Articles by Tasha

Top Ten Platform Adventure Games

Turn off the TV, put down your book, stop whatever you are doing, and come play the ten best platform adventure games we could find on the web.

I love the platform adventure genre. It has thrown up so many great games over the years, from early classics such as Metroid and Castlevania to modern brilliancies like Braid and Shadow Complex.

Even for those with tight budgets the genre has a lot to offer. Some of the best platform adventure games are completely free, perhaps the two best examples being the unmissable Cave Story (which can be downloaded here) and the sublime Knytt and Knytt Stories (downloadable here and here). And that's before we come to the slew of platform adventure games that can be played in your browser, the ten best of which (at least in our opinion) we have listed below.

Published by Tasha on 13th March 2011
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Top 10 Dungeon Crawlers

Grab yourself a lantern, some health potions and a sturdy sword, and join us on our quest to play the top ten casual dungeon crawlers.

For today's list of games, we are going down, down into the dark rat-infested depths of the world. And what are we going to do when we get there? Well, we're going to crawl, crawl and then crawl some more, all the time entombed in some of the most dingy, dank and downright devilish dungeons casual gamers have had the misfortune to find themselves.

Yes, we have for you some of the best dungeon crawlers you can play for free on the web. These games might not have the depth or infuriating unfairness of classics of the genre like NetHack and the brilliant Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (downloadable here) but that is probably a good thing. NetHack and DCSS will absorb your whole life. These games on the other hand should each only take an afternoon or two at most to complete. Happy crawling!

Published by Tasha on 6th March 2011
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Top 10 Puzzle Games

Puzzleophiles rejoice. We have collected together ten brilliant puzzle games - all of which you can play for free in your browser.

Fans of puzzles have never had it better. Go back a few years, and they did not have many options. There was chess, draughts, crosswords and Connect 4. That was about it. Okay, I might be exaggerating the paucity of puzzles a tad but back then the launch of a new puzzle was a major event - just witness the media attention lavished on the Rubik's Cube when it came out in the 1980s.

Nowadays, the launch of a new puzzle barely merits a mention. That is because - thanks to the massive growth in computer ownership and cheap readily-available games - we have at our fingertips an unbelievably huge number of puzzle games, everything from puzzle platfomers such as Shift and Continuity and physics puzzle titles like Fantastic Contraption and Wake up the Box to countless word, memory and card games.

Published by Tasha on 27th February 2011
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Elephant Quest

A joyous Elephant-themed adventure game that brilliantly combines RPG, action and platformer game-play. You won't want to miss this game.

John Cooney, head of development at Armor Games, has done it again. The creator of brilliant Flash games such as Exit Path, Corporation Inc and Treadmillasaurus Rex has come up with another game that is set to become an instant classic. I would even go as far as saying that Elephant Quest is John's best game yet.

Elephant Quest is John's first foray into the role-playing style of game. You will probably know this genre for its over-reliance on Lord of the Rings-inspired fantasy settings and characters. But don't expect to be playing as an elf, dwarf or human in this game. John loves nothing more than reinventing game genres (as testified by what he has done to the platform genre with games like Achievement Unlocked) and has foregone the traditional fantasy setting, opting instead for a world of cute elephants, one of whom you play.

Published by Tasha on 22nd February 2011
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Pogo Swing!

Casual games do not get much more fun than this cute new launching game from the guys at Armor Games.

There is something ridiculously addictive about launch games. I have spent countless hours pointlessly blasting hedgehogs into outer space, shooting turtles into the sky and catapulting peasants across burning countryside in launch classics such as Hedgehog Launch, Toss the Turtle and Catapult Madness.

Every time I complete one of these games, I vow never to play another. They really are such time wasters. But each time a new launch game comes out, I can't resist and am soon in a happy trance endlessly launching things into the air. And there have been quite a few innovative launch games as of late, including such gems as Reachin' Pichin and my personal favourite Flight (for more such games, see our list of the Top 10 Launching Games).

