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Top Free PC Games

If you don't have a smartphone or tablet, or you just fancy something different, there are hundreds of completely free computer games available online, ready to download to your desktop PC or laptop. So in no particular order, here's a list of some of the best free computer games you can play without spending a single penny.

Below, you'll find our pick of the very best free PC games we've come across in July – but the fun doesn't have to stop there. Just click the links below, and you can browse our top picks for the past year! There are dozens of great games to get stuck into, and they won't cost you a single penny.

July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015
March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014
November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014

And by the way, we keep any older games in their own special archive article – so if you're looking for even more PC gaming fun, be sure to take a look.


July 2015

King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown

Sierra On-Line (Remade by AGD Interactive)
Single player
free pc games kings quest

Designed by the legendary Roberta Williams and first released in 1984, King's Quest epitomises classic adventure gaming. In 1990, Sierra released the game again with an updated graphics, a new interface, mouse support and new sound effects.

In this latest release, fans of the game have put many unpaid months of work into recreating the game from scratch using a free game engine called AGS. It features new enhanced backgrounds, an additional narrator voiceover, full character lip-syncing, detailed character portraits, new interface and many other new additions. Best of all, it’s free!

In the first game of the series, players become Sir Graham and are tasked with locating three lost treasures at the request of dying King Edward. The Kingdom of Daventry has suffered from years of hardship and disasters – but all that could end if Sir Graham is able to retrieve the valuable relics. Better yet, without an heir to the throne Graham will even become King if he succeeds.

As well as King’s Quest I, AGD Interactive have also remade King’s Quest II and III, plus Quest for Glory I. If you’re a fan of classic adventure gaming, you owe it to yourself to try these out – even if you’ve played the originals before.


Trove

Trion Worlds
Online Multiplayer

free pc games trove

We do love a good MMO here at Geek Squad, and a free one is bound to get a lot of attention from us! Trove is an RPG set in a series of voxel-based worlds in which you can meet up with friends to go on quests and take down vicious dungeon bosses, earning loot and experience points in the process.

What makes Trove stand out from others is that it's set in a 'multiverse' of different worlds, all of them destructable and explorable, and all of them have an end. New worlds are created when old ones have run their course. Items you've created and other fragments of previous worlds can resurface in the new ones you'll explore, giving it a very in-depth feel for a game which is essentially free!

All good MMOs need a good community to succeed, and Trove seems to have that by the bagful. As the game is in constant development, there are changes and improvements being made all the time, and small contests are run on the Trion Worlds website to design new bosses, weapons and artefacts to be added to the game's worlds.


Roberto Baggio Magical Kicks

Browser-based

free pc games baggio

If ever there was a perfect free kick game, this classic browser game is it. Named after one of Italy’s greatest goalscorers, the game tasks the player with taking a series of increasingly difficult free kicks.

Using three mouse clicks to determine power, direction and curve of the kick, the player is tasked with scoring from different locations on the pitch. To make things more difficult, a defence wall of opposing players blocks the kick-taker’s view. Wind speed and direction also add to the difficulty level. It’s incredibly simple to pick up and play – but difficult to master the right speed, trajectory and spin to take the ball over the wall and into the corner of the net that the keeper can’t get to.

A word of warning about this one though: it’s incredibly addictive due to the game’s instant restart when a shot is missed. It’s a perfect example of a game with the “just one more go” hook – I wasted so many hours playing this game when I should have been studying back in high school.


June

Dirty Bomb

Splash Damage
Online multiplayer, browser-based
Dirty Bomb 267

Browser-based Dirty Bomb is a milestone for veteran developer Splash Damage, as it’s the first IP they own outright – the company was founded by the creators of several high-profile Quake 3 mods. Built from the ground up, Dirty Bomb enters the fairly saturated free-to-play team-based first person shooter market and, as you'd expect, microtransactions are present.

