The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes


Well we've avoided global thermonuclear war for the time being, and what better way to celebrate the procrastination of our destruction than by playing some free games released over the last week (or thereabouts)? Read on for SNAAAAAAAKE, dreamy sleepy nighty snoozy snooze, repli can not repli can't , debris fields and delicious block rotation.

The Everloom by Kajenx

Play it online here

A beautiful, blissful little adventure game set on a dreamy floating island. There's no combat to worry about; instead you'll find a memorable cast of human and non-human and inaniminate-object characters, who all have something interesting (yet long-winded) to say. There are a handful of item-based puzzles to get your head around, but I was mainly onboard The Everloom for its intricate pixel art and the constant sense of wonder that seems to lurk around every corner.

Noir by rxi, bitslap

Play it online here

I've played a few of these 'guess the bad guy' games over the last year or so, and Noir might be my favourite because, well, because of all the noir. It's essentially any bit from Blade Runner where Deckard has to identify a replicant, spun out and squished down into a small-scale, vaguely cyberpunk game. Citizens will clue you in on the location and identity of the skinjobs you're tasked with tracking down, and you'd better pay attention as a single civilian casualty will mean an instant game over. Unlike the other entries in this innovative new sub-genre there doesn't appear to be any random generation at play, but even though you might only go through it once, Noir offers a good few minutes of atmospheric, investigative adventuring. (Via Toma's excellent indie thread on NeoGAF )

KiloBite by Cake Collective

Download it here

So this is 3D, with two of my favourite filters plastered over the top: a curved CRT screen effect, and fake scanlines. KiloBite is much harder than the Nokia-based Snake I remember playing on my ALL-CAPS TEXT brick of a phone in the early 21st century – there's no real way to get a sense of your entire body, making dodging your entire body a difficult prospect. This isn't a game fault; it's a quirk of the fresh perspective, and it's one that turns this into essentially a brand new game. How many dots can you gobble while avoiding crashing into your own tail? I can manage about three. I am the best.

7 Light-years by Nifflas, Marcus Nygren

Play it online here

Nifflas – king of the free-roaming 2D platformer – has been using Unity. He's been using Unity with his cousin Marcus, and the resulting game is not quite what I was expecting. It's not a platformer, it doesn't involve fairies or clambering up walls or listening to atmospheric ambient music – no, 7 Light-years is a falling game. It involves falling, and not hitting stuff, and listening to synthy electronic music.

Well I say falling, but I think that's mainly because I've played Brainpipe: A Plunge to Unhumanity , which explored similar territory several years ago. The movement in 7 Light-years is actually more like floating – floating through a densely packed asteroid field, evading blocks and swirly string and moving thingamajigs – and it's every bit as tense and rewarding and DAMMIT I DIED AGAIN as that sounds. (Via Free Indie Games )

Umbragram by Stephen Altamirano, Harry Sadler

Download it here

It's all a matter of perspective in this wonderful 3D puzzle game, and I hope you all appreciated my A-game journalistic pun there. Why is it all matter of *wink* perspective? The aim is to make a blocky structure that will match the twin silhouettes projected on the two screens surrounding the middle area. That whole 'distance making big things appear smaller' thing is ignored for the time being, and what you're left with is an elegantly presented puzzler that explores its central mechanic in a satisfying amount of depth. (Via the TIGSource Devlog mag and IndieGames )

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