This week's round-up would be awfully empty without the incredible Fuck This Jam (opens in new tab) , the game jam centred around strawberry, raspberry, and controversially even marmalade, which - oh. *Coughs*. It's about making a game in a genre you hate. Well, after playing some of these offerings, I'm thinking that perhaps The Beatles should reconsider their stance that 'love is all you need' - hate seems to be pretty inspirational too. Hate (or, in some cases, mild dislike or unfamiliarity) has resulted in a game about orc-punching, a real gem of a game, and a game with a very important message to get across. Read on for those things I just said, plus city-building and a larcenous ball of snot.
MegaCity Deluxe HD by ColePowered(opens in new tab)
ColePowered's novel city-building game plays out like a streamlined, squished down version of SimCity, but with an added random element that might feel more at home in a match-three puzzler. In MegaCity, you don't get to choose which building/tile you lay down; they appear automatically in the sidebar. Thankfully, as with most versions of Tetris, you can see what's coming a few steps ahead, so you can plan your building placement somewhat carefully. The goal is to fill each square in such a way that (for example) houses don't go up next to prisons or dumps - once you've filled up your city, you're given a score based on how well-designed it is.
This leans more toward the casual side of the gaming spectrum, so I'm not sure how satisfying it will be to SimCity fans, but if you're looking for an innovative match-three rather than yet another Columns/Tetris/Bejewelled clone, then you've definitely settled in the right place.
Crystal Crashers by Sos Sosowski and Zoe Quinn(opens in new tab)
From match-three to match...one in this joyously silly game (spotted on Free Indie Games (opens in new tab) ), created for the inspirational Fuck This Jam (opens in new tab) . If you make it past the 300 years of pre-game credit screens, you'll find a crushing pisstake of so-called casual games which come loaded with insidious 'freemium' elements. You don't need to match anything; just click at random and you'll be rewarded with lashings of cash, and patted on the head with exclamations such as "Incredible!" and "Capital!", as read in a perfect tone of voice by (I presume) Sos - the creator of McPixel - himself.
Fuck This Dungeon by rylgh(opens in new tab)
I'm not sure what this Fuck This Jam game is a reaction to (perhaps Punch-Out!!) but I am sure that it's absolutely brilliant. Using the WASD keys to move, punch and block with your left hand, and the arrow keys to do the same with your right, you have to face a procession of mean orcs and goblins, and take out as many as you can before you die. It's hard. It's hilarious. It's brutal. It's wonderfully crude. It's backed up by a ridiculously excited rock/metal soundtrack. It's the only way to legitimately punch an orc without getting stinking drunk at a LARP event. Play it NOW. (Thanks to Free Indie Games .)
Swindler 2 by Nitrome(opens in new tab)
Leaving the title screen was hard enough, thanks to the catchy soundtrack, but not as hard as the Swindler has it when he has to leave his stretchy umbilical cord. Indie Games (opens in new tab) bring word of Swindler 2; you're a disgusting green blob (and in the game), relying on an endlessly stretchy cord to navigate a series of obstacle-strewn environments. The goal is to grab the treasure in each stage, but early on you gain the ability to detach yourself from the rope-like substance and roll around instead. However, the unattached Swindler soon runs out of air, which needs to be refilled from yucky plants.
Exquisite pixel art, a great physics engine and a decent challenge make this a game worthy of anyone's time. (Unless you're using Firefox, on which it runs quite slowly for some reason.)
The Message by Jeremy Lonien and Dominik Johann(opens in new tab)
The Message advises you to absorb its...message while listening to some appropiately spacey music, and this makes the final reveal that much more impressive. As with other Fuck This Jam games, I don't think there's any genuine malice towards the interactive fiction genre here, but some might see it that way. For me this is just a really quite accomplished short story, livened up with some lovely bits of art. (Ta, IndieGames (opens in new tab) .)