Set in post-apocalyptic London, players can choose to play as one of a variety of different mercenaries, each with varying loadouts, and compete against others in team-based objective battles. Each merc has different abilities, so finding the right build and loadout is important for success. One type of merc can deploy orbital cannons can be deployed by one type of merc, whereas another is able to drop sentry guns to suppress the enemy. Microtransactions let you beat the odds to unlock better loadouts, but most of them can be unlocked through extended gameplay anyway.

The game is fast paced and heavily team-focused, so this isn’t one for lone wolves with personal killstreaks in mind. Whether you prefer to lay down damage, capture objectives or back up your teammates with healing abilities, there’s a role for everyone. There’s no control pad support or aim-assist here, though – so don’t expect this game to hold your hand.


Regular Human Basketball

Powerhoof
Local multiplayer
real human basketball 267

Who wouldn’t want to band together with a bunch of mates to pilot a giant mech in a 1-vs-1 basketball showdown? Local multiplayer allows ten friends to climb inside a wonky QWOP-esque human-like contraption to collect a basketball, climb over their flailing opponent and score a point by slamming the ball into their opponent’s basket.

Teammates control the various parts of the mech by standing in front of specific controls that operate different appendages. Moving the mech, rotating its arms, enabling thrusters and engaging the ball magnet are all controlled independently. A lone player will have a tough enough time trying to operate every switch, but a larger team will have similar trouble trying to coordinate with each other.

It’s impressive to think that the developers cooked this up in a few weeks while working on the roguelike game Crawl.


Superhotline Miami

Albatr
Browser-ased
superhotline miami 267

What happens when you throw together the top down shooter mechanics of Hotline Miami with the slow-motion reaction mechanic of Superhot? You get a short indie game that’s instantly playable.

The player must take down opponents while simultaneously dodging incoming fire. Move too quickly and your reactions won’t be quick enough to avoid the inevitable hail of bullets. Move too slowly and you’ll quickly be overwhelmed when the battlefield is filled with hot lead. There are six levels to play with which get gradually more difficult when enemies start packing shotguns which spray in an awkward-to-avoid fan spread. It may be a little frustrating at times, but it’s certainly a worthy time-waster.

Gameplay revolves around using the WASD keys and a mouse to move a character around a small area to take out several bad guys. The interesting hook in this game is that while standing still, time moves incredibly slowly. When the player moves however, time returns to normal speed. Why move then, you ask? Ammunition is in short supply and those fallen enemies will probably have a few spare rounds they don’t need anymore.


May

Nelson Sexton
Single player, online multiplayer
free pc games unturned

There's a lot to be said for a game which merges elements from the ever-popular and child-friendly Minecraft with DayZ, a military-themed zombie survival game aimed at young adults and above.

What you get from this mixture is a very fun survival shooter set in a cartoonish world of large blocks and bright colours – a daring contrast which works surprisingly well! I have been playing Unturned for around a week, and found it utterly engrossing. It's easy to forget that you're in a very simple-looking game and the tension quickly mounts whether you're in a single player mode or trying to avoid other players online in multiplayer mode.

There's a lot of crafting to do, although it took me a while to actually building things and not just scavenge new tools and weapons from towns and campsites. If you like the game and feel like donating, you can buy a gold pass, which unlocks some extra facial expressions and hairstyle as well as giving double experience points on certain servers. Unturned is still in Early Access, which means that it's in constant development, with new updates and features becoming available every couple of weeks. Download it from Steam to give it a bash!


Star Conflict

Star Gem Inc.
Online multiplayer
pc gaming - star conflict

Build up a fleet of ships and discover the ruins of an alien civilisation in Star Conflict, a massively-multiplayer online space action adventure. If you've always wanted to take the helm of a spaceship and take part in skirmishes with or against other players, you'll enjoy playing this fun free game. With hundreds of possible ships to own and a variety of single and multiplayer missions to get stuck in to, players can really get stuck in to the role-playing element of Star Conflict. While the game is free, you can purchase in game currency to give you a boost if needed.

