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

By Porpentine on February 3rd, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

THIS WEEK: 700 year old Tibetan edutainment. Sauce noir. Interactive friction. Femme Super Hexagon.

 

Super Puzzle Platform Plus by Andrew Morrish

Super Puzzle Platform Plus is a game about tensions. You want to shoot touching blocks of the same color to get big points but at the same time there are spikes below and blocks raining from above. The ground keeping you from falling to your death is full of precious gems…what a dilemma…

Things get tricky with cannon blocks that shoot projectiles, dynamite blocks waiting for you to slip and fall on them, and so on. To destroy these, you have to shoot an adjacent block, which gets harder to pull off as the terrain gets increasingly chaotic.

So much action in such a tight space, requiring reflex and planning alike to survive.

 

Surgeon Simulator 2013 by Tom Jackson, James Broadley, Jack Good, Luke Williams

Look. I think taking five minutes to manipulate the hammer in a massaging motion back and forth across his chest before suddenly slipping and smashing open his rib cage, sending his right lung flying across the room, is a damn good start.

If you find yourself doing badly, watch this excellent video to see how a real professional does it in front of a live audience.

 

Proke by pouchmouse

Race to build a tower by filling in the blanks on word fragments. The longer you stick with one route, the more combo you rack up, so evaluating which one has the most potential is key, and so is knowing when to switch.

Letter bubbles float by, rewarding you with points if you use them in a word before they disappear.

 

 

Heart the Beat by Nico Tuason

I get why Terry posted this. Heart the Beat is like femme Super Hexagon or something. Orient yourself in a brutal pink geometry zone throbbing in time to the beat, big crunchy glitter music jaws grinding out your arena.

Getting coins and avoiding walls is a lot harder than the first few seconds will lead you to believe because the level starts rotating and the controls change to reflect that.

No death, you just lose your combo multiplier, which is the worst possible fate that a True Gamer can suffer.

 

 

Davy Dreams of Flying by David Pittman

A dream about flying. I don’t have those very often, so this game can be my dream. I fly past a car and this is incorporated into the narrative. There are distant stars. I fly higher.

If you aren’t feeling the half-tone, there’s an option to turn it off and enjoy seamless fluffy clouds. Five minutes of weightless escapism.

 

 

Never Have I Ever by Molly Carroll and Ashton Raze

Conversational hypertext powered by the core mechanic of the party game never have I ever. Someone says, never have I ever done [activity]. If you did, take a drink. Teasey fun game that punishes failure with inebriation.

I like the way they use this format to talk to the player directly, drawing on their actual history. There have been some good games that chat with the player, but this one gets real, real personal. Ever been drunk with someone who started off friendly but ended up getting kind of scary? Yeah.

 

Hero Room by Rocketlex

I had a smile the whole time playing this. Self-aware fantasy RPG mumbling all over the place as it creates itself.

Gets way more in depth than I suspected based on the opening feeling of improvisation. Multiple endings, an epic duel with a witch, and the most unreliable narrator ever.

 

 

The Great Work by Nifflas

From the creator of Knytt Stories and the recently released Knytt Underground comes The Great Work, another installment of Nifflas’ peaceful exploratory platforming. A soothing wander through wet tunnels of subterranean grass and drifting motes, searching for alchemical reagents.

 

Fuck That Guy by Benji Bright

Fuck That Guy is a special night where every possibility leads you to a hot gay fantasy. This is good erotica, and I say that because each scene stands apart with fine details, little quirks of personality and environment that get you immersed without getting in the way of getting off. The fantasies have good variety too, ranging from dark and kinda scary to cute and playful.

Still, are we ever getting a game where you can play as a straight protagonist? Sounds unbelievable, yeah, but a hundred years ago, it was illegal to ride giant babies into battle, and now look at how much things have changed. 2013, believe.

 

 

 

Dog of Dracula by Team Batsu

Dog of Dracula is a white-knuckle thrill ride into the darkest part of the human psyche that will leave you seeing red by the time you’re blue in the face with the tremendous challenges of this nonstop one-stop edge of your seat hard-boiled condiment noir visual novel.

Life is hard since sauce was illegalized. Only your sentient can of seductive soda keeps you on the brink of emotional survival as you run your undead groomer business. Liches need combing, but is it worth it?

I really felt this game on a deep level because I like sauce, y’know? When the protagonist was talking about people being sad because they don’t have sauce, I thought to myself, yeah, not having sauce IS sad. Barbeque sauce, special sauce, ketchup, thousand island, ranch, sweet and sour, mayo, salsa, soy, these are all part of the rich tapestry of our lives and that’s what this game is ultimately about. And friendship. Don’t forget friendship.

