This week's best free PC games

Lewis Denby at

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Another week, another collection of glorious free PC games from around the web. This week's picks are pleasingly varied, from the simple ambience of Revolutions to the silliness of Dinosaur Zookeeper. Read on for five great free games to play right now.

Revolutions

Zink-Interactive. Play it on Kongregate.

Revolutions is the sort of game that proves there doesn't have to be a huge amount of substance for a game to be exceptional: just careful design and a strong sense of identity will get some titles by.

In Revolutions, you play as a small, glowing orb, and your objective for each level is to get to another, slightly bigger glowing orb. It's a platformer, but the lack of anthropormorphic characters means you identify with the game in a different manner.

The levels are very neatly put together, but it's the aesthetic that binds everything - it's a glorious collection of yellows, whites and oranges, combined with the soft, elegant music, that keep you hooked until the end. Simple, but lovely.

Probe

Koubo. Download it from the dev's website.

I love my exploration games. They're not too taxing, but they do provide some glorious moments of surprise if done well. Probe isn't exceptional - it doesn't throw those surprises at you quite frequently enough - but it adds something different to the mix that ramps up the tension in quite a nice way.

There's no tutorial, so you're left to work things out for yourself, but you get the idea that your spaceship has run out of power and you've to find a way to fix it. And so below the ground you drop, searching for resources.

But not all areas of this cavernous world are accessible straight off. Instead, you've to collect blocks around the place that you then stack, build stairs with and suchlike to reach new places. All the while, a timer's ticking down - if it runs out, you die.

It's engaging, and provides a reason for you to be efficient with your work in an otherwise calming game. Worth a look.

Z-Type

PhotosLab. Play it on the website.

I missed Z-Type a little while ago when it emerged onto the web, but it's good enough that I've been holding it back for a rainy week. It's been raining quite a lot this week. It's time, people.

So. Do you remember The Typing of the Dead? It was essentially a typing tutorial program, except that it was also House of the Dead, and correctly typing the words that appeared on the screen caused the zombies to explode in a big shower of goo.

Z-Type does the same sort of thing, except it's a space shooter. You have your ship; the enemies are attacking from above with big words. It's your job to type those words in order to fire your guns, and eradicate all threat.

It sounds silly, but a nice ambient soundtrack and some lovely minimalist presentation make this properly engaging beyond its core mechanics. Really worth playing, whether it improves your typing or not.

Dinosaur Zookeeper

Not-Vlambeer. Play it on the [adult swim] website.

It's great - another new addition to [adult swim]'s increasing collection of delightful free games, and a new title created by Super Crate Box dev Vlambeer. At least, I assume so: the game has "NOT VLAMBEER" plastered all over it, but the fact that the name's there at all suggests they might be one and the same.

Anyway, this is a sort of distinctly indie take on Zoo Tycoon-meets-Jurassic Park. You've taken over a dinosaur park which the previous zookeeper ran into the ground. Your role is to ensure the customers and the dinosaurs are both happy - and, of course, that no one gets eaten alive.

To begin with that's as simple a task as dragging some fences around your exhibits, but as you progress you realise that this is going to be a more difficult task than you originally thought. The art style is pleasingly sketchy, and the game's sense of humour raises more than a few smiles.

Crystal Towers 2

David Newton. Grab it from the game's website.

The full version of Crystal Towers 2 is $5, but there's also a free version - and since it's substantial enough to not just feel like a demo, it goes in this list. Especially since it's very good. I'm always looking for excuses, me.

Initially it seems to be a fairly straightforward platformer with an introductory sequence far longer than any game of this type needs to have. However, it's also a very funny game, one that absolutely nails the comic timing of its events and dialogue in a really effective way.

The story is that this world is being rid of music, and your job is to stop this from happening. Along the way you'll meet all sorts of ludicrous characters, and Grab an impressively wide range of collectibles that shape the way you play. For a free version, it never feels restrictive: it's always looking for new ways to impress you, in as wide-ranging a manner as it can.

Excellent stuff, basically. Get involved.


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