Weekly Free Games: October 2015

October is a banner month for free games, and also a banner month for paid games. I need to get this up quickly because some of these XBox games expire on the 15th, but a combination of better than usual freebies, longer than usual freebies, and Rock Band 4 have made this take a very long time.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (XBox One)

I played through the initial release of this game on, I believe, the 360 back when it came out. The XBox One version is much the same - very good, but less of an emphasis on puzzles and actual tomb raiding and more of an emphasis on Uncharted-style platforming and combat. Which I'm fine with, but I hope the sequel shifts the balance back. This version is ostensibly prettier, but without doing a side-by-side, I don't see much difference from my two year old memories.

Crysis 3 (XBox 360)

Fun fact - before I started Oldnerd, I downloaded a free Crysis 3 for PS3 and never played it. Anyway, I played the 360 version for this column, and it's fine? It's a stealthy shooter that mostly involved, in the part I played, sneaking around and shooting people in the head while wearing your invisibility suit. They gave me a Very Important Bow, and then I somehow swapped it out for a regular goon gun by accident and could not find the bow again, so I guess it wasn't that important.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War (XBox One)

This is another game I got for free before and never got around to playing, athough there's less of an excuse for it, because I generally enjoy all the Ubi Art Framework games I'd played before. It's an odd game. A cartoon-styled World Wor One game (the definive War Is Bad war) that's also a side-scrolling action puzzle game with very few words and a lot of bottle-throwing. Definitely worth a look.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (XBox 360)

Congratulations, Solid Snake! You've gone free on three different consoles so far! I'm not downloading this to see how much uglier it is than on next-gen systems because I'm not sitting through that ten minute intro movie again.

Super Meat Boy (PS4, Vita)

The indie classic returns, and for free! I thought I'd played this, then I realized I'd played Super Crate Boy, which is not the same game. This is a tiny character large level super hard platformer along the lines of N+, and gets bonus points for not being obnoxious with the pixel art.

The Broken Age (PS4, Vita)

This game has a lot of unpleasant history behind it - a wildly successful Kickstarter from a beloved developer (Double Fine), followed by delays, a split into two, eventual completion, and general disappointment. For free on consoles... well, it's a point and click adventure, and I spent the first 20 minutes in what was an incredibly accurate simulation of being forced to do pointless simple fake puzzles by a computer. It certainly created a mood of pointless ennui, but I think it was too effective. I'm sure at some point I'll find the right combination to break the character free of his weird cheery simulation, but I'm not sure I care.

Unmechanical: Extended (PS4, PS3)

Float around and solve the same switch and weight physics puzzles you've always solved. Gets very annoying very fast.

Chariot (PS3)

This was free on the One almost a year ago, and is a perfectly decent co-op platformer in the vein of an ibb and obb. You and your co-hort cooperate to solve platforming puzzles, or, if you're by yourself, control both characters and have less fun.

Kickbeat (PS3, Vita)

I can't count how many times I almost bought this on sale in the past year or so. I'm not sure I'm glad I didn't or not. Kickbeat is a classic button-pressing rhythm game. It's hook is that the thing that tells you what buttons to press when is enemies circling you and attacking you in patterns, and when you succeed, you beat the shit out of them. It's good but it acts like it's great. I want to love it, but I only like it. Plus, my tolerance for alternate forms of music game notation is at rock bottom right now thanks to Rock Band 4. Worth a look.

Kung Fu Rabbit (PS3, Vita)

An awful-to-mediocre platformer. Avoid.

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iPhone

I keep scanning these for games for my iPhone, and never see any.

Carpal Tunnel

Ha - are you trying to kill me? The number of free iOS games each month is like a million, and 999,999 of them are awful.

It's not free, but if you have the Rogue/Nethack receptors in your brain, play Sproggiwood. It's awesome.

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