The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes

The world's your oyster in this week's Best Free Games thing, which once again collects the great and the good and the pretty cool of the week's free games releases (or thereabouts), presenting them in a linear order for your consideration. Among other activities, you'll roam a pitch-black cave, feed a cowman a tasty herb, contribute to a massive narrative sandbox experiment, and explore an electronic album from the inside. Enjoy!

The world beneath by Clement Duquesne

Play it online here

The games of Ludum Dare 29 continue to bubble up to the surface, including this procedurally generated (of course) first-person wanderer set in a gloomy cave. As gloomy caves go, it's an ethereally sorta-beautiful one, with a lighting system that papers over the cracks by affording players only a temporary glimpse at their rocky locale. To see where you're going you need to chuck consumable torches, which cast a limited blast of light but also a sad wailing chime that imbues your journey with a hint of melancholy. There doesn't appear to be an exit, or even an ending point, but there are a good few minutes of atmospheric exploration to be found in The World Beneath . (Via Patrick Klepek )

Sky Rogue by nihilocrat

Download it here

It might be easier to mention when a game doesn't contain elements of procedural generation, as the magnificent (if not exactly released this week) Sky Rogue is yet another title featuring randomly jumbled geometry. That's pretty much the only thing that nihilocrat's polished aerial combat game has in common with most roguelikes, however, as it's a 3D dogfighting arcade shooter with a gorgeous Mode 7-style (but clean) visual style. If the words 'Star Fox' or 'Ace Combat' trigger an involuntary twitch of nostalgia, you're going to want to click on the above link.

Mimicry Man by Kazusa Norakumo

Download it here

The King Jerk of RPG enemies, the Mimic, gets their own game in the form of Mimicry Man, which has you tempting adventurers and monsters with specially tailored treats, in an effort to gobble them up as they draw near. Rogues, for example, are tempted by meat, while cow-people prefer a more vegetarian treat. The ultimate goal of the game is to acquire something called the Solar Sword, and the process for doing so involves combining acquired items – for instance, mixing meat with a loaf of bread to create a hamburger. I didn't get very far, as I couldn't work out how to stop the same four enemies from repeating, but hopefully you'll have better luck. This is a deliciously cruel puzzle game that's worth the effort. (Via IndieGames )

Paradise by Devine Lu Linvega

Play it online here

The aptly named Paradise is a piece of sandbox interactive fiction: a limitless, user-created space you can wander around, and add to, as you see fit. Starting as a ghost, you're unable to move until you inhabit the body of a nearby object, though this is as simple as typing “become a teapot/fireplace/angry-looking thing” (delete as contextually appropriate), before using that vessel to enter another player-created room. The beauty of the written word – and it's a beauty captured perfectly in Paradise – is that words are slippery, and open to interpretation, so if you want that fireplace to talk or that angry-looking thing to be the entrance to a nineteenth-century carousel, you only have to forge the association while you play. What are words, after all, if not vessels for meaning? Meaning that's always evolving, even as misguided word sheriffs try to keep it fixed.

The vessels here can be given backstories, just as rooms can be embellished with furniture, and the wider world can be structured and restructured on a whim. The only limit is your imag...OK, I couldn't bring myself to type something so hackneyed, but Paradise is one of the few games where that sentiment would actually fit.

Methlab // XRA Interactive Collaboration by Ezra Hanson

Play it online here

The catchily named 'Methlab // XRA Interactive Collaboration' is a teaser of sorts for the exciting visual/aural noisefest Memory of a Broken Dimension . It's also a bit of an advert for hard electronic music label Methlab, responsible for such artists as Dr. Bastardo, Stazma the Junglechrist, and various other names that aren't quite as amusing. Many of these artists have contributed to this game, providing tracks you can enjoy via your inventory after floating around a greyscale noisescape, collecting their constituent 'loops'. That's pretty much all there is to Methlab // XRA Interactive Collaboration , but there's something wonderfully tactile to the act of generating – and manipulating – your own soundtrack in such a manner. (Via Indie Statik )

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