Free games of the week

The Golden Tulip by Daniel Draper and Nicholas McDonnell

Stationed in a hotel room opposite an apartment block located somewhere in Beirut, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spy on all the residents until you discover which is your intended assassination target. You've been sent here to murder them and, seemingly, prevent a nuclear war, so you'd better get on with the business of tapping their phone lines and peeping with your binoculars, in this clever espionage game that has rather a lot in common with the classic film Rear Window. Restricted to your hotel room, you can nevertheless interact with a load of stuff, including cupboard and desk drawers, the radio and a pack of ciggies, not to mention the big 'detonate bomb' button that will blow that target to smithereens. But have you fingered the correct suspect, so to speak?

Scout by Blackberry Jam

For once, Blackberry Jam is not the name of an itch.io or Game Jolt game jam. Instead it's the name of Scout's development team, Scout being a pleasant wander-'em-up that puts you in the shoes of a stranded boy ranger. I'm not sure why the boy runs so incredibly fast on my computer, but YouTube videos suggest that isn't the case for everyone, so you might be lucky, especially with a better PC than mine. Either way, I'm always up for the chance to explore a peaceful forest, and it's a serene wood you'll be darting around here, as you search desperately for phone signal so you can call for help.

EnergyShock by maskinmask

It's a little buggy, but there are the makings of an inventive, pretty roguey card-based puzzler in EnergyShock. You expend cards to battle a series of enemies on a horizontal grid, with each action bringing you a few steps closer to your current target —but sometimes not quite close enough. You therefore have to tactically order your card drawing to best your target, and progress to the next stage and enemy. Some progression, in the form of character advancement or additional cards, would be nice, and hopefully that will come if the game is revisited down the line.

SMILE GUIDE: the apple escape by KrainaGrzybowTV

Smile Guide seems to have come out in mid-2017, so keep that under your hat. Regardless of how late I've discovered it, I'm very glad I did, as its pseudo-32-bit, CRT-TV-loving, low-poly weirdness is very much my 'jam', as the young people possibly sometimes say. Against a Silent Hill-esque soundtrack, you have to find and collect 25 juicy apples, while terrible, unforeseen things keep on happening around you. It's a bit infuriating, having the ground suddenly disappear from beneath your feet, but a surprise lurks beneath the fuzzy, neon floor in this polished, playful oddity.

In this gorgeously drawn creature battler, you'll spend your money on bizarre aliens, before using them as contestants in a futuristic bloodsport—a sport in which Creature Massacre, naturally, is Completely Legal. That battling is automated, so the heart of the game lies in buying the right creatures, taking on the right jobs, and mashing monsters together in a Persona-style fusion chamber. This isn't a huge game, but it is a compelling one that will be only too happy to devour your free time.