A pack of vicious free games were unleashed in a densely populated area of the internet this week, according to local police. The bizarre attack comes just days after a conglomeration of sabateurs met at the ‘Global Game Jam’, a meeting of the free games underworld thought by experts to be held somewhere on Earth. Although no single group has claimed responsibility for the attack, it is thought that many of the perpetrators were themselves killed in the ensuing chaos. “It was horrible,” said one witness, “there were bodies everywhere. And none of them had any money on them.”
The Great Palermo by We Are Museli
Cullinary art-jaunt through the Sicilian city of Palermo. You are Gaetano, a boy who is tasked every day with going into town to get his mother some eggs. With each passing day new avenues of the town open up and you discover new churches, docks, stadiums, all with their own specialist food vendors, and with each new food you taste, a transformation. Become a mighty King, a strong worker, a Muslim pauper, a famous opera singer, a football supporter. Aside from having a lot of interesting history and legend woven into the tale, the art style is gorgeous, all wobbly arms, deep pinks and geometric patterns. A small feast.
Hazy Days by Mike Yi Ren
Seven days of avoiding pollution as a schoolgirl in an industrialised China. The walk to school every day involves heading through the polluted city air. Click and hold to breathe in and release to breathe out. Small, light blue particles of oxygen are what you try to bring into your lungs, while avoiding the heavier, slower molecules of black pollution. These black motes will stick to the outside of your “lungs” – an expanding and contracting circle – blocking out oxygen and making you sick. Another minigame involves coughing up the daily sputum. Delightful! Basically, this is all about timing your breaths but the delivery of the message is excellent. As you go from day to day, the skyline becomes more obscured in a yellowish fog, your character starts wearing a mask and you start to take noticably shallower breaths, trying to keep the gunk out.
The Story of the Elevator Operator Who Went To The Garden by Palgal, Fernando Serboncini, Morpheus Monmynoi
It’s your fist day of work as an alien elevator operator. Try to understand the demands of irate passengers of varying appearance and origin. At first you just have to slap the symbols of the elevator control panel and pull the lever, hoping to go in the direction they want. There is some logic to the buttons and you can combine them to create more precise movements. Unfortunately the aliens’ speech is impenetrable Wing Dings garbage and the beings will get annoyed and leave if you can’t get them to their desired destination. To make matters worse, more buttons are added as you go. The only hope you have is to interpret the grunts and complaints of your clients, and try to match their garbled swearing to the buttons on your controls. What a terrible first day.
Universally Loved by Meant Games
More incomprehensible beings from a dimension you know little about, except these ones are shallow, narcisstic, fickle and all-powerful. You will die many times. Most of this is just trying to navigate a conversation with each of the three beings in the most sensible manner an abducted school kid can achieve. You need to feel out the personalities of all three beings and avoid being killed in a variety of disgusting and intriguing ways, including but not limited to: fluid loss, decapitation, suffocation in the vacuum of space and universe-quake. The blue being is rational and observant, pink is easily distracted and obsessed with novelty, and the green one is egotistical and dangerous. Say anything to get by. Extra points for including obscene amounts of interdimensional sexual innuendo right from the start.
Barb by Josh Naylor, Kenney Vleugels, Suchada Brassé, Angelo Di Totto
The daily morning routine of Barbara. Walk around the flat interacting with the red things! Your phone goes off, the sound effect obviously done by someone mimicking a phone, it’s your friend coming to pick you up! Better get ready quick, Barb.
Zebra by Bennet Foddy
You have no idea what’s going on in this screenshot, do you? That’s all right. For about 5 minutes I had no idea either. Zebra is like the sun. Mysterious, thought-provoking, painful to look at for more than a few seconds. Once you understand what’s going on and you train yourself to see what the creator intends you to see, it’s a quick game to stumble through, bleary-eyed, feeling naseous.
Banish by Marisa Angeli, Tyvic Stallworth, Carl Deryl Vitasa, Christian Willet, Jack Burrows
Two-player slash and summon with giant Mortal Kombat looking god-beasts. Jump and dash around taking swipes at your opponent, then throw their limp corpse onto your summoning altar and watch your friendly demon grow. The first to offer 3 cadavers to their beast wins (because said beast murders the other). Pretty straightforward but I like the way the demons crawl out of their altars like they’re angry with pain, like they are boiling over the edge of a pot of terrifying stew.