4 small games that pack a punch | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 17, 2018

4 small games that pack a punch

AAA games are great. Sometimes, though, you have an itch that needs a different kind of game to be scratched. Maybe you're going on a trip, and need to carry some lightweight games that a laptop can run? Whatever the case, games in the following list fulfil your requirements. And the best part? They're all under 250 MB.


1. TO THE MOON (70 MB)

If you have a heart, To the Moon will find a way to touch it. I urge you to give this a chance. Even though it's an RPG Maker game with pixel graphics, the story it tells is one everyone needs to experience. You get to follow the journey of Johnny, an elderly man with no other family. On his deathbed he wishes he could have lived his life differently and gone to the moon. With the help of some space-age technology, two protagonists travel through Johnny's memories and rearrange his past to achieve this somewhat ridiculous goal. Despite the gameplay being slightly clunky and repetitive, the incredible story and music makes up for it. Completely. The writing is funny at times, serious when it needs to be and carries the emotional tale incredibly well. Developer Kana Gao and musician Laura Shigihara [There's a Zombie on your Lawn] made an incredible soundtrack, there can be no doubt about that. The songs match the nuances of the story, complementing all the ups and downs. In particular, the song that plays during the emotional climax will definitely bring you to tears. Tissues are recommended, but not mandatory.


Imagine a game where, instead of being a hero who saves a galaxy, you're an ordinary citizen working as a border control officer. That may sound like a bad idea on paper, but Papers, Please makes this supposedly boring premise work oh so well. When manning the immigration booth, you have to work with speed to earn enough to sustain your large family and make sure no one starves. But you can't work carelessly. If you fail to regulate border movement, it won't be long before Big Brother is breathing down your neck. As the dystopian country of Arstotzka gets more and more unstable the game forces you into crunch decisions that are as exhilarating as they are terrifying. Maintaining a nine-to-five has never been more intense.

3. RISK OF RAIN (130 MB)

Deception is art, and Risk of Rain is the artist. The game drops your tiny astronaut in a strange alien landscape, where you explore the randomly-generated levels until you find a teleporter to take you to the next level. Along the way you'll dispose of the enemies that spawn and collect items.

Sounds easy, and it would be if it weren't for Risk of Rain's unique difficulty. The longer you play the game, the harder it gets. And it gets very hard, very quickly. Before you know it, the game will cycle through its ten difficulty levels and go from “Very Easy” and “Easy” to “I'M COMING FOR YOU” and “HAHAHAHA”. Most of the time you'll be surrounded by hordes of enemies, barely staying alive. Oh, and did I mention the permadeath?

The game makes dying repeatedly extremely enjoyable. Enemies have unique strengths and weaknesses to analyse. Trying to collect enough items to pose a threat to them is an addicting balancing act. The bosses are appropriately challenging as well, and the music is beautifully composed and fits each (chaotic) setting you'll face.

4. SPELUNKY (200 MB)

This is the best Indiana Jones game. Which is surprising, since this doesn't even feature Indiana jones. What it does have, however, is an unnamed explorer descending into caverns to loot untold treasures. As you traipse down the randomly generated landscapes, you have to fight off your typical cavern fare. Starting from pesky bats to sneks that don't just cause emotional harm in the first few levels. The deeper you go, the more varied the enemies, landscapes and traps become. You'll face off against abominable snowmen, mummies and even the non-sparkly kind of vampire. The best part of Spelunky would have to be its fluid controls. Movement is fast and smooth, and you'll need to build up good reflexes to make jumps and item uses in time to save your life. Along the way you'll be able to buy upgrades like jetpacks, guns, capes and sticky boots. Because why not. None of these make you overpowered, but they do make the journey down more enjoyable. I mean jetpacks, come on.

Are you not entertained? Get these games, and you will be.


With a heart of ash and a PC of potato, Wasique Hasan could use some help. Send help: fb.com/hasique.wasan

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