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Make a village in your browser in free building game Habitat

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(Image credit: Tobias Larsson)

Building a village is the easy part. Keeping it alive is considerably harder, as you'll discover out when you play Habitat. It's a deceptively cute village building game where your entire village fits on one screen, with each of the little houses, the trees and crops, represented as tiles on a tiny grid. To chop down trees, you merely click on them. To plant crops, you merely click on them. To hunt those boars roaming around the place, you merely...well, you get the idea, I'm sure.

It's all very intuitive, until it's suddenly not. What do the (incredibly faint) numbers on the ground mean? And when will the Quest mode accept that I've made 10 wheat? Habitat is mostly good at introducing its mechanics, but when it isn't, it stopped me from progressing, stopped my village from thriving, and it's the reason (because it's not my fault, of course) that most of my village died of cold, as the climate chilled.

I pick nits because, as far as I can tell, this is an enjoyably puzzly building game that's only a few tweaks away from being a really good one. It's cute and thoughtfully streamlined and not afraid to be unforgiving. Can you keep your village alive? No, obviously—what I should have said is for how long can you keep it going? The high scores are a little tacky, but offer a neat rundown of your successes and failures. When you're ready, reload the world and begin again.

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.