While you might want to be a lone-wolf and try settling the space war all by yourself, there are plenty of other players ready and willing to join forces with you if you feel you need a bit of support. With a vast galaxy to explore, you might need all the help you can get!


AirBuccaneers

LudoCraft Ltd.
Online multiplayer

Airbuccaneers

Avast ye scurvy landlubbers! Prepare for ye doom, ye yellow bellied freebooters! Ye fight like a Dairy Farmer! Ever wanted to be a pirate but the thought of cresting a mighty wave leaves you green in the cheeks? Take to the skies in an airship instead and join the fight for glory and booty in this swashbuckling game.

Airbuccaneers pits the vicious buccaneers against the infamous Vikings in a quest for aerial domination. However, unlike other games, you don’t take on the role of an airship; this time you must work co-operatively to either fire cannons, help others, board enemy vessels or be the captain. Battles are intense with armadas of ships fighting simultaneously; cannons are wildly inaccurate; ships are slow and vulnerable; and teamwork is key, so expect plenty of in-game communication from your teammates.

Command the ship as the helmsman and shout orders to your crew; support a cannoneer to improve their fire rate; repair damage to the ship or plant floating mines. There’s a role for everyone, even if you’re not much of a scallywag. Now swab the deck, ye mutinous blowfish! I’ll reduce yer ship to rubble and make ye walk the plank. A black spot upon thee! Yarrrr!


April 2015

Robocraft

Freejam
Online multiplayer

Robocraft

Robocraft lets you build insane RBVs (Robot Battle Vehicles) and take them onto the battlefield in a team-oriented capture game. You may end up fighting against a dinosaur robot, a mechanical spider, a pirate ship or even a Star Wars Tie-Fighter – all of which are possible using the in-game building blocks.

During each battle your creation realistically moves depending on how well it was designed. If the legs on your walker robot aren’t positioned correctly, your design may struggle to walk in a straight line, let alone stand toe-to-toe against an enemy! Damage received during the battle will often affect the performance of your robot too. Your robot may lose its main weapon, a leg or armour plating, but you’re still able to battle on until you’re completely incapacitated. This can lead to some funny moments, e.g. when combatants are left defenceless and spinning in circles because the wheels on one side of their vehicle have been destroyed.

There are over 100 different components available to build your robots and your designs can be saved in the cloud and shared with friends. Nothing is locked behind a pay wall, but progress can be sped up if you chose to spend some cash. Fans of the BBC’s Robot Wars will definitely see some similarities here.


Defiance

Trion Worlds, Inc.

Online multiplayer

Defiance

Games based on movies or TV shows are almost always a complete let down. They often try too hard to copy the same formula as the TV show/movie, which usually fails to capture the initial magic, or they try something completely different which loses everything that made it great in the first place. With that in mind, Trion Worlds has partnered with the SyFy channel to create a dual video game-TV series. Player events which happen in the game are reflected in the show’s storyline, meaning that the game is both true to the source material and a solid MMO style game.

A third-person persistent MMO shooter, the game takes place in the San Francisco Bay area several years after a devastating battle between an alliance of aliens and humans. The Earth’s surface has drastically altered in the war, ending in the extinction of all animals and plant life and resulting in the introduction of a new dangerous insectoid species. You take the role of an Ark Hunter, one of a group of survivors paid to hunt for advanced extra-terrestrial technology.

You complete story missions to progress the main game arc or complete side missions for experience points and currency, which allows you to level up and improve your characters. You can collect weapons, equipment, vehicles and outfits to help you out along the way too. You meet characters from the TV series throughout the game too, fresh from what they’ve been getting up to in the TV show.


Heroes & Generals

Reto-Moto

Online multiplayer

Heroes & Generals

Heroes & Generals is a massive and deeply immersive first-person shooter, set in World War 2 and featuring a strategic multiplayer campaign. There are two types of game included: the first involves you taking the role of a Hero with an active part in each battle, and the second is a strategic game where Generals determine the overall direction of their army and support the Heroes on the battlefield.

