Free games of the week

This week, a legendary Japanese RPG series spins off in a new direction, a classic text adventure is re-released, we play detective, we enter a burning building, and as usual we solve a mystery. Enjoy!

The Spicy Meatball Saves The Day by Cheeseness

Icicle is an interesting, in-development thing: an engine for text adventures that allows players to look around each scene using first-person controls. The text on-screen, and the sound effects update depending on where you're looking with the mouse; it might sound weird, but in practice it's really quite immersive. The Spicy Meatball Saves The Day is a fun and lighthearted Icicle adventure where you play as a superhero, the titular Spicy Meatball. You have to enter a burning building and save everyone inside; luckily, you've brought your grappling hook.

The Shadow in the Cathedral by Textfyre

A well-regarded text adventure from 2010 by Ian Finley and Jon Ingold, who you might know from Inkle (80 Days, Sorcery). The Shadow in the Cathedral is an elegantly written, well-developed, and expansive steampunk adventure set in a vast cathedral populated by an ecclesiastical and clock-loving society. I was reminded of the Thief games and the His Dark Materials books when playing this engaging first entry in Textfyre's Klockwerk series.

Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue by Atlus

I don't believe there have been any Shin Megami Tensei games on PC, aside from that one MMO, so you might not be familiar with this long-running (and excellent) series of games generally set in a demon-infested Tokyo. In many of the games—including the Persona spin-off series—one of the main features is your ability to befriend and collect demons for your party, and it's one of those demons you play as in Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue (well, to start with; you soon find an elementally opposite friend).

Seemingly created to promote the upcoming 3DS remake of DS dungeon crawler Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Synchronicity is a surprisingly solid Metroidvania that puts you in the role of cute ice-flinging demon scamp Jack Frost. The text is in Japanese, but the game is perfectly playable without knowing a scrap of kanji—you just won't have any idea what's going on. If you're tempted, you should know that the game will only be available to download for free until December 24th.

Sol 705 by Patricio Land

Scratches and Asylum creator Agustin Cordes recommended this via Twitter, and I'm glad he did, as I would have otherwise never come across this lovely Spanish-made point-and-click (which, incidentally, is available in English). Set in the 1970s, Sol 705 has you investigating a wacky, small-town mystery, in a vibrant and colourful world that wouldn't look out of place in Saturday morning kid's cartoon.

The Great Detective Game by Kuneko

This is very, very scrappy, but I love the aesthetic of this third-person detective game, with its big-headed characters that look like they're made out of papier-mache. Using unresponsive point and click controls, you're trying to solve a series of murders in a game that—like the great Gregory Horror Show before it—takes place in real-time. So stop dawdling and get crime-solving. (Via Warp Door)