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

Fuck this dungeon. More like tower DON’Tfense. Dweegarian smectoids. Mass Effect as a text-based strategy dating sim. Enough run-on sentences to last the next thousand years.

Fastness – Orbital Circuitry Defense by Rami Ismail

“… game inspired by the pillars of tower defense: building things to slow down / kill enemies, managing a limited resource and waves built around combining enemy types.”

Fastness is unrecognizable as tower defense in the best way possible. This is what I was looking for in Fuck This Jam–immediacy out of a slew of stagnant genres.

Fastness has a dual meaning–speed, obviously, but more obscurely it describes a fortress or refuge. In a word the gameplay is encapsulated: this is a fortress that needs constant scrambling maintenance.

Everything comes down to energy.

Red dots are hurtling toward the core. You need barriers to protect it. To erect barriers or heal the core, you need energy. Energy is at the rim of the circle.

To return to the core, you have to navigate through the barriers you created. Your defenses and the level architecture are one and the same. The tighter your defenses, the trickier it becomes to manoeuvre. *huffs fumes from a bag with GAMEPLAY written on the side in marker*

Everything amazes: the controls are practically sensual (sliding along the rim picking up energy, zig-zagging and rotating to build barriers), the music and soundwork (epic depressurizations and thumps and sonar blips of incoming enemies, everything pulsating with the sonic promise of a last stand at the edge of the galaxy), the way you erect a maze of shields and smugly sit back

then those red dots get through somehow and everything is crumbling and you race back to the core in a panic and maybe you hit a shield (which shatters it) and you just made things worse

or maybe you reach the core and throw yourself between it and the red dots and start to spin a shield into existence but you underestimated how much energy you have and you just piss out a pathetic little quarter of a circle and the red dots, the red dots–!!!

I’m reading that Fastness isn’t even finished. I love this and it can only get better.

moving away by finny

One of the most personal Twine games I’ve played, an illustrated disentanglement of the feelings behind moving away. There are plenty of counterfeit personal narratives out there, mere outlines supposed to make us feel something, soft and indistinct products. This is sharp and in focus.

Moving away is specific. Specific words and specific mythology, a human history informing each line, lines that feel snatched from real conversations and the litanies of shame that bounce around inside our heads with seemingly limitless endurance.  Everyone has history, but not everyone permits it to inform their work. Not that I blame them, because sharing is a vulnerable act. I’m glad finny shared this.

Dweegarian Smectoids…

Puzzle Popstar by Logicow

A prismatic puzzler where you flick, reflect, and refract light to destroy balls. When all the balls are destroyed, you win. That is the world Puzzle Popstar posits and we must accept it.

Each ball has a different rule. The most common rule for a ball is to be destroyed if an arc of light passes through it, if that arc of light comes from a like-colored source.

Argh–how can I describe how satisfying the little mouse flick is–it makes a bubbling sound! The arc of light flings from your cursor with the sweetest little delay like I’m slinging a rainbow!

This game is like candy. Candy-coated candied music candy colors. In the future all architecture will be designed like this game and we will travel by turning into pure light and the traffic coordinators will be puzzle masterminds to whom we entrust our lives.

52 by Adriaan de Jongh

52 is hyper-minimal interactive fiction, a story told in a changing line of text and a falling number, about which nothing else can be said except, play it.

Devil’s Chord by mcc

WHAT IS THIS MACHINE

Devil’s Chord is the secret garden at the heart of your computer where everything is machine-beautiful and alive. I’m sitting here pressing buttons to weave tones and symbols and geometry. Now I’m listening, hands off the keyboard, because I’ve made the symbols slow and trickling and the sound is soothing.

Once my cyborg implants have been accepted and I reach full transhumanism I will be able to fully interface with this game.

Love Interest by Roshirai

Love Interest is Mass Effect as a text-based strategy dating sim where you assign crew members to missions, pump their stats, and try to get laid. You’ll have to imagine the awkward sex cutscenes yourself.

The fate of the universe balanced against getting a date. Is it worth staving off galactic oblivion if a tough mission makes Generic Soldier hate you? These are all questions we must ask ourselves on the day to day.

Undo the End by Disco Fish

The world is ending and you hold a device that can restore it for a few seconds with the tap of a button. Ashy ruins become pristine city, torn corpses become healthy businessmen, and most importantly, the obstacles in one plane are absent in the other.

What a neat trick, atmosphere and platforming conveyed in the same stroke. Can you Undo the End?

Fuck This Dungeon by rylgh

PUNCH PUNCH KILL PUNCH KILL PUNCH KILL DRINK POTION PUNCH KILL TEAR GRAB DAGGER STAB STAB PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH DESTROY POISON KILL STAB STAB KILL STAB STAB KILL STAB PUNCH KILL

Fuck This Dungeon is a line of orcs running at you and you punch them and grab their daggers and you chop off their hands and stab their throats and you grab potions because you’ve been poisoned and you know you’ve been poisoned not just because those fuckers taunt you about it but because you can look at the veins on your arms swollen with green and everyone knows all poison is colored green.

THIS GAME HAS PURITY OF ETHOS AND THAT ETHOS IS VIOLENCE

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