By Roi Lim
Like with most modes of entertainment, playing the same old types of video games can get a little redundant and tiresome. Are you sick of MOBAs, strategy, and and FPS games? Then best check out these unique ones that don’t involve guns, explosions, swords, or magic. These well-made games with novel mechanics are a worthy distraction when you’re bored of playing the same stuff over and over again. Oh, and did we mention that (almost) all of these are free? What do you have to lose?
Set in the mid 2000s, this game a worthwhile hour of your life. After typing your protagonist’s name, you start chatting on an instant messenger with Emily, your fellow high school senior. You have three statements to choose from, and the game forces you to spam your keyboard to complete the messages. Sometimes, the protagonist deletes or edits the messages, making things not go as smoothly as you’d expect and reminding you of your own newbie mistakes in real life.
You’ll also be reminded of the default Windows XP background, the status messages and quotes on people’s profiles, as well as their silly display photos of whatever movie or artist was popular at that time. It’s incredibly nostalgia-inducing. Talking about what exactly happens in this hour-long chat spanning five years in the game is going to spoil the experience. But if something’s a 9/10 on Steam, and its sequel (which isn’t free this time) is a 10/10, then it’s probably real good.
Film noir. Black and white. A child wakes up somewhere filled with bear traps, where giant spiders roam free, while much more deadlier hurdles lie in wait. You must control said child and get them out of a place that’s probably hell.
We cheated here because Limbo isn’t free (but it does have a free trial!). The otherworldly art design and diverse, stimulating puzzles will jolt you to avoid your next impending death. But you’ll keep dying. Again. And Again. But Limbo is just challenging enough to not be frustrating. The only thing not to love is it doesn’t have much of a story in the conventional sense. But that’s arguably why it stands out.
Imagine all the instances when having the power to control time would make life better. Life is Strange revolves around a teenage girl who can do just that. What’s the first thing she does with them? Save her best friend from getting shot in school.
Add in some more problems like a suicidal friend, angry parents, sick rapists, weird feelings, and voila, you’ve got your game right there. Given that your choices affect what happens in the story, replaying the game a second time can even be more interesting. Expect flashbacks of your own teen drama too. If you get hooked, there are four more episodes for sale. You can also watch playthroughs on YouTube.
This is a horror experience in a cartoonist’s workshop. Don’t be fooled by the misleading cartoonish design because the game has an impressively eerie atmosphere. It may be more intriguing than frightening, but it still has a few legitimately scary jump scares.
Are you fond of watching cartoons to cope with the fear of a horror movie you just watched? Then this probably isn’t the game for you. How thrilling is it? Enough to mess with your memories of your favorite vintage cartoons.
Depression Simulator is probably a more apt title. You basically play as someone living with depression. This game can actually be pretty…well, depressing, when it portrays situations that actual people with the condition face. The game puts you in those scenarios. It was, after all, made by someone who faced depression, who was eventually trolled, harassed, and doxed after making the game. It’s not supposed to be fun, but it’s definitely something that can help you empathize with the condition.