Indie Freebies: The Man From Fugue State and Others

This week’s Indie Freebies are The Man From Fugue State, a Spaghetti Western-themed point-and-click adventure; Fugitive Shift, a stealth puzzle game; and MURDERSHIFTERS, a cutesy arcade shooter with a twist.

First up is Salvador Higgni’s (aka Graham “Haggis” Nichols) The Man From Fugue State. So dust off your poncho, light up a cigarillo, and prep your sardonic one liners, because it’s set in a Spaghetti Western-themed world where you quite literally play a man with no name. Following a strange dream involving a giant evil eye looming large above a desert mountain range, you awaken in a train boxcar with no recollection of who you are or how you got there (a “fugue state”, geddit?). Finding a cryptic message on a wanted poster, you reason that the key to unlocking your past lies in tracking down the nefarious outlaw El Marcado.

Fugue state 01

The Man From Fugue State is a traditional point-and-clicker very much in the mould of the classic LucasArts adventure games. So expect an assortment of enjoyably silly inventory and logic puzzles, cheeky humour, barmy anachronisms, and all manner of fourth-wall breaking moments. Not to mention a fistful of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood movie references.

It’s actually really good and very well made. The puzzles are fun without being overly taxing (plenty of subtle hints to help you out), the story is entertaining, and the gags are funny. And with multiple and varied locations to explore, it provides several hours worth of gameplay. I also really liked the rough-and-ready cartoon style of the hand-created backdrops and animated sprites, while the Ennio Morricone-inspired soundtrack, sourced from various internet composers, is blooming marvellous and fits the environments well.

The Man From Fugue State is available for Windows on Game Jolt and can be downloaded for free here.

FugitiveShift 01

Next up is Fugitive Shift. Created in under 48 hours for Ludum Dare 35 (#LDJAM), for which the theme was shapeshifting, it’s a stealth puzzler from Power Spark. The gameplay revolves around three captives attempting to flee from a prison facility. Using an isometric-style perspective and a simple point-and-click interface, you have to navigate the prisoners through each section while avoiding the trigger-happy guards and finding ways to bypass the security doors.

It’s a game of observation, timing, and strategy. Individual guards have unique behaviour patterns and different reaction times, and you’ll need to use these to your advantage, sneaking past when their backs are turned and using cover to stay out of sight. Plus, each of the three playable characters has their own special ability and they’ll need to work together in order to progress. Husk can shapeshift into nearby orange props such as tables and chairs. Mirage can temporarily shapeshift into certain guards, allowing him/her (not sure about the gender) to roam freely, as well as open any doors that the imitated NPC could. And, taking the more direct approach, Vice has a gun.

Fugitive Shift is fun and challenging though relatively short, probably no more than an hour’s worth of entertainment. Probably for the best though as there is no save system, though you do restart the current level if a character dies. And I did enjoy the jokey exchange between the trio of protagonists at the end.

If you fancy a bash, it’s available for free on Game Jolt here. The original version can be played on Windows, Mac, Linux, and in an HTML5 web browser. However, the updated version is for Windows and HTML5 only.

MURDERSHIFTERS 01

Last up is Chaoclypse’s MURDERSHIFTERS, which was also made in under 48 hours for the Ludum Dare 35 game jam. Using the keyboard for movement and the mouse to aim, it’s a top-down arcade shooter with quite a novel premise. The object is to hunt and execute the murdershifters while keeping civilian casualties to a minimum. Hiding amongst a cutesy crowd of dancing doughnuts, peanuts, squares, and four-legged triangles, these merciless killers shapeshift into their victims. Fortunately for us, there are telltale signs to look out for. The Glutton becomes fatter and slower with each transformation, the Speedster moves faster, and the Red looks, well, redder.

Each time a murder occurs, an arrow will point to where it took place and a pink blood trail will hint at the murdershifter’s general location. Once you think you’ve identified the blighter, it’s time to light ‘em up. But do be careful, your gun fires a straight laser beam that traverses the entire map, killing everything in its path. The fewer civilians that perish, the better the rating you receive at the end. Kill more than eight civilians and you automatically lose. Oh, and the murdershifters can kill and assimilate you as well.

MURDERSHIFTERS is fun, fast paced, and challenging. It also features a very funky chiptune soundtrack. Unfortunately, there are only six levels and it certainly won’t take you more than 30 minutes to complete. Though I do think that there is potential to expand this into a much fuller game.

It’s available for Windows and HTML5 web browsers and can be downloaded for free from Game Jolt here.

Written by
For nearly 30 years I’ve been enthralled by the magic and escapism of video games. From the highly-pixelated 2D graphics and simple but addictive gaming concepts of the 8-bit era to the sophisticated multiplayer 3D worlds of the modern gaming system, I’ve always loved gaming. These days I'm a massive fan of indie games, but I still find time to play classic Amiga and PC games via emulation and read about video game history.