TimeEaters: Seven Freeware Games You May Not Have Heard Of (part seven)

The White Chamber (2005, Studio Trophis)

Most of the games on this list are suitable for people of any age, at least in content, with very little actual gore, and no nightmare fuel to be found. However, well-placed gore and well-paced creepiness can do a game good. Sometimes, a game is enhanced by that feeling of dread one gets when one is expecting something at least mildly horrifying to happen at every moment

The White Chamber supplies this feeling, and then delivers the horror, whether it’s severed body parts or some eldritch abomination living in the floor. All of this is made far more potent by the fact that our protagonist has lost her memory and consequently doesn’t know why she is alone on a spaceship.

This is a point and click game, which may be slow paced for some, and the anime-styled characters may not be to everyone’s tastes, but hopefully the effective creepiness of being isolated in space will override these factors.

You will not enjoy this if: You want something quick, you don’t like horror or gore and you want something upbeat.

You will enjoy this if: You like horror and suspense, and enjoy well placed doses of gore.

Available from: http://www.studiotrophis.com/site/projects/thewhitechamber

So, there you have seven freeware games to go and eat your time with. If you have anything to add please do so in the comments.  In the mean time, enjoy matching teddy-bears, killing orcs and finding severed arms in fridges.

Email: elemcee000@yahoo.co.uk

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TimeEaters: Seven Freeware Games You May Not Have Heard Of (part six)

Pickies

There were several games that I passed over for this list, simply because they were untranslated. A couple of downloadable games were both fun and fiendishly difficult, and possessed a sweetness that is endemic to Japanese media. Unfortunately, they were untranslated,. So I tried to find another game with would replicate these qualities without the language barrier.

Also, every game on the list so far has been downloadable, and it does happen to be that many of you, for some reason or another, do not want to download anything. So here is a browser game that mirrors those Japanese games.

Pickies is simple, with a ‘match-three’ style gameplay that you’ve probably played many a time, before. The objects you need to match are a rainbow of cute teddy-bears and these are to be placed into a crossword-like grid, until the needed amount of teddy-bears have disappeared. The difficulty lies in making just the simplest mistake in placing the bears; if the grid fills then a life is lost, and after three lives, the game is over. It isn’t loud or overly complex and can be played on your web browser with a minimum of loading.

You will not enjoy this if: You want something complex, non-cutesy and don’t mine downloading things.

You will enjoy this if: You want something simple yet challenging, and only have the browser available.

Available from: http://www.onemorelevel.com/game/pickies

LMC

TimeEaters: Seven Freeware Games You May Not Have Heard Of (part five)

Battle For Wesnoth (2003, Dave White)

In the amorphous fabric of video game trends, high fantasy runs through it like a shining, everlasting thread of mithril. We could look at the gritty realism of first person shooters and the crime spree themed games in the vein of Grand Theft Auto and its like, then swap the guns for swords, the tracksuits for suits of armour, the scantily clad prostitutes for wood-nymphs and the mob-bosses for robed wizards and somehow, everything is okay again. Even the most grim of scenarios here are merely part of the whole fantasy; a place suitable for a child and, in turn, a reminder of that time.

Battle For Wesnoth is not particularly new or exciting in its execution, particularly, but the fact that it has grown and continues to grow to the point where almost all of the campaigns available are made by its own fans is testament to how undying Tolkien-esque high fantasy is (the original makers of the game in fact stated outright that Lord Of The Rings was the direct inspiration, here). If you are familiar with turn-based strategy games and high fantasy, then you will not find anything particularly innovative or unique. However, this is the game’s charm; there are no bells and whistles to throw you off, this is the deadly, war-torn fairy tale you knew from your youth and it leaves you free to concentrate on devising increasingly complex combat strategies to lead your men/elves/orcs/merfolk to victory. It’s a good specimen of its genre, as well; the graphics are decent, the storylines are clichéd but that doesn’t much detract from the fun, and the music keeps the game atmospheric.

You won’t enjoy it if: You want something speedy, platformy, modern or a mind-screw.

You will enjoy it if: You want something with a challenging level of difficulty and you have hours to spare.

Available from: http://www.wesnoth.org/

Next week, the penultimate game! (On time, next time)

LMC

TimeEaters: Seven Freeware Games You May Not Have Heard Of (part four)

O.E Cake (Softwear.Inc)

Sometimes you don’t need a game to play, but rather just something to mess around with, without any conceivable goal or concept of winning or losing. O.E Cake will supply this. It can be described as Microsoft Paint with physics, giving you the option of creating substances such as water, fire, walls,  and gas among other things, which will behave as they would in real life. The water will splash, the fire will burn, the gas will remain airborn and the walls will…well the walls will stay where you put them (and will block the less solid of the other materials).

With this, you can paint pictures as you would in paint, but you’ll probably begin just by playing with the various materials just to see what they can do.

You will not enjoy this if: you’re looking for a structured game to play.

You will enjoy this if: you would like something stress-relieving to play with; you enjoy paint and its elk.

Available from: http://www.pearsoncoles.com/gareth/oecake.htm

Tune in or….just…log in and then navigate back here next week for part five!

LMC

TimeEaters: Seven Freeware Games You May Not Have Heard Of (part three)

Subterra (2001, Crystal Shards)

Perhaps it is their appeal to casual gamers, but puzzle-based computer games are something of a solid trend in popular gaming. The formula invariably starts off with the simple notion of having to collect something. Usually something precious, as these objects tend to be drawn with a slight sparkle. Things that sparkle catch the eye, and it is with a sense of satisfaction that these colourful chucks of pixel are gathered up to reach the exit. It is with no small annoyance that one stares at a corner, wherein an emerald, a diamond and a pearl sit, enclosed by some wall or another, and it takes a fiendish puzzle to rescue them. Even if you already have your needed quota of gems, this is irritating. And, as the game progresses, these instances become both more frequent and more dire as the puzzles become increasingly complex.

