This week's free games picks take you to the Mountains of Madness, deepest space, the rugged Old West, and down, down, down into an ancient temple. If your canteen is full, your quiver is stuffed with arrows, and your knapsack is fit to bursting with essential Curly Wurlys and Snickers bars, you may join me after the break.
Thanks largely to Kickstarter's ability to capitalise on nostalgic desire, space combat sims are in a much healthier place than they were. From Star Citizen to Elite, the days of not pretending to be in space are nearly at an end. But if your desire for a successor to Wing Commander or X-Wing extends to aesthetics, as well as genre, then maybe you'll be interested in Wings of Saint Nazaire—a deliberately retro-styled shooter that's currently in open alpha.
In honour of Glitch Jam, I've clipped through my floor and I'm currently hurtling into the void beneath the world. Luckily I thought to bring along my laptop for the journey, so I'm able to bring you a few highlights of the jam, mid-hurtle, including super-purple glitch tourism, buggy medieval dungeoneering, and some other stuff that isn't quite so messed up. Now that I've typed the word 'glitch' so much it's beginning to disassociate in my memory, let us begin.
Next on the ever-moving treadmill of game jams (gam-jams?), it's Space Cowboy Jam. This one, seemingly, merges indie games, Cowboy Bebop and Firefly into a moodscape of fast-fingered, fancy talking, bounty hunting action. You can see the full list of games at the jam's itch.io page, but, before properly delving into the list, let's highlight one in particular.
E3 starts today. Or maybe it's Pre-E3, or Shadow E3... Something is starting today, and, as a result of it, we'll hopefully be swept away by new announcements and exciting fresh looks at upcoming games. We're hours away from that though, so we might as well start with this: Cliffhorse. What is Cliffhorse? For one thing, it's Notch's latest game. Beyond that, I'm still not really sure.
Gunpoint creator and PC Gamer alumnus Tom Francis has made a new game. It's called Floating Point, and its about using wire to swing across randomly generated floating platforms. Tom is a man that likes grappling hooks, and so it seems that, with this game, he's finally making up for a major Gunpoint bug that caused it to not have any of them. The game will release, for free, on Steam
later today RIGHT NOW!
A teensy shipwreck RPG, foxes on hoverbikes, the tale of Cyrano and ginormous honker – all that and slightly more awaits you in our regular free games roundup, which this week has been cobbled together out of various public domain words such as “flipbook” and “groin”. I've assembled these words in a (hopefully) pleasing order below, so hop aboard your flying cycle and join me, foxlike after the break.
Here's something that nearly slipped unnoticed from our news noose. Fistful of Frags, the Wild West Source engine mod first released in 2007, recently relaunched as a free standalone game. It was hardly a trial to play before—thanks to the free-to-play Team Fortress 2 providing the SDK base required to get it working. Now it's even easier: just head to its Steam page to download the back-to-basics deathmatch shooter.
More cool games have shaken loose from the Ludum Dare tree. The Sun and the Moon is a free (obviously) puzzle platformer in which the puzzles are in the platforms. You play a small, er, dot thing, that can dive beneath the surface of the floating world's platforms. Do so, and your momentum reverses, causing you to 'fall' upwards.
More from the mammoth stockpile of Ludum Dare 29 entries: Vertico, created by Sebastian Janisz, is an isometric "three degrees of freedom" shooter, in which you dive to explore a vertically stacked coral reef. Along the way you'll meet a selection of ocean critters, and, like any good marine biologist, will shoot them to death. Er, it's for the best—a sinister obelisk is making them angry.
Ludum Dare 29, the merely days-long game development competition, took place this past weekend. In addition to the usual screenshots, panic, and lack of sleep on display in developer Twitter feeds, this weekend’s Ludum Dare hit a record: 2,497 games were submitted to the competition, an all-time high. The theme for this weekend was “Beneath the Surface,” so most of the games involve mining, digging, or swimming in one way or another. Phil took a look at Beneath The City, but that's just one of the free games to come out of the weekend.
EA doesn't want your money anymore. Well, it does, but mostly for its newer and shinier selections. Starting today, the publisher will choose one older game from its library and offer it On the House, a new Origin category for games available free of charge. First up: Visceral's disturb-tastic Dead Space.
Typing is dangerous job. All around the world, powerful meaty fingers are endlessly striking against flimsy, plastic keys. It's an activity with a high-potential for tragedy, as revealed through the new, free episodic adventure, Icarus Proudbottom's World of Typing Weekly.
The game is an episodic follow-up to the excellent typing comedy Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing. In this week's pilot episode, you uncover the beginnings of a dastardly murder, following Icarus and his owlkin Jerry in a recreation of the moments before The Incident.
That headline is misleading, of course. All cats are jerks. Even that one you really like. Especially that one you really like. Still, it's hard to blame the little fluffy bundles of destruction. I mean, if you went through your entire life with deadly weapons attached to your hands, you'd probably be a bit psychotic too. Just look at every FPS protagonist throughout the history of games.
All of which is to say that a cat is a pretty natural character to take the lead role in an FPS. Catlateral Damage was originally created as part of the 7DFPS gamejam - a competition in which entrants have a week to make a first-person shooter. The original build, while a fun game about knocking things off shelves, was relatively basic - a forgiveable consequence of its rapid development. Now, though, it's being expanded, with a new update to try, and a Steam Greenlight campaign to vote on.
Parties! Parties are great, as Andrew WK is fond of shouting at anyone who'll listen. You get free food and drink, several free awkward conversations, and a free fridge to hover uncomfortably around while the person you came with saunters off to talk to their friends. If only our parties were a bit more like the ones organised by Major Bueno, and almost entirely revolved around dancing on the spot to hilarious electronic music. This week: notorious partyhound Caesar throws a box social, hip new system the ZX Spectrum gets a roguelike, and a bunch of sailors head to sea to please their king. Glitches and weirdness also await after the break.
EverQuest Next's entire environment—hills, forests, deserts, and cities—will be made of voxels, little bits of matter which can be smashed apart by explosive spells and giant Golems. Before we start breaking things, though, SOE wants us to start building—the developer is announcing today that it will be sharing its voxel building tools in EverQuest Next Landmark, a separate free-to-play MMO going into beta before the end of the year.
Silhouette by Manikin Games is all black-and-white and French film-looking, but it’s no noir. It's a free little indie game for PC and Mac that is more likely to make you hit the person sitting next to you in belligerent yelps than scare you pantsless, and I imagine it’s perfect for couples, though that remains untested by this author (I am married to the work). This is top-down turn-based slasher-fiction, a one stop stab shop with some health syringes and a key thrown in. One person plays the ‘victim’ and one person plays the ‘killer’. The victim tries to escape the house, whilst a villain I have dubbed ‘Stabby Stabberson’ is just meant to kill the victim to death. It is very simple; one person is a defenceless, bumbling idiot, one person is... well... just a dick.
It's Friday afternoon, which - if you're reading this in the right timezones - means it's time to kick back, let your work-rate slow to a crawl and enter Weekend Chill-Out Mode. At least, that's what's happened to the PC Gamer office, where the existence of GeoGuessr has sent us into a competitive flurry of locational sluething.
If you haven't dipped your toe into the world of Tyria yet, here's your chance to try it without having to pay the usual toe-dipping toll. We've got 10,000 codes to give away that will give you access to Guild Wars 2 at no charge from Friday the 19th until Monday the 21st. Read on to find out how to claim one!