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.
Vita owners finally get something this week with the dark, charming puzzle-platformer Dokuro.
Dokuro is probably unlike anything else you’ve played recently, as it’s some strange hybrid of a puzzler, platformer, and escort game. You’d have good reason to balk at the latter, but Dokuro pulls off the dreaded mode with finesse. The eponymous main character is a small skeleton working for the evil Dark Lord, who captures a princess to marry. Dokuro sees the princess weeping and has a change of heart, deciding to help the princess escape from the trap-filled castle. In a tragic and charming twist, the princess cannot see Dokuro as he moves ahead of her, manipulating switches and blocks and fighting enemies to allow her to progress. The game makes good, occasionally-unresponsive use of the touch screen and touchpad to help with some of the more complex actions such as drawing ropes or transforming into a dashing prince.
The game boasts an extremely appealing art style, imitating the style of classic children’s books, albeit with a darker overall vibe. Puzzles start out fairly simply but ramp up in complexity with tons of moving pieces, forward-thinking and expert timing. This is balanced by having the puzzles broken up into sections that can last as few as 40 seconds, and get a bit longer from there. Only occasionally does it become frustrating, as the princess is sometimes unable to do exactly what you would expect or like her to do. Still, this is a very fun and engaging little game that only the most profound haters of escort games should avoid.
Verdict: Worth Downloading
PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD (Vita)
OK, so I did not play this, nor did I play the original PSP version. However, this update enjoys some pretty stellar reviews across the board along with it’s last-gen sibling. It’s a sharp-looking tower defense game with a few additional elements such as a reward system and more complex tactics than you might expect from a simple tower defense. Unlockable gems give different bonuses and bring changes to the battlefield, giving lots of choice as to which one to use. With some publications claiming there to be hundreds of hours of content here, I just might go for the $12 price point.
Max Payne 3
One of the best games of 2012 is available for a mere $7.99 on Ps3. Rockstar took the reins from previous developer Remedy, and didn’t miss a single beat. The game retains the classic slow-motion gunplay of the first two games, as well as the noir-style narration and grit. Coupled with Rockstar’s stunning Rage and Euphoria engines, the game is quite the looker as well. This one finds Max escaping his past in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a sunny locale that does nothing to diminish the desperately dark tone of the series. It’s intense, violent, and of decent length for a single-player game. Of course, there’s also a great multiplayer mode, and if you go for the $12 Ultimate Edition, you also get all of the multiplayer content that came with the Season Pass.
Enjoy this week’s goodies, and check back next week for more!