Free Video Games

Here is a list of my most favorite Free Video Games.  Initially the idea was to give each a full review, but this proved unsustainable.  It takes a lot of time & energy to work up a proper review and this blog is about much more than video games.  That’s why the games featured here and those in the Game Reviews folder don’t match up one-for-one.  Even though the full reviews have been put aside I still hope to maintain this list (keep an eye on the date below).  If you happen to visit this page in the future and notice the date has changed, look for new entries highlighted in Green.

Some of the titles link directly to the game’s homepage, others link to a full review here at the blog (if I have done one).

Along with other criteria related to quality, all games must be compatible with Linux, WINE, ReactOS or Windows XP

Updated: 2/14/15

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2x0ng – Pronounced “Two-zong,” this top-down action puzzler is reminiscent of so many 1980s arcade games that shamelessly ate through players’ quarters in the never-ending quest for dominance.  With one life and many dangers lurking on the playfield you won’t likely get far without developing a feel for the environment.  Fortunately, gamepads are natively supported.  Conspicuously absent is a persistent high score table (as of v1.3).

7 Nanocycles – Short ambient game about swimming through cubiform shapes in a space-like atmosphere.  Use left & right mouse button to lean.  Headphones recommended.  This really deserves to be developed into a full game.

Ark 22 – A grand top-down adventure in the tradition of Zelda.

Battle for Wesnoth – A fantasy themed turn-based strategy, and one of the better known Open Source game projects.

Breaking the Tower – In addition to being incredibly fun, this could quite possibly be the world’s smallest Real Time Strategy.

Bridge Building Game – Can you construct a bridge with a limited budget and materials?  How about one strong enough to send a train across?

Cave Story – Dive into a strange new world of platforming action/adventure in this indie classic that eventually earned its way onto consoles as a commercial release.

C-evo – An impressive remake/variant of the original Civilization games that also comes bundled in a small (lightweight) package, making for the perfect netbook game.

CHOLO – Unlock the secret ‘bunker’ in this futuristic Adventure.

Counterclockwise – Hunt or be hunted in this challenging game of reflexes, set in a quasi-virtual reality.

Crayon Physics – Sandbox, physics puzzles and tonnes of fun.

Desktop Tower Defense – Tower Defense in its purest form.

Domination – A fan remake of the classic board game RISK.

DreamChess – A free chess game that’s easy to pick up and play.

Driller – First person adventure on a deep space mining facility.

Echoes – You will want an analog gamepad for this one.

Floating Islands Game – Here be a curious platform, puzzle adventure that takes place in a whimsical hand-drawn world.

flOw – Evolve your sea creature through the dangerous depths.

gate 88 – Here is an excellent example of why some games simply have to be played to be fully appreciated. I could drone on about how this title expertly blends the mechanics of an arena shooter with those of an RTS. Or the way the game is so well-balanced there are multiple, viable strategies for success. Or how the screenshots (with minimalistic graphics) don’t do the game justice…about the polished menu system and built-in gamepad support.  Or, you could play it and see for yourself.

Gaurodan – Arcade action.  You are Gaurodan, an atomic creature (think 1950s Japanese sci-fi) who must fight to survive against the military forces bent on your destruction.

GeneRally – Huge fun with tiny cars on tiny tracks.

Globetrotter XL – A tough geography game, for masters only.

Gravity Hook – Only the quick and dexterous will survive.

Hedgewars – An open source retro remake based on the classic PC game Worms Armageddon (Team17).  Play against competent AI bots, or join online matches with other human opponents.

Hero Core – You’ll want a gamepad for this neo-retro exploration space adventure, by Daniel Remar. Excellent gameplay, creative level design, weapon upgrades, and a neat built-in help feature makes this bundle of joy a truly outstanding original.

Hydorah – I don’t normally play (or feature) side scrolling shooters, but for this game I’m willing to make an exception. A superbly crafted retro title that pays homage to Gradius, one of the preeminent classics in the genre.

Hubris – A popular pub pastime…that takes place in the fantasy world of Enroth.  This slightly modified remake pays tribute to a mini-game called “Arcomage” featured in an old PC RPG called Might and Magic VII.  Balance resources against a deck of cards.

