Live Free, Play Hard: The Week In Free Indie Games

By RPS on August 19th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

Porpentine of freeindiegam.es returns with another round-up of cost-free treasures discovered on the internet over the last few days. Here’s last week’s, if you missed it. What have you got for us this time, Porpentine?

What if Pokemon, Twitter, and Jet Set Radio hung out. Dystopian farming RPG. Line up four men with swords to make them explode. The tiger is extra health. The hundred day game.

Zineth

Zineth is a game where you skate around gigantic structures and landscapes, tweet, and play competitive Tamagotchi. Zineth is deserts. Zineth is canyons. Zineth is speed.

The tutorial is actually pretty useful for this one. Zineth was made for an Xbox 360 controller but keyboard and mouse worked fine for me.

Press Q to reverse time, rolling back to motion and freedom and sky, far from dreaded inertia. None of that messing up a trick and spending awkward intervals clunking around in a ditch or waiting for a Lakitu to fish you up and deposit you back on the track again. Zineth is lucid dreaming.

My favorite part is connecting to Twitter ingame. This lets you post a shot of your monster, a picture (a wonderful wish-you-were-here way to post screenshots), or Personal Info (randomized nonsense). Personal Info is the best–”Now I’m Fizzy Magic. I’m scared of exotic depression even though I believe graphic skin must be a joke.” Talking to other people on Twitter is filtered through the same nonsense–”The wife calls me Fate Brick. I could do without tiny ratios ;). total tubs are my first choice.” How did it know…

The only other people in the world are standing around addicted to their monster game. Fling zines at them about how they should put their videogames down and go explore the vast majesty of the desert.

Kevin Rudd Farming Generations

Kevin Rudd Farming Generations (also known as Krudd) has some Earthbound, some Harvest Moon, makes me think of Four Winds Fantasy DX or something in the spirit of thecatamites, but plays with far more restraint than you’d think.

Times are tough on the Rudd farm. The Government isn’t doing shit about the Ikytu. You haven’t seen one of your sons for four years, he’s living the city life. Things are coming to a head. Someone wants you to fail. If it isn’t some vandals, it’s a man from the government. Hell, it might just be a trashbag with teeth that does you in.

The music is really fucking good, especially the farm music, an ominous build-up of see-sawing synth-string, drum thumps, and hoots. The dialogue is funny and deadpan. I like the story because it never leaps to say HERE’S SOME WEIRD SHIT, magicdweedoo incorporates the weird and the mundane with the same flow. Surreality with gravity. I like that I can’t predict where the story is going. The world is doing its own thing.

Certain interactions aren’t always intuitive. Walking can be tedious until you learn the lay of the city. Not that having to familiarize yourself with an area through exploration doesn’t have its charm. The bottom line is that I was willing to be occasionally bored by Krudd in order to be entertained by it. To save you trouble: Sometimes you’ll have to open your inventory and select an item to do things in the world, the hatch key for example. You might need to jump on a chair to escape from danger.

I like the way you get potion stuff: Talk to your cow and get some Vril, pull up some weeds and plant crops during downtime, or play some basketball with the bums hanging in your backyard.

Encounter

Encounter is a puzzle game wrapped in an RPG battle. Clerics, wizards, fighters, and heroes are arranged in rows. Click arrows hovering over each row to trigger combos. More than one of the same class in a row and that’s a combo. Clerics heal, wizards blast the entire battlefield, fighters brutally shank a single target, and heroes can complete any combo. As you level up you pick new combos for your repertoire. Encounter is addictive pruning, analyzing rows to shift glorious pillars of murder men into place.

This is a marathon, wave after wave until you win or die. You’ll learn to treasure your combos, to cradle your perfect row of mages for the moment a wave of turtles with machetes comes pouring in. Each row is a decision–I could pick this nice 2x of clerics but oh there’s another pair of them near some fighters and that gives me the single-target damage I need and if I do that it’ll slide a mage over and give me a 4x to bring some fucking pain to these dirtbag wolves.

Watch out for rats with books and a saintly mien. They’ll turn your soldiers into dudes with pink shirts who stand around being useless. You can tell because they have a Skull icon. Also the difference between no combo/weak combo/huge combo is enormous–I found that combining the Boost power-up with 4x Clerics was vital to staying alive.

