Maybe you’re a fan of cutesy 2D platformers? Or do you prefer staring down the barrel of a shotgun and shouting “pwned” after every kill? What about strategy games that require careful planning and a tendency to start wars?
Whatever your thing you’re bound to find something you like amongst this lot. All the games featured here have received updates within the last year, are cross-compatible on all 3 major platforms (and some even go beyond that) and won’t cost you a penny. Forget work, let’s have some fun!
Sauerbraten (meaning “pot roast” in German) is a manic, fast-paced first person shooter which evolved from the original Cube. The designers have set-out not to achieve the most eye-candy, but to bring a very interesting concept to the table: in-game map editing.
This means you and your buddies can collaborate together, creating, tweaking and building a map that suits you, without having to render it afterwards.
The gameplay is split into single player episodic campaigns and a variety of multiplayer modes including classics such as free for all, capture the flag and instagib (one shot kills). You can also play the multiplayer modes offline, with bots.
The video above demonstrates the frantic nature of the game, so if you’re a fan of old-school Quake 3 style gameplay you’ll probably want to check it out.
Originally established as a modification for Microsoft’s Age of Empires II, 0 A.D. is a real-time strategy game focusing on the years 500 BC to 500 AD. The first part deals solely with 500 BC to 0AD, with the second part still in development.
Not only are the graphics impressive but the game attempts to be as historically accurate as possible, filling you in on ancient history as you go. There are 6 civilizations to choose from (including Celts, Romans, Persians, Hellenes, Iberians and Carthanigians) each of which have their own attributes, building models and of course units.
The game places a fair bit of emphasis on the military element, so if you’re a war-mongering cyber tyrant there should be enough here to keep you gripped for a while. Currently in Alpha, the game is buggy and incomplete, but a project certainly worth keeping a close eye on.
Recently released for the iPhone and iPod Touch (for a small fee, I might add) Frogatto & Friends is a jump-and-run 2D side scrolling platformer and free to play on your PC. You control a delightfully pixellated amphibian named Frogatto, guiding him through colourful levels riddled with monsters.
Interestingly, the team recently announced a multiplayer mode, which despite not being finished yet suggests a few modes including races, deathmatch and co-operative gameplay.
The single player game is finished and fully playable, and has received plenty of praise from reviewers (many of which were reviewing the paid version from the AppStore).
Development originally began in 1996, and the FlightGear project reached its landmark version 2.0 in early 2010. I’m not sure if flight simulators are still “in” (they just seemed to drop off the radar, so to speak) but this one packs a decent punch without the price tag.
There are over 350 aircrafts to play with, and over 300 liveries based on real designs. You can take to the skies in everything from a Boeing 737 commercial jet to an early 1903 Wright Flyer. There are three Flight Dynamics Models to choose from, over 20,000 real airports, dynamic lighting and highly accurate terrain that spans the globe.
You can even have a multi-monitor set-up and fly around with your friends in network mode. Yes, and it’s free!
For anyone who spent a decent portion of their childhood (or college days) playing Worms comes Hedgewars, only the worms are now pink hedgehogs and the game is completely free.
This one does a very good job of cloning the popular Team 17 turn-based classic, specifically Worms Armageddon. The game includes many of the same weapons, including the bazooka, dynamite and fire punch as well as others masquerading under different names.
The game takes advantage of the free DarkPlaces 3D engine and the models, world and visual effects marry well with the game’s fast pace. There’s even an in-game mission editor included, to create your own campaigns from scratch.