Free Game Friday: Grow Up

This week’s collection of free games are about growing up and getting older. It’s more fun than it sounds.

This week we’re tackling free games that take a look at the process of growing up and getting older. It’s not the most popular theme in all of gaming (Super Mario Bros: Contemplate Your Own Mortality, coming soon to the Wii U) but in recent years with the rise of indie gaming and art games developers have been creating more games about growing up. Thankfully, they’ve managed to make some pretty fun games about the process.

Danny’s BDAY Bash

Danny’s BDAY Bash isn’t just one game but an entire game jam’s worth of Warioware-style mini games created for the birthday of game developer Danny Perski. As you might expect not all of these microgames are winners or even really about birthdays. Taken together, however, they end up being a fantastic game about celebrating a birthday that doubles as one of the coolest birthday presents I can imagine.

Grow Cube

Grow Cube is just one game in the Grow series. While each game has a different setting and a slightly different game mechanic, they’re all about making choices in a certain order and then watching how those choices interact to grow your world. The goal here is to choose to place the items in the world in the right order so that they’ll interact, evolve and grow to their maximum level to get the ideal ending. If you get frustrated trying to pick the right ending you can grab a walkthrough with a quick Google search. Hopefully however the quirky animation and extreme focus on cause and (not entirely expected) effect make the games fun even if you’re “losing.”

Moments of Reflection

Moments of Reflection is not, strictly speaking, about growing up but it does evoke the feeling of childhood in the service of it’s highly mathematical spin on puzzle platformers. In Moments of Reflection you’re able to reflect the stage across a number of axis to create new platforms and areas so that you can collect the carrot and advance to the next level. If it sounds a bit simple, it is (at first) but as you progress through the game you’ll need to get more creative in what and where you’re reflecting to advance.

Passage

There’s no way this list wouldn’t include what may be the quentessential art game. Passage, by Jason Rohrer is a downloadable game about life that’s stacked to the brim with weird art game choices. The game is presented in the highly unusual aspect ratio of 100 x 15, it’s got an ultra minimalist art style and some odd gameplay mechanics that are open to multiple interpretations. None of that keeps this simple game about moving to the right of your screen from ALSO being a beautiful statement about living life.

Deadly Ascension

Finally, Deadly Ascension is a game about growing up because you’re…ummm…ascending up? Okay you caught me this game doesn’t really fit the theme of this week’s installment but it’s too fun to let it pass by for that reason. You play a ninja (always a good start) looking to ascend to the top of a tower full of guards. To make it to the top you’ll need to bounce off of magic lanterns and throw shurikens at guards, all while trying to avoid falling back down to your doom.

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