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Old 01-14-2010, 09:27 PM   #1
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Free and Worth Every Penny - Issue 29: Assorted Genre Roundup

I can't pick just one for this week, folks. I can't. There's too much. Last week I mentioned that we might have to do another round-up style installment of Free and Worth Every Penny soon, and this week things hit critical mass. There are so many high quality free titles showing up out there right now, I can barely play them all! Which means I need your help. Let's get to work.

Paolo Pedercini's "Every Day the Same Dream" has been written up everywhere from RockPaperShotgun to GamersWithJobs to Kotaku, and with good reason. Visually and musically distinctive, quick to play, and uniquely contemplative, it feels like a mixture of Jason Rohrer's Passage and Groundhog Day.

I realize that this means some of you will hate it.

But I really enjoyed my time with Every Day. The game presents you with a situation where your desire to break away from the world's constraints are shared by the character you control, and you have to figure out how to do that - or whether it's even possible - together. It's not a feel-good game, but it made me feel good about gaming.

Take a top down dual-stick (or in this case WASD+mouse) shooter. Now make it an 8-bit style RPG. Now make it a cooperative MMO. Now embed it in a webpage. Presto: you've got Realm of the Mad God.

Another product of TIGSource's competitive nature (in this case, their Assemblee Competition), Realm of the Mad God boasts a huge world to explore, hundreds of enemies to fight, items to collect, persistent character leveling, and a chat system (as if to further prove that even in a Flash-based game made for a forum competition, in an MMO, hell is other people). This one is brought to us by Rob & Alex of "Wild Shadow Studios", and you can read more about the game here.

Having been in development for at least a couple years now (I can find blog posts about it going back to 2007), and finally seeing a finished release late last month, GENETOS is the story of the shmup genre, told by Tatsuya Koyama in a shmup of his own. Start out in a distinctly Space Invaders-themed opening level, and make your way through the history of shmups all the way to the bullet hell pictured above, evolving your capabilities as you go.

I'm not a huge fan of shmup games, largely because I'm not terribly good at them, but I recently got addicted to Space Invaders: Infinity Gene on the iPhone, which uses almost exactly the same mechanic. I thought it was terribly clever, and was surprised to learn that Mr. Koyama had the same idea years ago, and executed on it admirably - and for free.

Unlike the last two, which were webgames, GENETOS is a Windows download of about 27MB.

Last one for this week - not because I don't have more, I do, but it's getting late and this is getting long. Besides, I don't want to overwhelm you. I want to let the zombies do that.

A "de-make" of the best zombie apocalypse simulator around, Pixel Force Left 4 Dead takes Bill, Louis, Francis and Zoey and tosses them back to the mid-80's to star in an NES-style version of the game we all know and love. All four of the campaigns are included, playable solo or in 2-player co-op. You'll also find the weapons you're used to, and the special infected you loathe, all modified to fit an 8-bit frame.

Some changes to the formula were obviously necessary - swarms of hundreds of zombies have been removed here in favor of slower, more deliberate gameplay, partly since you can only shoot in four directions, I'm sure (though holding down the fire button switches your movement to strafing, which is nice). But don't let yourself think that fewer zombies means it's going to be easy. None of the zombies go down in one hit anymore, and if they do swarm you, a speedy trip back to the last safe house is in store. Watch your back.

Pixel Force Left 4 Dead is also a Windows download, of about 20MB.

Before I go: Terry Cavanagh, author of Don't Look Back from the very first Free and Worth Every Penny installment, has released his first commercial title, VVVVVV. You can play the 2-level demo online at Kongregate, or download it and purchase it if you like at the official site. It's pretty goddamn brilliant.

That's it for this week, kids. Get gaming. See you next time.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:08 PM   #2
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Every Day was awesome. Simply awesome. I tried several combinations, but I'll say this:

The only way to wake up is to Jump. So make sure you explore everything before you do just that
PSN/Steam ID/BNet Tag - JaynesHat/Hawkzombie/HawkZombie#1136

There is the crazy HZ and the well refined logic and reasoning HZ. Both are pretty entertaining -Purple Santa
I love that Hawk exists to make every decision I make, no matter how self-destructive, look wise by comparison. -Ox
I just realized that for the longest time I've been getting you and Karak mixed up. -fitbabits
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:06 PM   #3
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I need to try these games, esp. the first one. Awesome free games are awesome
Like obscure games? Check out Turning The Spigot for hidden gems!
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free, worth every penny

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