This week's best free PC games
Ladies and gents? After almost a year of writing them, I am sad to announce the end of [Month's] Best Free PC Games here at PC Gamer. Sniff.
But hey, look! A new thing exists! So welcome to the first ever roundup of the best free games of the week. Good gracious! These will, as you can imagine, be published weekly. Read on to find out what I've been freely enjoying in the past seven days.
Bov. Get it from IndieDB.
Pon is an absolutely lovely puzzle-platformer about a boy sent to find a cure for his dying father. So off you trot, on an adventure that takes you to places far further away than the local chemist.
Sweet, imaginative and touching, Pon is also blessed with some lovely visual design and a great sense of exploration and discovery. It's packed full of surprises; unfortunately, it's also packed full of bugs, one of which forced me to restart the game after about 20 minutes of trying to work out how to progress. There's a patch, which adds a much-needed save feature, but some glitches remain.
Nevertheless, I urge you to play it: it's one of the most striking freebies I've come across in a while.
Exploding Cow. Get it from the official website.
You get to blend animals. That's got to be good, right? In fact, you don't just get to blend animals; you have to blend them in order to complete the various levels of Blendimals in as fast a time as possible.
The idea is that different beasts have different talents. Rhinos can charge, rabbits can jump, and so forth. You blend different animals in the correct ways, then activate their individual abilities as your hybrid create powers around the course. It's a lot of silly fun. I think you'll like it a lot.
Don't Go Alone
pgil. Download it from the Ludum Dare website.
A Ludum Dare competition entry, Don't Go Alone is another game beginning with the illness of a family member. Your grandmother is sick and her death is imminent, you feel, so you set off into the woods towards her house.
This sinister game has an effective twist: there are Bad Things in the woods, but you have no means of defending yourself. That is until you come across a shady character who insists on accompanying you, since she has the power to cast magic spells that keep the baddies at bay.
It's a game of evasion from your perspective, then, as your "friend" (she never stops being utterly sinister) clears the path for you. Don't Go Alone is also immaculately presented, resulting in a quirky, interesting and occasionally disturbing title that's well worth your attention.
Nobuyuki Forces 4
STK. Play it on Kongregate.
The Nobuyuki Forces series has been on the go for almost a decade now. From its origins as a very basic on-rails shooter, it's now blossomed into something altogether more appealing - still straight-forward, but with a bit of added depth, and presented with infinitely more panache.
Nobuyuki Forces 4 is still ultimately a game about shooting from cover, reloading in the gaps, and letting the game itself guide you around its levels. But it's also very pretty this time around - still employing 2D sprites for characters, but with much more detail than the series has ever demonstrated before.
Some light RPG elements are layered on top, but this is still a simple game at heart, and all the better for it. Even if it does inexplicably force you to watch the credits before the game starts. Good grief.
Surprised Man. Grab it from the developer's website.
The Wager is a game of exploration and money-making. You sail your ship into the great unknown, exploring the outer reaches of the ocean for undiscovered lands. When you chance upon one, you can explore it, before returning home to sell any goods you find, and sell details of a particular island to interested colonists. The aim of the game? Generate as much cash as you can by the end.
What initially seems simple, both in terms of presentation values and mechanics, quickly blossoms into a game with a surprising amount of depth and decision-making. The high seas are a troublesome place to be, and you'll run into all manner of obstacles along the way. How you deal with them, and how you invest your money, is up to you.
It's also frequently hilarious, thanks to some fantastically bizarre writing, and the map is generated on the fly each time you play, meaning there'll always be something else to explore. As addictive as it is lovingly crafted, The Wager is a delight which you should play immediately.