Are you a fan of casual games like Bejeweled and Diner Dash? If so, you may want to check out WildGames.
Independently developed games have been with us since the home computer and the internet began to gain popularity in the early 1990s and ways to try out these games have changed along with the times. Most developers in the early years would offer a short demo online. Some of these demos, particularly roleplaying and strategy games, would let you get a taste of the game by offering only some of the levels. Others, such as puzzle and card games, would often leave out a few key features. If you decided to buy the game, you would be sent to a web page or ftp server where you could download the game in its entirety.
These days, almost all casual games have a limited-time demo, usually lasting one hour. Once you buy the game, an ‘unlock code’ is emailed to you. For many games, one hour is enough time to test out the game and see if it’s worth the money but there is that occasional game where you’re just not able to test out all the features in the timespan given.
Wildgames gives gamers a different way to pay for some of these games. When you visit the site, you’ll download a console that will list and let you download and install the 300+ games they offer for play. Your first two plays of each game will be free. The great thing about these two free trial sessions is that there’s no time limit! No more reaching level 2-3 and being reminded that your free session will end in 3 minutes.
Once your two free sessions are used up, you’ll need to use Wildcoins to play. WildTangent currently offers two ways to buy these coins. For $19.99, you can purchase 80 Wildcoins. Or, you can sign up for their monthly plan that gives you 75 coins for $12.99/month. The monthly plan is, by far, the better value and, if you think you won’t be able to play as much during a busy month, any unused coins roll over into the next month. Depending on various factors, each game costs 1-4 coins and, just like in the free plays, there’s no time limit on each session.
Of course, you do still have the option to buy each game outright. If you choose this route, the game is yours forever. This is probably a better option for games that you play for 15 minutes here and there. Also, if you’ve used Wildcoins on the games, you can get up to 50% off the purchase price. For every two coins you’ve used to play the game, you’ll get a 25-cent credit for that game.
Granted, this system can be slightly abused. After playing through the entire story of Chocolatier in one session, I have little desire to play again. But, there are games I come back to time and time again. Fate is an excellent Diablo-style RPG and Deep Sea Tycoon has great replay value.
Although most of the games that WildGames offers aren’t as involved as those aimed towards hardcore gamers, they’re still a great way to waste a Tuesday afternoon. And, for those people who only play a game a few times before retiring it, it can be a much cheaper option than paying the full purchase price.