Games come in all shapes and sizes, and luckily for those without much to spare there are plenty of games available for free. But where to look? Right here! We’ve scoured the internet for 5 of the best free PC games released this month.
All Our Asias
Set in the near-ish future, All Our Asias is a story of family, race, and connection.
Created as a personal project by developer Sean Han Tani, AOA tells the story of Yuito who has just received word from his estranged father that he is dying. Yuito reluctantly travels to the hospital to use a device to access his father’s memories. Within this dreamworld, Yuito meets a baffling array of people who are possibly (but by no means certainly) real.
Though the low-poly style attempts to recreate graphics of the PS1 and N64 era, I struggled to see why this choice was made. It doesn’t feel crisp or clean, and just results in the same problems of the era without modern sensibility. Where All Our Asias stands out is in its creativity and approach to the small things. The UI is a screen all of its own, and lends itself to the immersion of the story. It occasionally breaks the 4th wall, and sometimes removes the walls altogether to create interesting visuals.
The questions posed by the plot were serious and probing in their nature, and were engaging despite me having no connection to Asia myself. I felt the game was actually let down by providing answers instead of letting me mull over the questions myself. Though the gameplay overly simple (holding forwards is about as tough as it gets), the game only lasts less than two hours and has an enjoyable soundtrack to accompany you. The bizarre settings you will come across are a good laugh though and worth visiting if you have a taste for the surreal.
Scratching that high-score itch, Encircled is a smart shoot-em-up that keeps you coming back for more.
Made in 2017, but only recently released, Encircled is the first game by Louis Fourquet and a solid entry. Playable in the browser, the aim of the game is to last as long as possible. Enemies of various types will spawn and move around the map to either be killed or dodged, with points only awarded for the former option. Bosses spawn regularly, and the waves are the same each time the game loads so it’s possible to learn and improve.
What sets this apart is that there is no direct control over the movement as there is in a twin-stick game. Instead, the recoil of every shot is what moves you around the board. You can’t just wildly shoot all over the place or else you run the risk of moving into the path of an oncoming enemy. What really puts the challenge up is that the edge of the map is also lethal, so you can’t just back yourself into a corner.
The space can be a little narrow to move in during boss fights and I often found myself clicking outside of the circle which isn’t registered as a valid target. But my gripes are minimal and I kept coming back to try beat my score.
Encircled is playable for free in the browser via itch.io.
Woodfarer – Lost in the Right Direction
Initially grabbing my attention for its visuals, Woodfarer is an interesting student project from the Cologne Game Lab.
Playing as a little bird, the aim is to collect forest spirits in order to fix the shrine. Self described as a “forest-crawler”, the shrine will assumedly later lead to new forests. Currently only a prototype, there’s not a lot of game here but it shows promise for future development.
The core mechanical change from other dungeon crawlers is that the spirits you collect are also your ammunition. The gameplay is very defensive in its nature, with only a few “bullets” at any given time that you have to wait to return to you.
There’s definitely some issues to be worked through, such as unclear hit-boxes, but in the meantime the game sports some excellent character design
The prototype can be downloaded for free from itch.io.
What’s the most people you’ve seen supported in a local multiplayer game? 4? 8? 16? Well how about 60…?
ANYKEY is a simple, one button game designed with multiplayer madness in mind, developed by Sciman101. Hit a button on the keyboard and you’ll load in as a different coloured snake or sorts. This one button is now your controller, and every time you hit it you’ll turn left or right successively, and if you hold it then you’ll start doing little circles.
Beware though, because the longer you spin the faster you’ll go and as soon as you release you’ll struggle to control yourself. Points are obtained for each turn you successfully make and you’ll rack them up until you hit the edge of the screen. Knock into another player and you’ll send them spinning off, hopefully to their demise.
It’s a simple concept but it works well, and I get the feeling it’ll work great as a party game with everyone’s hands on the same keyboard knocking into each other. There are different game modes too with subtle differences in handling. I can’t wait to try it with a big group of people!
Garden of Oblivion
A little bit more on the creepy side, Garden of Oblivion is a visual novel with a mysterious story.
You play as Reven, waking up again and again in a strange dreamland filled with characters of your own imagining. They advise you against leaving but they’re not in much of a position to stop you. So you try, and try again, getting slightly further than before to leave the seemingly idyllic place. All is not quite as it seems and quickly the world begins to deteriorate as you try to get to the bottom of the mystery.
While it was originally created as part of the Ludum Dare 30 game jam, Träumendes Mädchen has updated the game for a Steam release. It’s an intriguing game that you can play through in about 30 minutes. Different endings are available, though it wasn’t 100% clear to me which actions I made were choices and which were unavoidable in advancing the plot.