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Free Loaders: Was It All For Naut?

My life in exile continues to be a difficult and dangerous existence. Last week I ate something that I thought was a chocolate chip cookie but soon discovered was a temporary cafeteria for a platoon of tiny ants. I spent the following two days battling a severe fever. It is possible the two events are not connected but at this stage I am not willing to consider any alternative hypotheses. It must have been the ants. Anyway, here are some free games.

Looking for more free games? Check out our round up of the best free PC games that you can download and play right now.

Naut by by Lucie Viatgé, Tom Victor and Titouan Millet

Road trip through the pink deserts of Mars for one or two players. Leave the comfort of your Martian bungalow and hop in an unpredictable vintage sports car for a dusty drive among the sands of our planetary neighbour. Re-enact Matt Damon's role in The Martian, except with less science and more fender bending. Visit the sad, old ghosts of the other settlements or plough through a red valley as a atmospheric storm rages throughout the badlands. Watch the white sun rise and fall, and scream with terror as you spin desperately out of control into a stubby boulder, flipping your convertible through the low gravity like a pinball let loose from its machine. Picturesque, soothing, liberating, and some other words like that.

Cold Email by Crater House

A few days in the life of a videogame marketer. Send as many emails as possible to members of the disgusting press. Hold the right mouse button to grab your (in-game) mouse and click SEND as much as humanly possible. But, as in life, distracting items will rain down upon your desk to impede your spamming. Cats, beer, plates, beef, bears, books, memory cards and more will stop your mouse hand from fulfilling its true potential. Release the mouse and swipe things off the desk, or slam your fist down and clear the whole surface at once. But the real enemy here is the malware your employer seems to have given you in an email, which causes pop-ups to get in your way on-screen and overheat your computer. Send the day's worth of unsolicited drivel before your machine explodes and puts you in debt. I am awarding extra points to the developer of this game for utilising obscene amounts of comic sans.

deep by waterman7

Ultra-minimalist abandoned structure explorer. It's just you, your ship and a limited sonar system. Fly with WASD and turn with the arrows, following the bleeps of your distant goal. Avoid crashing into the sides of the cave and carefully navigate by planting markers to show where you've been. Starts off simple, but then the walls begin to warp and move, like nebulous jelly. Are they mechanised? Or is something gigantic and organic crawling on them? And what is that new beeping noise? Space. It's a dangerous place.

React! by Versatile Box

SHUT DOWN THE NUCLEAR REACTOR. There are two keys on your keyboard that can do this. However, being an uneducated oaf, you do not know which two. You have six seconds to find them. When you press a correct key, one of the buttons will go green. Find and hold both keys to disable the reactor with mere milliseconds to meltdown. A Homer Simpson simulator, if you will. My high score saw me stopping the explosion with 0.72 seconds remaining but there is is some monster on this planet who has disabled the reactor in half a second. This cannot stand. You know what to do.

Wibble Wobble by Daniel Linsson

Gelatinous hi-score space platformer. Scurry and leap around on the shifting, elasticated landscape of a strange new world. Spikes are hazardous and a giant, spooky eye-thing pursues you from place to place. And if the ground sinks below a certain level (shown by the dotted red line) it becomes flooded with red death. Stay alive long enough to rack up a good score and collect the stars to boost your multiplier and give you a bit of bounce as you traverse the wobbling hills. I got 10 stars and about 9000 points, which is better than you and you and YOU.

Beautiful Ugly by Owen Bell, Ansh Patel, Karina Popp, Reynaldo Vargas and Tony Kao

I'll be honest, I have no idea what I'm looking at here.

CHESTO by Josef Who and Broken Rules

Minimum wage slave simulation. Play as a cashier at corporate supermarket CHESTO, where you must scan items and place them in the customer's trolley as quickly as possible. Grab steaks and chickens with the mouse and move the conveyor belt along with space bar. Try and get finished before the end of your shift, because your managers will not pay overtime. However, be happy in the knowledge that as a player and cashier you are contributing to the huge profits of a multinational conglomerate, all visible here. Keep working to unlock new stock and different customers. Try not to drop any organic cucumbers on the ground. The vegan customers do not appreciate that.

Among Thorns by Matt Frith

Point and click cyberpunk minisode. Cora Bry is sitting chomping noodles at her favourite ramen joint surrounded by all her favourite neon street signs. Then she gets a call from one of her employers telling her to get some data that could cure a digital plague infecting the machines and people of the world. A short tale, arguably unfinished, but that's the price you pay for a game jam. Lots of point and click logic here but there's also more than enough cyberwonder, future ambiance and flashing pixel art to satisfy your Gibsonist cravings for ten to fifteen minutes. HINT: your inventory is on the left side, hidden behind that 'I' symbol.

Dream Detective by Laura Guglielmo

Tale of dreams and some colourful abstract thoughts called Dot, Flick and Bartholomew. Imagine if Thomas Was Alone was made in Ren'Py, lasted about 5 minutes and was mainly about a boy's mind trying to piece together a dream. Included in this week's roundup almost entirely because of the line pictured above, which is delivered in an odd quasi-Welsh accent. Free games are weird.

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