Live Free, Play Hard: The Week’s Finest Free Indie Games

By Porpentine on November 25th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

Fuck this dungeon. More like tower DON’Tfense. Dweegarian smectoids. Mass Effect as a text-based strategy dating sim. Enough run-on sentences to last the next thousand years.

Fastness – Orbital Circuitry Defense by Rami Ismail

“… game inspired by the pillars of tower defense: building things to slow down / kill enemies, managing a limited resource and waves built around combining enemy types.”

Fastness is unrecognizable as tower defense in the best way possible. This is what I was looking for in Fuck This Jam–immediacy out of a slew of stagnant genres.

Fastness has a dual meaning–speed, obviously, but more obscurely it describes a fortress or refuge. In a word the gameplay is encapsulated: this is a fortress that needs constant scrambling maintenance.

Everything comes down to energy.

Red dots are hurtling toward the core. You need barriers to protect it. To erect barriers or heal the core, you need energy. Energy is at the rim of the circle.

To return to the core, you have to navigate through the barriers you created. Your defenses and the level architecture are one and the same. The tighter your defenses, the trickier it becomes to manoeuvre. *huffs fumes from a bag with GAMEPLAY written on the side in marker*

Everything amazes: the controls are practically sensual (sliding along the rim picking up energy, zig-zagging and rotating to build barriers), the music and soundwork (epic depressurizations and thumps and sonar blips of incoming enemies, everything pulsating with the sonic promise of a last stand at the edge of the galaxy), the way you erect a maze of shields and smugly sit back

then those red dots get through somehow and everything is crumbling and you race back to the core in a panic and maybe you hit a shield (which shatters it) and you just made things worse

or maybe you reach the core and throw yourself between it and the red dots and start to spin a shield into existence but you underestimated how much energy you have and you just piss out a pathetic little quarter of a circle and the red dots, the red dots–!!!

I’m reading that Fastness isn’t even finished. I love this and it can only get better.

moving away by finny

One of the most personal Twine games I’ve played, an illustrated disentanglement of the feelings behind moving away. There are plenty of counterfeit personal narratives out there, mere outlines supposed to make us feel something, soft and indistinct products. This is sharp and in focus.

Moving away is specific. Specific words and specific mythology, a human history informing each line, lines that feel snatched from real conversations and the litanies of shame that bounce around inside our heads with seemingly limitless endurance.  Everyone has history, but not everyone permits it to inform their work. Not that I blame them, because sharing is a vulnerable act. I’m glad finny shared this.

Dweegarian Smectoids…

Puzzle Popstar by Logicow

A prismatic puzzler where you flick, reflect, and refract light to destroy balls. When all the balls are destroyed, you win. That is the world Puzzle Popstar posits and we must accept it.

Each ball has a different rule. The most common rule for a ball is to be destroyed if an arc of light passes through it, if that arc of light comes from a like-colored source.

Argh–how can I describe how satisfying the little mouse flick is–it makes a bubbling sound! The arc of light flings from your cursor with the sweetest little delay like I’m slinging a rainbow!

This game is like candy. Candy-coated candied music candy colors. In the future all architecture will be designed like this game and we will travel by turning into pure light and the traffic coordinators will be puzzle masterminds to whom we entrust our lives.

52 by Adriaan de Jongh

52 is hyper-minimal interactive fiction, a story told in a changing line of text and a falling number, about which nothing else can be said except, play it.

Devil’s Chord by mcc

WHAT IS THIS MACHINE

Devil’s Chord is the secret garden at the heart of your computer where everything is machine-beautiful and alive. I’m sitting here pressing buttons to weave tones and symbols and geometry. Now I’m listening, hands off the keyboard, because I’ve made the symbols slow and trickling and the sound is soothing.

Once my cyborg implants have been accepted and I reach full transhumanism I will be able to fully interface with this game.

Love Interest by Roshirai

Love Interest is Mass Effect as a text-based strategy dating sim where you assign crew members to missions, pump their stats, and try to get laid. You’ll have to imagine the awkward sex cutscenes yourself.

The fate of the universe balanced against getting a date. Is it worth staving off galactic oblivion if a tough mission makes Generic Soldier hate you? These are all questions we must ask ourselves on the day to day.

Undo the End by Disco Fish

The world is ending and you hold a device that can restore it for a few seconds with the tap of a button. Ashy ruins become pristine city, torn corpses become healthy businessmen, and most importantly, the obstacles in one plane are absent in the other.

What a neat trick, atmosphere and platforming conveyed in the same stroke. Can you Undo the End?

Fuck This Dungeon by rylgh

PUNCH PUNCH KILL PUNCH KILL PUNCH KILL DRINK POTION PUNCH KILL TEAR GRAB DAGGER STAB STAB PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH DESTROY POISON KILL STAB STAB KILL STAB STAB KILL STAB PUNCH KILL

Fuck This Dungeon is a line of orcs running at you and you punch them and grab their daggers and you chop off their hands and stab their throats and you grab potions because you’ve been poisoned and you know you’ve been poisoned not just because those fuckers taunt you about it but because you can look at the veins on your arms swollen with green and everyone knows all poison is colored green.

THIS GAME HAS PURITY OF ETHOS AND THAT ETHOS IS VIOLENCE

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25 Comments »

  1. Syra says:

    There’s also this awesome fuck this jam boardgame…

    http://www.wolfire.com/desperate-gods

    • LionsPhil says:

      It is wonderful, if a bit awkward.

      Needs a way to slip cards underneath a deck without all the faff of picking it up. Doing this in real life you can use two hands.

