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Games You Can Play Now: 'The Humble Indie Bundle' Reviewed

Humble Indie Bundle
Yes, the purpose of our Friday roundups of free Flash games games is to get you through your final weekday. Till now (and after now, too), that's been our tenet, but we are cheating a bit this week. See, five indie designers got together and packaged a charmingly titled "Humble Indie Bundle," which works on PCs, Macs and Linux-based computers. Since they are independent designers (not a big corporation, like Sony or EA), the money goes straight to them, no middle man. Lastly, and we wouldn't cover this if it didn't have some element of "free" or "pretty-darn-close-to-free," the games just ask that you pay what you want. (We won't divulge our expenditure, but, rest assured, we paid our dues. But we won't judge you if you don't.) The experiment has become such a success that 30-percent of the revenue is now donated to charity, while the rest goes into the developers' pockets as they strive for new, innovative computer games.

So download away (or try them all in beta for free, by checking out the link). Or, keep the installation to a minimum by peeping our reviews, and then choosing the title you'd like best. Game on, weekend.

Written by Leila Brillson and Matt Zuras

'World of Goo'

World of goo game
Raise your hand if you like molecular structures! 'World of Goo' goes where not many physics-based games have gone before, asking you to erect scaffolding out of, well, goo. This is going to sound NSFW, but we swear that playing with these oily balls is the most fun you'll have all week. But where does your goo matrix lead? Some kind of vacuum sucks up your goo balls for the benefit of the World of Goo Corporation. Plot-wise, we're not sure how much deeper the story gets, but balancing your goo structure on the lip of a precipice is no small feat.

'Aquaria'

Aquaria game
Two years in the making, 'Aquaria' focuses on a young mermaid named Naija who has lost all of her memories, on her adventure in figuring out who she is and on the history of the underwater world in which she lives. As she swims through tunnels and caverns, she gains abilities to complete her quest. (The 'Beast' ability gives her speed and allows her to gain strength by eating small fish, while the 'Energy' ability allows her to pass through solid objects.) Easily the most CPU-intensive of these five games, and damn near impossible without a mouse (for laptop users), 'Aquaria' isn't tough or battle-focused, but is rather a beautiful, melodious game where singing is a power, and plants and fish are your friends. A charming, slow-moving adventure game.

'Gish'

Gish game
Life isn't easy for Gish. Aside from the fact that he's a small, mouthless, 12-pound ball of tar, his girlfriend got kidnapped and taken into a hellish sewer world that Gish must now traverse. But there are a few upsides: he's sticky, he can lose all friction, and, if he tries hard enough, he can jump. Part puzzle, part side-scroller, this classic indie game has gotten few updates since its debut in 2005. Then again, not many are needed, since the charming story and fun, climbing-and-bouncing gameplay always feels fresh. We wish we could say the same thing about the early '00s, anime-styled character graphics, but we'll forgive the developers.

'Lugaru'

Lugaru game
If you're a fan of the human-sized rabbits from 'Donnie Darko' and 'Inland Empire,' you may enjoy the anthropomorphized animals of 'Lugaru.' The prequel to 'Overgrowth,' this game figures you as Turner, one bad-ass bunny bent on avenging his slaughtered clan. Featuring a bevy of combat moves, action combos and other tricks within a first-person, 3-D world, the 'Lugaru' universe took us a little while to figure out. But beware: once you get into the the furry fray, you'll realize that this is no bunny slope. Roundhouse kick some wolves and rogue rabbits in the demo to see what we mean.

'Penumbra'

Penumbra
Maybe it was just the demo version that we sampled, but we could not, for the life of us, figure out 'Penumbra.' We understand that it represents a vanguard of games that are slow-burning, cerebral adventures rather than frenetic shoot-em-ups, but the central figure of the game, a physicist named Philip who embarks on a mysterious trip to Northern Greenland, couldn't find his way out of the very first room while in our hands. It looks to be a good game from the outside, but we became too frustrated (even on the Easy setting) to continue any further.

Tags: aquaria, features, flashgames, games, gaming, gish, humble indie, humble indie bundle, HumbleIndie, HumbleIndieBundle, lugaru, mac, pc, penumbra, reviews, top, topflashgames, videogames, world of goo, WorldOfGoo

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