228 million, Sales and marketing costs of US$135 million, and General and administrative costs of US$39.2 million.

Net loss of US$150 million compared with a net loss of US$55.8 million the prior year.

Balance sheet consists of Cash and cash equivalents of US$1.34 billion, Current liabilities of US$984 million, and Long-term liabilities of US$964 million.

Zynga Financial Guidance Q3/2020

Revenue of US$445 million, a 29% increase year-over-year, with bookings of US$620 million a 57% increase year-over-year.Net increase in deferred revenues of US$175 million from the acquisition of Peak, which is expected to reduce gross margins significantly.Net loss of US$160 million compared with a net loss of US$84 million the prior year, excluding a one-time gain of US$314 million related to the sale of its headquarters building.

Zynga FY2020 Guidance

As user activity and revenue surged beyond their expectations, Zynga raised its 2020 guidance to US$1.8 billion in revenue, US$110 million higher than its previous guidance and 36% higher year-over-year.

In addition, Zynga also raised its 2020 guidance for bookings to US$2.2 billion, US$360 million higher than its previous guidance and 41% higher year-over-year.

Zynga expects strong growth through its portfolio of live service games, with full contributions from the Peak acquisition, starting next quarter and the Rollic acquisition, starting in the fourth quarter.

Zyngas stock is currently trading at US$9.73, a decrease of 4.2% since the earnings announcement and an increase of almost 60% over the last year.

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Mobile Game Developer Zynga is on an M&A Frenzy as it Announces Another Acquisition after Reporting Record Q2/2020 Revenues -

15 new Android games from the week of August 3, 2020 – Android Police

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15 new Android games from the week of August 3, 2020 - Android Police

The best games on Google Play Pass – Engadget

Card Thief

Arnold Rauers

This is not a game where you actually steal cards. Its actually something much more interesting: A strategy-stealth title where you must take as much treasure as you can from a castle without being caught by the guards. Everything is represented by a card on a board, though, and the order in which you play, move or remove cards from that board means the difference between escaping a wealthy person or spending your last days in the clink.

Get Card Thief on Google Play


Jules Vernes Around the World in 80 Days is a classic adventure novel that inspired quite a few real life trips to circumnavigate the globe. As youre probably never going to get the opportunity to follow in Phileas Fogg and Passepartouts footsteps, this interactive fiction version from Inkle is the next best thing. You can try to replicate their journey exactly or forge your own path across a globe populated with steampunk wonders. Each route you take has its own unique story content, meaning you can play this again and again and never have the same adventure twice.

Get 80 Days on Google Play


Lots of games use an anime style in their art, but Forgotton Anne is one of the few that really captures the feel of playing through one. The setting, a place populated by sentient lost objects, is charming and quirky, and the gameplay varies between puzzler and platformer. The controls have been simplified for mobile and, while the puzzles start out very easy, a lack of complexity feels a lot less like a negative when youre playing on a smaller screen in your spare moments.

Get Forgotton Anne on Google Play

The Voxel Agents

Two best friends find themselves stranded on a series of mysterious, magical islands littered with objects from home. To find their way back to where they came from, they must light a beacon at the top of each isle. To solve the puzzles its not space you must manipulate, but time: When you interact with objects on the island, you can rewind back to a point where they would be more useful. On mobile the game has been specifically designed for a vertical orientation, making this a game you can casually play with just your thumb on the screen.

Get The Gardens Between on Google Play

grapefrukt games

Take Puzzle Bobble and cross it with Breakout and youll only scratch the surface of describing Holedown. This puzzle game takes you to various asteroids and planetoids, asking you to dig deeper and deeper by bouncing balls off various blocks that stand in your way. Each block has a number on it indicating how many times it needs to be hit before it disappears, and you have a limited amount of shots, so youll need to employ some strategy and physics to get down to the core. There is also a ghost. It is very cute.

Get Holedown on Google Play

Noodlecake Studios

If you enjoyed the retro 80s glam rock aesthetic of Thor: Ragnarok and you also like chucking spears at things, Lichtspeer is the game for you. Youre a future warrior tasked with killing zombies, giants and sorcerers for your god, who is always lurking just above and will judge you hard in pseudo-German when you miss. The synth music is bombastic and the graphics wouldnt look out of place on the front of a Trapper Keeper, so if you were the kind of kid who adored the laser background on school picture day, this is definitely up your alley.

Get Lichtspeer on Google Play

Dinosaur Polo Club

If youve ever dreamed of designing and running your own subway system, Mini Metro can scratch that itch. Part train simulation and part puzzle game, youre presented with busy stations that you must connect with train lines across various world cities like London, Hong Kong and Barcelona. All you need to do is keep stations from overcrowding a goal complicated by limits on how many lines you can run, trains you own and tunnels you can build.

Get Mini Metro on Google Play


Its tough to be a king or in this case, queen. Reigns: Her Majesty places you on a throne constantly being visited by various supplicants asking for more money, resources and time. Each decision you make has an effect on your finances as well as favor with the peasants, nobility and clergy. Keep them all in balance and you might have a long, fruitful reign. If you dont, well, theres always the guillotine. But youll be back on the throne in no time, thanks to the games quick card swipe-based gameplay and a story that wants you to die to be resurrected again and again.

Get Reigns: Her Majesty on Google Play

Buff Studio Co.

This visual novel takes advantage of the fact that it is on a mobile device, presenting all of its dialogue and images in a chat format. But the people youre chatting with arent your friends, not yet anyway they can be your allies, but they may also end up as your victims, as the currently dead protagonist is promised a new chance at life only at the expense of someone elses. Its ultimately up to you to decide, but only after getting to know each and every one of them, making the decision a lot harder.

