Monday, June 22, 2009

25 awesome Cross-platform games you can download for free

Regardless of what operating system you run on your computer, it doesn't have to be all work and no play. Heck, that could turn you into some kind of axe-wielding homicidal maniac bent on destroying your own family while watching over a remote resort hotel in the dead of winter.

I'd certainly never want that to happen to any of our DownloadSquad readers, so here's a list of games that you can install on Windows, Mac, and Linux (and some even on BeOS and BSD). Enjoy!

...And, as usual, if there's a particularly killer cross-platform game that I didn't include, feel free to post it in the comments -- and tell us why you love it!

Battle for Wesnoth - One of the best known open source games around, Wesnoth is an excellent fantasy-themed turn-based strategy game. There's plenty here to keep you busy - multiple campaigns and large maps, and online multiplayer for when you grow weary of playing on your own.

Battle Tanks - It's got colorful, cartoonish graphics, massive explosions, tanks....And best of all, it's got multiplayer. What could be more fun than blowing up your friends while causing immeasurable damage to an unsuspecting city?

Bos Wars - Realtime strategy in the future. With rocket tanks. That's a thousand times cooler than sharks with laser beams on their heads.

Crack Attack - No, it's not a Dope Wars clone - it's similar to Bejewelled or any of the other click-and-eliminate-blocks games that have been created by world + dog over the past few years. Bonus points to the developer for his awesome advanced features page.

Cube2: Sauerbraten - Another excellent open source FPS. One of the coolest things about it is that you can build and edit levels while you're in the game. There's also Quadropolis, a massive repository of goodies for the Cube engine including maps, scripts, and mods.

Eat the Whistle - If you're into uber-realist sports games, go ahead and scroll right past this one. If, however, you enjoy a little bit of humor and some old-school visuals, Eat the Whistle is a must-have download. Features sim, career, and arcade (complete with power-ups) modes.

FreeCiv - Another cornerstone of open source gaming. Inspired by Sid Meier's classic series, FreeCiv challenges you to develop your civilization from primitive roots into a thriving, modern society. Multiplayer mode support up to 30 (yes, 30) players. With more than 100 playable nations and 29 translations, FreeCiv is a truly international Time Waster.

FreeDroid - A modern take on the C64 classic Paradroid. It's a rich, futuristic RPG with plenty of robot butt kicking. In addition to dozens of different weapons, there's also a wide range of magic attacks, and you can even take control of your enemies and use them against each other.

Frets on Fire - If you've been looking for an excuse to rock out with your keyboard, go download Frets on Fire now. Tell your office mates your learning to play like Vadim Pruzhanov. Sure, he plays a different kind of keyboard, but it's still badass.

Glest - This fantasy themed RTS pits the opposing factions of magic and technology against each other. Do battle with mages, dragons, archers, horsemen, ornithopters, and more. If you grow weary of Glest itself, there are plenty of mods you can download to breath new life into the game.

Globulation 2 - A slick RTS that lets you focus on the "S" by intelligently handling part of the nettlesome micro-management this type of game usually requires. The game's built-in tutorial will help you learn how to build a powerful creature civilization that will be the envy creatures.

Grid Wars 2 - There are times when playing this game makes you feel like you're trying to take on Asteroids, Tempest, and Gyruss all at once. If you like space shooters, bright, stunning visual,s and frantic gameplay, Grid Wars 2 will keep you riveted.

Hedgewars / Wormux - Two different takes on the turn-based goodness inspired by Worms. Both games feature awesome, cartoony graphics and fun gameplay, though I'm partial to Wormux (it may have something to do with the Gnu cannon).

LinCity - This popular open source city simulation hit version 2.0 this year, and it's looking better than ever. Manage your resources, keep people happy, and watch your creation grow into a booming metropolis - or cram everyone into spaceships and get the heck out of dodge - either way, you win!

Vega Strike - VS provides the backbone for a number of remix projects (like Pi Armada, Privateer Gemini Gold, and Parallel Universe). Explore space, build a trading empire, and blast your opponents to space dust. Plus, they just got their 'Super Ultra Cool Sound Systems' (SUCSS?) working last month.

