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

By Porpentine on December 23rd, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

LUDUM DARE LUDUM DARE LUDUM DARE LUDUM DARE LUDUM DARE LUDUM DARE

 

 

Ludum Dare 25 is over. My sleep cycle is returning to normal. I’m gaining back weight.

The theme is You Are The Villain. Some people went cartoonishly evil, others explored themes of real world oppression.

The sheer volume is overwhelming. 1326 games total. So don’t even think this is a complete list, this is just what caught our flawed, highly subjective eye and we’ll be posting unearthed gems a while longer. Take a dip for yourself if you’re inclined.

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V I L L A I N Y by chrisamaphone

Raised in a mansion with no exposure to the outside world, you bide your time and do exercises. Drawing, journal writing, and asphyxiation: the cornerstones of education. The twist is that V I L L A I N Y takes text input in a freeform way that represents the best instincts of worldbuilding–asking the player to contribute.

People are innovating in Twine well beyond mere CYOA branching and this is a great example of that.

 

 

Tiny Sorceress by Leon Arnott

An excellent companion piece to last Ludum Dare’s Terra Tam, Tiny Sorceress has you defending your lair from an invading peasant. Of course, an evil sorceress like you has the best traps and the top-notch schemes. I’m trying to think of a funnier game in the whole comp and I can’t.

 

ASMOSNOS by Mason Lindroth

Wander a planet’s surface as the servant of some kind of orbital brain-god. A fascinating trek through an alien environment set to burbling music, over far too soon.

 

 

Responsibilities by Liz Ryerson and Andi McClure

Pure exploration in a geometric Hell with eerie/throbbing music and hateful inhabitants. Glitched out fields that obscure passage, invisible paths, increasingly fragmented territory. Perfect for those who spent their childhood trying to find the cracks in games–spots where developers had neglected to erect barriers, mountains that could be climbed if you jumped in just the right way.

 

Sisyphus and the Cursed Diamonds by Manu & Wan

Take turns being the adventurer and the deadly temple in this combination of platforming and dungeon building. Arrange falling blocks, hurtling spears, and deadly spikes, kill yourself, then avoid the same obstacles.

 

 

“I Never COULD Get The Hang Of Thursdays…” by DedHedZed

Soundtracks that consist of someone enthusiastically humming on their desk mic are my weakness. The absurd story and morphing gameplay are good too. Rubbing the turtle is only the beginning of your adventure…

 

The Quite Annoying League by Pierrec

Conversational adventure game about controlling a gang composed of public transit archetypes, all annoying ones. Small talk, seat kicking, crying babies, wield their powers wisely. Too annoying and you’ll get thrown off the train, not annoying enough and your target will be happy, and we can’t have that.

 

Villain Simulator 2000 by TheCze

Jaws, axe killer, and rolling boulder simulator all in one. If you’re a good shark you get to kill someone with an axe, and if you excel at that, you evolve into your final form, an Indiana Jones-style boulder that majestically overtakes blasphemous adventurers and conveniently knows how to jump over pits.

 

 

Vixen by Bentosmile

Visual novel about bullying. I took all the worst options because I thought that was the point of the game (I’m just a puppet, I’d do anything if a video game told me to!!!)  but apparently there are multiple paths that involve not being evil. Now I feel terrible.

 

Cat Licker by Seeminglypointless

Why can’t I stop. What is this music. How many cats have I licked. It’s not enough. It’s never enough. Only death can free me.

 

Sword of Truth by Ricardo Nakamura

An evil wizard strolls through town. What he does writes the story. Are you evil or just misunderstood? Depends on whether you actually use your ability to fling balls of energy and where you fling them.

 

 

Ore Chasm by Black Ships Fill The Sky

What a massive ore chasm! It would take a very powerful mining laser to get all the precious minerals deep inside. Fortunately you can bring a friend to your ore chasm, as it supports multiplayer.

 

Illegal Crime Game by angrygeometry

Nonstop relentless crimefest in RPGMaker, a world of cops and criminals and stuff to steal. Are you a small-time crook or do you have the crime sense to roll with the big dogs?