Get 7 Days on Google Play

Chucklefish Ltd

This farming/village life simulator may have started life as a PC title, but its on mobile devices where its really hit its stride, especially thanks to refined controls designed for your phone. You inherit a farm from your grandfather and are tasked with cultivating the land, raising animals, expanding your home and befriending (and romancing) villagers. Combat can be a little frustrating with touch controls, but overall its as peaceful or stressful as you make it. The perfect game for passing time on a long commute or fiddling with during your latest Netflix binge.

Get Stardew Valley on Google Play

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The best games on Google Play Pass - Engadget

Crossword creator tests faith knowledge, sees games as way to evangelize – Crux: Covering all things Catholic

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky After her mother died in 1990, Missy Bartlett, a Louisville theology teacher and lover of puzzles, came across her mothers homemade crossword puzzles.

My mom was disabled with rheumatoid arthritis and spent a long time in a wheelchair. As a hobby, she decided to make crossword puzzles herself, Bartlett said in a phone interview with The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Discovering her mothers collection of puzzles inspired Bartlett to give puzzle-making a try. And since her expertise was in theology, she decided to center her puzzles on that theme.

For the last 20 years, her crossword puzzles have challenged The Records puzzlers every week. Her puzzles also arepublishedinCatholic newspapers across the nation and internationally, including in Canada and Singapore.

Before she created word puzzles, Bartlett was well into her teaching career. Shes been teaching theology in Catholic schools in Louisville for more than 40 years.

She began her career at Angela Merici High School and then taught at Sacred Heart Academy for 20 years. She briefly left to teach at DeSales and St. Xavier high schools. She returned to Sacred Heart six years ago. She also teaches courses at Catholic-run Spalding University in Louisville.

As she ventured into puzzle-making, she learned the craft from scratch.

When I first started I did it by hand and that took forever, she said with a chuckle.

She quickly moved her operation to a computer program and developed her own crossword dictionary of theology terms. She plugs in the clues and the program makes them fit. She carefully reviews and edits each one to ensure the puzzles accuracy.

She considers puzzle-making part of her ministry as a Catholic educator.

I see it as being a way to teach people, to remind people of what they learned in a fun way, she said.

Bartlett said she listened when Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to proclaim the faith beyond the normal avenues.

Its that idea to use all means to evangelize I took to heart, she said.

Some of her clues include doctrine or rules of the church, others are pop culture references to the church. Bartlett also likes to include trivia involving saints and other church figures.

For example, in a recent puzzle, clues included Give us this ___ (day) and Catholic Canadian Prime Minister, Joe _____ (Clark).

I get inspiration all throughout the day. Im always looking for something, she said.

In addition to crossword puzzles, she has created word-games books, including compilations of crosswords and word searches.

She considers her business venture Word Games for Catholics as a way to honor her mother, Flora McLaughlin.

I do it because I think of my mother. She loved crossword puzzles and she was stuck in her wheelchair, in her house, she said.

Bartlett said she hopes her puzzles are a source of entertainment for people.

It gives people some entertaining way to learn about their faith or to practice what they know, she said.

And for those who are intimidated by crossword puzzles, including this reporter, Bartlett recommends practice.

Its not necessarily about having an extensive vocabulary. Most words I use are not unusual. You just need to practice, to get a feel for the clues, she said.

Bartlett has three grown children and three grandchildren. She is a parishioner of St. Frances of Rome Church.

Able is a staff writer at The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

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Crossword creator tests faith knowledge, sees games as way to evangelize - Crux: Covering all things Catholic

The Greatest Indie Video games on Nintendo Swap (August 2020) – The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette

Although the Nintendo Switch launched alongside one of the greatest AAA games of all time in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the system has become known as an indie machine to many. The portability of the Switch and Switch Lite makes them ideal for indie games, and dozens of small developers seem to love releasing their games on the hybrid console.

Better yet, plenty of previously released indie games, such as Hollow Knight, have received increased attention and acclaim after landing on the Switch. Its become a win-win for developers and Switch owners. If youre a new Switch owner or are simply looking for something new to play during your morning commute, weve put together a running list of the best indie games on the Nintendo Switch.

This has to be one of the strangest games of 2020. Published by Devolver Digital and developed by Phobia Game Studio, Carrion is a reverse horror game where players take on the role of a terrifying, man-eating blob as they stalk their prey through a foreboding prison.

The brutal combat is a big part of the fun, as youll be flinging scientists and soldiers around the map like ragdolls, but there are enough complicated puzzles to keep things interesting for the long haul. With a bunch of hidden content, unlockable abilities, and an utterly unique concept, Carrion is one of the better indie titles available on the Switch.

Part roguelike and part platformer, Neon Abyss is a brutal game that is different every run. It features a beautiful pixel art style that will immediately catch your eye and a deep customization mechanic that allows you to mold the game to your preferred method of play.

When you get tired of all the bullets, Neon Abyss includes a few mini games that reward you with gear that can aid you in clearing the main story. These diversions include piano performances, mediation challenges, and even dance competitions if youre really digging the energetic soundtrack.

Pinball and hack-and-slash action usually dont go together, but no one told that to developer Flight School Studio when it was creating Creature in the Well. The mysterious adventure features a BOT-C venturing into a mountain and defeating challenges and enemies set by the titular Creature. The gorgeous art style and zoomed-out perspective make you feel like a tiny speck in a very large world, and the industrial designs give it a gritty aesthetic.

What really sets Creature in the Well apart is its mix of pinball mechanics and traditional action gameplay. To complete challenges, youll need to strike an orb that moves between several bouncers, all while trying to avoid turrets and other traps attacking you. Its unlike anything weve played before and a perfect fit for the Switch.

Motion Twin calls its breakout indie hit a RogueVania, a mashup of games with classic Castlevania and Metroid gameplay. Throw in the fact that Dead Cells has permadeath and brutally difficult enemies and you have a recipe for the perfect one more try type of game.