In the action game, the overall gameplay has an arcade feel to it, but some elements such as realistic bullet drop and armour penetration enhance the immersive effect. Gunplay has been setup so that it is quite difficult to take down enemies. Weapons aren’t very accurate unless you’re stationary and crouched. This means that a more strategic approach is needed compared with other online multiplayer shooters – which makes a refreshing change. The game features a huge number of weapons, side arms, heavy explosives and both land and air vehicles. Generals can also call in air support to aid their troops in battle in the form of bombing runs or care-package drops. This can be prevented by the enemy team by using anti-aircraft weapons to shoot down the incoming planes.

Maps are generally expansive and normally feature domination-style gameplay where you must fight to control command points. Attackers have 30 minutes to take control over all command points and are awarded extra time for each successful takeover. The overview map of Europe allows you to see the towns they control and which towns are accessible. Enemy-controlled towns can only be attacked from an ally-occupied town but the front lines are always changing. Generals can also download the Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command companion app for Android & iOS and go into battle on the go!


March 2015

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon - Phantoms

Ubisoft Singapore
Online multiplayer

Tom Clancy's Phantoms

Phantoms is a third-person multiplayer shooter set in the near-future Tom Clancy universe. You take on the role of a highly skilled operative known as a Ghost with the ability to deploy cutting-edge equipment and weaponry on futuristic battlegrounds against players across the world.

You choose a class before going into battle and can select either an Assault, Support or Recon class which all have their own specialist attributes to suit a particular style of play. You can equip yourself with support equipment to gain an advantage over the enemy with passive benefits. This equipment can boost damage capacity, improve radar coverage and provide more ammunition.

Three different game modes are available to try out at the moment called Conquest, Onslaught and Holdout. Conquest is a well-known point-capturing exercise where players fight to capture and hold a number of conquest points. Onslaught is similar to Conquest but places a team of defenders against a team of attackers where the defenders hold all the points at the start of the round and the other team must capture them. Finally, Holdout has you battling it out to attack and hold a single capture point until the end of the round.


Hearthstone

Blizzard Entertainment
Online multiplayer

Hearthstone

Hearthstone is a free-to-play, turn-based card game in which two players battle it out using cards to deal offensive and defensive moves. Before each match, players select 30 cards to play with, either from one of several basic pre-made decks or a custom one. Players deal minion cards to defend themselves and cause damage to opposing minions, but they can also be used to attack the enemy player directly. The player’s hero character also has unique abilities to use during the battle.

Each card costs a certain number of mana crystals to use and these are fairly limited in the early rounds, so active strategy is required per turn. The number of available mana crystals increases with every turn, so more expensive and powerful cards will need to be saved for later in the battle. Single-use spell cards can be drawn to cause huge amounts of damage but are usually fairly expensive. Handily, cards can also be’ disenchanted’, causing them to be destroyed to form Arcane Dust. This resource can then be used to create more cards.

A match is over when one or both players have reached zero health or if a player quits. Victory rewards the player with hero character experience and grants access to more powerful cards. Card packs can be purchased with either in-game gold or real-world currency for faster upgrades. As an added bonus, win three matches in Player vs Player mode and unlock a new mount for World of Warcraft known as Hearthsteed. A free Battle.net account is required for this but doesn’t take long to set up.


The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

Ubisoft Montreal
Single player

Mighty Quest

Set in the cloud kingdom of Opulencia, the Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a tongue-in-cheek game where defence-building strategy meets isometric RPG hack-and-slash adventuring. Or, if you aren’t new to PC gaming, think Dungeon Keeper meets Diablo.

