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

By Porpentine on January 13th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

 

Lots of games about being trapped in tight areas for some reason, guess it’s just this horrid zeitgeist. Twine memorial.

 

CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE NOW A KOTAKU COMMENTER by Emily Gera

An eloquent riposte by Emily Gera that was a long time coming. Applies to most comment pages, yeah, but the specific spark that birthed it was the “…the men’s rights activists that reared their head following #1reasonwhy”.

Shit, a woman is doing things on the internet, let’s get in our clown car and bounce on down to the comment section because by God it’s time to Have An Opinion, because we’re required by law to have an opinion on everything we see no matter how unfamiliar we are with the subject and not having an opinion would be embarrassing because it would be an admission of being less than completely aware of all knowledge in the universe.

Ah, I’m in love with this. A fine diversion until the day we finally realize our global feminazi empire of estrogenated biodomes where we manufacture evil robots to roam the earth and castrate all males or whatever.

 

 

Caesar’s Day Off by Majus

A series of important Caesar moments that YOU control and all it takes is ONE finger. Some of the best visual wit I’ve ever seen in a game, like playing a cartoon.

Hardcore strategies like: up or down? Don’t fuck this up.

 

self portrait AM by gods17

From the creator of last week’s MASTABA SNOOPY, a surreal stream of consciousness (which can backfire a lot of the time unless it’s interesting, which this is) in the face of insomnia. Tortured and raw and real, a naked mind hallucinating in the dark.

I spin my web in jungle trees and catch explorers riding logs down the river. I make a game of it – how many pith helmets can I collect? The answer, of course, is like a billion.

 

 

Savior by mtarzaim

The idyllic village and the evil boss dungeon and nothing in-between, a condensed version of the JRPG experience.

But winning is not so obvious. The tropes and mechanics of JRPGS will not funnel you along a predictable route–instead they are elements of a puzzle. Every action resets the world in a flare of static. Each new interaction you discover gives you a point. As time goes on the inhabitants become restless, more aware of their prison, even violent.

Not much scarier than being an NPC with self-awareness. The rote becomes increasingly unbearable, forced to stand in one place and say the same things and you cannot die of your own volition because the code that makes you is immortal. It makes sense to kill the player character, if you can identify them. Maybe whatever godlike agency animates them will fill you instead, freeing you from your village. Superstition, sure, but it’s all we’ve got.

 

 

Spotlight by themushroomsound, Sergey Mohov, NoodleSpoon

Spotlight is like walking through a frozen play, a ring of light with props and literally wooden actors.

The play aesthetic works because instead of striving for realism, Spotlight works within the artificiality that 3D games struggle against as they straddle visceral out of the box spatiality and the burden of verisimilitude.

Everything is sepia and the actors are talking about the past, your past? You can walk off set but the endless dark is eery. Nothing out there.

So you return and figure out that the main verb in Spotlight is clicking on objects. This clicking feels like a fragile navigation of memory. Failure blurs your vision, which is confusing because we’re trying to click on the right thing, whatever that is. Our entropic clicking coheres narrative through trial and error, layers of muted brown softly overlapping and building.