Free Games

Free games for the New Year: Deity

Chris Thursten at

Deity places you in the hooves of a purple-horned demon whose realm is invaded by torch-bearing, sword-wielding fantasy types. On the surface, it’s an isometric dungeon-crawler in the vein of Diablo: but there’s no direct combat and no loot to find. Instead, this is a stealth puzzle game - the student developers at Digipen cite Batman: Arkham Asylum as one of their influences, and it shows.

It’s entirely mouse controlled, with left click to move and right click to teleport between locations in a cone of purple mist. You’re vulnerable to light, but by teleporting into wall-mounted braziers you can turn them to your side, gaining a little health and a place to hide in the process. Teleporting into enemies, meanwhile, causes them to explode into a shower of giblets.

Free games for the New Year: Marathon Trilogy

Chris Thursten at

Halo creators Bungie have given the official nod to Aleph One, fan-made updates and remakes of the originally Mac-only Marathon series. The project reached version 1.0 in early December, with all three games now available for free. It’s an impressive update, too: all three games include HD texture packs, network play, and work on modern operating systems.

They’re exploration-based FPS games that look a little like Doom but play rather differently. From the beginning, Bungie were more interested in narrative than combat, and it shows: weapons and enemies are fairly standard fare, but its doomed starships and alien worlds still retain a bit of their old atmosphere. There’s more writing than you’d expect, too, with world building-handled by AI-controlled computer terminals that feed out in-character plot and location info.

Free games for the New Year: Egress

Chris Thursten at

It’s hard to get into the meat of why Egress: The Test of STS-417 is special without spoiling it, but at its core this is an adventure game that not only sets a puzzle in front of you but cares how you solve it. If you’re tired of games that ignore your failures and treat the time you spend flailing for a clickable hotspot as storyless limbo, then you should absolutely put aside time for it.

Free games for the New Year: Nitronic Rush

Chris Thursten at

Christmas is behind us, but the holidays continue. For the next couple of days, we’re going to be showcasing a number of great free games that you might have missed amid the smoke and spectacle of the last couple of months. Whether you want something to play while you queue for The Old Republic or are simply looking to save a couple of pennies as we head into the new year, we’ve got you sorted.

Nitronic Rush is an arcade racing game set in a Tron-style virtual reality. You control a sportscar-shaped streak of neon as it boosts, jumps and tumbles through a twisting obstacle course. Billed as a ‘survival driving game’, the aim is to reach the finish line while racking up points and trying not to hit any of the number of obstacles in your path. Built from scratch by students at DigiPen, it's an impressive debut.

At A Distance: a free co-op game from the creator of VVVVVV

Tom Senior at

At A Distance is a co-op puzzle game from Terry Cavanagh, creator of wonderful indie platformer VVVVVV. It's designed to be played by two people on separate, nearby PCs. Each player must wander through a fuzzy environment, messing with everything they come across. Actions in one world will affect the other, and it's up to the players to figure out exactly how through experimentation and shouting. Once the relationship between worlds has been discovered, you and your partner must work together to solve the grand puzzle.

Shacknews reports that the game is now free for everyone. You can download it now from the At A Distance site, where you'll also find instructions on how to get it working. Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

Cardinal Quest is free for a day

Owen Hill at

Turn up the volume and click play. That's how all video games should sound.

Cardinal Quest - the roguelike from Ido Yehieli - is free to download today. It normally costs $4.45/£2.87. To download use the code and URL Ido tweeted earlier today. Feeling short on bandwidth or hard drive space? Try out a demo version of Cardinal Quest on Kongregate or Ido's own site.

Enjoying Cardinal Quest? Got a better-sounding trailer to share? Let's talk.

Battlefield 3 beta goes live! What you need to know

Owen Hill at

You can almost hear the CPUs creaking with delight. Battlefield 3 beta keys are getting sent out today! That means there's a chance you'll be playing Battlefield 3 this afternoon. Here's what you need to do to get involved.

Gamergate Freegames announced

Owen Hill at

As reported by RPS yesterday, and highlighted in the trailer, Gamersgate are launching an Ads-driven gaming service that'll let you download and play games free of charge. The only catch is that you're forced to watch/ignore an advert each time you load one up.

20 free PC games you must play

Lewis Denby at

Every month, we present you with a roundup of the best free PC games that have been recently released. What we haven’t done before is sit down and think about all the best free PC games knocking around the internet at the moment, eventually formatting them into a big old list feature. We think it’s about time we sorted that out.

The 100 game giveaway! (US only)

Logan Decker at

Observe, if you will, our Facebook page. As of this writing, we count 92,271 intrepid souls among our fans--a number that grows, inexorably, with every passing day. Our forces grow stronger even as I write this, and when we top 100,000 fans, our army shall be unstoppable.

In order to hasten the advancement of our forces and to reward the courageous and forward-thinking fans who have made us the number one source of news in the whole world devoted exclusively to the great wonder that is PC gaming, I, Logan Decker, decree that we shall give away 100 games this week. That’s 20 per day, in a different genre each day, every day of the week through Friday.

The top five RPG Maker games

Chris Thursten at

On the great map of PC gaming, the RPG Maker Network lies somewhere south of indie and west of modding. An often-overlooked community with strong ties to the fractious independent nations of fandom, the network is known for its abundant remakes and demakes of classic console JRPGs. More recently, though, a series of avant-garde releases - the harrowing (and very adult) Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer, the legitimate surrealism of Space Funeral – have drawn attention to RPG Maker as something more, perhaps, than just a repository for pet projects and Deep Internet stickiness. Here are games that make a strong case for RPG Maker as a vibrant – if not commercially viable – platform for indie development, that treat the oft-lamented JRPG formula as a springboard for some pretty exciting and involved thinking about games.