Times are tough. We're all looking to stretch our budgets, so the thought of paying $20 or more for a PC game from a commercial development studio is, well, a tough download to swallow. But in your effort to save money, you need not sacrifice winning gameplay. Independent gaming studios are releasing awesome titles--many with an addictive retro vibe--and their prices range from free to next-to-nothing. Here are five you must check out today.
Super Wagon Adventures
Super Wagon Adventures is a twisted take on the classic game Oregon Trail that many of you may remember playing in high school. If you don't remember this game, I may have just dated myself, and I retract my previous statement.
The original game had the player assuming the role of wagon leader in the 1800s traveling west across the Oregon Trail. You hunted for food, tried to survive, and, more often than not, died of dysentery.
This version of the game, developed by a Seattle-based indie developer who goes by the handle Sparevector, is similar in style to the original Oregon Trail game, but with quite a number of odd turns. As you play, you randomly come across aliens, achieve low earth orbit and time travel, and eat mysterious mushrooms. All this happens, and you just need to try to stay alive.
The full game (if you don't die early) only takes 10 minutes to beat, but mastering the W-A-S-D key controls and twitch shooting will take some practice. New wagons have special weapons and characteristics that are unlockable, and a survival mode exists for those who want to tackle a limitless stream of angry bears or wolves.
Moustache King Adventure
Moustache King Adventure was born out of the indie game development competition 'A Game By Its Cover', and is a platforming adventure that's similar to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link but has the look of Max and The Magic Marker.
Also, there are moustaches.
After meeting the Moustache King as a young boy in this game, you set out to become the Moustache King a decade later. You accomplish this by working your way up the ranks and fighting a variety of witting Barons. You can dash, jump, and punch (with some basic form of punch combos). The game's controls feel simple and responsive.
Tins of moustache wax give you health upgrades (of course), and stopping off at the barber shop will restore your energy. The game doesn't take itself too seriously but does add some leveling mechanics and moustache upgrades. In fact, most everything revolves around the moustache in this game.
Towns in Moustache King Adventure have many different characters to talk with, and secret pathways offer up an added layer to each location. The game includes catapults that can warp you to other towns as a means of fast travel, and there are also weird bloblike enemies who sport (of course) moustaches.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.