The Free Webgame Round-Up
Politics, horror, rampant cloning and a living will – October is off to a very good start. So as you gather the harvest (or pop to Tesco to buy cans of frozen veg), and prepare your costume for Halloween (I'm going as Kay Burley, the fabled Sky News monster), don't forget to unwind with a webgame or two. We've collected the week's best below.
On the games-that-are-a-bit-like-Zelda scale, Legend of Pandora is peeking over the top. Don't let the weirdly Conan-esque title screen fool you, or the character portraits (ripped from RPG Maker). Despite a few concessions to the RPG genre, this is a Zelda clone through and through. Luckily, it's also a well-executed and fairly enjoyable one, even if lacks an identity of its own.
Nitrome's turn-based Roguey puzzle game put a stupid grin on my face after about three seconds. I think the trick to eliciting that hideously rictus face is to combine blown-up little pixel people with a beautiful chiptune soundtrack and at least one interesting game mechanic. The diminutively lovely Turnament twists the roguelike into a smart little puzzle game, shoving a surprisingly emotive tune over the top. Turn your attention to it forthwith.
If you missed the great Romney/Obama debate the other day, you can catch up via this strategy... er, strategery game, which recreates the event exactly as it went down, as a series of Advance Wars-style turn-based battles. It sounds like a lightweight comedy game but it really isn't; it's more like a flawless cover version of Intelligent Systems' classic strategy title, with an additional layer of political lampoonery. Dedicate a bit of time to this one, because it's well worth it.
If Lone Survivor put you in the mood for more grainily pixellated indie horror goodness, then Deep Sleep should scratch that itch. It's an adventure game that has you exploring a creepy, abandoned house that – twist! – appears to reside inside your head. Saying much more would spoil it, but special attention must be paid to the wonderful sound design, which accounts for about 90% of the atmosphere.
There's some great stuff being created for the 18th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, including the beautifully written Howling Dogs, but a particular highlight is Mark Marino's Living Will, which uses the form of an interactive will to tell a story. It's a novel approach, and one that begs multiple replays as you deal with the bequeathments from a number of a different perspectives. There's also a good Downton Abbey joke buried in there somewhere, which we don't get to say often enough.