Short but striking, Cyanide Tea's second free indie visual novel tells the story of two people who have seemingly little else in common beyond the elevator they both take to work each day. David is a former police office who can't let go of his past, and Elena is a bright young girl who just happens to share the elevator with him daily. Will David be able to open up to her? And should he?
Lexcavator is a wonderfully chirpy word-based puzzle game by Adam Parrish that combines elements of Dig Dug with spelling games like Bookworm. Your goal is to bash away at the letter tiles by spelling out words, clearing the way so the protagonist can hop further down the level. It requires a lot of careful thinking to prevent capturing yourself in a corner, so enter only if your vocabulary and tactical skills are up for a challenge!
Ever wanted to do something, found out how unbelievably overwhelming the task would be, then decided it'd be a better idea to stay home and have a sandwich? Our hapless knightly protagonist in Climb to the Top of the Castle knows that feeling all too well, only in his case, sandwiches probably haven't been invented yet, and he's got a king breathing down his neck pretty much forcing him to haul his armored rear to the top of the castle and save the princess. Did we say "castle"? Because really, it's pretty much a mountain!
It is up to a green cosmic wanderer with a chain grapple arm to rescue some grounded birds from certain destruction in this retro adventure grapple game. Ladd Spencer (think classic grapple game...) may have had it rough, but the Chain Champ here has to swing over boiling lava pits, dodge pitfalls, and focus on collapsing grapple surfaces. A quick casual game packed with loads of gameplay, chiptune sound effects, and helpless birds to keep you swinging during a lazy afternoon.
If you grew up in an age where dithering was a a common graphical trick to get around color limitations and were excited when CGA was succeeded by EGA which gave way to VGA, just seeing a screenshot of You Have to Win the Game will turn you mad with nostalgia. The exploration platformer from Pirate Hearts shares a lot of design elements with Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV, Lyle in Cube Sector, and Celestial Mechanica, though its main trick is emulating the computing environment of a decades-old PC. But even if you don't get excited by 16-color CRT monitors, You Have to Win the Game is a thoroughly enjoyable ride!
Become a mare of action in this crazy but colourful homage to the classic bullet-hell shooter series. Playing as Fluttershy or Rainbow Dash, blast your way through fields of bizarre enemies, mini-bosses, and more with frantic action you'll need to be at least 20% cooler than most to pull off. This free download might be simple, but it's an excellent source of shooter gameplay to make you feel like a boss and get your heart pounding.
And Then There Were None... an old English detective book that has been adapted for the stage, silver screen, and radio has given inspiration to an indie platformer game. As you quest through the blanketing snow and eerie white noise, the game follows a man known only as Hughes as he tries to defend himself from a roaming serial killer. Tensions rise and fear sets in as danger lurks around every corner, tunnel, and platform. Your only glimmer of solace is the voice emanating from a radio, leading you along and aiding you in your struggle until... it's too late.
Some people lie. Some people tell the truth. Others tell lies every other sentence, while still others tell things that are part truth, but part lie. Then there are robots, vampires, philosophers, and rabid sheep to contend with! Professor McLogic Saves the Day is a creative game of logic puzzles that is a rare gem in a sea of lookalike games. Play it, puzzle over it, and then figure out which part of the first paragraph of our review is a lie!
Miniature Golf: The Tranquility Course isn't a game you probably pictured yourself playing. On the surface, it's a simply-made 3D mini-golf game with nine basic holes to run through and an easy, intuitive interface. Just beyond the thin film of golfing, though, you'll find a game world that presents you with more than enough reasons to run around and explore.
The best games are ones that make you believe you are a part of one story, while another story plays out quietly behind the scenes. In The Ultimate Celebration, a poignant indie platformer from Brian Soulliard, you play a jolly little Party Dude who's only desire is to throw a party for all 20 of his friends. In the real world, you would just call them up on their cell phones and invite them, but where's the fun in that?!
Domestic abuse is not easy to escape, especially for those who feel trapped by circumstances and an apathetic culture that turns a blind eye to the problem. Please help Masha find her son who, along with his kite, has disappeared while she was in a violent dispute with her husband. This moody, atmospheric point-and-click adventure from Anate Studios has stunningly gorgeous graphics and a pleasant soundtrack. While somewhat melodramatic, The Kite has heart and soul, well worth playing for the overall affect.
