Hello and welcome to yet another trawl through the depraved depths of the free gaming world, where this week we explore a potential new torture porn/ancient top-down RPG mash-up, a world where you are rewarded for looting and stealing, the life of psychopathic fish murderer and a whole lot more (read: two more things).
First up is a game, quite topical now I suppose, about hemming those devilish protesters who dare complain about the bourgeoisie and controlling the means of production. Kettle sees you play the role of the head of the local security forces, having to squeeze the troublemakers into a checked zone by moving each of the four sides of your forces inwards.
It's an intriguing little puzzler at first, but you seen realise that it can be made impossible to win very easily. Once a protester has been moved, they stay where they are unless moved back, but often the area is so congested you can't do this, meaning the puzzle is sometimes rendered unsolvable just by picking the incorrect opening move.
Luckily, it's easy to just hit space and retry. What's not so lucky is the utterly horrible MIDI version of the already atrocious dirge that is the English national anthem playing over the top of the game. This, coupled with the often trial and error nature of each puzzle, makes this something that'll only sustain your interest for a little while, much like the news reports on the real-life protesters on News 24.
I Was A Vegas Showgirl. No, really, I was. Just a few minutes ago when I played the game of the same name. You're Sissy O'Leary, an egg-shaped showgirl who is given the task of stealing a stetson hat from her boss at the Stack-O-Lee casino.
What follows is a traditional adventure in the Grim Fandango mould, with curiously shaped characters and a film noir style to the visuals. It's quite slow going, with a reasonable amount to read and no voice-overs, plus there was no way to skip the dialogue to make things go a bit quicker. Oh, hang on, you just right-click. My mistake.
It's slow, steady and has decent writing, a nice little point-and-clicker to wile away a slow, relaxing Sunday afternoon perhaps, but if you're looking for action, elsewhere is where you need to be looking.
Something with a bit more action now. Radical Fishing attempts to simulate the life of a psychopathic fish-hating maniac (at least, that's what it seems to do) who catches his piscine foes in a regular way, going as deep as possible before reeling in a catch. All simple stuff, just guide your line between all the aquatic animals and then, when it tells you to, attempt to catch as many as you can on the way up.
Once you've reached the surface, the natural thing to do would be to stow them safely away, make for shore and cook up a hearty supper back at the homestead. This guy, though, thinks the best thing to do post-catch is to toss the fish up in the air and blow them away with a variety of weapons, showering himself and the ocean with their blood and entrails.
There are loads of upgrades to purchase as you kill your way through the ocean. You start with a pistol and a rod, but you can buy rocket launchers, machine guns and various other death-dealing devices, plus things to help you go deeper into the ocean.
You can even buy a spring that flings the fish higher into the air once you've brought them to the surface, even as far as into outer space, curiously.
There's not much longevity really, other than trying to figure out what the 'insane' $2000 weapon is. There are no levels, you just do the same thing over and over again, seeing what happens when you go deeper. Perhaps you'll find Rapture down there.
Darker stuff now, a game designed to make you wince or at least think about something a bit more serious now. At least, that's the plan. Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer is a game about luring victims to a torture dungeon and 'break' your victim through brutal psychological and physical punishment. Not for the faint of heart.
Playing out sort of like an old school console RPG, you control a guy called Verge who's starting out in the torturing business. He's motivated by impressing his crush, Daily, who's a popular 'dungeoneer' himself.
The actual gameplay itself is split into two elements, the first being taking place on the street where you have to chat up a random person, who ends up imprisoned in your basement. Once you've got them down there, you need to set up the elements of torture that you've assembled and drain the willpower and/or health of your victim.
The aim is to break your victims to such an extent that they won't squeal to the cops, but not so much that they die or go completely bonkers.
Naturally, the subject matter is extremely distasteful and even to a hardened cynic like myself, it was a little unsettling at times. Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of the cutesy graphics with the brutal acts you're actually carrying out that was so effective, as the game itself isn't actually of much interest beyond the I played it factor.
Is it worth taking a look at? Difficult to say. Probably not, but it is a curio, one that perhaps is worthy of study in terms of seeing how far taste can be stretched in the name of entertainment. Interesting idea, certainly, and one that's received a bit of attention, but there's more fun to be had blowing up fish in Radical Fishing, to be honest.
Lastly, I wanted to bring your attention to another big name MMO that's gone Free-to-Play. Pirates of the Burning Sea was always an intriguing prospect before release, but an exorbitant pricing model and lacklustre gameplay was never going to win over the WoW masses.
However, when something becomes free, how a game is seen or judged has to change. So, therefore, POTBS is now definitely worth a gander. It's an antidote to the usual goblins and beards brigade, and if you hate it, well, you've not wasted any money.
I won't spend too long describing it, as all such information can be found on the website. Just go have a look and see whether it's for you.