The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes


Celebrate the weekend by playing a game that will remind you of the horrors of work, a game about collecting newspapers, a game about being a space pirate, and a game about deleting cybercards. If none of those tickle your fancy, how about a nice game of colouring-in? A nice game of colouring-in with deadly consequences - oh and a bit where you get to rummage around in a toilet. Bon appetit!

Drosophilia by Pippin Barr, Gordon Calleja, Sidsel Hermansen

Play it online here

As much as I love words – excepting the words 'addicting', 'welp' and 'webinar' – I almost love seeing words being dicked around with in Twine more. The Fear of Twine exhibition – an online gallery of interactive fiction, running until April 18th – has some wonderful more traditional IF, including Jonas Kyratzes' sumptuous The Matter of the Great Red Dragon , but it's the experimental, multimedia flyglitch thing Drosophilia that leapt out at me. It's a game about the stultifying horror of the modern workplace, where your input doesn't so much advance the story as pull just a couple of scenes apart at the seams. The result is a glitchy, paranoid internet artefact and one of the best uses of Twine I've seen yet.

A Night in the Woods by Amy Dentata

Download it here

I wish this short, atmospheric collecting-stuff game delivered on its suggestion of horror, but if you can forgive an ending that isn't really an ending, you'll find three of my favourite things: gorgeous first-person pixel art, thoughtful sound design, and overbearing screen borders, the latter of which always tricks my brain into thinking I'm playing some forgotten first-person RPG from the mid-nineties. The often-jokey collectible newspapers and notes might undercut the atmosphere, but I forgot all about that when I noticed that toggling your flashlight in the game's sole tunnel produces a different, appropriately echoey sound. Those of you that aren't sound design and/or chunky-pixel-art nerds may enjoy A Night in the Woods less. (Via IndieGames )

Space Pirate Dernshous by Jake Clover

Download it here

Jake Clover is responsible for many of the highlights of this column, most recently with his endless desert wasteland scroller Tandoor . Space Pirate Dernshous is considerably more ambitious, and gamey: a similarly endless (as far as I can tell) universe of space stations, ships and frankly bloody gorgeous blinking docking lanes. Clover doesn't seem sure of where the unfinished game is heading at the moment – he dumped it on Twitter with the words “download my space pirate game. I'm not sure how to continue it atm but I like what it is” - but he's nailed the feel and look of controlling a tiny space pirate ship. (I particularly like the speed lines that appear when you activate warp.) Things to do in Dernshous before you're dead: dock and shop at space stations; attack stations and ships with rockets; board conquered ships to raid them, a little like the piracy-in-a-can ship-plundering mechanic seen in Assassin's Creed 4.

Bad Dream: Hospital by Desert Fox

Download it here

The nightmare isn't over yet (man, I should really be writing taglines), and thank heavens for that, because there's always room in my life for another of Desert Fox's adventure/horror/click-on-stuff-and-make-gross-things-happen games. This latest is set in, well, a hospital, and revolves around colours. “How will I make brown?” is a question you'll regret asking yourself.

Cybergallop by Michael Brough

Download it here

I haven't had time to go through the 58 entries in the Cassette 50 sorta-game-jam, so I hope you'll forgive me for focusing on one of the more recognisable names involved, while apologising with a link to the main compo page. Cybergallop is Michael Brough's take on Netrunner, demaking the card game into a real-time arcade game with added enemythings. I like it for two reasons. One, it's easier to comprehend/play than some of Brough's games; and Two, when you match your little shipthing with a blockthing of the same colour, an adorable sound effect saying “green” or “blue” or “red” plays. (Via Free Indie Games )

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