“It’s odd how a creepy first-person adventure game about children in comas can teach us a hell of a lot about dolphins. Created by a team of students from DePaul University for the 2010 Independent Games Festival, The Devil’s Tuning Fork is just the right mixture of smart and trippy. Though it has absolutely nothing to do with friendly, chirping marine mammals, the game’s entire concept hinges on their purported ability to “see” sound waves. In essence, it’s kind of like playing Doom in a pitch black room – except you’re armed with a tab of acid and a tuning fork instead of a rocket launcher.”
“Welcome to hell. And hell, it turns out, is other people. Lots of them. This simple arena shooter is one of the strangest multiplayer games you’ll probably ever play. Confined to a small rectangular screen, you’ll pilot a tiny ship around and blast away at other players. The cool part is the human opponents you fight have already played the game and died long before you even booted it up. What you’re actually battling is their ghost data, and when you inevitably succumb to screens full of laser fire, someone else who plays after you will eventually fight against your ghost ship too. Surreal, right?”
“Though death was always lurking nearby, Indiana Jones still managed to somehow make his job look a little too easy. Don’t expect to have quite as smooth a ride in Spelunky. In this charming and brutally tough homage to the treasure-seeking adventurer, death is a few steps behind, a few steps ahead, and pretty much anywhere else you feel like stepping. As a diminutive, whip-wielding hero, you set out on a grand quest to score glittering gold and gems, save 8-bit ladies in distress, and recover ancient idols.”
“Keeping track of a small gaggle of dim-witted critters would be a lot easier if they managed to sit still for a minute or two. Unfortunately, the fidgety creatures in Scribble seem afflicted with a bad case of ADHD. These living, ink-laden “Blots” would rather march happily to their own doom than remain idle. As their steward in this MySpace doodling puzzle game, it’s your job to guide them through increasingly deadly stages and keep them alive. Well, at least most of them.”
“Think you’ve got a big sword? If it’s not the size of a small building or a Boeing 747, then you’re going to have to try harder to impress the burly, pixilated monsters in Ginormo Sword. This retro blade-swinging RPG doesn’t kick off with a quest to rescue a kidnapped princess, save the realm from evil, or get revenge for a fallen comrade. No, this adventure is all about forging the biggest, most ultimately badass sword humanly possible and using it to cleave your way through the beast-strewn countryside. “
Some may be wondering what happened to my Free Bytes indie freeware gaming column (or not). Rest assured, it has not died. It has been assimilated. Regular frequenters of IGN.com may be familiar with the site’s weekly Cheap Thrills gaming deals column. For at least the next few months, I will be contributing to that column with a short freeware write up each week. I’ll be covering a selection of indie, social networking, and flash games that are very much in the same vein of what I’d covered in the Free Bytes column for Green Pixels. Things may change around again in the foreseeable future, but for now be sure to hop on over there to check out some sweet deals and my freebie game of the week. The first installment features Ginormo Sword. Check it out here. Thanks!