[Free-Game Friday is a weekly feature in which a writer from the Gamer Limit staff looks at a completely free game, and discusses his/her experience with it, allowing you to download it at the end. Feel free to check out our full schedule right here!]
I ask you, the readers of our glorious Free Game Friday Feature, what is better than a free game? I know it’s a tough question, as a free game is pretty awesome. But to give you an answer: two free games are better than one free game.
Which means that this week, Free Game Friday is not only better than usual, it is better than better than usual as I dangle the carrot of three free games. Not only that, but it’s themed, as they are all “running games”.
So join me after the jump as I venture into the fiscally responsible world of gaming.
When I say “running games”, perhaps that wasn’t the best way of phrasing it; none of the games I am talking about are International Track and Field, and there will be no hammering of left and right buttons to make your character sprint. What I am talking about probably falls closer into the category of “chase games” – as in each title I am offering you, the player avatar finds himself escaping an unknown, or just plain weird, enemy.
When explaining a new game to someone, sometimes it can be too complex for its own good. “This button is fire, unless you are crouched, in which case it does something else, or if you are in a vehicle it has another function, or if you are viewing the map it does something entirely different, also if you are in the pause menu…” Other times, a game hits the nail of simplicity right on the head. Canabalt is an example of the perfection of simplicity.
Your character has one goal: run forwards, and one button to aid in this endeavour: jump. That is all you need to know to play this game, and, as such, it is hard to find a game easier to get into. There are various obstacles in your way, ranging from gaps between buildings to crates in your way to the infuriating window to jump through. Failing to overcome any will result in your demise, prompting you with the total distance you have accumulated in your mad dash for escape. What drags you in as a simple premise becomes an exercise in addiction as you constantly seek to improve upon the distance you managed to run for.
Despite the mechanics being enough to make this game amazing, the aesthetics are also top notch (if you have the time to notice them). Also, the background displays a brief glimpse into the nightmare your player is escaping from.
I know what you’re thinking, “Sure, Canabalt was great, but what it lacked was a narration of the avatar’s thoughts as he journeyed onwards.” Well, look no further; I have you covered.
rComplex is an extension of the gameplay seen in other running games, giving you a more detailed location to run through, extra commands to utilise, as you can jump, slide, and shoot your unnerving pursuer. Some may say this detracts from the game, and, for those paying attention, you may notice that I called Canabalt perfection, so you can probably guess that I agree. These extra mechanics aren’t needed, and merely hinder the enjoyment of the game, with the most noticeable annoyance being the narration. After the fiftieth time you have heard “I only have twelve bullets left” you start to side with the giant tentacle thing, and realise that the guy probably does need to die.
The final part of my threesome of games, Madness, takes on a different stance, as, instead of being a linear game, it manages to encompass the same dynamics in a circular manner. Your character remains in the center of the screen as the level rotates, presenting you with new and increasingly challenging obstacles. If you happen to fall foul of any of these obstacles, you are presented with a poem akin to a morbid Dr. Seuss:
You were crushed by the wall but don’t be upset
A human survivor the wall’s never met.
It’s only objective – to murder and maim
But it doesn’t matter, it’s only a game.
Along with stylish and simple graphics, coupled with a disturbing blend of retro and techno for a soundtrack, Madness is one of the most addictive games I have played in a long while, even if I do happen to be absolutely rubbish at the game. 43 seconds has been my greatest feat so far. I feel like less of a man admitting this to you.
So there you have it, a round up of some fantastic free games to play, which you really have no excuse not to play because… well, they’re free. If you have any suggestions of future games we should have for a Friday Feature, feel free to let us know. Or, if you just want to inform the world how you fared on these games, drop us a comment below.