With Playstation 4 in a commanding lead this console generation and a Playstation Plus subsription now a requirement for users to play games online with their friends, Sony has far less incentive to pull out the big guns each month with their “free” incentive titles.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean their choices are bad. Let’s have a look at their first lineup of 2017.
- Day of the Tentacle: Remastered – PS4, Vita
- Titan Souls – PS4, Vita
- This War of Mine: The Little Ones – PS4
- The Swindle – PS4, PS3, Vita
- Azkend 2: The World Beneath – PS4, Vita
- Blazerush – PS3
Lots of cross-buy action this month, which is always good as a Vita owner.
I’m completely unfamiliar with Blazerush on PS3, but judging by the description on the Playstation Store it appears to be a multi-player arcade racer with an isometric viewpoint. It supports up to 4-players locally and 8-players online, and while it doesn’t look terrible, it’s only going for $2.50 right now. Not exactly thrilling.
Although Blazerush is also available on PS4, it does not support cross-buy.
I’ve never played This War of Mine: The Little Ones either. It appears to be a depressing survival/adventure game with crafting mechanics, but with a dash of Fallout Shelter thrown in.
There was a bit of buzz surrounding the game’s PC release and the PS4 version comes packed in with The Little Ones DLC, adding children to the mix of survivors. It normally retails for $29.99 on PSN.
Day of the Tentacle: Remastered is a fantastically comedic point-and-click adventure game by Double Fine and is the direct sequel to the cult classic Maniac Mansion. There’s even a fully playable version of Maniac Mansion tucked away as a mini-game, if you’ve never played it before.
Tim Schafer’s LucasArts classic features plenty of clever puzzles and genuinely funny dialogue, as you collect and flush items (yes, flush) to three different characters in three different time periods to prevent an evil tentacle from taking over the world. It’s also an extremely easy platinum trophy, if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Titan Souls is a bit like The Legend of Zelda-meets-Dark Souls, but as a boss rush game. You get a magical bow that can fire a single retrievable arrow, along with a dodge roll, and each of the game’s menacing bosses die in one hit. Sounds easy enough, but it’s far from it.
Each of the bosses have their own pattern to learn and weakness to exploit, and knowing that each of you can be felled with a single blow feels just as tense as battling someone in Dark Souls when you’re both running on a mere sliver of life. It’s exhilarating. The boss rush nature of the game also makes it a perfect to-go title on Vita or as a quick fix on PS4.
I played a bit of The Swindle when it launched and didn’t really care for it. It’s a 2D procedurally generated heist game where you have 100 in-game days to infiltrate Scotland Yard and prevent the distribution of a surveillance system powerful enough to eradicate crime forever. As a thief, that’s a bad thing.
Similar to Rogue Legacy, you’re given a new thief after every death but you can make each subsequent attempt a bit easier by purchasing upgrades prior to losing your stash forever. It’s a neat idea in theory, but the randomized nature of the heists often left me with little to do (since they’d often have loot stored behind objects that required specific tools that I hadn’t purchased yet).
The Swindle’s procedural nature can be relentless as well, giving you a steady stream of poorly itemized layouts that can permanently hinder your progress if you’re not given enough cash to proceed. Having to deal with permadeath, randomization, and a 100-day time limit was just a bit too much to have any fun. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it more than I did.
And finally, Azkend 2: The World Beneath is a casual matching/hidden object game on PS4 and Vita that resembles just about any other similar game on mobile devices, but with the added bonus of some rather stellar art pieces. It’s not a match-three, but rather a game where you trace your finger along matching tiles that are side-by-side in order to meet specific objectives. It’s definitely interesting and I enjoyed what I played when I reviewed it, but it’s not exactly a stand-out title.
What do you think of next month’s lineup? Looking forward to anything? This War of Mine: The Little Ones is the only thing I’m curious about that I haven’t already purchased myself or received for review.