What's a Friday without sunshine? Still Friday. What's a Friday without chocolate? Still Friday. What's a Friday without Friday Flash Games? I'm not sure, and I hope we never have to find out.
Every Friday — rain or shine, so long as I have time — I present three or more games for your enjoyment or frustration, all of which are playable in your web browser, all of which rely on the Adobe Flash Player. I play each game on both Mac OS X and Windows XP, though I've never found one yet that didn't work just as well on both. I'll let you know which games include music or sound effect, in case you're playing on the sly.
This week the title may have already been a big clue, but it's a mega-edition of Friday Flash, as I attempt to clear up the queue of games I've enjoyed recently. Some people might say to themselves, hey, I've got enough for four weeks of games right here, so I can write up the articles ahead of time and then coast. Not me, though. I'm giving you a dozen games this week, and I've still got another eighteen or nineteen queued up after that. Honestly, it seems like I'll never run out. It's like Christmas!
Now I've got a lot of games to present, so I'll be moving quickly.
I've featured flash implementations of Warcraft III's "Tower Defense" mini-game twice before, but now here is Desktop Tower Defense, a version which fits in at the office. No need to drift off to a fantasy world and fight orcs and goblins when you can just protect your Sharpie marker!
The idea is the same: set up your defenses by placing however many towers you can afford, upgraded as you can afford it, and then wait until the bad guys march onto the screen and see if you've done enough.
There are sound effects, but also a Mute button in the lower right. If you hit Mute before picking your difficulty level, the game is silent.
Particles has a very simple concept, but it gets tricky quickly. You control a blue ball with your mouse. When you move your mouse, the blue ball moves. There are red balls rolling around, bouncing off each other like billiard balls, and you need to make sure that none of them touch your blue ball. Simple!
The game starts with three red balls, easy peasy. Then there are four. Then five. Then six, and I'm sure you get where the pattern is going.
Once you choose "Play" there is music and sound effects. You can actually mute them after you finish the game with a handy in-game icon, but the icon would be much more handy if you hadn't already had to play once to get to it.
Billiards makes me think of physics, so here's another physics game. Rocket Bob is all about physics, but don't worry — you can still play without a degree in physics!
The game is German, so non-German speakers will need to know this: "Hilfe" means help, and won't help you. "Punkte" means points (I think). You're guiding Bob to collect the floating red stars. Move the little white circle attached to Bob to pick the angle and force at which he should jump from platform to platform.
If you make a mistake, Bob falls to his death. Fortunately, you've got five Bobs. There is repetitive music that repeats again and again, over and over, with no way to turn it off, so keep that in mind.
The Hedgehog Catapult Game sounds like one of those games where you launch an innocent creature to its grisly death, but this one isn't like that at all. If you do accidentally catapult the hedgehog into lava, it's a bad thing.
You want a hedgehog to get to the goal, and the only proper way to do this is to grab that hedgehog and pull it/him/her away from the goal, activating the hedgehog's built-in slingshot capabilities. There are blocks and lava between you and the goal, so it may take some careful catapulting to get there.
There are sound effects and music, each of which is mutable within the game.
Red Ball demands that you "throw" a… wait for it… red ball. You've got to throw it from the right side of the game to hit numbered targets on the left side. The motion takes a little getting used to, and you've got to master it pretty well, because the key is hitting those numbered targets in number order.
So it's one thing to figure out how to get the ball to bounce around over on the left, but it's another to figure out how to get it to bounce over target three to hit targets one and two first.
There are sounds effects like mooing cows when you miss, a subtle cheer when you succeed, and targets bursting like bubbles.
I should warn you that FlashFlashRevolution was the first step on a path that led to me purchasing two DanceDanceRevolution pads and a DDR game for my PSOne. Maybe it won't have that effect on you, but it can be powerfully addictive and lead one to want more, more, more!