Warsow - Warsow's developer credit Quakeworld, Quake CPMA, Jet Set Radio, and Speedball for inspiring aspects of their game, and it's a combination that really works. The game's fast pace and cell-shaded graphics work well together. Other cool features: dual firing modes (weak and strong) for weapons, wall jump, ramp slides, dashing, and dodging.

Widelands - If you enjoyed playing the Settlers games and haven't tried Widelands yet, now's the time. Lead your tribe to glory in single-player mode, or go multiplayer on your LAN or over the Internet. You and your friends can unite to form glorious new empires - or just try to kick the snot out of each other.

Wolfenstien: Enemy Territory - Mein Leben! Ok, so that was from the old, old Wolfenstein. The idea is the same: shoot all the bad guys or they'll shoot you (or blow you up). The links will take you to Planet Wolfenstein where you'll find downloads for all three OSes, map editors, source code, and more.

Yo Frankie! - Built on the Blender Game Engine, Yo Frankie is as good a 3d platformer as you'll find for free. There's lots of lighthearted action to enjoy, and new levels are constantly being developed by an enthusiastic community.

Neverball - If Marble Madness was cool, Neverball is absolute zero. Use your mouse to tilt the playing surface and manouver the ball to collect coins and reach the goal marker. The download also includes Neverputt, which is exactly what you think it is - a tilt-and-roll miniature golf game.

Phun - Two-dimensional physics sandbox tomfoolery! Create all kinds of crazy arrangements then turn Phun loose and see what happens. Objects can be made out of different materials, and they react in different ways. See how gravity, friction, and wind affect things. If only grade 12 physics had been this much fun...

Scourge - Scourge bills their project as a "graphical Rogue-like game." If that's true, think of Rogue as the plate and Scourge as a multi-layer, fancily decorated cake piled atop it. It's packed with open source Dungeons and Dragons style action. The project has some ambitious goals and is looking for contributors - if you enjoy playing it and can offer your skills, find the team on the #scourge IRC channel on Freenode.

Smokin' Guns - Take a Quake3-powered FPS, slather on some Briscoe County, Jr., and you've got Smokin' Guns. You can almost smell the black powder and road apples. It's good, old-fashioned, Wild West fun.

Vacuum Magic - If Luigi's Mansion left you thinking all vacuum-based games sucked, give this 2d side-scroller a try. It's just you and your mystical 'vacuum field' against all manner of nefarious critters. Suck in certain beasts and food items and you can spit 'em back out to inflict damage.

VDrift - Ever wished you could be just like Vin Diesel? I wouldn't go sharing that with too many people. On a related note, VDrift is an awesome 3D drift racing sim. The latest version boasts a smarter AI, better physics, new sounds, and improved overall performance.

FreeCol - Oh crap, I'm in trouble. As if I hadn't blown enough time over the years on the various Colonization/Civlization games. Explore new lands, build a nation, survive, and win! Thanks towcroskeys for suggesting this one!

Neuiz / Tremulous / Urban Terror - I included Nexuiz and Tremulous on a previous post, but all three of these great FPS games are worth mentioning again. There you go, zezke!

OpenArena / Alien Arena - By now you've noticed that cross-platform, open source gaming and FPS go hand in hand. Two more great choices, and as posted by 404 it may just have the most polished visuals of any in the bunch. Thanks to him, and to Austen for OpenArena!

Scorched 3D - A remake of the classic turn-based artillery game. Challenge other players online and be sure to check out some of the interesting mods, like Christmas and Stone Age. Big ba-da-boom. Thanks, Randy!

Warzone 2100 - Thanks to, er, John Doe for offering Warzone - a 3D RTS set in the future with a massive number of technologies (over 400) and units (more than 2,000). Multiplayer mode supports up to eight players.

Want more RTS action? Check out the list of games built on the Spring Engine, which feature themes like Star Wars, Gundam, and WWII (Spring: 1944). Thanks, Waldo!


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