Honorable Mentions

A game can end up here for any number of reasons, so long as you understand it still has to be pretty noteworthy to make even this list.  In some cases the game may not have entirely met the criteria typically reserved for my favorites, but still manages to offer a solid experience – especially when you consider that all of the games featured here are Free.  The one thing I can assure you is if a game is on this list and sounds interesting it’s probably worth looking into.  As with all games featured on this blog the format can vary.  For instance, some of these will be compiled with traditional Installers, some may be packaged as Zip files, or some might simply be Flash/Unity/Browser games.  Click on the title to go directly to the game’s homepage (or a site where it’s hosted).

These folks work hard at their craft so, if you have the means, please remember to support independent game developers.

Updated: 2/19/15

9T Lines – An impressive, satisfying, minimalistic Tetris remake.

Alex the Allegator – A charming little platformer reminiscent of those old Game Boy games many of us grew up with. Features gamepad support, Boss battles and extras. (Screenshot)

ASCII Sector – This realtime, 2D homage to Elite style games goes one step further by also cleverly employing ASCII-like characters in place of graphics.  It’s neo retro fun in a huge dynamic game world.  Support for custom (add-on) quest packs.

Bear Go Home – A quirky little platformer in which you don’t directly control the main character. Instead you’ll use your mouse to tug, pull and sling him along, manipulating other objects along the way. Features excellent sound and visuals. (Screenshot)

Blockman Gets – This retro homage to Pac-Man is deceptive at first glance.  It is actually a clever puzzle game.

Blocks’N’Bricks – Casual Arkanoid style gameplay with mouse control.  Featuring 50 challenging levels.

Blooprent – A physics puzzle game.  Use different materials to manipulate each level and guide the blooprent balls to the end platform.  Promising, though a bit rudimentary in its current state.

Bontago – Fight for dominance in this physics-based abstract strategy. Increase your sphere of influence by building up your tower of blocks; but watch out for sabotage by other opponents.

Climb to the Top of the Castle! – Arcade style jumping and swordplay with a charming hand-drawn look.  Trial and error is the only path to victory here.  Includes gamepad support.

Clockwords – A unique blend of spelling, alchemy, tower defense and general typing mayhem.

Clonk Endeavour – The idea here is to control a little Clonk, who must gather resources to build various contraptions, perhaps conquer a level…or defend.  See also OpenClonk.

Cloud – Imagine what it might feel like to float among the clouds, gather them together and cause the rain to wash away pollution. Then you start to get a sense of what this artistic game from the creators of Flower and FlOw has to offer. (Screenshot)

Curator Defense – A humorous take on Tower Defense games in which you must defend an art gallery from invading waves of really bad art.  No doubt an analogy for life.  (Screenshot)

de Blob – Restore color and life to a boring gray landscape as you roll and bounce your ink blob through a bustling 3D metropolis. Collect coins and unlock secret landmarks in a game that’s easy to control and great fun to play.

Debrysis – If frenetic action strikes your mood here’s a game with an original style that’s ready to deliver.  The only thing missing here is gamepad support.

Dreamside Maroon – A delightful journey of exploration, illumination and reaching for dreams.

Dubloon – A fun little RPG Adventure, reminiscent of the bygone days of Super Nintendo. Creative use of mini-games throughout.

Dungeon Door – Light tactical RPG.  Each session offers a randomly generated dungeon and party composition, and will take from 30-60 minutes to complete.  Lovely art style and characters, though it seems a save feature has not been implemented.

Dungeons of Fayte – A plucky RPG/Adventure.  Features adorable retro graphics, plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor, and an original experience not traditionally found in the genre.

ElectroCity – Do you have what it takes to build a thriving, energy efficient city using Green technology? (Screenshot)

Elu – A miniature ‘life simulator’ featuring imaginary creatures. Plant food with your own little Elu and watch as a tiny ecosystem grows and reacts to changing conditions. (Screenshot)

Escape Sequence – You have less than two minutes to make your way to the next module… before the entire ship self destructs.  A great concept worth expanding on.

Evolites – An underwater life sim with great music.

FLaiL – Do you enjoy a hearty challenge, trial & error, the sweet taste of victory?  80 grueling levels.  Not for the faint of heart.

FlapFlapFlap – This inventive title neatly blends the control scheme of Joust with a story-driven adventure.

