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.
Over the last few months we've amassed quite a collection of free content, so feel free to browse around or click on the links below to jump to the section of your choice.
- Free online multiplayer games
- Free single player/local multiplayer games
- Free browser-based games
- Older free games archive
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.
Trion Worlds, Inc.
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 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!
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 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.
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.
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.
Starting life as a Half Life 2 mod, this standalone version aims to be a realistic approach to surviving a zombie apocalypse. The world is over and civilisation has been brought to a standstill with only a few non-infected survivors remaining. Playing as one of these survivors, you can work with other players co-operatively to scavenge each map for weapons, limited ammo and scarce supplies.
Different game types exist in the form of objective and survival modes. In objective mode, a randomisation system is used to create different branching objectives for each game to enhance replayability. Survival mode sees the players defend pre-determined safe zones from waves of zombies while also fighting to stay alive. Each wave becomes increasingly more difficult, with more zombies in each wave and with more dangerous zombie types such as runners and burning zombies added to the mix.
Realism takes a front seat here too, because whenever you’re attacked by a zombie, there is a chance that you’ll become infected. Infection is almost certainly a death sentence but this can be delayed by locating Phalanx medication. Upon death, you’ll rise to become a member of the undead and will fight against the group. The big question - should you announce the affliction to keep the group safe or keep it hidden in the hope of finding a cure?
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.
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!
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.
Sony Online Entertainment
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 availible 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.
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.
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!
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.
Free Lives Games
Broforce, a chaotic ‘bullet-hell’ pixel side-scroller, was released earlier this year to capture the nostalgia of action movies of the 80s and 90s. The developers have since created the completely standalone expansion, The Expendabros, as a cool crossover between Broforce and the recently released The Expendables 3 and have offered it as a free download for a limited time only (31st December to be exact).
You can choose a pixelated version of any of the seven Expendables from the movie and play co-op with friends to complete 10 levels of pixel carnage to stop Mel Gibson’s character, Conrad Stonebanks. It’s a fast-paced game where players run, jump and shoot while destroying the typically 80s-style action movie environments (think lots of explosions!).
The game is frantic and designed to be played with very little finesse. Prepare to die and re-spawn repeatedly, before you’re flung straight back into the action! At times the game can be brutally difficult but the accomplishment of overcoming a particularly tricky section more than makes up for the countless restarts.
Floating Point is a game to be savoured over the course of a quiet afternoon. It’s a graceful game in which you use a grappling hook to swing through a randomly generated environment to collect points. Each environment contains many floating islands with score bars on top of each. The faster you’re able to swing between islands, the taller the score bars are, and the more points are scored.
There are, however, some noisome obstacles planted in the way of success. First off, you’re affected by gravity which can lead to stalling if there isn’t enough momentum to keep you moving upwards. The bottom of the map is also flooded by water when your own buoyancy reduces the momentum of a downwards swing.
The game is controlled completely by the mouse and is really easy to play. If you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, this is definitely worth your time. Still not convinced? The game was created by the makers of Gunpoint, a highly acclaimed PC title. Check it out today.
Digital Leisure Inc.
Aliens have invaded (peacefully, I might add) but they’ve made one crucial mistake… they messed with the wrong cranky old man! Similar in gameplay to the popular Plants vs Zombies, you take control of Murray Mendelson, an elderly gentleman woken from an afternoon nap by the pesky aliens creeping over his pristine lawn. Quick on the trigger, Murray has escalated the barney into a full-scale war on his very own doorstep.
You can use a variety of weapons to keep the aliens at bay, including a musket for constant fire, a shotgun for close-range carnage and a ray gun to clear whole columns of aliens. Some special abilities such as Cane Time, Infuriate and Soundwave can all be used to gain the upper hand when Murray is struggling to survive.
Gameplay is wave-based, so each swarm gets gradually more difficult and more troublesome aliens begin to attack. There’s not a huge amount of content on offer here, but for free, it’s a quirky and captivating way to pass the time.
Built in 48 hours for super-fast game development jam, Ludum Dare 30, Superdimensional is a stylish zero-button game controlled entirely by your mouse cursor. Ludum Dare is a treasure trove for free PC games, wherein each game is built with a huge emphasis on creative design. The games are generally short and created in a frantic run over the course of a couple of days.
