The best free games are on PC, and if you want to know what the best 50 are then you’ve come to the right place.
RPS Feature No free-to-play, just free.
I used to love the Grow games, that series of hyper-cute, hyper-inventive free puzzlers/animation treats from Japanese dev On, aka Eyezmaze. Then I grew up and decided I hated them. Put away childish things and all that.
Nah, ‘course not, I’ve just been busy trying to grow another lifeform. I was both saddened and relieved to discover that On hasn’t exactly been prolific while I wasn’t paying attention, with the most recent release being February’s Grow Clay. Which is, needless to say, lovely.
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As sure as night follow days, as sure as all of us will one day die, as sure as cats are better than dogs, I will post about new GROW games whenever one emerges. Enigmatic creator On is perhaps guilty of sticking to formula with these web-based puzzle titles, but latest effort Cannon manages to shake things up a little.
The endearingly sleepy Grow series continues, with designer/animator Eyezmaze last week beckoning folk into Grow Valley. This ongoing collection of flash games is a funny series to post about, as it’s so resolutely unchanging. What else can I say beyond “the animations are wonderful and unpredictable?” While in this one one he’s extending the visual conceit into the characters interacting with the interface rather than being entirely abstracted from it, it’s still about pushing icons in the right order. The dreamlike cheer is undiminished, however, and there’s more detail and care in the animations than ever before. Play it, sigh contentedly, then try to find the secret bonus ending.
Master of icons ON has devised another cutely obtuse Flash puzzle. If you’ve not experienced his especially charming breed of lateral thinking before, his latest, GROW TOWER, is as good a place to start as any. If you’re an old hand at these things, you might be a mite disappointed that the chap’s still clinging to the same concept after so many games. Surely time to take things further, Mr Maze?
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A new webgame from On, creator of the impossibly cute Grow series, always improves my mood. As my mood is about to be battered by lurking on a train for far too many hours, MEET IN made for an especially fine morning treat.
Unfortunately, it’s another short one, but fortunately it’s a neat new idea rather than yet another click-in-the-right-order Grow opus. It’s superficially a fairly straightforward maze game, but has you controlling four different bubblemen, cruelly separated from each other and stranded in different sections of the small but labyrinthine world. None can make it far alone – they need each other’s help to unlock doors and activate platforms. Think Lost Vikings or Project Eden, the difference being that here you see all four guys on-screen at once, rather than switching perspective entirely. There’s an odd thrill to seeing the character you’re currently controlling suddenly pop up in another’s window as he wanders by – the tantalising proximity suggests you’re close to achieving something, plus, as always, it’s super-cute. I likey. You may likey too, if you play it here. On also hints he’s planning some updates to this ‘v.0′ of MEET IN.
I the Grow games. I really, really them , even though I’m the kind of guy who’d rather gouge his eyes out with his Big Daddy figurine than ever see, say, a Hello Kitty image again. These, though, are genuine, not contrived, Japanese cute.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, they’re Flash puzzle games based around increasing visual reward. You select which one of a handful of icons to push, and a minor or major change will duly occur in the impossibly endearing cartoon landscape above. Push them in the right order and the world will gradually grow into an increasingly complex and charming animated scene, your latest action interacting with previous ones to grow them into new, usually very silly, forms. Push them in the wrong order and it’ll all be over fairly quickly – and tiny bubble men may even die, causing everyone you know to brand you some sort of inhuman monster.
A new installment, Grow Island, has just been released. The theme here is technology – should environmentalism come before aviation, or mechanics before electricity? There are only eight buttons, but an incredible number of combinations – you’ll lose a good half an hour to this single screen. Finding the right order is a matter mostly of luck and memory; there is a vague internal logic behind it, but you’ll only really get your head around it after a lot of unsuccessful experimentation.
Yes, there is a walkthrough, but I’m not going to link to it. It’s about the journey, not the destination, and all that. And also because I’m incredibly churlish. If you do manage to finish it, you can find a whole load more Grows at creator On’s homepage.
On a final note, .