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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Best Free Games of the Week

By on 5:30 PM

Let's play some games, shall we? This week: a boy goes to space, a dead-and-alive cat stays in a box, a wonderfully weird game gets expanded, Legends return, things are shot at, and other things are separated by a dimensional membrane. Enjoy!

Gingiva by myformerselves

We don't appear to have mentioned Gingiva before now, or indeed Middens, myformerselves' equally fringe collage-style roleplaying adventure. Imagine Terry Gilliam's Monty Python animations in game form and you're about halfway there. Exploration, odd conversations and characters, and turn-based battles make up the other half. The art is extraordinary in both titles, and reason enough to play them even if turn-based combat isn't typically your bag. Middens follow-up Gingiva originally came out around a year ago, but it's just been updated to celebrate its anniversary with an expansion featuring "two more playable characters, new music, a rebalanced battle system, smarter enemies, new attacks, added detail to endings, a dating minigame, a deeper drollery system, new areas and a myriad of minor fixes far and wide". Now's the perfect time to get stuck into either, or both, of these hugely original games.
Here's the original trailer for Gingiva, to give a brief idea of what you're in for:

Boy Goes to Space by Ryan Loader

A lovely, short game about a boy who, erm, goes to space. He does this with the aid of a swing, which soon catapults him into the atmosphere and into a couple of interactive little moments involving clouds and colours and noise. It's a stray daydream turned into a game, and a great way to spend 5-10 minutes after an awful day at work.

Mega Man Legends 3 2D version

The same fans unofficially remaking the cancelled prologue to Mega Man Legends 3 have made a retro, 2D version of the game—and, aside from a few quirks and a ridiculously high difficulty level, they've done a bang-up job. I'm not a fan of the jumping, which feels a bit gravity-heavy, but there's some nice combat, sprites, chiptunes and tricky platforming on offer here. As you can see from the following trailer, it looks a lot like one of the NES Mega Men, albeit one that's borrowed a few tricks from a cancelled spin-off from the future. (My head hurts thinking about that.) Don't let the Japanese text put you off—there's an English version included in the download. (Via Destructoid)

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? by Andrew Shouldice

The theme of Ludum Dare 30 was 'Connected Worlds', and as usual it's resulted in a buncha cool-looking games I haven't had time to go through properly. Via IndieGames and Warp Door, here are a few that caught my attention and proved a lot of fun to play. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? is a wave-based survival shooter with a tough-but-fair difficulty level, excellent spritework, a great chunky feel to the movement and guns, and lots of satisfying gut-splosions after you do an enemy in.

Our Worlds by Davi Santos

Our Worlds, meanwhile, is a 2D platformer featuring a robust, well-implemented central gimmick. You play as two characters, separated by dimensions and the middle of the screen, switching between them occasionally to, for example, activate a moving platform, or to draw a magic platform to help the other across a gap. It's a little scrappy, yes, but considering the short development time, Our Worlds is a surprisingly fully featured platform game.

Schrodinghost by looPing, Valmont de Ragondas, Carduus

The beautifully named Schrodinghost begins with the notion that its feline protagonist Maru is both alive and dead inside Schrodinger's famous box, and goes from there. It's a stealth game, essentially: if ol' Schrodes sees you move inside the box, you become "quanticly dead", i.e. dead-for-reals. In order to scamper about while remaining half-alive, you have to release your spectral cat form to operate switches, or travel through the electrics to bypass his gaze. A wonderfully smart, original stealth game, featuring art and music to not-quite-die for.


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