Tucking into the latest AAA title has become the go-to for many gamers, with big names like Call of Duty, FIFA, Assassin’s Creed and Fallout dominating the gaming charts during game release season. Alongside these monster games there are plenty of smaller titles, often from independent studios, or even online games that can be just as entertaining and satisfying as the big hitters.
Great games aren’t only online, though. This list has a couple of games that are perfect for a rainy day and don’t require any technology at all, best of all, they are free! All 10 of these titles are a great example of games that are slightly more obscure, and that certainly doesn’t have a huge player base despite their replay value, so you can get away from the huge console titles and try something a bit different.
A classic at Christmas with the family but is rarely deployed throughout the rest of the year. The nominated ‘player’ acts out every syllable of a word or well-known phrase until one of the groups guesses what it is correctly, the game works best when acting out films, books or TV shows. The person who gets the answer first is then the player who has to act out their turn. When played regularly, players work out short-cuts for certain words and sounds. As the standard improves, the game gets more fun.
This dark and intriguing indie title is a great example of a simple game concept made way more engaging with some clever design and creepy graphics. Don’t Starve is a survival game that does exactly what it says on the tin, with the player’s character forced into a dark survival situation which requires planning, strategy and sacrifices to ensure that you, well, don’t starve.
Another simple concept brought to life with clever design and gameplay, Gone Home is a mystery thriller which is pretty unique in that it only takes an hour or so to complete, but still has plenty of replay value. Coming home to find your family missing, the player must investigate their home, with different outcomes depending on what clues have been left behind. A great game if you don’t have much time.
This game is perfect for people of all ages, it was devised by poker players (one called Johnny Lodden), he wanted to try and entertain himself between plays. Lodden Thinks has simple rules and is often most appreciated by slightly older children, the game is simple enough to understand, one person asks a question to another player, designated to be the ‘Johnny Lodden,’ to which they answer with a number. For example, ‘How many lampposts are there in England?’ It may well be impossible to know the answer.
Johnny Lodden then writes down their answer, even though it could be impossible to know! The two players then try to guess what Lodden’s answer is. Whichever player guesses closest to what Lodden was actually thinking, wins.
If you’re sick of shooting, driving or casting spells then Papers Please is a superb little game that is 100% unique. Acting as a border guard (stay with us) in a fictional East Berlin during the Cold War, you must properly process people’s documents as they cross the border, with RPG elements coming into play as you get deeper into the game. Although this may not sound appealing at first read, the game is actually massively addictive, with different outcomes and decision making creating a weird and often very challenging puzzle game that is different with every playthrough.
This Android / iOS puzzler is a little bit like Transport Tycoon or SimCity, in that players must create a subway network that can handle changes in capacity, new stations popping up, and demands for reduced waiting times. The design and extremely easy to use interface of Mini Metro are what makes this game such an abstract-world, and real-world cities allow players to recreate existing networks. Definitely one for the train and transport enthusiasts out there!
If you play a lot of games on a smartphone or tablet, then you’ve probably spent a lot of time playing Pokemon Go. However, there is a geographical collecting game that isn’t nearly as famous as it’s pocket monster counterpart, which is the innovative and frankly overlooked Wallabee.
The aim of the game is to travel close to registered business, landmarks and places of interest, and pick up cool little collectable digital images, which are all themed and with unique numbers. You can also trade with other players, and drop items you don’t need for friends to collect, making Wallabee way more interactive than Pokemon Go.
This MMORPG is a bit different to classic RPG titles like World of Warcraft, Destiny and The Elder Scrolls Online in that it’s completely free to play, and available on consoles too. The FPS-style RPG has all the loot crates, customisable weapons and spacecraft, and cool outfits and nasty alien villains you’d expect from a game like destiny, except you don’t need to fork out a single penny to play. Granted, there’s the ‘freemium’ element with plenty of opportunities to buy in-game currency, but you can get the good stuff with a bit of grinding and plenty of patience.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky suffered from an awful marketing campaign and a real lack of hype when it was released a couple of years ago, but it’s a real shame because this overlooked game is something of a masterpiece that shows off what procedurally generated software can create. The gameplay almost comes secondary to the alleged 18 quintillion planets that can be explored, but there’s still plenty to do with survival, exploration, trading and combat elements across the entire game.
So next time you’re stuck with not much to do and fancy trying something different, avoid replaying your favourite, critically acclaimed games and get stuck into some of these titles. You can even play some of them for free!
Not so Retro Gaming
While some people think of retro gaming as 8-bit graphics on the Atari 2600 there is also the Sega Dreamcast and later consoles that fall under that same “retro” banner, but with better graphics. Even an Xbox 360 is retro and there are tonnes of great games to play on it! And don’t even start me on the PS3!