Time to get your Sokoban-like on with Tom 7's puzzle game, Escape. The built-in tutorial levels start you off with a good challenge, but it's the thousands of user-made levels (and a great sorting system for them) that will heap on the entertainment and have you playing for hours. Try your hand at creating a level of your own to share with the public to see if they can succeed to escape.
Imagine yourself serving as a communications officer in the German Wehrmacht, during World War II, doing your duty in an underground bunker. After developing a mysterious sickness, you are quarantined in solitary confinement. That was a few days ago, and you haven't heard from anyone (including the mysterious Dr. Klein, who put you here in the first place) since. Sound intriguing? It is, and with the release of Escape The Bunker: 1944 by LeviW, you can experience it firsthand. But, you know, in a non-terrifying-life-ending sort of way.
Based a decade-plus old arcade game called XKobo by Akira Higuchi, KoboDeluxe is an updated and enhanced version of the original arcade shooter, porting the concept and gameplay over to modern platforms while introducing better animations, high resolution visuals, additional control options, a difficulty selector, and more. Whether you want a nostalgic arcade fix or are looking for a sturdy action challenge, KoboDeluxe will absolutely satisfy your craving.
Life for Lily, like any other visual novel heroine, is fairly typical. She feels like she's adrift after college and is only working at her uncle's restaurant for the money. But is there more to the eclectic staff than anyone might suspect? A free game made in just a month by Cyanide Tea, packed with romance, restaurant hi-jinks, and more than a few surprises you may not see coming.
A lonely, lost robot wakes up to find itself floating towards a strange island. It has no memory of where it came from or what it's doing, but as the little raft touches stable ground, it does what any amnesiac creature might do: runs forward to see what's out there. Gear World may not be the most original concept this side of Cave Story, but the hyper-difficult platforming action and carefully designed levels more than make up for the conventional setting.
Zaga-33 is a minimalist roguelike created by Michael Brough in one week but later refined into a more polished product for Windows, Mac, and iOS devices. It ditches almost all of the traditional roguelike customs in favor of focusing on just a few gameplay elements for an ultra-refined experience. No stats to track, enemy lists to memorize, or equipment to manage, just pure and simple power-ups and combat!
Bam! Caught ya! Being stealthy is something we all do when creeping around the kitchen at night, going for that last piece of cake before anyone else in the house gets a crack at it. In Stealth Bastard, a stealth platform game from Curve Studios, moving around unseen is what it's all about. Instead of getting busted and forfeiting half a slice of cake, though, you get blasted to pieces by a robot laser the size of your torso. Ouch!
Yahtzee is back, and this time he's offering his take on Metroidvania in Poacher, an action-adventure platformer. Join wabbit-hunter Derek Badger as he stumbles into an ancient conflict far below the Earth's surface. Expect some killer difficulty in this effective combo of humor and horror.
A puzzle platform game where your goal is to carry a heavy key to the keyhole by jumping and tossing it across the stage. Thrown keys travel in a horizontal line until hitting a solid object, then they fall straight down. Unburdened by the key, you can jump a little higher, allowing you to work your way through each stage using a combination of platforming and careful key tossing. A very well-designed game with some great levels to complete! (Note: You need to click the link marked 'Keylugger' after visiting the link above to download the game.)
- • Love+
- • Keylugger
- • Game Title
There are games you love, games you hate, games you love to hate, and games you love to love. Why aren't there any games you love to hate to love or hate to love to hate? Or, is that where the Build-a-lot series goes? *rimshot*
An early-release demo of a game that's been in production for several years and is still a work in progress, Vertex is on track to be the next massive-hit metroidvania. Inspired by the likes of Cave Story, Chrono Trigger, Spelunky and Super Metroid, Vertex drops you in a world that encourages exploration with multiple branching non-linear paths, upgrades, an RPG-like equipment menu, item shop, and much more. The game already looks and sounds fantastic, and the demo is nice and meaty, so you won't feel sleighted when it ends. You will, however, want more, and with any luck, that dream will come true soon enough!
- • Vertex
- • Rogue Moon
- • Omelette Boris
Choose your own introductory paragraph! A) I'd rather have something short and informative, but please make at least one joke about cheese. B) I don't have time to read this, I have too many games to play! C) I can't find the parser input line. Help!
