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Game du Jour Deals: April 9 through April 15

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Game du Jour is a "One Deal a Day" website for casual PC games. Every day of the week, GameDuJour.com sells one downloadable game at a steep discount.

Every week Blogcritics Magazine will bring you a look of those games, so you know what to expect when the featured game gets its 24 hours in the spotlight.

We aim to publish reviews at least one day before the game goes on sale at GameDuJour.com, so please check back regularly. But we will admit, as much as we love casual games here at Blogcritics, we won't be able to get to every title.

This Week's Deals

04/09/2007, AirHockey 3D — 60% discount
04/10/2007, KaromatiX2 — 50% discount
04/11/2007, Mars Miner — 50% discount
04/12/2007, Point Hunter — 50% discount
04/13/2007, Ensnare — 60% discount
04/14/2007, GreenChess — 75% discount
04/15/2007, Rhombis — 50% discount

AirHockey 3D
Writer: Kaonashi

Air Hockey 3d screenshotIf you're in the mood for some air hockey but are too lazy to head to your local arcade, worry no further. Play from the comfort of your PC with AirHockey 3D. There are three modes of play: Classic, Arcade, and Tournament. Classic mode offers the standard play, while Arcade and Tournament introduce cool extras such as multiple pucks and freezing your opponents in place (and vice versa) for several agonizing seconds. In Tournament mode, there are ten levels, with the A.I. player increasing in difficulty after every level. If you get tired of playing against the computer, go online and challenge live people in Multiplayer.

There's a fair amount of customizability in AirHockey 3D. Naturally, you can select the A.I. difficulty level (from Slow to Insane), but you can also choose the style of puck, paddles, and even the table itself. You can even tweak your mouse's sensitivity. Judging from the levels in Tournament mode, it appears that the type of table you use affects your game. However, I wouldn't know since I only got to try the demo. Game play itself is pretty smooth. Using the mouse to control your paddle doesn't feel awkward, though I do recommend playing on full screen rather than a windowed screen.

KaromatiX2

Writer: Michael Jones.

TSSpiele's KaromatiX2 is a dream come true for any gamer old enough to yearn for the return of simple games that are simply good, as well as fun to play. With a premise as simple as shooting colored stones into an oncoming wall of stones in order to match up three or more like-colored stones and watch them disappear, KaromoatiX2 certainly has achieved simplicity.

And yet, when you finally sit down and play the game for a while, you find out that simplicity does not equal stupidity. As easy as the idea of the game may sound, when you combine it with the ever-decreasing time clock and the four different modes of game play, you arrive at a game that manages to frustrate nearly as much as it entertains. And that, really, is what I want out of a puzzle game. I want something that will make me think, as well as make me smile when I finally get through a level after trying for 43 times. KaromatiX2, so far, has certainly given me one of those two… now if you don't mind I'd like to get back and give that level another go, so that I might finally have both things come true.

Mars Miner
Writer: Michael Jones

Retro Style Games' Mars Miner is a very nice attempt to have a fresh update on classic Bomberman-style game. Whether following the story mode that allows you to spend a few moments dodging asteroids as you finally manage a crash landing on Mars, or simply choosing to ignore the "how" and "why" of your being on the red planet and instead get right into the action on "Survival" mode, you'll quickly become adept at the game.

Simply put, each level is a maze that requires you to blast your way out of by placing timed bombs in strategic locations, allowing you to both move freely to the end of each maze as well as to defeat any of the various monsters that aren't all that happy to see you wandering around in their Martian home-turf. Then again, as often as I found myself getting eaten by a few monsters, they might not be all that disappointed in seeing me… as long as it was understood that I was basically their lunch.

Challenging, beautiful to look at, and a fun way to spend any spare time you might have while remembering the joy of being able to fire up a game and just play without the need for any 600-page guide from Prima, Mars Miner has bombed its way onto my laptop, permanently.

Point Hunter

Point Hunter is a Pac-Man-style game, fascinating and interesting. In this game great adventures await. Help the protagonist, Point Hunter, collect all points while avoiding various enemies. Feel the atmosphere of 80s arcade games.

Ensnare

Ensnare is a strategy board game that pits you against another player or a computer opponent. Try to ensnare your opponent by leaving no available moves. Play in one of six unique game environments: standard board game, undersea, outer space, the old west, ancient Egypt, and a south American jungle.

GreenChess
Writer: Michael Jones

Simple, elegant, and a great way to help you learn, adapt, and eventually grow in your understanding and skill-levels, Green-D Software's (appropriately titled) GreenChess is a game that I would have killed for when I was but a fledgling member of my high school's chess club.

Allowing players to adjust the appearance of the board and game as well as the skill-level of the artificial intelligence that acts as your opponent, allowing you to save and look through logs of any games you might play, and the ability to save in mid-game and finish at a later time, GreenChess should do well with people who might otherwise like to take up the game of chess, but hesitates because they don’t think it is something they could easily learn. It’s certainly got me thinking about dusting off a few brain cells.

Rhombis
Writer: Michael Jones

Irbis games’ Rhombis takes the standard puzzle game and flips it on its side – literally. Filled with beautiful graphics and over 80 levels of game play, Rhombis plays like a beautiful homage to Tetris. Like all the best tributes, though, it takes a moment to remind you of something, and then it spreads its wings and takes flight.

The aim of the game, as you might expect, is to collect three or more matching colored playing pieces, which come, in this case, in the form of falling dollar diamonds. What makes Rhombis something unique, is what it does after it begins with such a standard premise. Instead of merely stacking these dollar diamonds together, you find that there is a subtle art to finding just the right angle to place your pieces – you find that tilting your puzzle, and your thought-processes, is a very good thing to do.

For sheer fun and inventiveness, and for being a damn good puzzle game to boot, Rhombis gets our stamp of approval. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a few hours (trust me on this, it’s addictive) of spare time, you’re just going to have to purchase your own copy of this game… ‘cause I’m not sharing mine!

Check back for more reviews during the week!

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