It’s time for some toast with Toast Time on PC

Toasters are super underrated. You can keep your microwave, or your oven, or your George Foreman grill - sometimes I just want some toast, STAT. Toast Time gets this - it understands that having toast pronto is an important part of daily life, and it's happy to fire toast all over the place for the sake of keeping us sane.

Toast Time is a game about launching toast, bagels, french sticks and other bread-based snacks at aliens who are attempting to steal your alarm clock. It doesn't really make a great deal of sense, but all you need to know is that it was originally a mobile game, it's now also a PC game, and it's pretty wacky fun. You should consider picking it up on Steam, while you ask yourself what exactly it is that you put in a toaster.

It’s time for some toast with Toast Time on PC

Toasters are super underrated. You can keep your microwave, or your oven, or your George Foreman grill - sometimes I just want some toast, STAT. Toast Time gets this - it understands that having toast pronto is an important part of daily life, and it's happy to fire toast all over the place for the sake of keeping us sane.

Toast Time is a game about launching toast, bagels, french sticks and other bread-based snacks at aliens who are attempting to steal your alarm clock. It doesn't really make a great deal of sense, but all you need to know is that it was originally a mobile game, it's now also a PC game, and it's pretty wacky fun. You should consider picking it up on Steam, while you ask yourself what exactly it is that you put in a toaster.

Mobile Pick: Tiny Traffic Mania (Spyros Games)

TinyTrafficMania.png In Tiny Traffic Mania by Spyros Games (an indie development studio based in Egypt), you've been placed in charge of solving a city's traffic problems while trying to keep everyone happy. Players have to watch out for angry drivers who honk like mad, buses that stop to let people in and out, and the occasional ambulance which needs to reach the hospital quickly. Traffic mismanagement can cause a deadlock and stop cars from getting through, so you'll have to supervise the city's traffic proficiently to avoid displeasing its citizens.

Tiny Traffic Mania is out now on the App Store and Google Play at a price of $0.99 for the full game. A light version is also available for Android users to try it out for free.

Mobile Pick: Tiny Traffic Mania (Spyros Games)

TinyTrafficMania.png In Tiny Traffic Mania by Spyros Games (an indie development studio based in Egypt), you've been placed in charge of solving a city's traffic problems while trying to keep everyone happy. Players have to watch out for angry drivers who honk like mad, buses that stop to let people in and out, and the occasional ambulance which needs to reach the hospital quickly. Traffic mismanagement can cause a deadlock and stop cars from getting through, so you'll have to supervise the city's traffic proficiently to avoid displeasing its citizens.

Tiny Traffic Mania is out now on the App Store and Google Play at a price of $0.99 for the full game. A light version is also available for Android users to try it out for free.

Kickstarter Pick: 24 Killers (Todd Luke)

A life sim with a touch of who-dunnit mystery is the kind of genre fusion I a) never really thought would happen, b) find myself particularly excited about. Hence, I thought I'd let you all lovable people know about the 24 Killers crowdfunding campaign by Todd Luke. 24 Killers, a game of unique aesthetics and clever ideas, will be all about finding the spirits who are possessing the inhabitants of a far off island, while discovering all sorts of hidden stuff and slapping people. Oh, yes, and convincing townsfol that you are not responsible for any hauntings whatsoever too.

Gridland is a survival/match-3 crossover game

Lena mentioned Gridland as part of the weekly trailer roundup, but I've been playing it today, and decided it was worth a full post and video playthrough. It's a match-3 game with survival elements - in the day, you match resources to collect them and build your base. At night, the enemies come out, and you have to match attacks and defenses to hold them back.

It's really very clever, and a lot of fun. As you build your base up, new resources will appear for you to match, and matching becomes more and more difficult. You can find Gridland for free in your web browser.

Ludum Dare 30: Previous 48-hour compo winner’s new entry, HopSlide (Updated)

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Daniel Linssen, winner of Ludum Dare 29's 48-hour compo and creator of GBJam entry Roguelight, has struck again with his Ludum Dare 30 entry. HopSlide is two separate programs, a platformer called Hop and a sliding block puzzle called Slide, which when run at the same time interact with each other. They are the two connected worlds to match the theme of this Ludum Dare.

Hop is controlled either with WASD or the arrow keys; Slide is controlled with the mouse. There are multiple ways in which the two programs interact, all of which are communicated by the game and none of which I want to spoil here. HopSlide definitely requires players to think outside the box.

If I were to pick out a flaw in HopSlide, though, it would be that one aspect of the game is communicated through color alone, making the game potentially impossible for colorblind folks to play. Even so, the game is an impressive feat for the 48-hour timeframe and is free. If you have Windows, you should grab it. There are over 2500 games for this Ludum Dare, but HopSlide looks like a strong contender for first place.

Update: There is now a colorblind-friendly post-compo version available.

Preview: Hands on with the Gabriel Knight 20th anniversary remake

gk20th-logo-with-talisman.jpgPinkerton Road's 20th anniversary remake of the classic point and click adventure game Gabriel Knight: Sins of the fathers still doesn't have a set release date. "Mid-2014" is close to passing us by, but they've started making preview builds available to the press. This preview article comes from hands on experience with the beginning of the game. The first part of this article covers the game in a general sense before going into the game as a remake of the original. At the end of the article, fellow IndieGames writer Konstantinos Dimopoulos gives a second opinion.

