Art Perspective: January Titles

Sit back and relax, your saving money, try to take your mind off those crippling over time hours and play some titles you might not have heard of.

We are in the depths of the darkest period in the gaming year, traditionally January only witnesses the release of a trickle of minor titles. The big companies run for the hills, fully aware that we are all desperately poor following a double-dip recession, festive spending binge. But don€™t contemplate suicide just yet, Art Perspective has the perfect way to spend the hours until the next big title becomes visible on the distant horizon; play free indie games. Sit back and relax, your saving money, try to take your mind off those crippling over time hours and play some titles you might not have heard of.

The Cat The The Coup is easily one of the most creative games I have played, both in its beautifully striking visual style and its subject matter. It is essentially a documentary game, the title would be more at home on the cover of a novel or an album title and this is reflected in the game as it feel a million miles away from the likes of GTA and Zelda. The gameplay is as if Broken Sword, NightSky and The Life of Pi had a baby, a thoughtful and personal tale that does gaming a favour, showing that there is a more intellectual side to video games than the mainstream press would want to admit. The story is of Mohammed Mossadegh the first democratic Prime Minister of Iran, you play as his cat as your coax him through various important events in his life. This game really mixes art and gaming until there is no clear distinction between the two, a true great of the indie scene. Proun is a racing game with a difference, a refreshing arty look at a genre usually reserved for petrol heads and F1 geeks. This one is a €œpay what you want€ sort of deal, so you could get if free but you would also feel bad about yourself. There are not pit stops, off-roaders or annoying co-drivers here, you play as a ball racing along a really long and checkered cable. Inspired and named after a movement by El Lissitzky you play as though racing through one of the artist abstract suprematist paintings. You and your ball race through circuits filled with windy turns in a world of geometric shapes, avoid obstacles by rotating round the cable. One of the great things about this world is that there is no up or down, so disorientation is part of the fun, get some old people to observe your best lap and a watch the nausea form, similar to the original Doom when everyone nearly died from headaches. The game is not set in anything close to the real world, a notion that is under-utilised in gaming, most games are set in a world with a sky, ground and gravity, but what is the need? I get enough of a the real world every day, why can€™t I spin around a world of objects, thats a real escape from reality.
Ruins is a calm and thoughtful adventure through a dreamy landscape. A relaxing experience which should be applauded as much for it€™s audio as its visual achievements, both a very high standard for a game given away for free. You guide a black dog through the ruins mentioned in the title, chasing white rabbits and chatting away. More of a meandering concerto compared to the bubblegum pop of action shooters that flood the mainstream gaming market. Perhaps this game is not for all of our gaming brothers, we are after all, diverse connoisseurs just like any other medium. But hey, it's free and worth a download. Ruins is the latest release from the kind people at Cardboard Computer, who have created many quality free games. I highly recommend taking a look through their back catalogue, to keep your mind from thinking about the cold dark winter months. So there are some game to keep you busy, even if it is only until that Metal Gear remake comes out. Hopefully that should be enough to get through these months of first world problems, if not just play through those games that a family member got you, you know the one that doesn€™t know anything about gaming and can€™t even be bothered to google the words €œDuke Nukem Forever€ to check even one review. Thinking about it, I recommend these games in that order as well, so if you are busy with all that January overtime in the accounting department; start at the top.
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