Free Play Friday: What's Old Is New Again!

Justin Calvert suggests three more games that you can play without paying in our weekly look at free stuff.

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I've spent most of this week working on GameSpot's upcoming review of LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, so when selecting games to include in this week's Free Play Friday, I was definitely looking for titles that I could enjoy in short bursts. I found three that I hope you'll enjoy as much as I am and that, in a couple of cases, I hope you might be able to support. Apologies for the lack of any free codes this week; there are some great giveaways in the works for future Free Play Fridays, but nothing came together in time for this week.

As always, please let me know what you think of this week's suggestions in the comments below, and definitely feel free to make recommendations of your own.

Conclave (Web) Beta

According to the developers at 10x10 Room (both of them), their turn-based role-playing game Conclave was borne out of--among other things--a desire to experience adventures with friends without having to adhere to a schedule. As someone who plays a good number of MMO games but who can rarely set aside time for regularly scheduled raids and the like, I know where Nick and Derek are coming from. Inspired by tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, Conclave plays out in a very similar fashion and affords the added convenience of being able to take your turns as infrequently as your group is OK with. The only groups I've played in thus far were taking turns every minute or so and chatting with each other on the fly, but when searching for a group, you can look for folks who expect to play a turn only once a day or so.

Completing a multipart quest as part of a four-player group in which all of us were playing as a different character archetype is far and away the most fun that I've had with Conclave so far, but questing solo has proved an enjoyable (and challenging) way to level up my vanguard as well. I've been playing Conclave on a powerful gaming rig for the most part, but since the game requires only a browser with support for HTML5 and JavaScript to run, you can play it on all sorts of devices. The game runs well and is a perfect fit for my iPad screen, for example.

Conclave is still in beta right now, and 10x10 Room's Kickstarter campaign to get the game finished still has a ways to go before it hits the $75,000 goal. At the time of writing the fundraiser has only eight days left to run and so, in the hope of drumming up some support, the guys have decided to make the whole game as it exists right now available to play for free until midnight on Saturday, September 23. After that time, you'll still be able to play Conclave for free, but fewer quests will be available unless you pay to unlock them.

If you'd like to take part in the Conclave beta, you can do so simply by clicking on the following link and creating an account:

Play Conclave at playconclave.com

If, like me, you feel inclined to support Conclave on Kickstarter, you can do so here:

Support Conclave on Kickstarter

Super Crate Box (PC)

An oldie but a goodie, Super Crate Box has been around for a couple of years at this point, but Dutch developer Vlambeer's fast-paced shooter only made it to Steam last month. If you've never played the game before, which I hadn't myself until earlier this week, you should definitely check it out. The download is tiny, and odds are you'll either give up within 60 seconds or have to tear yourself away from the screen after an hour because your high score still hasn't hit double figures. To give you some idea of just how frantic and challenging Super Crate Box is, after just 30 minutes of playing I had killed over 800 enemies, died and restarted over 120 times, and--most importantly--collected over 300 crates.

It's the number of crates you collect rather than the enemies you kill that determines your high score in Super Crate Box, but while it's possible to avoid enemies rather than engage them, this definitely isn't a viable tactic in the long run. Enemies spawn at the top of the level and slowly work their way toward the bottom, where they fall into a fire pit which, unfortunately for you, doesn't kill or even harm them in any way. In fact, enemies who reach the fire become angry and so move even more quickly when they respawn. Killing enemies is a must, then, and Super Crate Box affords you access to an impressive arsenal of weapons with which to do just that. There's a twist, though.

Every time you collect a crate, you automatically equip the weapon that was inside it. The first few times you play Super Crate Box, most of the weapons feel underpowered; the pistol is worthless, the dual pistols aren't much better, and the bazooka takes too long to reload. Persevere, though, and regardless of how pitiful your high scores are, your cumulative crate total unlocks and adds new weapons to the arsenal as it stacks up. Inevitably you'll have favorite weapons (mine are the grenade launcher and the flamethrower), but any time that you spend hanging onto them is time that you're not scoring points for collecting crates. It's fiendish, and a lot of fun.

If you'd like to queue up the Steam version of Super Crate Box for download, you can do so here:

Super Crate Box on Steam

Alternatively, you can download the game directly from Vlambeer's site, here:

Official Super Crate Box Site

An iOS version of Super Crate Box is also available, but at the time of writing it costs $1.99. You can purchase it at the iTunes store via the following link:

Super Crate Box on iTunes

Broforce (PC) Prototype

I have to say thanks to GameSpot's Marco Martinez for giving me the heads-up on Broforce; after watching his live-stream of the game earlier this week, I spent more time playing around with the recently released prototype version than I care to admit. Currently awaiting approval on Steam Greenlight, Broforce is an action-packed platformer that plays like a love letter to the action heroes that I grew up with. Starting out as Rambro (see what they did there?), your goal is to navigate enemy-filled and highly destructible environments rescuing other bros en route to the requisite hanging-from-a-helicopter escape.

South African developer Free Lives is up front about the games that have influenced Broforce, and lists Super Crate Box (which you might remember from such paragraphs as those directly overhead) among them. The two games are quite different, but they share the same involuntary weapon-switching mechanic; anytime you rescue a bro, you immediately start playing as him. No two bros are the same; James Brodock's primary weapon of choice is a flamethrower, while Mc Brover carries sticks of dynamite, and BA Broracus is never seen without a shotgun. Bro in Black's version of the iconic noisy cricket gun is probably my favorite weapon in the game right now, although Snake Broskin's rifle with laser sight is a close second.

