Skip to main content

Free games of the week

Shattered by Yasaman Farazan, Jasmin Habezai-Fekri, Svenja Rösner, M. Sadegh H. Broomand

This colourful, well-made platformer puts you in the shoes, the, um feathers of a little bird who insists on jumping everywhere, rather than flying about like a bird normally would. Odd things are happening in the joyous, 3D world in which you live, and to get the bottom of it you'll need to roam about, leaping from platform to platform to platform. I don't think the sorta-side-on, sorta-top-down perspective is entirely helpful, and the controls proved unresponsive when I was using the power of birdsong to phase invisible steps in and out of existence. Together, that makes Shattered more than a little frustrating, but when it's not being that, it's quite lovely.

Office Hustle by NHTV IGAD students

It's always scary, starting out in a new work environment, but it's probably not the best idea to hide and sneak your way through your brand new job. Nevertheless, that's what you'll be doing in Office Hustle: a simple stealth-'em-up with plenty of character, a jazzy aesthetic, and a fun, if nonsensical premise.

So yes, there's a little wrinkle in that premise that the game never quite addresses, and that's what happens when the poor scared intern gets himself caught. "Game over," Office Hustle declares, as if the intern would get in trouble by being spotted by his coworker—as I said, it doesn't quite add up. But, if you don't think about it too hard, this is a neatly sneaky action game.

The Shape on the Ground by Somewhat Software

The Shape on the Ground is an atmospheric, first-person wandering game that purports to be a psychological quiz. Arriving in a Victoriana town full of menace and fuzzy streetlights, you have to move between a series of eerily glowing portals, at each point answering a multiple choice question about the strange sights situated there. I'm not sure what the quiz could tell you, about much of anything really, but this a well-built adventure set in a place that's quite enjoyable to explore.

A Game About by Olivier Bouchard

A Game About is a game about struggling to get through the day, the week. There's an authenticity here, a rawness to its branching tale of daily efforts, and of faltering small steps forward, that neatly communicates a feeling of hopelessness, and sheer exhaustion. But that's also due to the artwork: the jangling, scrawly pictures representing a mind that refuses to sit still. A Game About is perfectly judged, mixing sadness with levity to great effect.

The Night is Darkening by James Wragg

Made for the Gothic Novel Jam, and named after an Emily Brontë poem, this first-person adventure feels wonderfully Morrowind with its weird fauna, its dusty environment, its alien creatures and its electric atmosphere. Influences are expertly mixed in a science fiction ghost story set in a decidedly wuthering airborne world—and I'm glad to see that creator Wragg is interested in making more adventures in the same universe.