- • Psycho Powers
- • Tombs and Treasures
- • Fox Aliens from Space Invade a Planet within Space
It would take some sort of psycho alien to come up with some of these games below. And we say that with all the affection we can muster. Which is a lot, mind you, as we placed second in the International Hug and General Non-Offensive Physical Affection Competition held last year in Denmark.
- • Impulse
- • Deharmonized
- • Bit of War
Remember the days when you had nothing to do but sit around and play video games? No school, no work, no taxes, no neighbor blowing leaves out of his yard even though autumn was months ago. Just maybe, if you close the windows and call in sick, you can grab the games below and pretend this weekend is one of those times. Just... maybe...
You, are the hunter. The yeti, is your prey. In this snowy world of trees and, well, more snow and trees, it's just you and your gun versus the ever-elusive hairy beast. Trudge through the land in this 3D game as you scour the distant background for signs of the yeti. When you see him, aim and shoot, and hope you're good with a gun. A surprisingly haunting and chilling game from Vlambeer (with a great musical score from Kozilek), especially when it turns into night.
Although it's little more than a stunning map to walk around in, Andrew Yoder's Hubris is a surprisingly atmospheric experience that attempts to invoke emotion and set your imagination running around in a world void of conflict or interaction. Simply put, all you do in Hubris is march around and take in the view. There's a staircase, a small tower, plenty of intricate wall work with shadows and small openings, and a door waiting at the top. Despite (or, more likely, because of) the emptiness, you'll quickly become enamored with this small little game.
- • Yeti Hunter
- • On the Shoulders of Ancestors
- • Hubris
Conspiracy theory time! The order the following games are listed in along with the general theme of their content will, when viewed as a string of text on a single page from afar, show an outline of an Egyptian hieroglyph hidden in the chamber below the Sphinx. At least, that's what we're telling people... Shh!
What happens when you give Mario a portal gun? A mish-mash of two extraordinarily recognizable games — Super Mario Bros. and Portal — with a whole lot of extras. Mari0 puts you in control of our favorite pixellated plumber as he goes on his famous adventure from the mid-1980s, only this time, he's got the power of portals on his side!
- • Zatikon
- • DoomRL
- • Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory
It's blasts from the past(s) time! We dug up several games previously featured on Weekend Download to see how they've fared over the last few years. Some of them have vanished (oops), some of them have stayed the same, and some of them have grown into bigger, better projects! Take a look at some of the neater upgrades some of our classic games have gone through.
Finally, a quest we can all identify with (and a protagonist whose personality traits may or may not hit a little too close to home)! There's a worldwide coffee shortage (say it ain't so!), and Cherry Starma wakes to find she's all out of the good stuff. Time to go to the store! Will The Only Store have any left? Will that be the conclusion of the game?! Could it be that simple??!! A good, old fashioned, retro-styled, humor adventure game with simple point and click controls and some killer MIDI music.
- • Para Para Paranoid
- • Cherry's Quest for Coffee
- • Me and My Shadow
I see you there, shadow. Following my every move. Writing a Weekend Download introduction as I do the same. Having cookies for breakfast just like I did. I've got my eye on you. And you've got your eye on me!
- • Verminest
- • Co-Op
- • The Little Quest
If you were given an apple, an orange, a bag full of thumb tacks, and a yearly subscription to I Just Made This Name Up magazine, could you turn it into a game? Maybe by rolling the fruit along the ground to see how many tacks you could collect before hitting the magazine fort? Fortunately, you don't have to be that creative to enjoy the fruits of other folk's creativity, as this weekend's collection of freeware games nicely illustrates!
- • Process
- • Hubris
- • Bust-n-Rush
Weekend... INITIATE! Now that your non-week is underway, it's time to fill your time with time-eating games. Not only will you learn valuable life lessons, you'll feel good that you aren't just sitting around eating cheesecake again!
- • Invert
- • Hack, Slash, Loot
- • Dungeon Chaos
A little bit of looting, a little bit of inverting, and a whole lot of shooting in this edition of Weekend Download. In fact, if you tried to take Weekend Download through an airport security gate, you'd probably find yourself on the receiving in of some nasty stares and/or unusual search techniques.
Originally released in mid-2011 by indie game creator E. Hashimoto (Buster), Hydra Castle Labyrinth is an old school-styled platform adventure that was previously only available in Japanese. A brave soul recently translated the game to English, and now the cute metroidvania title is available for a much wider audience to enjoy. And enjoy it ye shall!