Superdimensional plays in a similar way to App Store favourite, Flappy Bird, in that you must navigate a scrolling 2D level by flying up and down to avoid obstacles. In this game, however, you don’t control character movement directly, but instead control a cone of light based on the position of the mouse cursor. Whatever the cone of light touches flips the scene to another dimension where obstacles visible in one realm are not visible in the other. Your character also changes from a snowball to a molten rolling mass and then into a floating ethereal character, which in turn decides how you will move.
The difficulty in this comes from being able to control the next available cone of light and also predicting the behaviour that different types of light will have on your character. This is a competent indie title with some great ideas – impressive for 16 straight hours of coding!
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.
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!
Smarty Pins is another globe-hopping search game courtesy of Google Maps. In a similar vein to the hugely popular GeoGuessr, youre given a series of trivia questions for which the answer will be the name of a city, country or state. To ‘answer’ the questions, you must scroll and zoom around Google Maps and place a Pin onto the location you think is correct.
You begin the game with 1000 miles which are deducted whenever you pin the wrong place. The further away you position the pin, the more miles are lost. The game is over when the number of miles drop to zero – but you can earn trophies for hitting a certain number of correct answers.
To make things a bit easier, you can choose a specific category such as Entertainment, Science and Geography, History & Current Events and Sports & Culture. As an added incentive, you’ll be awarded bonus miles for answering quickly, so if you’re quick off the draw you’ll be able to offset any minor miscalculations. We scored 19 during one of our games: think you can beat it?
Black Shell Games
Like the text adventure games of old, SanctuaryRPG is a great throwback to the earliest days of gaming when hardware wasn’t capable of rendering a 3D game environment. These days, even your smartphone is capable of generating insanely detailed game worlds, so this game may not appeal to everyone. A strategic turn-based dungeon crawler, it’s a game with easily over a hundred hours of gameplay.
Made entirely out of ASCII art and text, SanctuaryRPG has far greater depth than it first appears. You first select the type of character you wish to play from one of 6 classes including barbarian, paladin, wizard, assassin, druid and ranger. Each class has its own play style so it’s best to choose a class with a specific battle strategy in mind from the beginning. The game can be played in the rewarding classic mode but will result in a permanent game over if a battle is lost. New gamers can try out the softcore mode, which is a little more forgiving, but if you’re a veteran gamer you may want to try out the harder difficulty.
The dialogue is well written and often hilarious and the combat well designed and dynamic. It’s also supported by a fantastic 8-bit soundtrack, so it’s obvious that the developers have created something pretty special here. While the game is technically free, the developers have left it open for players to offer a donation for the game which can be anything you like.
Graphically abstract and with no soundtrack to speak of, Env offers a very simple gaming experience – but one that needs to be played. Your only objective is to survive for 6 minutes in a simple purple world. The challenge comes from an ominous-looking tube floating above the world, sucking up pieces of the floor and devastating the landscape into mountains and chasms that freeze in place when the tube moves onto another part of the map. As the game goes on, it gets increasingly difficult to avoid falling between the cracks into the abyss below.
You also need to scavenge for food and tech upgrades throughout the world while avoiding the changing environmental hazards. You’ll slowly starve to death if food is not located and tech upgrades will improve your ability to leap across the map. Both pickups are dropped by a spherical craft zipping from one side of the map to the other at an incredible speed.
You’ll find that the key to survival is to follow the Sphere until it drops a pickup while also avoiding the broken landscape dangers. Things are not made any easier when the Sphere also begins to break up the environment, meaning that new dangers are never too far away! All in all, an addictive nail-biter of a game!
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.
Great indie games are often inspired by great ideas and this is certainly the case with Probably Archery. Appearing on Steam Greenlight following its fantastic reception after being released as part of the 7DFPS (7 Day First Person Shooter) game jam event, it’s currently being improved with even more features.
