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Free games of the week

Occult Crime Police by Cameron Woodard

Here's a fun, offbeat visual novel with its tongue firmly in its cheek, and with one foot in the realm of the supernatural. You play a disgraced local cop from a sleepy podunk town, hoping for a chance at redemption. This you'll achieve by investigating a mystery, mainly by chatting to lots of folks, and presenting evidence in a vaguely Phoenix Wright manner. I particularly like the atmosphere, which mingles mystery with wackiness in the vein of TV's Eureka—I can imagine this being turned into a series.

Detect Occult by Kal, Phil Elliott

But wait, there's more occult goings-on in the aptly named Detect Occult: a short sidescrolling adventure game that similarly puts you in the (probably uncomfortable) shoes of a beat detective. It's a well-paced, lightly tense walk-'em-up where (unbeknownst to me when I played it) you can use the mouse to click on things for a bit of the ol' backstory.

Perfection by Yasmin Curren, Tiffany Derbyshire, Tabitha Beresford-Owen, @MerrellFacets, Jaime Aldous

Perfection is a first-person horror game that takes note of how you behave, as you traipse around its sinister test facility. It's on a fairly modest scale compared to something like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, while it's not entirely clear, in the final analysis, just how you've affected the game flow, but nevertheless this is an interesting slice of psychological horror with some lavish production values, which you'll want to replay at least once.

Apples For Grandma by Edward Ross

A brief Bitsy game that manages to impress despite its unclear geometry. (I appreciate a bit of vagueness in pixel art, but it's extraordinarily difficult here to work out which bits of the environment your little apple collector can walk on.) Despite that, Apples For Grandma is worth a few minutes of your time, for its wonderfully crisp horror atmosphere. It's the only game I can think of that's based on a poem (one by Russell Jones, if you were wondering), and a finely mysterious poem/game it is too.

Buccaneers by Eigen Lenk

While he works on his still-fab-looking exploration-RPG Pioneers, Eigen Lenk has been making a few freeware games. The latest was made for this year's Low Rez Jam, and it's basically a super-low-res Sid Meier's Pirates! As a gold-hungry ship captain, you'll roam the sea in search of rival vessels, which you'll attack via a slightly cumbersome (but still fairly impressive) ship-to-ship combat system. Board enemy ships to seize their cargo (after a little minigame, natch), and sail to ports to replenish your supplies, or to hire additional crew. There's a hell a lot here crammed into such a teensy window.