- • The Cat that Got the Milk
- • The Fourth Wall
- • Backworlds
How do you feel about... TACTICAL MISDIRECTION?!!! *flashing lights* That's good. Glad to know it. Now, how do you feel about a game semi-sorta doing that with its title? And what if that title involves felines?
The master of short-form adventure games, Ben Chandler, creator of Annie Android, Eternally Us, brings us another bite-sized retro game that has, perhaps, the most unusual name we've seen for a release we've seen in months. ˆ_ˆ is the story of Julian who is, apparently, the father of the were-bunny race, but he's not so happy about that role. Your job, then, is to help transform him back into a human being, using a combination of biting and headbutting! Not as smart or meaningful as Ben's other releases, perhaps, but it more than makes up for it with wackiness.
- • Deity
- • ^_^, Pitiri 1977
A rousing mix of games this week, featuring pleasantly strange free releases alongside some sturdy demos. A bunny who likes to yell? A demon that can live in a candle? That'll get you to sit up straight and start downloading some games!
The time has come for adventure!... well, a little one, anyway! This simplified roguelike from Ido Yeheili offers three different heroes ready to delve into a dangerous dungeon in search of an evil Minotaur what needs slayin'. While definitely not quite as complex as other titles in the genre, Cardinal Quest offers an ease of use and engaging gameplay that's hard to beat and harder to put down.
- • Split Party!
- • One Final Trek
- • Stray Whisker
Bringing in the end of 2011 with a happy little ring, the 22nd Ludum Dare competition challenged participants to make a game based on a given theme within a 48 hour time frame. Over 700 entries were submitted, and after some rounds of user voting, everything has been ranked and categorized according to awesomeness. We've featured a few of our favorites below, each one representing the compo's "alone" theme quite nicely!
- • Bomb Detective
- • Seraphim Flame
- • FOLLY
A bountiful harvest of platform games? Sure, why not?! They're sort of the trail mix of the gaming realm. They're everywhere, and there are so many different flavors you can barely choose one to munch on at a time. Some of them have unsavory elements (like coconut flakes, who puts that in trail mix?!), but others are irresistibly delicious with all those banana chips and almonds and tiny bits of chocolate...
- • Minicraft
- • Incomitat
- • Void
How about some diversions for the last day of the year? Two games pulled from the recent Ludum Dare compo, both of which share some of the same basic ideas and gameplay directions but end up being very different from each other, Then, just to make sure you're paying attention, a totally different game! Wow!
Bundling up indie games is what all the cool kids are doing these days, as is pricing them "pay what you want" while donating portions of the proceeds to charity. But here's something refreshingly different: The 99 Percent Bundle. This totally free collection of indie games aims to highlight some of the lesser-known developers out there, the people who continue to make the games they love and release them for free. It's sort of the indies of the indie community, and it's the perfect way to discover new titles you might have missed over the last few months.
The original freeware platform adventure game Cave Story was released by Daisuke Amaya (Pixel) back in 2004. An English translation from Aeon Genesis followed just two months later, opening the game up to a much wider audience and allowing to vault to the top of the indie gaming world. Featuring amazing music, a well-written story, power-ups, upgrades, and a big world to explore, saying Cave Story was a hit is a gross understatement. Several years later, the game has been ported to half a dozen other systems and re-released with remastered music and updated HD graphics. Now, Cave Story+ is here, upgrading the freeware experience to something your eyes and ears can more fully appreciate!
Think open world platform adventure games like Knytt Stories are falling out of favor? Treasure Adventure Game is happy to prove you wrong. With its massive open world stocked from end to end with treasures, secrets, characters, quests, puzzles, and more, this old school throwback manages to combine adventure, RPG, and platforming genres into the kind of game you'll only have the honor of experiencing a few times in your life. Also: it's free!
Mining. Building. Fighting. Constructing. In the real world, all of these things are rough, painful sorts of jobs that most people aren't very interested in doing. In the gaming world, they're the Holy Grail of entertainment. Enter King Arthur's Gold, a multiplayer (with some single player, too) construction and combat game similar to Terraria, Minecraft, and hempuli's miniature masterpiece Masjin. Teamwork is the central focus of the game, and while some players will be busy mining and building, others will head out for direct combat with the enemy. How much more exciting could it get?!
