Freeware Gardener’s Question Time: 19/09

These images take a long time to make.

Do you enjoy Freeware Garden, our daily recommended free game? Do you find yourself playing the games in an evening or later the same week, but being disappointed to discover that the comment thread for each post has already fallen idle? Then welcome to Freeware Gardener’s Question Time, a definitely weekly* chat thread where players can gather, kick back, and discuss the week’s selected games.

*Sorry for not doing it for a month.

This week saw the selection of five fine freeware games, as always.

MondayBattle Cube
Knytt creator Nifflas’ musically timed avoid-’em-up.

TuesdayDonald Dowell and the Ghost of Barker Manor
A vast, traditional, low-key and funny point-and-click adventure game.

WednesdayPowerglove
A side-scrolling run-and-gun game with an available C64 cartridge release.

ThursdayIt Moves
A horror game about dread, not jump scares, with simple puzzles.

FridayRocketJumpification
A Twine game about the dystopian potential of gameification.

If you’ve played the games and have some thoughts, talk away in the comments below. If you haven’t played anything yet, this post should linger somewhere near the top of the site for the rest of the weekend, so take your time.

o/

24 Comments

  1. MrModeste says:

    This is a great idea, that I just wished for not later than today.

    I would like you to put down that mind-reading machine please.

  2. Bernardo says:

    Hej, I haven’t had much time to play this week’s games and I’m going to be travelling, but I just want to reiterate that I really, really like Freeware Garden and the games. Particularly because these games are great for travelling!

  3. DantronLesotho says:

    I think this is a great feature and even if I don’t take advantage 100% of the time, I appreciate that this is here.

  4. Zeewolf says:

    RPS is all about regular columns these days. Not a fan of that, TBH (also, see you on monday when there’s interesting content again).

  5. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I only played Powerglove this week but I love it. It’s a really neat game.

    Also, just wanted to say I LOVE the regular columns, and it’s one of the main reasons why I keep coming back to RPS day after day.

  6. tumbleworld says:

    I downloaded several of the games, but due to deadlinitis, I’ve only had a chance to tinker with RocketJumpification. It was fab, being deliciously sarcastic, and quick to play, with plenty of replay options. But most of the recommendations in the Garden turn out to be rather wonderful, one way or another!

  7. Artiforg says:

    I downloaded Donald Dowell and have only just started to play it and it’s pretty damn impressive. I wouldn’t have heard of it had you not covered.

  8. jimmmyman10 says:

    Ugh, this is going to be the death of me this year in college. I DON’T HAVE TIME TO PLAY SO MANY OF THESE

    Gonna go try powerglove right now. Excite!

    Also, are we allowed to suggest artists? I’ve never seen anyone talk about Mateusz Skutnik, and yet he’s made some of the most atmospheric point and click games i’ve ever seen. Daymare town, Submachine, Covert Front, just amazing. Linky: link to mateuszskutnik.com

  9. Epsz says:

    I love this column =)

  10. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    I don’t follow RPS as assiduously as I used to, but I like the games in this column when I stumble into them.

    But if anyone, like me, misses Live Free Play Hard, I’ve found forest ambassador to be very similar in taste and presentation.

  11. Frank says:

    The answer is “yes”, I do like this series. If you’re only looking at clickthrough rates, you’re missing folks like me who simply added the tag to their “Play later” bookmarks folder. So, more? Yes, please.

  12. Rizlar says:

    Controversially (or more realistically, not): I like Twine. RocketJumpification was the only one of these I played this week, it was a great little exploration of gamification via mega-business vs. human beings.

    • subalterngames says:

      Thanks! I’ve had a wonderful time explaining to my parents what Twine is, what this game is, what a rocket-jump entails, and how it could all possibly end up in a widely-read article. :)

  13. Megazell says:

    I always enjoy your coverage of freeware games on the PC. It Moves was my personal favorite from the selection of this week.

