19. Double Action: Boogaloo
A Max Payne-a-like full of over-the-top gunplay, swan dives, and tactically activated slow-mo – somehow working in multiplayer. The key is surely the ludicrous diving system, which lets you fling yourself from sheer buildings and across granite rooftops without grief.
Download: Double Action: Boogaloo
18. The Expendabros
Licensed games are supposed to be terrible. Someone forgot to tell Broforce devs, and so we’ve ended up with this fun promo that mixes that game’s explosive 2D action with the weathered faces of action movie heroes.
Download: The Expendabros
Arcane Kids is the kind of development team with a manifesto. Sure it’s a jokey one, but “Make the games you wish to see on the Sega Dreamcast” sums them up pretty well. You could put pretty much any of their games on this list – and I’ve not been able to resist including another – but beating the likes of Bubsy 3D and Room of 1000 Snakes to the punch is their student project Zineth. It’s a free-running skating game clearly inspired by Jet Set Radio, meaning style, speed, and colours you don’t normally see in videogames. Jump, grind and wall-run your way across a vast desert landscape, conveniently rewinding time every time you die.
Download it: Zineth
16. Gravity Bone
You’ll recognise the blocky characters from Brendon Chung’s similarly excellent Thirty Flights of Loving, to which this serves as a sort of prelude. It’s a small game of espionage with exquisite graphic design and cinematic flair. Chung’s worlds are full of genuinely charming characters, despite not a single line of voiced dialogue.
Download it: Gravity Bone
15. Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden
It’s 2053, in the ruins of Neo New York. Only one man, and his B-ball, can restore a sport to its former glory – that man, obviously, is Charles Barkley. This JRPG-style sci-fi adventure takes its wonderfully silly world incredibly seriously. By the end, you’ll care about the fate of Charles, and the noble sport of B-ball, so much that you’ll await the upcoming sequel with bated breath.
Download it: BSUaJ:G
14. Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and the Terrible Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist
It’s not quite the revelation The Stanley Parable was, but William Pugh’s latest game is a hilarious and punchy short story that’s over well before you could get bored. There are far too few modern comedy games, and even fewer that are actually, properly funny.
Download it: Dr. Langeskov
This fan effort makes Civilization even Civier—placing a mighty 541 different nations at your disposal. Couple that number with the enormously high player count (126), and you surely have the biggest Civ that’s ever existed. Not that quantity is the most important facet of a 4X, but it’s the perfect arena for experimentation on a massive scale.
Download it: FreeCiv
12. Tribes: Vengeance
Boasting Tribes’ first proper singleplayer campaign—a surprisingly detailed story—Irrational’s take on the series didn’t please everyone. Vengeance has its fans, however, not least thanks to the addition of a grappling hook. Grappling hooks make everything better, right?
Download it: Tribes: Vengeance
11. VVVVVV: Make and Play Edition
You’ll need to fork out for the main campaign, but this nets you the gravity-based platformer’s level editor and a lot of player-made stages, some of which compare favourably to the main event.
Download it: VVVVV: MaPE
10. Frog Fractions
At first glance a simple edutainment game, this soon blossoms into a witty and ridiculously expansive blend of genres. If the Kickstarted Frog Fractions 2 ever arrives, it has big flippers to fill.
Play it: Frog Fractions