Admit it: sometimes, after weeks of investing your life into some of the best AAA-calibre games that money can buy, you just want to fire up your browser and play something mindless for an hour or two. Guess what? So do we! Here are some of the games we’ve been trying out at Flash game playground: Kongregate. Agree? Disagree? Friend our Kongregate account, “TorontoThumbs” and leave your own review.
Zombies: is there any medium they can’t take over? Clearly not, as the two-game series Rebuild and Rebuild 2 bring your daily dose of zombie goodness to the Kongregate experience – and then some. In this series, the zombie apocalypse has happened and, as the title suggests, your rag-tag group of survivors are attempting to rebuild the city one block at a time.
Zombie Jenny on da block.
There’s a lot to like about this series, not the least of the which is the ramped-up difficulty level in Rebuild 2. The main appeal, though, is the surprising amount of depth through playstyle: which survivors do you train as soldiers and which do you leave behind as builders or scientists? Do you attempt to purge the entire city or just liberate key blocks in an attempt to rebuild society at city hall? Or do you hunker down, defend like mad against the zombie hordes and focus on researching a cure? No matter which way you choose, there’s a zombie-riffic good time to be had.
Learn to Fly/Learn to Fly 2
We move on now to a series that eschews the violence and gore of the zombie apocalypse in favour of a gee-golly cute protagonist – a tubby little penguin that just wants to learn how to fly. Of course, he’s not simply going to sit around and let evolution work its magic; this little guy is going to employ every trick in the book – gravity, gliders, jetpacks – to try and become airborne.
That angry wind is not powered by beans – for a change.
Strictly speaking, this style of Flash game isn’t overly new or innovative; there are plenty of glider/physics games out there that serve a similar purpose. To wit: waggle the arrow keys, play with gravity and physics, glide further than last time. What makes the Learn to Fly series stand out, though, is the fact there’s a bare-bones story added on that works. When (spoiler alert) the little penguin wakes up in hospital at the start of Learn to Fly 2, it’s equal parts “awww” and “uh oh!” as he begins his aerial campaign of revenge.
Also, I’m a sucker for penguins. I make no apologies for this.
Clash of the Dragons
Finally, Clash of the Dragons is an online collectible card game (CCG) that attempts to set itself apart from the many, many other options out there by making the user’s life identical to the remaining cards in their deck. Thus, each fight is an attempt to get your opponent to burn through more cards than you as fast as possible. Each card’s attack value is modified by the attacker’s relevant attack value, the opponent’s defense value and any other buffs that may be in play; the higher the end value, the more cards are depleted from the attacked deck.
Now that is a loading screen.
I’m of two minds on Clash. On the one hand, the attention to story in the form of lengthy flavour text is commendable and tells a gripping story. Plus, the game mechanic itself is fairly unique and the battles are quick without being overly shallow. On the other hand, the trappings of many online CCGs still exist – slogging through battle after battle on a set “energy meter” timer trying to scrape together enough gold to buy more cards is tedious and disheartening, especially when the taunting option of spending real money to get more cards is constantly dangled in your face. Add in the fact you can’t sell any unusable gear acquired after missions and there are some serious design concerns that need addressing, compelling storyline be damned.