TheIndieJar: Free Indie games you may not know about
If spending your extra cash on Skyrim has left you skint but you’re looking for another hole to sink time into, look no further than this lexicon of handouts.
Treasure Adventure Game
Made solo by Stephen Orlando (apart from the OST, made by Robert Ellis) this is a fully realised love letter to the games he cared for in his youth. Influences such as Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda can be found in this exploration and loot finding game. A fun story with classic 2D puzzles and pixel art style that uses mechanics you’ve seen before, but polished and incorporated into it’s world seamlessly. At about 5 hours plus long, you follow a treasure hunting kid from island to island fighting baddies, all the while looking for the key to your past.
Sneaking through shadows, avoiding robot sentries, seeing your bloody giblets fly across the screen – all in a days work for Stealth Bastard. It uses the speed of platformers to invigorate traditional stealth tropes like hiding in shadows and hacking computers. The best bit is that once you get the hang of the pre-made maps, there is an entire community of people that use the in-game map editor to up the challenge. Simple to use tools let you make your own map quite quickly and put it online for other people to try. Plus it’s fun to say ‘Tactical Espionage Arsehole’!
At a Distance
Multiplayer puzzle platformer. So, if you have a friend that you played Portal 2 with then get some more wear out of them with this two player experience. It is designed for two people sitting side by side. You don’t see the other person’s character so that’s pretty much the only way to play it. Both of you have to go to different rooms and solve platforming and spatial conundrums to give your team mate keys and access to new rooms etc. The colours assigned to places makes it feel like someone has put some tinted retro-ifying plastic in front of your face.
Quite an old title but still masses of fun. A 2D bullet hell game wherein each round you fight the same boss. However, it takes note of your tactics every time and adapts to best combat you. I can spend anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour playing this. After a few levels the once simple green construct will have amassed lasers and armour to make sure its core is protected. The good thing is you have six degrees of freedom to change your plan in. The fact that it goes on forever means that no matter what, it will get you eventually.
Mark Essen is better known for Flywrench, but I picked this one because of how hilariously creepy it is. A browser based game made for adultswim.com, where you drive around town in an ice-cream truck feeding all the boys and girls. Avoid the other cars because “they don’t understand you like I do”. Collect cones and play unnerving chimes to attract the kids, then fill the cones with ice cream in a timing based mini-game to score points that keep customers loyal. When the moon is full and the local kids are fattened, you play you chimes and lead them to your swamp house like the pied piper. Upon reaching home you turn into a werewolf and feast on the fatties!
The Book of Living Magic
The Lands of Dream are more of a nice place to be rather than a full point & click adventure. Follow the tale of Raven Locks Smith as she explores the Mountains of Oddness to find the Book of Living Magic. Hand drawn backgrounds and characters look like part of child’s colouring book. It also has a really nice music to match the up-beat and magical world. From forests of eyeballs to gnomes in bottles, you can talk to most things and get an interesting reply. Chat with all the bizarre characters and learn about a very strange world. As Jonas says, “it’s the journey that counts, not the destination.”
Aside from these examples, knowing where to look can keep you entertained just as much. I strongly suggest that you check out Terry Cavanagh, Jonas Kyratzes and Mark Essen for more of their creations. Another great bundle of fun is this Free Indie Bundle that includes some high quality fun-times like Nitronic Rush and Viriax. Now you can buy food and play games!
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