This week’s highlighted “Indie Freebies” are Don’t Spill Your Coffee, a game of skill, balance, and a damn fine cup of hot joe; Him, a horror-themed graphical text adventure; and The Shortest Journey, a gorgeous point-and-click adventure in mould of The Secret of Monkey Island.
Question: What goes best with a cup of coffee? Another cup! Yes, if you’re anything like me, or Henry Rollins for that matter, then you probably can’t function properly until the black blood of the Coffee God is surging through your veins. No doubt then, you’ll be able to empathise with the protagonist of Don’t Spill Your Coffee. He’s running late for a meeting and needs a strong caffeine kick to see him through.
Made in just one weekend for a private game jam back in 2015, Don’t Spill Your Coffee is a skill puzzler from Team Meeting Games. The premise is simple, get through the turnstile with your cup of hot joe as quickly as possible while minimising spillage. But first, you need to unlock the gate by tapping the wallet in your back pocket against the sensor. Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds.
Yes, our bean juice-loving office worker seems to have some serious stability issues and is rather prone to falling over in spectacular fashion (barely functioning alcoholic?). Not to mention sloshing hot beverage everywhere. Using the keyboard for movement and the mouse for balance (or the two analogue sticks of a gamepad if you prefer), you need to keep him as steady as possible while guiding him through the security door. And, just to throw another spanner in the works, it’s tank controls! Oh, and the positioning of the sensor becomes increasingly ludicrous with each of the 13 levels.
Rendered in simple 3D graphics and accompanied by a funky bass riff, it’s silly, fun, and challenging. It also features some nifty customisation options for your character and a dance party ending. Ironically, it’s just the kind of game you’d play at work to kill time when the boss isn’t watching.
Available for Windows only, Don’t Spill Your Coffee can be downloaded for free from itch.io here. If you do enjoy it, then you should head to over its Greenlight page and give it a thumbs up. The Supremo Edition, if approved by the Steam community, will be hugely expanded and promises an entirely new campaign with completely redone art, multitudes of rooms and locations, brand new puzzles and mechanics, co-op play, and possibly even a plot. Can’t wait.
And if you must know, I take my coffee FBI style: hot, strong, and as black as midnight on moonless night. Just like my men 😉
Moving away from the onslaught of bad coffee references is the superb Him. Made by Sancturary Interactive for Game Jolt’s Adventure Jam 2016, it’s a short horror-themed graphical text adventure.
You play a venerable gentleman who arrives at an old rundown gothic homestead after receiving a mysteriously creepy invitation. “Come alone” it commands, your curiosity piqued by the ancient date atop the tattered letter. You enter, the door slams behind you, and you’re confronted by the ghostly apparition of a young girl in need of your assistance.
Like most adventure games of its ilk, the gameplay revolves around a series of inventory and interaction puzzles, with a nice riddle towards the end thrown in for good measure. What sets Him apart is its old-school interface, comprising a static but interactive picture of your surroundings, and verb, inventory, navigation, and dialogue panels. Despite this, it still manages to be incredibly immersive thanks to a moody soundtrack, ambient sound effects, and some beautiful graphic-novel style imagery rendered in just black, white, and red and laden with ink splotches and scratches.
It’s dark, different, and intriguing. I only wish it could have been longer. And I love that the protagonist chastises you sternly for making absurd requests of him. The grumpy old git!
Him is available for Windows only and can be downloaded for free from Game Jolt here.
Last up is The Shortest Journey, Matt Frith’s (of Among Thorns fame) entry for Adventure Jam 2016. It’s a point-and-clicker heavily inspired both stylistically and visually by the Monkey Island games and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
Presumably set somewhere in colonial era Latin America or the Caribbean, it’s about a little boy named Manu and his dream of discovering treasure. Possessed by gold lust, he finds a map and follows the trail to an Aztec/Inca temple.
It’s a brief but highly enjoyable adventure featuring gorgeous pixel art and a fabulous Michael Land-esque soundtrack by Sound for Pixels. A pleasant twist on the usual inventory/interaction puzzle formula is that it’s entirely dialogue free. Manu communicates with you and the other characters solely through physical gestures and non-verbal utterances.
The Shortest Journey is available for Windows and can be downloaded for free from Game Jolt here.