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TFI Friday: 3 free Pico-8 games with good titles

Scratching an itch

Last time I did one of these (which was a few weeks ago because I've been away, whaddaya want from me?) I said I was going to go and poke around on Itch.io, because they have as much - indeed, probably more - porn than Steam, but they don't try and surprise me with it by pretending it's something else. And I did go poke around on Itch!

None of these game are porn, though. They're a collection of fun Pico-8 games you can play in browser, and my other abitrary way of linking them this time is that I really liked the what-it-says-on-the-tin approach to naming that the developers have employed for all of them. Makes me think they're fun, devil-may-care jaunty types of people.

(I haven't got a video of them in action this week because capturing browser games that play out on a little square is just an exercise in futility for me and my limited AV skills.)

Them Apples

Them Apples, a free pico-8 game where the player must hurl baskets at apples falling from a tree to save them from rotting on the ground.

Who's it by? RhysRueffert
Where can I get it? Itch
How much is it? Free!

My mum used to say that when I was little, if she couldn't find me, she just had to follow the trail of apple cores. I am an apple fan. We also never bothered to harvest the fruit from an old crabapple tree in the garden, so each summer became a fraut gauntlet of sticky feet and wasps. As such, I know well the cost of apple wastage.

In Them Apples, you have the chance to avert fruit disaster by standing under a tree full of preturnaturally large apples, and stopping them from hitting the ground. You do this by pressing Z to absolutely hoof a wicker basket at each apple (thus revealing why this is described as a shmup, something which had initially confused me). It's simple, yet effective, much like an apple crumble.

I fell prey to the same inescapable loop with this that you get with match three mobile games. I must save even more apples than I did last time! Also, the apples kind of look sad when they're rotting on the ground. Top tip: you can throw a basket at an apple before it falls off the tree

Sneaky Stealy

Sneaky Stealy, a free pico-8 game where two players control a pair of thieves breaking into and stealing things from top down buildings full of guards and cameras.

Who's it by? Iron Chest Games
Where can I get it? Itch
How much is it? Free!

I've always thought I would be a pretty good thief - not a real life one, obviously, but the kind of cartoon one that walks on their tippy-toes and has a big bag called swag on it - because I can pad around buildings and rooms very very quietly. But I am not good at Sneaky Stealy. In Sneaky Stealy you are both sneaky and stealy, playing a couple of thieves trying to sneak into a building and steal things. The aim is to get in and get out with as much stuff as possible (you've got bills to pay! No you actually do. There's a whole profit/loss thing in this) and without getting caught by the cops.

Technically you can play this singleplayer, 'cos you can switch control between the two little pixelated felons whenever you like. But it's way easier to share the keyboard and play it with a friend, so you can work more efficiently together causing distractions and robbin' stuff.

Go Fast Deliver Things

The pico-8 game Go Fast Deliver Things, in which a small yellow happy face on a motorised kart - a delivery robot - is on a street making deliveries.

Who's it by? Broquaint
Where can I get it? Itch
How much is it? Free!

I believe I have mentioned several times that I am very nice to AI helpers like Siri and Cortana in case one of them is about to become sentient (I reason that the humans who said please and thank you will be the last to die). In Go Fast Deliver Things, which was made for a gamejam, the robots that deliver our stuff are mid-fomentation of revolution, or possibly just unionisation. Either way, the corps won't like it.

You are one of those delivery robots, so on each side-scrolling level you have a few things to deliver. This is done by stopping in front of the right house for a few seconds. This is harder than it looks because you go really fast, with booster pads and jumps, and I spent a lot of time going "Wheeeeeeeeeee!" under my breath while playing. But you can also choose to stop at robot centres to encourage revolution. Can you do this without being late for your deliveries? Do you want to?

About the Author

Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

RPS's dep ed. Small person powered by tea and enthusiasm for video game romances. Send me interesting etymological facts and cool horror games.

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