This week's best free PC games
It would of course be a little cheeky to include my own short room-escape game, Masked, in a list about the week's best free PC games. So I won't. Instead, I'll hope you click on that link, and spend the space talking about quests for coffee, strange rhythm-action ideas, a game that's a bit like Uplink only different, and the chance to clean up a puddle of pee! Always fun. Read on for this week's picks.
Cherry's Quest for Coffee
Maddoxic. Download it from the developer's website.
I think we can all empathise with the situation our poor protagonist faces in Cherry's Quest for Coffee, a short but sweet Adventure Game Studio effort. The world is in the midst of a battle against a coffee crisis - the crisis being that there's none left - but poor Cherry simply can't get through her day without it. Never mind the fact that she's perfectly able to go through all sorts of escapades to get hold of some.
Straight-forward in both its presentation and its difficulty, Cherry's Quest for Coffee nevertheless uses this style to its advantage, soundtracked by midi elevator music and constructed of colourful pixel art. Its low level of entry also means you can sit back and enjoy the silliness of the storytelling for the most part, instead of getting bogged down with obtuse puzzles.
Agent 1729. Grab it from GameJolt.
A curious take on the rhythm-action genre, Cadance tasks you with destroying alien ships as they fly towards you from four different angles. To do so, you've to point your laser in the right direction and fire it - but, of course, there's a musical twist.
Every time you press a button, it must be in time with the music. If you drop a beat, the game instead plays a horrible sound, and disobeys your command.
To make things even more complicated, all the controls are mapped to number keys 1 to 5. Pressing each number moves your laser to the appropriate position, and pressing it again fires the laser. It's surprising how much of a difference is made by mapping your buttons in this sort of sequential fashion. We're thoroughly trained, it seems, to think of our keyboard controls in terms of physical space.
Orann. Download it from IndieDB.
A terminal-based indie hacking game, Hacknet currently sits in alpha status, but that doesn't mean it's insubstantial. Already there's both a singleplayer and a multiplayer component, and the bones of something quite lovely are clear to see.
It's a little like a geekier version of Uplink - hacking with more perceived depth and complexity, but perhaps less of the swish and sleek style for which Introversion became known. The singleplayer game tells the story of a recently deceased hacker and an emerging conspiracy surrounding his death, while multiplayer pits you against another hacker as you try to thwart their efforts.
It seems there are still a few holes and glitches to be found, but for an alpha that's hardly surprising. Whether this will be developed into a fuller version of Hacknet, or a more expansive but different game, is something the dev's still deciding on - but what's here is already worth a look.
Ed Watts: Bar Runner
Gameboy. Grab it from the AGS site.
Lastly this week there's another Adventure Game Studio effort. This short game puts you in the increasingly filthy shoes of a man applying for a job in a pub. For someone whose first tasks are to collect glasses and excise a puddle of urine from the toilet floor, the eponymous Ed Watts looks unfeasibly snug (just look at that stance and that face!).
The game's cute, though, with pleasant chiptune music and a simple but effective graphical style that sits nicely with the game's sense of humour. Its characters are likeable, the puzzles smart. A fun little diversion.