The prototype version of Broforce supports local co-op for two players using the same keyboard, and can also be played using X360 controllers. You almost certainly don't care, but after installing and playing the game on one of the office gaming rigs, I can also confirm that it looks pretty great on a three-monitor Eyefinity setup. Poking around online I found some work-in-progress art (embedded above) for the game that suggests its current pixel art aesthetic might be temporary; the new art looks great, but I'm hoping that the current visuals will at least be available as an option.

If you'd like to play the prototype version of Broforce, you can download it using the following link:

Download Broforce from FreeLives.net

To upvote Broforce on Steam Greenlight, go hit the thumbs-up button on this page:

Broforce on Steam Greenlight

Previous Free Play Fridays

September 7, 2012 - Dust 514 Beta Codes, Hand of Fate, Gotham Gangs!
August 31, 2012 - Portals, Strategy, Charitable Donations!
August 24, 2012 - Steampunk Beta Codes, Superheroes, Automobiles!
August 17, 2012 - Guns, Guns, Guns, Medic!
August 10, 2012 - Beta Codes, Shooters, A Story About My Uncle!

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Discussion

37 comments
SCWoodson007
SCWoodson007

Free play fridays are fantastic. thank you so much for this feature. half the time i've been playing the game for a little while and been obsessed with it (realm of the mad god, super crate box) and the other half of the time i hear about it here first and its absolutely fantastic (broforce, etc.)

so thanks Justin & the rest of gamespot for this awesome feature for poor college kids haha

JokerFett
JokerFett

Where's "Black Mesa" on this list?  I believe it was released the day the article was written.

Apelgrandure
Apelgrandure

Nothing that really grabs my attention this week

zackcurl
zackcurl

Broforce is so much fun!

Grbonjic
Grbonjic

Conclave looks very interesting ! I wonder if the project will start, cause the idea is great.

LE5LO
LE5LO

Genuinely hope the Broforce devs are able to make the game with the art style in the picture above, that looks amazing in comparison to the optimized, low res. pixel style they've made for the demo. Seeing the art above in action would be incredible. It may have a little trouble running on pre-2006 PC's though but it's what they should be aiming for, not FEZ style (but sub-par) pixel art. 

PSYCLOWN185
PSYCLOWN185

broforce also looks like it would be a good android/ios port.

PSYCLOWN185
PSYCLOWN185

broforce looks awsome. so much chaos

farcorners
farcorners

i'm gonna try all three. Broforce! looks amusing.

 

Misaki2010
Misaki2010

Broforce looks nice, but I will just pass this week's free play friday :) thanks for your nice share :D

Liliroots
Liliroots

BROOOOOO FORCEEEEE!!!!  That game looks sick!

BigGhost_AJT
BigGhost_AJT

Very happy to see an African developer out there adding a little diversity to the gaming palette.

 

dr_jashugan
dr_jashugan

I'll try Broforce. Thanks for the info, Bro! :-P

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Nothing of interest today it seems.

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

Free Fridays and no mentioning of Black Mesa  -granted it's a mod but it's expansive and detailed compared to most mods (but if a beta of a lesser known/loved *by the community* game, then just shocked this one isn't on this list or anywhere 'at last glance' in the PC section even of this site). It released yesterday, Friday. So many people after it -it kept crashing the servers  but it's going to come to Steam soon  as well -it also passed on their Greenlight.

 

Surprised that one's missing, popularity alone-

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Current Broforce visuals are brilliant and will draw in more gamers, not less.

obsequies
obsequies

small indies are generally better when they are free compared to larger games that are done by anything but a huge developer

obsequies
obsequies

broforce looks nice..reminds me of gunforce and metal slug

shinspikes
shinspikes

 @JusticeCovert Good stuff today, gonna go check those out.  Playing Continent of the Ninth Seal right now.  Controls are fast and accurate like Tera, but the entire game is similar to Vindictus.  Still waiting for RaiderZ, Blade and Soul and Planet Side 2.

AntiH3ro97
AntiH3ro97

Someone play Conclave with me D:

DeadLight2080
DeadLight2080

Free Vote Friday !! and when it reached enough votes after 2month go and play :D 

zbarfbag
zbarfbag

Black Mesa should be on here

AndCarlsen
AndCarlsen

Super Crate Box looked really nice in the Ipod. I'll try Broforce too.

bjornborgue
bjornborgue

Broforce looks like a lot of fun! I do hope they consider online coop though.

PC4Me
PC4Me

 @Tidal_Abyss

 lol I know- I was checking the site and ran across the title in PC "what's old is new again" and I just knew that was in reference to Black Mesa, since it upgrades something we all know and love. I was wrong of course -it's ...'this' article with -well, not much for me, but- I just looked and I don't see anything here (site)  talking about Black Mesa's release yesterday or video or images, glad there's places that keep up better with "what's old and new again" lol.

 

It's like you always said- you can't be truly informed if you're only getting you're information from one place. I spend less and less time here.... 

mnoi
mnoi

 @zbarfbag it should, but i doubt Justin had time to test it out. I started the download for it; I am excited to see what it will be like.

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

 @ABEzilla116

 Source SDK 2007 (version in the orange box- not using the 2009 because of an issue with that version). Source of info: Blackmesasource.com  There's a FAQ (a few, but this info is found in the General FAQ).

squall_83
squall_83

 @mnoi  @zbarfbag Just stopped playing it for the first time since I got off work. I just finished "Questionable Ethics". This Mod is the most amazing thing I've ever seen from a Mod. It truly feels like a AAA title that Valve probably couldn't have done better themselves.

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

 @ABEzilla116

For those not in the know you can acquire the SOurce SDK 2007 FREE, So yes, this mod is COMPLETELY FREE. See the site for details (and it's my source) www.blackmesasource.com