I don’t know about you guys, but it’s a slow day here at work. It’s raining and cold here and, to be honest, I’d rather be at home with a mug of hot chocolate and a controller in my hand. A First World problem, to be sure, but what’s a poor boy to do? Play awesome freeware indie games, of course.
Star Guard, a shooter by designer Sparky, has been making the rounds lately, and for good reason: it’s an awesome Flash-based, stripped down (but stylish) 2D shooter/platformer for both Mac and PC. The story is that an evil wizard needs defeating, but it’s cleverly presented through text overlays sprinkled throughout the game’s nine levels. I particularly like the fact that you run into countless other space fighters duking it out with the enemy.
Given that you have infinite lives, the game isn’t particularly difficult. Dying simply drops you in the latest checkpoint, ready to start over. The rub: the traps and mines don’t reset after they’re triggered, effectively allowing players to simply bulldoze their way through the game, blowing themselves up with abandon and respawning with a clear path. It’s an odd design choice, but beating the game unlocks a Hard mode which may put Star Guard back into traditional shooter territory.
If you dig on run-and-guns, check out Star Guard: it’s a well-designed and well-paced little game, and it’s freeware to boot. You can download it here, and be sure to check out a speedrun up there. Sparky’s site, Vacuum Flowers, also features some nifty browser-based games, my favorite being The Walls are not Cheese.