Flying Fish – A brief atmospheric, dreamlike adventure best experienced with headphones, a gamepad and rendered fullscreen.

Foam – A somewhat surrealistic exploration adventure where figuring out what is going on seems to be the very object of the game…as if the world itself were the puzzle.  Gamepad supported.  There doesn’t appear to be a save feature so be sure to take good notes, or allot enough time to complete in one sitting.

Freeciv – A highly customizable Civilization II remake that specializes in multiplayer/networked games. Features multiple rulesets & tilesets and a built-in chat tool. (Screenshot)

Front Runner – A casual shooter with adorable style.

Frozzd – Save the Mubbly kingdom in this fun little gravity themed platformer from Jesse Venbrux. Freed frozen Mubblies will help you in your quest. (Screenshot)

Garden of coloured lights – A punishing scrolling shooter featuring multiple paths to victory and a highly original style.

House Globe – The RTS Homeworld by Relic Entertainment gets the “Demake” treatment in this 2D/16-bit tribute.

Igneous – Control a rolling totem through three harrowing, but extremely fun levels of volcanic mayhem. Bring a Gamepad.

JellyCar – Wobbly, driving, physics platforming.

Jeluvian Project – A Real Time Strategy with a focus on squad based tactics. Follow an interwoven storyline set in a futuristic military academy, with multiple ways to tackle some scenarios.

Kveendolnitza – I wasn’t able to locate the legendary Kveendolnitza.  But as they say…it’s the journey that matters.

LettersFall 3 – Here letters don’t have to connect in order to form a word…form long words using any letter on the playfield, and keep the column from reaching the top of the screen.

Little Ghost Joe – This stylistic ‘old school’ platformer offers built-in gamepad support and plenty of challenge. (Screenshot)

Marble Arena – Fun mix of action, platforming, puzzle fun.

Maru – This unique gravity-based platformer offers a relatively short, but highly stylish adventure.

MegaMan Unlimited – The MegaMan games were some of the most difficult platformers to be found on 8-bit consoles.  With this fan game (not a remake) you’ll remember it only too well.  Gamepad supported.  Play at your own risk.

Monster Castle Defense – In this unique twist on the genre you get to be the monsters, defending their castle from approaching waves of heroes.  Fun graphics with a side view perspective.

Moon Patrol new path – Arcade classic with updated graphics.

Micropolis – Most people know about Sim City, the popular city building simulation franchise (now controlled by EA).  But how many have ever played the original…the one that started it all?  Micropolis is a remake of the very same, based on Will Wright’s original source code (compiled as a portable Java runtime).

Mujeo – Unlock the secrets of a small floating island in this brief but enjoyable art/puzzle game.

Noctis – A technically challenging game of interplanetary exploration. The number of planets and other secrets waiting to be discovered is simply incredible, especially considering that it comes in such a tiny package. (Screenshot)

Oolite – Remake of Elite, one of the most groundbreaking video games of all time.  Explore the galaxy in an open game world that lets you roleplay however you like.  Another link.

Paradise Fort – A truly unique mixture of action platformer, sim and tower defense all rolled up into a nice little package.

Passage – An art game well worth playing a few times before you read designer Jason Rohrer’s statement of purpose for it.

PewPew!! – Reminiscent of Geometry Wars.  Android only.

Planet of the Jellies – Space Invaders meets Puyo Puyo meets Petri Purho.  Super casual match-three action with an equally snappy tune.  Instead of levels, each play session is a quest to beat your personal high score, and can last a long time.

Purple – One of the most impressive freeware platformers I’ve played.  Really, the only thing lacking here is gamepad support.

Rescue: The Beagles – This arcade style throwback will have you running, jumping and parachuting your way through side-scrolling levels. You’ll need quick reflexes – and preferably a gamepad – to rack up a high score. (Screenshot) (Screenshot 2)

Route960 – Take on a series of side-scrolling race courses in this quirky driving game (with gamepad support).  The key to success is figuring out when, and just how much, to brake and accelerate.

Scorched 3D – Engage in multiplayer tank artillery battles on a 3D landscape.  It’s all about wind, trajectory, fine adjustments, weapon selection and destroying your opponents.

Secret Maryo Chronicles – Platforming fun in the style of classic Mario. An Open Source project.

