Play This Game
So there you are, reclining artfully on your fainting couch, which tragic music plays from a scratchy gramophone. “I just don’t know what to play next!” you cry, failing to restrain the tears that brim like jewels in your eyes. “There are so many games out there. What if I… choose the wrong one?!”
Worry not, precious reader. Allow me to dab gently at your damp cheeks as I tenderly whisper… there are so many awesome games to play, yo! We’re totes going to find you something, don’t even trip! To help you figure out what you should load up next, we’re going to run through a list of some television shows, along with the games that are most similar, allowing you to find titles that match up with themes and styles you already enjoy. Sound good? Good! So let’s get to it, and be sure to share your own recommendations for happy gaming in the comments.
If you like Twin Peaks, play Cube Escape.
A damn fine cup of coffee and a slice of cherry pie is heaven on Earth, but for fans of David Lynch’s oh-so-creepy and surreal cult classic murder mystery, Rusty Lake’s increasingly bizarre point-and-click adventure series of Cube Escape games might come close. At first glance, the Cube Escape games don’t seem to have much in common with one another, apart from making you feel uneasy… and, okay, making you jump a little. But since when is that a bad thing?
You’ll start off in Cube Escape: Seasons, where an innocuous looking house hides a violent secret, and each successive title will reveal a bit more of the story to allow you to figure out what’s happened, and where you’re going next. The series isn’t so much steeped as liberally bathed in creepy symbolism and unsettling imagery, making it the perfect choice for players who love games with bizarre, dream-like logic to their puzzles and storytelling.
If you like The Walking Dead, play Don’t Escape 2.
A fun game everyone has played with their friends is “Who would die first if there was a zombie outbreak.” Don’t pretend this hasn’t come up, and that there wasn’t that one friend everyone else sort of suspected was going to get red all over them before the opening credits rolled. scriptwelder’s moody point-and-click puzzle adventure, Don’t Escape 2, is basically about what happens next.
Your friend Bill has been bitten by the undead, and with a zombie horde headed your way and the clock ticking, you have to use limited time and resources to figure out how best to prepare for everything in a way that keeps you alive. Fans of The Walking Dead will appreciate the chance to show off their post-apocalyptic street-smarts to avoid becoming a cheap death played off for ratings, and the way the game actually forces you to think of your time and surroundings as interwoven puzzles is clever as all get out. As for me, I’d totally survive all the way to the end of a zombie movie. Now, excuse me while I go investigate that spooky noise out in this dark forest all by myself in my bathrobe.
If you like Cupcake Wars, play Papa’s Freezeria.
Realistically, I could have replaced “Cupcake Wars” with “pretty much anything on The Food Network”, because you know you all have watched at least several hours’ worth of Ace of Cakes, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Chopped at some point in your lives. Flipline Studios’ Papa’s series of cooking simulation arcade games has been around for almost a decade, and there’s good reason why. The gameplay is fast, challenging, fun, and addictive, with each installment tasking you with serving a variety of customers in a different restaurant. It’s all the fun of customer service without the actual ability to reach across the counter and throttle someone!
You need to correctly cook and serve each individual order, and fast, and use the cash you earn to upgrade your place into something swankier. If it’s something sweet you’re craving, Papa’s Freezeria has you dishing up all manner of frozen delights, so you can finally put your soft serve where your mouth is the next time you sneer at an Iron Chef contestant and claim you could “do better”, without the added pressure of Alton Brown cackling at you and forcing you to do it while handcuffed to a honey badger or something.
If you like America’s Got Talent, play Super Crazy Guitar Maniac Deluxe 4.
Sure, we’ve all been there, breathlessly air-guitaring in our underoos along to Crazy Train. And, okay, some of us have warbled our way through Wonderwall to the polite patter of our friends and relatives, and been certain (certain!) that Simon Cowell is out there, waiting for us to come along and blow his mind. For those of us with rock in our hearts and mad guitar solos in our veins, Second Impact Games’ Super Crazy Guitar Maniac Deluxe 4 is just what the doctor ordered. Think of it like Guitar Hero for your keyboard, as you tap along to increasingly difficult songs.
Hit the corresponding keys at the right time as they scroll across the screen, and your score multiplier goes up, allowing you to unlock more tunes, and, of course, more guitars. You need quick reflexes to be able to rip your way through the more challenging songs, and completing a level without missing a beat can be both addictive and maddening when you trip up a second from the end. Each and every one of us has a rock god inside them… go on, do Jack Black proud. Air guitar your heart out, and don’t stop until someone walks in on you doing it. Geez Mom, why don’t you ever knock?!
If you like The Muppets, play Pursuit of Hat 2.
For some of us, arguably the increasingly more old-timey of us, Jim Henson was practically our babysitter, and we grew up seeing all of his furry, felted creatures caper across the screen. While some of these creations were, um, a little less cuddly-wuddly than others, The Muppets brought a song to the heart of every little budding nerdling everywhere. (You still know the lyrics. It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights.) So a game about a fellow who can pull off his own limbs to get to hard-to-reach places might not sound like a match, but stay with me a moment. I promise I can still be trusted around impressionable young minds.
Anton Rogov’s puzzle platformer Pursuit of Hat 2 is all about an adorably plush-like protagonist who just wants to be reunited with his hat in each level. The catch is that doing so usually means needing to be in two places at once, or having to fit through a narrow gap, or… well, let’s just say not everyone needs all their arms and legs all the time, am I right? You can pluck off different limbs in order to reach things you might not otherwise be able to, or even hurl them at distant switches, and while it might sound creepy and traumatic, the cuddly style and charming animation combined with the clever puzzles makes this one a game Kermit and crew would probably feel right at home with.
Writer: Dora Breckinridge / Dora has been writing about games for the better part of a decade, and playing them for even longer, using the glow of the monitor to keep her warm in the frozen wilds of her native Canada. Her website is here!