Monthly Free Games (Mar 2016)

Not a great month for freebies. But at least there are a few odd niche titles that might appeal to people who may have missed them. And one new indie-style game on the PS4.

Styx: Master of Shadows (Xbox One)

This is the mediocre stealth game that was free on PS4 a few months back.

Gears of War 2 (XBox 360)

I'm pretty sure Gears of War 3 is now the only Gears of War game that hasn't been free at some point. Anyway, it's Gears of War. Brown dudes in brown armor taking cover behind gray waist-high ledges to shoot brown aliens.

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment (XBox One)

This was free on the PS3 a few months ago, and it wasn't that interesting then. It's another of those very specific games where, if you like slow-paced walking-around adventure puzzle games, or are super into Sherlock Holmes, then you've already played it, and if you're not, you're not interested in it for free.

Supreme Commander (XBox 360)

Hex grids and unit types. Those words either do something for you, or they don't.

Borderlands (XBox 360)

For some reason, the XBox 360 free game for the second half of the month isn't also available the first two weeks of April, unlike the XBox One game. Luckily, I can cover it now because, well, Borderlands. I loved Borderlands because it was a basic FPS with all the progression and loot hooks of an action-RPG. And while Borderlands 2 is way better, the original is still fun.

Broforce (PS4)

This Is an odd little duck. It's a pixel-art shooter that's almost a zRush'N'Attack writ large, with huge levels and lots of level-destroying explosives and references to action movies. I like it, but I wish more of the game were less obtuse, like, oh, which character you're playing with at any given time and why.

Galak-Z (PS4)

This is a 2D Asteroids-style space shooter that has very large maps with cave systems and such. It's nifty, but it's got an absolutely punishing difficulty, with no lives and no checkpointing. Fuck up and you're loading, and starting, the level over from the beginning, which will drastically limit its appeal.

The Last Guy (PS3)

This is an old, old downloadable game where you play essentially a dot trying to gather up thousands of survivor dots and lead them to safety in a zombie world. It's like a top-down Choplifter. It's not great, but it's unique enough even years later to be worth a download and try.

I Am Alive (PS3)

Despite claims that the excellent but elderly Super Stardust HD would be the other PS3 free game this month, Ubisoft's post-apocalyptic survival game ended up being the freebie. It's a lot like a more primitive Last Of Us, with a weird stamina system that makes Uncharted-style climbing much more perilous. It's also very, very gray. Despite being full of mechanics I generally hate, it kept my attention much longer than I expected, so I'd give it a try.

Flame Over (Vita)

I love the idea of this game - a sort of randomly-generated top-down shooter where you're shooting water at fire, but the controls are really awkward.

Reality Fighters (PS Vita)

Awful fighting game whose hook is that you cn take a picture of your face and creepily map it on an ugly-as-sin low-poly model and punch. Only worth grabbing if you want to see how bad games can be.