Free Loaders: Paradise Lost

What are you gawping at? Oh, I see, the car. Thanks for the concern but, honestly, it’s fine. Really. It’s supposed to be like that. I was just out here in the desert looking for Paradise. You don’t happen to know where it is, do you? As soon as I have a better idea of where I’m going I’ll be back on the road. Yes sir, back on the trail. Anyway, you had better be going. I’m sure you have places to be. Don’t worry about me, haha. I’ll be fine. Yes, haha, I’ll be all right.

In Search Of Paradise by Henrik Hermans

Open country road trip to the mysterious “Paradise”. When you rock up to a gas station on the road and ask about Paradise, the attendant tells you to forget about it, that he’s seen tons of folk disappear down the dirt road behind his filling station, never to return. Well, that sounds like a challenge don’t it? And this won’t be the first time you’ll be warned against something on the road. If you drive too crazily, for instance, you can flip your car right over. And you can run out of petrol too, both of which will force you to pause and order your car towed back to the last gas station. Driving at night is also pure folly, since you won’t be able to see the road clearly (the “road”, such as it is) or any signs directing you to the next fuel pump either. Luckily, you can wait out the day for as long as you want when parked at any garage.

I have to warn you now, this is a long game (by the usual standards of this column) with a lot of “empty” time and 30 minutes in I found myself wondering if I should just quit. But I’m glad I didn’t because it has a strong finale. It’s also important to note that it is inspired by a podcast Idle Thumbs did about racing games, which I listened to while driving across the desert sands, hand on the wheel, sun in my eyes, car in the air, oh god, my car’s in the air, I’m crashing, oh God, help I’m crashing.

Onwards and Upwards by Drinking Wind Games

Extra low resolution first-person-shooty. Follow your fellow blue soldiers into battle with the dread reds, utilising all three gun types: rifle gun, burst gun and machine gun gun. If you want a better image of how this looks, just look at the picture above and step back from your computer screen a few paces. Or just storm through four levels of intense tracer rounds and brave assaulting, including a D-Day style invasion complete with bunkers, trenches, attack blimps and anti-air turrets. Shoot incoming laser rounds out of the air to protect yourself, shoot the red men to become courageous, shoot the everything, never stop shooting.

Giraffes Volleyball Championship 2016 by sandwich puissant

Compete in the premier sport of the Savannah. Face off against merciless AI giraffes or go head-to-head with your friend, your sibling, your significant giraffe other. Reach to the sky with your dangly legs, like some kind of terrible super-insect, and headbutt the ball into your opponent’s space. Take on the personas of multiple famous giraffe volleyball players such as: Amazing Giraffe, Wonderful Giraffe, Phenomenal Giraffe, and more! First to five points wins the day.

Muses Sexton by Deconstructeam

Grave-digging epitaph generator. You have a shovel and a cart full of coffins ready for the cold ground of the prairie. Find some flat earth and get digging, then slug your cart and its restful passengers to the grave and throw one of those coffins into its new home. But that’s not your only job. You also have to write epitaphs for the dead. Look around you and find inspiration in the land. The pine trees, the stones, a bear skin, burned out houses, the gallows, a totem pole, a bloodied gate – all of them offer lines for you to use. You only need three lines for each gravestone but there’s enough here for you to play with, forging your own small mini-stories about the people in the coffins. The controls can be a bit janky but aside from that there’s something very atmospheric about this frosty, howling cemetery, something that reminds me of Robert Service poems and Jack London books. It’s probably just the snow.

Robot Heist by Anna Anthropy

Meet Val, the Vertical Bot, expert of pushing things vertically. Val’s got a plan – to bust his old friend Harry the Horizontal Bot (master of pushing things horizontally) out of high security robot prison. Is he doing this for friendship? Hell, no. He’s busting him outta here for One Last Job. Embark on the ultimate robo-heist with the best cyber thieves in the business. Puzzle through laser-lined levels and barrel-pushing conundrums, swap between ‘bots and use teamwork to steal the most valuable block of gold you’ve ever seen. But will Val and Harry get out of there with the loot? All robots have their limits.

Eight Millimeters by Dancing Eagle

Post-invasion documentary FPS. The humans of Earth have fended off an alien invasion and as a documentary filmmaker (and veteran yourself) you are making a short film about the soldiers who fought. Shoot the aliens in flashbacks and ask questions in the present. There’s a hint of Blendo Games’ outings in this, with it flicking through multiple stories and scenes in quick succession. But it is also a lot more wordy than those games, and I can’t tell if this improves the storytelling or detracts from it. Probably a little of both. Anyway, WAR, huh? What is it good for?

