This week, we are spacemen. But we are also stuck on a raft in the middle of the ocean, we are locked in a couple of rooms with no possible hope of escape, and finally, we are brought face-to-face with our lifelong nemesis: the stair. Enjoy!
Spaceman 8 by Tic Tac Toad
We don't talk about what happened to the other seven, of course, but as Spaceman 8 you'll hover around a deep space mining colony, using your jetpack and tether to gather up gems. The pixel art is lovely in this arcade-ish sidescroller, and the controls and physics are satisfyingly challenging to master. At the end of each in-game day you can use your acquired wealth to improve your character, and last longer in your dangerous career as a floaty miner. (Via Warp Door)
Raft by Raft Developer
Stuck on a, you guessed it, Raft in the middle of the ocean, your only options are to pray for rescue, or to use your handy grappling hook to drag the detritus found floating about on the sea's surface. There's a lot of it, thankfully, and while you wait for the circling sharks to turn you into the protagonist of Jaws V, it's best to use that debris to expand your raft, to craft materials and tools—all with the ultimate aim of filling your belly and maintaining your stamina levels, so that you can last until that help (hopefully) arrives.
There's a lot to this in-development project—more than you might first think—and even apart from that, it's refreshing to find a survival game with that rarest of qualities: a new idea.
Stair Quest: Special Edition by No More For Today Productions
You should be able to find my original appraisal of Stair Quest further back in Free Games' history, but the short version is that this is a wonderfully authentic old-fashioned adventure game, styled after the murderous Sierra titles of yore. Your job is to walk up a series of stairs, and yes that sounds easy but it's really, really not at all. One slip and you'll have to restart the entire game again—that is, unless you remembered to save the game. Which I didn't. Both times I played this. Along the way, you can use the parser system to interact with the world, and you should, because parser systems are bloody lovely, and alarmingly rare.
This Special Edition of Stair Quest adds a new playable character, Ingrid, along with a few other surprises and two more levels of deadly, deadly steps.
The Trans-Interdimensional Laboursaving Transportation Service by Alexander Birke
A short, fun, and funny game that's only nominally interactive, but that pays off that interaction with a magnificently staged ending sequence. You're in some kind of teleporter booth, and as the voiceover helpfully explains, that booth will take you anywhere in the universe you'd like to go. To begin your journey, you have only to enter the required coordinates, coordinates that you of course know like the back of your hand.
The One Room Experiment by Siegfried Croes
Crikey, what a fantastic idea, and beautifully executed too. Another entry for Ludum Dare 37 (theme: 'one room'), the aptly named One Room Experiment is a top-down Zelda-ish adventure set (in a manner of speaking) inside a single room. There's a trick here, of course, and that trick is a robotic hand using long mechanical tweezers to move your character to freshly generated entrance points, and to remove enemies from the screen, while flipping the dungeon tiles beneath you, in order to represent the room you have just entered.
I particularly like how, when you get hurt, the arm reaches out to the HUD, plucks one of your heart pieces, and pulls it away from the display and out of sight. Excellent stuff.