Three for the Road: Knytt, Frogatto & Friends, and Digital: A Love Story

Chip Hageman's picture

Three for the Road
·  · ·· November 21st, 2010: Knytt, Frogatto & Friends, and Digital: A Love Story ·· ·  ·

Another week and another three great freeware games for you to check out. A couple of them are even cross platform, so you Mac and Linux folks can also have a go. This week I've included two great 2D platformers into the mix and the third game is an exceptional work of interactive fiction created by Christine Love which explores topics oft not explored in many games.

Knytt is an exploration based 2D platformer created by Nifflas. The game starts out with the cat-like protagonist Knytt getting abducted by aliens. As the UFO rockets through space it's hit by a meteor and crashes onto a strange planet. Knytt and the alien survive but the ship is pretty much destroyed. Therefore Knytt must scour the massive world looking for the missing pieces that are needed to fix the craft and get him back home.

Controls are at their most basic: Left, Right, Up, Down, Jump and a button which shows the nearest ship piece you need to find. The main draw of this game is the overall atmosphere. From the ambient sounds, to the surreal colorful landscapes, to the creatures you'll encounter- Everything reinforces that you're in an alien environment, but one that keeps pulling you back to explore just a little bit more.

Frogatto and Friends is a complete throwback to the good old Amiga days. This is a retro platformer which is full of class and style- from it's amazing hand-drawn pixel artwork, down to the superb synth-style music that was so prevalent in games of this genre back in the day. Add to that, this is an open source project. That's just amazing! First because they actually completed it. ;-) But secondly because it is of such high quality... Everything has such a high attention to detail that I find it hard to fathom it's a non-commercially backed project.

You control Frogatto in what is fairly straight forward platformer style game play. Jumping, wall jumping, attacking, collecting baubles... next level, repeat. The world is fairly large and features six different areas which encompass a total of thirty levels. It's not anything earth shattering.. it's just that it is all done so well.

Digital: A Love Story is a work of interactive fiction created by Christine Love. You explore the game by "calling" into various Bulletin Board Systems (BBS's) and reading messages, interacting, etc. The game is interfaced through a simulated Amiga Workbench OS and, as such, some of the controls may seem odd to someone not used to it. The game is really a look into how generations of people have embraced technologies (BBSs, Internet, etc) as ways to explore social and emotional interactions. Worth a play through if, for no other reason, than it's uniqueness. It's a thoughtful game that explores concepts most designers wouldn't approach... and is a good example of an unexplored side path that gaming could take to help broaden the scope of the art form and reach a wider audience.

Well, that's it for this week. I'll be back next week with three more for you to try. If you check any of these out, please comment and tell us what you thought of them. I'm trying to get a decent cross section of genre's represented but I tend to fall back on what I know... So, if there is a genre you would like to see more of then comment about it here.

-Chip