The Kongregation
Volume 4

By Rituro - January 15th, 2014

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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.

Jacksmith

by Flipline Studios

We have all heard, seen, or read the tales of brave heroes dashing forward into battle, their arms and armour glinting in the sunlight. Weapons raised, the heroes take on monsters, thieves, evil wizards, and more in the name of a kingdom, a family or personal glory. Sounds pretty cool, but you have to ask yourself: would that tale be so awe-inspiring minus the arms and/or armour? Of course not. So, why not make a game starring the brave blacksmith?

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Some interesting clientele…

Jacksmith casts you as that blacksmith – specifically a donkey blacksmith with a loyal sheepdog assistant, outfitting other anthropomorphic animal warriors with swords, shields, axes, bows and the like. From the inside of your travelling wagon, you smelt ores into items through simple mini-games like straightening a bowstring or dropping a sword hilt exactly where it needs to go on the blade. The catch is that all of this is timed; you’ll have to hurry to complete your daily orders but shoddy worksmanship will cost you in the end product – should the weapon break during combat, the warrior will flee; if the entire army flees, the day is over. It’s a compelling mechanic, spiced up with elemental weapon types and progressively better ores looted from the remains of fallen monsters. If you don’t know Jacksmith, there’s no better time to get started.

How to Raise a Dragon

by Gregory Weir

From the “surprisingly good” category comes How to Raise a Dragon, an obviously titled game where you take on the role of a hatchling dragon all the way to adult status. While its simple platforming and pixel art may tempt you into an early assumption about the game’s quality, there’s enough back story and choice packed into this simple little game to make you go back more than once.

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He sets you on fire if you don’t wake up fast enough to feed him.

Everything you do as a dragon has an impact on the end result. Eat lots of plants as a hatchling and you turn green. Consume lots of hot items as an adolescent and you gain fire breath. There are numerous combinations of actions or inactions – especially once humanity comes into play – all of which change how the world looks and how it views you. Are you a benevolent guardian, a countryside “burninator” or an indifferent money-hoarder? For a small, quick game, there’s a lot of thought behind How to Raise a Dragon; credit to Mr. Weir for making this little gem shine.

Jack the Zombie

by Big Dino Games

What’s this? Yet nother Zombie game? What makes this one stand out, though, is a gentle twist on the standard “shoot zombies” formula: you, Jack, are the zombie with the guns and it’s the humans that need a-shootin’.

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I think that I’m more scared of the humans.

A puzzle game with a distinct Angry Birds vibe, Jack the Zombie features forty levels that require you to kill all humans while sparing all zombies. Using only a shotgun and a laser, both with limited ammo, Jack must manipulate the environment to do his dirty work. Some solutions are obvious – humans dangling over sawblades? Zorch the rope! – while others will require you to be a bit crafty, changing the angles of glass blocks or igniting wooden blocks to open new firing lines. There’s a fair amount of carnage as you kill off the humans, contrasting with the smiley-cutesy art direction and rock-jazz fusion soundtrack. It’s an odd mix and perhaps could have benefited from a slight tone-down on the gore but the puzzle part of the game makes up for any visual unease.

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