We don’t only bring you great free applications and tools here at MakeUseOf. We also understand that you like your downtime too, and what better way to waste some time than with some free open source games?
Maybe you’re a fan of cutesy 2D platformers? Or do you prefer staring down the barrel of a shotgun and shouting “pwned“ after every kill? What about strategy games that require careful planning and a tendency to start wars?
Whatever your thing you’re bound to find something you like amongst this lot. All the games featured here have received updates within the last year, are cross-compatible on all 3 major platforms (and some even go beyond that) and won’t cost you a penny. Forget work, let’s have some fun!
Sauerbraten (meaning “pot roast” in German) is a manic, fast-paced first person shooter which evolved from the original Cube. The designers have set-out not to achieve the most eye-candy, but to bring a very interesting concept to the table: in-game map editing.
This means you and your buddies can collaborate together, creating, tweaking and building a map that suits you, without having to render it afterwards.
The gameplay is split into single player episodic campaigns and a variety of multiplayer modes including classics such as free for all, capture the flag and instagib (one shot kills). You can also play the multiplayer modes offline, with bots.
The video above demonstrates the frantic nature of the game, so if you’re a fan of old-school Quake 3 style gameplay you’ll probably want to check it out.
Originally established as a modification for Microsoft’s Age of Empires II, 0 A.D. is a real-time strategy game focusing on the years 500 BC to 500 AD. The first part deals solely with 500 BC to 0AD, with the second part still in development.
Not only are the graphics impressive but the game attempts to be as historically accurate as possible, filling you in on ancient history as you go. There are 6 civilizations to choose from (including Celts, Romans, Persians, Hellenes, Iberians and Carthanigians) each of which have their own attributes, building models and of course units.
The game places a fair bit of emphasis on the military element, so if you’re a war-mongering cyber tyrant there should be enough here to keep you gripped for a while. Currently in Alpha, the game is buggy and incomplete, but a project certainly worth keeping a close eye on.
Recently released for the iPhone and iPod Touch (for a small fee, I might add) Frogatto & Friends is a jump-and-run 2D side scrolling platformer and free to play on your PC. You control a delightfully pixellated amphibian named Frogatto, guiding him through colourful levels riddled with monsters.
Interestingly, the team recently announced a multiplayer mode, which despite not being finished yet suggests a few modes including races, deathmatch and co-operative gameplay.
The single player game is finished and fully playable, and has received plenty of praise from reviewers (many of which were reviewing the paid version from the AppStore).
Development originally began in 1996, and the FlightGear project reached its landmark version 2.0 in early 2010. I’m not sure if flight simulators are still “in” (they just seemed to drop off the radar, so to speak) but this one packs a decent punch without the price tag.
There are over 350 aircrafts to play with, and over 300 liveries based on real designs. You can take to the skies in everything from a Boeing 737 commercial jet to an early 1903 Wright Flyer. There are three Flight Dynamics Models to choose from, over 20,000 real airports, dynamic lighting and highly accurate terrain that spans the globe.
You can even have a multi-monitor set-up and fly around with your friends in network mode. Yes, and it’s free!
For anyone who spent a decent portion of their childhood (or college days) playing Worms comes Hedgewars, only the worms are now pink hedgehogs and the game is completely free.
This one does a very good job of cloning the popular Team 17 turn-based classic, specifically Worms Armageddon. The game includes many of the same weapons, including the bazooka, dynamite and fire punch as well as others masquerading under different names.
Much like the original you can customize your team, changing their names, voices, gravestones, forts and hats. The game includes randomly generated maps, and if you want to create your own you can do so with .PNG files.
Game modes include single player versus the computer, tutorial modes, local multiplayer and online multiplayer. The whole package makes a worthy replacement for your favourite invertebrate-blasting classic.
Many of you may remember this one from long ago, when it was originally released as a commercial game for the PC and PlayStation in April 1999. It’s now free, open-source and has reached version 2.3.5.
The earth has been ravaged by nuclear war and all but a few humans are left. You must use your units to co-ordinate attacks and defeat your enemies within the time limit.
What makes Warzone 2100 a bit different from your usual real time strategy game is the unit design system, which allows you to pick chassis, drive systems and mounted objects for each unit. There are also over 400 different technologies to research, each adding more customization options.
There’s also a multiplayer mode, though seeing as there’s no real server browser you’re going to need to trawl the official IRC channel (#warzone2100-games on irc.freenode.net) for worthy opponents.
You’ve probably heard of World of Warcraft, the most popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) that exists today ““ but you’re also probably aware that it’s not free.
Once you’ve purchased the game and a couple of add-ons you’ve also got to pay a subscription to enter Blizzard’s crack-like virtual world. Enter PlaneShift, the completely free-for-life MMORPG.
Ok, so it’s not quite got the graphics and 12 million players that make up the WoW community, but it’s enough to give you a sample of the world of massively multiplayer games. You’ve got the usual player verses environment and player versus player (PvP) as well as a quick character creation mode and the more advanced custom mode which includes family ties, backstory and skills which all affect your character’s outcome.
There are several types of currency with which to trade, much of which can be earned on the many quests and tasks the game has laid out for you. If you’re new to MMORPGs and don’t fancy sacrificing your credit card details to the big bad Blizzard, PlaneShift isn’t a bad option.
Straight from the top-down arcade shooter school of video games, Steel Storm is a frantic single and multiplayer shoot ‘em up coming in two parts. Part I is completely free, and will remain so whilst Part II will require a small fee once it has been released.
Set in an alternate universe, you’ve got control of a futuristic hovertank with all the latest in fictional military hardware. It is then up to you to use your firepower to destroy hordes of extra-terrestrial invaders. You know, the usual stuff.
The game takes advantage of the free DarkPlaces 3D engine and the models, world and visual effects marry well with the game’s fast pace. There’s even an in-game mission editor included, to create your own campaigns from scratch.
Further Free Gaming
There’s plenty of other great free projects out there, and we’ve highlighted a couple in the past. Simon picked 5 of the best first person shooters, whilst if you’re a Transport Tycoon veteran there’s a couple of freeware alternatives you can choose from.
There’s also a decent selection of free games that make up part of a retail series to occupy your time, and if you’re after some more MMO action then maybe you should try one of these three. There’s even a decent selection of Mario clones.
Last of all if you fancy giving it a go yourself, there’s a decent selection of free tools to help you on your way.
Did any of these games take your fancy? Any other free games you know of that rock? Fill us in with the details in the comments!