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.
An Untitled Story is a perfect blend of tough platforming challenges, intimidating boss fights, and cunning secrets, all wrapped up in a layer of childlike mysticism and rough-shorn beauty. It is a chilled-out hardcore wonderland of action discovery, plus an unidentifiable je ne sais quoi that just makes you want to drink it down in one gulp and then spit out a rainbow.
Boulders Never Die is a fantastic physics-based action puzzle game where you must build defenses around a red ball using a set of rubbery blocks. Boulders are constantly pelting your fort, and if the ball touches a block or a boulder it's game over. If you've got a couple hours free, or if you're looking for a game that you can play on your coffee break, you should definitely give it a try.
You all are in for a treat. King's Quest III is a classic from the early age of graphic adventure games. Originally designed by Roberta Williams and publisher under Sierra Online, the game has been completely re-made by Infamous Adventures in the Adventure Game Studio engine and released as a free download. They even have a voice-pack! Somebody canonize these people as saints.
"Suveh Nux" is a short, puzzle-oriented piece of interactive fiction by David Fisher, with a neat premise: the player is trapped in a vault (that's not the neat part) and can escape only if he learns the magical language that controls his environment. Plenty of interactive fiction games involve puzzles about magic words. "Suveh Nux" takes this a step further with a whole magical grammar to learn, including verbs, nouns, and modifying phrases.
Who doesn't love Trilby? All debonaire and gentlemanly in that pin-stripe suit, it's enough to melt even the chilliest of hearts. He's a fine character to introduce us to the Chzo Mythos, a series of four point-and-click games (Windows, freeware) in which the player is offered the chance to unravel the mystery of... well, that's really for you to find out.
Once in Space is a downloadable puzzle-platform game for Windows that delivers both content and charm. Set in deep space, you are a lone astronaut trying to collect stars and reach the flag on different constellations of rock. You can change your gravity by walking around corners, and you must be facing the arrow direction of a star in order to collect it. The first level eases you into the game's mechanics pretty easily.
Battle for Wesnoth is a free, open-source turn-based strategy game originally designed by David White. It's similar to games like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars and Shining Force in that each player commands an army of units, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Battles take place on a hexagonal grid and layers take turns moving armies and issuing commands.
Logi-Gun is an absolutely sensational puzzle platformer (free download for Windows only) from Darklink570. Most of the puzzles require skillful, even ingenious, use of the game's 6 guns, although some deft platforming will also be necessary.
A pirate-themed adventure game that draws inspiration from the Monkey Island series in more ways than one. You play Nelly, a "fearsome pirate and lover of tiny and adorable creatures" who is charged with investigating the disappearance of a fleet of birds by a dead pirate's ghost. The visuals and dialogue are so much fun, even adventuregameaphobiacs will have a great time.
The main focus of Knytt Stories is atmosphere, environment and exploration, not complex gameplay and a barrage of media. With Knytt Stories you'll spend most of your time wandering around sparsely populated worlds looking for a few rare items, enjoying the beautiful visuals and ambient music the whole time. It's a unique experience in gaming and will pull you in from the moment you start playing.
An adventure game created by Vince Twelve that takes the dual screen idea to a different level and tasks you with playing two different games at the same time: a space comedy and a medieval Japanese story. Your cursor is split into two parts, one for each half of the screen, and they track each other. When you move on one half you move in the other, likewise with clicking objects. To solve puzzles you have to rely on information from each half of the screen, putting clues together to figure out what's going on.
TAGAP is a downloadable action packed platforming extravaganza that has great graphics and enough violence to be satisfying but not enough to be gory. It has thumping tunes from start to finish. It's difficult, its challenging and is ultimately rewarding. TAGAP also comes with a level editor with which you can build your own levels and even cut scenes.
Torus Games from Jeff Weeks and Geometrygames.org is the name of a free downloadable set of 8 simple games for Windows and Mac that, rather than being played on a 2-D plane, are played on the surface of a torus. Here you will find a twist on classic games like tic-tac-toe, pool, Minesweeper (called Apples here), and even a bizarre version of chess.
Harvest is an upcoming game by Oxeye Game Studio currently in open beta. It is survival-based game that combines elements from tower defense and other real time strategy games. Those familiar with either of these types of games should feel right at home.
Crayon Physics is one part Armadillo Run, one part Line Rider and tasks you with guiding a ball through a handful of stages by drawing shapes with a crayon-like cursor. Because of its rapid development time (five days), Crayon Physics is a bit rough around the edges. But this downloadable title is stuffed with creativity and shows that with a good idea, anything is possible.
