Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
What is Mindless about, exactly? A boat drops your character off on a small island populated by two feuding populations—one green, one red. A gray-haired figure warns you not to mess with either of them. But you’re the curious type. Ignore that guy. Members of both sides share hateful things about the other’s religious beliefs, and their leaders hand you a mission. It’s a grim one: They want you to wield a sword and massacre the other side, including its children. Your decision to follow orders, go rogue, or simply get on your boat and leave is what determines your rank at the game’s end, where you can earn one of 12 titles like “mindless” or “balanced.” The whole process takes a few minutes.
The Super Nintendo-styled visuals give the game a playful feel, although Amidos, its creator, had something more serious in mind. He lays out the subtext in the description, dubbing Mindless “an adventure game about political views in Egypt.” So, in conclusion, he doesn’t think much of the political discourse. Case in point: If you leave without hurting or talking to anyone, you’re labeled “coward.” Digging a bit more yields a “balanced” badge. It might seem didactic, but the cartoony exercise is worthwhile, both as a diversion and a prompt for further investigation.