Short Nerd Chief

Friday Fun: Wellgames

Posted by Fred on May 30, 2008

There’s nothing particularly novel about Flash-based casual games on the web, and there’s nothing particularly novel about online multi-player games. Wellgames does a good job putting the two together, creating fun casual games that you play against total strangers without seeming like Facebook surgically grafted onto the PopCap site. I’ll grant that I’m a misanthrope, but I’d much rather play a game against someone I don’t know than chat with them. Wellgames gives you the former but doesn’t try to force the latter (the way Yahoo and MSN and Shockwave do). Here are two games I like:

Clusterz is a variation on your standard Match 3 game. Shoot a colored ball at some other colored balls and make a match to remove the cluster. Fail to make a group of at least three and a whole bunch more appear, which can sometimes actually work to your advantage. If the balls reach the bottom of the screen, you lose. Get rid of all the balls and you win. This is one game improved by being multiplayer – you’re racing against an opponent and can see how much they’ve cleared on your screen. If you win, you get bonus points based on how many points they had at the time.

Patchworkz plays like a combination Tangram and jigsaw puzzle. Six pieces appear in a tray at the bottom of the screen and you have to figure out where they go in the picture at the top. You get points based on how fast you finish the puzzle. The pictures are pretty in an abstract sort of way. There are a large number of levels, but be aware that between level 60 and level 80, the game gets much harder, as there are hundred of tiny pieces to place (zoom in to at least 150% or get a migraine). After level 81, it gets easier again. This is one that isn’t improved much by being multiplayer – Shockwave has a single-player version.

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