The titular character Gabriel Knight is a small-time writer and book store owner in New Orleans. Both endeavors are pretty unsuccessful, though he has an employee for the book store. When the game starts, his sleep is plagued by nightmares and he's suffering from writer's block. The book he's working on is a voodoo mystery novel, and since there's a string of so-called "voodoo murders" occurring, he starts investigating them for inspiration. As the story goes on, though, Gabriel discovers that both his nightmares and the voodoo murders are tied to a Knight family legacy he knew nothing about.

Although not devoid of humor, the story in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is a mystery with dark and mature themes. At the time of its original release, this made it stand out in a genre which was then and is still largely dominated by silliness. Even now, with a much greater variety of point and click games in existence, you'd be hard-pressed to find another game with the same kind of atmosphere as Gabriel Knight. One nice thing about the story is that it has aged pretty well. It's not so era-specific that it suffers from the passage of 20 years, though if you think about it, a notable lack of things like cell phones does give away the fact that it wasn't written recently.

One of the Gabriel Knight series's strengths is its characters. Gabriel himself is far from perfect, a lecherous fellow who doesn't always manage to pay his employee on time. Said employee, Grace, is a smart woman who rebuffs Gabriel's advances with masterful snark while proving invaluable as a research assistant. Gabriel's best friend, Mosely, is a cop who agrees to leak information about the voodoo murders in exchange for [empty] promises that he'll appear in Gabriel's new book. All of the things mentioned in this paragraph (and more) can be learned via dialogue or narrator commentary on looked-at objects in just the first day of the story. The writing does a great job of teaching the player about the characters, major and minor, in a pretty natural way.

Being a remake of a 20 year-old game, the graphics, music, sound, and interface have all been redone. Anyone who's played Pinkerton Road's previous release Moebius: Empire Rising will have an idea of what to expect in terms of quality and user experience. The game plays as a 2D game, though it was built in the Unity 3D engine. The user interface reflects modern point and click sensibilities; rather than having a list of verbs to try on everything, clicking on objects brings up an action wheel with only relevant (or humorously irrelevant) actions available to try. There's a spoiler-free hint system and story-critical dialogue options are yellow instead of white.

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For all those upgrades, old fans of Gabriel Knight will find everything very familiar. The graphics have been upgraded, but the book store still has that ladder, grandpa's creepy painting, and a daily newspaper. Each day still starts with DAY # and a snippet of poetry, the nightmare cutscenes still show the same things in limited detail, and although the music has more instruments to it, the melodies are familiar. The voice acting all had to be re-recorded because the original performances were lost, but the new voice actors have done a really good job of stepping into some impressive shoes.

Speaking as a fan of the original Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, the remake is very satisfying. It's been a very long time since I played the original release, but at the time it was like a book that I couldn't put down. Playing this new edition feels like picking that book up again for the first time in years. I remember how the story goes, more or less, but I can't wait to dig in and relive the details. There's nothing in the remake that I snag on, no outrageous changes or flaws that make me want to strangle someone. A lot of care has gone into making this the best remake it can be, and it shows.

If you missed it the first time around, this is a great chance to play a classic, well-loved, and unique entry in the point and click adventure genre. If you're an old fan, this is a great chance to replay a beloved game. Keep an eye on this one, folks. It's one to grab when you get the chance.

Second Opinion from Konstantinos Dimopoulos

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With Lena having eloquently covered everything there is to be written about the forthcoming Gabriel Knight remake, is there anything there left for me to do? Well, not really, no, though I can tell you that the Gabriel Knight series has always been my absolute favourite among all of Sierra's offerings. And I love it. And can't be objective about it and would probably even buy Gabriel Knight socks if such a thing existed.

So, what did I think of the new edition? Well, unsurprisingly, I loved the thing.

I especially appreciated the inclusion of the in-game journal, hint system and director's cut material, which includes screenshot comparisons, concept art and some rudimentary commentary. I loved the new streamlined interface, the generous amounts of new content, the built-in graphic novel, but, above all, I was ecstatic with the substitution of that ludicrous pixel hunting puzzle with something way more sensible.

On the other hand, I certainly didn't particularly enjoy the way the mime puzzle was handled, though I suppose it could easily be fixed by the time the final game gets released in a few months. As for the new graphics, admittedly they are not quite as atmospheric as the original's, despite the gorgeous backgrounds, and I'm pretty sure a few palette changes here and there and better animations would really help.

But that's nitpicking. What really matters is that this absolutely classic point-and-clicker has been subtly expanded, generally improved in all sorts of ways and still plays as engrossingly as ever. Hopefully, it will introduce a brand new generation to the Schattenjäger saga and give the rest of us a good reason to replay a fantastic adventure.

Kickstarter Pick: Unnecessary Sentience (Joe Richardson)

UnSent.pngRemember lovely point-and-clicker The Long Rain? Good, for Joe Richardson, the dev responsible for said delightfully surreal game, is at it again and working on a brand new adventure: Unnecessary Sentience. Supporting him via Kickstarter should eventually provide us all with a finely animated, weird and hopefully well designed game in this style.

Deep Under the Sky is a one-button game about flinging jellyfish


The minds behind Pineapple Smash Crew and Incredipede have joined forces for the gorgeous Deep Under the Sky, a one-button game about flinging jellyfish and making them explode. The space bar is your friend in this lovely slice of spreading jellyfish genes all over the world.

It's pretty simple: You press the space bar to launch a jellyfish, then you hit space bar again to make your jellyfish explode, roll into a ball, zip in one direction, and lots of other actions. It looks beautiful, it sounds like a grand orchestra in my head, and it's a super easy game to just roll along with and gobble up for an evening.

You can find Deep Under the Sky on Steam - but if you don't have much cash at the moment, you could always draw something to get a free copy.