August 5, 2011
I’m cheating slightly this time with my first two picks; these games actually are pay-what-you-want with an option to pay nothing. So while you’re free to check them out I do encourage purchasing them if you enjoy them, I certainly have.
A racing game with abstract art and a jazz soundtrack – This is my kind of game. Rather than racing along a 2D road surface, Proun has you wrapping around a pipe which snakes through it’s understated geometry. Solid controls, radiosity lighting and depth of field effects make this game look and feel as smooth as smooth jazz.
Fotonica plays something like a cross between Canabalt and Mirror’s Edge, and looks like neither. Controlled with one button you sprint along a wireframe course leaping from one surface to another. Release your button to jump, or hold it to run or dive out of the air. Sounds simple but the speed, effects and animations make this intense.
Rock Paper Scissors
Rock Paper Scissors
Now I’m sure you’ve played rock paper scissors before, but (probably because I’m a programmer) it’s the AI in this version that grabbed my interest. The Veteran AI is simply based on all the play history the system has gathered since it’s been online. And if you want you can watch how the computer is deciding what to do next. Trying to outsmart it seems to be the safest way to lose.
December 13, 2010
This is my second Threeware blog post, which highlights three freeware games I’ve played recently, and would like to recommend…
Samorost is a relaxing point and click adventure by Amanita Design, who went on to develop the excellent Machinarium. There is no inventory or any need to move between screens to solve complex puzzles, everything you need to progress is somewhere on your current screen. The art style mixes flash animation with out-of-scale photography to create alien landscapes.
Not a game as such. Seaquence allows you design little creatures that each have their own wave form and melodic pattern. They then swim about in a petri dish and mix their music together. Here’s one I created. I think the interface to this is very clever – if you don’t know about music it makes it easy to keep your tune melodic without knowing how, but if you do understand music you can tweak things a great deal.
If you follow indie games to any degree then you have probably heard of One Chance recently. Initially it’s similarities to Everyday the Same Dream really distracted me from it’s differences. But as with some of my favourite movies, it’s the way my mind kept coming back it over the next few days that made it special. It’s short and experimental; the combination of a bleak plot, multiple endings and the inability to replay the game make up an interesting game design.
September 24, 2010
This blog post simply highlights three freeware games I’ve played recently, and would like to recommend. There is no relationship between them except that I really enjoyed them…
8-bit Killer by Locomalito
This isn’t a recent game, but it’s a new discovery for me. 8-bit Killer is a first person shoot ‘em up with 8-bit-style graphics, sounds and music. If like me you started with a NES and later turned to FPS games, this game combines those two eras really well. Disturbingly well infact, as it feels like playing a 3D game on a console which was never able to support one. The ground is flat and walls are all at 90 degrees so it feels a little like Wolfenstein, and it lasts about an hour.
Seasons with Thomas by Vectorpark
Seasons with Thomas
This is not a game in the sense that it has a goal, but an interactive animation to explore and discover. Moving from one screen to the next the game cycles slowly through the seasons and each offers something unexpected to interact with. I love everything Vectorpark have done so far, the graphics say all they need to in the simplest of ways. If you enjoy this I recommend checking out their other works including the inexpensive 30-minute game Windosill.
Radial Plus by Spatial
Moving a small ship with the arrow keys and aiming with the mouse, you navigate through a vector mothership destroying enemy drones. The theme here is that you can’t shoot directly at enemies – to damage them you have to reflect your laser off a wall at least once. Enemy weapons also bounce off walls so attacks need to be strategical and defensive, or the difficulty will rise rapidly. This game presents a simple idea, well polished with a lot of small but thoughful touches.