Free games of the week

Diviner by dante


Divine your future in a thoroughly modern fashion, not by asking a creepy inanimate fairground machine, by visiting a psychic, or by swilling a loose leaf cup of tea, but by playing a god-damned video game. In Diviner, you chuck three items into a circle, actions that ultimately generate a spot of fragmented poetry. (I hear Russell Grant has a similar procedure for coming up with his astrology column.) The process feels nice and tactile, and the game exudes a spooky atmosphere, like that time you tried a oujia board with your friends.

Ymana by Anna Krasner and Chris Scott


An enigmatic, slow-walkin' puzzler set in a lovely field. Why do flowers disappear when you click on them, and what are those funky pillars all about? I need a run button in games like this, but this a warm, peaceful place to investigate for a while.

Military-Industrial Complex by REPVBLIC

Military Industrial Complex

This is that episode of The Simpsons where an obese, working-from-home Homer types 'Yes' into a computer, and later 'Y' after he learns how to "triple his productivity". As part of a Soviet-style state, your job is to decide whether to build things for the populace or stuff for the war effort, keeping an eye on two bars that measure the unruliness of the people and the strength of the enemy respectively. You decide by pressing Left or Right, Right or Left, actions interrupted occasionally by a funny article from the news. There's not much to this, but the writing's good and the art is nice.

Prove Thine Worth by Sheepolution

Prove Thine Worth

A sidescrolling puzzler where you play as a cute cat. Cats loving pushing blocks, collecting keys, and gathering coins, don't they? Oh, is that just my cat? Great, my cat's a weirdo. Point is, this is silly and fun, and I just love that flickering torchlight effect.

437 Underworld [EP] by Unusual Cadence

437 Underworld EP

437 Underworld [EP] uses the iconography of roguelikes as the icing on a great twin-stick shooter, one that reminds me of Teleglitch and other 2D action games set in captivating and mildly terrifying horror worlds. You move with one set of keys, and shoot with another, destroying horrible symbols and letters and then giant horrible symbols and letters and then even bigger letters than that before you die. Letters like T, and that jerk O. Coins fly out, the screen shakes, and wonderful noises happen, 437's cavernous sound design effectively plonking you in a scary dungeon.

You reckon you have enough cash and XP to level up, so you hunt for a pillar/altar to upgrade two different sets of stats. You get better and better at shooting letters before a giant Troll (T) does you in—you couldn't abuse its simple pathfinding in time. You restart, noticing you've kept all your upgrades and that you're entering a different set of rooms. "This is not a roguelike" the game's page says, but its tricks are clever enough that you have no idea why it isn't.

437's later levels introduce traps that harm enemies as well as your character, and smarter enemies that teleport and spawn minions. It's not a hard game, really, but there's a satisfying amount of feedback to the combat, and at least one of the rooms is named after a character from the Fresh Prince. What more could you want?