Damn near every retailer is holding some sort of mega sale at the moment, but if there's one thing better than cheap games, it's free games, and this week saw a bumper crop of fun, weird titles released for precisely no-monies. Read on for the best piece of theatre I've ever played, a stunning sci-fi glitchfest, theft of the highest order, Driver from Drive's favourite browser game (probably), and a game where oh God what have you done. Enjoy!
The Entertainment by Cardboard Computer
Nobody makes games like Cardboard Computer, a team inspired by classic playwrights as much as classic adventure games, and who have now made one of the most enjoyable plays I think I've ever been to, inside a theatre or out. Following on from Limits and Demonstrations – an interactive art exhibition with ties to Kentucky Route Zero – is The Entertainment, a more refined and guided piece of storytelling that puts the player in a hugely interesting, albeit physically restricted role. It was a particularly electric moment when I realised the full extent of the setup – CC's talent for creating (and obscuring) scenes with light and shadow comes to the forefront here.
Galah Galah by Jake Clover
With Galah Galah, developer Jake Clover “wanted to try and make a game that is like a video of unfinished games”, and I'd say he's succeeded in this collection of glitchy and alien video game scenes. It's a little like McPixel, in that you're constantly being transported (either through your own actions or upon your grisly death) into new and unfamiliar situations, with no clue what you're supposed to do, press or be. It's wonderful, weird, oddly handsome stuff, although the very first room may throw people off a bit (it did me).
Moirai by Chris Johnson, Brad Barrett, John Oestmann
A first-person adventure that sends you on a quest to find a boy lost in a nearby mine. Right from the start there's a strange tone hanging over the assorted conversations, which finally pays off in a moment of genius right at the end. At a certain point you'll encounter a character in the tunnels who turns this brief, clever story on its head. I won't say any more, but I will say this: be sure to have an email address handy.
Vlambeer Clone Tycoon by Rik Nieuwdorp %26 Martijn Frazer
The goal in this turn-based management game is not to clone Vlambeer outright (as many real scumbag developers have basically done), but to copy their games in such a way that you evade the ire of their legal team. It's surprisingly involved work being a massive thief jerk: you have to mine Vlambeer's newsletters for ideas to plunder, while navigating the mucky waters of copyright theft and trying to keep up with/stay ahead of the developers themselves, who are busting out original games left right and centre. It's great to see some good come from Vlambeer's demoralising ordeal - you know, apart from Ridiculous Fishing, Nuclear Throne and the like.
Night Rider Turbo by Sos Sosowski
McPixel creator Sos Sosowski is back with the lightly Enviro-Bear 2000-ish Night Rider Turbo, which sees you operating an awesome car that gradually falls apart in your hands. To get the most out of this joyously silly game, make sure you pull, press, prod and poke everything in sight. I particularly like the soundtrack, which perfectly complements the thrill of hurtling down a motorway into oncoming traffic while driving a car held together by sticky tape. (Via IndieGames )