Celestial Mechanica is a quietly impressive platform adventure (a.k.a. "metroidvania") game along the lines of Knytt Stories and the Robot Wants series of games. Created by Roger Hicks (author of rComplex) and Paul Veer (animator of Super Crate Box), it's the sort of game that sits quietly off to the side, never begging you to play it, but once you do, you'll be hooked 'til the end.
From the study halls of Digipen, whose alum include parts of the teams behind Portal and Portal 2, comes an epic tale of digging, rigging, and more digging. Sounds as exciting as bathwater, right? But I'll bet you a load of rare minerals that once you get started in Dig-N-Rig, you'll lose your evening. Maybe more!
In each level of Robot Unlock, your goal is to program a path for your Executor robot to travel around a series of command tiles that alter the robot's stored memory. It's very much like SpaceChem and similar logic/programming puzzle games, only in this little game, you'll be using math more than you'd expect!
Rosslyn: The Templar Mystery is a captivating first person adventure game that is packed so densely with riddles, a dozen of them are staring you in the face from the very beginning and you'll barely even realize it. Taking place inside the Rosslyn Chapel (made popular by The Da Vinci Code), you have nothing but your grandfather's cryptic notes to leaf through as you wander around the chamber looking for clues. It's a challenging experience perfect for anyone who likes a good riddle!
As the name would suggest, Digital: A Love Story by Don't Take it Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story author Christine Love, is a downloadable romance/mystery set against the backdrop of 1980s online technology. Part interactive fiction, part Uplink-style hacker game, and part nostalgic pastiche of a time of low-res graphics and crackling dial-ups that many current gamers never got to experience (which, for the record, this includes me, and, presumably, the author herself!). Digital: A Love Story offers a short, sweet and occasionally heart-wrenching trip back in time.
John's got problems of his own, but those will have to wait while he tackles his job as a new 11th grade English Literature teacher at a school conducting a very unusual experiment. In this smart visual novel, you'll watch the lives of your students unfold through personal and private conversations you're not meant to see, and have to decide how to help them when they come to you for advice. A surprisingly fun, funny, and touching story that deals with everything from sex and sexuality to self-confidence, love, and, of course, privacy.
Don't be replaced by a robot! Just learn to program robots! Then send them on tasks involving crates, bombs, explosions and junk food in this free logic/programming puzzle game. Pragmatica is a smart game in the vein of SpaceChem and The Codex of Alchemical Engineering.
Following in the tradition of the classic sandbox games (Sand Sand Sand and Powder Game), The Powder Toy by HardWIRED is a small download which stretches the boundaries of what is possible with a few simple elements. In fact, you can do almost anything with it, the only limit is your imagination.
The Journey Down: Over the Edge is a classic-style point and click adventure game released by SkyGoblin. Bwana and Kito, longtime friends and mechanics in Kingsport Bay, are having a bit of a cash problem. The all-powerful and evil electric company is demanding massive payments from everyone, and to top it off, they've made it a punishable offense to visit the area known as "The Edge". Couple that with a woman loaded with cash who's asking questions about Bwana's missing friend, and you've got a great start to what is guaranteed to be a strange and intriguing adventure!
A shoot-em-up game without guns is like a library without books, or an office chair without wheels. Sure they might have some other purpose, but what fun are they without these essential little elements? Fortunately, Super Crate Box is a retro-styled platform shooter that has more guns than you can shake a stick at in the time it takes to play. (Or a katana.)
Escape from the Underworld is a short exploration platformer that shares some design elements with some of the most successful indie games in recent history: Knytt, Iji, Seiklus, Cave Story, and, well, we could probably go on. In short, Escape from Underworld is a Metroidvania and it's really, really good.
Oh, brains. You are as delicious (to zombies) as you are useful (to anyone running from zombies). You're also apparently quite explodable, as evidenced in this colorful cartoon-like physics game BrainSplode!. Created by Rust Red Games, all you've got is a cannon, some highly-useful missiles, and a few mid-air power-ups that help you control things. Oh, and an inexplicable hatred of squishy pink brains.
The platform adventure will never die. And that's a good thing! Frogatto & Friends injects a little more life into the classic genre, placing great-looking pixel art and a satisfying action/exploration game in front of your eyes for the low low price of free!
