Time for stuff! With the notable exception of Great Migrations, the games in this edition of Weekend Download seem to be dominated by white on black landscapes. Old school throwback or conscious atmospheric design choice? To that question I answer: yes!
A House in California (Mac/Win/Linux, 14MB, free) - A surreal sort of game with a mouse-driven interface that works like an old adventure game. The narrative follows four characters who bring a house to life, mainly through memories. Look, remember, play, forget, and other verbs help you interact with pieces of the world, traveling from area to area by visiting old memories and interacting with them. It's a very captivating and emotionally touching experience, and it's great to see a classic game style such as this live on.
Light Arrow (Windows, 8MB, free) - Halloween may be over, but that doesn't mean you can't scare yourself into a hysterical fit, does it? Light Arrow is a minimalist 3D game that manages to be disturbing even though there are only a few environmental obstacles and enemies are a few blocks of pixels. You've got a bow and arrow that shoots light (kind of), and you move around looking for the bright glowing red exit. Enemies, however, really want to give you a hard time, so you've got to take care of them with your arrows. Simple, well made, and with sound effects that beg to be listened to with headphones on.
Great Migrations (Windows, 59MB, demo) - Created to promote the new National Geographic series of the same name, Great Migrations is all about leading animals to safety. Dangers present themselves in the form of predators as well as natural obstacles, and as wave after wave of your animals appear, you must choose a leader, mark out a path, and adjust everything as necessary. After a few levels, you can purchase items to use before each stage as well as utilize helpers that speed up your animals, slow down predators, and heal the wounded. Surprisingly challenging, surprisingly informative (thanks, NatGeo!), and it's always fun herding butterflies, salmon, zebras and red crabs and telling them where to go.
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!