Sony’s PlayStation Plus is a subscription-based service that allows members to get weekly and monthly access to discounted games on the PlayStation Network, as well as the occasional free game. Sony has calculated that the $50/year service has granted thousands of dollars in savings.
Everyone loves free games, but nobody likes a free game that’s a piece of HDD-hogging garbage. “In PlayStation Plus We Trust” is a new weekly feature outlining the new free addition(s) to the Instant Game Collection to help you decide whether that newest freebie in the Store is worth your time.
This week, we get to look at a unique adventure/visual novel called Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward.
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (Vita)
Unique, indeed. Weird, even. The spiritual successor to 999 finds nine people trapped in a warehouse and forced to play a deadly game lest they get killed by the mysterious bracelets around their wrists. This is quite a game, blending a twisty visual novel with point-and-click style adventure-puzzle gameplay. You can interact with pretty much anything in each room, collecting items and clues that help with escaping from each area. Some of the puzzles are pretty clever, while others require supreme cleverness to decipher. An adjustable difficulty is a godsend, while a slightly convoluted inventory system could have used a bit more smoothing to reduce the number of clicks to get through.
That said, Virtue’s Last Reward is by far one of the most unique games on the PSN store. It’s a little odd, and it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. But the strong mix of puzzles, the full voice work, the sharp, mature story, and the ability to choose who to trust and who to doubt, makes it worth a download to play around with and see if it captures your heart.
Verdict: Not For Everyone
Creat Studios Summer Survival Pack (PS3)
Creat Studios gets a bunch of its title put under one umbrella and sold for one pretty attractive price. This pack, which is a $15.99 for Plus members, includes Mushroom Wars and its DLC, Germinator, Labyrinth Legends, Digger HD, Pinballistik, Test Yourself, and Psych Yourself. I’ve only played a couple of these games but Creat Studios generally puts out quality titles, so take a look at the roster and see if anything strikes your fancy.
Fat Princess (PS3 and PSP)
I never played this multiplayer-based arena game, but the concept of trying to escort an overfed princess before she explodes is just silly enough to be worth a look. The game has quite the cult following, so with the $3.75 Plus price point for both the PS3 and PSP versions, now might be a great time to see what all the hype is about.
Espace Plan (Vita)
This was one of the earlier Vita titles, and as such takes advantage of the Vita’s myriad of features in such a way that is occasionally overwhelming, but still satisfying. This is a creative and silly side-scrolling puzzler with a gorgeous aesthetic, and sporting a large number of occasionally-daunting puzzles to muscle through. At the $3.75 Plus discount, it’s definitely worth a look.
Pool Nation (PS3)
This is a game about billiards, so you can throw out any pipe dreams about running your own swimming pool. If you’re into actually playing on the felt, I’d advise watching some trailers about Pool Nation before making a decision. While the game looks really great, I have never heard of it before now and don’t know enough about this genre to give an educated recommendation. You could also go to your local watering hole and play some real pool. You might meet some new friends, even if a beer costs a bit more than the 40% discount to $5.09.
Hydrophobia: Prophecy (PS3)
OK, so…Hydrophobia. If you recall, there was a lot of drama around this game when if first launched, which involved a lot of mediocre and poor reviews, and the game’s developers getting offended. Still, those developers ended up taking the criticism and performing a number of major overhauls to the game, resulting in this version, Prophecy. It’s not amazing, but it’s got a pretty cool story and some super neat water physics. Yes, the action is still repetitive and the platforming doesn’t quite work, but at $.60 (yes, sixty cents) for Plus subscribers, it’s literally costing Sony more to process your credit card transaction than it is for you to try out a game that is, at the very least, worth a look to see if you like it.
That covers this week’s Plus perks! Check in next week for the new round of deals and freebies!