Dead Cells truly shines for its addictive gameplay and wide array of secrets. With a bevy of weapons to uncover and a bounty of secret areas to discover, each time you play Dead Cells, you feel like you learn and find something new.

Although it features permadeath, you do have the chance to get permanent upgrades at the end of each area. If you stick with it, you will eventually see the credits. Its all about the journey, though, as this dark and enthralling world is hard to leave and even harder to forget.

The franchise that really put Devolver Digital on the map as a publisher of astounding indies, the Hotline Miami Collection compiles the original and its sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, in one hectic and challenging package. The top-down, ultraviolent affairs creatively combine twitchy action gameplay with stealth. And tying the whole experience together is one of the best game soundtracks in years.

While you can kill enemies in one hit with a variety of guns and melee weapons across both games expertly designed levels, the protagonist is just as susceptible to one-hit deaths. This creates a tension that permeates throughout both games. Memorization and fast movements are key to success. Its chaotic, trying, and utterly over the top. These games arent just a riot to play; they ooze with style.

StudioMDHRs astonishing Cupheadhas made the jump from Xbox One/PC to Switch. The port runs wonderfully both in console and handheld mode, retaining all the glory of the 1930s cartoon art style and animations.

Cuphead is a challenging game, but it never comes across as unfair. Minimalistic mechanics let you focus on the task at hand the multi-phase bosses while enjoying all of the excellent animations and sounds.

Its worth playing for the art style alone, which is as impressive now as it was upon its original launch in 2017. The engaging boss fights and crisp mechanics make it a pleasure to work through, even when the going gets exceedingly tough.

My Friend Pedro is the ultimate bullet time game. You play as a nameless protagonist guided by a talking banana named Pedro (because why not?). The story is nonsense, but the action is extremely gratifying. Through a series of sidescrolling levels, you jump, dodge, and slow down time while shooting enemies with a variety of high-powered weapons.

My Friend Pedro is all about style points earned from stringing together kills in quick succession. The style-factor goes through the roof in levels where you get to ride a skateboard or use objects such as frying pans to deflect bullets. My Friend Pedro looks ridiculously cool in motion and feels even better to play.

Developed by Askiisoft and published by the venerable Devolver Digital, Katana Zero can be aptly described as a sidescrolling version of Hotline Miami. You play as a samurai in this neo-noir infused thriller with plenty of twists and turns. Each level is broken into rooms filled with gun-toting and sword-wielding baddies.

Like Hotline Miami, one hit and youre dead. Armed with a sharp blade and a dash ability, the rooms play out like puzzles. It has a Superhot-esque flow, as you have the ability to slow down time, which helps in deflecting bullets back to their origin.

Fast, stylish, and challenging, Katana Zero is a fantastic experience from start to finish. The gameplay will hook you instantly, but the story and writing arguably steals the show.

Enter the Gungeon combines dungeon crawling and twin-stick shooting mechanics with a rewarding and addictive rogue-like loop. Think The Binding of Isaac but more arcade-like and chaotic. As you plunge deeper into the dungeon, youll be rewarded with a bevy of loot, neat lore, and plenty of secrets.

Whats especially cool about Enter the Gungeon is that you learn something new each time you play. This is partially done by its approach to rogue-like progression. While all of the rooms remain the same, the enemies, treasure, and even locations of the rooms change.

Its all a matter of learning each room and tweaking your strategy as things change. Definitely challenging but always a good time, Enter the Gungeon is ideal for short spurts in handheld mode.

Ape Out mixes jazz music with over-the-top violence to stunning results. From a top-down perspective, you play as an ape attempting to escape captivity. Minimalistic visuals and simplistic mechanics allow the core loop to take center stage.

You have two mechanics at your disposal: grab and throw. Throwing lets you turn guards into a bloody mush, while grabbing uses them as human shields and sometimes leads to guards shooting other guards. Its a tough but fair game thanks to randomized levels.

The jazzy soundtrack pounds along in the background, becoming a separate mechanic itself. Snare drums beat consistently and boom faster as you approach danger. Cymbal crashes mark the deaths of enemies. The result is an absorbing experience that compels you to try again and again until youve led the ape to freedom.

Hyper Light Drifter is an ode to 8-bit and 16-bit adventure games, set in a distinct world reduced to shambles. This top-down adventure features extremely challenging gameplay with a neat gimmick.

Your main weapon, an energy sword, has to strike enemies in order to charge your supplementary, ranged weapons. This means you have to master melee combat to have a chance against the onslaught of enemies.

Rounded out by a beautiful soundtrack and fantastic animations, Hyper Light Drifter is a moving experience with an understated, but powerful story.

Broforce is an awesome and hilarious run-and-gun. Your job as an action hero parody is to save your bros from terrorist captivity. Your commanding officer is none other than Nelson Brodela, and all of the playable characters riff on action heroes.

For instance, you can use a whip in combat while playing as fake Indiana Jones, or you can light enemies up with immense firepower as a pseudo-Rambo. Broforce shines for its great controls, excellent design, and challenging levels.

This side-scrolling action game has just enough of a mix between action and platforming to make for a consistently varied experience.

Downwell, a game about a man falling down a well in a park, has been available since 2015 on mobile devices. Rendered in black and white, the premise is simple: Make it to the bottom. Since youre falling at a rapid pace, you would think youre already ahead of the game, right? Not so fast. Avoiding obstacles, enemies, and projectiles is an arduous endeavor that forces you to think and move on the fly.

As a rogue-like, each time you make your descent, the layout of the well changes. With guns attached to your boots that only recharge when you touch the ground safely, its a constant battle between the offensive and defensive. Power-ups are rewarded at the bottom of each stage, but each level ups the challenge. Basically, no matter what you have in your arsenal, youre always facing an uphill battle (ironic, huh?).