Kennedy Approach – Assume the role of a plucky Air Traffic Controller in what may very well be one of the first ‘time management’ games.  You’ll find it easy to pick up & play (with simple keyboard commands) yet difficult to master.  And trust me, the later levels are nothing to scoff at.  Bear in mind that time can be sped up or slowed down with the F5 through F8 keys, and don’t neglect at least a cursory glance at the online Manual.  Originally released for C64/Atari ST/Amiga.  Remake by M.Franssen.

Knytt Stories – A tiny platform adventure, with charm.

Lunar Lander 2 – An excellent retro remake of a PC classic that beats out the competition with gameplay and great presentation.

Minetest – Open Source project very similar to Minecraft, noteworthy for its near-infinite procedurally generated worlds and decent performance on older hardware.  Other features include multiplayer and support for mods and language packs.

Mr. Rescue – Arcade style action game.  Fight through fire, and fire baddies, to rescue people from a burning building.  But watch out, your heat meter will continuously rise and it can only be cooled by collecting power-ups.  Three difficulty levels but, hint: they’re all difficult.  Gamepad supported.

Mubbly Tower – A unique blend of tower defense and…block stacking of all things.  I just love those Mubblies.

Neverball – Another retro remake, this time of a late era Sega classic. Neverball earns points for its excellent level design, well done options menu, and overall presentation. It could use a little more refinement in the analog control department however.

OpenTTD – Here is a game I cannot recommend enough for die-hard strategy fans. While the screenshots may remind you of early Sim City games don’t be deceived. The focus here is on planning, logistics and building a transportation empire through the use of road, rail, sea and air fleets. Play alone in sandbox mode, or take on AI (or human) opponents in multiplayer. Overall superb presentation starting with a small download, and concluding with an intuitive online update feature and well written help wiki.

Pingus – Think back to a little game called Lemmings.

Pixel Dungeon – The first truly (traditionally) free game I’ve run across for Android OS.  It’s a roguelike dungeon crawler with retro-style graphics and touch friendly control scheme.

Planet M.U.L.E. – A faithful remake of the first ever online multiplayer game. With updated graphics, a great training video, booming fan community, and proven turn-based gameplay.

Powder Game – Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined water, seeds, oil, gunpowder, lava and ants?

Reprisal – It’s a loose remake of a classic (Populous) done in modern pixel-art style.  Manipulate your civilization indirectly through terraforming, waypoints and natural disasters while contending with competing tribes for control of unique procedurally generated maps.  Features a full tutorial campaign, recommended for beginners, and skirmish mode.

Rogue (for Windows) – Not only is this one of those seminal titles that every serious gaming enthusiast should play, but…once you finally come to grips with how inventive (and devious) the world of “Rogue” really is, the game turns out to be fun.  Truly a timeless classic.  Credit to Geoff Dunbar for this port/remake.

RunMan’s Monster Fracas – Run jump and slide to a new high score.  Oh, and try not to be eaten by the monster.

Schiffbruch – Is German for Shipwreck, although the game has been translated to English.  Can you survive on an island long enough to be rescued?  Tips: mouse-over objects for a description at the bottom of the screen.  Resources can be combined to make tools and fishing is good for the health.  Direct download since the game no longer has an official homepage that I know of.

Stackopolis – A block stacking puzzle game with a Sim City flair.

TypoGun – Defend your position from waves of an advancing army, and hone your typing skills along the way.

Typomagia – A creative mix of typing dexterity and RPG action.

Unknown Horizons – Inspired by “Anno 1602” the focus of this economic simulation is building a thriving colony in unexplored territory.  Expansion, trade, diplomacy (and possible military confrontation) may follow.  Only the best players will be able to produce a healthy economy and keep their settlers happy.

An Untitled Story – Hand drawn exploration adventure.  A classic gem with a wonderful art style.  Gamepad supported.

Vector Pinball – Instantly accessible, elegant in its simplicity and filled with charming chiptune sounds that round out the retro-esque vector graphic vibe.  Tables are well designed and most important of all the physics feel right.  Android only.

Ynglet – Navigate the Ynglet through a sea of shapified bubbles, where control and momentum are both your friend and enemy.  Collect seeds, grow, and enjoy the music.  Gamepad supported.

You Have to Win the Game – This polished exploration platformer shows that creativity and solid gameplay remain two of the best ingredients for a satisfying gaming experience.  It will also transport you into the imaginative world of pc gaming for those who grew up in 1980s.  Gamepad supported.

YS Flight Simulator – All of the key elements of a solid flight sim, without any of the bloat.  This one is all about the gameplay.

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Published on July 11, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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