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David Brown's Free Play | How To Road Trip For Free

David Brown
Extreme Road Trip, Free Play, Freeware, PC games, Revolutions, Skinny

David Brown's Free Play | How To Road Trip For Free

Last week's effort was rather blighted by the curse of the E3 thing that happened over in that US place. Fortunately, that's all done and dusted for one year and the final dregs and previews-of-not-so-important-games have finally been put up, so people are beginning to release new freeware games again.

One of the cornerstones of this column is that the games featured have to be of interest to me, so sometimes we'll ignore the buzz surrounding a title if it doesn't strike any particular chords with your commentator here.

There was virtually nothing of interest last time out, but having done some digging, a few items have emerged from the primordial ooze, ready for inspection. The first of them is Extreme Road Trip, which caught the eye because of the name.

David Brown's Free Play | How To Road Trip For Free

It's a 2D driving game where you have to perform stunts and attempt to get as far as possible before running out of fuel or simply dying in a blaze of glory. Your fuel is constantly ticking down as you go along, so you'll need to nail landings to bring up a blue 'nitro' (or something) bar, which allows you to carry on without burning more gasoline.

You can also earn nitrous oxide by performing flips and stunts successfully, which is fairly easy, although an attempt to do a quadruple back flip ended in disaster in our first run.

There are six cars to choose from, including a mini, a hippy's van and a monster truck, each allowing you to set a high score for yourself to try to beat later. They all feel and handle in pretty much the same way, though.

Apparently, the creator is interested in putting this on the iPhone and this PC version is lacking in features beyond what we've just described because it's just a tester to see how people react. If it's successful, he'll do one for the mobile market.

Even without many features, it's fun for a little while, a very simplistic version of Trials, if you will. Give it a try here.

David Brown's Free Play | How To Road Trip For Free

Second onto the chopping block is Revolutions an experimental platformer set in a bit circle, created for the Experimental Gameplay Project with the theme of repetition.

It's main feature is the striking visual style, all oranges and whites that go together to catch the eye. The object of every level is to reach the “mum orb” at the end of each level, which sometimes involves going all the way around the circle a number of times, flicking switches to change the layout and so on.

Hazards come into play quickly, so you've got to watch out for them, and yellow rectangles are the switches that need to be bounced on to allow progress. It's simple stuff, ball jumping onto platforms and so on.

It's main draw is the visual style, actually. It's what catches the eye and makes you consider it, certainly, ahead of other, plainer efforts. While it might not offer the most challenging puzzling or platforming, the graphics and pleasant atmosphere will probably keep you playing longer than others of its kind. You can play it here on Kongregate.

David Brown's Free Play | How To Road Trip For Free

Finally there's another game with an interesting visual style and a platform base. Taking it's visual cues from the likes of creator Thomas Brush's own Coma but most from the excellent Little Wheel by Fast Games, Skinny sees you as a robotic/mechanised father who has to help his son find his marbles (and then other things after the first bit).

Along the way, new abilities are revealed by completing quest objectives and some of the puzzles are very challenging, though perhaps more down to quirks of the engine rather than the actual mental ability required to solve them.

By all accounts, Skinny's had a troubled development, but it's here now and just like Revolutions, it's the visuals that attract you to it. Washed out colours, silhouetted foreground, it's all good. It's a strange world Skinny lives in to, almost like it's the crazed Wonderland filled with people of dubious sanity.

So if you can get past the sometimes quirky mechanisms by which you solve certain puzzles (like the hook to catch onto grappling, er, balls sometimes not going where you want it to) there's a decent puzzle-platformer here that has an edge over its rivals because of the luscious visuals that appeal to your reporter here.

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