The Best Free Games of the Week
It's been a good week for free games, what with Cart Life going gratis (and, indeed, open source), and the Hero's Quest inspired Heroine's Quest – which I've written about previously – unexpectedly appearing on Steam. When you're done playing those, prepare yourself for a ghost ship, a train song, space worms, a goldfishlike, and a game that recreates a famous movie hedge maze. (BUT WHICH ONE?) Enjoy!
I'm mostly including Train Song for its fantastic intro and outro sequences, both of which use stock footage to create an evocative, nostalgic atmosphere the rest of the game can't really hope to live up to. This strictly seven-minute train ride is still worth a play though. Saunter from cabin to cabin, chat with your fellow passengers, and try to work out why you're on this strange journey to begin with – and just where you think your ultimate destination is.
Space Worms! I'm sorry, but that's a name that demands exclamation. It's also one that demands your attention, as this has been whipped up by none other than the creator of Rain World, AKA that game starring the adorable slugcat. Space Worms is a multiplayer arena shooter featuring limited bullets, debris tails and pretty pixel explosions – oh and space worms, if you hadn't already guessed.
Goldfish was created for the Seven-Day Roguelike Challenge, and it's great to see a game deviate so strongly from the typical entries, while retaining all the elements that make the RL genre so compelling. You're a wish-granting goldfish, attempting to fulfil the deepest desires of the fishermen surrounding your beautiful ascii lake. Achieving this involves diving into procedurally generated underwater caves, fighting aquatic creatures and even modding your fishy body with dropped scales, fins and the like. The robust, innovative Goldfish was developed in rot.js – a roguelike development tool – by Ondřej Žára, the creator of rot.js himself. Dive in if you like Brogue – which we do very much.
An entry in the don't-mention-the-R-word Procedural Death Jam compo, and one that couldn't be more different to Goldfish if it tried. Set on a procedurally generated ship – albeit procedurally generated from only a handful of elements – Ghost Ship has you bashing skeletons and collecting shiny treasure. It's a very basic platformer, true, but the ungainly, adorable character animation was enough to keep me interested until a stupid one-hit death sent me back to level 1. (Via IndieGames)
The wonderfully titled Stanley Kubrick's Hedge Simulator 2014 recreates the hedge maze from Kubrick's heartwarming family drama The Shining - or one version of it at least. What it lacks in deranged Nicholsons it makes up for in authenticity, wintry atmosphere, and the fact that it isn't Eyes Wide Shut. Can you succeed where Jack (thankfully) didn't, and escape this giant iconic movie maze? I couldn't, but then I've been known to get lost in my own bathroom.