Monday, August 8, 2016

Monthly Free Games (Aug 2016)

One big standout for me this week, plus a handful of solid niche titles and a few duds. Really, overall, a pretty solid month.a

Tricky Towers (PS4)

This game tasks you with trying to stack Tetris blocks to a certain height in a certain amount of time in a real physics environment with gravity and shit. Which means your towers fall over a lot. If you do not find this the most annoying thing ever, you might like this.

Rebel Galaxy (PS4)

One of the reasons this took me as long as it did is that I spent time I was planning to spend playing other games playing this one. I mean, structurally, it's pretty much Every Space Game Ever - combat, trading, mining, and ship upgrading, and story missions. Fly there, grab that, shoot this, salvage, shoot asteroids, sell things. Where it distinguishes itself is in two key areas. The first is it all takes place in a 2D plane, which sounds weird for a space game but is actually a simplification I didn't know I craved until I had it. There's vertical aiming and shooting, but no vertical movement, and it lets you focus on everything else. The other change is a sort of Redneck Firefly setting with lots of Southern accents, steel guitar, and Southern rock. That gets a little old, and you'll want to crank down the music volume. But it's really addictive.

Ultratron (PS4/PS3/Vita)

This is one of those indie riffs on a classic arcade game (in this case, Robotron) that you'll play once or twice because it was free and you'll kind of like it but the next time you think "what should I play", it will not be the answer. I'd actually been thinking of how much it reminded me of Titan Attacks (in that case, Space Invaders) in that way and then I realized it's the same developer.

Tumblestone (XBox One)

This is a color matching game with an interesting twist - basically, you're given a pile of colored blocks hanging from the top of the Traditional Vertical Puzzle Playfield and you have to choose matching ones in groups of three, hopefully revealing tiles that will let you keep matching groups of three until they're all gone. It's... OK? I want to like it more than it lets me like it. Just like it wants me to like it's cute characters and dialogue way out of proportion to the quality of those characters and dialogue. It's a good free game because you might really like it.

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate (XBox One)

This is a Koei-Tecmo Warriors game - a 3D hack and slash against hordes of enemies. Apparently this series is a crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors, which means anyone who gives a shit about these games already owns it and anyone who doesn't is playing Dragon Quest Heroes or Hyrule Warriors instead.

Yakuza 5 (PS3)

I tried, game. I really tried. I sat through your 23GB download. I played Rebel Galaxy during your 20+ minute game install. I sat through half an hour of opening cut-scenes. I was then tasked with buying a gift for a taxi company I had offended in one of the opening cutscenes. I ran all over town and visited five stores, none of which sold gifts for offended taxi companies. This is a very Japanese thing for a game to do. It's some Shenmue-level bullshit. Anyway, I assume at some point the game turns into the open-world Japanese mob GTA-style game I understand the series is, but I couldn't get to it.

Retro/Grade (PS3)

This is clever. It's a rhythm game, but the context is a 2D shooting game played backwards. So, according to the rhythm patterns, you're absorbing your own laser shots as enemies reform, dodging bullets from behind, etc. The rhythm part of the game is fairly standard and competently executed, and the whole thing is overall worth a download to see if it gets its hooks into you.

Tron: Evolution (XBox 360)

Not what I expected. If you ever played "Prince of Persia", by which I mean the XBox 360/PS3 era 3D open-ish world game that was pretty good, this is basically that with Tron: Legacy graphics and prequel story and trappings. And a much worse camera. Worth a shot but it may be a bit too old and clunky for modern sensibilities.

Spelunky (XBox 360)

Spelunky's been free a lot. A lot of different platforms. You either groove on its brand of super-tough retro dig-platforming, or you don't. I don't. But lots of people do.

Patapon 3 (PS Vita)

Another old PSP game goes free on Vita. I always enjoyed the Patapon games up to a point, and this one's no different. Weird rhythm-based tactical 2D squad combat. Seems largely unchanged from the original except MOAR FEATURES and a longer intro. Shame it's not on another system.


  1. Annnnnnd...WWE 2k16? I mean, I going to get it. Of course I'm going to take it.

    It has to be better than the last WWE game I bought.

  2. Hey, it's not my fault CERTAIN CORPORATIONS COUGH COUGH decide to put out half their free games in the second half of the month, forcing me to bump them to the following month unless I've played 'em before.

    I'm hoping WWE 2K16 keeps me from bying WWE 2K17, because with Shinsuke Nakamura in '17, I will be very tempted regardless of game quality.

  3. Oh, right. The weird time-shifted schedule.