 

Rebirth: The Tibetan Game of Liberation by Sakya Pandita, interleaper

I don’t usually get to credit dudes from 700 years ago when I’m posting freeindiegames stuff. This is a Twine port of an ancient Tibetan boardgame about the cycle of reincarnation.

This boardgame was devised in its original form by the Tibetan Buddhist theologian Sakya Pandita in the early 13th century CE…it uses the form of a simple die-governed race game to model the physical and metaphysical geography of the world as understood in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology, and the stages of enlightenment or initiation by which one approaches Nirvana. The game board itself can be considered a mandala.

Rebirth is a simple but informative game full of evocative options like descending into Bondage Hell or becoming a hungry ghost.

On a roll of 1, the time is right to emanate oneself into the world to bring the Dharma among humans.

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39 Comments »

  1. Gpig says:

    I played Dog of Dracula last night. I really enjoyed it. It’s not too long and it hits a lot of the right notes. Mainly ringtone notes.

    I also played Westerado last night and that’s probably a game that deserves a WIT. It’s a big game.

    I still need to play The Great Work and Red Rogue, maybe tomorrow.

  2. JB says:

    Watching Surgeon Simulator makes me want to play Envirobear again. I think I might just go and do that.

    • Bhazor says:

      Envirobear is one of the few games I’d class as a true comedy game. Not a game with jokes, not a game with funny writing but a game which was just laugh out loud funny to play purely because of the fundemental mechanics.

      I can’t think of many other games that fit that definition. I wish more did.

      • Adam Smith says:

        Had a great conversation with Arrowhead along exactly the lines of your post at the Paradox Con, Bhazor. There are games with comedic writing, but there are few games that PLAY comedically. I’d put Magicka in that group – described it to the designer as an ‘improvised farce’ game, or something along those lines.

        I find it fascinating that ‘horror’ is understood as a game genre and yet ‘adventure’ can mean anything from broad comedy to psychological drama. Game genres are so often defined by the things that the player does (not the character) rather than the things that happen.

      • Low Life says:

        I just wanted to pop in and mention Octodad, that game’s damn ridiculous.

        • The Random One says:

          Yeah, Octodad is the prime example, because if games want to have humour come from mechanics, it needs to be slapstick, because the only thing games can do without constant intervention is physics. Hence Octodad, QWOP, Realistic Summer Sports Simulator, Sumotori Dreams, et al.

      • LionsPhil says:

        That was brilliant. Reached year four before the lack of fish was my undoing, and I died beset by badgers, bees, and boulders.

  3. Deadly Habit says:

    I’ve been sold on Dog of Dracula. Oh god what am I in for…

  4. Tretiak says:

    A couple of recommendations:

    Personal Trip to the Moon
    http://indieplague.blogspot.com/2013/01/personal-trip-to-moon-2012.html

    Fracuum (by Closure dev)
    http://indieplague.blogspot.com/2013/02/fracuum-2012.html

    • The Random One says:

      I played Personal Trip to the Moon about a year ago and second it, it’s a beautiful little thing.

  5. Bhazor says:

    As much as I like, some, TWINE games it’s definitely good to see more variety this week.

  6. x3m157 says:

    Alright, does anyone else think that Surgeon Simulator 2013 was at least partially inspired by “Meet the Medic”?

    Looks like an awesome game, I can’t wait to try it out!

    • trout says:

      well, the controls are cutting edge

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s got a horrible bug where if it ever loses focus, the damn mouse capture breaks, so it beceomes even less possible to complete since you’ll be clicking on random things outside the window.

      I’d managed to empty the chest cavity without mortally wounding the patient, too. >:/

      Edit: Ah, there we go; rating A++!

  7. JFS says:

    This “Never Have I Ever” game is disturbing.

    • Phantoon says:

      Yeah, it goes into murder accusations pretty fast!

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I found it interesting how presumptuous it gets. Maybe intended to be funny or shocking but it gets pretty annoying. May be okay if you’re not taking it seriously, but then wouldn’t that defeat the point?

  8. Seraph says:

    I just finished The Great Work last night and definitely recommend it – I’ll be picking up Knytt Underground for sure. I did have one small problem with it – dialogue is advanced and the inventory is opened and closed with the space bar; habitually I’d hit Esc to exit the inventory, but that kicks you out of the game with nary an exit prompt. Fortunately, the game saves your progress room by room, so I was always able to get right back into things, but I must have done this more than 10 times which got a bit frustrating. Otherwise, The Great Work is well and truly a Nifflas game, what else needs to be said :)

  9. KirbyEvan says:

    I don’t think Nifflas has ever made a mediocre game, they are always really great both mechanically and audio-visually, my personal favorite being Within a Deep Forest

    Now to wait both for a multiplayer-versus version of Super Puzzle Platform Plus and a co-op Surgeon Simulator with two hands erratically slapping each other for control of the surgical tools :D

    • LionsPhil says:

      Super Puzzle Platformer Plus is awesome. I love the game design, I love the music, the visuals are perfectly competent, I love the challenge.