Published by Tasha on 16th February 2011
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A nicely illustrated dash and slash RPG with an intriguing storyline, loads of weapons and spells and great locations. What more could you want?

Amea is going about her everyday business and the next thing she remembers is waking up in a strange bed unable to recall anything other than her name. Oh, and there is a strange man in the room. I know what you are thinking: Amea really should cut down on those vodka-whiskey-rum cocktails. You'd be wrong. As far as I know, Amea does not drink at all. She does have gruesome visions, however. And it is after one such vision that she finds herself in the strange bed with the strange man.

Thus begins this neat side-view slash-and-dash RPG game from Aussie developer Godlimations (who you might remember for his fun dragon-nurturing game Dragon Boy).

Published by Tasha on 12th February 2011
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Ten Chain Reaction Games

We have collected together the best free online chain reaction games we could find for your playing pleasure.

While sitting down at my computer to write a game review I accidentally knock a glass of water over. The contents of the glass splash over our pet cat, giving her a mighty shock. She immediately leaps through an open window and bounds across a busy road. Spotting her, a driver slams hard down on his breaks, causing the truck behind to crash into the back of him.

No serious damage is done to either vehicle but the force of the impact causes a vial in the back of the truck to crack, allowing a deadly virus to escape. Released from captivity, the virus multiplies rapidly. After swapping details with the car driver, the lorry operator continues his journey, oblivious to the invisible cloud of deadly contagions trailing behind him.

Published by Tasha on 6th February 2011
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Icy Gifts

This fun chain reaction game takes the core game-play of the classic Boomshine and soups it up with colourful graphics, upgrade paths and achievements.

When developer Danny Miller created a little chain reaction game called Boomshine in 2007, he did not have particularly high hopes for it. The game was incredibly simple. Nothing more than an oblong box with small spheres bouncing around. All you did was click somewhere with your mouse to create an explosion, the idea being that any sphere that came into contact with the detonation would in turn blow up, setting in motion a chain reaction.

Despite its simplicity and basic graphics, Boomshine proved a huge success. People were enchanted by the simplicity and addictiveness of the game, and played it in their millions. More than three years after its creation, and Boomshine is still to be found in many people's list of must-play Flash games.

Published by Tasha on 3rd February 2011
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High Tea

The UK's Wellcome Collection brings you a brilliant trading game that explores one of the more unsavoury episodes in world history.

Britain might nowadays be an insignificant little country on the edge of Europe (sorry all my UK readers but I have to tell it as it is) but there was a time, not so long ago, when it ruled the largest empire the world has ever witnessed. At its peak in the early 20th century, the British empire held sway over a quarter of the world's population and huge swathes of its landmass. No-one could challenge its military and economic might.

Like most superpowers, Britain in its imperialistic pomp was a bit of a bully. Yes, the Brits started the industrial revolution (to which we are all eternally grateful). Yes, they perfected the brewing of tea (which at least this American living in London appreciates). And, yes, without Britain, there would be nowhere near as many good period dramas on TV. But for much of the time during the 1800s and 1900s, the Brits were a bunch of mischievous rascals, invading other countries, subjugating foreign people and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

Published by Tasha on 1st February 2011
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Electric Box 2

The sequel to one of the best Flash puzzle games of 2009 will have geeks and nerds rubbing their soldering irons together with glee.

Anyone who has met me knows that I can be quite obsessive. Especially when it comes to games. If I find a game that I like, I will play it and play it and play it - often for months on end. The game I have been obsessing over during the past few weeks is Electric Box 2. Sequel to the 2009 title, Electric Box 2 is a fiendish puzzle game where you have to complete the circuit from the power supply to the target. You do this by placing components at strategic places on the circuit board that forms the main area of the game.

It sounds incredibly geeky - and I suppose it is - but you don't need any expertise in electronics to enjoy this game. Indeed, in real life, I would not know a capacitor from a resistor, and yet I quickly got the hang of the game. This was in part because the game helpfully provides you with guidance not only during the early levels but also sometimes on later levels (especially if the rules change - play to find out what I mean!).

Published by Tasha on 31st January 2011
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