The Best Free Games of the Week
In an unusual twist, this week's Best Games don't appear to be have been created with a game jam in mind – but that doesn't mean I don't have some hot, sticky, viscous game jam news to relay: Game Jolt now allows users to set up their own game jams using a seemingly easy-to-use set of tools. Before the Jampocalypse begins in earnest, let's stop to appreciate a handful of games operating under their own specific themes, each with something bold and new to impart. Read on for a splash of colour, a sweary Scotsman, a modern-day maze, an interactive short story and touchy-feely bomb-defusal. Enjoy!
I've never been to an art exhibit quite like the striking Gallergy, which transports players to a kaleidoscopic hunting ground the moment they come into contact with one of its many paintings. Here you'll find yourself chased by strange clattering constructs, before eventually being thrown back to the starting room upon your death. A gorgeous, unfolding space filled with colourful architecture and nominal stealth.
I've played a lot of RPG Maker games in my time, including quite a few that try to parody traditional JRPGs to some extent. The sweary, insightful Like Clockwork is one of the few to make this work, quickly ditching a cliched, Tales-style JRPG for one where a foul-mouthed Scot follows you around, pausing every so often to point out some terrible trope or to have a pop at the game's creator. Importantly, Like Clockwork doesn't make you suffer through minutes of grindy crap just to get to the (genuinely funny) jokes – every time Tam McGleish mocks something, that element is generally then discarded in favour of something a bit less old-fashioned. (Via IndieGames)
Within takes place within a starkly monochrome maze that shifts and warps about to keep you on your toes. It's not quite Antichamber, but there's a lot to be said for the act of unravelling a geometrically tricksy place without unsightly puzzles intruding on your navigation time. Within isn't a particularly huge game, but it lasts long enough to explore its untrustworthy architecture in some depth, pulling the rug from under your feet when you least expect it.
Jack King-Spooner's latest is an engaging short story of sorts, and one that should just be interactive enough to keep not-a-game moaners from reaching for their bloody pitchforks. As ever, his collagey art style and provocative imagery is unmistakeable, and a breath of fresh air after a week of looking at so many polygons and so much crispy pixel art. The story is a cyberpunky tale of identity, betrayal, and guiding a lumpy clay guy around.
Radical Squad was cancelled by its creator Jonny Pickton, according to the Game Jolt page, but it's complete enough to offer a few minutes of tense bomb-defusing action. The intended-for-touch-screens controls take a little getting used to, but I enjoyed its mixture of point-and-click adventuring and contraption-manipulation against the clock. I can forsee a whole range of other environments to turn screws and clip wires in if Pickton decides to revisit this idea further down the line.