The challenge comes from the control system which will have you playing Twister over the keyboard with key combinations to adjust the left and right arm positions, the direction each wrist is set to and, the easier-said-than-done, fire an arrow. You must select an arrow from the quiver, notch it, draw it back and release. Congratulations are due if you manage to launch an arrow and a great big pat on the back if you manage to hit a target!
The original version can still be played via the 7DFPS website but the Steam version offers a large demo of new scenarios. The original offered a training environment with several static targets to aim at and a fun multiplayer mode where you can duel to see who can shoot the other player’s head-shaped balloon first. As mentioned above, the game is currently on Steam Greenlight but the original is available for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.
Built in 48 hours for the Ludum Dare development competition, Probe Team tasks the player with piloting a series of jet powered probes to explore a maze-like cavern, all in order to locate and enable switches. Each probe has enough fuel to last 10 seconds on full power but this can be extended by using the probe’s own inertia to maintain propulsion in a given direction. Each probe is controlled knowing that it will not be able to return and this is enhanced by the cute power down sound each probe emits upon running out of fuel.
As each probe makes its first and final journey, more of the environment is discovered and remembered, allowing each successive probe to seek out new, undiscovered areas. Sending the probe in one direction can either reward the player by finding a switch to unlock new areas or result in a literal dead end.
The game is very short and has bags of charm to capture the imagination. Best of all, Probe Team can be played using the brilliant Unity engine.
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.
Mu and Heyo
Boson X is a rotational runner game in similar concept to the popular Super Hexagon where you play as The Professor racing through a massive particle collider to discover new particles. The player builds up speed while leaping between floating platforms that form the floor, walls and ceiling of the tunnel.
All levels are randomly generated meaning that levels cannot be beaten through memorisation but instead the player must learn the unique concept of each scenario. Blue floors add to your research level which needs to total 100% before the level is complete and red platforms are dangerous as they will drop away after stepping on them. If the player mistimes a jump, the player will fall out of the collider and the level will restart. After completing each level, a new particle is discovered in the hunt for the elusive Boson X particle.
Grinding Gear Games
Path of Exile may be referred to as a “Diablo clone” which is a roleplaying game that has an isometric or “top down” view of the action. The player controls a single character and explores large open areas and claustrophobic dungeons and caves to battle monsters and complete quests. Progression is constant as the player receives experience points for completing tasks and rewarded by levelling up and collecting new weapons and armour to improve their character. Maps are also randomly generated as well meaning that the game has great replayability.
Path of Exile follows the story of the player who wakes up on the shore of a remote continent called Wraeclast which is a colony for criminals. The player must band together with other outcasts to survive while exploring the wilderness and facing it’s dangerous inhabitants. The player can choose from one of 6 character classes ranging from rangers, marauders, witches and duellists.
As a free game, there has to be a catch and in this case the catch is very minimal. Micro-transactions are in place to improve the game but the developer has chosen to follow a more ethical approach in that the majority of the games features are free and anything that is paid for is merely cosmetic.
Black Mesa Modification Team
Black Mesa is a third party total remake of the classic 1998 1st person shooter Half-Life; a classic that has stood the test of time and is a masterpiece in gameplay and story. In its 8 year development, the Black Mesa Modification Team has re-built every element using the upgraded Source engine.
Normally, a modification to an existing game wouldn’t make this list but as this game only requires the free Source SDK Base 2007 download, it is a completely stand-alone game. It’s been built from the ground up with new character and weapon models, newly designed levels and textures, new sound effects and voice acting, and a completely bespoke soundtrack which is worthy of a download all by itself.
For the uninitiated, the story follows theoretical physicist Dr Gordon Freeman, a scientist at the super-secret Black Mesa research facility. The game begins with Freeman tasked with taking part in an experiment to analyse an alien specimen. Upon beginning the experiment, disaster strikes as inter-dimension portals begin to open, flooding the facility with alien predators. In the chaos, the remaining survivors decide to attempt to reach the surface but when the military arrives, the question of whether they are friend or foe is quickly answered.
The distribution program Steam is required to play this one which can be found here: http://store.steampowered.com/about/. Once this is installed and you’ve created a free account, download the game from here: http://www.blackmesasource.com/.