An astonishingly creative role playing game made by Brandon Abley and Teo Mathlein using RPG Maker XP. The graphics are eye-catching and have a great fairy tale look to them, while the story and gameplay are pure console RPG goodness. The game is laid out much like a classic Final Fantasy title but doesn't copy anything directly. It's a unique, deep and involving game that deserves your attention!
Echoes is a free downloadable game for Windows, and it is a manic shooter—and I do mean manic. The action in this game is fast, furious and very visually active. Binaryzoo's trademark neon graphics combined with the intense backgrounds may even have an effect on some, and those who can withstand the action will be pleasantly rewarded.
In Game With a Kitty, you play a heroic Kitty on a quest to investigate a mysterious tower that has appeared in the south. You must progress in typical platformer fashion through a series of challenging and exciting levels. You have a bit of non-linear freedom in between levels, as you can choose your next challenge via a Super Mario World-styled map view.
Playing with blocks is a universal experience, being not only fun for all ages but also an essential tool in development. Students at the DigiPen Institute of Technology have taken that basic structure and created a marvelous strategy game that involves not only stacking blocks but, in a stroke that some would call brilliant but I call mandatory, knocking your opponent's structures down.
You have entered the realm of Entombed, an amazing and surreal, first-person, point-and-click adventure game filled with puzzles, mazes, traps, acid moats, tunnels and a glimmering crystal cathedral. There is even a room carved from ice. These puzzles will tease your brain and give your grey matter a work out for sure.
Guxt is an original shooter created by Pixel, author of Cave Story, This work-in-progress download doesn't attempt to be revolutionary or even particularly modern, but Pixel's original music, sound effects and pixel-perfect sprites come together beautifully in this difficult but fair shooter.
Strictly not for children, NaaC is a gorgeously bloody and beautifully violent shooter. What Bloody Monkey has given us is a frantic, no-holds-barred, gore filled, blood soaked tour-de-force of non-stop thrilling kill-everything-you-see action. In short, its fun. Lots and lots of fun.
- • Thingavore
- • Krank
- • Penumbra: Overture
It's the weekend. You can also download games. But you cannot download the weekend itself. Weekend Download contains less than 8% of the recommended daily allowance of niacin. Weekend Download knows what you did last summer. Do not taunt Weekend Download.
Bullet Philharmonic Orchestra is an ultra-simple, free, downloadable (PC only), barebones shoot-'em-up-inspired game with a simple concept: dodge the bullets. Drop your own MP3 files into the game's "music" folder, then watch as it generates projectiles based on the songs you chose.
This is one game that will destroy your social life. Join numbered blocks together to add their amounts and cause blocks with the same digits to vanish. As more bricks rise from the bottom of the screen, you must frantically add them together to keep the stack from reaching the top. It's more puzzle gaming enjoyment than I've had in a very long time, and the pacing is perfect to keep you motivated but not frustrate you. Nice visuals and really catchy music are extra special bonuses.
Yet another excellent free shmup from the inimitable Kenta Cho, Titanion (Windows) is a new take on the classic arcade game Galaga. Cho has seriously sped up the pace and intensity, but was considerate enough to leave the player a gift: the dreaded tractor beam is now in your hands.
Façade is an interactive drama that puts you in the role of a dinner guest catching up with your old college friends, a married couple named Grace and Trip. Using the mouse and keyboard, you're able to move around their apartment and manipulate objects inside, but Facade is no escape-the-room adventure game, most of the interaction involves, get this, talking to Grace and Trip.
by Elizabeth Reynolds is one of the puzzle games submitted to our first Game Design Competition. Four instruments sit silently on the right side of the screen, each in a different colored chair. Using the corresponding controls to the left, activate the instruments to produce a green wave on the bottom of the screen. Get the wave to match the pattern and you'll win!
Knytt is a downloadable game of exploration and atmosphere for Windows created by the author of Within a Deep Forest, Nifflas. The game emphasizes discovery and intrigue over everything and creates a massive world with varied environments and lots of places to explore. A spacecraft kidnapped the cat-like Knytt from his home but crashes on its way back, sending pieces of the ship across a mysterious planet. Your job is to traverse the barren world in search of the missing parts and try to get back home.
ArmageTron Advanced is a free multiplayer game with simple, casual-oriented gameplay. You pilot a craft and race around an arena leaving solid trails in your wake. If a player runs into a wall they die, forcing you to both think about your path and watch out for everyone else. It's a fast-paced game of skill and reflexes and is available for download on all major operating systems.
