The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes

Christmas is nearly upon us, and what better way to celebrate than by playing a nice story? Playing a nice story about COUNTER-TERRORISM. If that's not up your alley, how about a childrens' classic that's now been preserved for future generations, a first-person find-'em-up featuring everyone's favourite non-dog family pet, a game with a single bullet, or a game that's, like, really freaking hard? Read on to open some of your Christmas presents early – all made by Santa's industrious elves, of course.

The Black Hand Gang by H.J. Press (adapted by Ross Moffat)

Download it here.

Well this is absolutely bloody lovely, if a little potentially cease-and-desisty. Ross Moffat has taken his copy of H.J. Press's The Adventures of the Black Hand Gang and turned it into a piece of interactive fiction. Well, to be fair, it already was a piece of interactive fiction, presenting the reader with lashings of Where's Wally-style spotting games in one of the most beautifully illustrated children's books I think I've ever seen. There are four stories here, and they all concern a group of juvenile mystery-solvers who call themselves The Black Hand Gang. Moffat has done a wonderful job of converting his copy of the sadly out-of-print book, perhaps even improving on its interactive aspect by adding hotspots and text recognition. I'd never heard of this book before IndieGames brought it to my attention (by the way, thanks IndieGames !), but there's no doubt in my mind now that The Black Hand Gang is a bonafide children's classic. You probably won't be able to find a copy of the book, so make sure you give this free videogame version a try.

superfrozenkittengetsonlyonesecretbottleforyou by Evil Indie Games

Play it online here.

So...yeah. Created for Ludum Dare 28 – theme: “You only get one” – the curiously named superfrozenkittengetsonlyonesecretbottleforyou is, um, well, completely insane . You have to find giant bottles to keep your vision from whiting out and to top up the timer; obviously you'll be doing so in a cat-themed wonderland drawn by a child with access to only the most garish crayons. Successfully find a bottle and you get to live for another minute or so. Considering the oddly sinister tone of this day-glo kitty-cat environment, that may not be such a welcome thing.

Moments of Paranoia by Pontus Lunden and Kristian Brodel

Download it here.

Moments of Paranoia is essentially the best parts of The Thing turned into a game – or most of a game, anyway. Placed in a gradually gas-filled room with two people who may or may not be shapeshifters, you have to decide who lives and who dies, with only a single bullet to your name. To help your decision along you can interrogate the two men, that is if you can endure Moment's Unbearably. Slow. Typing. Speed. It's a great idea for a game – and the art and music certainly help to realise it – but it is a little disappointing that you don't get to witness the outcome of your decision. (Via Indie Statik )

CS Story by Owen Hill

Play it online here.

PC Gamer's former web editor, and Mojang's current Chief Word Officer, has made a game! It's a text adventure based on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and from what I can tell – based on my limited understanding of Counter-Strike – he seems to have summed up the whole CS experience pretty well. It's not something I'm familiar with myself, but Owen's enthusiasm for the game is infectious, and it makes this story a joy to explore. It will probably mean more if you've played at least one variation of Counter-Strike, however.

The Art of Dying by DoorKnobHandle

Download it here.

If dying is an artform, then I am become Damien Hirst. This old-fashioned platformer re-introduces collectibles/treasure to the increasingly minimal world of super-hard jumping games. It also features a brilliantly catchy chiptune soundtrack, which complements the unforgiving action perfectly. I can't quite figure out what the little dude is supposed to look like, however – is he some kind of sword-wielding security guard? (Via Indie Statik )

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