Free games of the week

Among Thorns

Look. Just look at that chunky pixel art up there. This week's free games roundup is dedicated to those lovely pixels, and to a Myst Jam game even better than the ones I was banging on about a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy!

Canveus by Malcolm Brown

Canveus

Speaking of which, would you just look at Canveus too. It's a Myst Jam game that I somehow missed a couple of weeks ago, and it's one featuring nifty contraption puzzles, a world inside a book, and an astonishing visual filter that brings that scrumptious paper world to life. Malcolm Brown made procedural murder mystery The Inquisitor, which you should play next if you've not had the pleasure.

Acrodog by dvdfu

Acrodog

Acrodog is a game about an acrobatic dog. It is a very difficult game about an acrobatic dog, as the delightful Lil Houndini insists on standing on a unstable platform while giant beach balls and the odd tomato are pelted his way. A natural performer, Lil Houndini must remain in the spotlight for as long as caninely possible—to ensure this, you'll need to tilt the platform with the Z and M keys. Don't disappoint the audience by spending too long in the darkness, and whatever you do, don't let Houndini fall off the edge of the platform.

I fell off the platform lots. Did I mention this is hard?

Nivearum by James Earl Cox III

Nivearum

"Print a map,
mark your path,
find the four relics,
or be lost forever."

This is a wandering game about getting lost and occasionally Alt-Tabbing to look at or even scribble on a handily supplied map. Nivearum is a bit like Daniel Linsson's Sandstorm, but with James Earl Cox's wonderfully scrawled artwork, and with a little music from Jack King-Spooner too. Traipse around a snowy landscape for ages, investigating ruins and other things, while admiring your footsteps which leave a useful trail in the snow. A small idea, a small game, yours to enjoy for only a small investment of your time. A perfect transaction.

Among Thorns by Matt Frith

Among Thorns

A small point and click made in the enduring Adventure Game Studio, but I suspect we have that smallness to thank for the exquisite pixel art. It's the cyberpunk future, and like any cyberpunk future worth its salt, this one is full of big neon adverts to ensure that nobody, anywhere, can get a good night's sleep. It's a game about cyborgs, and a strange new disease what cyborgs get, and I want to play more of this sort of thing please, Matt Frith. Matt Frith: make more of this sort of thing.

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If you want to make your own games, two promising, browser-happy new tools came out recently: Amulet by Ian MacLarty, who I'm sure I've mentioned before in this column; and Dungeon Decorator by Loren Schmidt, who, well, ditto. Both programs look like a lot of fun, and seem easy to fathom.