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Free games of the week

Where is 2018? by Mateusz Skutnik

I wasn't aware that it was Santa's job to ring in the new year, but the festive bugger has only gone and forgotten to buy a brand new calendar and declare that is now officially 2018. Or that's the premise of Where is 2018?, anyway, a rather lovely platformer set in a gorgeously illustrated world. Santa can jump, and Santa can chuck snowballs, and he'll have to do both of those things if he's to locate the missing annum.

Downpour by pmtea

Downpour's difficulty level isn't so much of an incline as it is a sheer cliff-face. This 2D platformer becomes monstrously tough only a few minutes in, so if you hate tutorialising of any kind, you might be happy that the game throws you right in it. Most platform games have a quirk or hook, and Downpour is no different. Your little bug-person possesses a leaf, which allows them to glide on the wind. You'll need this to avoid purple, crystalline spikes, which will kill you—yep, that's me dead again—with a single hit.

Our Damned Machine by Sophie Houlden

The machine is good! Trust in the machine! Definitely don't question the machine, or even think too be hard about whether it's working. In fact, you probably shouldn't even play this satirical adventure game, which may make you question whether the machine is all that, well good.

MOOP by Geoff Moore

MOOP. It's a particularly fun name to say, and it happens to be the title of a delightful adventure game set on a very yellow alien planet. I'm a big fan of MOOP's lightly archaic controls, which like the early Dragon Quest games allow you to walk up to pretty much everything in the world and try out a variety of verbs, including Look, Talk, Get, and Use. (It's a bit of a shame that so many games these days use just one context-sensitive action button, by default.) The story kicks off on Moop's birthday, an auspicious day that involves a pot of delicious soup, but also the surprise arrival of an alien spacecraft.

Hessian by Psytronik Software

Here's a free retro-modern shoot-'em-up, which you'll need either a Commodore 64 emulator, or (much more likely, surely) an actual C64 hooked up to your telly to play. Psytronik's latest freeware release puts you (you being a cyborg named Kim) in a facility full of bad guys, with several guns to use to turn them into bad guy kibble. As platforming shooters go, it's a wee bit more advanced than the sort of thing you typically found back in the day on yer actual C64.