    • Oozo says:

      I was impressed by It Moves as well, for a variety of reasons:
      a) it is very smart in how it combines text with playable sequences. In the end, it is an adaption of a Creepypasta, which over the course of the game will be read almost in its entirety. But it understands that the one thing literature is probably better at than games is giving you direct access to a character’s psyche. So the short story just sets the mood, while the rest taps into all kinds of abstract fear. (The few “puzzles” there are basically only serve to disorientate you, and make you walk to places that you don’t want to walk to.)
      b) it is basically a masterclass in how to build atmosphere with limited resources. I actually used to wonder if it’s possible to evoke a feeling of horror in the days of 8- and 16-bit graphics, and how you have to do it — It Moves provides you with answers. It’s about sound, about abstract symbolism, about restricting movements and what you can see — heck, it’s capable of evoking the fear of those things that remain just always in the corner of your eyes in an isometric perspective: that takes real skill. And how the second chapter builds to its climax is so simple, yet so extremely efficient. To all the people who were like “wut, horror in RPGMaker? lol” — go and play it. The fact that it does evoke horror with those graphics is really a testimony to its strenghts.

      I was two weeks away from any PC and videogames, and when I came back, I was way more excited about playing this game than Wasteland 2, which I had basically been waiting for 2.5 years — I just find freeware games these days more exciting and way, way more focused, less prone to waste my time. It’s a format that I love: an interesting experience that takes up an evening, at most — more akin to movies, but still very rare in the realm of commercial games, where “replayability” is still a selling point, even though it means a fair amount of stuffing and repetition more often than not.

      So, in short, this column is a godsend. (And I do have to admit that I do enjoy the mix of more experimental and just-plain-good-fun-games a lot.) I never get to play more than one or two games a week, but what I have been seeing so far was good to great — so keep up the good work, even though it’s not the column that gets the most comments, I guess.

      • Niko says:

        It’s interesting how they added all those dream sequences that weren’t in the short story, and it’s surprising how frightening that game is, considering its scale (although I’m easily frightened.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      I like it too, though it was a bit repetitive at some points. In one chapter I was drumming my fingers a bit and thought “can please something horrible happen soon?”
      Then something horrible happened, and all was good/bad.

  14. Xerodo says:

    I love freeware garden (and loved live free play hard back when it was still a thing). A friend and I recently got into doing an indie game a day youtube thing. We’re not playing all of these, but RPS has been one of our main sources for content. So if you’d want to check out unprofessional reviews made by two schmucks with a lot of free time, here you go:
    link to youtube.com

    Schilling time over.

    Keep up the column, we’re loving it.

  15. SuddenSight says:

    Re-played Battle Cube, which is short and fun. A good example of how music and obstacles an be synced.

    Clicked through Rocket-Jump. It is mildly amusing, but I don’t feel like it really advances the conversation about gamification that much. The scenarios added are all silly, doomsday stuff that most companies have already thought of. Remember: gamification has already been implemented, though not under that name, in the form of bottle-cap prizes and similar promotions. Honestly, the original gets to the more poignant question: while we can definitely use game mechanics to manipulate ourselves, will that actually result in a more fulfilling life? I don’t know.

    Power glove is definitely cool. I played through the first level. Maybe I am just bad, but I found it really hard and gave up after that. Maybe I will come back to it later.

    The other two this week are Windows only, so I couldn’t play them.

    Love this column!

  16. SirBryghtside says:

    I haven’t gotten round to playing any of this week’s games (yet), but I just wanted to say thanks for making this :) ever since freeindiegam.es stopped updating, I’ve been looking for something to replace it – and all the games I’ve found in this column have been fantastic! Keep up the good work!

  17. JamesPatton says:

    Love the column but not sure why Donald Dowell was so positively reviewed. The art’s great but the writing leaves me really cold: joke after joke that makes fun of housewives, old people and (again and again) women. I found myself rolling my eyes and sighing inwardly whenever the protagonist joked about his monstrous wife, oblivious to the fact that she does all his housework for him. And when there is a decent joke it’s repeated ad nauseum, or garbled by the translation. Eventually lost patience and quit when the game made me bludgeon a poor woman over the head for the crime of offering sex. I mean, really?

  18. JamesPatton says:

    Gosh, has it really only been 2 days since I first discovered Compact Conflict? It feels like weeks already. It’s become my go-to procrastination tool. Reminds me playing game after game of Risk against the computer years ago.

    I’d be intrigued to see what would happen if you could add more players: 6 or even 8. Would that change the way it plays much? The difference between playing with 2 and 4 players is pretty pronounced so I’d be interested to see what would happen.

  19. Deloria says:

    I initially posted this in Donald Dowell’s other thread. I feel like that game should come with a trigger warning for domestic abuse. The scene in which you have to knock a woman out by bashing her on the head with a champagne bottle for practically no reason was sickening to watch. Aside from that I thought it was a really weak adventure. There’s very little direction and it’s a mess of pixel hunting. :S