Brume by Robin Moretti and Juiliano Gil

I won’t even pretend to understand this one.

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21 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Cross says:

    Forgot to put a jump in there, didn’t ya’?

  2. Ben says:

    In Search Of Paradise is actually from the latest Idle Thumbs game jam. If you follow the link on the game’s site to the jam forums, you’ll find loads of really fun entries to try out (as well as a rubbish little adventure game and a not-bad interactive comic by me) from the three jams so far.

    • Henke says:

      Yup, lots of great games in the latest jam: link to itch.io Some of my faves there are Cruisin’ for Something, Rigid Body Rat King, and 20 Year Old Weird House.

  3. tehfish says:

    The in search of paradise game was pretty decent, even if there were a few frustrating bits where i was hopelessly lost (no road to follow and vague directions given) Got there in the end though.

    The game did amuse me also with it’s somewhat janky controls, which on several occasions gave me mini-cutscene like different camera angles of me barrelling through a petrol station doing triple-reverse somersaults in the car because i couldn’t slow down or steer enough in time to avoid hitting something :)

  4. Henke says:

    In Search of Paradise dev here. Good write-up! Thanks for sticking with it to the end, Brendan. Y’know, getting featured on RPS was all I really wanted from Indie Game Development. That goal achieved I HEREBY ANNOUNCE MY RETIREMENT!

    • Aerothorn says:

      All I ever wanted from games writing was to be featured on RPS, and after that happened I (coincidentally) mostly *did* retire.

    • Marr says:

      I didn’t like the look of that last obstacle, so I left my car behind and crawled, got behind the end of the game on foot, found glitches in the Matrix and the headless tree. Do I get an achievement?

      You really captured the hypnosis of 3am driving here, and also brought me back to all those 2000 era escapes from the game boundaries and failed attempts to reach the skybox.

    • pocketlint60 says:

      Hey, I liked your game but I was a little lost near the end. I got to the gas station outside the city, where the guy tells you the bridge is out. After trying to jump it a few times, I found out I could get out of the car and climb the big rails on the sides of the broken bridge. I walked completely through the city and nothing happened. I went back to the car and drove down into the big ravine, following it to one side until I fell out of world.

      Was the game over at that last gas station? Was I supposed to turn back? Was “sudden, unfulfilling end despite how far you went to get here” what you were going for? Was I supposed to get the car into the city somehow?

      • Henke says:

        *SPOILERS AND STUFF*
        You certainly can jump the bridge at the end, just make sure to build up enough speed. I didn’t make it possible to trigger the ending on foot because A) only truly being able to get to paradise while in a car felt appropriate for this game, and B) laziness. However I really like your approach of climbing across on the bridge structure, hadn’t even considered that option. :) If I release a new version I’ll be sure to allow the player to access it on foot.

        • tehfish says:

          Since we have a spoilery thread now, a question:

          The bit from the second gas station where you’re directed to cross the plains. The route to the next gas station is cutting the fuel supply so incredibly fine i’m feeling i’ve missed one station out completely…
          (cross plains -> go past power pylons -> turn left at mountains x2 -> cross more plains/dunes -> run out of fuel and coast/walk to the gas station)

          • Askis says:

            There is a station before the power pylons, where you’re told to head west, but I might have missed a station after that, as I ran out of fuel just before reaching the station on the hill.

      • tehfish says:

        You can jump the bridge, but not if you accelerate directly from the gas station, you won’t be going fast enough.

        Need to turn around and start from the beginning of the paved bit of road.

  5. RobinMoretti says:

    Hi guys! My game “Brume”, maybe, its hard to get because is a part of my fine arts studies… :)

  6. DancingEngie says:

    Eight Millimeters dev here (my GameJolt username is Dancing Eagle). Thanks for the mention! It was indeed inspired by Thirty Flights and the animated documentary Waltz with Bashir.

    It was created for the Adventure Jam, and I highly recommend you check out the other entries: http://www.adventurejam.org

  7. Mr Propellerhead says:

    Methinks someone has been taking driving lessons from Pip.

  8. monsieurZb says:

    Goodness gracious! Trust the guy! You don’t want to go through the canyon!

    • tehfish says:

      That bit was fun! Wheeeee! *car cartwheels across the landscape*

      • monsieurZb says:

        Yeah, it got better after the first “oh crap, there is no road heeeeeere” moment

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