     However, such games can only be addictive, and time will be spent going back to that level you just can’t complete, inching closer and closer to victory every time you attempt it. But it is fun, and puzzle games can only serve to be interesting, after all. Subterra is one such game. The premise is that you are a miner collecting a certain amount of gems to complete a level. As the game progresses, the player meets several obstructions to their goal, such as falling rocks, bombs and skulls that shoot beams at you. Each level has four or five rooms, each with a puzzle to complete, and gems that come in the form of diamonds, emeralds (which are worth 3 diamonds) and rubies (which are worth 5) which must be collected. Finishing a level here is satisfying, the graphics are 0simple but aesthetically pleasing, the music is enjoyable and the controls are easy to grasp.

You will not enjoy this if: you’re looking for an RPG, a shoot’em-up or a fighting game.

You will enjoy this if: you’re looking for something engaging that isn’t hugely complicated in its set-up, and is reasonably challenging. Suitable for casual gamers.

Available from: http://www.crystalshard.net/subterra.htm

Part four next week! Same gaming time, same gaming site!

LMC

TimeEaters: Seven Freeware Games You May Not Have Heard Of (part two)

Plasma Pong (2007, Steve Taylor)

Sometimes, there is nothing much you can say about a game, it is so simplistic in its visuals and mechanics that there’s nothing much to add to ‘it’s like ping-pong, except on the computer’. This is the case with the seventies classic game Pong, with its sparse visuals and simple strategies. At some point, it was state of the art technology, but, let’s face it, the years have passed and any amateur programmer can cobble together something just a bit more complex with a minimum of difficulty.

It’s true that video games have certainly moved on since then, and gaming styles are being updated all the time. But the original Pong formula, though archaic, should not necessarily be cast aside. What if, for instance, some rather more modern aspects of gaming were added, such as bright colours, some atmospheric music and a more complex physics engine. Well, then you’ve got Plasma Pong, which starts of as a semblance of the old game in its monochrome appearance. But, move the mouse and click the button, and send waves of multicolour plasma exploding across the screen. Instead of careening wildly across the screen, the ball ends up being pulled along in the flow of this viscous plasma, occasionally being sent shot across the screen by a sudden blast of the stuff. All the while, dramatic music plays, increasing speed as you gain levels by scoring goals.

It still might not be particularly interesting for anybody looking for something more serious or complicated. It is still just pong, just with bright colours and a decent soundtrack.

You might not enjoy it if: you are after something particularly story/character based or complex.

You might enjoy it if: you want something simple, with a good sense of tension and a mild sense of nostalgia.

Available from:  http://download.cnet.com/Plasma-Pong/3000-2099_4-10511143.html

Check back next week for part three!

LMC

TimeEaters: Seven Freeware Games You May Not Have Heard Of (part one)

The world is full of games and gaming is quickly becoming a very important part of modern life and a global past time. This has made the industry one of the most profitable in the world, with hundreds of companies competing with each other for your attention. However not all games costs money. Some games can be played completely for free over the internet. These are called freeware games. There are a few freeware games you may have probably heard of, such as Cave Story, La Mulana or Nifflas’ work, so I won’t cover them here (if you haven’t heard of them, I suggest you look these up, first). However, for those who want something different to waste their time with, the deluge of free games out there can leave one spending more time wading through them to find something decent to play, and by the time you’ve found something, you’re bored of the whole thing. Of course, we’re lucky that there are so many free video games out there, but it’s good to commemorate some programmers who have really done a decent job. This is what I will be doing on Nerds get bored over the next seven weeks. This is by no means an ultimate list; just a small selection of the better games out there.  I hope you enjoy!

Eternal Daughter (2002, Derek Yu)

Inside a temple, beneath a statue of a revered deity, a priestess holds her newborn daughter, only to be interrupted by several soldiers of an evil race (the Dungaga) bent on taking over the peaceful land of Lorian (not affiliated with Lorien, Middle Earth). The woman is taken to be the unwilling wife of the leader of the Dungaga, while her baby daughter Mia is sold into slavery, and grows up to work under her half-breed half-brother Hume. This is the basis story for the game, Eternal Daughter, a sweet-looking 2D game with RPG elements. Our heroine, Mia, is on a quest to find her father, as well as liberate her mother and her people. She’s a cute little girl who you wouldn’t want to cross. The same duality can be applied to this game in a way. It is set in a colourful world with cuddly animals and super-deformed characters and yet you will be biting your knuckles and whining before you’ve even reached the 10% mark.

Metroidvania refers to the gaming styles of classic franchises Metroid and Castlevania, and it is in this style that Eternal Daughter’s gameplay follows. You guild Mia through the rooms of the game; these rooms are invariably filled with enemies to kill and power-ups, ammo and health to pick up. Metroidvania games are not linear as such, but tend to have a sandbox aspect to them, and the player can go back and forth between rooms as they need to. Platforming also plays a large part here, also, with many a jumping puzzle with the risk of being knocked down, possibly either to Mia’s death or back to where she started.

Eternal Daughter is a pretty game with retro graphics, twinkling music and cute characters, but do not be lulled into a false sense of security.

You will not enjoy it if: you are looking for something quick and simple to pass ten minutes or so, or you are looking for something realistic and gory.

You will enjoy it if: you like retro style graphics, old-school high difficulty levels and RPG-like story-telling.

Available from: http://www.derekyu.com/games.html (Scroll down to find it)

Check back next week for my next freeware game you may not have heard of.

LMC