My skin's a-crawlin' after playing Gyossait this week. It's an interesting and wholly creepy platformer about the creator of mankind burrowing deep below the planet's surface in search of his lost love - and despite its simplicity (or perhaps because of it?) it manages to be thoroughly disturbing. If you want a bit less darkness and a bit more colour, though, try out DC Universe Online, which is now free-to-play. Plus: the tale of Icarus retold, a two-player driving game where you can play as a road, and a simple but effective tower defence game. Read on for this week's best freebies...
Amon 26. Play it on NewGrounds.
Gyossait is a super-creepy platformer in which you play as Oyeatia, the creator of mankind, as he delves into the depths of the Earth in search of his lost love. Armed with only a shield, with which you can deflect enemies' attacks back at them, you'll navigate a series of disturbing levels, hunting for keys and avoiding the instant-death situations that crop up with an alarming frequency.
The low-definition world is, despite its blockiness, drawn with a crude surrealism, lending to the dark and menacing tone of the game as a whole. And the sound design is just lovely. The ambient noises loop awkwardly, droning away, as scratchy and imprecise as the visuals but adding yet more of the unnerving atmosphere that the game is drenched in. And while the controls could be a little more fluid, such issues don't detract significantly from what is a genuinely enthralling little browser game.
AutomaticJill. Play it at the Hand Eye Society.
You'll probably be familiar with the Greek mythology surrounding Daedalus and Icarus. This top-down adventure is an attempt to re-tell that tale, and it's an impressively creative re-imagining featuring a 20-something slacker who loves videogames and sleeps in his own filth, an unfortunately dead father, and JETPACKS!
While it looks almost like a top-down RPG, and has plenty of point-and-click adventure elements, much of the inspiration for Icarus comes from interactive fiction. There is a lot of reading. A lot. Reams of text are available to read in a library. The developer says much of this text is currently placeholder, but it reads fine, serves a purpose. The rest of the game comprises searching for essential objects and filling in the story, which can be a little tedious. That's a shame, but the story the game tells is well worth experiencing - so persevere through the less exciting bits.
Eventhandler. Play it on Kongregate.
This is a lovely browser-based driving game with a smart twist. Player 1 controls the car, player 2 controls the road. In Versus mode, it's the job of the driver to stay on the road as their opponent weaves and twists that road in real-time, hoping to throw the driver off-course. Not only can devilish turns be incorporated, you've also the ability to add a speed boost to both the road and the car in an extra effort to confuse your opponent.
There's also a co-op mode where your job is to work together to survive as long as possible. For this there's scenery to contend with: if the road hits a tree or a house, it's game over; if the car veers off the road, that's the end of your attempt too. Roadeo is surprisingly challenging, especially when the environment fancies getting in the way more than usual, but it remains compulsive playing with a friend. Good, silly, imaginative fun.
Vlambeer. Download it from TIGSource.
Hey, look, it's Vlambeer again, continuing to create some simple yet delightful games. This one's straight-up tower-defence, but what's impressive is just how hectic things become so quickly.
It revels in its own basic visual design, as well: a cream background, with small coloured squares indicating your approaching enemies. The story goes that you've been assigned to a planet with the objective of clearing out its wildlife, ready for new holiday resorts to be built - but that's all basically irrelevant as you work out how best to position your turrets.
It's still in alpha stage, which kind of shows, but it's already a lot of fun.
DC Universe Online
Sony/Warner Bros. Get started on the official website.
Although only launched back in January, Sony's DC Universe Online has already become the latest MMO to take the plunge into the free-to-play space. Everyone else is doing it, so why not, I guess. Sony's idea was to create a new kind of MMO: one with a focus on physics-driven combat scenarios. I haven't played it, I admit, so let's turn to Josh for a critique:
"Its action-oriented design is a bold step out of WoW’s shadow. From the consistently clever boss fights to the daily activities to the points-of-interest around the world, it makes it look effortless to create interesting activities to amuse players and immerse them in the game’s world."
I'd say that sounds pretty good. Have a read of PC Gamer's full review to find out more.
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