After a weekend away, the last thing one might want to do is come back and immediately get stuck into the best of the previous week's free games, but such is the life of a columnist. Everyone else is tucked up in bed with their cocoa and their loved one/favourite sex toy in their... actually, let's stop there.
Let's just get stuck into the games instead. First up is a one-button puzzler called Ichi, which sadly has nothing to do with the Takashi Miike film, Ichi the Killer. That combination would have been an interesting game, but that's for another day.
This is 20 megabyte download and involves completing 15 levels by collecting the shiny yellow circle on each one. To do this, you need to guide a laser beam from its starting position to the yellow circle, or multiple ones on later levels.
You do this by rotating a red triangle so the laser beam deflects off it and continues on its journey. Sometimes the walls are broken or jagged, so if you send the beam into them, it's level over and you have to try again.
After the second level, you get more than one red triangle to rotate, adding another layer of complexity to the simple one-button system. Eventually, you're told that you can draw additional barriers that can be used to circumvent seemingly impossible obstacles.
It's all pretty easy and seems to be more of a proof of concept than a full game, but it's decent enough. It would work better as a simple browser game, as it's questionable whether it's worth your (very meagre, admittedly) time to download it.
If you do decide to, it's simple puzzling fun that'll keep you occupied for a handful of minutes, plus it doesn't outstay its welcome. Can't say fairer than that.
Second on the reviewing plate is McPixel where you have to point-and-click your way through a set of six different puzzles to solve, each where there's a bomb set to explode.
Some, like the snake on a plane, are referencing popular culture, and even if you fail and the bomb goes off, you go to the next one.
The twist is you've got only 20 seconds to solve the puzzle, win or lose. The solutions are often illogical and ridiculous, but it's amusing to see just how wrong you can get things and what bizarre solution was necessary in the end.
The humour seems to have gone down well with players, but it's certainly an acquired taste. What is certain is there's a surprising amount of material here contained within just six basic scenes. Plus it's always nice to see people enjoying a point-and-clicker once again, even if it's something as puerile as this.
Aphelion Incident is a platformer with a telepath as the main character, who can escape his environs by messing with the minds of the enemies that seek his obliteration.
It's an interesting idea, but in terms of execution it feels a bit drab and dull. It's like Ichi above, a concept that could well work if expanded upon and fleshed out – and made less depressingly grey.
On a different, more murderous note, Rizzoli and Isles – the Masterpiece Murders is a hidden object/CSI-style mystery game, apparently based on a TV show I've never heard of.
It's a standard detective game, slow-paced and not exactly the most thrilling thing in the world, but it's appealing to those who might want to play with a non-gaming spouse/partner/family member.
Don't go in expecting some kind of epic and it's a reasonable little pixel hunter, made by someone with experience in the genre (so if you do like it, there's plenty more where that came from).
Last up this week is a weird little number called Sake Express Pro Wrestling, which, as you can probably tell by the name, is a bit bonkers.
Described as an “arena shooter/puncher hybrid” on Indiegames.com, you've got to master the art of swinging to lay the beatings down on your opponents.
Actually, **** it. It's not worth bothering with. You've got to 'swing' with the mouse while holding the left or mouse buttons, and eventually you get can get two-button combos, but it's too frustrating to bother with.
It might just be me being rubbish (almost certainly, in fact) but the instant you touch one of the “amusing” enemies, you die. And as it's very hard to know if what you're doing is right or not, you'll just end up confused far sooner than you might end up being entertained.
If you do persevere, apparently there are a lot of “silly” moves to see and things like that, but it's a 33 megabyte download to discover whether or not you're in for a frustrating time or not. (And I realise this'll probably get an angry reaction if anyone related to the game sees this.)