The best things in life are free.
The idea that free games must be low quality is a common misconception. Many free games are just as good as, or even better than paid games. Firstly because they’re, well, free – but also because developers who put time and effort into free games are doing so because of their passion. Whether they’re just starting out or because they want their story heard, there’s always going to be something interesting being said. So, let’s dive right into the 100 best free indie games of all time.
100. Location Withheld
Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? Nobody, that’s who, and Location Withheld is exactly that, among other things. In this short horror adventure, you’ll find yourself in what looks like a mid-90s office hellbent on uncovering the mystery that lies within a box of strange police case files. Sat at your computer, you’ll read notes, decipher codes and unravel the unnerving truth behind a slew of grotesque murders.
This point and click adventure has multiple endings and a bunch of hidden details for you to discover. So if you like horror and don’t have a lot of time on your hands this short, scary tale might be just the right fit for all you budding detectives out there.
Buckle up, because a lot of games on this list are in the horror genre and Beherit is no exception. This first-person, horror exploration game thrusts you into some kind of creepy guest house where every door hinge is apparently badly maintained. It’s not only the constant creaks that’ll keep you on edge though – there’s also the sporadic cracks of lightning to contend, with as if the horrors stalking the hallways weren’t enough.
Trapped alone in this nightmare, it’s your task to uncover the hidden truth behind the mysterious gemstone known as the Beherit to give you any chance of escape. This short but intense horror experience teases you with the idea of what could be lurking in the shadows rather than straight up show you. It’s that claustrophobic atmosphere that really sets Beherit apart as a truly unnerving game, and why you should definitely play it.
98. The Alpha Device
The Alpha Device is a surreal first-person adventure game narrated by David Hewlett no less. Most recently he is known for playing one of the scientist guys in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water. Expect a heavy narrative experience with this one that does away with perplexing puzzles and awkward combat in favour of eager discovery and exploration.
There’s no save function, so this is something designed to be played in one sitting. It’s abstract gameplay and bizarre themes give it an air of mystery that is often unseen in modern dystopian science fiction. The focus is more philosophical with The Alpha Device instead of going for action-filled scenes most sci-fi games find themselves filled with and that change of pace is refreshing. As a short, contemplative experience it’s an easy, and most notably free, way to spend an hour or two of your time.
Ever wondered what a horror game about a sentient piece of toast on a quest to join an obscure cult would look like? Well, The Confraternity of Toast is your answer to that. As a young piece of toast, you’re ready to set off on a surreal, and slightly terrifying journey to join the sacred and glorious Confraternity of Toast. To get there you will have to pass three ‘tests’ to ensure that you are worthy.
Pass the tests and the secrets of this bizarre world are yours. It still might not make sense at all, but you’re in a world of animated toast, so what are you expecting? There are also several different endings you can get depending on your choices throughout your journey. So, there is an element of replayability. Surprisingly, for a game featuring talking pieces of toast, it’s described as not ‘suitable for children.’ And that should good you a good sense of what the game is like to play.
The title of A Wonderful Day For Fishing might conjure images of a relaxing game with calming music, but, unfortunately, that is not the case. Bubbling underneath its cheerful surface is a story not only about the relaxing pursuit of fishing but also isolation, repetition and the unsettling feelings near lifelike representations of reality can bring us as human beings. Who knew fishing could get so deep.
As a short experimental horror game made in one weekend, A Wonderful Day For Fishing tells the tale of a lonely man. There are no clearly defined goals or challenges or it’s more of an experience than a game in the traditional sense. It’s strange, scary at times, and most importantly free, so go enjoy your weird day out at sea.
95. Gravity Bone
The blocky world of Nuevos Aires and the underground spy you guide through the city weren’t always the focus of Blendo Games’ action freeware title Gravity Bone. Instead, the game went through around four iterations in its first year of development, before ultimately landing on the first person adventure we know today.
Gravity Bone sinks its claws into its player from the very outset, drawing you straight into the action through responsive exploration design and mysterious atmosphere. Over around 20 minutes you’ll be platforming, solving puzzles, and completing a series of challenges that ultimately lead to an open-ended conclusion in the final minutes. Straight to the point and streamlined by its snappy delivery, Gravity Bone has managed to remain relevant since its release in 2008.
Forget the new Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake, what you really need in your life is a reimagined version of the original Legend of Zelda in which you explore strange 3D puzzle representations of the original world. Some are even doughnut-shaped which is surely a positive.
As with most the games on this list, it’s pretty strange. It takes several of the strange spaces with endlessly looping topography dotted around Hyrule and bends them into 3D explorable spaces. This short experimental puzzle game is an interesting twist on a well-known classic. Treading the familiar locales of Hyrule in 3D is quite the surreal experience especially when they’re bent into Möbius strips and Klein bottles. It’s great to see NES classics like Zelda reach a new audience in innovative ways. Let’s hope the history of video games never dies.
93. Northbury Grove
Before the advent of streaming services, people used to watch films and the like on big, blocky VHS tapes. As you can imagine there were a lot of tapes out in the wild and urban legend would have you believe that on occasion someone would find one with strange, grainy recordings linked to some macabre murder or supernatural event. And that’s really how Northbury Grove plays, like some cursed VHS footage linked with some grisly murders.
You play as Connor as he and a girl named Crystal search for their missing friend. Little do they know a killer is stalking them. It’s clear this first-person survival horror is heavily inspired by ’70s and ’80s cult classics. It has the appearance of a VHS recording, the gameplay style of a PS1 game and the narrative background of a classic slasher film. You can’t really go wrong with this horror hybrid.
In FRIENDGUN, as you suspected no doubt, you shoot your little friends out of a gun. Made for Ludum Dare 43 this more personal approach to the shooter genre tasks you with defending a small village of smiley bullet people from some clearly evil black clouds. Who knows though, the dark clouds might actually be the good guys, it all about perspective right.
Trick is there’s only the exact number, or roughly, of friend bullets in the village that you need to defeat the evil menace trying to destroy this quiet hamlet. It’s a weirdly enjoyable game and quite bizarre to have a brief, friendly conversation with someone only to shoot them out of a gun two seconds later. It also begs the question of what’s the point in saving the village if you’ve fired all the residents out of a gun to god knows where. We’ll leave you to wade through that moral conundrum.
Computers and their files are often thought of as inanimate objects devoid of any personality or emotion. A_DESKTOP_LOVE_STORY aims to change that by telling the story of a romance between two computer files. But, due to system restrictions, they’re in somewhat of a Romeo and Juliet situation and their love is forbidden.
It’s up to you as the system administrator to make this love story happen and help these two files. You play the entire game out live on your desktop opening the files and working your magic to get them together. This experimental, fourth wall breaking game brings your desktop to life with a heartwarming tale of files with feelings. It’s a true modern day love story.