Awesome Free Games for Fall
Between indie browser games, massively popular free-to-play games, and projects from small-time Flash developers out to make a name for themselves, the gaming world is seeing more free titles these days than ever before. Here’s the latest crop of great browser-based and downloadable games that you can enjoy without spending a dime.
Abobo's Big Adventure
Love classic 8-bit games? You've probably never played a game that embraces old-school NES references the way Abobo’s Big Adventure does. Within the first 5 minutes, you’ll be smashing goombas, cursing Donkey Kong, and punching out River City Ransom’s protagonist. Abobo is a love letter to 8-bit gaming from the main character on down, and you can play it right this second for free (NES controller not included).
A bizarrely named spin on mini-golf games, Eunaborb is a free game you can play right now that shakes up the “put ball into hole” formula with a bunch of specialized tiles that create new power-ups and challenges on each course. What makes Eunaborb infinitely replayable, however, is a level editor that lets you create and share courses of your own. Give it a spin and share it with your friends.
The 4th Wall
The 4th Wall is as surreal as it is terrifying. At the start of the game, all you know is that you’re walking around in an endless void, transported occasionally to new and unsettling locales. I don't want to spoil the mystery by explaining much further; suffice it to say that The 4th Wall is a unique game that you can play for free. Die-hard fans of The 4th Wall can pick up a $1 “deluxe” version with better graphics, but the original version is still free.
Proving once again that games don't have to be dumb, Grief is a downloadable indie game about balancing your expectations. The main mechanic of Grief involves swapping your character between optimism and pessimism to gain new powers and progress through the game. As you might expect, the game is intensely psychological, but the concentration on the theme doesn’t mean it lacks for fun.
Continuing the theme of games as art and personal expression, Last Breath is a game about a dog that has been hit by a car and is embarking on a weird vision quest in its last moments. As you might be able to tell from the premise, playing Last Breath isn't exactly a laugh riot, but it is a beautiful, interesting, and free Metroid-esque game that may just warm the heart of anyone who has ever loved a pet.
League of Legends
If you've ever played Defense of the Ancients (a megapopular Warcraft III mod), then you know just how addicting it can be to control a fantastic hero and battle through waves of enemies to dispatch opposing players and burn their towers to the ground. The new king of DOTA-like games (at least until Valve and Blizzard release theirs), League of Legends is free to play and has plenty of exotic heroes to choose from, even if you decide not to pay a single cent.
Let's take a break from games about feelings to talk about awesome mind-bending puzzle games. What would happen if M.C. Escher made video games? At least one of those projects would probably look a lot like Microtone, a free game that challenges you to twist non-Euclidian shapes in order to collect points from their hidden surfaces. It's the kind of game that will make your brain hurt after 20 minutes, and it's fantastic.
Want a fun little diversion to kill 20 minutes during your lunch break? Look no further than Making Monkeys, a free puzzle game you can play in your browser. Making Monkeys doesn't sport the flashy graphics or the deep storytelling that some of the other free games on this list do, but it does have one thing they all lack: a gun that shoots monkeys. Spoiler: It's fantastic.
Midas is a free puzzle game about finding true love and transforming everything around you into gold. Although the first few levels make your transmutational properties seem like a simple visual gimmick, you quickly realize that your powers also change a block’s weight, which can help you reach your lady love and teach you a bit about molecular chemistry along the way. And since it's free to play in your browser, you won't need to pay a king's ransom for the privilege.
If you're in the mood for a little tension, 1916 is an intense WWI game that gives you the terrifying feeling of being trapped in the trenches with no escape. And then the dinosaurs show up. Although 1916 gets pretty surreal, it never loses its serious atmosphere, and it makes for an exciting (if bizarre) game.
Ninja vs. Samurai
In Ninja vs. Samurai, you’re trapped in a tower full of enemy samurai, and the only weapon you have to defend yourself is stealth. Luckily, you are a ninja, so stealth should be more than enough to achieve victory, right? Well, it sounds easier than it plays, but if you love both puzzle games and sneaky games, you'll enjoy Ninja vs. Samurai.
If you’re less in the mood for solving puzzles and more in the mood for being scared out of your mind, give the free downloadable game Slender a shot. Based on the Internet meme of the Slender Man, the Slender game challenges you to trek through creepy locations while being stalked by a creepy supernatural entity that can hide almost anywhere and kill you if you look at it for too long. For bonus points, play with the lights out and your headphones on.
The classic downloadable game Spelunky has made our list of free games before, but frankly it’s almost impossible to leave out this devilishly hard procedurally-generated platformer. Although you can download the newer, more beautiful version of Spelunky on Xbox Live for $15, the original game is still free to download and play on your PC. Let's face it: Playing as a treasure hunter in a world where practically everything wants to kill you just makes every gem you snag feel more valuable.
A stealth game without the boring parts, Stealth Bastard blends the hide-and-seek mechanics of a Metal Gear game with the speed and excitement of a much more frenetic action title. The result is a stealth game that still prizes twitch gameplay to a surprising degree. It's completely free to download, and it comes with a level editor that lets you challenge your friends to solve your sneaky puzzles.
Team Fortress 2
If you’re looking for awesome free games, it’s hard to beat Team Fortress 2. Valve’s multiplayer first-person shooter is still one of the best games out there at any price, and the recent addition of the cooperative “Mann vs. Machine” mode has reinvigorated the player base and made the game even better.
The Word Alone
This year’s theme for the Ludum Dare free-game jam was “Alone,” and The Word Alone took that theme as literally as possible. It's a free browser-based game that challenges you to find words and push them off the board so that only the letters a, l, o, n, and e remain. Good luck!
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