Sent a few links to Nico privately, bu tnow that there's a forum it wil be much better Please note that there are reposts of mine from other forums, so I pasted also my personal opinions on the games.
Gene Splicing, is an indie oldie: an old-style CRPG released in 1998, heavily inspired by games like the original Wasteland e Dragon Wars. Short but not easy. The interface is a bit obtuse and requires a lot of clicks, but it's in line with old entires of the genre and keep interest high by virtue of seeming a lost game from the late 1980s.
Important Tech Notes:
the game runs under DosBox but it freezes at the starting logo if the Sound Blaster IRQ set for the game is not the same as DosBox (which has 7 by default, while the game has 5). Other than that, it runs fine.
If you were interested in freeware games in the first half of the 2000s already, you may have already heard of Return of Egypt (the official site died long ago) as "the game where Moses kicks Egyptian ass". From the little that can be deduced under the curtain of kanjis and kanas, that elderly but energetic main character is NOT Moses. That said, years after the original release, this game is still an excellent Metrodvania, intuitive in spite of the language barrier, and extremely playable. It's sadly short but intense, with several special techniques to acquire - you can see a list of commands in save rooms - good atmosphere, gorgeous graphics (especially the transparencies and bosses), and even better music.
Hints: As you begin, press F4 to set the keyboard as control system, so you can proceed. To double jump easily, just hold the jump button.
Giddy 3 is a fantastic clone of the Dizzy action-adventures (the character also looks similar but with oversized hands), albeit easier since your inventory is not limited, and objects of interest are highlighted when you pass over them. It has delicious graphics and sound that are a throwback to the best days of the Amiga. It can be completed in about a hour from start to end (no passwords or saves) but you'll have to play for a while to master its small but interesting game world. The original version was a DOS game, difficult to run under Windows or DosBox, and had an odd control scheme. More recently, it has been ported to several platforms, among them Windows and Wii, and beside some additional sound effects, controls are fully configurable now - there's no more reason to not play it. In case you are wondering about the numeral, yes, there are two older Giddy games, available as disk images for Amiga emulators here and here.
Lucid is an indie casual puzzle game that's now freely downloadable, with the formula "pay what you want, IF you want". It doesn't require installation, the hardware requirements are extremely low, the graphics are clean and really pleasant to the eye, and the gameplay (explained in the video below) is at least something different from the usual Match-3. However, it suffers from a severe lack of variety and content: I played 15 levels out of 55 and it seems that, beside rising difficulty (but there are no time limits in the levels, on the other hand), it has practically offered everything it has by that point. The 5 Euros price it had on Steam was much more honest than the 15 it had from the official site. For free, however, it is a nice and relaxing game for a break.
Hanano Puzzle is very light on disk space: it's less than a meg, with essential but colorful graphics and music done with Pxtone. The colored blocks can be swapped or moved laterally, and must be brought to touch the flowers of the same colors to bloom (but they won't if there is no space above them). Already bloomed blocks can still be moved - a level is over when the last one blooms - and used as platforms, and make other blocks bloom on contact with them. The game can be configured to show help messages in a serviceable English. It's difficult, even the first level (out of 50) isn't immediately clear and won't probably be solved at the first try. Recommended to puzzle enthusiasts.
Extinction is a fun zombie killing/survival game where weapons are not in big supply, so there are also lots of vehicles to drive against the undead - but they get damaged in the process. The scenery is 3D with top view and 2D sprites, which makes it quite reminiscent of the first two GTA, and there are also some destructible elements. More variation in the scenario would have been appreciated but it's perfect for the quick sessions it is intended for. Funniest weapon: a bomb emitting a blip which attracts lots of zombies before detonating.
Another game from the same author is Mythology, an action-adventure which suffers from bad camera (tight places are a nightmare), a badly conceived control scheme (why the E key for attacks and actions, instead of the left mouse button?), a lot of bad clipping, a silly storyline with bad English (why non-English speakers insist in not seeking help from people who knows the language better?), looks in general like one of those shovelware 3D games from the mid-1990s... Yet it has an odd charm exactly for these reasons, and its short lenght makes its flaws more bearable; also, some sections with different gameplay and two of the boss fights (especially the Minotaur) are positively fun.
This is currently a work in progress but deserves a place.
Oniken is a "neo-retro" production made like a NES game with appropriate (and gorgeous) graphics, complete with a intro and a title appearing in a way reminding Konami's Snatcher. It's a cross between Ninja Gaiden and Contra, levels are broken into smaller sections but still big enough, and with so little checkpoints, that the difficulty will surely make itself felt - the authors use the term "NES Hard". The current beta has 3 levels (one has a section with a hoverbike) and no cutscenes, still enough content for retro action fans while waiting for the full version. Another game to look forward for 2012 - and the authors are teasing with constant videos and screenshots of the stages in development.
ZugyA DX is an old game from Sprite Soft which has been later upgraded and re-released by doujin circle Chinchilla. A top-down multidirectional shooter, similar to the overhead levels of Thunderforce 2 (and Bosconian, if you want to go further back), where all the cores of the enemy bases must be destroyed to access the next level. A super-weapon, an explosion of energy that makes the player ship able to damage enemies by ramming into them, is charged automatically and, at full charge, also acts as a shield. It's fun and gets frantic at times, and every few levels a new type of enemy module is introduced; after it runs out of new ones to throw at you, however, the game may get too repetitive to hold interest beyond the 25th-30th level (out of 50).
Raptor puts in the skin of a member of a pack of the ancient reptiles, on a mission to retrieve four stolen eggs. While looking more open at first sight, it's in fact linear, with the path to the next mission opening after the previous one is solved - this is not necessarily bad, however. It alternates between fighting, platforming and physical puzzles. This variety, however, suffers a bit due to complicated and sometimes downright tedious controls, and some mechanics that needed polishing. Particularly annoying are the Energy (comparable to "stamina" and separated from the effective Health), which needs too much constant replenishing, and the manual saving; also the scarce precision of jumps can be becomes a serious issue sometimes. Still worth playing with some patience, and has a fun ending.
Sixty Five Million And One BC, first released as shareware and now free, deals with a bigger threat - now the Raptors are searching for four pieces to build a contraption to try and stop an asteroid coming towards Earth (talk about alternate history). It has all you'd expect from a good sequel: more detailed graphics, new abilities like wall climbing, streamlined interface (few keys hold several contex-sensitive functions), refined mechanics, removal of what didn't work previously (the Energy meter is thankfully gone), and saves automatically. The platforming and jumping have still some issues, some situations are outright recycled from the first episode, not to speak of the four-missions overall structure, and I would have liked a better final challenge, but that doesn't detract from the decidedly better experience compared to the precedessor. It also has several instances of fun fourth-wall breaking humour ("good thing I can respawn"). Oh, and in both games, always remember crouching over a little geyser!
I also recommend the entire catalog of Lazy Brain Games. Mostly small games made for quick sessions and online scores, but excellent in both pixelated graphics and gameplay. Some of them:
Mecha Spider Island
(This post was last modified: 05-08-2012 07:31 PM by Gendo Ikari.)