Live Free, Play Hard: Princess + Bomb = Cake

Princess + bomb = cake. Wasteland baseball brutality. Endangered hypertext preserve.



Princess Chardonnay in Bomb Kingdom by Ishisoft

A princess, some cake, and some bombs. Of course, you need the bombs to get the cake. That’s how life works!

Chew on some hard facts, buddy: life is a series of floating brick platforms and you gotta push the bombs to get the cake or you starve to death, because there’s no other food, except maybe grass, but princesses know better than to eat grass. That’s why we bomb the shit out of everything.

Princess Chardonnay doesn’t introduce new elements, it just figures out increasingly clever ways to use the bombs. They can destroy stuff, knock stuff around, blast you into the air, that’s all it needs. And it’s cute as fuck.

Conversations with my Mother by Merritt Kopas

Conversations is a letter from Merritt’s mom. Or rather, it’s a letter possibility space.

It’s about misgendering, or maybe not, because you decide, clicking words to cycle through “daughter”, “son”, “child”, that kind of thing. Love. Denial. Fear.

Most playthroughs lead to tweets from Merritt’s Twitter, grounding each ending in real world bursts of emotion, ephemeral lines frozen like snapshots.

John Brindle has an excellent analysis here that articulates many things about Conversations that I could not. Thanks.


Lethal League by Reptile

So you hit the ball. It starts bouncing off the wall. It gets faster each time it bounces. Oh, and it kills you on contact. So it’s like playing tennis against the garage door except you can die.

Challenge Mode is about getting as many bounces as you can without killing yourself.

Versus mode adds a computer player or another human and you try to kill each other with the ball.

The sound is sexy, big SLAMS and CRASHES. I left the game running just to hear the music.




Fragments of Him by Mata Haggis, Tino van der Kraan, Elwin Verploegen, Henriette Sande

A man’s partner dies and he starts deleting his memories, throwing away his things so he won’t have to dwell on the pain.

Click the ducks. Gone. Click the pillow. Gone.

Maybe there’s a little too much clicking, I think it could have communicated itself by the removal of big objects without me hunting for little books and such. Robert Yang has another take though: “I thought so too, at first, but then I thought, “how can a candle or a fence post remind you of someone?” and then I was okay with how, uh, compulsive obsessive it is.””

And by the end I was moved, no mistake.


Undercolor Agents by farmergnome

Arena shooter where the level is filling up with colors and you have to destroy color generators to save the world, by which I mean get rid of all color, which is kind of grim, but maybe these colors had it coming. These are the angry cube-shaped colors that kill people after all.

Seems best with multiple players, as each agent is good against a certain color and you can shoot to free fellow agents Left 4 Dead-style.



Not exactly new but we finally got around to posting it on the site, so here it is!

Carefully place a dozen arcade classics in a large mixing bowl.

ROM CHECK FAIL rapidly cycles three variables: the environment, the enemies, and the player. So maybe you start as Mario fighting Pacman ghosts in Breakout but every few seconds everything crackles and mutates and you have to instantly adapt to your new body and environment. Hectic brilliance.


The Parasite by Jimi Ahlgren

Platformer where you have to eat the ground or starve. This being a platformer, you come into conflict with your appetites real quick.

On top of this, you have a stamina meter, which limits your ability to chomp ground. So you’re balancing stamina, and chomping, and chomping the right pieces of dirt, and not dying of hunger, and trying to reach the exit.


-You can double jump

-You can dig into wall sides mid-air.

-Hunger carries over to the next level.


Mondrianism by Jezzamon

A cross between a Mondrian painting and a piano.

Each color can move diagonal, horizontal, or vertical. You want to merge colors with other colors.

I was clicking around to move at first but then I realized you can just hold the mouse button down and kind of roll around, which feels a lot nicer.

Movement generates music–slow, halting tones of trial and error turning into rippling melodies of discovery.

Minimal 2 Player Game by NiallM

Just a simple game of Pong.


Some of the most fun I’ve had with a two player game for a while.


Breakfast on a Wagon with your Partner by bananafishtoday

A conversation with your wagon buddy as you ride across the post-apocalyptic countryside, and maybe it gets kind of serious.

