Free games of the week

Shardreign – A Love Story by Flatgub

Although it wasn't quite finished in time for the end of Ludum Dare, I love what (currently) exists of the delightful Shardreign – A Love Story, which is, more than anything, a party-based dungeon crawler but with puzzles in place of battles. Your four disparate characters—a skellington, not-Solid-Snake, a talking wizard hat and a robber—each has one or more special abilities that you can use in specific situations. There are multiple solutions to the handful of puzzles, including (and this is so much fun) employing the hat's fireball spell, which as you can imagine tends to set things, well, on fire. This looks lovely, plays great, and is funny with it.

Ransacked by Zachary Bledsoe, Benjamin Taylor et al

Plunder a small town of its valuables in the accomplished 3D stealth game Ransacked, which features a couple of hundred items to purloin, in pretty much any order you desire. It's a seriously impressive effort, created as part of a 16-week student course, although you will need to play with a controller to get the most out of it.

Inch by Inch by Lucis, Marig

In this novel first-person adventure game, you have to brew up an antidote, by manhandling lab equipment including beakers, scientific doodads, and even the furniture. That's because of the nature of the antidote, which you're hoping will cure you of a dreadful new affliction: you're gradually getting shorter. And shorter. And—oh dear—shorter, and before long you won't even be able to reach the surface tops, without first dragging stools and other apparatus around, to act as stepping stones. That's about the best 'ticking clock' I've come across in a game for ages.

The One Spell by Cédric Staes, Corentin Gengler, Alexandre Brull, Bruno Lorenzi

Who knew that wizards couldn't jump? Or perhaps it's that they feel they don't need to, given their ability to propel themselves through the air with a click of the mouse. Specifically, you're able to aim that propulsion here, and use it to both fling yourself around but also to break blocks, and you'll need to perform both actions to progress through this sidescrolling puzzle game. It's a little fiddly, and I did miss the presence of a dedicated jump button, but this is a nice little game with some good ideas.

10 Mississippi by Karina Popp

In this extraordinary game, you'll experience a day in the life of an ordinary woman, controlling her actions via the keyboard keys, which cue the next bit of stop-motion footage. Thanks to the first-person viewpoint, the wonderful 10 Mississippi feels a little like Being John Malkovich: The Game. And by that I mean the puppeteer-like controls suggest that you're the voice inside her head, telling the woman to get out of bed, to brush her teeth, and to do all the other boring but necessary things that comprise the majority of our days on Earth.