Floatpoint is a sci-fi themed interactive fiction game by Emily Short that walked away with first prize in the 2006 Interactive Fiction Competition. You play the role of an ambassador on a mission to a cold, icy planet called Alehart. Humans colonized the world ages ago, but an advancing glacier threatens to overtake the city and eradicate its inhabitants. As you try to negotiate a deal to bring the colonists back to Earth, a web of mysteries begins to unfold itself. This might not be an easy job after all.
Frets on Fire is an open source clone of the ever-popular PlayStation 2 music/rhythm game, Guitar Hero. And just like Guitar Hero, Frets on Fire features a handful of songs and allows you to play the guitar sections by pressing just a few keys. Instead of using a separate controller to mimic the guitar, Frets on Fire lets you pick up the keyboard and jam in right front of your desk. Best of all, a built-in editor lets you tab any song, spawning a growing community of music-modders on the web.
Spheres of Chaos is gorgeous in motion, with extremely smooth animation amid literally hundreds of enemies and explosions (and up to 8 simultaneous players!). Far more than just a nostalgic tribute to Asteroids, SoC is a fascinating, unique and memorable classic in its own right.
The Museum of Broken Memories is a beautifully woven interactive narrative that may even be considered a work of art. It is a point-and-click game, yes; and yet it is so much more than that. Like any work of art, personal interpretation plays an important role here, as there are many images and words to browse through and interact with, and an array of emotions that will be evoked.
Plasma Worm is a free (until September 15th) downloadable arcade action game for Windows, and it is an evolution of the traditional snake-eats-the-pellet games that have existed since time began. The game pays homage to Douglas Adams, and the storyline (such as it is) involves the piloting of a plasma worm through a tank within the Improbability Drive, eating stray probabilities that could gum up the engine.
Ray-Hound is a simple, well executed downloadable Windows shmup with a creative twist that sets it apart from other indie or commercial releases. Like Ohkubo's previous game, Warning Forever, Ray-Hound is a tiny download and absolutely free.
With almost 10 years in the making, Sanctum from Nioga is a very unique game. The best way to describe it would be to say it's like combining chess with Magic the Gathering in a miniature game board setting. It could be one of those classic board games we played as a child, except this game is all digital and played only online.
Nethack is a classic singl-player (randomly generated) dungeon exploration game that runs on a wide variety of platforms, and yet each implementation uses the same game engine. But whether graphics or text-based, emphasis is on discovering dungeon detail rather than just killing everything in sight.
Rainbow Wars is a retro-style arcade shooter available as a free download for Windows, and it is one of those rare finds that becomes an instant favorite once you see it in action. Sporting similar controls to that of the classic Robotron, in which two joysticks are used to control movement and firing separately, this game captures the essence of a classic arcade experience in a well-developed albeit small package.
Why are so many of the most difficult video games also the cutest? Maybe my brain just automatically forgets games that are both ugly and frustrating. Added to the "cute but evil" list comes Within a Deep Forest, a completely free downloadable game for Windows that casts you as a little blue ball, bouncing around a delightfully whimsical little world filled with the most frustrating jumping puzzles known to man.
In The Pit is a well-executed, unique and original game that is innovative in its approach to gameplay, and it was an entry in the recent "consume" game design contest presented by the Experimental Gameplay Project. You play a very hungry monster that must track down its victims by using only audible and tactile clues.
Warning Forever is a downloadable 2D shooter written by Hikoza Ohkubo of Hikware software. You pilot a tiny green ship with a single versatile weapon and must face off against a constant stream of bosses. No stages, no obstacles, no power-ups, just epic fights with massive enemy ships. And the surprising thing is they learn from your patterns and fight back. Yikes.
Created as part of the Experimental Gameplay Project under the theme of "violate", Troy was designed and built in one week as a Web-based augmented reality game. In it, the player explores the topic of invasion of privacy and... well, if I told you any more then I'd be spoiling the game.
This downloadable Windows-only game is one you will likely want to keep on your system. Rumble Box is the unique child of a cool Rayman-esque main character and hordes of enemies combined together in a classic beat-em-up style game. The game was a finalist in the 2006 Independent Games Festival and a winner in the 2006 Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition for its outstanding physics implementation.
Mono is a downlodable Windows game that is described as 'one part Asteroids, one part Robotron, and one part Paint Shop Pro'. Created by the talented guys over at Binary Zoo, you play as a plucky yet resourceful circular object set on changing its surroundings from black to white (or white to black, depending on mode). Coupled with three difficulty modes and the ability to import your own music, Mono is a well-designed little game.