Forward is an elegant, free roguelike where everything is cards

This year's 7-Day Roguelike Challenge has just come to an end, meaning that 125 new, free roguelikes (and a few unfinished ones) have been suddenly dumped on our laps, like an unseasonal Christmas treat. I've had a nosey around on the submissions page, and I've already found a great freebie in Citron Curieux's Forward, which is a roguelike but where everything is made out of cards.

You, the adventurer, are a card, as are your enemies and the various loot items placed throughout each dungeon. To advance along each linear, forward path you drag your hero card onto one of the three cards in front of you, where you'll either acquire some loot, restore a bit of health, or fight a monster. Each choice locks off the others, and if you move below an enemy they'll be given a free attack, so the order of movement matters a whole lot here.

Interestingly, fights aren't really something you want to enter into, as they only end in a reduction of health, a stat you can manage with the use of shields and restorative potions. I do like how open Forward is with its stats: you can see exactly how much you'll be healed by a potion, and how much health you'll lose after making contact with an enemy.

I also like just how tactile and elegant this feels. There's no music, but there is a satisfying assortment of sound effects, and wonderfully smooth animation every time you make a move. Forward is a game that feels good to play. And to replay, when you inevitably meet your end.

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

Tom Sykes

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.