A round of Downwell can last anywhere from seconds to a handful of minutes, depending on your skill level. On Switch, its a perfect game for quick bursts in handheld mode. The $3 price makes Downwell a steal, but you should splurge for the Flip Grip to play Downwell comfortably with a vertical orientation.

It took long enough, but our favorite crime-fighting crew makes a triumphant return after 16 years of unpaid leave. Featuring 12 levels, unlockable characters, and multiple difficulties, the game is a nostalgic masterpiece for fans and newcomers alike.

Streets of Rage 4 somehow manages to be both an homage to games of the past while taking bold steps in a new direction. The art style alone sets it apart from previous installments, but new combat mechanics and reimagined enemies keep the action fun all the way to the final boss. Plus, the game is chock-full of replayable content and lends itself to multiple playthroughs either solo or with a few friends.

An adventure game years in the making that saw its first release in 2013, Kentucky Route Zero finally came to Nintendo Switch as the TV Edition in early 2020. The game focuses almost entirely on the story and dialogue rather than traditional challenges, but the bizarre journey through underground caves is filled with memorable characters.

All five acts of the game are available together on the Switch version, and the games minimalist art and simple controls make it an ideal fit for playing on the go. Make no mistake, however its storytelling is far beyond what most AAA games can offer, and its worth going in as fresh as possible to avoid learning too much.

From visionary indie developer Lucas Pope, Return of the Obra Dinn is one of the most visually unique and stunning games weve ever seen, both on Nintendo Switch and any other platform. Created to look like it was drawn using thousands of tiny dots, Return of the Obra Dinn can be jarring, but in a way that evokes a sense of vagueness and mystery perfect for the games subject matter. Its set in the early 19thcentury, and the titular ships bizarre appearance years after going missing is the beginning of an intriguing adventure.

Lucas Pope tackles some depressing and dark material in his games, and there is no other developer doing exactly what hes doing. If first-person games combined with this art style dont give you a headache, then Return of the Obra Dinn is a necessity and one youll be thinking about for a long time after the credits roll.

Oxenfree is very much in the vein of Telltale adventures. Its story-driven, low on action, and well written. Alex and her friends are on an island together when strange, supernatural occurrences begin popping up around them. The ensuing hours are filled with plenty of surprises, consequential dialogue choices, and wonderfully realized animated cutscenes.

Oxenfree is also simply a joy to look at. It uses a stellar 2.5D art style that complements the tone of the adventure. Considering that your actions dictate the ending, Oxenfree is the sort of game youll end up playing more than once.

While some may scoff at Oxenfree because its a walking simulator, it has one of the better stories weve experienced in an independent game on Switch.

Night in the Woods is like if BoJack Horseman was a video game. Starring a recent college dropout who also happens to be a cat Night in the Woods tells the story of what its like to go home after being away. Mae, the down on her luck protagonist, slowly begins to see that Possum Springs isnt all that it seemed. This dark comedy has a wide cast of hilarious and revealing townsfolk and the writing is top-notch.

Played as a sidescroller, Night in the Woods has a simple, clean visual style that doesnt get in the way of what the game wants to do narratively. If youre a fan of dark comedy with a healthy dose of perspective, Night in the Woods does it better than just about any game weve ever played.

The original Yooka-Laylee game was a spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series, but its homage to classic 3D platforming came up short because the genre hasnt experienced much growth over the last few decades. For the sequel, developer Playtonic took a much different approach, switching the game to a sidescrolling perspective that allowed its charm and simplicity to shine more clearly.

Still just as colorful and goofy as the original game, but in a more cohesive package, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Layer features a special hub world that is itself a big puzzle filled with opportunities for collectibles and unlocking even more levels, and you can even flip a switch to alter the levels youve already beaten.

Its the perfect platformer to play on the go for Nintendo Switch, and its a great choice for a family with younger kids who want to play something a bit more challenging. If theyve already blown through the Mario games and Rayman Legends, this could be the next game to keep them hooked to the Switch and possibly away from your television so you can play another game at the same time.

Hollow Knight originally launched on PC, but it gained widespread appreciation after coming to its natural home on Switch. The 2D Metroidvania starring an insect knight with a needle for a sword masterfully weaves exploration and combat to deliver one of the most engrossing experiences in a crowded genre.

The spacious map has numerous distinct biomes with various themes, dangers, and enemies to slay. Where Hollow Knight truly excels is in its sense of wonder. Every time you stumble upon a new area, it feels as if you are the first person to discover it. Excellent platforming sections keep the gameplay fresh in between tough boss fights that demand precision.

An ode to NES-era Metroid, Gato Roboto stars a cat who crashes on an alien planet. Needing to save its owner, the adorable feline hero sets out on a journey to find a mech suit. From there, Gato Roboto plays very similarly to classic Metroid. You find power-ups that allow you to backtrack and reach previously inaccessible areas, fight off baddies both small and large, and hop around both in and outside of the mech suit.

Rendered in black and white, Gato Roboto is all about emphasizing the excellent gameplay. But like all Devolver-published games, it also has some witty writing. Gato Roboto is a perfect game to play on a rainy day, as you can beat it in roughly three hours. Though bite-sized, Gato Roboto will leave a lasting impression, especially if you love old school action-platformers.

Timespinner obviously owes a lot to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. From its pixelated visuals to the dreary atmosphere to the means of progression, Timespinner is a classic Metroidvania through and through. Theres no shortage of Metroidvanias on Switch, but Timespinner is one of the best.