You initially choose a hero from an exotic cast, featuring a powerful evil mage, a heroic but pompous knight, a surly one-eyed archer and a newly released axe-wielding runaway teenage rebel. Once you’ve chosen a hero and learned the controls, you’re awarded a castle of your own which will be filled with the loot plundered from other players. As your castle can also be attacked by other players, you must defend it with a host of hazardous traps and populate it with all kinds of over-the-top minions and boss characters.

The task is to level up your character while adventuring and find all kinds of weapons, armour and loot to plunder. This treasure can then be used to upgrade your character with new equipment or to build stronger castle defences to throw off any unwanted intruders. Some items can be bought with real money to speed up progress through the game, but it can all be achieved for free by putting in extra play time.



February 2015

Hawken

Adhesive Games
Online multiplayer

Hawken

Released on Steam Greenlight as part of the Early Access program, Hawken is a first-person shooter where players pilot death-dealing mechanized war machines in battles against other machines on futuristic battlefields. Battles are frantic and fast-paced and are brimming with a vast variety of weapons and gadgets to help crush the opposition into scrap metal.

Battlefields quickly becoming littered with broken mechs, swirling dust clouds and red-hot tracer fire to create a seriously impressive visual aesthetic. Gunfire, explosions and stomping steel create a brilliant audio landscape which only adds to the game’s appeal. Respawn Entertainment’s recent Titanfall revolutionised the FPS genre with its mixture of free-running and mech combat, and although Hawken may not have free-running, it excels in the latter.

Several mech types are available ranging from fast, lightly armoured Infiltrators to hulking, behemoth Vanguard types. Primary and secondary weapons can be configured to suit a particular play style. Assault rifles, flak cannons, railguns and rocket launchers are but a few of the vast arsenal available to you in gameplay. There are also a huge number of consumable gadgets to deploy during combat, including EMP mines, auto-turrets, holograms and shields. The range of customisation is extensive, so there’s a setup to suit every playing style.


Renegade X

Totem Arts
Online multiplayer

Renegade X - 267

Renegade X is a spiritual successor to the great but flawed Command and Conquer: Renegade, which was originally released in 2002. 12 years later, a dedicated team of volunteers has crafted an expertly realised remake to revolutionise the FPS/RTS genre using Unreal Engine 3. Players fight for supremacy in 64 player battles as either the militaristic Global Defence Initiative or the devious Brotherhood of Nod.

In the ‘Command and Conquer Mode’, players can take advantage of Tiberium refineries to earn valuable in-game currency. This currency can then be used to acquire upgrades, buy weapons and gain special items. Further credits can be earned by killing enemy players, destroying rival buildings and healing allies. Tanks, artillery and helicopters can be purchased for large amounts of currency but can quickly help change the outcome of skirmishes.

Buildings can also be destroyed from within by infiltrating the base with infantry and planting explosives or orbital weapon beacons to cause devastating damage. Engineer classes can be used to repair damaged buildings and allied vehicles but are vulnerable due to their lack of powerful weaponry. Weapons factories, power plants and automated defence towers are all priority targets to win the battle. Currently in open beta at time of writing, so some technical issues are to be expected, but this is certainly worth a look.


Age of Conan: Unchained

Funcom
Single player, online multiplayer

Age of Conan

Released in 2008 to extremely negative reviews, Age of Conan was considered a colossal flop due to how broken the finished product was. A game with huge potential, many reviewers believed that with a few extra months' worth of development to clear out the bugs, glitches and broken content, this game might have been a worthy contender to rival the mother of all MMOs: World of Warcraft. In 2011, Conan was 'unchained' and made free to play for everyone. Since the initial launch, the game has had plenty of extra work done on it and many of the original issues have been resolved.

The game is playable either as a single player experience or with other people playing with you. The game also features a surprisingly deep combat system where weapons can be swung from different directions. Enemies will move to defend attacks from some directions so there is a welcome need for tactics to overcome foes.

Each environment of the game is vastly different from the next, and each has its own distinct atmosphere. The game is graphically stunning and well worth exploring with countless hours of questing, looting and discovering. It’s a massive game however, so expect to wait quite a while for it to download a minimum of 20GB of game data before you can play!


