The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes


A teensy shipwreck RPG, foxes on hoverbikes, the tale of Cyrano and ginormous honker – all that and slightly more awaits you in our regular free games roundup, which this week has been cobbled together out of various public domain words such as “flipbook” and “groin”. I've assembled these words in a (hopefully) pleasing order below, so hop aboard your flying cycle and join me, foxlike after the break.

The Wish by qwerty

Play it online here

There's still some preserve left at the bottom of the LowRezJam jar, including this minimalist shipwreck RPG. You play the white rectangle - man, I hate that guy - who wakes up on an atmospheric desert island home to a band of black rectangles and shiny treasure. As in the superb Desktop Dungeons, the trick to succeeding is to tackle weaker enemies first, using their dropped items to improve your stats for the next encounter. It's not a huge game at all, but there's something kinda beautiful about the super-low-res presentation, not to mention the sophisticated text-only battle system, which has you and the enemy taking turns to wallop each other in the head, chest, belly, legs or groin. The sloooooow walking speed will annoy after a while though.

Cyrano the Hothead by noir

Play it online here

Cyrano de Bergerac – star of 1980s Jersey-based detective show 'Bergerac', and possessor of a damn fine nose – stars in this turn-based swordfighting/insult game, and he should be grateful for all the work he can get. I have a lot of time for the 'paper' theme on which this game and the Public Domain Jam are based, a theme that's infused Cyrano the Hothead with a pleasing collagey textured look. To succeed in battle you'll need to combine action and insult cards through the game's neatly colour-coded battle system.

Gulliver by Joseph Ringer

Download it here

Another Public Domain Jam game (and let's take a second to appreciate what must be the most unexciting name for a game jam ever). Gulliver employs a pencil-drawn flipbook style for its take on the tale of Lemuel Gulliver and his travels across a series of too-small, too-big and too-horsey mythical lands. The result is game that looks rather impressive but doesn't play quite as well, thanks to a finickity gesturing system and (on my machine at least) some surprisingly massive slowdown problems. However, it is pretty fun to stamp on villages with your massive human feet, so be sure to bear that stompy fact in mind.

776 – 778 – 780 by hellojed

Download it here

Its creator hellojed describes 776 – 778 – 780 as “Part 1 and 2 of possibly 3 games from the 'Series' Jam”, and after typing most variations of that sentence into Google I still haven't managed to work out what it's referring to. Never mind: it's resulted in a game – well, three games really – of such brooding weirdness that I immediately wanted to know more about this strange anthropomorphic world. Play 776 first, as it's the most fully featured foxes-on-hoverbikes game of the three, then sample the other two at your leisure. (They're pretty much half-formed palette swaps of the first.) There is an end/s, by the way, it just might take you a while to get there.

Wormhunter by SmallGaming and dickpoelen

Play it online here

Wormhunter is a game in which you hunt a worm. *Cough*. OK, a bit more. It's a game in which you hunt a worm that burrows through the ground before jumping up at random locations. You can chuck a tracker at the worm to keep tabs on its movements, but this isn't really needed thanks to the low difficulty. You can also evade-roll, and bash the worm with your weapon – this last one being particularly vital to your goal of killing it, as you might expect. This is a simple experience, but one that understands how important feel of movement is – I can't tell you how many free games I've played that pay so little attention to this area, making their controls feel cludgy and unresponsive as a result. The actual act of killing the worm made me feel a little miserable and guilty. What did it ever do to me? (Via NeoGAF )

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