This week's Best Free Games of the Week is brought to you by detachable robot heads, two plastic dolls doing it, a procedural ninja, “these are small, but the ones out there are far away”, a unique perspective on puzzle games, and an even uniquier perspective on science fiction. It's been a particularly good week for free games, and below you'll find the pick of the harvest.
A ( Global Game Jam ) game of perspective where each stage involves replicating a specific scene. You do this by walking around a small arena and finding the exact spot where the included statues are big or small or correct enough, before highlighting them in white with a series of clicks. A simple, original idea that reminds me of this great scene from Father Ted.
You're a robot. With a detachable head. And in the ga...well, you get the idea. What distinguishes this wonderful puzzle game from the dozens of similar first-person puzzlers doing the rounds is how you use that head to advance. Left-clicking chucks it out in front of you, at which point the perspective switches to that of the robo-bonce now sitting on the floor. In a stroke of genius, you can head-hop forward with repeated left clicks, while simultaneously moving your headless robo-body with WASD. It's beautiful. It's also the closest I've ever come to being Bender from Futurama – until work on my robot exoskeleton is finished at least.
The pacing of Game Boy-styled procedurally generated-endless-running-platformer (phew) Ninja Torappu is fantastic. The goal is to drop through an endlessly down-scrolling tower, while avoiding enemies, obstacles, and the big wheel 'o spikes at the top of the screen. The general scrolling speed is fairly slow and manageable, but there are regular balls-to-the-wall moments that throw everything at you for thirty seconds or so. It's like musical chairs but with ninjas and deathtraps, and it's exactly as good as that sounds.
In which a child tries to understand sex the way a lot of us did: by shoving two naked dolls together. A really sweet idea, and the rare game where every element compliments the others perfectly, from the scratchy pixel art to whatever genius block of code causes the dolls to jiggle about in such a hilarious way.
I missed Coloratura when it was released late last year, and I'm sorry I did, as it's clearly a remarkable piece of interactive fiction. It's a sci-fi horror of sorts putting you in the role of the creature, something that's been done before in fiction, but never (as far as I'm aware) with this level of thought and imagination. It's a beautifully written game, highlighting once again just how wide the gulf in quality is between even the best mainstream game stories and the cream of the IF crop. Admittedly I did find Coloratura a hard game to settle into, as it puts you in the role of a truly alien entity that shares few of our thought processes, emotions or drives.