Thirty-one abstract arcade and puzzle games

Tonypa is the author of twenty-one flash games, available together on one site. The caps below are from the first three games in the series, Ununicum, Keyway, and Gear Taker. Each of the twenty-one is a simple concept, designed and executed with skill and flair. Stylish, minimalist graphics, pleasant music, and fun, clever concepts make this an especially charming suite of games.

XRaye is a very slickly produced game requiring both puzzle-solving and dexterity. Using the arrow keys to move and a variety of other controls, such as releasing and skipping, you manipulate a wrench (apparently christened "Raye") around a series of pegs in order to light them all up. It's pretty tricky, but fortunately the game has that most underused but well-appreciated of features -- level codes, so you don't have to start all over. Apart from the challenging gameplay, XRaye just feels nice, from the carefully rendered 3d alien backdrops to the smooth sound effects to the ethereal chorus that serves as soundtrack.

Orbox is a puzzle game where you must find a path for the box to travel from the start to the goal by sending it bumping into a series of strategically-placed barriers that prevent it from flying off into space. No special dexterity is required, just some spatial skills. I'm particularly fond of this one -- it just seems to work well.

Blueprint lets you assemble a selection of pipes, ramps, springboards, and other assorted mechanisms in order to design a Goldbergesque machine to conduct the ball to the target. Choose from a menu of difficulty levels to customize the your challenge.

MouseGame has a simple concept that is pulled off very well. Simply move your mouse to navigate the pointer through an obstacle course of walls, sliding doors, moving blocks, spinning turnstiles, teleporters, switches, colored fields, and hostile enemies. Both quick reflexes and a steady hand are essential. Graphically plain, the game's merits include solid puzzle design, an upbeat techno soundtrack, and good-natured individual "failure" messages for each room. Plus there's none of that starting over from the beginning nonsense, so the game can be challenging without being too frustrating.

Paths also requires a steady hand. First, using limited ink, you must draw a path from start to finish. Then, once you send the ball on its way along the trail you've drawn, you must work to clear all the obstacles in its path so that it safely arrives at the end. It gets tricky rather quickly. A nice concept, and quite fun. The music gets a bit repetitive.
Via Table of Malcontents.

Gridlock is a slider puzzle where you must move the pieces in order to free the blue slider and remove it through the gap. That's all there is to it -- simple and fun.

Zyrx is a lightweight, pleasant memory game in which you must accurately reproduce a briefly-glimpsed pattern of dots on a board to the accompaniment of a breezy, jazzy soundtrack.

Attack of the Cheese Eating Robots is a rousing game, the principal activity of which is the energetic swinging around of a large mace in order to fend off a horde of attacking robots from devouring your wheel of precious cheese. Exhilarating when going well, and nerve-wracking when not.

Splashback is a sort of puzzle board game. The objective is to clear the board by adding drops to clear away all of the blobs of goo, which burst when increased to a certain size. A burst blob will send drops splashing outward in all directions, so a successful strategy depends on carefully arranged chain-reaction sequences. In addition, you have a limited reserve of drops, and the game ends when it is expended. The game is hosted on Cartoon Network and I imagine is based on some show or other. I'm sure the muck and alien slime appeal to the kids. Don't be fooled by the juvenile packaging -- although easy to play, this game will require some skill if you have more than a child's attention span and want to last more than a couple rounds.

ARC is a little tricky to get the hang of. In this odd little concept game, rings of orbiting stars appear and drift around the screen. By grabbing the stars you can propel them along their orbits, with the goal of causing collisions between two stars. Shockwaves radiate along the rings, causing further reactions with any other stars they encounter. The mood for these cosmic catastrophes is set by ambient chords, the melodic chiming notes the stars make upon impact, and a curiously garish 90's color palette of bright objects and pastel splashes on a white ground. The game has several play modes, including a training mode, and at least in the "Accelerated" game it is possible to just sit back and let the program play out; the field is crowded enough that plenty of reactions will be sparked on their own.

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Blogger Maktaaq:

Matt (my husband) really liked these games!

I played one, but they looked addictive, so I stopped before I did too much damage to myself.

Blogger bluewyvern:

Ha. That is the usual complaint. :)

Glad Matt enjoyed them.

Anonymous Adam Cadre:

Agh. When I am on my deathbed I am going to have a tough time justifying how I spent 05 July 2007...

Blogger bluewyvern:

Maybe I should start some kind of support group for all you people who feel guilty playing my games.

Blogger Maktaaq:

I just realized that you don't have an email address here. So...a completely off the topic comment (Matt is hooked on Kingdom of Loathing again, has been for a week):

Did you know that Chinua Achebe teaches at Bard College?

Blogger bluewyvern:

1. I hadn't heard of Kingdom of Loathing before -- it looks pretty cool. Maybe *I'll* get hooked on it now.

2. Yes, I did. But I didn't learn until after I left that he was a big deal. Apparently we have a lot of big deal writers at Bard, like John Ashbery. I'm glad we have literary talent in the faculty, because we certainly didn't have much in the student body, at least from what I saw. In fact, I feel sorry for any truly talented student writers who may be out there for the bad name their scads of angsty wannabe peers give the bunch. Yeah, I'm kinda down on pretentious student writing.

Sorry, topic?

Blogger KHB:

Hi! I love your site - you find such neat things!

I just wanted to let you know that Book Dragon was moving over to http://bookhblog.wordpress.com/ - I know I hate it when I link to someone, and they change their URL without letting me know, so I thought I'd drop you a line.

Blogger bluewyvern:

KHB: Thanks for the heads up. I love *your* site -- I was really pleased to have found it.

Glad you stopped by. :)


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