Acclaimed story-driven platformer Horace is currently free on the Epic Games Store

And you've got a week to claim it.

Horace, the ambitious story-driven 2D platformer that Eurogamer's Martin Robinson liked really rather a lot on its release last year, is currently free on the Epic Games Store, meaning you've yet another opportunity to expand your interminable gaming backlog.

Developed by Paul Helman and Sean Scapelhorn, Horace casts players as the titular hero, a small robot "learning of life, the universe and Douglas Adams".

Horace is, at least in part, a richly inventive platformer, offering up its own unique spin on the rather well-worn Metroidvania formula. But it's also very British love letter to video games as a whole, tipping its hat to host of classics through a slightly anarchic, and gently nostalgic array of sharply observed nods, winks, and playable pastiches.

While that perhaps doesn't sound so far removed from countless other games riffing on the wonders of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, Horace really sets itself apart through its unexpectedly cinematic narrative, one with enough warmth and character to inspire Martin to call it "one of the most winningly human games I've played".

"Yes, Horace is thick with references," wrote Martin, "though they're not cloying - they're merely the backdrop to a gently told story of an emerging consciousness, forming the fabric behind the same awakening many of us would have had in our teens in whatever godforsaken corner of this rainy isle that we grew up on.

"It's all rainy afternoons and rundown housing estates with the splashes of colour provided by trips to the VHS rental store and the local arcade."

Horace, for those sufficiently intrigued, is free to download on the Epic Games Store right now and will remain so until next Thursday, 23rd January. And for anyone interested to learn about Horace's lengthy gestation, Martin had a chat with its creator late last year.

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Matt Wales

Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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