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Freeware Recommendations

From time to time I find freeware games that are interesting and worth a play, but that don’t really warrant a full review.  Here are the latest, again with a theme: these games were all made by DADIU, the Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment.  I only recently stumbled onto this organization, but they’re doing some really interesting stuff.  All of these are playable in your browser (though some require the Unity plugin), so give them a whirl and see what’s going on in the Denmark game development scene.

1916 Der Unbekannte Krieg - This is a first person “avoid-em-up” (I don’t think that’s a thing), not unlike Slender or Hide.  Except this game takes place in the trenches of WWI, and what you are running/hiding from is a goddamned dinosaur.  I’ll go on, not that anyone should need more motivation to try it now that those words have been said.  The setting itself is enough to put it into the “horror” category for me.  Being in a WWI trench, seeing the bodies of your comrades all around as you desperately search for an exit is terrifying long before any creature shows up.  But show up it does, and you have to duck into the shadows to avoid a quick and gruesome death.  The screen filter as well as the jerky movement really make for a bleak and realistic atmosphere.  The only reason I’m putting this here rather than in a full review is that I couldn’t manage to get very far.  This is really interesting stuff, so go play it.

Blackwell - This is actually another first person avoid-em-up (maybe I can make it a thing), but this time you play as a small girl who is locked in an insane asylum, for reasons that are unclear to the player.  You find a way out of your restraints and start wandering the halls, in part to find an exit and in part to follow the distressed screams of (presumably) another patient.  You can run or sneak around and are supposed to hide in cupboards or under desks when guards come around.  Most of it works really well, except that when I finally got close enough to a guard to get scared, the way that manifested was an increasingly blacked-out screen.  Once the guard was no longer around, I assumed the screen would clear back up, but it never did, which ended my playthrough.  Not sure if it’s a bug or I just screwed something up.  There’s a really neat look to it, with an almost Beyond Good & Evil color palette, and it does some interesting things, so check it out.

Else: Defender of Earth - This is just a wacky good time.  Aliens are invading Earth, and you play as the titular Else, a matronly woman who sits on a chair overseeing the entire planet. You get word that aliens are attacking a city, and you walk over the globe, Super Mario Galaxy-style to get there, and then whack the flying saucers away with your rolling pin.  Once the aliens get to the city (and you get notified) they start zapping the city with lasers, killing citizens.  So your goal is to get to each attacked city as quickly as possible and knock out all the baddies before too many people get killed.  It’s a novel concept, and requires a bit of strategy and knowledge of geography (Else walks much slower in water) to do your best.  It’s also just a heck of a lot of fun.  It’s short, but you’re encouraged to replay to do better (get less people killed).  I defy you to not get a smile or two out of this one.