Seiklus – A pleasant little platformer about collecting things in order to return to your lost love. Features climbing, jumping, all controlled with the arrow keys. (Screenshot)

Simutrans – An open source remake of Transport Tycoon that lets you build a booming transportation empire using road, rail and sea lines. (Screenshot) (Screenshot 2) (Screenshot 3)

Sonic After the Sequel – A fan game (not a remake) inspired by the classic series that debuted on the Sega Genesis.  Gamepad is supported; you’ll need to press Ctrl-Y to enable it.

Space Barnacle – Cleverly designed retro platformer in the vein of Metroid. Unfortunately, this one is keyboard control only.

Space Trader – All the action, adventure & intrigue of Elite, only scaled down to a well written 2D/Turn-based package.  Written originally for the PalmOS, then later ported to Windows.

Star Guard – Minimalistic retro arcade platformer with a neat Robotron aesthetic.  What’s missing? Native gamepad support.

Star Opus I – An arena shooter with great visuals, campaign mode, ambient soundtrack…and a lot of promise.  The only thing missing here is gamepad support.

Super Mario War – Features 1-4 player battles, competent bots (for single player games), gamepad support, a variety of game modes and an overall production quality that’s simply top-notch.

Super Smash Land – Throw Super Smash Bros. and the original Nintendo Game Boy into a blender and what do you get?  A fan game with an uber-retro feel.

SuperTuxKart – An open source cart racer inspired by Mario Kart.  Features gamepad support and single-screen multiplayer.

Terav – A scrolling tank shooter that uses mouse & keyboard for control.  For expert gamers only.  Trust me.

Tetra Blocks – An upstanding Tetris clone featuring single player or simultaneous two player (head-to-head) matches. Though you may want to disable the music. (Screenshot)

Thanks Tanks! – Cartoonish side scrolling RTS themed around…Tanks. Clever use of branching weapon upgrades, kitschy graphics & music, and all bundled up into a nice little Flash game.

This Precious Land – Inspired by Triple Town, the goal is to combine pairs of terrain tiles in an open-ended quest to unlock the best (and most elusive) upgrades for your tiny kingdom.  Part sandbox, part puzzle game and not easily mastered.

Thrust Deluxe – A faithful remake of the Commodore 64 classic.

Tile Racer – A very forgiving stunt driving sim with a built-in track editor. Great for younger players with a gamepad.

ToJam Thing – Easy to pick up and play; difficult to describe.

TORCS – The Open Race Car Simulator specializes in realistic, physics driven racing with NASCAR, Sprint, Formula One and off-road Rally courses. Includes native gamepad support.

TranzAm – A 1983 remake featuring open world top-down racing with a retro feel.  Explore a vast map of the United States in search of the eight legendary “Cups of Ultimate” while avoiding the evil green cars (that give chase on sight) and other obstacles that damage your rad TranzAm.  Run over fuel pumps to top off and zoom away.  Enjoyable music.  Gamepad supported.

Treasure Adventure Game – Explore an open world while collecting treasure (and hats).  Built-in gamepad support.  You’ll need a fairly powerful computer to run this one.

Vest Trials: Approaching Dawn – Punishing Knytt inspired, keyboard controlled puzzle platforming Adventure (w/nice music).

The Wager – Match wits with Sir Lester Marwood as you and your plucky pirate crew try to claim the most islands before the year is up.  A cheeky game of exploration playable in short bursts.

Warzone 2100 – A futuristic, vehicle-centric RTS

Within a Deep Forest – A truly challenging adventure platformer by talented and prolific game designer Nifflas.

Wroom – You’ll need an analog joypad for this deceptively simple jaunt that quickly turns into a grueling contest of manual dexterity.  Multiplayer support on a single screen.

YSoccer – Build and customize your team, design play tactics, manage players and work your way through a full season.  Or, choose from among real world teams.  Gamepad supported.

Zelda Classic – Relive the original Zelda adventure in this outstanding remake, featuring the original NES graphics or a version that resembles the SNES Zelda game. Then play one of many user-created quests available at the Quest Database.

Zep’s Dreamland – If the Adventures of Lolo had been transported into the future and transformed into a vertical platformer, it might look something like Zep’s Dreamland.

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Published on July 31, 2010 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

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