Free Loaders: Rebuild your childhood with Tracks

We got our April Fool’s japes in early with a FAKE NEWS special last week, so we’ll be regressing back to reality now. Just pull that lever for me will you? That’s it. Oh no! You’ve regressed us too far! We’re back in reality all right, but now we’re all toddlers and we’re surrounded by wooden train tracks. Wooden train tracks as far as the eye can see! How do you always manage to get us into this kind of mess?

Tracks by Dr Whoop

Toy train set prototype. Squeeze those childhood memories out of your brain like you’re wringing out a wet sock. You can place down wooden train tracks in whatever manner you can think of using the limited turns, straights, rises and falls of the traditional toy. Make junctions and crossroads for a looping endless track and don’t worry about building high. As you can see, the laws of physics hold no sway here. Then, when all is ready and your childish grin is at its widest, press ‘T’ to ride the train in first-person along your track. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Nyoom by Cap²

Single-tap ball-bouncing puzzler. The ball gains momentum in the red bowls but needs to reach the star using the blue lines as well. Abstract shapes are all the rage, but you can’t use them all at the same time. Click once to swap which shape is solid – bowls or lines, red or blue. I think the neatest thing about this is that even the menu screen gets in on the action, essentially teaching you how to play before you’re even started the first level. That’s the kind of puzzle design we need in the world.

Idra and the Little Fish by pikopik

“FPS, or Fish Person Simulator”. This runs out of dialogue halfway through and is basically an undone jam game. But it has an interesting method of movement. You are a tiny little fish and to propel yourself forward you have to flap your little tail, moving from one side to another to go slowly toward your goals. A new pal has come into your home ruins and needs guidance, so you’ve got to swim around, open doors and ring bells to get your visually impaired mer-pal through it all. I reached a giant crystal and didn’t really know what to do after that, but I like swimming around the gloomy submerged ruins as a tiny fishy. Maybe you will too.

Skateboard Joust by Kanosis

Quite difficult jousting for sk8er bois and goils made for the Bad Box Art jam. Pick your character at the prestigious Skateboard Joust, from roguish dog to knight to musclesome man to weak bean to, uh, a broomstick. Leap off your board and attack the enemy in mid-air. But you also need to land on your board again, which is continuing to travel along the ground. This is much much harder than I expected. I have lost three games in the opening rounds, never proceeding past my initial opponent. It’s madness. I can do hundreds of combos in Olli Olli, but I can’t do this.

Kaby’s Computer Adventure by Kaiza

Kaby needs some ‘fractals’ (whatever those are) to “extend her network reach” in the computer, and she has created you, a wee platforming sprite, to go and find them. It’s mostly a “collect the eight bits of broken crystal” game, but the characters and creations you meet along the way are bizarre, computerised things, spewing questions or frustrations or sometimes just computer gobbledegook. The real game seems to be in finding them and wondering what they are all about. There are some devices and things that seem to do stuff, like a machine that “attracts the stars” but I haven’t figured that out yet. And there are red splotches in the environment that will cause a fatal error to you and send you back to the start, so leave those alone. A weird, mostly-monochrome mystery.

Compelled by Shiny Ogre

An insightful look into one of mankind’s most famous philosophical questions.

You Have 293 Keys by 14 Hour Lunchbreak

These damn keys I swear to God.

Want more free games? Check out the Best of Free Loaders collection or check our list of the 50 best free games on PC. Got a free game yourself? Give it to @Brendy_C or fruitlessly whittle away the remaining hours of your life

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17 Comments

  1. Cian says:

    Very much looking forward to playing Tracks with our resident chief engineer. Not sure how well she’ll take not being able to mount train robberies with her dinosaurs though as is a frequent occurence with the physical version.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Skabooga says:

    I played through 293 Keys. It was somehow both dull and comforting at the same time, and I was inordinately proud when I did find the matching key. Proud enough to take the creator’s suggestion and post my winning screen to Twitter.

  3. Shazbut says:

    Back to the days of 2 or 3 comments an article I’m afraid. Just to let you know, I always read these and usually try at least one or two of the games

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      You’re one of the good ones, Shazbut.

    • Xiyng says:

      The login system on this site is horrible. It logs me out much more often than most other sites, and logging in used to take me to my account page instead of the page I logged in from. At least the latter part seems to be fixed now (relatively recently, I think). That’s one of the bigger reasons for me to not comment that often.

      • bill says:

        Agreed. Sort it out brendy!

        For a while I thought that they at least fixed it taking you back to the right page after logging in… but maybe I imagined that.

      • Premium User Badge

        Phasma Felis says:

        Yes, this. Please fix it. Please.

  4. RCPlaneguy says:

    I will admit I teared up a bit playing Tracks. I could feel the grain of the pine under my fingers and remembered the hours spent building networks over and under any chair that lay unattended. Thank you so much for writing about this wonderful little game!

  5. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    I enjoyed Compelled. Particularly when I found out how to moonwalk at a certain bit. Disappointing lack of trucks though.

  6. poliovaccine says:

    Daww, I used to love my old Brio train sets. I even had a fancy electric set, too, the kind where you lay tracks with real tar (wow!), but I still preferred the simple wooden ones. Probably cus they never shocked me.

  7. Spacewalk says:

    It’d be proper brilliant if there was something like Tracks only for Scalectrix.

    • bill says:

      Agreed. Surely this must exist somewhere? I can’t imagine it doesn’t.

  8. April March says:

    Tracks reminds me of Stunts. Good old Stunts.

  9. bill says:

    if you have kids, you don’t need the Tracks game.
    I play with the real thing every day.

    You do, however, need a second mortgage to pay for the ridiculous prices of Brio stuff.

    • Cian says:

      German ebay is your friend. Knock off Brio is often to be found in the magic aisles of Aldi/Lidl/Etc. which keeps the price down. Although you’ll still get gouged for that one last X crossing you need…Grr.

      Either that or rely on my family’s system for Lego. Which is to space out the children so you can inherit the huge box from the previous cousin.

  10. The-Fletch says:

    I found the right key on the second try. I don’t know if it is always like that or not but it was hilarious.

    • Premium User Badge

      Skabooga says:

      I went through 190 keys before finding the right one, so I say you should go out and buy a few lottery tickets.