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Anodyne 2, A Short Hike, and Mutazione are free on the Epic Games Store

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(Image credit: Epic Games)

Like the wheel of a normal, properly functioning mouse, the calendar has turned over with a click, a new Thursday has arrived, and it's now time to grab some more free stuff from the Epic Games Store. A trio of critically-acclaimed indies are up for grabs this week: Anodyne 2: Return to Dust, A Short Hike, and Mutazione.

Anodyne 2 is a retro-styled blend of 3D platforming and 2D "Zelda-like" gameplay that follows the story of Nova, a Nano Cleaner on the island of New Theland who must save its inhabitants from the Dust by shrinking herself and entering their bodies with her Nano Vacuum. Her destiny is clear, "but strange characters & painful experiences will put her loyalty to the test."

That may not be the most illustrative description ever, so let's check out a trailer.

Next up is A Short Hike, a game about taking a short hike around a very interesting island. Take your time, follow paths, discover secrets and hidden treasures, chat with other hikers, and just generally enjoy the day. I've heard really good things about this one.

A trailer:

Last but not least is Mutazione, "a mutant soap opera where small-town gossip meets the supernatural." Travel to a strange and secretive community to care for your ailing grandfather—and make friends, go to BBQs, go on boat rides, plant musical gardens, and "embark on a final spiritual journey to save everyone from the strange darkness at the heart of it all."

Let's make it three for three on the trailers:

All three games were nominated for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at this year's Independent Games Festival Awards, which is a pretty strong recommendation. A winner hasn't been announced yet: The IGF Awards show will take place on March 18 in a livestreamed show beginning at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET. The games are free for the taking until March 19.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.