The Best Free Games of the Week
At any one time there can be around 8,673 game jams happening concurrently. I'm starting to think there might some sort of Meta Jam going on that tasks jam-makers with making game jams on a variety of delicious jammy themes. (I'm also starting to quite fancy a jam-and-clotted-cream scone.) This week we sample the picks of the Public Domain Jam and the Space Cowboy Jam (it also sees Glitch Jam bugging onto the scene). So read on for watch_corgi, ninjas vs royals, a loose interpretation of a 19th century novella, tower defence and a bike game that goes on and on. Enjoy!
I hope Tesla Effect ushers in a new age of FMV games, or at least more games featuring grainy FMV characters. There's something gawky and adorably '90s about the whole thing – just look at this breathtaking intro to Stonekeep. If Corgi Simulator 2071 is anything to go by, indie games might be about to follow suit. You play as a kidnapped corgi, who has to manage their various energy levels while finding opportunities to hack into their captors' laptop. It's Ninten_Dogs, essentially, and that FMV makes it – that beautifully, poorly photoshopped FMV.
Super Murderworlf is an endless runner – an endless runner what runs up rather than right. You're avoiding mountains on a hover/bike in this one, an act that's predictably – oh-great-I-just-died-again – hard. Crucially for an endless scrolling game, the music is excellent, and you can restart in about a second for another humiliating death. Super Bastardmountainwolf might have been a better name, but there's much to enjoy here regardless.
The age-old battle of Ninjas vs Royals (?) takes to the skies in Offworld, an aerial combat game featuring two teams of magically floating airships. There's no multiplayer - oddly for this sort of game I think - but you can play as either team and pick from a couple of different ships and loadouts, so there's enough to keep you busy here for a little while. The controls are quite awkward, and the enemy AI might be a little too efficient, but there's joy to be wrung from dashing around Offworld's pretty floating islands, laying mines and firing rockets into its impressively sizable scraps. There's a solid foundation here for a more fully fledged airship-'em-up, providing Tengu Games are interested in making one.
A first-person tower defence game *cough* a bit like Sanctum *endcough*, but with a more basic approach to level design. In place of that game's more freeform planning and turret options is a much faster pace, combined with a bigger focus on shooting enemies yourself. MetalDiamond plans to add multiplayer and “maybe” a level editor further down the line, but there's enough meat here to keep your blasting voxels for quite some time.
Paper Jekyll was the grand winner of the Public Domain Jam, and you can see why. It's an otherwise simple platformer with a rather brilliant hook, related to the Robert Louis Stevenson novella that shares its name. When you walk right you're Dr Jekyll, esteemed scientist and friend of the police; when you move to the left you're Mr Hyde, respected or least untroubled by thieves, and capable of gobbling people up from behind. Navigating the Victoriany platform levels without being coshed by coppers or mugged by bandits requires much thought, what with transformation being cleverly tied to the movement keys. Paper Jekyll is smart, polished and gorgeous.