When we launched this column, I named it “Free Loaders” in reference to getting stuff for $0 and also to “loading” games. But do you know who the real free loaders are? That’s right, THE PANAMA PEOPLE. Next week I am going to Panama to see if I can see some of their papers for myself. In the meantime, here is a game about just that, made at the Nordic game jam, where the free games juegoterrorists have regrouped to make an uncharacteristic stand against tax evasion.
Political Shitstorm by Alice! Aina! James! Mark! Paul!
Politics and crumpets. Play as the British Prime Minister and make countless important decisions about national policy, like whether to hold a referendum on EU membership, what to do about dangerous security leaks, and how to stifle rumours of your “pulled pork” infatuation. All the while you need to have money in mind, funneling the funds saved from your policies into an offshore bank account. Topical! Keep an eye on the public perception however (the trio of angry punters in the corner). When it gets too low you’ll be forced out. A tiny, Brit-centric reimagining of the Democracy series.
Samurai Tennis II by Simon Sklett, Roel Ezendam & Joonas Turner
Masterclass in fox samurai tennis. Bap the bad boys on the bonce with every bounce. Rack up combos by hitting the tennis ball off surfaces like the crocodile and the bell, chain shots by keeping the ball off the ground for as long as possible. You can do it! I know you can because you are a fox samurai and everyone knows they make the best tennis champions. Don’t let me down.
Morning Makeup Madness by Jenny Jiao Hsia
Quickfire morning makeup routine. Apply all your daily war paints in just 10 seconds to win. Smear lipstick across your cheeks for that fresh yet informal look. Whack mascara on a single eye for an asymmetrical twist. Or simply cover your whole visage in blush for that iconic, faceless stare. The only way this minigame could be improved would be if it had a second level set on the London Underground, where every day thousands of women miraculously apply eyeliner without blinding themselves. Heroes, every one of them.
The Cardboard Company by Bjarke A. Larsen, Mikael Schiffmann, Damien Bagnoud
Delegation-em-up at a beleaguered cardboard manufacturer. There has been a leak about something damaging within your company and it is causing all sorts of ruckus. Hand out the subsequent tasks to four identical men in identical suits in an effort to achieve some damage control and find the mole before the leak goes FULL PUBLIC. Assign the tasks to the right department to slow the progress of the leak meter. For example: is a celebrity shaming your company on Twitter? Point and yell at the PR man. The trouble comes when the relevant department head is absent on another task, meaning you end up ordering IT to sort out a pay dispute with an employee, or you order Accounting to install new security software.
Kameleon by Eight Bit Skyline
Time-looping assassination attempt. As a publishing house editor you get a bunch of manuscripts to either accept or reject. They all seem kind of terrible until one of them drags you into its world. A phone call, a gun shot from a distant window, what’s going on? Go out and investigate. The adventure game side of things starts to take over from this point. Take light bulbs and antennas with you because you may need them later for some unspecified task. But obviously, don’t take the flowers, you don’t see the need for those. A cyclical and cryptic tale. But is it worth publishing?
Sausagebear and Mr Duck by Hempuli
As a sausagebear you are morally and legally obliged to collect incriminating evidence about Mr Duck, a duck in every way similar to all ducks except that he wears a top hat. Herd the other (commoner) ducks towards the breadcrumbs as well as your wobbly sausage legs will allow, until the upper class bird in question is fully implicated in whatever disastrous bread-based crime this is.
Debrysis by grouzdev
Worm-murdering bullet shoots. Zip around in your wee death buggy and fire wildly at all the nasty wormthings that come to ruin your day. Pick up missiles, shotgun blasters, shields and health in a hyper-traditional shmup with the obligatory UNTZ soundtrack. Are you terrible at these types of games? Don’t worry, so am I. But the leveling-up system injects a little fairness for those of us who are bullet magnets. I am including this mostly because it reminds me of the heady days of my youth, spent firing guitar-twang projectiles in Everyday Shooter. Simpler times.
Something Something Apocalypse by James Temoshenko
Kill all the zombies until you are dead. Waves of the green undead are coming at you like locusts, coming at you like angry dogs, coming at you like a 90s girl group with attitude. Survive each wave to be rewarded with a better gun, until there are no more guns. Try not to get caught on the barely visible edges of run-down buildings, lest ye be overwhelmed. More shooty for you, because I know you like shooty. Featuring: “gun that shoots bullets, gun that shoots more bullets, gun that shoots exploding bullets, gun that shoots a lot of bullets at once”. I only wish triple-A developers told us about their in-game firearms with as much enthusiasm.
What Do You Do In The Elevator? by WhyMentionMyUsername
I hate people like you.
Have you seen any games that cost nothing? Send them directly to me in Panama! Or, I don’t know, to my Twitter