January 2015

Red Rogue

Aaron Steed
Single player
pc gaming - red rogue

Red Rogue is a a'rogue-like' game, which means you only get one life and when you die you start again as a different adventurer. While this type of game can be offputting to some players, the game is highly enjoyable and has a large replay factor. When you die, you immediately want to see if you can get past that point again, and before you realise it you'll be back at the beginning, rushing through the platformed levels trying to retrieve the glorious amulet of Yendor.

I enjoyed playing Red Rogue because of its 'bitty' animation style, harking back to a much older generation of platform-adventure games. The game is a lot of fun to play and the retro styling leaves a lot to the imagination, something which many modern games don't like to do! This game doesn't require a lot of resources to run, making it easily playable on most types of computer or laptop. Try it now and see how many retries it takes for you to complete it.


December 2014

Warframe

Digital Extremes
Online multiplayer

warframe - 267

Warframe is a free-to-play third person shooter. It’s set in a futuristic interstellar battlefield where the player takes the role of an ancient warrior of the Tenno race at war with a facist, militarised human war machine called the Grineer and a mechanised merchant guild known as the Corpus. The Tenno have advanced armour suits called Warframes to aid them in battle; each with their own unique characteristics. The player is armed with a primary weapon (usually an assault rifle or shotgun), a secondary weapon (usually a pistol) and a melee weapon. Gameplay is fast and frantic as the player can run, jump, slide and evade enemy fire while battling through each level.

As players gain Affinity points from accomplishing objectives and destroying enemies, further upgrades to the Warframe combat suits and weaponry become available and can be purchased with these points. Micro –transactions exist as with most free-to-play games and can be used to purchase new weapons, warframes and equipment without having to earn credits in-game.

Up to 4 players work co-operatively to carry out a series of mission types which range from assassinations to sabotage, raids to rescues and defence and extermination. Some missions are more urgent than others, with small windows of opportunity to complete; from 30 minutes to 24 hours. They’re usually much harder to accomplish but the rewards are greater. Missions are also procedurally generated meaning that no two levels are alike, which should lead to greater replay-ability.


Planetside 2

Sony Online Entertainment
Online multiplayer

Free PC - 267 - 1

Planetside 2 is a first-person shooter on a massive scale, with up to 2000 players simultaneously involved in battles over three continents on the world of Auraxis. Technically, Planetside 2 stands up to many paid-for games available on the market. There are several infantry classes to choose from, but you have the freedom to do as you please - provided you have the resources which trickle through at a steady rate. You can spawn vehicles and aircraft to support your team, or join in the infantry grind as you try to capture territory.

As long as your skills are up to scratch, you should be able to hold your own. Teamwork is the key. A well organised squad can make a massive difference, not only in terms of success but also in terms of the fun you’ll have - and the new online friends you'll meet along the way. It's an incredibly rewarding game. The action is fast and furious and pretty daunting at first. But stick with it and things will soon start to fall into place.


November 2014

Photobomb

Milk Bag Games
Single player

Photobomb

If you’ve ever seen the movie action thriller Vanishing Point with Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox, or Déjà vu with Denzil Washington and Jim Caviezel, you may already understand the main mechanics behind this game.

You play the role of a ‘Media Peace Officer’ who is tasked with finding out who set off a bomb in the middle of a city square. The organisation you work for is able to search through social media accounts to find photos leading up to the event. You then have two minutes to identify the suspect by matching photographs to the world around you. Each photo you’re able to successfully position allows you to paint suspects if they’re in-frame. You can play out the events in real-time to see how the suspects travel around the scene, but most importantly see which suspect plants the explosive.

After the two minutes are up, you must then decide which of the six possible suspects the bomber is. Each game changes who the bomber is, where they are in the scene and the locations of each photo, meaning that there’s plenty of replayability here. Built for the 7DFPS and ProcJam game development events, it just goes to show that a great game mechanic can go a long way.