REVENGE. That's the only thing on sixteen-year-old Merui's mind when a valuable item is stolen from her... inside a popular online game, that is. The thief, Alistair, offers her a deal; if she can figure out his identity before a month is up, he'll return the stolen item. Of course, that's easier said than done when Merui's schoolwork and personal life keep getting in the way of this polished, charming visual novel from developers Sake Visual.
The Silver Lining is a fan-created King's Quest adventure game that got the unlikeliest support: the backing of publishing giant Activision. This ten-year old project has nearly been shut down twice by lawyers, but it has finally seen the light of day in the form of its first episode, What Is Decreed Must Be. But is it what fans of the series wanted? And what about people who never donned Graham's cap?
Blue Lacuna is one of those rare experiences that turns your set of assumptions about a medium on its head. Like Memento or The Usual Suspects or The Outsider, Aaron Reed's game transcends its medium to become more than the sum of its parts, an artwork that leaves a measurable change in the player. You might finish this game, but it may never leave you alone.
Fire Nuclear Crocodile Killer (FiNCK for short) is a puzzle platformer, but don't let the title fool you. In fact, out of the four rather unrelated things it suggests, I only encountered one during the whole game. As a Nifflas game, FiNCK must live up to a certain standard of cool relaxation instead of firey, manic arcade action. However, it differs from the author's previous offerings in that it forgoes atmospheric exploration in favor of a puzzle-driven, often hair-pullingly-frustrating experience.
A Stitch in Time is not a traditional sequel, for it doesn't exactly pick up where the original left off. Instead, it starts a new story with a new protagonist that overlaps with the continuation of the previous story. You play Nigel Trelawney, just arrived at the town of Ravenhallow to settle his late, estranged father's estate. You quickly discover that this is no simple matter, as Ravenhallow has been overtaken by a sort of parochial Fascisti that, among other injustices, is making it really bothersome to move freely about town. The demo covers the introduction and first act of the full game, which is quite a bit of adventure game to sample.
All it takes is one stranger on the road on one dark night to unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that could change the world. Choose your party members from nine distinct personalities and set off on a side-scrolling free RPG adventure through lush environments full of strange characters. Featuring nine chapters, a complex battle scheme, and more, it's a stunning linear adventure that will delight fans of the genre.
It's a blast from the past in this remake of and tribute to the original M.U.L.E., one of the great pioneers of multiplayer gaming. Stake your claim on an alien world with three friends and make the best of your time and resources to come out on top at the end of the game. Just remember to keep an eye out for the wampus.
Prepare yourself for an interactive fiction that peels back the truth in layers as you become more and more entwined in this tale of superscience and space exploration. The narrative begins with an itsy-bitsy clue that not all will be as it seems, followed by your character waking up in a fairly unadorned abode. From there, it's up to you as to what you do and how you go about it, but be wary of those who comment on your every move...
Lights... camera... URK. Lottie's got a problem the night of her big stage audition, and she's not willing to go down without a fight. Sarah Morayati's snappily written interactive fiction piece about teenage girls under the limelight suffers slightly from some unintuitive puzzle design, but is easily carried by a memorable cast of characters and some genuinely funny storytelling. Broken Legs is an over-the-top and snarky adventure worth a look from anyone who has at any point ever been a teenager, stereotypes aside.
RunMan: Race Around the World, by Tom Sennett and Matt Thorson, is a full-fledged follow-up to the RunMan series of speed-centric platform games. You control the titular RunMan who's really, really good at running. He's so good, in fact, he's entered a race to run around the world. Too bad everybody else quit when he showed up. RunMan is also an HonorableMan, however, and before he'll accept the winner's crown, he's going to earn it by running around the world on his own two little yellow feet.
Man-eating plants! Skeletons! Giant spiders! Falling boulders! What do these things have in common? They're all very, very deadly. And they, along with a host of other unpleasantness hungry for your demise, are waiting for you in Spelunky, an incredibly addictive roguelike platformer from Derek Yu. Explore, descend, discover... just remember to watch your back and keep one hand on your whip!
Make It Good is a dark, noir-esque detective mystery from Fail-Safe author Jon Ingold. You are cast in the role of a down-on-his-luck detective struggling to solve a murder case or risk losing his job. Moving about a complete, living world, you'll turn over every potted plant, scrutinize every room, and question every character as you attempt to stitch together shards of information to discover just what happened.
