Free games of the week

Skipping Stones To Lonely Homes by Alan Hazelden

Skipping Stones

I wanted to include this last week, but because I'm an idiot—and because the very first screen of Alan Hazelden's latest Puzzlescript game had me stumped—it's taken me this long to get past the first island. I'm now on island 3, and it's not letting up.

Skipping Stones is a game about punting rocks across the water, rocks that will disturb lily pads you can use to cross from island to island. Lily pads follow water currents. Stones do not. There's your basis for a beautifully pure puzzler that will really get under your skin.

Meeuw by Tom van den Boogaart

Meeuw

Tom's follow-up to the wonderful Red Amazon is the silly, fun Meeuw, a game about a psychotic seagull. Like all seagulls, the one you play as in Meeuw can breath fire, and you'll use it here to immolate pedestrians, to ruin the scenery, and to blow up cars. This is what happens when you give seagulls chips, people.

Laraan by Flynn's Arcade

Laraan

I'm not entirely sure that developer Flynn's Arcade is being serious when it describes Laraan as a game that "bridges the gap between Cinema and Action/Adventure games with a completely old style of fluid, cinematic storytelling." That's because it's a nice-looking walking simulator with painfully slow movement and a lovely big jump button, although it is a particularly good one of those. The colour palette evokes the immortal Moebius, which is the best thing a colour palette can do. I don't like the feeling of movement much, but Laraan offers an interesting place to explore.

Death of a Lich by Daniel Linssen

Death of a Lich

Linssen's latest puts you in a seemingly procedurally generated tower that sometimes generates in a way that doesn't let you proceed. Still, it's worth a restart when that happens, as this one of the more original You Are The Monster games. As the monster, you'll drop between platforms in a turn-based stylee, trying to fight or avoid archers and other soldiers even as you hunger after their yummy, yummy souls. You'll need to master your timing to dodge arrows, and gauge your jumps so that you don't fall too far and injure your lichy self.

Excavation! by Scriptwelder

Excavate

The talented Scriptwelder leaves room escape behind for the involved Excavation!, a game about conducting an archaeological dig. After assembling a crew with hopefully varying skill sets, and after buying a few tools, you'll survey, test, and dig up clumps up of earth, in your search for rare finds from long ago.

At a basic level this is Minesweeper, with each of those little numbers above indicating where mines (or, in this case, treasure) might be buried. That concept's embellished with the need to preserve priceless artefacts, and to manage your funds and stamina. You only have so many days on this dig site, so you'd better make them count. This is a smart and accomplished Minesweeper re-imagining.