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Free Loaders: Of resistance and roguelikes

Good day, fellow revolutionaries. The time has come to shake off the shackles of oppression but also to try some free games from this week’s round up. We’ve had a couple of game jams competing for attention - the Resist Jam, which is all about raising that fist and shaking it at The Man, and the 7 Day Roguelike Jam, which I presume is all about getting lost in a maze and succumbing to sweet, sweet death. Roll out, comrades.

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

Rootless by Dessert Club

Point and click acts of comic defiance. As a citizen of a future where there is only one tree left and books are burned by the boxful, you have to stand up to the Mainframe alongside your new best pal, a talking plant thing that, in true suspend your disbelief style, everyone thinks is a dog. There’s a lot of small gags in this and the music is particularly good. The sliding cartoon illustrations make up for a lack in animation with some fun expressions. The plant is the best character, talking always in shouty all-caps and with a penchant for big, unnecessary words. “WE CAN UTILIZE THIS REGURGITATION!” he screams, after vomiting up a useful boombox. Yes we can, brother plant thing. Yes we can.

The Cat in the Hijab by andyman404

Harassment on the subway simulator. But with cats. You play a muslim cat just sitting quietly on the tube, minding your own business. Then people start being really, you know, catty. Racists telling you to go back to your own country (you are already there), ignorant strangers saying you ought to take your headscarf off. It’s a real ride. Mostly, you’re selecting responses or trying to ignore the strangers and hoping they go away. There is a final confrontation, however, with the chance to do something about it and get yourself a fun punchline as a reward.

Freedom Through a Lens by Nicholas Staracek and NicLyness

First-person protest photography. You’re reporting on a protest and you’ve got to get some photographs because photos are good aren’t they. Talk to six people in particular hidden among the chanting crowd and take their pictures. However, one of the organisers tells you that not everyone will want their photo taken. Walk around the colour-drenched park, chat, see what people are saying.

This one seems to set you up for some choices but you don’t really get one until the end, when you’re asked which three photos to include in your report. I think being an actual journalist ruined this one for me, though. You’re told a bunch of rules by the protest leader and then your character is forced by the game’s strict dialogue to follow all those rules – blur faces out, only take pictures of people who give permission. What? It’s a public protest about freedom. I’m a journalist, motherfucker. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t photograph.

In the end I didn’t include a photo of a child character in the final report, not out of consideration for the organiser’s imposing ruleset, but simply because my memory of UK media law flared up and said: “You need parental permission to photograph people under the age of sixteen.”

They Look Strange And Have To Die by ratking

First-person roguelike of alien murder. You must tramp through these cuboid levels, picking up new guns and bombs and syringes that increase your health, accuracy, and so on. Why? Because there are aliens here and they must be utterly destroyed. Your character moves in the roguelike fashion, one block at a time, and as expected, the alien creatures move only when you do, and fire their lasers only when you take an action yourself in their range. You need to bring death and find the portal home. Get busy killin’ or get busy dyin’.

Riders of Rhea by Dave Lloyd

I love the opening line for this one: “Born on this dry rock, you rode the dunes your entire life, free... Until they built that damned space elevator.” This was made for the same Roguelike jam as the game above, but it’s got motorcycles. Chase down enemy bikes on the radar and gun them down with your turrets. You have a fragile shield and too much shooting will overheat your ride. Press ‘E’ to use the water coolant, but don’t forget to turn it off. Press space for a sick handbrake turn. Kill the other bikers, kill them good. We are told to find the space elevator and shut it down. But also that, due to time constraints, there actually is no space elevator in the game. “Just kill doods and see how high you can get your level before dying,” says the creator. Okay!

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