Wobble Jump is a free, retro LCD game from a parallel dimension

I can picture myself in the back of a car, aged 10, playing a hell of a lot of Wobble Jump: a fully realised, retro-styled LCD game that has surely arrived from another dimension. You'll remember LCD games, probably, if you're over 30; if you don't, they were essentially digital watches hammered into the shape of a handheld system, but where you could only play one game (so it better be a good one).

Wobble Jump, a free game made by skilled pixel artist and developer castpixel, really captures the look, feel and sound of old LCD systems, despite existing only as a digital browser game. With its anime stylings, I doubt it would have been released outside of Japan, but I can see it in a gaming shop in Akihabara in the early 1990s—and you could have done worse, in that fictional scenario, than to pick it up.

With one button to play with, your job in this fairly addictive and musically catchy game is to hit it at the correct time, to climb an increasingly teetering totem of platforms. The girl jumps automatically, and then a new platform shoots across the screen, under her feet. By pressing the button, you cause it to stop, hopefully in a position where it will catch her, over and again. If it doesn't, or if she's just wobbling on the precipice, she'll fall, and you'll have to start her Jenga-like climb over from the beginning.

It can be a bit frustrating, yes, when you're just getting to grips with it, but mainly due to the slight delay between your button-pushing and the platform coming to a halt. I don't doubt this is done for authenticity, in order to be more like the original LCD games, and of course you can begin to factor it into your decision-making. But I'm still blaming that delay for most of my failures, in this cute and convincing game that takes an old format and melds it with a fresh idea.

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.