After watching her family get murdered, Lunais finds herself in a mysterious world. Seeking revenge on the Lachiem Empire, Lunais works her way through this new world. She can bend time with the titular device, letting her get the upper hand on enemies as well as solve platforming puzzles. Timespinner also tells a riveting tale across two timelines. If youve played a Metroidvania before, Timespinner wont surprise you. But its pleasantly polished all around. Tight combat controls, cool platforming sequences, fun boss battles, and clever puzzles make Timepinner a standout game in an extremely crowded subgenre.

Celeste is all about moving forward. For Madeline, she has come to Celeste Mountain to discover herself, and over the course of 10 or so hours, shes put to the test. Rendered in SNES-era visuals, Celestes gameplay solely revolves around jumping. Aided by expertly designed set pieces, the task is both challenging and immensely rewarding.

While Celeste features some of the best 2D platforming weve ever played, the experience shines brightest when dealing with mental illness. Madelines journey is emotional and revealing, and its one of the few games that accurately and unabashedly depicts mental illness.

SteamWorld Dig 2, yet another Metroidvania, has a distinct aesthetic that makes it stand out. Its steampunk influence leads to some great enemies and gadgets, while its Western setting gives it thriving set pieces steeped in personality. The sequel stars Dorothy, a young heroine wielding a pickaxe capable of digging through dirt to access new areas.

The main reason why SteamWorld Dig 2 surpasses the solid original is that it has a fixed level design. The game world is much larger and the platforming elements have been given room to breathe. Theres also a meaningful RPG progression system to keep you hooked. The Switch does particularly well with sidescrollers, so SteamWorld Dig 2 is a no-brainer to play in handheld mode.

The Messenger starts off as a good but not great action-platformer heavily indebted to Ninja Gaiden. For the first few hours, you feel as if youre playing an homage to NES-era sidescrollers. Then, the game jumps a generation and pivots dramatically, turning into a Metroidvania.

Most impressively, The Messenger drops clues of this change leading up to it in its brilliantly designed levels. From there, you can backtrack for collectibles, discover new areas, and work your way through its surprisingly large map. Oddly enough, The Messenger feels like a better game for pulling this switch, and its tailor-made for the Nintendo Switch.

If The End Is Nigh looks like an ode to Super Meat Boy, its probably because Edmund McMillen, the co-creator of Meat Boy, worked on it. You play as a blob named Ash who just wants to play his favorite video game (also called The End Is Nigh). So, you play that very same game with Ash leading the way.

Like Meat Boy, each level is a single screen that can be completed it a matter of seconds. All of the levels are connected, though, so its as if youre exploring a large open world. That is, if youve got the skills. A precision platformer, The End Is Nigh relies on carefully timed jumps. You cannot wall jump, which makes it harder than Meat Boy, but you can hang onto ledges.

With a variety of increasingly difficult and diverse worlds to explore, The End Is Nigh remains fresh and fun even after youve died more than 1,000 times (seriously, deaths rack up quickly). If youre looking for a tough platformer with excellent controls, look no further.

Shovel Knight will probably go down as one of the most important and greatest independent games of all time. Rarely does an indie title achieve the level of mainstream success that Shovel Knight has sustained over the past four years.

With its classic 16-bit visuals, amazing platforming mechanics, and wondrous boss fights, Shovel Knights main campaign is an absolute delight. Even better, Yacht Club Games has delivered free, beefy updates, including the alternate story in Plague of Shadows, a prequel in Specter of Torment, and the upcoming King of Cards expansion. Its also no surprise that Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove feels great on Switch. Shovel Knight arguably offers the best combination of retro aesthetics and modern design available in the indie game space.

Otus, a human-owl hybrid, is just trying to live a normal life when a group of pirates attacks his hometown. Hes whisked off on a grand adventure filled with memorable characters and artfully designed environments.

Firmly in the Metroidvania genre, Owlboys world is huge, colorful, and full of surprises. From clever puzzles to interesting enemy designs to a fun ally system that constantly changes your play style, Owlboy has it all and then some. It may look like a classic 16-bit sidescroller, but it plays like a forward-thinking platformer.

Few games take as novel of an approach to movement as Snake Pass, a game where, yes, you slither across the ground as an adorable snake. Who knew that embodying a snake could not only be so rewarding but also not creepy at all?

Snake Pass 3D levels have collectibles and plenty of puzzles to overcome to reach an exit. Wonderfully designed levels gradually introduce new mechanics as you get the hang of slinking around like a snake.

While a bit on the short side, Snake Pass also has an arcade mode that compels you to go back through its 15 levels. Part puzzler, part slithering-platformer, Snake Pass is an innovative experiment that works better than expected.

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The Greatest Indie Video games on Nintendo Swap (August 2020) - The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette

Alto Collection Announced For PC And Consoles, Free On Epic Games Store For Limited Time – GameSpot

Team Alto has announced its modern mobile classics Alto's Adventure and Alto's Odyssey are coming to consoles and PC. The Alto Collection releases August 13 as a digital-only compilation for $10 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with a Switch version to follow shortly after. On PC, it will be available via the Epic Games Store for free until August 20.

For those unfamiliar with the Alto games, they are some of the best mobile games in recent memory. Set up as an endless runner with a one-button control scheme, you play as a snowboarder who glides and jumps across gorgeous landscapes.

Alto's Adventure originally released in 2015 and takes place on a snowy mountainous terrain that's procedurally generated. It was ported to PC in 2016, but this is the first time it will be available on consoles.

The follow-up, Alto's Odyssey, released in 2018, expanding on the charming and relaxing formula of the original in interesting ways. Alto's Odyssey kept the same basic premise--an endless runner with procedurally generated environments--but added fun new mechanics like wall riding and three unique zones with an even more impressive level of detail. Alto's Odyssey will make both its console and PC debut in The Alto Collection.