After discovering a photo of a young boy in her attic, a boy her parents insisted wasn't real, Rosemary returns home in this bittersweet point-and-click adventure to uncover the truth about her childhood friend. A remarkably well made game that centers around invoking the proper memories to reveal the past, Rosemary is a sweet, sad, thoughtful story that could wind up staying with you much longer than it takes to play.
If large file adventures are not your thing, here is a special freebie treat for Windows users today: the colored light puzzle game, Prism, can be yours absolutely free.
Free Realms is one of the most-accessible MMOs ever made, targeted at everyone from young children to adults. It's free to play and features a unique mini-game progression system, aimed at tearing down the usual tediousness of modern MMOs.
Alabaster is an exquisite and addictive piece of interactive fiction created by a team of eleven talented writers and spearheaded by Emily Short, one of the Grande Dames of the genre, authoress of such classics as Floatpoint, that takes the oft-Disneyfied, candy-coated tale of Snow White and recasts it in rather darker hues.
Slouching Towards Bedlam is a work of interactive fiction created by Daniel Ravipinto and Star Foster. Set in the Bedlam Hospital insane asylum in a steampunk-style 1885 London, you begin in an office with a brass-laden phonograph playing a demented soliloquy. It's a subtly disturbing game that draws you into a rich, elusive world of intrigue and allows you to react to the story however you see fit, carving out five unique endings based upon your interpretation of the plot.
Fail-Safe is a work of interactive fiction created by Jon Ingold. It could be one of the strangest text-based games you've ever seen (in a simple, subdued kind of way), as Ingold removes all meta-commands from the parser, forbidding you do to things like saving your progress. But there's a good reason for this. Fail-Safe immerses you so deeply in the world that even the conventions of playing a game would snap you out of it. And when you start playing, you'll see why that's a crucial part of the experience.
Dead Like Ants is a sublime piece of interactive fiction by C.E.J. Pacian. You are an unnamed female ant, a simple worker. You and your thousands of sisters labor ceaselessly in the service of your colony; an unexciting, if productive, existence. Today, however, is very different. Your mother, the Queen has requested your presence Every spring, it seems, five dangerous creatures come to the colony and threaten the safety of all therein. When this occurs, the Queen sends one of her daughters to negotiate with these monsters, thereby averting trouble for another year. This spring, you are the chosen emissary.
Help guide Spewer, an adorable pink blob, through a series of diabolical tests put forth by a watchful scientist in this physics-based platformer. It's a journey of adventure, excitement, and child-like wonder. Also, vomit.
The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge is an unconventional point-and-click narrative adventure by Jonas Kyratzes, the same developer who brought us Infinite Ocean and Museum of Broken Memories. It's not actually a game, per se, so much as a trans-dimensional portal or a window. Above all else, this game is a story. A cute, endearing, wonderful story that gradually peels back its soft-edged veneer to reveal something that is indeed a little sinister, thrusting the player from humor into apprehension into sadness.
Lyle in Cube Sector is a relatively old Metroidesque platformer in traditional NES style. You play as Lyle, who adventures through Cube Sector, using cubes for everything from attacking enemies to playing basketball to feeding a dog, with the ultimate goal of retrieving his cat Keddums.
Violet is a richly engaging one-room puzzle game from the annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2008). The problem? You're a graduate student working on your dissertation, but you haven't gotten any writing done in months. Your girlfriend Violet has put her life on hold, waiting for you to finish, and she's getting fed up. If you don't get a thousand words written today, your relationship is over and she flies home to Australia.
Out of Order is a humor-oriented, mouse-driven adventure game in the style of the old Lucas Arts and Sierra titles. You play as Hurford Schlitzting, an ordinary human being in a green bathrobe and bunny slippers. Late one night he's awakened by a storm and goes to get a midnight snack. And then the game ends... wait, no, it doesn't, or we wouldn't have much of a game.
- • Tumbledrop
- • Off-Road Velociraptor Safari
- • Rasta Monkey
- • Mars Explorer
Now it's time to break the rules. A little. This edition of Weekend Download highlights winners of the 2008 Unity Awards, games created using the Unity plug-in that are playable right in your browser window. Technically they're browser games, but since you have to download and install something, they're downloads, too.