Angrygeometry was suspended from WordPress for posting his game, which obviously he deserved, I mean it’s right there in black and white, “Illegal Crime Game”, seems pretty obvious a crime is going on. I’m just happy WordPress was there to protect me.

 

Heroes are so Annoying! by Knighty

Drop minions into a dungeon to stop invading, treasure-hungry heroes. When they encounter your creatures, the top-down strategic view switches to a JRPG-style battle screen with the ordinary roles reversed.

 

 

Bad Kitty by Aare

Shit fourteen times in this finely drawn house without any humans catching you. A cat that can shit fourteen times in a row…advanced tech.

 

Kim Jong-un’s Glorious Missile to Liberate the Nations DX by dremelofdeath

Your cursor becomes a missile and you steer it across the world toward America, a fitting gift for those capitalist scum. To accomplish this righteous task you must avoid balloons and monkeys and birds, the natural predators of missiles. Don’t give up missile!

 

Small Theft Auto by Nicolas Cannasse

A town full of people and they all have money and blood. Get their money, explode their blood, that’s city life! Use the money to buy better weapons to get more money! Ignore the blood!

 

 

Path to Death by Jeramias

Abstract tower defense where the enemy numbers flow through a series of locations. Each location is a themed skill tree, many of which affect other locations.

I like this system because your mechanical choices build narrative. Are the priests going to defend the Sanctuary Zone or flee to the Throne? Is the king a tyrant (-5 HP, +2 skillpoints) or courageous (-10 defense, +2 skillpoints)?

 

Double Tap by Sam Driver

An attractive game about a terrible and ongoing evil, with two possible choices.

The author wrote some criticism of their own game which I found a good read. I agree with what they’re saying, but I still appreciate that they brought this subject matter to Ludum Dare.

 

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And a bunch of (mostly) Twine games posted before the Ludum Dare flood. What an amazing week for Twine.

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Corrypt by Michael Brough

Crate-pushing in fungal amphibian caverns that evolves into something more. Due to a tragic fictional accident my brain is permanently fucked up and unable to progress very far in games like these, but if you like puzzles, Brough has mastery of that art.

 

One Minute to Apocalypse by Chaoclypse

Real time text adventure where the world is ending in sixty seconds. Browse the internet? Confess love to your crush? Research protective spells? UP TO YOU BUDDY

 

December 5 2012 by Courtney Stanton

Another day in Courtney Stanton’s life–waiting for a pizza, pouring vermouth, and thinking about the game industry.

Fuck you, I don’t have to be *profitable* in order to deserve a place at the table.

 

 

Iron Cohort by Swamp Maiden

A structural ASCII wasteland housing a ruined exhibit of iron sculptures, a sardonic history lesson on something that never existed but sounds absolutely intriguing. I’ve seen few take as big an interest in the spatial nature of Twine, the way passages can form cities and symbols, as Swamp Maiden, and this is my favorite game of theirs.

No men, no women, nothing inbetween. This Baker guy probably made an iron cohort of a whole bunch of iron white guys, and it took the fucking blitz to get him to make anything different.

They’re all just screaming, molten metal now. That’s pretty great.

 

 

Cove of Flies by LavosXII

Cove of Flies is a cave that leads to places that aren’t caves, a poemscape arranged along compass axis, replayable in the way running through a vast forest is replayable.

The mailman knocks once.

She slips her hand through the slot.

She lets her hand wander up the stairs.

I felt lonely when I finished playing, in a good way. The calm unfolding of the surreal lines left me feeling like I’d been dreaming.

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If you check freeindiegam.es throughout the week, you’ll see our best of 2012 lists covering categories like Story, Horror, Edutainment, and other important Video Game Genres of this Millennium. Each editor is also posting their top 10 personal favorites of the year.

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32 Comments »

  1. thristhart says:

    It is my life goal to one day get my LD entry onto this list. Someday, my friends, someday.

    • Squirrelly says:

      Haha, me too. Think I was much closer this time. At least I like my own game this time around.

