It's not even October yet, but the Starks were right – winter is coming. In fact (brrr), it's already here. And what better way to fend off Santa Claus, The Groke, and DCI Jack Frost than by staying indoors with a snifter of brandy, enjoying a browser game or several? This week's warming webgames include a hexy text adventure, a devilishly good puzzle game, and a boat. We'll see you on the starboard – or is it port? – side of the jump.
Demon Decimator by Pixelulsar
I think we can all agree that demons need to be cleansed with hellfire, regardless of how hard they try to convince you that you're having some sort of 'psychotic episode'. The latest bunch of jokers are the bats of Demon Decimator, creatures that for one reason or another are encased in plexiglass (or possibly Star Wars-style carbonite, it's not clear.) What is clear is that you need to shift them around a series of block-based environments, in the shortest time possible, and with the least number of moves. Challenge accepted .
Moving the bats involves first clicking on them, then sliding them about with the arrow keys. (Obviously, the WASD keys would have been a better fit, but it's easy enough to move your hands from one side of the keyboard to the other. Try it now. See?) However, stopping them in the right place involves moving other bats or blocks into their path – and that's where things begin to get complicated. The game becomes positively evil only a few rooms in, but like all the best puzzle games, once you finally solve each humdinger you'll be convinced that you're some kind of puzzle god. Demon Decimator comes highly recommended, then – well, unless you're a bat encased in carbonite. If you are, things are about to get crispy.
Hello world by Tim Garbos
Conceived for MiniLD #37 – theme: not-games or real time – Hello world is Dark Souls without the sphincter-tightening tension. Creator Tim Garbos describes it as a “collaborative storytelling experiment in an abstract 3D world”, and that's pretty much the perfect way of putting it. You're a blob, basically, and while navigating a colourful environment with light platforming elements, you can leave messages for other blobs/players to read. By the time we arrived there, the place was teeming with missives – some helpful, some profound, some funny, some incomprehensible, just like a real internet forum.
It's a wonderful idea; the only element that seems slightly off is the presence of a downvote button, something that tends to bury unpopular opinions. That small issue aside, this is one of the most interesting uses of 3D space we've seen for quite some time.
Adrift by Tyen
This boat simulator – now those are two words that look good together – isn't much of a game, but seeing as Adrift, too, was created for the MiniLD competition, you can hardly blame it for that. This serene experience takes both of the compo's alternate themes and runs with them, presenting a so-called 'not-game' with real time elements – specifically the time of day, which it takes from the clock on your computer. Right on cue, we loaded the game this morning to find ourselves in a dark, winter wasteland – just like real life!
You'll only spend a few minutes here at a time, but it's a good way to escape from your clingy email and twitter accounts, and have a few peaceful seconds to yourself. Plus – and this can't be understated – Adrift does a great job of capturing the atmosphere of being on a boat, with its authentic sounds and rocking movement. You might not go anywhere in Adrift, but that doesn't mean you won't be transported.
SHEXAGON by Casey Griggs
If you own an iThingy, then you've probably heard of Super Hexagon, Terry Cavanagh's challenging, shape-based arcade game. He hasn't brought this updated version of Hexagon to PC yet, probably as an act of kindness, but until he wises up you can always console yourself with SHEXAGON, which turns the blisteringly fast rotation-fest into a relatively sedate text adventure.
Though it's obviously a joke game, it's a remarkably well done one, with a great visual filter that evokes the curved computer screens of yore. It's a surprisingly faithful version of Super Hexagon too, and one I can actually survive for more than two humiliating seconds.
Want more? Have a look at last week's free webgame round-up.