Free Bytes –> Best Free Games

If you are among the folks that regularly check out my weekly indie freeware gaming column over at IGN, then awesome, you win the prize for being very stylish and sensible. Going forward, my column has been transformed — yes, like Voltron or Optimus Prime — into a slightly different animal (or robot, mineral, etc). Free Bytes will still appear each week over at IGN’s PC gaming page, though it’s now all rolled into one large feature called “Best Free Games” that’s located at the same page. Each new installment will be updated on (most) Thursdays. New picks will be featured on the first page of the article, while previous installments are available on subsequent pages. So in a nutshell: I’m still churning out the same weekly awesome selections of oddball, fun, and quirky free indie-focused game write-ups, only they’re called something different and they’re streamlined to a single location. This has been a test of the emergency column update system. Thank you for your cooperation.

This week’s installment is the crazy-tastic Cactus joint: Hot Throttle. Followed by Megazey and Demons as well as King’s Guard. You can check out all three, and future installments over here at IGN.

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Review: Ghost Trick Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective was a pleasant surprise. Having heard very little about the game before I was assigned to review it, I didn’t know what to expect when I dug in. I was sucked into the story and wacky characters almost immediately, and the plot twists and turns the unfolded further along in the game kept me absorbed. Aside from being entirely charming and bizarre, the story is a touching one. This is one of the better DS games I’ve put my hands on in recent memory, which is why I wholly recommend it.

You can check out my full review here at EGMi and in the latest print edition of EGM on newstands.

Review: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wii


It’s always entertaining when I’m playing a game for review in the living room and my wife walks by with her own commentary. This time it was “agh, that game is awful,” and it came a few minutes after putting up with what is arguably the most horrendous attempt at Russian sounding voice over dialogue we’ve possibly ever heard.  Ghost Recon for Wii wasn’t really on my radar until it showed up on my doorstep for me to review, so I dug into it to see where things were at. Hoo boy. The gameplay wasn’t what I was expecting. At all. While I actually felt that was a good thing at first, the experience quickly went downhill from there. If you’re curious, you can read all about it in my review over here at GamePro.

Free Bytes: Chaos Invaders

I’ve played tons of different Space Invader clones, but this one has got to be the coolest. Chaos Invaders riffs off the general idea and pixelated graphical style from the original, but the gameplay itself is a wild and wooly mix that goes from crazy, to crazier, to craziest. You should really check it out in my latest Free Bytes writeup over here at IGN.

Technically, this is last week’s Free Bytes, but since I’ve been trying to get caught up on posts and a new column won’t be going up this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I figure it’s better to post it up late than never. I’ve got some REALLY hot and wacky games coming up in future installments that kick off again next month after the holidays, so stay tuned for the next batch with new installments appearing each Thurs. in the PC section of IGN.

Free Bytes: Balloon in a Wasteland


“Taking a long hot air balloon ride high above the scenic landscape below may be a relaxing and breathtaking experience for some. For me, the thought of sitting in a basket tethered to a giant floating sack situated not far from the clouds has always been accompanied by uneasiness over all of the many horrible and catastrophic things that could potentially go wrong. Balloons rip and burst. Burner tanks explode and catch everything on fire. People fall. While crash-landing in a desolate wasteland swarming with dark, wicked blob creatures hungry for my flesh was not on that list, it sure as hell is now.”

Check out the full column here at IGN.

Free Bytes: I Was Hungry…But There Were Cannons


“When lunch time rolls around, most people are lucky enough that they don’t have to worry about dodging a barrage of incoming artillery fire in order to nab their meal. Unfortunately for the top hat-toting little bloke in I Was Hungry…But There Were Cannons, trying to grab a tasty bite to eat is regularly a life or death ordeal. This zany little puzzle platformer puts a whole new spin on the phrase “eat and run,” since one false move can leave you with a belly full of cannon shrapnel instead of delicious, mouth-watering cheeseburgers.”

Check out the full column here at IGN. Also, Free Bytes have been switched to Thursdays, so be sure to hop over to the PC section of IGN each week to see the latest awesome indie freeware offering I’ve dug up to share.