Mags plays the games so you don't have to
Every month PlayStation Plus and Xbox live Gold Members are given the opportunity to download previously available paid for games for free. These can be downloadable only titles or games that were previously released on disc. If you don't buy a lot of games this can be a way to expand your gaming library for cheap as the annual subscription alone for each console would cover just one game, around £35.00.
This month on Xbox we were given the opportunity to own the latest Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite on Xbox 360 and Rayman Legends and #IDARB on Xbox One. Having played three of those I can heartily recommend them and although Tomb Raider is more Far Cry than the Lara we're used to it's still a cracking game and well worth a few hours of your time. Bioshock Infinite, while not set in the same claustrophobic underground city of Rapture and without the menacing Splicers and Big Daddys of the previous titles is nevertheless and thoroughly satisfying and elegant gaming experience. Not having an Xbox One, I've never played even a demo of #IDARB, which is apparently "a chaotic 8-player eSport jumping future arena ball game" Sounds fun, but not my sort of thing. Rayman Legends, however, is a brilliantly fun single or multiplayer platformer that was released on both consoles and would make a fun addition to any gamers collection, although if you are playing it with more than one person, you might have to 'drop out' every once in a while to avoid some of the obstacles.
Over on PlayStation Network this month there is also an excellent choice of freebies. First up for the PS4 is Oddworld: Abe Oddysee - New 'n' Tasty. It a reboot of the original Abe's Oddysee which I played many, many moons ago on the PS2 and thoroughly enjoyed. If I had a PS4 it would be top of my list. I'd also nab Valiant Hearts: The Great War, which I played on Xbox 360 towards the end of last year. An engrossing puzzle/platformer with a devastating storyline, as you would expect for something based on WWI. The final game for PS4 (and the handheld PS Vita) is OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood, a skateboarding game. On the PS3 this month there is Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments, you may remember I played this on Xbox 360 so, have naturally nabbed for the PS3 to run through it again and get another Platinum to my name. The other two titles are/were downloadable only. First up is CounterSpy and side scrolling, Cold War, stealthy, shooty-like thing which reminds me of The Man from UNCLE. It's not as easy as it looks and the levels are randomly generated so if you die and go back the 'baddies' are not in the same places. I've not really played that much of it and if I run out of space on my hard drive it will be one the first to go, if I'm honest. A slight distraction, nothing more.
The last game for this month on PS3 is Papo and Yo. The story of schoolboy Quico and his sometimes very scary friend, Monster. It's a quite surreal puzzler, with it's flying and walking buildings and oil drums. Monster loves coconuts and will throw footballs back to you, as well as help you get past some of the gates and walls needed to reach the 'Shaman'. You are aided by your robot toy, Lula, who can help you unlock puzzle stairs and platforms. There's nothing quite as fun as throwing a big green frog against a wall and watch it splat, but watch out, if Monster eats one he gets mad. Really mad. He turns bright red, has fire all over his body and will pick you up, stick you in his mouth and throw you away. Your only chance to calm him down is to make him ill with a blue fruit. At the end of the game when you reach the Shaman you realise that Monster is your Father (Papo) the frogs are his addiction and you (Yo) are the only one that can help him. It's quite a short game, but needs to be played through twice because there are hats that you can collect the second time which gives you a trophy if you get them all. Also if used any hints this first time round, which you did by sticking a box over your head, you shouldn't need the second time round and you can bag another trophy for not using those as well. The puzzles are very satisfying, almost instinctive and if you've never seen a building walking on stilts and like throwing frogs at walls, this is definitely for you.
A veritable cornucopia of delights this month, as you can see. I wonder what next month will hold? Watch this space.