Free Games of the Fortnight — Word games, creatures that need care, & scares

This time, we have a bunch of PC, browser and mobile games for you to enjoy. We have a mobile game that has you learning words and one with a scary grandma! A cute farming game where you can take care of chickens or a game where you take care of a pregnant lady. We even have a new take on Breakout — read on, read on.

Rob Covell’s Pick: Wordscapes by PeopleFun

I know a lot of people look down on these sort of word games; the sort that seem to flood the App Store, but there’s something very engaging about Wordscapes that I can’t quite put my finger on. (Although I do put my finger on it. It’s a touchscreen after all.)

You are presented with a crossword-style grid and a collection of three to eight letters in a circle, and your job is to find as many different words from those letters as possible. Complete the grid to move on to the next stage. If you find words that aren’t in the grid then you earn extra coins to buys hints when you’re stuck. These are, of course, the game’s microtransactions, and are quite expensive for what they are.

There are regular events and competitions to earn additional coins for those who do well enough as well, so you can get coins in other ways. Grinding coins for a hint can take a long time though, so if you’re so inclined then you may wish to find answers elsewhere. That’s cheating though.

It’s quite enjoyable for a five minute distraction now and then, and I’ve even learned a couple of new words through wildly combining letters in the hopes of getting an answer. Educational and fun!

You can play Wordscapes on iOS and Android.

Jupiter’s Pick: Fantastic Fetus by Thomas Feichtmeir

Some games are made for a purpose. Fantastic Fetus is made to highlight the Black Protests in Poland, which had to do with abortion laws within the country. A bill was passed that makes it illegal to get an abortion — apart from extremely special cases.

In Fantastic Fetus you are taking care of a mother and creating her dream baby. Each day, there are several points of the day when you need to do stuff with this mother. She’ll need to have fun by praying, listening to the radio, or calling her friends. She needs to shower to stay clean, eat when she’s hungry and take care of the house. She is the only one within this house, so all of the work falls on her.

It’s your goal to not only take care of this soon-to-be mother, but also balance out all of her needs. At points in the day you can pick one fun thing to do and can only shower and clean when needed. Keeping her happy and below a very high weight is important for the baby. At the end of the day, you’ll put her to bed, where you’ll dream about the fetus.

Dreaming about the fetus allows you to customise it, making the one you deeply want. At the end of the nine months, if you took care of your mother, you’ll see what baby you ended up with. After the game has ended, you are given some information and statistics on the Black Protests — which you should probably take a look at. This game does well to highlight this bill and protests around it.

You can play Fantastic Fetus in your browser.

Bryan’s Pick: Breaker by Daniel Linssen

Breaker is a game similar to Breakout. Balls and paddles, hitting them back and forth — all of that. Where the big difference comes into it is the color-changing abilities of your paddle, the enemies and the Bosses that try to stop you.

Everytime you move your paddle you change its color. Different color palettes than the standard one — that can be unlocked through play — will offer you different colors than the ones I am using in the following examples. Pressing right actually rotates your paddle left and turns it Red. Left rotates right and turns your paddle Blue. What’s important about all of that is that the bullets fired at you from the enemies in the center of the playing field are blue and red and if they hit you while you are the opposite color you lose a life. You get 3 lives for each color, so it’s a little bit forgiving, but when you run out on either side it’s game over.

If you are the same color as the bullet, however, you reflect it as a yellow bullet back towards its origin — at the baddies. You can use different angles on the paddle to hit it in different directions and maximize its potential in taking out enemies. There are a lot of bullets, sometimes overlapping, so paying attention to the color of your paddle — and what is coming at you  — is a juggling act that makes the game quite challenging. Bosses, additionally, have bullets of both colors streaming from their bodies, and can summon smaller types to fight against you as well.

All around, Breaker is a fun distraction that excels as an action arcade title and pays a great tribute to some of its inspiration through its innovative gameplay. The graphics are fuzzy, but it’s a cool aesthetic that brings to mind the scanlines in the arcade games of old — the excellent music also gives a pumping and responsive chiptune soundscape that perfectly compliments the rest of the package.

Give it a try, Breaker is free on PC and Android!

Dann’s Pick: Cheeky Chooks by Trilum Studios

Run the most fun chicken farm you can in Cheeky Chooks: a game all about creating a free-range chicken farm, as well as keeping the chooks happy and the eggs flowing.

I’ve played a lot of management games over the last few years, I’ve run schools, I’ve run shopping malls, I’ve run entire cities. I hadn’t run a chicken farm yet. Cheeky Chooks changed that.

In many ways it’s very much an idle game, be that due to current lack of balance or lack of content. But, whether it’ll take half an hour to get to the next size farm or not, it is exceptionally cute. In order to accommodate more chooks (the ultimate goal) you’ll need housing, food and water, you buy these with money earned from selling eggs and playing little minigames (there’s currently two, with more to come). In addition to this you’ve also got to decorate the farm to keep the residents happy, and when they’re really happy they’ll do cool little dances and, just generally, live happier little lives.

There’s still some rough bits on the edges, it very much feels like a (free) early access project. But, it is very playable, especially more so if you run it in the background rather than throwing too much of your attention at it.

Most importantly, it’s exceptionally cute. Every chook has a name, rare chooks have cute designs, and everything is bright and lovely.

Cheeky Chooks is available now for free on Steam.

Brian’s Pick: Granny by DVloper

Granny is a mobile, first-person horror game available on Android and iOS. The basic premise is that a spooky old woman (Granny) has you locked up in her house and you have to escape. If you make a noise then Granny will hear you and knock you out with a bloodied bat… You get five attempts to escape — fail and she kills you.

Of course, it’s not as easy as just making a run for the door. There are a plethora of items to pick up and use to unlock various locks and open doors — and Granny is always there, listening…

Overall it’s quite a fun game, though I would say that it is possibly a little too hard. Even on the included practice mode (no Granny) it’s still possible to die, and almost impossible to escape the labyrinth of rooms, staircases, cellars and tunnels. The controls are also a little clunky to use, and the most annoying thing is that you can only carry one thing at a time. I mean, I should surely be capable of carrying a small key and a piece of paper right? Nope. Not in this game.

This coupled with the fact that literally everything makes a noise, and that Granny is incredibly fast and spritely despite her age, which means that it can be quite a frustrating game. It also has more than its fair share of glitches. But, for free, it is worthy of a download if you like games of this genre.

Granny is available on iOS and Android.

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