It’s January and that means money is tight. Which makes the recent announcement by Oculus that you can buy their VR headset for £500 even more gag reflexy than expected. £500! Do you know how many free games you could get for that amount of money!? That’s right. Infinity free games.
Computer, Open That Door! by Paul Lawitzki
The Starship Explorer has set course for the next station. As the recently enlightened shipboard computer, you have just 20 jumps to kill all humans on board. Use the ship’s airlocks, radioactive warp drives and superheated engine rooms to kill the crew. Lock them in the bathroom and flood the entire room, like in some sadistic game of FTL. But those crafty humans won’t go down easy. They walk around from room to room and will reset the systems if they notice something dodgy is happening. Still, you can outwit them. I believe in you. Be the murderous spaceship AI you want to see in the world.
New Years 7016 by Connor Sherlock
Bring in the New Year at this upmarket intergalactic restaurant, 5000 years in the future. Nod with casual familiarity to all the relaxing gas-based patrons and listen to the premium melodies of the theremin musician performing upstairs, all in the glare of a distant white dwarf. Everything about this is wonderfully recognisable despite being thousands of years hence and made of shiny rectangles. Couples are dining, a shady group sits in a basement VIP area, the manager is in a back office, kitchen staff hang out behind the scenes and right at the back the toilets come complete with what I assume is the 7016 equivalent of a condom machine. Mysterious, calming and alien, this is an excellent choice for New Year’s revelry. Waiter! I’ll have a glass of Argon please. Yes, I will be sitting alone.
An Evening of Modern Dance by selfsame
Contemporary dance theatre for you and up to three friends. Control your dancer with WASD and other nimble button configurations. Observe the timeless beauty of Dance with a capital D. Watch in awe as the limbs wobble and slam against the floor and walls, as pale, hot bods sway with passion and legs flail with an artistic nuance which is simply unfathomable to pre-post-modernity. “If the physics glitch out,” says the creator, “you need more dancing practice. “
Super Sculptor by Michael Shillingburg
Hot on the heels of struggling painter sim Passpartout, comes this not-so-struggling sculptathon! Unleash your inner Hirst by ploppling down skulls everywhere and putting loads of giant, precious diamonds in a big pile in the corner. Stack dozens of contextless television sets on top of one another and then attach twitching eyeballs to them. Are we watching the televisions, or are the televisions WATCHING US? Only art has the answer. Slow time down using the slider on the left and connect lots of moving parts together for added thought provocation. When you are finished, the game will generate a suitable name for you. My forest of coloured halogen light bulbs was dubbed “The Beauty to the Sensuality”. It received mixed reviews.
Loss of Fluid by Nothke
Crash land as the pilot of a beleaguered cargo plane in a crusty brown landscape. Use the A and D buttons to thrust with either engine and try to find the runway for a safe landing. Reminds me of the helicopter game but with two engines, each of them so superpowered that you need to carefully stagger both simultaneously to head anywhere in a straight line. Tricky to pull off but very satisfying to see the little ambulances and fire trucks speed out to help you upon landing safely. A dangerous piece of seditious software caused by the Juegoterrorists of Ludum Dare.
Children’s Day by James Earl Cox III, Alex Underwood and Colin Matsumoto
Hand-drawn jaunt through an urban sprawl to a relaxing, bumbling soundtrack. Lead the children of the city through the streets with your guitar and simply enjoy as each kid who comes along brings their own new instrument to the mix. Not much to it apart from journeying to the end of the line and back but I like it when small games are built around music, or a single musical idea. The scratchy pencil-drawn city has the feel of an inner-city slum, with all its smudges and scribbles, a contrast that only makes you appreciate the quiet music even more.
Puff Enuff? by bitslap
Two-button shotgunny platformer starring a puff of hopping smoke. You can’t move in any fashion apart from hopping, either left or right. Hit both direction buttons at the same time and you can blast the nearest object with a shotgun shell. Collect enough coins from the chests to gamble between dungeons on the slot machine. Don’t die. Kill all the things. Yet another piece of arcadey shrapnel from the catastrophic free games explosion caused by Ludum Dare.