The Free Webgame Round-Up
Ludum Dare 26 continues to deliver on its minimalism theme. This week's (second) roundup features an innovative shmup, a non-minimalist minimalist adventure game, and one of the most maximalist games I've played in a while: the imagination-fuelled madness of Dream Island. There's also a Hotline Miami-esque action game set in a cafe – you'll thank me a latte for that one. Latte. You know, like the coffe-*GUNSHOT*.
Finally, a rhythm game I can get behind. Rather than dancing or plucking an instrument to a beat, in Atomic Gringo you're punching and kicking people instead. As the jive-phobic mayor in Footloose would surely agree, that's a much more wholesome activity. Atomic Gringo doesn't so much delicately avoid cultural stereotypes as relish them wholeheartedly, and the result is an infectiously fun arcade game that very quickly escalates in difficulty.
Regardless of how innovative they are, shmups usually settle into one of two camps: vertically or horizontally scrolling (no one ever tries diagonally, for some reason). Connor Ullman's Obsolescence – Ullmann: thanks for making me type that – is sort of both, and neither at the same time. The rotatey shooter isn't perfect (playing it makes me feel a bit sick), but on a basic level the game does some interesting things with its presentation. The first is that, yes, you're revolving on a big wheel thing; the second is that your health bar is subtly etched on said wheel thing, the outer ring contracting as you get hit, before eventually robbing you of a life. I would love to see Ullmann build on this sketch – I feel like there's the germ of something great here. (Via Indie Statik)
Sometimes games are silly, joyful, ridiculous things. Dream Island falls firmly into that category. You're a...thing on a desert island populated by ghetto blaster-carrying dinosaurs, flying businessmen, a giant robot, and other creatures that talk to you in almost incomprehensible broken English. They ask you to find stuff for them – a jaw, a wig etc – and then you hunt it down. You know, if you can stop admiring the badass T-Rex in his awesome eighties shades. Dream Island is a four-year-old's toy play session transformed into a game – can more things be like this from now on? (Via IndieGames)
Coffee Mafia is Hotline Miami by way of Starbucks and Caffe Nero (other brands of coffee shop are available). Each level takes the form of a particularly hostile cafe, in which armed thugs will gun you down if you don't shoot them in the jugular first. I don't know why this brutal action game has chosen coffee as its theme – perhaps the Costa brothers murdered your entire family or something – but I do love how most stages come with a handful of beret-wearing idiots milling about pretentiously in the background. No, it's not as slick or as brutally efficient as Hotline Miami, but Coffee Mafia is close enough for a free game on a Friday afternoon. (Via Free Indie Games)
This might not be a minimalist game, but it is a surprisingly effective adventure platformer that takes place (largely) in a minimalist world. I won't spoil it, but I will stop you getting stuck after about 60 seconds, like I did: after talking to the white square, you can press 1 to open the world map. (Via IndieGames)