Play to watch huge numbers explode your enemies without a terrible plot sandwiched in between. I got to level 50 before I died.

The game’s in Japanese but you’ll figure it out. Plus someone kindly translated it here so you really have no excuse.

Deepak Fights Robots

If you go to Tom Sennet’s Twitter, his background is an image that says “Don’t hate the player, hate the game that wastes his/her time with, among other things: backtracking, save points, cutscenes, achievements, loading screens, tutorials, grinding, menus, and/or having to learn what 16 different buttons do.” This is Deepak Fights Robots.

Arrow keys to leap around a single wrapping screen of pulsing hand-drawn graphics and grab giant atoms and avoid enemies and then you turn into a super hero and the hunter becomes the exploded and some dopey little dude flies you to the next level.

Deepak is like stepping into a rave drawn by a sentient copy of MS Paint that wants you to be happy but also wants you to get some exercise. Then it becomes more, and more, and more. Enemies that mimic your movements or spew screws that tumble across the level to crush you. Sometimes there’s a cow, or a spring. Extra health is represented by riding on a tiger or a bird. The psychedelic sitar soundtrack by Family FUNKtion and the Sitar Jams is perfect for this warm ride.

The first enemy apologizes and encourages you after killing you. As if to say, we all know this is a game, we’re all in this together, me to give you a challenge, you to get past me and see more of the game. We’re all actors.

VESPER.5

In VESPER.5 you control a monk in a strange cavern. Each keystroke is a step. One step per day over one hundred days. The creator talks about making a ritual of it. After the sensory dilation we’ve experienced throughout the history of gaming, here is something entirely minimal and meditative. Your daily pocket of time in this world that no walkthrough, review, or Let’s Play has touched, alien and pristine.

This week’s image courtesy of ‘golem.’ Why not send us other pics for this column? 600×250, please.

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35 Comments »

  1. RobF says:

    Deepak! Everybody play Deepak! It’s Bubble Bobble for the 21st Century and everything about it is smiles.

  2. golem09 says:

    Last week I sent you that picture and told you that a version with a height of 250 pixels wasn’t possible.
    Then I made one anyway.
    http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c53/golem09/freegamesRPSver2.jpg

  3. Jackablade says:

    It’s like a book of haikus glued together with jam.

  4. Frank says:

    “has some Earthbound, some Harvest Moon, makes me think of Four Winds Fantasy DX or something in the spirit of thecatamites, but plays with far more restraint than you’d think.”

    huh?

  5. SkittleDiddler says:

    “Hand-drawn graphics” is apparently an indie trend now. Ugh.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      There are two ways to look at things like this. One is to say ‘trends are bad!’ and be grumpy. The other is to say ‘that’s nice, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts’.
      I’m sure when it’s over they’ll come up with something ever more horrible and we’ll all be longing for the good old days of hand drawn graphics. :)

      • The Random One says:

        Or maybe you could say, “I don’t like this trend, and hope it’ll pass quickly, but will take care not to judge games prematurely because it has an art style I don’t personally enjoy.” That’d also work.

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    • Totally heterosexual says:

      How is it a bad trend at all?

      • RobF says:

        I dunno, it’s no more or less “a trend” than 3d graphics, pixel art, abstract glowing shapes, text only, cartoony art, faux realism, cut and paste graphics… it’s just one of many things being done in a pool of lots of things.

      • Odexios says:

        I suppose he, just like me, finds it pretty hard on the eye. I actually prefer pixel art or text only better than this; can’t argue on tastes, I guess.

        • Nehacoo says:

          Personally, judging just from some of the screenshots above, I’d say it’s definitely hard on the eye. It’s not that it’s hand-drawn that’s the problem, it’s that it’s high saturation and messy lines without anti-aliasing often on low resolutions. Pretty much like my mspaint drawings from when I was 9 years old.

    • Porpentine says:

      Hand-drawn graphics are as much a trend as…hand-drawn anything. People draw things with their hands. The style has a lot of personality and when you’re developing alone (handling music, graphics, coding, testing, design, etc) , it’s a good way to actually finish a game ever.

      • soldant says:

        I think it’s a commentary on the style, not the literal method.

