Do you ever see a game and think to yourself, “Dang, they could have charged way more for this”? I know I do, and that feeling is especially noticeable when you play great free games. This week I’ve got a couple of really great games that are somehow all free. Let’s dig into them:
Much like your average 6-year-old, I love trains. There’s something weirdly magical about a form of transport that is no longer necessary, but so tied to a specific era in history. Rusty’s Rail takes the beautiful relaxation of train travel and uses it to set the tone of the entire experience.
Rusty’s Rail sets you as a sort of omniscient train spirit that both watches the train travel down the tracks, and upgrades it at each station. In between these moments of interactivity you’re left with the scrolling landscape and a feed of things happening inside of your train. That’s it. It’s a beautifully calming experience that mimics surrendering yourself to the inflexibility of traveling by rail. When you combine this with the beautiful soundtrack and absolutely striking visuals you’re left with a beautiful way to center yourself without having to buy a train ticket.
Luminous is the sort of high-minded but unpolished game that made me fall in love with the indie community. Sure it’s a combat platformer with fairly simple and chunky pixel art, and yeah there is a little jank to the controls and animations, but once you move past that what lies beneath is an interesting narrative structure and story. As you move through the game the narrator chides and supports you while guiding you through the gameworld, and hinting that there might be something more sinister lurking below what you see.
There is a lot to like inside of Luminous and I hope that more people are able to give the game a whirl. Also it’s free so there’s no risk in trying it out.
Roguelikes have fallen on hard times. Despite their influence being seen in so many great games, we haven’t seen a lot of truly great roguelikes in recent years. Stoneshard wants to fix that. Currently on Kickstarter and developed by a Russian team, Stoneshard looks to take what made classics like Nethack and ADOM great, and polish them up for modern audiences.
Stoneshard Prologue isn’t the full Stoneshard experience, but it’s more robust than a normal demo. In it you’ll find a totally competent roguelike despite the disclaimer that the game will have more features once it’s completed. I enjoyed my time with this prologue, although it doesn’t exactly re-invent the roguelike wheel. Sure, there are contextual menus and the pixels are crisper than old-school roguelikes but fans of the genre will be right at home. If you’re craving a new roguelike, you can do much worse than Stoneshard Prologue. Hopefully the final game will continue the prologue’s promising start.
Is your favorite game absent from this list? Let us know what you’ve been playing in the comments below.
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that Luminous looks really promising, will check it definetely!
I wouldn't mind a Itch.io Recommends that focused on demos. There are so many games these days, it can be hard to even know which ones you want to sample for free.
Mmm, that's certainly a possibility. I'll look at some games, and maybe something will come of it. That said, I feel like if I can recommend a demo I could also recommend the full game. Unless the full game isn't out yet (like Stoneshard Prologue this week).
I was definitely thinking of demos for games that weren't out yet!
Adventure Skate Qeens
Thank you i'll enjoy it!!
I'm so glad that you enjoyed Luminous! Always happy to bring the stories and jank.
Hah, "Stories and Jank" is a company slogan if I've ever seen one.
Thank you so much for the kind words on Rusty's Rail!
The game is really great! I even went back to it over the weekend. I can't wait to see what y'all come up with next.