Lambda Wars

ModDB community
Single player, online multiplayer

Lambda Wars

For those of you desperate to get your hands on Half-Life 3, take a moment to leave the world of the first person shooter to experience the Half-Life universe from a different perspective. Valve’s legendary series now has a real-time strategy game thanks to a community of dedicated modders. It’s free, standalone and, what’s more, it’s fantastic!

The game was formerly known as Half-Life 2: Wars, but now, Lambda Wars has been released as a standalone game on Steam, meaning you don’t even need to own the original Half-Life game (though that itself is considered an unfriending offence here at Geek Squad).

Single-player missions are available but full multiplayer support means up to 8 players can join the fight as the human resistance or the Combine overlords battle against each other. All the RTS features are at play here too. You can build bases, train troops, upgrade abilities and research offensive and defensive technologies to gain the advantage. You can also take teams of machine gun-wielding resistance members to take on Headcrab zombies; research Manhacks and Striders to strike fear into the enemy; or equip troops with RPGs to take down a Combine gunship. It’s unmistakably a Half-Life game.


October 2014

Where is my Hammer: Destroy Everything!

Toco Games
Single player

Where is my Hammer

Have you ever had one of those days were you just want to smash everything but are worried about the social consequences? ‘Where is my Hammer: Destroy Everything!’ is the gaming equivalent of a stress ball-meets-wrecking ball, where your aim is to simply destroy everything with a giant hammer. This may not sound like BAFTA-winning gaming entertainment, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly fun.

Built for a game jam contest where the challenge was to create a game that is more interesting to watch than play, ‘Where is my Hammer…’was made for the chance to let YouTube #1 subscriber titan PewDiePie wreak havoc. The game has ‘YouTube-bait’ written all over it – a game that is made for the pure spectacle of the carnage and nothing much else.

You can destroy a car, glass bottles, shelves, pottery, artwork and even a whole house including floors, walls and ceilings. The game has no ‘game over’ and no ending; it simply exists as a playground of wanton destruction. Just don’t be surprised if you need a fairly powerful PC to run it!


MiniDayZ

Bohemia Interactive
Single player

Mini Day Z

If you’ve ever played the popular Arma 2 mod, ‘Day Z’ or even the alpha standalone version, you’ll know exactly what to do from the moment you spawn on a sandy beach with nothing but the clothes on your back. DayZ has always been a survival game first and a zombie apocalypse game second, with the real threat being that you must survive after society has completely collapsed. You’ll need to collect food and water, medical supplies and ultimately weapons to defend yourself from bandits who would rather kill you and steal your loot than say “hello”. Oh, and there are zombies too.

The game is played from a top-down perspective in a similar style to games like the original Zelda titles. Player movement is controlled using the arrow keys with another key set as the ‘use’ key. The mouse is used to control your direction and attack. Objects in the world can be interacted with using the right mouse and used to aid your survival. Just make sure you’re well-armed as there’ll likely be someone waiting just around the next bend that hasn’t got your stuff… yet.

Novice, regular and veteran difficulties can alter the playing experience where the most difficult setting will mean faster hunger and thirst rates, very cold weather and no loot highlights. There’s certainly a fair amount of replayability here too, as all loot is randomised and no two games will run the same way. There’s a host of achievements to aim for as well, meaning there’s even something here for the completionists amongst you.


September 2014

Quake Live

Steam
Online multiplayer

Quake Live

Quake has sat upon the very top of competitive first-person shooters since the dawn of time. Quake Live, the web based sequel to Quake Arena, has finally released on Steam – but not without its fair share of controversy.

Games now include a pre-match weapon loadout screen similar to modern shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield, where you start with a primary and secondary weapon. You can still pick up new weapons that emerge within the map, but this significant change means that you’re no longer stuck in a position of repeatedly losing to a fully-armed player when starting with a simple weapon and no armour.

