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

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It would appear the goalie can summon an infinite supply of skeletons. Yuri romance. ARE YOU NOT EDUTAINED. Twine mastery.

 

 

Perspective by Widdershins

Outstanding perspective puzzler that plays with 2D/3D in an utterly clever way. A small humanoid has escaped from an arcade cabinet. It can jump on blue materials and dies to orange materials. Your job is to look at things in such a way that it can reach the end of the level and eventually the game, which is well worth seeing.

No pushing crates around, no altering your environment, just the elegance of seeing properly. Nothing has to die, nothing has to change, all we have to do is look.

Playing manshoots lends itself to a destructive gaze. After playing Perspective I started seeing everything in terms of relative surfaces, the blanket on my chest and the desk across the room forming a contiguous platform as I lie in bed.

 

Swap Box Turbo by Nifflas

Swap Box Turbo is a challenging coop platformer where two cubes leap across a scrolling screen, avoiding pits and the fact that the world no longer exists once the screen leaves it. The difficulty is set to how well you respond to your partner.

See, every so often the screen flashes. Each flash swaps your controls with the other player.

Touching your partner kills you. Going outside the world kills you. The only thing that doesn’t kill you is constant frantic motion without touching anything except the sterile matter of the world. In this way it functions as a metaphor for our society in which physical intimacy and stepping outside our narrow worldview is discouragrhghghhghgsrggghhgksshhh

 

 

Footbrawl Quest by immortius

What if Blood Bowl grew up in a world where rules didn’t ruin everything? It would be Footbrawl Quest, fantasy sports tactics that streamlines the idea of zombies and knights playing football to perfection, complete with multiplayer.

Footbrawl Quest makes dungeon running fun in that it isn’t about the fastidious genocide of a dungeon’s ecosystem so much as making smart choices in order to score a single decisive goal. Tactical decision-making, not the whittling down of hitpoints as you purge environments of stuff you don’t like.

Part of what makes violently-get-the-ball-to-a-place sports so interesting is the fatigue, the chipping away, the loss of energy–every sacrifice infused with meaning, with yards gained. Half your team is dead but they bought enough time for Lord Dagobert to rush past that necromancer and score a touchdown, yay.

This is football with heroic last stands. The first time I played I got picked off one by one due to bad positioning (no one told me the goalie could summon an inexhaustible supply of skeletons…). The second time I stayed tight, gave the ball to the runner with the boots of speed, dropped a bomb by the wall near the goal, blew it up, and sprinted through in a spray of bones.

 

 

Maldita Castilla by Locomalito and Gryzor87

Homage to such games as Ghosts n’ Goblins and Rygar, Maldita Castilla is a classic platformer awash with scanlines, medieval horror, and Spanish myth.

Every inch of this game is handcrafted and you remember that craftedness in all the ways it kills you–the erratic barrels thrown by the executioner (one barrel rolls naturally, the other hops up and down), the giant maggots with human faces in the floorboards, the way the ghosts sine wave across the level, the basilisk’s unpredictable death throes.

Unlike its predecessors, you have infinite continues,. However, continuing more than four times costs your immortal soul, which apparently affects the ending you get.

Grotesque and merciless in the best way.

 

Unmanned by Molleindustria and Jim Munroe

We threw up Unmanned because over at figames we’re making our end of year best of lists and a list without Unmanned would be a travesty.

A lot of words have already been said about it so I’ll just say, anyone interested in games and the world we live in should play this.

 

 

Three Body Problem by Robin Burkinshaw

A game of predicting the trajectory of two dangerous objects in response to your movements, aka Three Body Problem.  An almost sensual deep alertness as you incite violence upon yourself like a deer breaking eye contact with wolves.

Avoid the two orange cubes. Touch glowing tiles to get points. Get more points than your friends. Strangle them with your points. Bury them in a grave of points under a grey sky of points with a shovel of points.

 

 

Embric of Wulfhammer’s Castle by Saint Bomber

This is an adorable, grin-inducing lesbian romance RPG with a focus on conversation (a topic people have been discussing quite a lot lately). You play a duchess betrothed to some gung-ho adventurer who isn’t even there to greet you when you arrive at his castle, so you start exploring the grounds and yourself and other people and things change inside and out.

In lieu of combat, Embric of Wulfhammer’s Castle spins an enthusiastic world where everything is worth examining. At minimum you’re getting a playful description, but more often than not you’re hit with flashbacks, blunt trauma, and adventures that explode from an environment clearly poured over by a loving hand.

As the creator, I like to think of it as a sandbox rpg, somewhere between a classic jrpg and a visual novel. Perhaps even a “Sprite Opera.”

Moving the Duchess around gives you a lot of control over how the story progresses, with character  arcs compiling with other character arcs to produce alterations to each others’ stories, culminating in the final story, which will show you the results of your unique play-through.

Making sandboxes where the primary verb isn’t destruction can be hard, because conversation is so much more difficult than destroying everything you see. Saint Bomber has succeeded.

 

HOW TO MATH: EXTREME by Smedis2

Some games throw the whole game at you at once, and that’s called a game. Sometimes a game has a terrible accident and splits into many smaller games. These are called minigames. Without minigames it would be impossible to represent any single human experience in detail, like yelling, math, and violence.

How To Math: Extreme was a highly educational experience and I hope educators seriously pursue the ideas it raises re: trains speeding toward dynamite unless you figure out what’s up with numbers, shooting numbers to death, murdering bicyclists in the most educational order, etc.

 

 

Brooklyn Trash King by Ben Esposito

Brooklyn Trash King is the first Twine adventure to ask important questions like: what would you do to fund your Kickstarter? What kind of stuff is in trash? Do animals use Twitter?

Having emerged covered in fur and meat juice, I feel confident saying there are about three endings. I felt fully immersed in the trash lifestyle and would recommend this to anyone who is interested in trash and/or funny, cool games.

 

Moonlight by Jonas Kyratzes

Interactive fiction that flows like a dream, one that surprises at every turn. Dense with nonsense, Jonas Kyratzes’ nonsense, a nonsense far more personal and meaningful than what we usually think of as nonsense, a sea wide with surreality and deep with feeling.

Moonlight contains Stephen Fry, Oscar Wilde, Alpha Centauri, and eagles, to say the least. To say the most, play it.

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