Is it Friday again already? Some weeks just fly by!
Every Friday I bring you three online games to play all weekend. I do this on Friday so you'll really play them on the weekend, saving your valuable work and school week for work and school. Do I suspect that you continue to play the games throughout the next week? I do. But that's bad. Don't do that.
Most games require the Adobe Flash Player, and I do test all games on Mac and Windows. I try to remember to let you know when there is music or sound, too. Why do I do that? Well, I guess it goes back to that work/school suspicion I have, but I'm officially going to say that it's in case you decide to play one of these at 2am and don't want to wake someone up.
Two weeks ago, in the inaugural edition of this column, I said "Check back next week when we'll have a new twist on the old-fashioned game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, and more!" Last week, I had the "and more," but not the Rock-Paper-Scissors. How did this happen? That's easy: I forgot. I'll make it up to you, I promise.
But first, RPS-25, the ultimate "Rock, Paper, Scissors" game. We all know that Rock is covered by Paper but smashes Scissors, while Paper is cut by Scissors but covers Rock, and Scissors is smashed by Rock but cuts Paper. But what happens when you add, say, Fire and Air? The three possible non-tying match-ups blossom to ten, as Fire is blown out by Air and pounded out by Rock, but melts Scissors and burns Paper, while Air is swished through by Scissors and fanned by Paper, but blows out Fire and erodes Rock. Silly? Yes, and difficult to remember.
But now you don't have to, as you can play traditional RPS, as well as RPS-5, RPS-7, RPS-9, RPS-11, RPS-15, and RPS-25 online, letting the computer remember the many combinations for you. By my math, there are 300 possible non-tying matchups in in RPS-25, so that's a relief!
There is music, which you can turn off, and sounds effects, which you can't. There is also a two-player option, for when you need to decide someting in best-two-of-three style.
Bonus: If you would rather sit back and just watch, rockpaperscissors brings RPS to life.
Road Blocks requires considerably more thought. It's a puzzle game with 22 levels. Your job is to get the ball into an exit. The thing is, while you choose the direction in which the ball moves, it then keeps moving until it hits something (or flies off the screen, which is bad). So you'll need to rely on blocks to stop you at the right spot, and figuring the correct order in which to head for which block is the tricky — and fun — part. There are also teleports, as shown in this screencap, and funnels, which allow one-way travel only.
If you can't sit down and work through all 22 levels in one sitting — and few could — you can use the password supplied at the bottom of the game window to return to that level in the future. With 22 levels, that means 21 passwords. I have a complete list of the passwords, but more importantly, I have created a list of which direction to go in which order to solve each level! Posting the Road Blocks solution or passwords here would be cheating, but I might be persuaded to give hints, if needed.
Even with this puzzle game, there is music you can turn off and sound effects you can't.
For arcade-style action, Fracture is a mashup of Asteriods and Robotron. The arrow keys move your ship around, while another set of "arrow" keys ("A," "S," "D," and "W") fire your weapon. You can fire diagonally by combining keys.
Level transitions are seamless and instant, so you don't get much rest. Each level brings new combinations of baddies, some of which are harder to destroy. There are also power-ups providing bombs and enhanced lasers.
This game does have sound effects, and while you can control the volume level from the "Options" on the main menu, the sound effects in this game are actually useful. Since your area of space is larger than the screen, having a sound effect let you know that a power-up is available, or that new baddies have just appeared somewhere, is a good thing.
And that's it for this week! Between a puzzle game, a shoot-em-up, and a mostly-random twist on a childhood favorite, I hope I've got something for everyone this week. Next week — Lord willing and the creek don't rise — we'll talk about balls. Just balls, nothing else.