Strafe jumping, a term coined by players using the jump key to increase speed and movement by hopping around the map in a timed rhythm, has been reduced to a simple button hold. You must still know the maps pretty well to use it effectively, but it’s likely that this will be a downside for veterans who have practised strafe jumping to a fine art.

These changes put the game on a more even playing field, meaning it’s much easier for new players to get involved than before. The game is still very much an enjoyable, extremely playable game even with the changes. There are also barely any games that do this kind of gameplay well, so Quake Live is definitely worth your time if you haven’t played it before.


The Very Organised Thief

Redefinition Games
Single player, browser-based

Organised Thief

Another little gem that uses the Unity engine is The Very Organised Thief. A simple first-person scavenger hunt set in an empty house, you take control of a thief whose mission is to ‘borrow’ a few items from an unsuspecting homeowner. Starting out with nothing but a torch and item list in hand, you must search the house for each item without making a mess and blowing your cover.

The house is littered with objects but only items from the list are collectable. Each item is worth a certain amount of cash, which adds to the overall score. Hidden throughout the house are also wads of cash that can be appropriated as an additional bonus. Some puzzle solving is also involved, with a locked door needing a key and an alarmed safe that requires a security code.

There is limited time to collect all the items because at some point, there will be the sound of tires on gravel and the jangle of keys in a lock as the owner returns. Make too much of a mess, leave a light switch on or set off the safe alarm and the homeowner will be alerted when they arrive. Escape will likely be difficult when being hunted. Play it stealthily and the homeowner will be none the wiser, meaning you can continue searching the house for an extended period of time.

To win, you must successfully leave the house with some loot and a final score will be calculated based on how long it took to complete and how much loot was swiped!


August 2014

Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign

Demiurge Studios
Single player

Marvel Puzzle

Thought you’d been exposed to enough Marvel content this year? Think again. Marvel Puzzle Quest is ready to deliver your next dose in style! Players are asked to pick three Marvel heroes and complete Puzzle Quest/Bejewelled-style gameplay to score attacks, charge power-ups and defeat enemies. New characters can either be unlocked as the game progresses or bought early on from the store, meaning there is also something new to tempt you to carry on playing. Light RPG tropes are in place as well, levelling characters up over time so that more difficult enemies can be taken on.

Though technically a freemium game with all the usual free-to-play mechanics such as cooldown timers, micro-transactions and an overly tempting real currency store, Puzzle Quest is balanced enough to mean you should never have to part with real cash to get far. The game even welcomes you back after periods of non-play with generous amounts of in-game currency from time to time! Premium packs are available for purchase to speed up game progression (did someone say cheat?) but most of the game is easily unlockable through normal play.

Featuring an original single player campaign written by Marvel Veterans Frank Tieri and Alex Irvine, this game should be a part of any fan’s collection.


Cave Story

Studio Pixel
Single player
Cave Story

Cave Story is a Japanese 2D platformer adventure that’s a throwback to classic games such as Metroid, which has definitely inspired the game play, with its maps and hidden areas to explore. The player navigates each 2D map by leaping between platforms while shooting enemies which can lead to experience pieces being dropped. These item drops add to the current weapon’s overall level and can make the weapon more powerful. If the player is hurt from either enemies or environmental dangers then not only does the player lose health but also loses some experience from the currently equipped weapon. If you end up with too much damage, your weapons level down and lose some of their power.

The game follows a protagonist with amnesia who awakens in a cave. By exploring the cave, the player uncovers a plot by the game’s central bad guy, the Doctor, who intends to force the cave’s inhabitants to fight for him in a bid to conquer the world. Of course, the player is given the heroic task of putting a stop to this.

The game is in Japanese but a fan-made translation pack is available too. It can be a little fiddly to get up and running but is more than worth the hassle. Cave story + is also available on Steam which includes a visual upgrade and an enhanced soundtrack, priced at £6.99 at time of writing.


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