The Best Free Games of the Week
Death. Glitches. Mouse-people with cyber-legs. Dog-people enjoying picnics. It's fair to say this might be the strangest free games roundup yet. If you like jumping, noiring, repeatedly dying or occasionally transforming into a spaceship, you're going to want to read on.
A dojo seems like an eminently sensible place for fighting to break out, although it must be hell getting all that blood out of those nice wooden floors. Dojo of Death, then. It's a one-button, entirely mouse-driven little timewaster about a guy fond of chopping people to bits. Not a butcher, no, but a hyper-quick ninja beset from all sides by enemies. Click in the direction you happen to be pointing at to dart forward with your sword drawn and slash any baddie ninjas into ninja ham. Occasionally baddie bow-wielding ninjas emerge from the adjoining room, who can turn you into fine paste from far away. Dojo of Death is endless, and tough, and like many of the best endless-tough games, your first instinct on death will be to retry. And retry. And retry again. It's unlikely you'll remember it a week from now, but at least it kept you from finishing that super-important spreadsheet – and that's really all you could ever want from a browser game.
Figmik is a game about collecting Figmiggs. Figgmigs are...er...the things you need to collect. Really, however, Figmik is a stark arcade game about shooting dog-things and spoiling picnics, like that time Yogi Bear took a job at his local pound. When you get bored of gunning down animals you can press spacebar to transform into a ship, which lets you traverse the game world at high speed. I typically endeavour to understand the games I choose to feature in this roundup – in the case of fast-paced twin-stick shooter Figmik, I think the deck was stacked against me from the start.
A tense minimalist Metroidvania where every platform seems to be just within reach. The atmospheric environment and unusual jumping physics remind me of the Knytt games, though thankfully those had a faster running speed. In other ways this feels a bit like an old C64 game, all tricky jumps and remixed folk tunes and giant unbeatable enemies for you to avoid. I've played better Metroidvanias, and I've definitely played worse, but Into the Underdusk is one of the more focused and mechanically tight I've come across. (Via Free Indie Games)
The Shai Job needed another pass before release. The spelling's all over the place and some of the writing is a little funky, but I like the presentation of this visual novel/aiming at gangsters/sci-fi noir game. You're a cat-person, and you're in love with a mouse-person with a cyber-leg. It's fair to say that Shai's novel animal-noir world is against you. It would be great to see a fleshed-out, better-edited follow-up, as there's the promise of something pretty good buried here.
Another platformer? Stick with me. While Underbyte initially seems like another Mario ripoff, things take a surprising turn after you fail your first jump. The game glitches out and then those glitches become the game, but not before a brief and wonderful encounter with an NPC. You'll get a gun, which you'll use to shoot endless clones and explode blocks in showers of glorious pixel confetti. You're also given – and this might be the first one of these in history – a quintuple jump, which will help you land on those hard-to-reach glitched-out platforms. (Via Indie Statik)