Shhh! I’m trying to pretend to be a cardboard box. There are people around here who want me dead. Yes, they’re pretending to be cardboard boxes too. Look, I don’t have time to explain, just stand over there and don’t look at me. And If you see any of these other boxes move, point at them so I can shoot them dead. I won’t rest until I am safe, and crowned king of the boxes.
What the Box? by Daniel Snd
Update: I guess it’s not free anymore :(
Cardboard treachery. You are a box in a warehouse full of identical boxes. But there are others here too, humans across the world connected to this deadly arena via the Internet, and they are out to destroy you with bullets. That is, if they can find you. Up to 10 players battle it out to become king of the boxes by staying in a control point without dying. The control point can be contested though, so you have to look out for your foes and stay sneaky at the same time. It leads to a lot of frantic shooting at innocent props and freezing among a pile of other boxes in a bid to remain unseen. There are other modes, like the Super Box mode which makes one box a juggernaut who must be killed by the others, and a deathmatch mode which is all about murder. But the King of the Boxes is where it’s at. It reminds me of Assassin’s Creed multiplayer – blending in among NPCs, trying not to be spotted and at the same time feeling the urge to destroy.
The House Abandon by No Code Studio
Creepy 80s flashback. You start out playing an old game on your Spectrum-like computer. It’s a pleasant interactive fiction, with the protagonist revisiting an old family holiday house. Go round the back, turn on the generator, enter the house. Your dad has found something in the attic and has left it in your old room, he says in a note. Oh, the nostalgia, you can hardly take it. But there’s something else going on here. Something… spooky. The game takes a couple of very creepy turns and is full of great ideas. A pity that the IF parser is so bonkers. Might be worth checking back in a week or two when the devs have ironed out the bugs and made it possible to actually read writing scarred across walls by typing “look at” or “examine” or “read”.
Hyper Blaster by Combopunk
Fast-paced voxel shooter. Do you have what it takes to shoot things good? I bet you do. This is a reflex-honing shooter featuring a badass monkey with nothing to lose but his 3D glasses. Fire with the left mouse button, dodge to a new spot with the right mouse button, and fend off the globulous tar things with an array of power-ups. Twin machine guns, fireballs, whirlwind shields. It’s a little hard to begin with, considering the need to dodge and shoot at different times, but crack on and you’ll unlock new power-ups and characters and, eventually, turbo mode. I haven’t unlocked turbo mode, but I hear about it in whispers. Whispers that say: “It’s like normal mode, but faster.”
Blokdust by Luke Twyman, Luke Phillips and Edward Silverton
Music-making block-building toy. I honestly don’t know where to start with this. It’s a set of cool shapes that you put together on a canvas. Each ‘blok’ has different properties and functions and you can connect them by placing them near each other. Some blocks provide power, others scrape a sample from a random Soundcloud track. There’s one that reads the input from your keyboard and, when combined with a block that produces a tone, turns your keyboard into a synthey piano. Then there are others that record sound from your microphone and some that shoot lasers or little bullets that activate other blocks as they strike. It’s very clever stuff and I am completely unable to make anything of use with it. I offer it to you, Free Loader, knowing that you will probably recreate Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. But even if you’re as useless as me, there’s a guide to show you how it all works.
Retro YouTube Simulator by Commie and Pogo
YouTube as retrofitted to exist in 1986. Type commands into your powerful personal computer to find videos. Type ‘query kittens’ to list the 10 most popular videos featuring kittens, then ‘request’ followed by the number of the video you want delivered. Then it’s just a matter of waiting. After a few moments the video will magically appear next to your phone – just like they did in the 80s! Plop it into your VHS player and enjoy the show. If you want a better description of the videos, you can ask for the ‘detail’ and if you want to clear the screen so that your mum doesn’t find evidence of all those raunchy music videos, just type ‘clear’. Video entertainment as it was meant to be.
No Mario’s Sky by ASMB Games
Why pay homage to one game when you can pay homage to two at the same time? Start off as Mario on World 1-1, leaping and crushing goombas underfoot and collecting coins and 1-up mushrooms, just like always. Then press ‘X’ to get in your spaceship and fly off to another planet, where you can do the exact same thing to goombas that look slightly different. Sometimes the ground will change colour, it could be green, it could be blue. Sometimes the sky will change, or perhaps the hue of the plants. And look, this goomba doesn’t even move, whereas this one jumps around a lot, and this one right here has a cute haircut. It all makes you marvel at the sheer scale of the universe. The possibilities. The limitless nature of the humble goomba.