Meteors, cat girls, the best Roman emperor, time travel and an art game called Art Game. Either you've stumbled into the greatest Royal Variety Performance ever recorded or we've collected a bunch of weird and brilliant webgames. Find out which after the break, but be sure to have a thumb, perhaps some fingers, and a keen artistic insight at the ready. Oh and a spaceship capable of outracing meteors. Enjoy!
Caesar's Day Off by molkman, MajusArts(opens in new tab)
Caesar's Day Off will take you only five minutes to play, but you'll be smiling through every one of its dozen or so scenes – I think I even let out a lol. The central joke – which I would ruin by explaining – is introduced, brilliantly, and mined for a few minutes worth of great material, before artfully taking a turn for the absurd. The game's over before the joke becomes laboured, though you'll definitely want to replay it at least once to explore the different outcomes, which may or may not involve a lion. Top stuff, with excellent animation to boot. (Via IndieGames (opens in new tab) .)
Adam by Mattia Traverso, Riccardo Arena, Greenbolt Zero
Like Caesar's Day Off, this is another Indie Speed Run game that doesn't outstay its welcome, but Adam will nevertheless keep your mind whirring at full capacity for quite some time. It's a puzzle game exploring time travel, in particular the messy business of creating clones of yourself, and trying to avoid contact with them at all costs. The Back to the Future references soon give way to a devious central mechanic, which will put the combined brainpower of all four versions of you to the test. (Via Free Indie Games (opens in new tab) .)
Art Game by Pippin Barr(opens in new tab)
As a famous painter, sculptor or a pair of video artists, you're tasked by the curator of an art show to conjure up a piece worthy of an upcoming show. Wonderfully, you create this art by employing our ancestral game mechanics: shuffling tetrominos, piloting a blocky spaceship, or trying not to eat your own tail in Snake. When you're done, the whims of the curator – and later, the gallery's visitors – determine whether you've constructed your masterpiece, or you've farted out a cynical pile of pixels. In the end, my least thoughtful piece – my equivalent of a pickled shark – seemed to garner the greatest praise, while my achingly powerful Tetris sculpture reconstructing the collapse of the Soviet Union went down like a ton of wet cement. Oh well. (Via Free Indie Games (opens in new tab) .)
CatWalkOnce by Charlie(opens in new tab)
The clue's in the name in CatWalkOnce, a game that tasks you with converting the assembled blue squares into red ones, by walking or jumping on top of them, without disturbing the ones you've already done. There's a bit of Japanese text now and then, but even so the game is perfectly playable – it's not exactly a visual novel. It is a puzzle game, and damn beautiful one too, the central idea soon expanded and evolved until up and down and left and right become entangled and confused. Solutions evoke smiles, and the odd audible “a-ha!”, which has always been my guiding star for this sort of thing. Many thanks to IndieGames (opens in new tab) for digging CatWalkOnce up.
Meteor Storm Escape by Happy Little Aliens(opens in new tab)
Meteor Storm Escape. Now that's a name I can get behind, particularly when it's applied as literally as it is here. You're attempting to escape a meteor storm, which would be a foolhardy errand if you weren't in a Wipeout-esque spaceship. Since you are, the escape part is relatively easy – the main thing you have to worry about is running out of fuel. This work-in-progress (opens in new tab) demo of Meteor Storm Escape – you can buy the full game here (opens in new tab) – is a little scrappy and not particularly tactile (particularly when it comes to crashes), but developers Happy Little Aliens have nailed the aesthetic, and endowed this auto-runny racing game with a good sense of speed. As with a real car, performing dangerous mid-air stunts will help to refill your boost meter, which is essential for covering the distance between refuel points.