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Ben Davis avatar 3:27 PM on 04.17.2011  (server time)
5 Freeware Indie Games You Should Play: Batch #5

Hello friends!

This is the one month anniversary of my freeware indie game series. I'm excited that my blog seems to be getting such a positive feedback! Beginning this week I'm going to start listing the developers of the games as well, since they deserve all the credit for making these wonderful games and letting us play them for free. I probably should have done this to begin with, so I'm going to edit all of my previous posts to include them as well.

And now for this week's picks:

Ninja Senki by pixeltao

Ninja Senki can best be described by me as Mega Man meets Pocky & Rocky. You play as a blue ninja on a quest to get revenge for the murder of his girlfriend. You must travel through various Mega Man inspired stages fighting off enemies based on Japanese folklore. As a ninja, you can perform double jumps and attack by throwing a flurry of shurikens. There are 16 stages to play, although some of the levels and bosses can be pretty difficult so it could take you a while to beat. Unfortunately the game doesn't have a save feature, but it does implement a continue feature that subtracts points from your total score. The game has very beautiful and smooth retro graphics and a nice soundtrack that fits with the Japanese-inspired environments. The controls are a little awkward at first, as it has you use the J key to throw shurikens and K to jump, but it's not too difficult to get used to. If you enjoy the classic Mega Man games and the difficulty levels associated with them, then you'll surely enjoy this game as well. Also, regarding the picture that I chose for this game: I fucking love tanukis! Any game with a tanuki is automatically awesome. This includes Super Mario Bros. 3, Animal Crossing, Okami, Pocky & Rocky and this game.

Jables's Adventure by JaJitsu

Jables's Adventure is a humorous little adventure game. You play as Jables, a 15 year old boy who is proclaimed a "hero" by a squid named Squiddy, who attaches himself to Jables's head to accompany him on their adventure. It's not really clear why Jables is chosen to be the "hero," nor is it really clear what the ultimate goal of being a "hero" is, but that's sort of the point of the game. You sort of just walk around looking for heroic things to do. During your adventure, you'll find various weapons and gadgets to help you out as well as fruit to increase your life. There are various challenges to overcome and three bosses to beat, but unfortunately the game is rather short. The game's strong point is definitely it's humor. You'll have many hilarious conversations with Squiddy and the strange characters that you encounter along your adventure. Many of the conversations tend to break the fourth wall so that it seems that the characters realize that they're part of a video game, and they'll often try to exaggerate the greatness of Jables's adventure while Jables himself tends to downplay these comments, saying things like, "I could already do that," when Squiddy attempts to teach him new abilities. The game features nice retro graphics and a bouncy, cheerful soundtrack. It's a really great, humorous game that I wish just lasted a bit longer than it does.

You Found the Grappling Hook by messhof

YFTGH is a strange and interesting platformer by the developer who brought you Flywrench. You play as a character, who looks a little like a yeti, who has just entered a cave with his newly discovered grappling hook. You must traverse the cavern using the grappling hook, while a strange, spectral yeti character appears from time to time and gives you information about the cave and tips on how to play the game (although his tips usually seem to be sarcastically obvious). You jump by pressing X and then you press X again to use the grappling hook. You can adjust the length of the rope by pressing up or down, and use the left and right buttons to swing. Interestingly, messhof decided not to actually draw the rope, so it will never get caught on low hanging rocks or anything while you are swinging. The game features a very interesting choice of 8-bit graphics with a very limited color palette, mostly just whites and yellows against a black background, which I found to be strange at first but it grew on me after a while. The soundtrack is wonderful, with a few eerie tracks to give the cavern some mysterious atmosphere, and a really cool track used about halfway through the game which I probably like a bit too much. The really great thing about this game is that you are frequently being introduced to new mechanics as the game goes along, which keeps the game interesting from start to finish. I won't divulge these mechanics here so as not to spoil anything, but I urge you to give this game a try and see for yourself.

Frogatto & Friends by Lost Pixels

Frogatto is a charming platformer where you play as a somewhat lazy frog named Frogatto who is on a quest to help his friends while trying to find a job and earn some money. Frogatto reminds me a lot of Yoshi, in that he has a long tongue that he uses to eat enemies and hold onto items. He is a talented jumper and swimmer, which makes sense as he is a frog. You can use the coins that you collect throughout the game to purchase various upgrades, such as lengthening Frogatto's tongue. The game plays much like a classic Mario-styled platformer and features very beautiful retro graphics with scenic backgrounds and excellent spritework. It's a pretty well-rounded game with a humorous storyline and dialogue. I found Frogatto to be a very likable and adorable character. He's especially adorable whenever he eats something and gets all puffed up, as pictured above.

Echoes by Binary Zoo

Echoes is a very polished shooter which looks like a mix between Asteroids and Geometry Wars. Each stage introduces a new type of enemy which will require you to use different strategies to deal with them effectively. The most vexing enemies, for me at least, are the orange asteroids pictured above which follow you mercilessly until you shoot them all down. Anytime you collide with an enemy you will lose some energy, which is indicated by the size of the ring surrounding you. There are three types of power-ups you can find: one which increases your firepower, one which replenishes your energy and one which acts as a bomb to help destroy enemies. The game also features various tasks, known as Zoots (which are sort of like achievements I guess), that you can unlock while playing to earn higher scores. There is also a bonus game called Crack which you can unlock by completing a certain number of Zoots. The game's graphics are very beautiful, with bright neon colors and blurry effects. It's a very neat, well-made take on the classic Asteroids shooter model.

And that concludes week five of my freeware indie blog. I hope you enjoy these games and I'll see you all next week!

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