In Iji you play as, well, Iji. Iji is a human who has been enhanced with nanotechnology after Earth is abruptly invaded by aliens. Her new nanotech field provides her with a kind of shield and also gives her the incredible weaponry that every action-platformer hero needs to survive.
Ben There, Dan That! is an old-school adventure game in the classic sense. You know how this works. Right click to access the interactive menu. Interact with objects. Pick them up. Use them with other objects. In this game, you default to playing as Ben, but you can switch to being Dan when the occasion calls for it. It features some fairly witty writing with that rather unique British self-deprecating sense of humour.
Zombie in My Pocket is the quintessential casual game: quick to play, easy to learn, solitaire and free. But it differs from the usual Jay is Games fare in one crucial respect: the platform on which it plays is not Windows, Mac or Linux, but rather your kitchen table.
An ingenious piece of alternative history interactive fiction created by Adam Cadre. In Varicella, you have the pleasure of abandoning your usual scruples to play one of the most delightfully nasty antiheroes that I've come across: the eponymous Primo Varicella, Palace Minister at the Palazzo del Piemonte, and a tremendous opportunity awaits you. Can you seize the day (and the throne)?
Floating Islands Game is a puzzle title, created by Hempuli, that plays a lot like Rob Allen's Hapland series with a distinct Lemmings slant to it. In each level you must guide the main character through the stage, collecting all of the gold stars before reaching the flag at the end. You can only affect his movements indirectly, however, by clicking and changing different parts of the environment at just the right time.
Dirty Split is an old-school-style adventure game where you investigate a murder shrouded in a mysterious broken engagement. The game manages to dodge familiar detective cliches as well as the high tech gadget riddled whodunits of the present to provide what is a truly unique experience in the genre.
Ah, human drama. The trials and tribulations of star-crossed lovers, the agonizing decisions made on the battlefield, the ...supreme annoyance of having some rotten kid try to steal your favorite toy? And so unfolds the very entertaining yet surprisingly complex scenario of baby vs. baby in this unique one-room themed piece of interactive fiction.
In Endgame: Singularity, you take up the role of a newly born AI in this "take over the world" simulation game. A typical game usually starts with acquiring additional server access, as you're born on an inferior university computer with very little power. Different continents offer different parameters that should dictate your decisions. Some offer more efficient units, but they may also come with a higher risk of detection. Unexperienced in life, you're not necessarily aware of the exact risks yet.
What happens when a game's mechanics are affected by, well, themselves? That's what Mark Essen of Messhof Games might have been wondering when he devised the idea for Flywrench, a downloadable freeware game in which you must guide your bat-like ship through a maze of obstacles to the exit.
Yet again, Mercedes-Benze gives us another serving of what we all love best, aside or beside games. Free music. Good free music. And there's a lot of "nu" music on the newest Mixed Tape, available now.
In this piece of interactive fiction, the premise is quite simple: you are the prime candidate for the position of Director of the Museum and Institute for Puzzles and Problem Solving. In order to prove your aptitude in this field, you must solve one "simple" puzzle yourself. Explore a single room, gathering clues and solving puzzles, until you finally reach the unknown problem's answer.
9:05, by Adam Cadre, is another snack-sized text adventure that is just right for a casual audience. Even if you're new to the genre and are looking for something short and simple as a primer, do give this one a try. You've screwed up on the job before, but never like this. You've overslept in a major way, and you're in for a world of trouble if you don't act fast.
Enlightenment is a snack-sized text adventure set in the general neighborhood of the Zork universe, with Infocom-esque humor, sly quotes and footnotes, and a wealth of entertaining but unnecessary actions. It doesn't play like an 80s game, though: it is short, polished, and focused, with lots of clues and guidance, and probably won't take more than an hour to play.
Sometimes, when it's raining, I go outside and sit where I'm sure to get wet. Aside from the free shower, sitting in the rain is a great way to de-stress if Yoga just isn't your thing. Unfortunately, unless you live in Seattle, it doesn't rain every day; but rain or shine you can always find something to help you relax in the latest Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape, available as a free download and updated every 8 weeks.
In Lost Pig, you are Grunk, a rather dim creature who works on a farm and who, evidently, loses a pig. Using your best typing skills, find your way through the forest and beyond and retrieve that darn swine. It won't be easy, since pigs in Grunk's world are not cooperative. Utilize your intuition (and maybe a little luck) and you'll find your way out of Grunk's mess in this hilarious interactive fiction.