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Judith free PC indie thriller gameJudith is the kind of game that won’t appeal to die-hard fans of shooters and fast-paced platformers. Created by Terry Cavanagh and Stephen Lavelle, this is a freeware indie game that uses retro 8-bit graphics with old-school sprites to create a memorable experience. The brilliant piano music is also responsible for a great setup of the most important pieces of the adventure. Judit is part game, part interactive story, with a much bigger focus on the latter.

The story begins with two lovers secretly meeting at a place that is for some reason avoided by the locals. Jeff and Emily enter this remarkable castle and soon begin exploring the corridors and rooms, only to get separated from each other. Thus begins Jeff’s quest to find out where Emily went. But the storyline has a major twist that gives it a meaning that the initial minutes wouldn’t infer – this couples’ adventure is intertwined by another story, one of Judith and her unnamed husband. The game will make us regularly switch from Jeff to Judith, each narrative completely independent but making sense when put together.

We won’t spoil the story for you, since it’s fairly easy to grasp by the end of the fifteen minutes it should take to wrap up, but some players may be somewhat confused by the way the game jumps from one character to another without giving any hint on who the player is controlling – however, it’s easy to see, since the screen fades when characters change and the setting may look the same, but some events are very different. Controls are outdated (the cursor keys move and the space bar is the action key) and will take a minute to get used to.

Judith is all about emotions, about two stories that share the location and discovery but are very different. The initial cheerful feeling of the game is quickly replaced by the tension that emanates from the castle, building into a sense of dread and doom that culminates in an ending (or two) that will be loved by some and hated by others. Walking up to the final door is a moment that manages to give the players more chills than many horror games do in their entire duration.

The 8-bit graphics actually work in favor of the game, managing to make Judith a more focused piece, acting just like the best books do: leaving what you don’t see to the imagination. The end will leave you thinking about what you’ve just experienced and that’s possibly the best compliment that we can give to any free game.

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