The Best Free Games of the Week
Celebrate the weekend by playing a game that will remind you of the horrors of work, a game about collecting newspapers, a game about being a space pirate, and a game about deleting cybercards. If none of those tickle your fancy, how about a nice game of colouring-in? A nice game of colouring-in with deadly consequences - oh and a bit where you get to rummage around in a toilet. Bon appetit!
As much as I love words – excepting the words 'addicting', 'welp' and 'webinar' – I almost love seeing words being dicked around with in Twine more. The Fear of Twine exhibition – an online gallery of interactive fiction, running until April 18th – has some wonderful more traditional IF, including Jonas Kyratzes' sumptuous The Matter of the Great Red Dragon, but it's the experimental, multimedia flyglitch thing Drosophilia that leapt out at me. It's a game about the stultifying horror of the modern workplace, where your input doesn't so much advance the story as pull just a couple of scenes apart at the seams. The result is a glitchy, paranoid internet artefact and one of the best uses of Twine I've seen yet.
I wish this short, atmospheric collecting-stuff game delivered on its suggestion of horror, but if you can forgive an ending that isn't really an ending, you'll find three of my favourite things: gorgeous first-person pixel art, thoughtful sound design, and overbearing screen borders, the latter of which always tricks my brain into thinking I'm playing some forgotten first-person RPG from the mid-nineties. The often-jokey collectible newspapers and notes might undercut the atmosphere, but I forgot all about that when I noticed that toggling your flashlight in the game's sole tunnel produces a different, appropriately echoey sound. Those of you that aren't sound design and/or chunky-pixel-art nerds may enjoy A Night in the Woods less. (Via IndieGames)
Jake Clover is responsible for many of the highlights of this column, most recently with his endless desert wasteland scroller Tandoor. Space Pirate Dernshous is considerably more ambitious, and gamey: a similarly endless (as far as I can tell) universe of space stations, ships and frankly bloody gorgeous blinking docking lanes. Clover doesn't seem sure of where the unfinished game is heading at the moment – he dumped it on Twitter with the words “download my space pirate game. I'm not sure how to continue it atm but I like what it is” - but he's nailed the feel and look of controlling a tiny space pirate ship. (I particularly like the speed lines that appear when you activate warp.) Things to do in Dernshous before you're dead: dock and shop at space stations; attack stations and ships with rockets; board conquered ships to raid them, a little like the piracy-in-a-can ship-plundering mechanic seen in Assassin's Creed 4.
The nightmare isn't over yet (man, I should really be writing taglines), and thank heavens for that, because there's always room in my life for another of Desert Fox's adventure/horror/click-on-stuff-and-make-gross-things-happen games. This latest is set in, well, a hospital, and revolves around colours. “How will I make brown?” is a question you'll regret asking yourself.
I haven't had time to go through the 58 entries in the Cassette 50 sorta-game-jam, so I hope you'll forgive me for focusing on one of the more recognisable names involved, while apologising with a link to the main compo page. Cybergallop is Michael Brough's take on Netrunner, demaking the card game into a real-time arcade game with added enemythings. I like it for two reasons. One, it's easier to comprehend/play than some of Brough's games; and Two, when you match your little shipthing with a blockthing of the same colour, an adorable sound effect saying “green” or “blue” or “red” plays. (Via Free Indie Games)