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Free Game Friday: Nature’s Sketchbook

Not only is Friday a day to celebrate the oncoming weekend, get a takeaway and go out for a couple of bevvies with your friends and family, for us here at GameSpew it’s time for #FreeGameFriday. That’s right Spewers; it’s the best day of the week.

This week’s choice won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. With little action or adventure, I’d say I’ve nudged more toward an artistic experience than a blow-your-socks-off and melt-your-face sort of affair. Nature’s Sketchbook is a simple little point-and-click strategy game created by seven students at the Centre for Digital Media as an experiment for visual storytelling.

It’s short in its initial playthrough, but with umpteen combinations and a checklist of possible ends; and to take from our darling Boromir: one does not simply play Nature’s Sketchbook once. With a beautiful art style that reminds me quite heartily of The Rivers of Alice, Nature’s Sketchbook is an excellent example of how simplicity can be used for a project’s benefit. You control four elements: rain, heatwave, wind and earthquake, to alter the story and lives of three creatures; a fox, a bird and a man. That’s it. Yet, the gameplay is endearing and with 14 different events to tick off at the end, there’s a strong replay value.

Natures Sketchbook 2

One of the students, @Diptoman, uploaded it recently onto Gamejolt so I’m eager to see its reception and to see if other developers might be inspired to create more laid-back sim games like this. I, for one, will be pleased if they do.

So if you’ve got an hour or four to spare, click the link below and get going. There’s no need to download, just load up and play – though it works best on Internet Explorer. Let us know how you get on in the comments or on Twitter by using #FreeGameFriday, we always love to hear your views, and I’ll speak to you next week, folks.

Click here to play Nature’s Sketchbook for free!

This Queen of the button bash was first christened by the Mega Drive back in the 90s, playing games such as Golden Axe and Primal Rage which lead to her somewhat unhealthy obsession with video games. Now she's a monster, spending more time gaming and writing than she does eating or sleeping. Emily loves daiquiris and games that make you scream - or leave dents in your controller from a crushing white-knuckle grip.