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Flash Games: Straight Dice, Tabuto, Frost Bite, Puki 3d, Grow

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Your mind may already be on St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, with visions of green beer and red hair and Celtic music, but right now it's Friday, so this is Friday Flash Games.

Every Friday I present three or more games for you to play in your web browser using the Adobe Flash Player. I test each game — tough job — on both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, and I'll include information about sound effects or music so that you can make decisions about volume levels before following the link.

With the opening paragraph, you might expect some Irish-themed games this week, but no. I'm going to give you a lot more than the minimum three, but I expect most of you to spend Friday night, all day Saturday, and most of Sunday drunk, and then Monday through Thursday recovering from the revelry, so it might be as wasted as you will be. Or you could be one of those who doesn't spend a holiday devoted to a fifth-century Christian missionary drinking as much beer as possible, which prompts me to ask, "Why not?"

You Don't Know Jack 2Let me get this one out of the way right up front, and for the last time. You Don't Know Jack 2 has been released, and will apparently be released weekly. Along with the daily DisOrDats, this should be bookmarked and visited often. I won't remind you again; just go.

It's trivia with an attitude — not usually safe for kids, but always fun.

I tend to set the quality at "Medium" at the menu, because some of the questions require a fast response, and even some speedy PCs have a little trouble processing keystrokes quickly enough. There's a lot of music and sound.

Straight DiceStraight Dice isn't about orientation, but runs of numbers. Three in a row (2-3-4) is a "straight," and your goal is to increment dice until you line up straights of at least three dice. Only straights matter, so matching colors or three-of-a-kind won't help you. The tricks are twofold: First, all similarly-colored dice are linked, so clicking one blue die increments all blue dice by one. Second, you start the game with only ten clicks, so choose wisely.

Every time you set up a straight, it's removed from the board and you're rewarded with points, more clicks, and a few new dice.

There are sound effects, but no music.

TabutoTabuto is simple, but you'll need quick reflexes. Tabs are falling from the sky, and you need to touch each one of them with your mouse. If you miss one, it counts against you, and missing twenty ends the game.

They never appear very far from the last tab, so it should be simple. It's moving pretty quickly, though, and it doesn't let up, so keep sharp and keep your mouse cursor near the bottom of the screen for as much time to react as possible.

You might want to shrink your browser window a little to improve performance. There is music that starts after you click "start game." There's an icon to turn it off, but you only see the icon after the music has started. It's in the lower-left; if you're quick enough, you can catch it before the music really kicks in.

That's three! Let's keep going with a pair of games that require ambidexterity.

Frost BiteFrost Bite is done in the "pixelart" style that makes me wistful for old-school Nintendo, but it's actually a pretty new game, and uses an interesting keyboard and mouse combo style of control.

You move your character around with the keyboard, as you would expect from a 2-D scroller. But you also have a grappling gun to use as a weapon as well as to help you reach new heights, and that you control with the mouse. It may take some practice, but it's a lot of fun.

There is sound during the intro, but once you've gotten to the menu, you can disable sound or music or both.

Puki 3dAnother game that uses both keyboard and mouse is Puki 3d. You're heading down a tunnel littered with objects good and bad, and there are rabid babies who want your blood.

You move through the tunnel using W, A, S, and D (faster, left, slower, right), use Shift to crouch down and pick up the goodies, and the space bar for a shield. To aim and shoot, you use the mouse. And those little baby-looking Pukis can come at you pretty fast, so you don't have a lot of time to master the controls.

There are sound effects and quiet music.

Grow 1Now we get to the really fun stuff, with Grow 1. This is the simplest of the series, which we'll explore today. At every step you're presented with a choice, and the outcome of the game depends on the complete set of choices.

The “correct” solution is seven steps long, though steps four, six, and seven have only one option. When you get to the end, the correct end, be sure to wait for a nice extended animation! There are many other solutions that don't quite get you to "MAX," though, and part of the fun of Grow is exploring them all.

There is music and sound, but also a mute button in the lower-right.

Grow 2Grow 2 ups the ante a bit, with six ever-present choices. The puzzle in this case is the order in which to choose them!

There is only one “correct” solution, but there are many interesting outcomes. In fact, six choices results in 720 outcomes, though some of them are easily eliminated when you see what happens to the ball, for example, if it is chosen at the wrong time.

Be warned, by the way, that my screenshots were taken after a few random clicks, and should not be taken as clues in any way!

There is music, and a mute button.

Grow 3In Grow 3, there's an ongoing score system, and now there are twelve choices! Yes, that means there are 479,001,600 possible combinations.

Many approaches look promising at first, only to result in outcomes far less than MAX by the end of the game, so this one is tricky. Trial-and-error would take years, but educated guesswork will get you there, if you're patient.

The final score on the “correct” solution is 20,000, but at step eleven, it's only 6100. The big jump comes after the final piece is added to the globe.

There is music, and a mute button. Sound familiar?

Grow RPGGrow RPG takes the final solution into new territory. Once you've hit the right combination out of the 8064 possible, the game acts out a sword-and-sorcery role playing game (hence the RPG).

You're the human at the south pole of the globe, while a demon figure rocks the world from the north. Your interaction is all scripted, based entirely on the order in which you place the eight objects on the globe. Do it wrong, and you're defeated in swordplay early. Do it right, and you eventually defeat the demon and conquer the world!

It should come as no surprise that there is music… and a mute button.

Grow CubeGrow Cube is the one I haven't solved yet, though I've come so close it makes me want to scream. The combinations are intricate and the animations are interesting, even when playing the game for the thirtieth time.

I can't offer much advice, but there are ten choices, so 3,628,800 possible combinations. This game seems to offer quite a few nice sequences even when you don't solve it, unlike some of the earlier games which occasionally — depending on how far off you've gone — fall flat.

Guess what? There's music! That's not all… there's a mute button!

That's a nice full set of ten games, though not many of them will do you any good unless you're sober. Designate a driver, drink responsibly, and play hard!

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