While you wait for The Alto Collection to release, don't forget to snag all of the current freebies at Epic. Right now you can pick up Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP--another wonderful game that started on mobile--Barony, and 20XX. On Thursday, you'll be able to grab Wilmot's Warehouse, a delightful puzzle game.

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Alto Collection Announced For PC And Consoles, Free On Epic Games Store For Limited Time - GameSpot

Reviewing the games of Samsung’s Tizen App Store – PC World

The app store for Samsungs latest Tizen-powered Smart TVs has a lot of stuff on it. Its got Netflix. Its got Stan. Its got Amazon Prime Video. Its even got an app for Apples TV+ streaming service.

Something else youll find on the Samsung TV app store is games.

A fair amount of them actually. Going into writing this article, I found that the library here is certainly larger than I expected. While Samsungs smart TV ecosystem doesnt have the depth of a Steam or Epic Games Store, it does feature a frankly surprising number of titles - all of which are free to download.

But are any of them actually worth downloading? Thats another question entirely.

In pursuit of the answer to this and other questions, I pressed start on almost every game on Samsungs Tizen app store. Heres what I found:

This certainly is a stereotypical slot machine game with all the bright colours, cheery noises and exploitative microtransactions youd expect.

There are a few different styles of slot machine you can play on here but, then again, these things basically play themselves after a spin or two. After winning two jackpots on my first two spins, I was inundated with prompts to spend real money on some virtual coins - which felt a little forced.

Im not really a gambling person at the best of times, so I wouldnt really recommend this one. Whats here is more functional than anything else.

Little did I know that by the time I reached the conclusion of my journey through Smart TV-based video gaming that Play! Las Vegas would hold up as one of the more. It might be manipulative and predatory in the way that most digital gambling experiences are but, then again, its competently made in a way that most of whats on the Tizen app store isnt.

Again, Im not endorsing this game but I do want to give credit where its due.

An okay-looking side scroller from TVGamesManiac (the Czech-based developer behind roughly half of the Smart TV games on the Samsung app store), Urban Ninja challenges you to help an assassin jump from building to building in abject silence by hitting the jump button at the right time. The art style here is pretty unpolished and the absence of any audio fast drains the experience of any potential personality or novelty.

Urban Ninja is regrettably lackluster to look at and appropriately amateurish to play. After your first three jumps, the game also prompts you to watch an ad to continue. This proved a great cue to check out, hit play on the next title and move on with my life.

Short for Walrus Adventure, this top-down platformer game sees you guide a walrus from iceberg to iceberg to reach the exit. As with Urban Ninja, theres no sound here.

Whats more, the animation in Wal Venture occurs slowly enough that you could easily mistake the game for some kind of Arctic turn-based affair. Instead, what you get here is a real-time platformer played to the pace of a high school PowerPoint.

My instinct here is that Wal Venture is probably better than Play! Last Vegas and Urban Ninja but thats not saying much.

Ooh, TVGamesManiac is getting political now.

Finally, one of the 20th centurys most politically significant moments amid the decline and collapse of the Soviet Union has been captured in the form of an extremely generic brick-breaker clone.

Tear down that wall (in deeply awkward silence)!

Im almost more disappointed that this is so boring than anything else. What a missed opportunity.

Look, all things considered, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Its just not a very big step in that direction. K-141 Kursk is essentially a riff on the Space Invaders formula where you control a submarine.

Honestly, if this had any music or quirky sound effects, I could envision a version of K-141 Kursk thats actually kind of okay. In reality, this game is only marginally less tiresome than whats come before it.

Not quite sure what to make of this one. Store Keeper is a somewhat-banal side scroller where you play as a nameless warehouse employee trying to catch boxes as they fall from the sky. The mechanics are as vague as the premise here and theres not much in the way of on-boarding. Almost immediately, I found myself crushed to death by a falling crate and asked to watch an ad to continue.


Lunar Lander is a physics-based action game where youre tasked with landing a lunar probe on the surface of various planets by controlling the various thrusters on the spaceborne vessel. It was easy enough to pick up but also maybe a little too easy?

I appreciate that someone involved with the dev-team for this one wanted to get ambitious around physics-simulation but, unfortunately, the final results of this endeavor end up feeling pretty hollow.

This is one of those puzzle games where youre expected to slide a set of eight tiles around a grid to make a sequence. However, instead of the pattern here being prescribed by some sort of art, the game just asks you to order the numbers from one to eight in as few moves as possible.

N-Slide is a tad dull for my tastes but it is what it is.

TVGamesManiac, youve done it again. You even remembered to include a How To Play screen.

Diamond Mine is a combination of your stock-standard match-3 with a hint of Tetris. Taping on a symbol will explode that symbol and any connected symbols of the same shape. Your goal is to stop the on-screen pile from reaching the top of the screen while avoiding deadly bomb tiles.

Even if it has no music and relies on an overwhelmingly forgettable aesthetic, I appreciate that Diamond Mine is at least trying to do something with the conventions of the genre its pulling from.

This is that sliding puzzle game that everyone had on their iPhones in 2008 but with a slightly more chill aesthetic involving a dog having a pool party.

There are plenty of levels but, as usual, utter and complete silence. Apologies if youre tired of hearing me complain about this specific point but nothing quite drains a lounge-based gaming experience of joy like unrelentingly awkward silence.

A barebones remake of Frogger that features boring humans instead of colorful animals and relies on in-game ads that dont actually seem to work.

Annoyingly, the pair of humans youre tasked with guiding to safety mindlessly sprint forward when you hit go, so theres no Frogger-esque jumping back and forth to avoid hazards. You just have to sit and commit to every attempt. This quickly loses novelty.

