It has been seven days since I provided five "puzzle games" for you to chew on. Seven days make one week, so it must be time again for Friday Flash, the weekly feature in which I provide three games for you to play, all online, and usually requiring the Adobe Flash Player.
Just because last week I gave you five games doesn't mean you'll get five games every week. It's normally three, okay? But just so you're let down easy, I'll give you four today. Sort of. Two are "related" in the sense that one seems to be a ripoff of the other. Maybe they're both ripoffs of something else. Maybe it's the same guy, developing an idea over time. The point is, it's two games, but kind of one.
As always, I check all games on both Mac and Windows, and I'll let you know if there is any sound, in case you're trying to play quietly.
First up, the game with the earlier copyright date, Blox. There is driving, pulsating music as soon as the menu loads, and make a note of it, because you’ll hear it again later. You’ve got ten free levels, and if you decide you can’t get enough, you can buy the game to get to the other forty. The idea on all of them is roughly the same: Similar blox remove themselves from the board when they touch, and your goal is to remove them all. You drag pieces left or right, one at a time, and gravity causes them to fall down when dragged off a ledge. When they touch, the disappear. Make sure you remove them so that one blox (blok?) isn’t left by itself.
There are, of course, complications: breakaway pieces, magnets, bombs, and more.
Once the game has started, the music stops, but sound effects start. There’s no really good reason for either, as far as I can tell.
A year later (apparently), and brightly colored, Nook and Cranny picks up where Blox left off. I told you that music would be familiar, right?
The first Blox levels are now the Nook and Cranny Tutorial, and some of other Blox levels show up here and there, but a few are new. Plus, the colors are bright, so it’s like a whole new game, right? The warp gate right off the bat tells you so. Were there warp gates in Blox? I get so confused!
If you pay for this one, there are sixty levels instead of fifty.
The music and sound effects are identical, and identically unnecessary. At least with this version you can turn them off!
HoverBall has music, too, and it keeps going on and on and on. There’s a nice “SOUND: ON” that you can click to turn to “SOUND: OFF,” but the sound effects are actually slightly useful in this game. I would have preferred to be able to turn just the music off, but keep the sound.
In any case, the idea is to bounce the ball in mid-air. Gravity is a key to this game, too (hmm…), but I can’t quite figure out how the ball bounces in mid-air.
Ah, well, ignore the physical feasability of it all, and carefully time your green button-presses so that you bounce the ball just so, but no higher, lest you hit the platform at top or bottom. The platforms keep moving closer, too, and your score is how long you were able to keep the ball afloat before hitting a platform three times.
Can you get to a full minute? I blame my inability to do so on the frequent pauses my computer tends to take while playing games. It disrupts my timing completely.
We’ve mentioned gravity a few times, and it seems to be a factor in many games. In Gravity, we’re reminded that the law we most often think of as “what goes up must come down” is actually not quite that obvious when dealing with different sizes of planets.
You mission is to pilot a lunar lander from landing pad to landing pad, occasionally circumnavigating a globe and circumscribing various obelisks and giant aliens and rockets. By the time you get to timed missions and changes in weight, you might find yourself going insane. But that’s real-life, see, not just video-game gravity.
There is sound and music, each controlled separately from the in-game menu. The sense of satisfaction when you manage to deliver a battery is worth the struggle to get there, too.
And that’s it for this week! Next week will be the Halloween Edition of Friday Flash, so look for something spooky!