Demakes are the new remakes, and remakes used to be the new... makes? Whatever. Anyway, as gamers, we're eating up these indie projects that come along and remake our favorite games as if they existed on older hardware. Something about those blocky pixels and simplified music makes the blood flow.
Super Smash Land (Windows, 4.2MB, preview demo) - Yes, this is exactly what you think it is: a demake of Super Smash Bros. as if it were released on the original Game Boy. Created by Dan Fornace in Game Maker 8, Super Smash Land attempts to be faithful both to its original source material as well as the hardware it's intended to have appeared to run on. For example, because the Game Boy only had two buttons, your moves are limited in SSL to jumping, special moves, and smash attacks. No blocking. This fundamentally changes the Super Smash Bros. concept, but it creates something entirely new to experience. A limited demo is available to play now, and it contains two characters, just a few stages, and support for local multiplayer. This thing shows a lot of promise!
Darkfate (Windows, 9.9MB, free) - A minimalist, moody, exploration-centric platformer that's a very quiet but mildly disturbing experience. You play as Christ Freeman who is stranded in the cold mountains with no idea how he got there or how to get back. Worried by his loneliness and fearful of freezing, he strikes out to explore the caverns and surface areas and ends up investigating mystery upon mystery of this odd place. A great experience to set foot in this game, and you'll be hooked from the first diary entry to the last pixelated hill. And yes, that visual style does look a lot like Small Worlds.
Jigsaw (Windows, 1.7MB, free) - Another great remake for the Action 52 game development jam, Jigsaw gives you a gun that fires nails which have a dual purpose: defeat enemies, and create platforms. You can use the nails to climb difficult areas by planting them in wooden walls, but you can only have three nails on the screen at a time. Some switches will remain active only as long as a nail is stuck in its side, and you'll find yourself in a pickle on more than one occasion. Most of the puzzles are great and really make you think, while the rest are truly inspired. An excellent mix of platforming and puzzle solving!
Note: All games have been confirmed to run under Windows 7 and are virus-free. Mac users should try Boot Camp, Parallels, or CrossOver Games to play Windows titles, Linux users can use Wine. If you know of a great game we should feature, use the Submit link above to send it in!