      • Syra says:

        Yeah I agree with that, and there’s a few unexplained rules…but would love some real board games to be represented like this, I often want to play them but people are so far away…

        • LionsPhil says:

          We hit:
          – The ultimate sword says reroll two attack dice, but we never found anything that GIVES you a second attack dice
          – One of the top-level monsters can ultimately never die until players get bored of resurrecting it and choose to lose
          – A few things are ambiguous, like exactly when you can use items, and if the helmet’s “battle” damage means any monster card that might cause damage (we thought yes)
          - When you get “all the money from limbo”, where’s limbo? The bank?

          Also the game itself is kind of a bit balanced oddly with money, since it’s easy to lose it, but harder to get it over time as the easy monsters get killed. We ended up getting most of our equipment from the junk heap, and when one guy got the magic combination that let him get repeatable sixes with a very low chance of losing his items, he was basically our only hope to end the game by taking out the top-tier monsters.

          But although it was dragging on a bit after two hours, I did spend those two hours smiling!

    • -Switch- says:

      I enjoyed that game

  2. Bhazor says:

    “They spend the night in your quarters
    Differences in alien courtship and mating rituals make
    the experience… interesting. After about three hours,
    you’re both fairly certain you’ve had sex. Though you
    won’t know for certain until the swelling goes down

    You take solace in the fact that whatever happens on the
    mission, you’ll at least have this.

    Whatever it was. Probably sex.”

    Love interest really is quite brilliant.
    Though I think it’s unfair how Bioware get mocked for their romance options. They’re usually optional and can be quite interesting stories exploring an interesting character’s personality. As well as their panties.

    What Bioware should be mocked for is *everything else*.

    • Phantoon says:

      I mock them because the romance options seem to be the only thing on display in the game.

      Also, I heard Dr Chakwas wasn’t a romance option, when she’s clearly the most sane member of the team. What’s up with that? You can holosex the ship, but you can’t ta- I’m stopping this train of thought right here before I go any further, but leaving the words here so that others may know my shame.

      Even I am not going down that road.

      • NathanH says:

        I think Dr. Chakwas has no serious personality flaw, making her an unacceptable Bioware romance option.

        • Low Life says:

          What’s the serious personality flaw of Garrus? He’s too awesome?

          • nekoneko says:

            I think he pretty much had them worked out in ME3 but in the second one he was borderline suicidal psychopathic.

            Also he doesn’t really tend to think into the future any further than where his bullets might go.

          • NathanH says:

            Garrus is a dangerous vigilante, at least in the first two games. Such a character comes across well in fiction, because a) vigilantes appeal to our sense of romance and in fiction we can ignore that they’re not exactly good people and b) the writers can always make sure they comes out OK. He’s like the stereotypical cop who doesn’t play by the rules (with added brutality). In cop shows they always manage to come out on top, because it’s fiction and completely controlled by the writer, but in reality you rather want your cops to play by the rules.

            A great fictional character but in practice you wouldn’t want him anywhere near a position of authority or responsibility.

  3. Phantoon says:

    Fuck This Dungeon sounds like “Go play Hotline Miami again”.

  4. DiscoFish says:

    Undo the End by Jorgaselv

    What the?! This is my game! And I have a contract with AddiсtingGames an exclusive license. This man had no right to load the game on another portal, and in its own name!

    Original link here – http://www.addictinggames.com/action-games/undo-the-end-game.jsp

    • LTK says:

      Your game is mentioned nowhere on this page or in the Fuck This Jam submissions. The name you provide doesn’t exist on the internet except in your comment.

      Is this some kind of manipulative attempt at self-promotion?

      • Gilead says:

        The game is mentioned in the article. Isn’t it? It’s near the end, above the picture of the monster about to get punched.

      • DiscoFish says:

        What are you talking about? Please look closely at the page and you’ll see this:

        Undo the End by Jorgaselv

        The world is ending and you hold a device that can restore it for a few seconds with the tap of a button. Ashy ruins become pristine city, torn corpses become healthy businessmen, and most importantly, the obstacles in one plane are absent in the other.

        What a neat trick, atmosphere and platforming conveyed in the same stroke. Can you Undo the End?

        • Porpentine says:

          Thanks for letting us know, I’m sad to hear that happened–I’ve updated the information

          • Khalan says:

            The link to the game still points to jorgesalv’s upload

          • Bhazor says:

            No the article links to Free Indie Games (website of the articles author) which now links to Disco Fish’s original.

      • Durkonkell says:

        Um…

        Actually, after a cursory examination it does appear that DiscoFish is the original creator of Undo the End (which IS mentioned on this page under “Undo the End” strangely enough). It’s uploaded on AddictingGames (I hate the name of that website) under his name on 05/04/12. The version linked in this article was uploaded to Kongregate on 24/11/12.

        Needs looking into. Nicking someone’s entire game isn’t good.

  5. DiscoFish says:

    You can see this game in my portfolio – http://works.discofish.ru/archives/89 (portfolio is still in development). As proof I can provide more links.

  6. TAPETRVE says:

    Fastness rocks my smelly socks. It’s like a different take on Missile Command. Hell, it could’ve easily been a Vectrex game. Love it.

  7. muskieratboi says:

    FUCK THIS DUNGEON HAS GIVEN ME CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME AND I LOVE EVERY GOD-DAMN MINUTE OF IT. IT’S AN ACCURATE SIMULATION BECAUSE YOUR HANDS WOULD HURT LIKE FUCK TOO IF YOU WERE PUNCHING AND STABBING ORCS FOR 20 MINUTES.

    I GOT 51.

  8. jalewagger says:

    These games are having more fun to play.