Biomass (opens in new tab) is a sidescrolling sci-fi game with a few elements borrowed from Dark Souls. Firstly, it's hard. Really hard! Enemies can defeat you in a couple of hits. Also, you drop your collected experience when you die. That aside, the game has a refreshingly different theme, as it's set in a gleaming future metropolis packed with robots, and human jerks wielding lightsaber-esque laser weapons.
OK, so Fallen Order got there first, but the buzzy laser swords and staves of Biomass are damned satisfying to wield, even if the combat feels a little limited, currently, compared to the rich melee fighting of most games in the Soulslike genre. But there's a wonderfully enticing atmosphere, some beautiful pixel art, and quite a bit of game packed into this pre-release demo (the developer is aiming to release the full thing in early February).
Naturally, every Soulslike worth its salt will introduce something to the formula, and Biomass allows you to restore your health using power accrued by hitting enemies. Basically, you fill a gauge by whacking enemies, which you can then use to heal. And you probably should if you're hoping to survive its dangerous sci-fi world. (Thanks, Alpha Beta Gamer (opens in new tab).)
For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.