Updated: February 3, 2012
Long time no see. It's been a while since I've last written a mega-game compilation. You may believe that I've given up Linux games. Not at all. Linux gaming is alive and kicking. Not moving forward quite as fast as I'd like, but some games are making tremendous progress, others are sending awareness waves through the fabric of humanity, others yet are fresh new titles, a testament to the slow, yet persistent growth of Linux on the domestic market. More commercial games would be nice, but we're not here to debate finance or politics. Not much anyway.
Truth to be told, one day, I am going to run out of available titles for these kinds of reviews, so we will have to switch back to single game articles only. Not today. Luckily for you, I've managed to lay my hands on several more useful games, which you will probably like. Let's see what we have.
Red Eclipse is a free, open-source first person shooter based on the Cube engine. Like most similar titles, it is fast, lightweight and easily extensible, including a built-in map editor. The game also has a campaign, as well as many other modes, like CTF, DTF, time trial, the classic deathmatch, and others. More importantly, you can use the so-called mutators to boost your gameplay. For instance, using medieval will turn your weapons into swords. Vampire mode lets you leech the life points off other players by coming in contact with them. There's also the ballistic mutator where everything happens artillery-style. And tons of maps to choose from.
The game comes with a moderately decent graphics and some retro-robotic voice sound effects, but the overall effect is not detrimental to the sensation of fun. In a way, Red Eclipse is somewhat superior to many other similar games, as it is slightly less predictable and a tad quicker. You also get all kinds of special moves, like wall jump, slide, impulse boost, and other tricks. Playing against both bots and humans alike is fun.
We reviewed Glest in the past, but now there's MegaGlest. The main reason for the forking is the fact Glest has not seen any active development since 2009. And as you may have guessed, MegaGlest is also a 3D real-time strategy game somewhat similar to Warcraft. You can play as any one of seven factions, forever alone or online against other humans. The nice part about the game is the subtle asymmetry of characters' strengths and weaknesses, which vary between different nations, contributing to strategic depth and adding an element of unpredictability. It also helps balance out some of the common Zerg-rushing tactics typical to most RTS games.
MegaGlest allows you to complete a tutorial to get familiarized with the controls and units. If you've played any one strategy, you'll blend in nicely. It comes down to managing your resources, hoarding gold, wood, metal, rock, and food, while building a strong and powerful army that will repel your foes. Like in Warcraft, you will be limited by your food, which is consumed most unequally by different units. This forces you to compromise and plan carefully, as peasants do not cost as much as footmen. So which one do you prefer?
I spent about two hours playing the game, getting constantly pummeled by the AI, which always managed to collect less resources than me but always had one or two more combat units. I guess the goal is to bunker down and survive the first onslaught and then move on to the offensive. Still, it was ok overall. MegaGlest gameplay is reasonable, although it could be smoother, and a little more exciting and engaging. The problem is that you feel somewhat detached from your villagers. It's a game, but the fantasy story aroma is missing.
Stunt Rally is a lesser known racing game, based on the VDrift engine. It is designed to be fun and challenging and realistic. Now, I must admit that every single racer feels like a kiddie arcade after Live For Speed. In this regard, Stunt Rally is no different from a host of other free and non-free racers out there. Still, it is a nice game.
The car control is fairly tricky, so you should probably play the game with a wheel. If you stick to keyboard buttons, you will struggle somewhat while cornering, as the force feedback is rather aggressive, and you will have to compensate quite hard to maintain your racing line. Along with a really wide range of tracks and a unique collection of carts, Stunt Rally offers a spoonful of joy for the racing enthused fans.
Blood Frontier is another Cube2-based first person shooter, or rather a total Sauerbraten conversion. However, it seems less advanced than Red Eclipse, in terms of development and game features, including a non-existent website save for the generic Sourceforge page. Not surprising as the project has been discontinued. Still, when it comes down to game mechanics, you can find it in the PlayDeb repository, and it behaves well overall. The choice of game types and available maps is passable, so if you feel like trying another shooter, then you might want to take a look. All in all, it's free.
This name rather funnily rhymes with mongoloids, so you get a whole bunch of unintended innuendo laced in a single game name, fun, fungi, morons, what a joy. On a slightly more serious note, Funguloids is a quick, addictive 3D arcade, where you play a space-flying mushroom collector in a space-like gravity-reduced environment, tasked with collecting mushrooms and avoiding free-floating asteroids. Nothing more. Except you gotta have quick fingers to best the physics. Add some fancy effects and a soothing music, and you're all set. And some of those top-level effects really look charming. Straightforward, yet cunning and really fun. A mind-blasting stress relief game.
And some more cool games, do take a look below.
All of my Linux gaming stuff, some 100+ titles, take a deep breath and commence!
Linux Gamers' Game List
That concludes this compilation. Like the last time, we have five games - one real-time strategy, one racer, one quirky physics arcade, and two full-blooded first person shooters. All bear the rather comfortable price tag of zero, so you should have some time and hopefully fun testing and exploring. All of the games are available either through the official repositories, PlayDeb or djl. That would be all.
Feel free to send me updates and suggestions. We have several more Linux-based single game reviews coming, so stay tuned. And quite soon. I believe I will take most of the games presented three or four years back taken for another spin. It will be fun to see how much progress was made since. Or not. Either way, party on.