Little Alchemy 2
Fancy trying your hand at browser-based ‘science’? Then fire up Little Alchemy 2, which charges you with synthesising hundreds of items. You start with the bare basics (air, earth, and so on), but are soon figuring out what you might get by combining any pair for ants, caviar, a puddle and an ostrich.
This isn’t exactly Breaking Bad, then, and nor do the solutions resemble what you’d find in textbooks. Instead, the game has you think laterally, whimsically, or even surreally, to find combinations. A plane, for example, is a metal bird. Obvious, when you think about it…
When muscle-bound hunks and dapper wizards blaze their way through dungeons, no-one thinks of the minions – but providing a challenge to adventurers is a full-time job. More specifically, it’s your job.
In Mobs, Inc., there are loads of do-gooder sword-wielding nutters about, and you must kill them all, using your mouse to direct your movement, and a click to satisfyingly slice them in two.
Do well and you’re promoted, which means more work – but armed with spells. Die and you get a ticking off from the boss, before being hurled back into the fray. Get killed four times, and you’re fired. Given that your boss seems to be a massive demon, we shudder to think what that means.
This stylish greyscale shooter finds your ship zooming towards a monolith on the horizon that suspiciously never seems to get any nearer. (Games, eh?) Naturally, said monolith is heavily armed.
You can shoot back, but only after your rubbish missile system has locked on. So begins a ‘hyperkinetic’ game of bullet hell patterns, cunning feints, and locking on to enemies to unleash explosive missile death. (All, in each case, for one miserly point. Bah.)
Many games have you play as the bad guy. But Pandemic 2 invites you to eradicate all human life on Earth. You set the parameters of your virus, and let time take its course – and the disease always wins.
The aim is to be as efficient as possible. Along the way, as you rack up evolution points, you can make your pathogen even more lethal, shortly before nipping to Amazon for one of those germ masks.
Play Pandemic 2 now (requires Flash)
Sort of Tron meets Painter, Paper.io plonks you in an arena, aiming to secure as much territory as possible. The problem is everyone else is trying to do the same thing.
You grab land by zooming away from your plot and encircling a section of the arena. But your tail is a weak spot – if someone runs over it, you die. Still, you can cut down on the competition by gunning for their tails, too.
Fancy yourself something of an artist? Put your sketching skills to the test in this devilish AI-based take on Pictionary, in which you’re tasked to draw everyday objects (‘fire engine’, ‘clarinet’, ‘frying pan’, and so on) and have them recognised by Google’s deep learning-based judge. If your crude scrawling hits the mark, you get to draw another one, again and again, until you fail.
The physics of walking on two legs is an astoundingly complex affair. Running is even worse – in essence, a barely-controlled fall. Because we’ve all forgotten when we learned how to do those things, we don’t think about this kind of thing – but QWOP brings it all back.
This astoundingly frustrating game gives you control of a runner’s leg muscles using just four keys on your keyboard (Q, W, O and P). The objective is to not land on your bum or face – which it turns out is practically impossible.
A prototype for the more recent PC and mobile release of the same name, Spaceplan is a clicker. You click, click, click, and get to spend generated currency (watts) on things that start doing the clicking for you. Eventually, you’re generating millions of clicks per second. And also everything’s centred around potatoes.
Yes, Spaceplan has a narrative that revolves around a quirky AI, something having gone very wrong in (and with) space, and an awful lot of spuds. You fling Spudnik satellites into orbit, and use Probetatoes to land on planetary bodies, ensuring they’re wrapped in foil to withstand re-entry – and fan-assisted ovens. All entirely scientifically accurate, we’re sure.