Free games of the week

Not Quite a Sunset: a hypertext opera by Kyle Rowan 

Interactive fiction festival Spring Thing wrapped up recently, and if you head to the website you'll find quite a few traditional IF adventures, along with some more experimental or unfinished games in the 'Back Garden' section. You should obviously play anything written by Chandler Groover (left/right), but be sure to give Not Quite a Sunset a go as well. It's a well-written and atmospheric sci-fi adventure, and that atmosphere is helped enormously by the brilliantly moody jazz soundtrack, which plays in the background as you click your way around. If you run out of options, it's likely because the next bit of text hasn't finished loading yet—it can often take an alarmingly long time for this to happen.

Chill and Chart by Matthew Newcombe, Danette Beatty, Alejandro Cámara

Slow Jam gave developers a couple of weeks (or a couple of days, if you attended the jam in person) in which to make something with a vague 'slow' theme, and some lovely, unhurried games were the result. Chill and Chart is a game about cartography: while exploring a peaceful little desert island, you can hit the map button to bring up a blank canvas, and use the supplied coloured pencils to create a sketchy map of the location. I can only just about deal with the map-making in Etrian Odyssey, so this game is not for me, but if you want to spend some time on a nice island trying to create a map from memory, well, here's a game that will let you do just that. (Via RPS)

4Ever Transit Authority by turnfollow

Another Slow Jam title, 4Ever Transit Authority is a wee bit larger in scope, comprising a procedurally generated train network that you can ride for as long as you want, staring out the window at the beautiful low-poly city, or switching trains to see a different urban setting, under a wildly different hue. In the rare event that they're running on time, travelling by train can be a real pleasure of modern life, and 4Ever captures some of what makes it so special—while removing the screaming children or drunken idiots that so often sully the experience.

I'm Still Here by Cozy Game Pals

I wish this lasted longer, but that's only because I was having such an excellent time with Cozy Game Pals' funny and inventive spectral adventure. After moving into a house that happens to be inhabited by a spooky ghost, you do what any reasonable person would do in this situation: you turn to the internet for help. This is game in which you largely interact by visiting the ever-dependable/ever-hilarious Yahoo! Answers (sorry, Wahoo! Answers) whose community is as knowledgeable about ghosts, as it is about all other facets of the human experience.

They Look Strange And Have To Die by Rat King

Rat King have made some of my favourite jam games over the years, and here's another feather to add to its probably metaphorical cap. A 7-Day Roguelike entry, They Look Strange And Have To Die is a traditional turn-based roguelike, with the not-inconsiderable twist that it's an FPS. The team at Rat King have done an excellent job translating turn-based mechanics into first-person here, requiring you to hold the right mouse button to look around and aim at enemies with your guns, leaving the mouse free at all other times for menu business. It's not the first game with this control scheme, of course (I seem to recall Arx Fatalis doing something similar), but it works exceptionally well here, in this big and engaging sci-fi roguelike set on an alien planet.

1001 Rogues by Ambroise Garel

From one great roguelike to another. 1001 Rogues will be different depending on which day you play it, keeping the underlying procedural dungeon-delving but shifting around the setting, enemies, items and so on every 24 hours. It's a job that's only half done by the game, with your imagination filling in any gaps left by the game's minimal tileset. I'm not sure how many subtly altered, browser-based roguelikes are contained herein (perhaps 1001), but it's worth checking back every day or so to see how many different adventures Ambroise Garel has conjured up. (Via Warp Door)