Freeware Garden: Star Commander

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on September 2nd, 2014.

Starry-eyed pilots killing each other in outer space in traditional turn-based battles.

Having distilled the core elements of 4X strategizing into a sleek and easy to get into game, and thus having done away with lengthy tutorials and hefty pdf manuals, I am happy to declare that Star Commander has achieved an uncommon straightforwardness.

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Project Godulous: Reprisal Universe

By Adam Smith on September 2nd, 2014.

Almost three years ago to the day, Reprisal appeared and I saw that it was good. Firmly in the terraforming tradition of God game Godfather Populous, Reprisal is a game of powers and control over tiny little warring tribes. The free version is still available to play and it may act as a perfect antidote for any poor souls inflicted with a severe case of projectile Godus. The expanded commercial release is due on September 15th and it’s looking tasty.

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Desert Island Risks: Wayward

By Adam Smith on September 1st, 2014.

Survival and crafting are strongly linked concepts in gaming. Here in the real world, I survive by writing about toys (and the occasional art-toy), an onerous duty that is deemed worthy of financial reward. I use the dosh to buy chips and fizzy pop, and somehow that seems to be enough to keep my tiny engine running. Truth is, I’ve never crafted anything in my life – I had to phone a friend to help me out last time I bought a piece of furniture from Ikea. If I found myself on a desert island, like the player character in turn-based survival sim Wayward, I’d walk around looking for a Wifi hotspot until the landcrabs ate me. The game is free, in beta and a damn fine example of the type.

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Freeware Garden: Haunted Castle

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on September 1st, 2014.

A skeletal head-scratcher appears.

Nobody knew about it, but Haunted Castle is a game that has been around since the 1970s and, apparently, this makes it beyond any doubt the oldest game this column/garden will ever cover. Most probably one of the oddest too, as the Haunted Castle really isn’t much of a video game. It’s a board game.

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It Got Out: Containment Protocol Demo

By Ben Barrett on August 29th, 2014.

I first saw Containment Protocol at Rezzed this year when the large banner showcasing its simplistic, beautiful art style immediately caught my eye. It’s difficult to describe in ordinary genre terms, but it’s close to a survival/exploration game. You remotely control a quad copter exploring an abandoned scientific facility, only able to see via its lidar scanning the surroundings. It’s atmospheric to the max–sounds echoing in empty corridors, clinical beeping coming from the automated defenses of the facility. You can explore too, as solo dev Byron Atkinson-Jones has dropped a new in-browser demo on its site (the build he’ll show at EGX, in fact).

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Freeware Garden: Level 2 – Virus Master

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on August 29th, 2014.

Better than X-OUT!

Listening to a thundering heavy metal soundtrack while blasting enemies straight from the 16-bit demoscene is, almost surprisingly, exactly as awesome as it sounds. Level 2 – Virus Master, on the other hand, is not as awesome as it sounds. It’s way better.

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Oooh! Twitchy Spinny Dodge ‘Em Up oO

By Alice O'Connor on August 28th, 2014.

Everything is going FINE.

As much as I’d like to spin around inside a washing machine, I know how that ends. But lovely, lovely video games can let us do impossible things, and games like Super Hexagon offer that dream of spinning around inside a round thing filled with jagged edges and crushing surfaces. oO has been out for a while but only twirled before my eyes today. It’s a one-button dodge ‘em up about spinning around and jumping between conjoined circles filled increasingly with death.

It’s free and it’s fun and it’s difficult and it’s late in the day so let’s all lark about a bit playing it.

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Makoa And Meercats: A Rite From The Stars

By Adam Smith on August 28th, 2014.

A Rite From The Stars is an adventure game, inspired by nineties classics and modern marvels alike. The setting and plot are interesting, but we’ll move on to that in a moment because there are far more important statements on the Kickstarter page. Developers Risin’ Goat (only enough in the budget for one ‘g’) claim that the game will not feature ‘pixel hunts’, ‘pointless walks’ or ‘boring inventory management (also known as “Use the stick in everything until it works”)’. I reckon all three of those things should have been left on the Lucas and Sierra cutting-room floor a long time ago, along with almost every puzzle in The Dig and the many deaths of Roger Wilco. A Rite From The Stars isn’t simply emulating the past and I’m grateful for that. The Kickstarter has eight days left on the clock and $15,000 of a $40,000 target left to raise.

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They Only Come Out At Night: Gridland

By Adam Smith on August 28th, 2014.

FACT: A Dark Room was one of last year’s most bemusing browser games. Initially, it seems like a survivalist-themed Cookie Clicker or Candy Box, a mouse-mauling series of numbers that rise toward the impossibility of infinity. Not so.

FACT: There are four hundred and six Match 3 games released every minute. They’re mostly released onto app stores rather than the wilds of the PC so you might not have seen all of them, but they’re out there. They’re mostly identical except for the manner of thing that must be matched – sometimes it’s gems, sometimes it’s fruits, very occasionally it is (probably) gonads.

FACT: Double Speak Games, developers of A Dark Room, have released a Match 3 game that is different to the rest. It’s called Gridland, it’s free and it will make your Thursday soar.

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Freeware Garden: Roguelight

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on August 28th, 2014.

RogueLIGHT. Not rogue-like. Sheesh...

Seems to me that many readers enjoyed the demanding action of hets, so here’s another tough action-platformer. Roguelight, like everything else in this world, is sort of a rogue-like-like too. In a way. It definitely takes place in 25 levels of procedurally generated dungeons, anyway.

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Freeware Garden: Mouse Corp

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on August 27th, 2014.

Nothing like a solid, cheery title pic to lure the masses in.

If you know and thus love what thecatamites have (has) been doing these past few years, chances are you have already downloaded Mouse Corp and are already defacing the graves of an impossibly colourful 3D world. A world filled with sentient vegetation and a wild menagerie of oddities you’ll have to traverse, quasi-RTS style, as three mice.

Now, I could go on all about the wild mechanics of Mouse Corp or its wondrously grotesque take on the Sonic universe, but I won’t. I will instead provide you with an interview featuring the wonderful Mr. Stephen Murphy — a.k.a. thecatamites:

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Aww: Musical Planetary Puzzler Awe

By Alice O'Connor on August 27th, 2014.

It's no mountain. Yet.

I’m no certified freeware gardener. I couldn’t advise you on freeware landscaping, freeware for south-facing computers, or the best freeware for dog owners. However, even the most amateur freeware appreciator can grab a little freeware wrapped with elastic bands from by the Tesco checkout, plonk it into a vase on the desk, and write a little card pretending it’s a gift.

This morning I’ve been gazing at Awe, a brower-based musical little puzzler about discovering patterns to plant a planet. Gosh, freeware? For me? But who could it be from?

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Freeware Garden: Impulse

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on August 26th, 2014.

This picture could be a metaphor for all sorts of things.

Deck 16′s Impulse is a deceptively simple game on paper. All it asks of you is to guide a little neon circle (a.k.a. “your craft”) from point A to point B and notice how gloriously fun those ancient, physics-based propulsion mechanics still are. Intriguingly it does consider itself a mash-up of Super Meat Boy and Lunar Lander too.

The fact that it starts off with fourteen levels worth of tutorials should of course be indication enough that Impulse is not as straightforward as one would expect. Simple to grasp, yes, that it definitely is and its controls are as intuitive as these things get, but even coming close to mastering the little devil requires efforts of herculean proportions.

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