March is truly upon us and while you were anticipating seeing the sun more one hour a day, you may not have noticed the collection of games now available for free this month on Playstation Network Plus.
A diverse lineup of titles is up for grabs, provided you have an active membership with.
Free for PS4:
Valiant Hearts: The Great War – From Ubisoft Montpellier comes a game built with the same engine as Rayman: Origins and Child of Light which tells the story of the human element of World War 1. The characters of Valiant Hearts are not anonymous, silent grunts who spend the game looking down the sights of a rifle. Through side-scrolling action, platforming and puzzle-solving, the player guides soldiers and civilians alike through the deadly and destructive conflict that changed the course of history.
When the first truly global armed conflict breaks out, soldiers are drafted, foreigners are deported and families are torn apart as battle lines are drawn. Emile, a French farmer, struggles to survive the hardships of war when he is pressed into service. Freddy, an American volunteer, brashly fights his way through the front lines in pursuit of personal vengeance. Karl is a German native with roots in France and substantial inner conflict, caught between his adopted home and birth nation.
The challenges in Valiant Hearts are story driven and involve a variety of brain teasers, sometimes in the form of disabling a choline gas pump to allow Canadian Army allies to advance or cooking a stew for your German captors. Threats come without warning and the horrific tolls of war are made evident again and again, though the music and art style manage to maintain an oddly light-hearted tone.
Fans of compact, puzzle-based, story-driven games would do well to look into Valiant Hearts.
New N’ Tasty! Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – In case your appetite for 2-D adventure is still going strong, spring for something new and tasty.
Who can forget the classic platformer saga of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee? With its uniquely quirky setting, eerie art direction and unforgettable characters, Abe’s Oddysee carved a place for the Oddworld canon in the gaming landscape. The 1999 cult hit returns in the form of New ‘N Tasty; a bottom-up remake of the original, enhancing the familiar 2D gameplay with sharp 3D graphics and additional level segments.
Fan of the original? Revisit the old classic and experience the adventure again through a modern lens. Never played Abe’s Oddysee before? The time has never been better to do yourself a favor and experience the magic.
Counterspy – Classic spy thriller action in deceptively simple package, Counterspy thrusts the player into a fictionalized tongue-in-cheek version of the Cold War with the task of preventing nuclear disaster. Call on your marksmanship, agility and quick wits to infiltrate the most heavily defended compounds on the planet, break into secure systems and get out without a trace.
By combining 2D platforming with a cover-based shooting system, Counterspy presents itself as a dynamic espionage action title that blends stealth and action with character progression and light elements of strategy. Self-aware humor, stylish neo-noir visuals and an impeccable jazzy soundtrack round out the features. Please note that Counterspy is also available on PS Vita for the month of March. Our own Joe Barhoum reviewed this title and he seems to think it was quite good.
Free on PS3:
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments – Also on the house this month is brain bender that tests the player’s powers of deduction, observation and reasoning far more than their trigger finger. Take on the persona of the world’s most well-renowned detective (no, not Batman) and tackle the toughest of cases by gathering evidence, questioning suspects and conducting expiriments.
While not the most visually or technically impressive game, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments nonetheless offers a fresh entry into crime mystery gaming, backed up by the time-honored legend of Scotland Yard’s greatest ally.
Papo & Yo – The power of childish innocence is palpable indeed; particularly in the game world of Papo & Yo. A young boy attempts to escape from his abusive father and finds himself in a dreamscape taking the form of a Brazilian favela that he can alter in seemingly magical ways.
The gameplay of Papo & Yo centers on the partnership between main character Quico and the wild “Monster” he finds and befriends. Quico works with Monster and the mysterious girl Alejandra to navigate the world and find his way back to the real world.
An engaging, emotional story and charming platforming mechanics make Papo & Yo worth checking out for a quick detour into indie adventure territory.
Free on PS Vita:
OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood – Kickflip, backslide and pop shuvit your way to glory in OlliOlli 2, a new offering from developers Roll7. A sequel to last year’s OlliOlli, Welcome to Olliwood brings fast-paced twitch gameplay to the table in the form of a 2D pixel graphics skateboarding derby. Blaze along the levels and hit all the tricks you can to hit the stop score.
Simple but elegant in its execution, OlliOlli2 is a no-brainer for PSN+ players on the go, especially those with fond memories of the classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games.
Check back next month for another rundown of PSN+ freebies!