The cool thing is that Breakfast is all dialogue. No scenery, just two lines, you and your partner, painting a world through words alone.

Like Conversations With My Mother (both were made independent of each other), you tweak words then push the scene forward by clicking a symbol. One link, many possibilities–ranging from breakfast to how you spend the rest of your life.


Mandala by arrogant.gamer

Mandala isn’t here anymore. Just the idea of it.

It was an old Japanese house.

the game is about the effect of tourism on the beautiful place of the world. Mandala is a curious, tiny world that begs to be explored… but the more people enjoy and explore it, the more damage they do.

Electronic media is pretty fucking immortal by default. Once it gets out there, it’s linked, reblogged, excerpted, mirrored, cached, entombed in the Wayback Machine. If you’re an American, your tweets are buried in the Library of Congress. After a certain point, you couldn’t delete yourself if you tried.

Traditional media has all these preservation needs–storing manuscripts out of sunlight, installing paintings in carefully curated spaces. Entropy in games, on the other hand, is an act of deliberation by the creator.

A game that fades like sidewalk chalk.


  1. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    A Twine bideo james, what a surprise.

  2. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    Congratulations on your XYZZY awards for howling dogs, Porpentine!

  3. Koozer says:

    Gah, now I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to name all the music in ROM CHECK FAIL.

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    wait, the site called free indie games had not yet reported on Rom Check Fail?

    anyone else still suffering from the same condition, play it, nao!

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Rom Check WIN. As the kids of today are wont to say.

    • Noyb says:

      The site only started last year and we tend to focus on newer releases. I wasn’t clear enough in framing this, but the Flash port of ROM CHECK FAIL only came out last week, providing the best of excuses to post it.

  5. WarderDragon says:

    I really feel like I’m missing something with all these Twine… stories? I hesitate to call them games. There’s obviously an audience for them, and they’re obviously popular to make, I just don’t get why. :(

    • Koozer says:

      If you consider Choose Your Own Adventure books as games, then Twine creations are games. Done!

      • cowardly says:

        And even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter! Semantic debates draw away from proper discussion.

        Why people enjoy them is one question, why they make them is another.
        I enjoy them because I like the idea of making words dance as you read them, of playing with them. Lots of people have tried playing around with the format of words, with the form they come in as well as the content of them, whether it be orally or on paper, and this is just a new way of doing that, as is in fact a lot of interactive fiction.
        The way the words come to you, your interaction with them and your influence (or lack thereof) on how they progress are all interesting, and fairly new, ways of dealing with text. The short form a lot of Twine games come in, the variety of ways they approach interaction, choice, exposition, the way they weave image, colour or sound into their narrative… Those are all reasons one could be interested in Twine games.
        And of course, a number of particular Twine games have a more personal, human side to them which is worthy in and of itself.

        As to why people like making things is Twine… It is amazingly simple to use, I think is one of the basic reasons. Learning how to use Twine superficially can be done in a few hours, and learning to use it in more depth in a few days or weeks. Not everybody can learn to program (time and other constraints), so it’s good to have an interactive form which doesn’t have a high entry level.
        Which isn’t to say Twine users can’t, or shouldn’t, program, or make other types of game. On the contrary, if there was more cross-pollination between types of game, only good, interestng things could arise!

        Anyway I’m rambling. Point is, Twine games are fun, and they are young and have, as all things, space to improve into. People enjoy playing and making Twine games for loads of reasons, but if you don’t enjoy them, that’s fine too ^^

      • Tom Davidson says:

        I’m not sure that’s true. Many Choose Your Own Adventure books have more of a play space than many Twine games, which often tell just a single narrative with the illusion of “choice;” they’re frequently just interactive novels, where the reader simply has the option to learn more or less about the clickable elements — frequently backstory — of the main text.

        • Koozer says:

          I did think about that, and then remembered Call of Duty still counts as a game.

          • Eagle0600 says:

            I thought of that too, then realized that even CoD has more agency than most Twine games I’ve played. You can’t effect the story with CoD, but there are mechanics in place that you can interact with. These twine game are that, but with the gameplay mechanics stripped away. A game made in twine should focus on user agency more, because it has less agency in the mechanics.