They made a Flappy Bird clone. Its a little too fast-paced for the controls and brazenly derivative but, Ill grant credit where its due, this is vaguely-better than most of their other attempts to emulate more popular titles - though if I suspect that the reason why is simply that theres less here that can go wrong.

Personally, Ive never gotten the appeal of the game but if you want to squeeze in a few rounds of Flappy Bird but find the idea of playing it on a phone or tablet to be morally reprehensible, maybe this one's for you?

Rampart Heroes is a tower defense game where you control a single cannon atop an island fortress. From your fortified position in the center of the island, youre tasked with repelling waves of advancing enemies.

As a game, Rampart Heroes is actually surprisingly challenging since you have to defend four possible avenues of attack but the game only really allows you to see one direction at a time. Its a bit of a juggling act, albeit a dry one.

In the rare event that the name did not give away the game, I am truly and utterly shocked to report that, like the first game, Flying Fish 2 is a Flappy Bird clone. Compared to the original, it seems like it runs slightly smoother and set in the sky rather than the sea. Otherwise, this thing is basically the same as its predecessor - which is, in turn, basically the same as the popular mobile platformer.

Cocktail Party is a hustling and bustling top-down arcade game that sets you as a bartender slinging drinks in various directions. Similar to stuff like Diner Dash, the mechanics are about keeping up with an ever-escalating tide of increasingly-specific beverage requests.

By the standards of Tizen gaming, Cocktail Party gets a passing grade even if it never feels particularly fun to play.

Space Dog is a lighthearted and unreasonably cheerful side-scrolling platformer where you guide a dog in a spacesuit through the cosmos. Pressing the select button on Samsungs One Remote reverses the pull of gravity, allowing you to flip from platform to platform.

The goal of each level is to collect items that grant you points without falling too far behind the screen - which is constantly scrolling towards the right. At this point, I cant tell if the team behind these games is getting better at making them or if my standards are just being eroded but I think the answer might be both?

They ported 2048 to Samsungs Smart TVs. Thats it. Thats really all there is to say.

This one is a match-3 with a tasty theme. Youre tasked with getting the most points out of a limited number of moves. Its a little lifeless but otherwise functional though it does lack in audio design.

If the slot machine sim I played first didnt rely so much on sound, Id probably start to wonder if Samsung have locked developers out of accessing that part of the TV hardware by this point.

They remade Zumo. I dont want to waste words and make it out to be more than it is.

Even by the standards of the Tizen app store, this is a strange one.

Flying Gnomes is a vaguely aspirational platformer where you play as a gnome who is shot out of a cannon and tasked with wall jumping your way up through the level while avoiding colliding with deadly cactuses. Its all a little over the top but you do get quirky updates about how far youve climbed in relation to real-world landmarks like Big Ben - which is an admittedly charming touch.

This is actually good. I mean, its a complete knock off of games like Jenga and Stacker but it might just be the best game Ive found on the Tizen app store yet. Its fast, easy to learn and reliant on a single button press - so its actually a perfect fit for the limitations of Samsungs One Remote. Clever!

The Battle of Jutland is a naval-themed Space Invaders in reverse. You move left and right across the screen and slowly drop bombs to destroy your submerged enemies. Like many entries in the Samsung TV gaming catalogue, its functional enough but shallow and unsatisfying to spend any time with.

Quadtrix boasts a look thats somewhat more stylish than the standard Tizen gaming experience but no less confusing. You play as a starship tasked with exploring a 2D level and destroying your enemies.

When you leave the safe zone behind you leave a Tron-like trail in your wake but annoyingly, that residue doesnt destroy your enemies when they collide with it. Instead, they destroy you. Im almost more frustrated that this one got my hopes up before dashing them on the rocks of mediocrity. At its best, it reminded me of better times. And better games.

Sick name, familiar game. Laser Mazer is a puzzler thatll likely remind you of the hacking sequences in Bioshock. Each level sees you guide a laser through a maze by tilting the orientation of the objects and surfaces it comes into contact with. Its easy enough to pick up and play but bewilderingly difficult to actually succeed at. Its also quite buggy, completely locking me out of playing after my first death.

This is a simplistic but otherwise functional tower defence game. Honestly, Im proud of TVGamesManiac. It feels a little punishing on the difficulty side of things but, if were being serious, I have definitely sunk more time into worse tower defence games via Newgrounds at some point in the distant past.

This is a top down game where you have to collect presents, which act as ammo for the weapons that you can use to vanquish the legions of snowmen looking to destroy you and your home. As an experience, its clunky as hell but far from the worst that the Tizen app store has to offer.

This one was a great reminder that I still do not know or remember how to play Solitaire. As a result, I could not tell you if it is a particularly good version of Solitaire. Only that it is a version of Solitaire.

Star Fighter is a semi-automatic side scrolling shoot-em-up. Blast enemies out of the sky and collect fuel to fly as far as possible. Devoid of sound, its as lifeless as the rest - though marginally more ambitious.

I was genuinely taken aback by the presence of music here. Monkey Madness is a surprisingly-decent puzzle game that sees you drop a coconut down various branching paths in order to collect. Theres a ton of levels to play through here and, again, I just want to emphasize the impact that sound adds to the experience. It is slightly let down by the requirements of the two-player mode, which asks you to connect a mouse to your TV, but otherwise one of the better titles on the Tizen app store so far.

Yknow what, this thing might be riddled with fermium microtransactions and gacha mechanics but, to be sure, its by far the most elaborate game Ive found on the Tizen App Store to date. Theres a ton of levels and lots of MMO-like live game mechanics. Its exploitative-as-hell but a real step forward when it comes to the kind of complexity found on the Tizen app store.

Akin to something like Dr Kawashimas Brain Training, Doctor of IQ throws fast and confusing maths problems at you. Honestly, its kinda stressful and it didnt take long before I felt a bit overwhelmed by it.

