Apologies for the delay people! I had this post prepared a while ago, but for reasons too long and boring to go into, I couldn’t post this until today. Ah well, I’m here now! Weeee!
When people talk about great games, Flash games rarely feature in the discussion. It’s understandable. When you can play the next AAA title on your Xbox 360/One or PS3/4, why would you want to play games that were probably made by one guy in his underwear at home? Graphics-wise they’re usually not much to look at and the gameplay is necessarily simple and limited. Still, I think if you’re ignoring Flash games for those reasons, you’re definitely missing out. There are undeniably some huge pros too. They’re easily available – you can play them right from your web browser. If you’ve never checked out Kongregate (a sort of Flash game hub), I suggest you head over there immediately! They’re also mostly completely free, although some adopt a freemium model complete with microstransactions. Most importantly, they’re often incredibly creative and unique in a way that many AAA titles are not. The benefit of being unrestrained by publishers and development timelines is that people are free to make whatever they like. Ok, so a lot of it will be rubbish, but I’ve also played many that have completely blown my mind, whether it was because it had an incredible story, a gameplay mechanic I’ve never seen before or beautiful hand-drawn art. The only real limitation is the developer’s imagination and their own skills. Even the simplicity of the tools available to Flash game developers is something many seem to take pride in and I’ve seen people push the limits on what I would have thought possible. And whether you identify as a hardcore or more casual gamer, you’re sure to find something you enjoy. So, if you need an introduction to some excellent Flash games to try out, here are 3 of my personal all-time favourites.
Rebuild 1 & 2
So I’ve played a lot of zombie games. I mean A LOT of zombie games. Some were just pure mindless fun like the arcade game The House of the Dead or Left 4 Dead and others were deeper and more thoughtful like The Walking Dead and The Last of Us. On the one hand I can’t get enough of the zombie genre. On the other hand, I’m a little sick of playing crappy zombie games. Surprisingly, Rebuild 1 & 2, two turn-based strategy games by Sarah Northway are both up there as two of my favourite zombie games of all time.
Sarah seems to understand exactly what the strengths of Flash games and eschews shiny graphics and animation for surprisingly deep gameplay and customizability. The premise of Rebuild 1 & 2 is to find survivors of a zombie apocalypse and to rebuild the city square by square. You have to manage supplies, food and housing, as well as reclaim land, scavenge, seek out old technology and of course fend off zombie attacks. It’s not just the zombies either, there are always rival gangs, thieves, wild dogs and even internal coups to deal with.
It’s pretty hard, especially on the higher difficulty and you’ll find yourself getting attached to your growing crew, each of which can be individually upgraded and equipped with various weapons and items. There’s no direct combat as it’s all about allocating resources and making decisions, so if you’re not a fan of turn-based games or strategy, you probably want to avoid this one. Even if it is a little slower-paced than your average zombie shooter, it also has a very tense atmosphere and the unfolding story is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. If you love the survival aspect of the zombie genre and you like the idea of micro-managing your own city this is the game for you. Whether you want to rule as a tyrant or fairly is completely up to you! Get ready to make some difficult choices though. Rarely are things black and white in this game.
Admittedly, Rebuild 2 doesn’t add much that’s new other than some updated graphics and a more streamlined experience, but if you’re a fan of Rebuild 1 it’s definitely worth giving it a shot.
Dolphin Olympics 2
This game by arawkins almost made me fail my 2nd year exams at university. I’m not even joking. That’s why I’m warning you in advance, this game is ridiculously fun and annoyingly addictive.
This is again an example of a Flash game getting it right. The controls are very simple – you use the arrow or WASD keys to make your dolphins jump and glide through the water and do tricks in the air. The point is to build up your multiplier by doing as many tricks and combos as possible in 2 minutes and to gain speed by hitting the water and exiting it at exactly the right angle. There are also rings that will give you speed boosts and if you get high enough to start seeing planets and stars, you can even star-slide for even greater boosts. The point, if you want some sort of goal, is to get to the restaurant at the end of the universe (and yes it’s a Douglas Adams reference). Don’t be fooled by the bright colours and the playful atmosphere, it’s really really hard to get to that damned restaurant. Be prepared to rage-quit.
The setting, the simplicity of the concept, the creativity of the execution, the bright colours, the easy-to-understand-but-difficult to master controls and the awesomeness of playing as a dolphin make this one of my absolute favourites.
Play it here.
Burrito Bison by Juicy Beast Studios is by far my favourite in the catapult/tossing/launching genre. No idea what that is? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The aim of these games is to, in some way, launch your character as far and/or as high as possible to achieve the highest score you can. There are often a range of upgrades and items that you can purchase with points earned to help you go even further.
Burrito Bison plays off this very basic concept in a fun and original way. The premise is that that a warrior bison (yes, you did read that right) is minding his own business and doing his weekly shop when he’s unexpectedly sucked into Candy Land, which is of course overrun by enemy gummy bears and the like. The aim is to launch your bison by pressing the spacebar when the spinning pointer is as close to the top of the wheel as possible. Once you’re in the air, you can then land on gummy bears for money or special gummy bears for certain power-ups and boosts, like the exploding gummies that launch you even higher. Hitting the ground slows you down, as do cop gummies. You can also purchase upgrades after each try, which will greatly enhance your launching ability or airtime, like elastic cable that make your initial launch more powerful. The point is to gain enough momentum to a) get you all the way to the giant doors blocking your path along the way and b) gain enough momentum to break through them. The overall mission is of course to escape Candy Land!
Like most Flash games, the controls are very basic and you can play the entire game with just your mouse and the spacebar. The setting is fun, it looks great for a Flash game, the upgrade system is satisfying and the gameplay is engaging and addictive. There’s even a sequel, which is worth checking out as well!
Try it for yourself here.