The Free Webgame Round-Up
Today is a good day for hiding, escaping, approaching and, er, shooting coloured blocks to make them disappear. You'll find all that and slightly more in the following webgames, a couple of which are brought to you by the letters G, G and J, which collectively stand for Global Game Jam. Read on for horror, HORROR, and maybe even some HORROR, plus a game that is basically Tetris With Guns.
If a tree falls in the forest and there are no people around to hear it, does it make a sound? Yes, obviously, because of all the animals, but the same doesn't appear to be true of a pixelly little guy with a flashlight. The dude in Traal - I'm going to call him 'Traal' - is non-existent to the various creepies that inhabit his very green dungeon, that is until he turns in their general direction and his torch-beam blasts them in the eyes. Creeping through each area is a matter of stealth and puzzle-solving, then; as you're unable to turn off your torch, you have to rely on walls to block the beam from your enemies' gaze. As a stealth or a puzzle game, Traal is unusual, tense and rather inventive, but the absolute best part is how your character looks like an adult jelly baby.
I Can't Escape is a dungeon crawler minus the role-playing, focusing instead on the horror of being dumped in a vast subterranean prison, with only your thoughts (and a bunch of creepy eyeballs) for company. Obviously you have to escape, but as the name suggests that's not going to be particularly easy. It's simple enough to descend into the labyrinth, but hard not to get irrevocably stuck in a sort of Labyrinth-esque oubliette; each floor is full of weak floors and holes, doors that need keys, and with things-that-look-like-ghosts lurking on the periphery of your field-of-vision. I'm not sure it's even possible to escape from I Can't Escape, but I'm looking forward to seeing people try. (Via Indie Statik)
Crush is a game about sidling up to a person you have a crush on, while fending off unwanted conversations and fighting your desire to immediately do a 180 and run as far as possible away. I think it captures that awkward, terrifying, butterflies-in-your-stomach-feeling rather well. Every time you try to get close to the object of your affections, your body (in this instance, your body is a red cube) rebels and turns the other way. As an exploration of anxiety/panic attacks, I found Crush quite moving and effective, despite having no idea how to win out over my frustrating body. (Via IndieGames)
Adult Swim's latest brill browser game is the clever Super Puzzle Platformer Plus, which introduces Tetris/Columns to the platformer genre like it's no big thing. It is a big thing, because it's one unholy mashup that works incredibly well. When it gets going, Tetris gives you more than enough things for your brain to worry about, but SPPP adds one more: the little guy with the gun tasked with blowing unwanted blocks from the screen. As with every game of this sort, you'll want to create as many coloured chains as you're physically able, but here that carries a significant risk: chains of identically coloured blocks are more resistant to bullets, the bigger the chain, the harder it is to break. Developer Andrew Morrish is currently working on Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe, which adds a two-player Vs mode, in addition to a host of other stuff.