Free Games

PUNKSNOTDEAD: free low-fi brawler that doubles as a rude wake-up call

Phil Savage at

I don't like mornings. Being even semi-conscious through them requires a finely balanced system of alarm clocks, snooze buttons and caffeine. Now, thanks to free indie game PUNKSNOTDEAD, I've a new wake-up call to add to the list. It's loud, brash, obscene and very pink. It's a game about punching things that is, appropriately enough, like a punch in the face for your senses.

Simian.interface: let this free, quick-fire puzzler give your grey matter a Tuesday massage

Tom Senior at

A tweak of the mouse is all it takes to resolve Simian.interface's vivid collages into sweet, straight-lined order. Each screen presents you with a scattering of geometric shards that shift according to cursor movement along the x and y axis. You start by resolving cross-eyed double images into a single bright whole, but as the parameters tied to motion on the x and y axis change your mouse twitches can shift the scene's colour palette or balloon shapes to to different sizes.

The correct arrangement changes from level to level. Sometimes you'll be shuffling Tetris silhouettes into into boxy outlines, sometimes you'll have to overlap red, green and blue lenses to form a white shape that completes the symmetry of the scene. Figuring out what the game wants is half of the fun. You get a moment of exploration, a moment of experimentation, and then the sudden satisfaction of wrestling order from chaos. It's a straightforward idea, elegantly rendered. Also, it has a subliminal cat! Did I mention that before? No. Subliminal cat.

Hawken open beta to launch later today (update: it launched)

Tyler Wilde at

Update: The open beta is live. Fire at will.

Free-to-play mech shooter Hawken will enter open beta later today, once the developer is done "updating and double-checking" existing accounts. We're told to hang in there until it's ready. In the meantime, feel free to bombard the official site—new servers apparently had to be added to keep up with demand, and we bet web engineers really appreciate it when we encourage everyone to jam the F5 key.

Gentrieve 2: a Metroid Prime-inspired FPS with procedurally generated worlds, puzzles and foes

Tom Sykes at

You might know developer phr00t for his science-fiction Minecraft-a-like 3079 but, as the saying goes, why stop at just one ambitious procedurally generated genre mash-up when you can have two on the go at the same time?

The Free Webgame Round-Up

Tom Sykes at

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Free Webgame Round-Up, a regular compilation of all the weird and sometimes wonderful titles playable in your browser of choice. No installation necessary! (Well, unless you count plugins.) This week we have been mostly hunting, hurting and hiding from things, not necessarily in that order.

Weekend Game Deals - Stock up on guns and spells, and play Modern Warfare 3 for free

PC Gamer at

EverQuest free-to-play is doing well

Chris Thursten at

The original EverQuest went free-to-play a little over a month ago, and, if Sony Online Entertainment's latest stats are anything to go by, it's doing rather well.

Unique log-ins have increased by 150%, there's been a 125% boost to item sales, and the amount of users online at a given point has increased by 40%. Perhaps most impressively, EverQuest registrations have increased by 350%.

The thirteen year old MMO established many of the design principles that informed most of the online RPGs that followed it, particuarly World of Warcraft. Its direct sequel is also doing well - yesterday, EverQuest 2 was updated with two new zones and over 100 new quests.

Why I Love: drinking potions and befriending monkeys in free roguelike Brogue

Graham Smith at

You hear combat in the distance.
You feel a sense of loss.
You hear something die in combat.

Brogue is a roguelike, like Rogue. There are hundreds of these games now, covering both extremes of accessibility. Brogue sits nicely in the middle. If you've played Dungeons of Dredmor and The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky, and now you want to start swimming to the deeper end of the pool, Brogue is your waterwings.

Complexity: It has the ASCII ungraphics, the thrill of pockets filled by unknown potions and scrolls, the permadeath difficulty. Simplicty: It's fully mouse-controlled, readable at a glance, and has an elegant skill system. It also has monkeys that will steal your shit and break your heart.

Rift is free for past subscribers this week, go play it!

Josh Augustine at

As a part of Rift's anniversary celebrations, Trion Worlds is re-activating the accounts of all past subscribers today. If you've ever subscribed to this fantasy MMO that's fueled by dynamic content, you can play all of your characters for free until March 14—no restrictions, no questions asked.

Download the game client, and be sure to check out the Carnival of the Ascended—the once-a-year in-game event stuffed with silly minigames and exclusive rewards. For those of you that have never played Rift, you can still take advantage of their Rift Lite program that allows you to play forever up to level 20.

Oh, and if you feel like making a big commitment, find someone special and get married.

Thirty Flights of Loving tells a better story in 13 minutes than most games do in 13 hours

Graham Smith at

When indie game designer Brendon Chung isn't making games like Flotilla and Atom Zombie Smasher, he's producing entries in his first-person Citizen Abel series. The last was Gravity Bone, a stylish short story about a spy. It's free, and you should probably play it.

The next game in the series is Thirty Flights of Loving, and you should definitely play it. It's another first-person short story, requires no previous knowledge of the series, and it's about a heist. The trailer is above. Without spoiling any of the story, I'm going to convince you why you should pay money for something you'll finish playing in less time than it took me to write this article.

Free games for the New Year: Yeti

Chris Thursten at

As much a comedy sketch as an adventure game, Yeti casts you as the director of a nature documentary in the Himalayas. You’re in pursuit of the mythical creature itself, a beast of the wilds whose hobbies include brandy and dance music. The game’s humour is grounded in the Yeti’s increasingly improbable cosmopolitan lifestyle, the places he finds himself, and the things the film crew will do to facilitate him.

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.