The Best Free Games of the Week
Welcome to the blitmaze. It's a tetrachrome dungeon filled with noise and green—lots and lots of green—and it's joined this week by a game of light and bats and darkness, another reliably good Nifflas adventure, Planet of the Petunias and more. If that sounds like a pleasant way to spend your Saturday—spoiler: it does—stick around to sample this week's crop.
Nifflas has made his spacefaring adventure Saira available free of charge, and it's well worth a look if you're a fan of his Knytt series, or ambient exploratory platformers in general. For me, the collagey art style he employs here isn't quite as consistent as the lovely pixel art in Knytt/Knytt Stories, but there's a ton of atmosphere to the game's handful of planets, as you leap around and take holiday snaps as the behatted space photographer Saira. Expect puzzles, terminals, tricky leaps and, inevitably, quite a lot of deaths.
A GameBoy-styled first-person maze-'em-up where deciphering the environment is part of the puzzle. It's (unsurprisingly) rather difficult finding your way around, particularly when everything in your vicinity consists of shades of the colour green, and coupled with the chunky, chunky pixels this can be a tough game to parse at times. It's all for the good though, with blitmaze packing a great deal of deliciously tricksy navigation into its low res, disorientating labyrinth.
In Daniel linssen's Javel-ein, you only got one javelin, but he's a little more generous with Roguelight—though not by much. Sporting a bow and a few arrows, you have to descend a dimly lit cave while avoiding bats, mages, spikes and the like, which is a particularly hard thing to do when you can't bloody see them. Thankfully, you have fire arrows, which briefly light the surrounding area when nocked with X. The rubs are that you don't have many of these, they're your only means of attack, and that dear flame burns out after a while. Run dry and you'll have to rely on scattered torches, luck, and the hope of running into a bundle of arrows as you fumble about in the darkness. After every death, you can use any acquired gold to lightly bolster your character; after a few tragic ends, you may even be able to survive for longer than a few minutes, but it will be a long, tough journey getting there.
2x0ng (it's pronounced 'toozong', of course) is a little like Breakout, a little like peaceful puzzle game Color Zen (look it up), and a lot like the game 'ooh, that's kind of interesting', which I play every week. Toozong is kind of interesting, in a 'poking around in a procedurally generated puzzle' sort of way. Every time your bouncing ball hits a coloured block it absorbs its hue; you can then use that coloured ball to remove similarly chromed barriers and eventually move on to the next garish stage. My favourite little thing in Toozong: when fired, your ball will seek out and rebound against enemies or blocks of the same colour. The art and sounds are all a bit placeholder, sure, but they're readable, which is the most important thing.
I'm not including Flower Garden for the actual flower garden, which is admittedly fairly pleasant in a super-blurry sort of way. I'm also not including it for the soundtrack, a kinda catchy piece of pop that I think undersells the game a fair bit. No, I'm including Flower Garden because it gives you a jetpack, and it lets you fly straight up and into space. As you ascend, the music fades away, you see distant suns and planets, and you get to hang around on the moon, after you've successfully pierced its gravity well of course. Leaving the moon and falling back to Earth is almost as exhilarating, and now I want Josiah Jones to make a game that allows you to travel to distant planets in order to see what exotic flora and fauna they have to offer. If it's a game that doesn't look like a blown-up JPEG, then all the better. (Via IndieGames)