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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, all of which are playable in your browser:

Hot Coffee - You know how “coffee” is often used as a euphemism for sex (as in “wanna come up for coffee”)?  Well, game designer Pippin Barr has done a really interesting thing here.  He turns that euphemism into a game about very literally making actual coffee and then steeps it (pun intended) in a ridiculous amount of sexual innuendo.  So he turns the euphemism into the literal thing, and then turns that back into the euphemism.  Practically, it plays like a series of mini games where you boil water, steep the coffee in the french press, etc.  But the whole time your companion is demanding it hotter and faster, and you are consumed with trying not to finish too soon.  It’s a weird intersection of clever and juvenile, but I thought it was really funny and interesting.  Give it a look.  

Steam Rogue - I wasn’t overly blown away by this one, but I’m including it because it has a neat mechanic, and because it was made with Stencyl, which is what I used to make my first game.  I like to shout out to fellow Stencylers when I can.  In this game you play as a little steampunk guy with a wheel instead of legs, and you are almost constantly moving forward.  Whenever you hit a surface, you turn around and head the other way.  There are of course tons of puzzles based around jumping and hitting the right walls at the right time.  It all works really well, it’s just that puzzle platformers are starting to get to me.  There’s so many of them out there right now that they have to do something really special to hold my attention for long.

Strike of Rage - This was made in a weekend for Ludum Dare 24, and takes a very tangential swipe at that competition’s theme: “evolution.”  You play an office worker who, pissed off at yet another denied request for a raise, vows to beat up your fellow workers and the boss to get your money by force.  It’s a straight beat-em-up, and is notable mostly for its really good use of feedback.  Hitting guys feels incredibly powerful thanks to the sound, screen shakes and particle effects.  There’s really not much more to the game (which is understandable given the time limit), but what’s here is done pretty well, and it’s a pretty good time.  One thing to note, though: it uses that “bevel pixel” art style that I really liked the first time I saw it, but then games started popping up with it all over the place, and now I’m getting sort of sick of it.  Not the designer’s fault, of course, but it’s become over-saturated for my tastes.