    • Devenger says:

      Yes. (Oh, but for another LD like LD#21, where I wasn’t either working or ill. At least I made a game this time, but aaargh.)

  2. caddyB says:

    Oh boy. Lots of great games this time. Just as I was getting bored too! Great!

  3. Slinkyboy says:

    Played each game for 5 mins and then moved on. RPS’s first free games list had the most interesting and addictive games.

  4. SickBrick says:

    Oftop: where’s the Kickstarter Katchup this week? My game needs your money people.

  5. Ryan Huggins says:

    I really need to start actually doing these Ludum Dare events. Haha.

  6. Koozer says:

    How on Earth do you create an entire game, sound and all, in 48 hours? What tools do people use beyond an editor?

    • Loup Sombre says:

      Caffeine ?

    • Dark Acre Jack says:

      Skill & will. Making a game in 48 isn’t that difficult. Making a good game that’s worth people’s time? Ah, now there’s the rub.

    • porousnapkin says:

      bfxr helps immeasurably with sound effects: http://www.bfxr.net/

    • Sam says:

      One of the many nice things about Ludum Dare is you can usually find out a lot about how the games were made.

      Find the game’s page on Ludum Dare’s huge list. Once on the game’s page look for a link “View [name]‘s journal” and you’ll see all the posts that creator made related to this edition of the compo. Most will set out what tools they’re using at the start, and you can often get some useful insight into their process.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      It’s actually surprisingly easy! The problem is making *good* games :P

    • Devenger says:

      Unless you’re crazy-productive (which some people are, mind), you have to pick your battles. With a bit of thought, it’s not too difficult to make a game with half a dozen sprites and even less sound effects, with only a small amount of game logic that it’s satisfying to interact with. (With a bit more thought, you don’t even need sprites and sound effects.)

      LD games don’t need to have re-playability to be good entries (though they certainly can have it!) – it’s often enough to craft a good few minutes of game that brings the player through a learning process, up to a sort of ‘mastery’, possibly with or to an added thematic kick, before ending gracefully before the limitations of how you constructed the game become obvious.

  7. TychoCelchuuu says:

    Buncha good games here (Tiny Sorceress is neat) but Porpentine is being modest and leaving off her own great Ludum Dare entry, CYBERQUEEN, which does as good a job of making me feel like a villain as any video game ever has.

    • I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

      I’ve just tried this and it’s a thing of beauty. Writhing, screaming neon beauty.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well that did unspeakable things to my mindclit.

      • wu wei says:

        I don’t think any comment has made me download a game faster than this.

  8. Vlad The Impaler says:

    LUDUMDAREFACE!

  9. Mathute87 says:

    Well, gotta play something while I wait for The Monday Papers……………………

    • The Random One says:

      I’ll bet this week it’ll be The Wednesday Papers. Merry Christmas!

  10. The Greatness says:

    There’s a game set on my birthday! I have to try that.

  11. Supahewok says:

    Description for Ore Chasm: Sooooooooooo much innuendo >.<

  12. gizgastore says:

    The Quite Annoying League..I am business my site:http://www.gizga.com

  13. Muzman says:

    Totally Off, but I just noticed the big ads for Day Z. It’s more polite and practical than a big picture of someone giving the finger to The WarZ, but just not as much fun somehow.

  14. ducttapegames says:

    I was hoping we’d make it in this time, I’m choosing to think we just barely missed out.

    Play our entry here

  15. TheCze says:

    My game is on that list!
    Best christmas present ever :)

  16. Jackablade says:

    Today I learned that porpentine is an archaic name for a porcupine. I am unsure of how this information will be of value to me in future, by I feel better for knowing it nonetheless.

  17. Fenix says:

    One Minute to Apocalypse was the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Awesome job!

    • Chaoclypse says:

      You are obviously a fine and respectable gentleman.

      Seriously though, thanks! :D

  18. Clavus says:

    This was the first Ludum Dare I took part in. Made a game called Obliterate the City:
    http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-25/?action=preview&uid=18043

    My friends discovered that it has emergent co-op if you plug in a second mouse.

  19. GValer says:

    old indie games look much better today and it’s sad