As ever, your humble guide to the world of free games has poked, prodded and evaluated the week's many freebies, shoving the best ones into a handy roundup for your consideration. Read on for ghost wheels, faceless wizards, GTA-style tplosjons (it's not a typo), oh and THE BEST PUN IN GAMES. Enjoy!
The Best Free Games of the Week
In an unusual twist, this week's Best Games don't appear to be have been created with a game jam in mind – but that doesn't mean I don't have some hot, sticky, viscous game jam news to relay: Game Jolt now allows users to set up their own game jams using a seemingly easy-to-use set of tools. Before the Jampocalypse begins in earnest, let's stop to appreciate a handful of games operating under their own specific themes, each with something bold and new to impart. Read on for a splash of colour, a sweary Scotsman, a modern-day maze, an interactive short story and touchy-feely bomb-defusal. Enjoy!
This week: a painful coming out, a girl named Tess, a subtly improved Swindon, yet more intentional glitches, terrifying shadow monsters in a monochrome mist world, and one more Hitler than the norm. Read on for some great games that won't cost you a penny/dime/credit/gil of your (presumably) hard-earned cash.
In honour of Glitch Jam, I've clipped through my floor and I'm currently hurtling into the void beneath the world. Luckily I thought to bring along my laptop for the journey, so I'm able to bring you a few highlights of the jam, mid-hurtle, including super-purple glitch tourism, buggy medieval dungeoneering, and some other stuff that isn't quite so messed up. Now that I've typed the word 'glitch' so much it's beginning to disassociate in my memory, let us begin.
This week sees the grand return of Space Email, the ambitious, if a bit naïve, indirect messaging system that was taken down due to technical and moral reasons – namely the sort of harassment that tends to emerge when people are granted a degree of anonymity. Its creator, Shelby Smith, has now brought Space Email back under a more robust system with a more stringent filtering system. I've only had time to explore it a little this morning, but so far so strange, and moving, and worrying, and sweet. Elsewhere this week: forest-based horror, train-based sleuthing, the goddamned heartbreaking Bottle Rockets, and a couple of games to help you recover from that. Enjoy!
This week's column was 13 years in the making, or at least it felt that way late last night. Read on for indie gaming's Duke Nukem Forever, a Brendon Chung space bounty hunter game (!), one of the most joyous, inventive, text-free interactive stories I've come across (!!), Homebase's most misguided wallpaper advert ever, and a gothy philosophical platformer about following or not following orders. Exercise your free will by obeying this instruction to join me after the break.
At any one time there can be around 8,673 game jams happening concurrently. I'm starting to think there might some sort of Meta Jam going on that tasks jam-makers with making game jams on a variety of delicious jammy themes. (I'm also starting to quite fancy a jam-and-clotted-cream scone.) This week we sample the picks of the Public Domain Jam and the Space Cowboy Jam (it also sees Glitch Jam bugging onto the scene). So read on for watch_corgi, ninjas vs royals, a loose interpretation of a 19th century novella, tower defence and a bike game that goes on and on. Enjoy!
E3 lurks just around the corner, like an Assassin's Creed hero waiting to drag a dimwitted guard into a big pile of hay, and while I'm as excited as anyone about the yearly festival of pomp, hype, CEOs saying 'synergy', and ultimate vague disappointment, here's your weekly reminder that some of most innovative and unrestrained games lie on the fringes, in that nebulous and contradictory space known as indie gaming. Here are five such games released, for free, over the last week or so, exploring low-res time travel, duck-based dungeon exploration, one-click RPG mechanics and more. Enjoy!
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 night belongs to ninjas, shadowy monsters attempting to eat sleeping children, keyboard-based snogging simulators, momentous jumping, cute wickle robots, and Games That Are A Bit Like Flashback. Now that I've neatly teased all six games that lie in wait beneath the break, it's time for you to brew a hot beverage, and sit down at your desk/sofa/beanbag/hammock to get stuck in. Enjoy!
You won't need an unreliable spy camera to play any of this week's free games – your trusty mouse-and-keyboard will serve you well, as always. Read on for slooooo-mooooo acrobatic shooting, precision-timed shmupping referencing Jean Michel Jarre, modern-day Minesweeping in a Puzzle Quest stylee, and yet more low-rez Low-Rez Jam games. Enjoy!
It's a packed week for free games this week, what with Ludum Dare and LowRezJam and other stray delights, so let's get straight to business with an excellent visual novel about the ins and outs and mysteries of school life, a 32x32 pyramid game, Tie-dye Unity weirdness, several games that lie beneath the surface (of the break), and the foxiest game you'll play all week. Because *cough* it stars a fox. Enjoy!
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!
Someone must have asciid for an expansive roguelikey JRPG rendered entirely in textart, as we've received one in the form of the delightful SanctuaryRPG. It's a streamlined and grind-free take on Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest and early Ultima and Things Like That, and if I were to hand out badges in this column it would win the coveted Best RPG Featuring Ascii Slimes award (sponsored by that Ghostbusters ectoplasm I used to love when I was a kid). Elsewhere this week: a serene, freeform farming lifesim appeared, along with two very different platformers at opposite ends of the minimalism/maximalism spectrum. Enjoy!
Some guy once said that the only certainties in life are death, taxes, the endless geyser of internet anger, and good games that happen to be free. I can't do much about the first three (sorry), but I've cherry-picked the best of the last one and stuffed them into this here weekly column for your edification. Read on for a charming fishing game, a maddening rotational platformer, the world's first beard-based puzzle game (I assume), and a safari adventure starring arguably the greatest predator of all:
man a marble. Enjoy!
This week saw a surprise new Pixel game, a celebration of unsurprisingly good interactive fiction, several smart games that play around with their boundaries, and the sad news that the wonderful Free Indie Games has posted its last after over two dedicated years highlighting excellent and/or interesting free games across the globe. What better way to keep the fire alive than by playing some clever, profound, beautiful or plain fun free games released over the last week or so? Read on for mirror images, multitasking, words arranged in a pleasing manner, and missing presidential documents that can only be retrieved by shooting stuff. Enjoy!
Oh, so you like free games, do you? Here, have all the free games in the world. Or at least, quite a lot of them – this week's column has over 100 gratis goodies for your perusal. Read on for a non-dodgy game torrent, some very metal gear, a particularly frightful house, and two other things, the details of which have been withheld for reasons of intrigue. Are you suitably intrigued? Good, then I'll join you after the break.
This week we sample the highlights of the 7-Day Roguelike and Procedural Death jams, which ran simultaneously a week or so ago. (They presumably did this in an effort to get the whole procedural generation thing over and done with in one fell swoop, so we can get back to the business of painstakingly handcrafting levels instead.) Stick around for vamps, lamps, goats and sliding, plus two bonus games with no random bits at all (well, unless you count the fairly random penis door). Enjoy!
It's been a good week for free games, what with Cart Life going gratis (and, indeed, open source), and the Hero's Quest inspired Heroine's Quest – which I've written about previously – unexpectedly appearing on Steam. When you're done playing those, prepare yourself for a ghost ship, a train song, space worms, a goldfishlike, and a game that recreates a famous movie hedge maze. (BUT WHICH ONE?) Enjoy!
Cyberpunks, cyberjam, cyclopses and co-op collide in the most C-heavy edition of The Best Free Games of the Week yet. So much so, in faqt, that I've now used up all my alloted Qs for the week and have replaqed them with Qs as a result. I hope nobody notiqes. Read on for stealth, kissing, jumping, multi-singleplayer, and a qreepy game about a one-eyed qyqlops.