FFR is a Flash implemention of DDR, using the arrow keys on your keyboard rather than a dance pad. You pick a difficultly level and song, and then try to hit the appropriate arrow at the appropriate moment to rack up points. The arrows are synchronized with the music, so you can get into the rhythm.
Obviously there's sound, the game wouldn't be useful without it.
While FFR reminds me of my own PSOne game, FlashFlashRevolution R2 reminds me of the XBox version of DDR that my brothers play. The interface for choosing music and difficulty levels is more complex, the information about what to expect from a given song is more detailed, and perhaps most importantly, there is a two-player mode! For a fun challenge, try playing a two-player game using both hands. For an extra challenge, set each hand to a different difficulty level!
I'm partial to some of the songs in the original FFR, since I first played this game years ago. But over time I suspect the two-player mode could win me over to FFR R2.
The key controls default to "WASD" for the second player, though you can configure any of the keys from the in-game menu. Again, perhaps obviously, there is music.
From the makers of FFR and FFR R2 comes Spin It Up, another musical game that relies on coordination and timing.
In this case, you use the mouse to spin around a record as bolts of light float outward from the center. Instead of four keys, there are four directions, and instead of split-second timing, you need to line up with the energy beam as perfectly as possible.
In the example screenshot, I've missed a little; my white beam doesn't quite line up with the pink beam. Close, though! Do I really need to mention that there is music in this game? I do? Okay, there is.
Speaking of spinning, Spin Doctor is a game of spinning to death. Fortunately, you don't spin yourself. Rather, whenever you click the mouse button or hit the space bar, the spinner nearest your ship starts to spin faster. Once it's spinning at full speed, move near to another spinner with a matching color and spin it too. When two matching spinners are both spinning at full speed, they explode. That's good for you, because if these spinners hit your ship, you explode.
Different colors of spinners behave differently, which keeps things interesting. The game features music and sound.
The Road Less Taken is a challenging puzzle, a game in which you play against… yourself. Rather, your former self. Your self of a minute ago, or ten minutes ago. It's easier to demonstrate than to explain, but I'll try.
You've got a limited amount of time to move from the start to the finish. It's a straight line, so go! And then do it again, only this time, there's someone coming the other way: you, mirrored, following the same pattern and timing you used the first time. So maybe you step to the side and head up that way. Then you do it again, only now you've got your first self coming at you, and your second self moving to the side and coming down that way. What to do? Move to the other side? That's an easy way to finish three levels, but what then?
The key is in the timing. The game is silent.
Another silent game, Planarity presents you with a tangled web of strings connecting points, and asks you to untangle them.
Simply move the points so that no strings cross any other strings. Easy, right? Sure, on the first level, with six points. Even the second level, with ten points, presents no real challenge. But then it's 15 points, and then 21, and then 28, and it keeps going as long as you can.
No intersections allowed, and no sound either.
Finally, Stackopolis, a very challenging and full-featured game. You're presented with a grid and randomly-stacked tiles. There's also a blueprint of how the tiles should be stacked, and your goal is to rearrange the tiles, picking them up from one spot and dropping them in another, until the grid matches the blueprint. Which is interesting but not difficult — until you add a time limit.
I'll admit it right now: 60 seconds is just not enough time for me to finish level two. I've tried it a half-dozen times, and I've come close, but never close enough. I've been three tiles away, and that's just painful, since you have to replay level one to get to level two.
There are sound effects, which might be helpful.
And that’s it! Except… well… I love You Don’t Know Jack, and I’ve previously mentioned that the game has returned with a Daily DisOrDat, but now, it’s really back: You Don’t Know Jack, Episode 1 is now online.
The game is as kid-unsafe as ever, and up-to-date with questions about 50 Cent and Jack Bauer. The questions which require fast response, #3 and #7, might be a little difficult at the default high quality. You can right-click and adjust the quality down to medium or low to ensure your keystrokes are caught in time. And then see if you can beat $23,611.
There’s sound, of course.
It’s a thirteen game week, enjoy it!