            P.S. I thought we were of the opinion that CoD isn’t a good game anyway?

            P.P.S. I’m not at all saying that Twine games aren’t games, because they totally are, I’m just saying they don’t grab my interest.

            tl;dr: The problem isn’t Twine, the problem is the games made with it.

          • The Random One says:

            CoD isn’t a good game, but it’s a game. And it doesn’t really have a lot of agency, just the illusion thereof. If anything “railroad” Twine games are more honest about it.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      Do you like books? I think a lot of people like Twine games for the same reason we like books: they are interesting things to read. That’s not just it, of course – I really enjoyed Conversations with my Mother and it would be impossible to replicate that in a book – but it’s the same sort of idea. I like reading interesting things.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        It was odd to “play” the first time through as I had absolutely no idea what it was about (maybe it was explained on the page – I just clicked the “play” button”. Just some bizarre lady writing to her son about hormonse or makeup? wuh? Then it just sort of ended.

        Subsequent play throughs, once I’d twigged the “plot” were more interesting – showing how little off-hand comments etc can have a real effect on people etc. Still don’t think I’d class it as a game.

        I would have liked more options content/options too. Not that short games are a problem, it’s just that the letter ended up feeling strangely curtailed – more of a postit note. Surely a mother could think of a few more things to say to their son/daughter – writing a letter than long would be a bit of a waste of a stamp.

  6. pakoito says:

    Lethal League is genius! And romcheckfail is at least 3 years old lol

    • JB says:

      Lethal League is great. The music gives me flashbacks to The World Ends With You and Jet Set Radio. Could be the art style doing that too, I guess.

  7. LTK says:

    Princess Chardonnay is already bastard hard at level 5, and it all looks so simple. Reminds me of Jelly No Puzzle in that regard, a game that’s also sitting on my hard drive, taunting me…

    At least I was able to finish Princess Chardonnay. That wasn’t so bad, actually. The demotivational message on the last level caught me off guard, though.

  8. Aaax says:

    In Lethal League I won against CPU 11-2 and my fastest ball was moving 8100. What do I win? Oh yeah, a frown from my thesis supervisor…

  9. Lazarus_Soma says:

    Look this is incredibly off topic but hey I was doing other stuff at the time so might as well post this here.
    Was just checking out that there early access thing wot steam has now and well…. The game gnomoria, Thats seriously just dwarf fortress right?
    Its just dwarf fortress with a built in wrapper isn’t it? I mean hell the blurb even sounds like the “dev” just took it from dwarf fortress and replaced the word dwarf with gnome.
    I mean sure if im drastically wrong and the person behind this isn’t so much ripping dwarf fortress off down to the source code and is simply incapable of original thought then fair enough but…. well shouldnt the guy behind fortress be seriously considering legal action here? since no matter what it’s still freaking DF with a wrapper being used by someone else for real world cash moneys.
    Iunno was kinda just curious since theres just no info whatsoever on RPS from the mains or the commentators.

  10. nitehawk says:

    “That’s why we bomb the shit out of everything.”

    If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that…

  11. arrogant.gamer says:

    nurble nurble nurble nurble nurble, nurble nurble nurble nurble COD nurble nurble AGENCY nurble nurble TWINE GAMES nurble nurble nurble nurble VE nurble. nurble nurble nurble nurble nurble T EFFECT nurble STORY nurble COD, nurble nurble nurble MECHANICS nurble PLACE nurble nurble nurble nurble nurble. nurble TWINE GAME nurble nurble, nurble nurble nurble GAMEPLAY MECHANICS nurble nurble. nurble GAME nurble nurble TWINE nurble nurble nurble USER AGENCY nurble, nurble nurble nurble nurble AGENCY nurble nurble MECHANICS.

    10,000 thank-you’s and appologies to the 300+ people who visited Mandala on May 12th only to be greeted by a blank website. I swear to gods no one is trolling you: there was a game there two weeks ago. Overwhelming thank-you’s and tears of joy to Porpentine for including Mandala alongside Rom Check Fail in this write-up.