Indie Freebies: The Milksoil Mystery and Others

Always short of a few bob and looking for something a bit different, each week I scour the internet for fun, interesting or just plain curious Indie Freebies. This week’s highlighted titles are: The Milksoil Mystery, a funky short-form horror adventure; Dandelion, a chilled out experimental game that uses your microphone; and Bitsturbed, a cute and fast-paced old-school FPS.

The Milksoil Mystery

The cows have been disappearing over at Milksoil Farm. Locals are convinced it’s aliens, but you’re sceptical. So after you finish dying your hair purple (been there, done that), you head over to the isolated farmstead to investigate. In the middle of the night, of course!

Made in under three days for this year’s MeatlyJam (“unlikely evil”), in which it finished a respectable eighth, Ace Poison’s The Milksoil Mystery is a superbly atmospheric short-form horror adventure. Engulfed in gloom and mist, you simply explore the farm looking for clues to what’s been happening here.

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It’s a wonderfully immersive experience – gorgeous, hand-drawn pixel art complimented by some great lighting effects, a creepy ambiance, and fantastically spooky yet funky music. And I love how you, the trees, and all the characters you encounter seem to be jiving to it. Definitely one to play in the dark with your headphones. Expect some fun and genuinely startling jump scares. Don’t worry, it’s all very light hearted and silly.

The Milksoil Mystery is available for Windows and can be downloaded for free on Game Jolt here.

Dandelion

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To recover from The Milksoil Mystery, I recommend checking out Dandelion immediately afterwards.

By blowing on your microphone and using your mouse to aim, you simply guide a dandelion clock through a surreal and mesmerising landscape of swaying grass, undulating water, twisted structures, and pulsating tunnels. Just follow the path and aim for the waypoints – floating orbs that oscillate in sync with the chilled-out music.

There’s a charming dreamlike quality to Dandelion, and it’s pleasantly relaxing – just try not to piss the bed later on. Though I imagine the novelty would wear off pretty quickly if the game was any longer. That said, in response the positive feedback on their experimental creation, Mind Echoes are working on an extended follow up called Dandelion Rhapsody which will feature a story and a lot more content. It will certainly be interesting to see what that entails.

Dandelion is available for Windows and Mac and can be downloaded for free on Game Jolt here.

Bitsturbed

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The last time I checked out Bitsturbed, it was an alpha demo with only two short levels, three weapons, and two enemy types. Just to recap, it’s a retro-styled FPS very much in the mould of Wolfenstein 3D and the original Doom. Think life bars, health and weapon pick ups, exploding barrels, the ability to lug around a large arsenal of oversized weapons, and cartoonish blood and gore splatter. But instead of Nazis and minions from hell, you’re laying to waste a legion of adorable Mega Man-inspired baddies. You can read my original piece here.

Since then Bitsturbed has moved on to beta status. There are now around 10 maze-like maps to unleash mayhem in, and the pistol, SMG, and minigun have been augmented with a powerful plasma rifle, a bad-ass rocket launcher, and my personal favourite, the Panic & Chaos double barrelled shottie. There’s also a load more cannon fodder to battle it out with including the grey heavies, red chargers, a variety of gun-toting zombies, and two huge bullet-sponge bosses.

I must say it’s coming along rather nicely. As I mentioned previously, it’s fun, fast-paced, and buttery smooth. The highly-stylised visuals, a playful mix of low-poly environments with pixelated textures and 2D scaling sprites and props, look fab. And it’s full of humour and cheeky in-jokes, and capped off with a rocking guitar soundtrack.

Bitsturbed is available for Windows and can be downloaded for free on Game Jolt here.

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