      1957! Wait, 2495! Managed a 15 combo so far, too.

      4170! 256 blocks, 228 coins, 3 jewels, 22 combo…and holy crap, nasty things start appearing at level 3.

      No, 7281! 456 blocks, 4 jewels.

    • squidlarkin says:

      You spelled “erotically” wrong.

  10. Low Life says:

    Heart the Beat has a nice style to it, really reminds me of some demoscene stuff. I was doing quite well, too, until the damn world started rotating.

  11. The Random One says:

    Wow! I usually don’t post in this because I tend to play the games through the week, but sometimes I try a game so great I just have to comment, and this week Super Puzzle Platformer PLUS is it. What a delightful piece of design, making sure that every safe decision by the player is punished, forcing them to stay on their toes and plan ahead. Like how the spikes punish the player for clearing the level, and keeping a distance from your target is ineffective because the bonus starpieces fall from the sky and if there’s nothing underneath you won’t be able to collect them. But what I really love is how most ways to kill the player only bring them down a level if they have done well enough, so the game adjusts itself to the player’s failures without being either demanding or condescending. Amazing piece of work.

    EDIT: Also I see the resemblance between Heart the Beat and Super Hexagon. Both are games that when well played are more akin to a dance than a game, and Heart’s lack of death affirms this more clearly (since when you screw up a dance you don’t die, you just dance poorly). Unfortunately the pulsating and rotating screen gave me a mighty headache.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I love the waves that are regular blocks in every column but one as a piece of design. It’s simultaneously an excellent “oh crap” moment because you need to very rapidly and efficiently traverse the game area to avoid getting squished and losing levels, but also has a beneficial alternate purpose at restocking any columns that might have worn down all the way to exposed spikes.

      Also the nice little touch of making it colour-blind compatable by putting shapes on the blocks.

      Oh my god it’s got a jetpack, game of the year.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I agree. I was surprised at how simple yet challenging it is. Kind of reminds me of Tetris. My highscore is (only) 5796! I still feel I should manage far better than I have so far, but it’s fun to keep trying.

      Also, the poppy chiptune in the background doesn’t do the game a disservice, either.

  12. finbikkifin says:

    Have we commented on all the other games yet?

    Fuck That Guy is good.

    • Lanfranc says:

      Rebirth was interesting. Can’t say I fully understood what was going on all the time, but very interesting.

      • Bluerps says:

        I don’t actually now what I’m talking about, but my interpretation goes like this:

        I think every roll of the die represents a lifetime (or at least most of them). Depending on what kind of life you are living at the moment, you have several possibilities for the next one. In the original game you probably have to do what the die says, but the Twine game lets you chose which result you want to follow.

        Sometimes, your Karma is enhanced during your life, and your are reborn into a higher lifeform in the next life, like a human (in a better world than you are now) or a god. Sometimes your Karma is diminished during your life, and you are reborn into a lower lifeform, like an animal or an inhabitant of a hell. Sooner or later you find yourself on one of several paths to enlightenment (some of which actually involve learning all kinds of magic), you slowly figure out the laws of the cosmos, and over the course of many lifes you become a Buddha.

  13. TinaHiggs22 says:

    until I saw the paycheck four $4163, I accept that…my… best friend had been actually earning money parttime on their apple laptop.. there best friend has been doing this for only 12 months and resantly repayed the depts on there apartment and bought themselves a Chrysler. this is where I went, Great60.com

  14. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I’m sorry but I just couldn’t stomach the lazy spelling in Hero Room. Please, if you want me to invest some time and effort into your game try to spend some effort into presenting it.

    Or am I just being picky?

    • The Random One says:

      Continue playing, eat the black berry, choose to rescue the damsel, eat your freakin’ words.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Ah, so it’s on purpose then? Personally that’s no reason for me to put up with that.

  15. Phydaux says:

    Surgeon Simulator 2013 looks great. And after watching this doctor’s attempt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2XkTIYhQC8 I don’t even think I’ll ever have to play it my self. I’ve never laughed so hard at a video of a game before.

  16. furikaju says:

    before I saw the receipt four $9387, I did not believe that my neighbours mother was like realey receiving money in there spare time at their laptop.. there friend brother started doing this for less than 19 months and by now paid for the debts on their cottage and got a brand new Infiniti. this is where I went, http://www.Cloud65.com

  17. Bluerps says:

    Davy Dreams of Flying is nice. I was a bit disappointed that the game didn’t say anything when I reached Mars though.