It’s been a while since I posted one of these – in fact, it’s been two and a half years. But what better time to download a couple of free games from Steam and see whether they provide enough entertainment to be worth a download? Especially now that hundreds of thousands of U.S. federal employees are stuck at home without a paycheck. I’ll do my part during this national crisis and take a look at two free games that even the brokest of the broke can play, assuming they can still at least meet the electric and internet bills.
Released last week by a man (or woman, or company – not sure which) named Hijong Park, Rolling Bird is supposed to be a takeoff on Rolling Thunder, an arcade game from 1986. It sure as hell looks like an old 8-bit title. It’s pretty decent for a free game, though. You play as cyan man, who has to defeat enemies in each stage that include yellow man and pink man (pictured right, after they killed the player character.) You have the ability to crouch and jump onto high platforms, you start with a pistol, and better guns are available to you as you progress, but Rolling Bird is merciless if your reflexes fail – you can only take a few hits before you’re dead, and the game revels in dumping enemies onto you who will punch, shoot, and throw grenades at you until you expire. I suck at games like this, so I didn’t get very far. If you enjoy this sort of challenge, though, Rolling Bird is worth a try.
Hijong Park’s grasp of English apparently isn’t that great, but the game is straightforward enough that it doesn’t matter. I should mention that the soundtrack is composed of a bunch of synth farts, though. Might be a good idea to mute the game and put on some Motorhead instead.
Another game inspired by the 80s, but this time it’s a twin-stick shooter made by the prolific PixelJam. I’m also bad at these kinds of games. But any frustration I had with Gamma Bros. was entirely my fault, because it’s a well-made game featuring several different kinds of enemies and powerups. Naturally I can’t prevent my own stupid ass from running into enemy ships and taking damage, but at least the game provides you with two brothers to control in case one is put out of commission. I do have an issue with the game’s premise, though – according to Gamma Bros., the player characters work on a space station around Jupiter but go home to Earth at the end of the day. Holy hell is that a ridiculous commute. This game should take a few years to play one round, shouldn’t it? Maybe they’re moving at light speed. Anyway, it makes me feel better about my own commute, which is shitty but at least doesn’t involve fighting alien ships.
Apparently Gamma Bros. is over ten years old and used to be a web browser game. Somehow I never came across it – not until now. It’s fun, so try it out. And it features three difficulty modes including easy mode, a real plus for people like me who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.