5 Flash Games Worth Playing.
I have dim memories of that period in the history of the Internet when Flash games were little more than a novelty - and, when they were usually barely worth the time it took to load them. That all seems to have changed in recent years, though. Now, instead of one or two Flash games as a novelty addition to a larger website, you have entire websites dedicated exclusively to them - giving aspiring game designers a chance to show off their work.
It seems perfectly natural, then, that there would be a wide variety of highly entertaining, and very impressive, Flash games out there, now, covering a wide variety of different styles and genres.
Listed below are five that I'm particularly fond of, at the moment.
Music Catch 2
You know how there are some things out there (games, movies, whatever) that are just difficult to describe? How, no matter how you approach it, your best efforts still make it sound like something that's, well... a bit rubbish? And, how you despite all of this, you still want to recommend it to people, because you know that it's actually kind of awesome?
That's more or less what I'm experiencing right now, as I try to decide on the best way to discuss Music Catch 2. The object of the game, here, is to catch notes of musical notes as they drift across the screen in time to the music playing in the background. Green notes give you points, yellow notes increase your score modifier, purple notes give you a precious few seconds of every note on the screen being drawn straight to you - and, red notes are to be avoided at all costs. And... that's pretty much it.
It is a simple and straightforward game which, thanks to the various piano solos that form the musical background, becomes one of the most oddly relaxing games I have ever played.
If you're interested in giving it a try, and you really should, you can find it here.
Another deceptively simple one for you.
Do you think you know enough about world geography? Would you like to test your knowledge? Most importantly, are you prepared for the private humiliation of not being able to make it past the first few levels? If so, this might just be the game for you.
It's a straightforward game, really. Looking over a map of the world, you're given the name of a country, and a city within that country - then, the clock starts, and you have only moments to click a point on the map. The closer you are to the actual location of the city, the more points you get - get enough points and you get to move on to the next level. Then, you do it all over again. There are 10 levels in total but, to be honest, I don't think I've ever made it past level 4.
If you're interested in testing your geography knowledge, you can find Globertrotter XL here.
Monsters' Den: Book of Dread
Something a little more complicated, this time. Monsters' Den is basically a good, old-fashioned, dungeon crawl RPG. No real plot to speak of, no characters to concern yourself with - there's simply the party of adventurers you create and a multi-level, randomly generated, dungeon to fight through. Combat and exploration is all you need concern yourself with.
Combat is turn-based, and manages to hide a surprising amount of depth behind its simple appearance. Strategy begins with the character creation screen, and the need to prepare a balanced party of adventurers able to take on anything the dungeon throws at them. Then, there's positioning in combat, loot to divide up, healing supplies to manage - and, everything else a good dungeon crawl should have.
Naturally, this one wont be for everyone. But, if you're interested, you can find it here.
Tower Defense games have basically become a genre all of their own. There are many, many examples out there - all of which rest on the same basic premise. Enemies come along a path toward something you're supposed to protect (a home base, treasures, whatever), and you have to stop them. You do so by building a variety of towers along the path in the hope of dealing with them before they get anywhere near you.
It's a simple enough idea, but you'll likely be surprised by the sheer amount of variety out there. You have fantasy based one, where the towers are likely to be encampments for archers, or a wizard's tower. You have science fiction based ones where the towers may be represented by machine gun nests, and heavy artillery. Some will go for a bright cartoon look, while others may try for something more realistic. And, you even have some that may try to weave some sort of story through the various levels.
Kingdom Rush is probably one of my favourite examples, at the moment - mostly because it has an extra level of polish that many of the others seem to lack. You can try it for yourself here.
And, something completely different to finish on. Outpost: Haven makes for an interesting experiment - an attempt to create the tension of a horror-based shooter in a Flash game. A distress call wakes you from suspended animation, and you head out to investigate - finding the space station overrun by strange alien creatures. It's up to you to fight your way through the creatures, find out what's happening, and rescue any survivors.
The game clearly owes much of its inspiration to Aliens - the use of lighting, and the constant beep of the motion-detector that accompanies your exploration, along with the design of the creatures themselves, all seem drawn from that film to some extent. Though, that's hardly a bad thing.
While the game does an admirable job of creating the atmosphere it wants, the limitations imposed by playing in a tiny little window mean that the attempt to bring out the feeling of tension and growing dread required by a good survival horror game aren't entirely successful. It's still a highly enjoyable game, though, and a good example of what's currently possible with Flash games - you can try it for yourself here.
© 2012 Dallas Matier
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