Crazy Kart is a top-down racer where the goal is to change lanes to avoid hitting the other racer, who is racing the same track as you in reverse. Its a little dull and sometimes feels like its playing itself.

Im not sure how it compares to the first game but Super Candy 2 is a fairly stock-standard flash-based match-3. It seems to be loading within a web-browser which makes the experience feel very clunky. Even as a time-waster, its pretty dull. Its also annoying that half the interface seems devoted to obnoxious ads from the same publisher.

Its Sudoku.

Its solitaire.

If Spider Solitaire XXL is too much for you, regular Spider Solitaire has you covered.

No card-carrying TV Gamer needs this many solitaire games but if the previous three aren't to your liking, this one also exists, I guess.

A witch-themed Puzzle Bobble knock-off with freemium micro-transactions and mechanics. I am frightened by how many people seem to be playing this game.

Finally, an answer to the question: what if Tetris was worse?

For better or worse, Incredible Rank is essentially a re-skinned version of El Dorado Defense. Or maybe I have it backwards. Regardless. It undermines a lot of what I liked about the former.

A funky but clunky sidescroller where you play as a knight and must slay goblins, open chests, avoid hazards and vaguely saunter towards the right side of the screen. Not particularly fun but hey, at least it has music.

Though tedious, a significant improvement on the original Battle of Jutland with music and much better art. I wouldnt recommend it but, credit where its due, it is better.

You can now Urban Ninja as it was originally intended. This version of the sidescroller has music, better animation and less ads.

This is an on-rails 3D shooter where you fly a plane. Its surprisingly fast for a game meant to be played with a remote and it quickly becomes a bit of a bore but, importantly, it has music and, consequently, its far more engaging to play than most of the games found on the Tizen App Store.

Boom Machine sees you control a spaceship orbiting a black hole and have to destroy incoming debris before it reaches your orbit. Scientifically, its a far-fetched premise. Mechanically, its familiar and functional enough but otherwise forgettable.

A simplistic game where you throw knives at a rotating wheel and try to hit the targets. Scene transitions here are very abrupt and its often unclear what youre supposed to be doing.

As far as Tizen games go, Mautillian is more ambitious than most but falls short. Its an open world score-based roguelike space game where you blast enemies for money, then spend it at shops to upgrade your ship. It has an unexpectedly moody score but is otherwise a little too generic to recommend beyond just being surprisingly good for a game you can find on the Tizen app store.

A surprisingly competent F-Zero style racer but without sound it feels a bit lifeless. I ran out of fuel and it let me keep driving. Like the last few games in this list, its not super clear what youre supposed to be trying to achieve.

A lane-based endless runner. Honestly, if this had the soundtrack from Mautilian, Id be more charitable towards it. As it stands, its pretty dull.

This certainly is a clicker/idle game. Watch that number go up.

Jumpoon echoes the look of Monument Valley but is let down by bland platforming and confusing controls.

Rapid Drift is a more structured version of Tarmac Drift with a bit more structure to it. Its got no sound, which sucks, but its nice that they actually add more cars to the level as time goes on - which helps escalate the sense of challenge as your score goes higher.

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Reviewing the games of Samsung's Tizen App Store - PC World

7 calming online games that will help you destress in-between or after work – GQ India

According to a survey on Reycreo, a platform for easy and calming online games, a whopping 80% of the people (1000 random online gamers) surveyed, play games when they want to relax. While the type of game might differ from gamer to gamer, weve picked out a bunch that ought to work for everyone looking to destress after struggling with a hectic schedule.

Home Sheep Home is a cute puzzle game that can be found on the Shaun The Sheep website. If you have an affinity for cartoons, this one is definitely for you. The fun and bright interface of the game can instantly help you drop the stress and enjoy the game. You must use swings, see-saws, ramps, and steps to launch the sheep over the barn.

Colour therapy is often recommended for everyone feeling slightly anxious or flustered, stuck in a busy schedule. However, on days when you cannot get your hands on a set of colours or want a particular shade, Pigment would be the perfect option. This calming online game is available for both iOS and android but can also be operated on other Apple devices. The iPad or a MacBook would work best so you dont have to switch out of the work environment to find calm.

Everyone loves puzzles, but seldom do we find a 1000-piece puzzle lying in our drawer. If youre a hoarder, its probably a different story. However, for the rest of us, the Jigsaw Puzzle online game brings the experience to our screens. Putting a puzzle together, even halfway, can be an easy distraction for your mind and help it reboot, on occasions, too.

This ones specially designed for all the pet and cat lovers. A pretty basic calming online game, all you need to do is place treats and toys in your yard. While there is no winner or loser, the treats and toys lure kittens and cats and you virtually hang out with them. Since I have a cat at home and the popularity of cat videos I can relate why the game can be calming for many.

The legend of calming games, all of us had a phase when we were engulfed in slashing fruits on our neanderthal smartphones. Not only did it have all of us hooked, it sure worked as a great stress buster. And, even though it might be lost in the developments of the gaming world, theres no harm in giving it a shot again.

Sometimes, a slight brain teaser can also work as a de-stresser. Especially, if you spend most hours staring at data heavy excel sheets. Sudoku, a game where you need to fit numerals between 1-9 in every row without them overlapping, is one of the most popular chai time games (if we may) of all time. If you think it fits the bill for you, go for it.

This underwater game, that is designed for all ages, has an extremely soothing vibe to it. Along with the fish and other mammals, you will also be blessed with calming ocean sounds (plug in the earphones for better experience). It is an easy mission game, and does not pressurise you to complete any tasks. At your own pace, you may win the challenges and move ahead.

Bonus: Turn off your internet, make the dinosaur jump (trust me, this really helps)


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7 calming online games that will help you destress in-between or after work - GQ India

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