This week's best free PC games
I think my fingers are dead from typing so many words during E3 week. Hasn't it been hectic? Sadly, though, it seems the PC was largely forgotten about by the major players - especially Microsoft, whose Kinect focus meant we PC gamers had rather little to get excited about at their media briefing this expo.
Still, the great thing about being a PC gamer is that we don't need the big guys to provide us with our gaming fun. We have countless hard-working individuals, and ludicrously talented small teams, churning out great games that we can play on our computers for free. Here are some of them.
The I of It
By Gameshot. Play it on Kongregate.
The I of It is an absolutely wonderful idea. In the game, you play as the letter 'I', separated from your pal 't' in the word 'It'. 't' sneaks off while you're not looking, and it's your job to track him down.
It plays out as a puzzle platformer. As 'I', you can extend or retract your stem, then use your top and bottom arms to grab onto stuff, pulling yourself up and down the levels. You'll need to do this in order to overcome environmental obstacles that are thrown towards you at regular intervals.
The difficulty curve is a delight to work with, each puzzle ramping up the complexity steadily so that the game's usually a challenge, but never overwhelming. It's strikingly confident in its simple presentation, and the idea is one of quiet genius. Absolutely brilliant, in its own special way.
By Ono. Get it from the official website.
Retro puzzle games seem to be making a bit of a comeback. In this one, you have a grid, you have a strange object in the middle of it, and you must use said object to direct differently coloured balls towards different areas in order to stack up points.
It's a test of both observation and reaction time - although unfortunately, to begin with, it's a bit of a test of patience generally. It's kind of poorly explained, but fortunately, once you figure out that the concept is quite so simple, it becomes strangely hypnotic.
Ultimately, it's not quite that indie stalwart of making a simple game but doing it well. It's a simple game that isn't quite polished enough, and while I get what the presentation is going for, it misses the mark somewhat in terms of quality. But what's at the core is still entertaining, making Paxia worth a go.
By GraniteGear. Play it on Kongregate.
Clearly made on an extremely low budget, Warp Game is nevertheless a satisfying little platformer with an identifiable aesthetic - even if that aesthetic doesn't amount to much more than a green gradient fill and some black silhouettes. It's a simple platformer at heart, but with a twist: when you walk off one side of the screen, you turn up on the other; when you fall down the hole in the floor, you'll come out of the one in the ceiling.
It opens up a number of different puzzle opportunities, and while none of them are particularly taxing, it does add a nice cerebral edge to the game. Warp is short and sweet, and not always immaculately presented, but it does more than enough to keep you playing.
RPG Shooter: Starwish
By Anonymous D Studios. Play it on Kongregate.
Starwish is a curious mash-up of a few different game types. It's got the vibe - and some of the mechanics - of a Japanese RPG. Its storytelling takes the form of something approaching a visual novel. And the actual action stages are something like a side-on Space Invaders - a properly traditional sh'mup that sees you piloting your big old space rocket from left to right and up and down as you fire laser beams at the bad guys.
Considering this is a Flash game on Kongregate, it's a huge and complex game. The narrative riffs on Star Wars quite heavily, albeit with a few of its own touches along the way, but it's still at least competently written and provides some meat to the game's bones.
The shooting is less enthralling, although when faced with a huge stream of enemies it can become pleasingly chaotic. It also displays a level of polish lacking from most Flash games, so for that reason alone it should be at the top of your 'freebies to play' list this week.