There are many games for Windows that aren’t produced by the big well-known game companies. These smaller games, often called “indie games”, can be every bit as fun and exciting as a box game you spend $50 or $60 on in the store. Some are free, while others range in price from $5 to $40. In this post, I’ll look at some of the best of the free games for Windows. This won’t be a comprehensive discussion, just a quick peek into the possibilities of which well-known free indie games from the last 4 years will run well on Linux. All games mentioned below are definitely recommended!
(I am using vanilla Wine in this discussion – while some games will also run with Crossover Games, or Play On Linux, I wanted to ensure that you could run any game using only the Wine version from the winehq repository).
Cave Story (Deluxe) – A platform adventure game created by Daisuke Amaya (“Pixel”). This game has been ported to the Wii, but the original free version can still be downloaded. In the past I was able to run the Windows version under Wine, but there is a also a Linux version at the tribute site, with a configuration file.
Within a Deep Forest, Knytt, Knytt Stories – These excellent games by a guy known as “Nifflas” are platformers with no time limits. They each open in a window and have ambient sound (fullscreen mode is an option). In Knytt, you are a small person kidnapped by a flying saucer that soon crashes, and you have to collect all the pieces in order to escape. In Within a Deep Forest, you control a small ball and have to find additional new ball types that allow you to reach areas you couldn’t before. Each game allows you to save (which is critical in WaDF, since you sometimes have to “destroy” the ball and start from the last spot you saved)
Spelunky – I already mentioned this platformer when I discussed roguelikes. This runs fine.
Desktop Dungeons – I already mentioned this game when I discussed roguelikes, runs okay but sluggish.
Iji – Excellent “action-packed platform shooter”, to quote the creator’s website. Plays well full screen, but offers a windowed option (with reduced graphics). The game features sound and music, and you play a young girl who has to escape from a lab infiltrated by aliens. You collect powerups and choose what to level up as you progress. No save option, unfortunately. Daniel used Game Maker to create this game.
Transcendence – This is a space trading game by George Moromisato where you start with a small ship. You fight or trade as you travel inwards to the galactic core (the “goal” of the game is to reach the core). Along the way, you can purchase upgrades to weapons and armor. It opens full screen and features sound. There is no “windowed” option. The game does run fine, though.
Super Crate Box – a bit slow but not too bad. Features deliberately low-res graphics and music. Called a “score-based arcade game” on IndieGames.com. Created by Vlambeer.
5 Days a Stranger – This adventure game by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw didn’t want to run, and Wine wouldn’t run the “winsetup” program either. The author has created several sequels to it. 7 Days a Skeptic allowed me to run the “winsetup” program in Wine, but still didn’t install. All of these games were created using AGS, Adventure Game Studio. (If anyone has hints to help me, I’ll post them here).
A Tale of Two Kingdoms – Another adventure game made with AGS, but this one ran fine (only fullscreen, though). It features a story of 2 unfriendly kingdoms forced to unite against a common threat, sound effects, and music. It looks quite good, if you have a fondness for adventure games from the late 1980s.
Hydora – This is a shoot-em-up by Locomalito, music and FX by Gryzor87. It seemed okay fullscreen but very sluggish windowed. Graphics remind me strongly of SNES era games.
Lyle in Cube Sector – seems to run okay, but only in fullscreen. Described by the author as a “block throwing action/adventure game”. You can gain new powers by exploring.
Exit Fate & Last Scenario – These require the installation of a Microsoft “Gothic” font, but the author provides a link. However, Exit Fate opened a black window and wouldn’t run. Last Scenario looked like it was installed into my Wine directory but didn’t appear in the menu.
In future posts, I’m planning to take a more in-depth look at individual games that I have discussed previously. There are some simulation games that I will also discuss, but I’ve covered nearly all the genres at this point. The focus will be on specific games for the most part, along with occasional distribution reviews and other topics related to Linux or gaming.