With the annual gift swapping rituals bearing down on us, undoubtedly a few PC gamers are feeling the strain on their bank accounts. Don’t fret dear gamer, there are many free and completely awesome games out there on the internet just begging to be downloaded and played. The following selection should tide you over until the bountiful present harvest of games comes in. Gather around – there’s something for everyone!
Synaesthete puts you in control of the Zaikman, who has to navigate the game world – the collective unconscious – and zap monsters using his affinity with the musical soundtrack and a number of power-ups. The game features original compositions of music ranging from ambient trance to, well, regular trance. The entire game world is a visualisation which pulses and animates to the beat of the music. Yes, it’s a beat matching game, but with a twist.
One for the strategy buffs, FreeCiv is pretty much a recreation of the original Sid Meier classics, Civlization 1 and 2. The game is open source, and is constantly being tweaked, refined, and updated. There are numerous player created rulesets that can be used, and up to 30 players are supported over TCP/IP.
UFO: Alien Invasion
The year is 2084 and of course, the human race must defend itself against a terrifying alien enemy. Inspired by the X-COM, UFO: AI is a squad bases tactical strategy game. The game has two main modes of gameplay, a base management and research mode, and a tactical combat mode. The game was developed on the Quake 2 engine and has some snazzy 3D graphics. The game supports up to 6 players over TCP/IP.
This is a modernisation of a classic DOS game – Scorched Earth. That game was so classic, it was yelling at those darn Worms to get off its scorched lawn. Scorched 3D is a turn-based artillery combat game in which players must manage their ammunition, weaponry and economy during a battle of wits and skill in which there can only be one victor. The game supports multiplayer over TCP/IP, with a number of Internet servers up and running.
Not a game, but a game developer, with three really cool side 2D side-scrolling platform games available to play – Knytt, Knytt Stories, and Within a Deep Forest. All the games feature colourful and detailed pixelart, clever animations and intriguing storylines. Definitely worth checking out.
One for the FPS fans, this is a retro Sci-Fi deathmatch arena game that feels like the lovechild of Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. Alien Arena lso boasts some pretty impressive visuals considering it is an open source project. There is a single player campaign, but the multiplayer is the real attraction. Unfortunately there are no dedicated South African servers, but it could make for a refreshing change at LANs.
Secret Maryo Chronicles
A platform game that runs and jumps, barely avoids some sort of copyright infringement, and defeats an assortment of enemies . Developed in the spirit of another popular platform game, Secret Maryo should satiate a craving for retro platform action, with a modern flavour. The game comes with a full featured level editor for those who feel the need to fiddle.
This is a truly free MMORPG. This means that there will never be any surprise premium content, or gameplay limitations. All the servers and bandwidth needs are sponsored. The developers are going for a strong emphasis on the role playing element of the game, encouraging players to really ‘act out’ their decided character traits. Planeshift is currently in the open public testing phase, so it will undoubtedly be a bit buggy. Still worth checking out for the MMORPG lovers on a budget.
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