THE 50 BEST FREE GAMES

PC Gamer US Edition|August 2020

THE 50 BEST FREE GAMES
Freeware classics and indie darlings
Andy Kelly, Chris Livingston, Jody Macgregor, Tom Sykes, Robin Valentine, Rachel Watts

I want to... ENJOY STORY

THE DOLL SHOP

With the help of its art students, Atelier Sentô makes beautiful, free adventure games inspired by, and set in Japan. Blending horror with romance, The Doll Shop transports you to a small village, which is being buried under a relentless snowfall. Fairly long, for a free game, it takes the time to establish its world, before the darkness at its rotten core is revealed. It’s all the more effective for it, telling a sinister story involving creepy handmade dolls, and the arrival of an old friend to your remote village. The art is sublime and the ending memorable in this handcrafted visual novel. TS
ateliersento.itch.io/dollshop

THE SUPPER

Octavi Navarro’s wonderful adventure games tell short, twisty stories set in evocative worlds. The Supper is a highlight: a dark story of revenge that brings to mind Sweeney Todd. You play as a peg-legged, tavern-owner, who has to serve three very special dishes to a trio of horrible pirates, who really should have checked the Food Standards rating first… TS
pixelshuh.itch.io/the-supper

LOCKHEART INDIGO

This is a sci-fi detective game that feels a lot like a JRPG. You’ve arrived at a vast mansion to solve the murder of its former owner, but locked doors and suspects stand in your way. The latter are dealt with via interrogations, in the form of turn-based chat battles. TS bit.ly/3dBYZZ7

DELTARUNE: CHAPTER 1

This sorta sequel to Undertale is packed with memorable characters, catchy tunes, and emotive dialogue—despite being a fraction of its size. The start of a series, Deltarune: Chapter 1 tells a fulfilling story in its own right, while building on the battles of the previous game. TS deltarune.com

LITTLE PARTY

The quiet and bittersweet story of a mother trying to reconnect with her daughter. You wander around quietly, checking on your daughter and her friends as they visit your woodland cabin for a party. It’s a gentle and funny game about rekindling lost relationships. RW
bit.ly/2LkZv1F

ETERNAL HOME FLORISTRY

The tale of a hitman who gets taken in at a flower shop while he recovers from his injuries. The game’s ability to tackle tough topics through the act of gentle flower arrangement is remarkable—a powerful and beautiful story. RW
bit.ly/3duCs0q

COMMAND & CONQUER: RED ALERT

Now here’s a rare thing: Strategy with a sense of humor. From its infamously cheesy FMV cutscenes to its brilliantly bizarre weapons of war, Red Alert’s window into a retro-future cold war makes for one of the most charming RTS games ever made. RV
cncnet.org/red-alert

THE ELDER SCROLLS II: DAGGERFALL

The second Elder Scrolls game is huge and ambitious, with the provinces of High Rock and Hammerfell open to explore. A lot of what became standard for the series, like the option to join the Mages Guild, started here. JM
beth.games/35QHyl3

THE DARK MOD

A tribute to the Thief series, this standalone game lets you download a massive variety of user-made stealth levels, from tightly contained ones like Thief’s Den to the more open variety of Return to the City, and plenty of spooky ones like The Creeps. JM thedarkmod.com/main

THE OPERATIVE: NO ONE LIVES FOREVER

As it stands, no one can even agree which company owns the rights to this classic stealth FPS, so not only are the chances of a sequel or even a remaster close to nil, there’s nowhere you can even buy the original game. Luckily, you can grab it and its equally worthy sequel for free at this link. Its clever humor and charming 1960s setting hold up nicely, as does its unique spin on the genre—the key to success is creative use of the arsenal of goofy, Bond-esque gadgets at your disposal. That includes lipstick bombs, sleeping gas perfume, and a briefcase rocket launcher. RV
nolfrevival.tk

STARCRAFT

These days Blizzard sells a shiny remaster, but if the original’s good enough for South Korea, it’s good enough for us. There’s a reason that even today it’s an esports sensation—this iconic RTS remains a triumph of tight strategy and intense competition, with an incredible amount of depth for devotees to get lost in. RV
starcraft.com/en-gb

BENEATH A STEEL SKY

This early point-and-click adventure from the creator of Broken Sword features art by Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons, a twisty sci-fi story, and a really goofy sense of humor. One of its neatest ideas is how you can stick your AI pal Joey’s electronic brain into different mechanical robots to solve puzzles. And if you enjoy it, a sequel is currently in development. AK
gog.com/game/beneath_a_steel_sky

I want to... SOLVE A PUZZLE

TRANSMUTE!

Psst, plaese don’t tell the Internet, but there are some bad things about retro games: Limited lives, nasty difficulty spikes, the inability to save. None of these things is a problem for the decidedly retro, decidedly lovely Transmute!, which looks rather like a ZX Spectrum game, but is more forgiving, more modern in its approach. It’s a puzzle game, a wonderful puzzle game where you play as a wizard who can transform themselves into different objects. You might turn into a key to open a lock, or a boat to sail the open sea. And you’ll do so to unlock a gorgeous, friendly fantasy world. TS
linker.itch.io/transmute

MIRROR ISLES

No list of puzzle games is really complete without a PuzzleScript game from Alan Hazelden, and Mirror Isles is one of the very best. It’s a top-down, Sokoban-style puzzler where you have to hop between islands, by using magic mirrors to swap places with your reflection. Got it? Great. Now solve these increasingly difficult puzzles, by pushing mirrors and crates around each map. TS
bit.ly/2WqxFY9

CUBE ESCAPE

articleRead

You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

August 2020