  6. Arathain says:

    I love Encounter. Very clever. It obviously reminds of Puzzle Quest and M&M: Clash of Heroes, but is very much its own thing.

  7. gschmidl says:

    Unfortunately the author of VESPER.5 is using the computer clock, so the good old date setting trick works, if you’re patient enough.

    • brog says:

      It’s possible to cheat in most games. I don’t see that this is a problem.

      • gschmidl says:

        It’s not a problem but to make it so easy undermines the experience the author is shooting for. Of course, you could just say the cheater’s ruining it for themselves…

  8. rockman29 says:

    OMG, Deepak is the greatest game ever. Proud to be South Asian! :D

  9. Slinkyboy says:

    Encounter GOTY. Took me awhile to understand what each ability does but I got to understanding the game and I was able to get to the level where u fight creatures that Polymorphed your men into children.

    Its hard to choose priorities when you have those Polymorphers who ruin your combos, the atk up mages, and healers together… Anyone mind telling me what’s after them? I’d love to hear about it.

    • twig_reads says:

      Phew, it took alot of time, but I finished Encounter. At the end you’re going to find even more bothersome mobs then those that polymorph. Namely mobs that attack twice or even thrice, hit like a truck and then there are healers… basically, you really need block to survive later game. I’ve won with build that was consentrated on block, but you need a stun too, to keep single opponents stunlocked while also collecting blocks. I also took both “party” feats, as they usually cleared the whole room in single use with other upgrades.

      I’ve tried different tactics too, but none were as capable.

    • twig_reads says:

      And you really have to use both boost and scramble. It’s actually quite tough game.

      • Slinkyboy says:

        Yep, I finally took out the polymorphs! I’m so excited! Thanks for your advice. I went with easy to get to combos and hoping they get me through the whole game. Right now I’m at:

        Block, Block, Stun Edge, Divine(testing), All-Attack, Heal Power, and Extra Attack 3 Combo.

        So far they’ve been good to me! I’m at 6458 HP after i beat the foxy polymorphs. This time, none of them were able to touch me thanks for 2x blocks and Stun, lol.

        Can’t wait to beat this.

        • twig_reads says:

          I’m glad I could help =) And I am still not sure, what divine does =D Good luck with your struggle!

  10. Geen says:

    Holy shit, Zineth is amazing. I mean, really freaking amazing. I would pay a good 30 bucks for it, but it’s free! So play it.

    • LTK says:

      I’d say there’s not enough content to charge 30 bucks, but it’s definitely worth charging for. I’d put down five bucks for it in a heartbeat! They really ought to add a Donate button to their webpage.

  11. SouperMattie says:

    Errr… Kevin Rudd Farming Generations? Kevin Rudd? KRudd?

    It’s kinda weirding me out that nowhere on this page, nor on the websites that I can find related to the game, does anyone mention that Kevin Rudd is in fact a real person who happens to be the previous Prime Minister of Australia.

    I haven’t played the game yet so I dunno if it’s a tongue-in-cheek reference or just an honest (if unlikely) coincidence. “Government” is mentioned a couple times in the description so perhaps that’s a clue.

    Comments? Thoughts? No? Oh well, just me then. Carry on, you British RPS types…

    • yrrnn says:

      Yeah, I found it odd that it wasn’t mentioned in the article. I’m not sure if they didn’t know or if it’s simply assumed knowledge.

    • P7uen says:

      Kevin Rudd is army slang for standing-up buggery.

  12. P7uen says:

    I know this was said before on the MOBA article about RPS writings, and I don’t want to be an old grumblepants, but amusing and creative swearing is wonderful, random swearing is not so enjoyable to read (in my humble opinion).

    Let’s keep it classy, chaps!

  13. Slinkyboy says:

    I couldn’t beat the Bonus level in Encounter ;_;

    I should of gotten Party combo as the other pal said. Oh well ;)

  14. Shadrach says:

    Deepak is absolutely brilliant, the most fun I’ve had in a game in a long time, challenging without being punishing, with lovely music and visuals.

    Zineth looks awesome, and since I’m looking forward to Jet Set Radio this will be a good warm-up, although from a short play it might be a bit frustrating to control properly with a pad.

    The other are… well not my cup of tea really…