The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes

You've devoured your chocolate coins. You've tired of festive telly. You've grown bored of or broken all your new toys - Christmas is officially over, and the New Year's drunken festivities are lurking tantalisingly around the corner. How to fill the void? Well, you play a bunch of free games, selected by yours truly to minimise the amount of time spent watching Christmas episodes of terrible talent shows with your parents. Read on for titans, bad dreams, digging and darkness, and absolutely no Christmas-themed games. Enjoy!

Titan Souls by Mark Foster, David Fenn, Andrew Gleeson

Download it here.

The theme of Ludum Dare 28 , you'll remember, was You Only Get One, and here it refers to the paltry single hit point and arrow your little warrior has at their disposal. Titan Souls' name may have clued you in on the game's twin inspirations – Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus – but it's Team Ico's masterpiece that this hugely impressive action-adventure game resembles most. It's hugely impressive because it was made in a weekend, yet features four different bosses with varying attack patterns, a hero with one of the best roll maneuvers I've encountered in a top-down game, a beautiful soundtrack and an equally beautiful world. It's pretty damned difficult, however, so the easily frustrated may want to click elsewhere. (Via RPS )

Bad Dream: Butcher by Desert Fox Software

Download it here.

Bad Dream: Butcher is an unsettling adventure game that does neat things with the notion of pointing and clicking on stuff. Pick up one of the game's many dangerous objects without the proper equipment and you'll find yourself losing a digit – I only had one or two fingers left by the end, but then I guess you only need the stump to hover around the environment, like some kind of superpowered Thing-from-Addams-Family. There's not much sense to be found in the game's surreal nightmarescape, but there are several wonderfully scribbled scenes of minimalist monochrome horror, and isn't that what Christmas is all about?

Excavatorrr 2: CWOUN by Hempuli

Download it here.

The sequel to Hempuli's lo-fi arcade platformer Exvacatorrr updates the pixel art by a few generations, along with adding a couple of new features to the game's subterranean, procedurally generated treasure hunting. The new look makes the comparisons to Spelunky a little more apt, but this is a smaller, more arcadey affair. Your goal is to retrieve a golden crown stuffed somewhere in the game's lone stage, while snaffling as much treasure as you're able along the way. Your bearded caver is able to carry two items at a time (well, along with the block-busting pickaxe): one in his hands and one on his back, and you can trade in treasures at shops in order to purchase more powerful tools. You'll need them, as Excavatorrr 2 is a game that wants you dead. (Via IndieGames )

Match Girl by DDRKirby, xellaya

Play it online here.

Another Ludum Dare game, and one with an entirely different interpretation of the compo's recent theme. Here, you only get one candle to light your way through a series of puzzley platform stages. When the light diminishes, you have to rely on your memory (and the occasional torch) to guide your character to the exit door. This initially basic setup soon expands to contain enemies, deceitful blocks and moving platforms – later stages are tough, but you can always head straight for Hard mode if you find Normal's slowly ramping difficulty a little patronising. Whichever mode you play – hell, why not play both? – be sure to keep the sound on, as Match Girl's glorious chiptune soundtrack is the stuff of legend. (Via IndieGames )

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