Tiny Tales is an epic, free adventure set in a teeny world

Is it technically an adventure if you don't really travel all that far, say the distance from your doorstep to your local, a few streets away? Tiny Tales is a full-fat...well, maybe a semi-skimmed adventure that just so happens to take place on a single screen. You can see its ominous mountain from the opening village, and in fact it's only about a minute away, once you've fought and puzzled through every obstacle standing in your way.

That one-screen world is this free game's selling...er, talking point, and in practice it's pretty remarkable, being able to see the tougher enemies go about their business, while you're still clomping about in the safety of the intro area. I love the ant-farm/diorama-esque nature of Tiny Tales' top-down world, which fits wonderfully with the super-low-res pixel art, and overall air of 1980s fantasy roleplaying.

There's no music, and the collision detection is a bit touchy (this appears to have been fixed for the latest build), but even so I found this to be a surprisingly meditative experience, as I battled monsters, levelled up, solved puzzles, and found new tools to gradually explore more of my surroundings. There's a lot crammed into Tiny Tales' vibrant kingdom, more than you might imagine based on a quick scan of its deceptively compact world.

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.