Hello friends! Welcome to week two of my freeware indie sampler blog.
I would like to start off with a bit of information about how I choose which games to feature. First of all, I'm trying to focus specifically on freeware indie games which are downloadable rather than playable in a browser. Some games (such as Tower of Heaven, which I talked about last week) give you both options, but I'll be discussing the downloadable versions. My reason for this is probably just preference, but it feels different for me to play a game on my desktop as opposed to playing one in a browser. In the future, I may make a blog focusing specifically on browser games, but for now I'm sticking with downloadable titles. I also try to only pick games which I have beaten. Of course, not all games have a proper ending, so for games like this, such as shoot 'em ups that register high scores, I try to play the game extensively before writing about them. Lastly, I'd like to provide you with as varied a list of games as possible, so I'll try to incorporate many different genres, games of varied lengths, and games of varied popularity (ones that most people have probably already heard of as well as some that many people might have never heard of). Hopefully this will appeal to people who are new to these types of games as well as people who play them regularly.
Now let's begin batch #2:
Super Crate Box by Vlambeer
Super Crate Box is a nice little arcade game that's quite addicting to play. This game is all about getting the highest score! You play as a randomly selected little character supplied with a plethora of different weapons ranging from machine guns, land mines, flamethrowers, katanas, grenade launchers, and much more. Your goal is to collect as many crates as you can while avoiding getting hit by an enemy. There are three different types of enemies, and they appear in waves and travel from the top of the screen to the bottom. If they reach the bottom without getting killed, they will reappear at the top of the screen and become much angrier and quicker. Each crate you collect gives you a different randomly selected weapon which you much use to fight off enemies until you collect another crate and receive a new weapon. The random weapon mechanic is an interesting addition that keeps you on your toes, as you won't be able to use your favorite weapon for very long if you intend on getting a high score. You have to figure out how to best utilize each weapon that you come across while you have it. There are three levels to choose from, and getting high scores will unlock new weapons, new characters, and new difficulty settings. The game features very nice retro graphics and an interesting chiptune soundtrack. Personally, I've found that I'm really not very good at this game! My highest score so far is only 24 (I could have unlocked a new character at 25, but instead I opted to die). This may have to do with the fact that I'm a very reckless gamer and I tend to take more risks than I should, which probably isn't the best idea in a game where one hit means death. Or maybe I just suck.
Knytt / Knytt Stories by Nifflas
I'm combining these two games because they're both relatively short and very similar to one another. In Knytt, you play as a small creature called a Knytt who has been kidnapped by an alien. The ship crashes on a nearby planet, and the Knytt must explore the new terrain and recover all of the missing parts of the ship so that they can take off again. You travel across a vast and beautiful world, climbing mountains and exploring caves, and come across many strange and interesting creatures (most of which are harmless). The difficulty comes in trying to figure out how to get to the missing ship parts, but it should only take about an hour or so to beat the game. The game features very simple and beautiful graphics, a wonderful ambient soundtrack, and extremely easy to use controls. There are also several secrets and unlockable content to reward exploration. Knytt Stories is basically an extension of Knytt, except you play as a female Knytt and you learn abilities such as climbing and enemy detection as you go along instead of having them all from the beginning, as well as learning a few new abilities. Knytt Stories also has a feature that enables you to download more levels so that you can play different Knytt levels and stories that Nifflas or other people have created (An Underwater Adventure was probably my favorite that I've played so far). Both games are relatively easy, and are meant to focus on the exploration aspect of the game. They're both very relaxing and peaceful. I like to play these games with my earphones in, so that I don't miss any of the wonderful ambiance and sound effects; the sound of the Knytt running around and climbing walls is very appealing to my ears.
Flywrench by messhof
Flywrench is a rather difficult arcade game. You play as a small device (known as a flywrench) which you must maneuver around obstacles to reach the warp points at the end of each level. You only need to use the arrow keys to play this game, pressing the up key to fly around, the right and left keys to move side to side, and the down key to roll. There are certain obstacles throughout the game which you can only get through by being a certain color, which correspond to your flywrench's current position. Though you are normally white, holding the up key will turn the flywrench red (and cause it to plummet downwards) and holding the down key will turn the flywrench green (and cause it to roll). If you touch any part of the level that is not the same color as you (including the edges of the level), you will die. There are a few exceptions to this rule however; for example, you can touch the edges of the level while you are rolling. Later levels contain moving obstacles and generally become much more difficult as you progress. Fortunately, you can die as many times as you want and respawning takes no time at all. Levels are basically trial and error (akin to games like Super Meat Boy or VVVVVV). The game features very simple graphics made up of colored lines and shapes and a very strange soundtrack of computer noises and drum beats. Writing this, I realize how difficult it is to describe this game without actually showing it to you, so I suppose the best way to learn what it's all about would be to download it and play it for yourself. It's very challenging but a lot of fun!
BlockShooter by Milk Corporation
BlockShooter is a simple little shoot 'em up where you play as a circle whose goal is to shoot as many blocks as possible. Blocks will continually fly at you from the right side of the screen, as well as build up along the right side of the screen in towers that reach out at you. The game gradually becomes more and more hectic as the blocks keep building up and filling up the screen as you fight to prolong your eventual and inevitable doom. You can shoot with CTRL or the space bar and move around with the arrow keys. Every once in a while, a blue block will appear along with a sound effect, and shooting this block will award you with a random temporary power-up. The game features very simple but visually appealing graphics and a high score system. It's very easy to play and quite addicting. The developer comments on your role in the game as a circle who is prejudiced against squares, and describes the game as being "quite simply the most moving and emotional portrayal of discrimination since Schindler's List." So you know the game's gotta be good!
Verge by Kyle Pulver
I might go ahead and put up a SPOILER WARNING here. I'm not sure if discussing the game's core mechanic is a spoiler or not, but it would be kind of hard to tell you about this game without discussing it. Verge is a short puzzle-platformer that revolves around an interesting mechanic involving life and death. You will find while playing this game that dying does not mean the end of the game. In fact, dying is sometimes necessary to solve certain puzzles. You must move between the upper world of life and the lower, reversed world of death to solve puzzles and reach the end of the level. However, while exploring the death world you will come across creatures that will drain your soul, which will mean game over unless you can shake them off or return to the life world in time. The game contains only 9 levels, so it shouldn't take you too long to beat. It features smooth, 2D graphics and a peaceful soundtrack. One kind of annoying thing I noticed while playing was that the game would slow down quite a bit whenever enemies would shoot fireballs at you, but this may just have been a problem with my computer.
That's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed these selections!
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