Futuridium was made by Italian indie developer Mixed Bag, having been inspired by the 1986 PC release Uridium. In the game, you play the role of a starship pilot taking on the brave task of bringing down an alien Dreadnought star cruiser.
In levels reminiscent of the climactic scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, the player must fly perilously close to the Dreadnought to take down its defences before revealing its weak point and taking it down for good. To heighten the tension, the player is constantly running out of energy and can only replenish this with some good old fashioned blasting. Shoot the blue cubes, weave in and out of the environment and reveal the yellow cube weak point.
The soundtrack is impressive too, by letting you change between 11 different tracks including dramatic scores, calm melodies and modern dubstep, which can be changed to suit your taste. The game is a definite throwback to retro fast-paced action shooters, for the low, low price of free.
This one is so simplistic in its design you’ll think ‘why didn’t I come up with this one?!’ A browser-based game, GeoGuessr literally drops you in the middle of nowhere and tasks you with figuring out just where in the world you are.
Using Google Street View, the player starts each round in very unfamiliar surroundings. You could be placed by a beach with high-rise hotels along the sea front, a deserted eastern European village, a modern metropolis bustling with activity or even a long dusty highway with nothing but horizon in the distance.
Google Street View lets you take a virtual stroll to locate clues in the nearest road sign, advertisement billboard or shop sign to build up a picture of where you are. To score in the game, you need to drop a pin onto a world map for each of the 5 rounds and you can then share your final post-game score with friends to compete against them. Prepare to lose a lot of time to this one!
Ever found yourself wandering aimlessly through random blue Wikipedia links just to see where it takes you, or spent an afternoon hitting ‘random page’ to see what wonders await you? The Wiki Game plays to this curiosity, letting you browse through Wikipedia, but all with a final goal to achieve. Players navigate from one random Wikipedia page to another by clicking the blue hyperlinks to navigate to different pages like stepping stones.
Games include Speed Race, where you must reach the goal page in the fastest time; Six Degrees of Wikipedia, where you have to get 6 page clicks; Five Clicks to Jesus, in which you must find the Jesus page in only 5 clicks from a random page; and the ‘No United States’ mode, where you aren’t allowed to use the USA page to find the goal.
You compete with other people from all over the world and can sign in to keep track of stats and leader boards. You’ll begin to either love or hate the fact that the United States page can pretty much lead to anything, but you’ll also be fascinated at how quickly people are able to complete the game. The Wiki Game is addictive and educational to boot, so definitely worth checking out!
Long before World of Warcraft claimed the title of world’s greatest online RPG, a small developer launched a simple game featuring stickman characters that could be played in a browser. It’s still going strong today with consistent weekly updates, with the latest (at time of writing) being mobile-browser support.
Kingdom of Loathing never takes itself seriously and this is immediately obvious from the character select screen, where you can select from a list including a warrior-type Seal Clubber, a magic-wielding chef titled Sauceror, a Pastamancer who wields arcane Noodlecraft secrets and a Turtle Tamer (complete with Turtle companion). Intrigued? You should be!
The game is surprisingly in-depth, featuring a huge number of quests to complete, turn-based combat, vast amounts of loot, a full currency system, leader boards and a clan system so that more difficult dungeons can be tackled with friends. You’re limited to a certain number of turns or ‘adventures’, which are replenished each day by consuming food and other items, which makes this a perfect game to play in your browser while you’re working on other things.
Little War Game is a relatively simple yet utterly charming real-time strategy game in the same style as Age of Empires. The aim of each game is to harvest resources, build a city and recruit an army, before marching on your opponent’s city and reducing it to rubble. The game runs entirely in your web browser using HTML5, meaning you don’t need to download the game. There are no plug-ins to install and no registration required either.
You’re able to play a single player match against computer opponents or take the fight online within the Little War Game community to challenge other players. You can select a pre-built map or spend some time designing your own using an easy map editor built into the website. You can also sign in with an account to track victories and losses and save match replays. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even code your own enemy AI to play against (it’s all explained in the website blog).
The creators have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and through an online blog, meaning that new updates are discussed with the community and feedback is actively encouraged. There’s a pre-game lobby that you can use to meet other players and chat before getting started. Jump on and play now!