This week's best free PC games
Games about fishing aren't generally the most exciting ones around, nor are they the most artistic, but exploratory underwater shooter Fisher-Diver has an exceedingly good go at being both. If it's still a little too calm for your liking, though, assaults on the senses such as one-button platformer Braindead and the complete mind-splurge that is Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf should keep you entertained. Or how about playing as a scientist working through a zombie apocalypse? You can do that in Lab of the Dead. Read on for more details about this week's best PC freebies.
2DArray. Play it on Kongregate.
Telling the tale of a young fisherman setting out to build his career, Fisher-Diver is an unusual fishing game that sees you - a strange, line-drawn eyeball character - diving below the water's surface to blast various intricate sea creatures and collect their carcasses to sell back on the surface. Smashing them to smithereens won't do much good, though, as keeping their bodies relatively intact will allow you to reap more money. As you progress through the game, earning cash allows you to unlock new fishing licenses and helpful items, drawing you on a journey deeper below the surface in search of diary entries dropped into the sea by the fisherman who came before you.
It's a slow-paced game - agonisingly so at times - but the journey is an engaging one. And the story, sparse as it may be, is enough to keep things interesting as the in-game days tick by. There's a wonderful sense of exploration, complemented by music whose mood changes the deeper underwater you go. The game ends on a surprising note, too: a nice, unexpected payoff for the time it'll take you to get there.
Doomlaser. Download it from the dev's website.
In this one-button platformer, you don't control your character - the King's child who is unfortunately braindead, it's possible to surmise from the short intro sequence. Instead, pressing the Z key allows you to manipulate the environment in a variety of ways as the protagonist walks onwards of his own volition. To begin with your control is limited, with the first screen asking you simply to raise a platform. But as the game presses onwards, that button-press can control a variety of things at once, with air jets, spikes, launch pads and crushing walls all activated by the same switch.
It's also a visual treat, assuming you can handle the bright flashes and relentlessly moving blocks of colour that make up the game's look. They complement the silhouetted world and character design beautifully, rounding off a game that takes plenty of established ideas, but makes them feel unique.
Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf
Cactus/Fucking Werewolf ASSO. Download it from the dev's blog.
This is one of the stranger games you'll play. The delightfully named Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf is a game in which you play along to a bizarre song whose lyrics appear at the bottom of the screen. But I'm struggling to describe what you actually do in it.
That's because you kind of just do as the game tells you at any given interval. To begin with, you're climbing up platforms and clouds to collect gems. If you fall off, you grow wings and fly for a while. Occasionally the game drops you into another section where you power down the screen, apparently through thin air, collecting more gems. Eventually the game tells you to "mash Z and X" as a character's clothes fall off, and then the game pretends to stop working.
Completely surreal in a manner matched by its cover art (pictured in this column's header), KDFW is also oddly, hypnotically enchanting, and worth playing to see just how nutty computer games can get.
Lab of the Dead
Evil Dog. Play it on Newgrounds.
Also available on iOS and Android, hence its awkward-to-screengrab shape, Lab of the Dead is an unusual spin on the current trend of zombie apocalypse games. Instead of fighting the hordes off with guns and big sticks, or building a good enough infrastructure to survive in your city, Lab of the Dead casts you as a scientist, holed away in an underground lab, conducting experiments to see if we can determine the exact nature of these beasts.
You'll be offering them different foods, hitting them with different instruments, shooting them in the arms/legs/face to see what just makes them angry, and what makes them go a bit dead. You can try giving them different items to observe, and you can compile it all into new research logs, eventually moving the game forward.
'Eventually' is the key word, as Lab of the Dead takes its time getting to the point. Before you get into the real meat of the game you'll spend a good ten or fifteen minutes clicking on things, combining things, and hoping something might work. But become accustomed to the slow pace, and there's an engaging, interesting game here.