Sony Fires Off Multiple MP Options in April’s PS+ Freebies
Another month, another slate of unexceptional games from Sony to fill out their PS+ free offerings. This round, they’ve deliberately focused on a broad range of games with multiplayer capabilities, spanning from brawlers to shooters and Pokemon clones. They’re once again lacking a potent title in their lineup, though, which makes it yet another month full of unique but shrug-worthy indies for their subscribers. Let’s dig into the games.
Drawn to Death
From Okami’s watercolor aesthetic to the upcoming game Cuphead that mirrors a classic cartoon, games that adopt the look of hand-drawn or handcrafted artwork come preloaded with a degree of charm. The experience in seeing analog artistry rendered in a digital realm can help games overcome run-of-the-mill controls or level design, even going so far as to provide a unique form of narrative in the reason for their existence. Drawn to Death doesn’t quite get to those depths, but the concept behind this multiplayer shooter does add a little something extra. Violent visuals are sketched out on lined paper to resemble the doodles of a school-aged kid, while also exploring the kind of warped imagination one might expect out of ‘em: belching zombies, machine gun toting teddy bears, and giant pencils as instant-death hazards in a wide array of landscapes. Drawn to Death was released for free on its street date.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Just a few short months after appearing as a freebie for that other console’s membership service, Sony has made available Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime for PS+ members to download. Before, I likened the experience to the cooperative synergy found between the band of misfits aboard the Millenium Falcon in the original Star Wars, notably the scene where they escaped and engaged in a dog fight with the Empire’a aerial forces. It’s the kind of scenario that Han Solo probably couldn’t have gotten out of by himself, just like Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime isn’t really the kind of game one should be engage by themselves, as a big chunk of the fun here comes in multiple players bouncing between stations while navigating their airship.
Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom
From Pokemon to Skylanders and everything in between, it’s hard to keep track of all those youth-oriented gaming franchises built around collecting certain kinds of critters. Invizimals has previously operated as a PS Portable version of Pokemon, in which the player collects and trains outlandish animals for the purposes of squaring off with others. This latest installment, The Lost Kingdom, was released in tandem with the PS Vita’s Invizimals: The Alliance for the purposes of cross-platform competition. Critics have summed up The Lost Kingdom as little more than a functional platform game with very little interest to those outside the game’s central demographic: kids who aren’t involved with the multitude of other catch-‘em-all franchises.
This shooter from CI Games doesn’t concern itself with innovation or gripping storytelling, instead sticking to the basics in its linear levels and first-person gunplay against, well, aliens. The way it attempts to distinguish itself is through spiked difficulty, which instead yields a frustrating and bland shooting experience that doesn’t offset its mundane progression through uninteresting maps and bland boss battles. Some have cited its competitive multiplayer as a redeeming factor, though there’s no shortage of sci-fi MP experiences out there.
10 Second Ninja
The title is self-explanatory: you have ten seconds to zip your ninja character across platform levels to eliminate the robot baddies occupying the area. The quicker you do so, the higher star rating you’ll obtain … and getting a high star rating isn’t easy. Those who’ve endured the challenge of Super Meat Boy will find some similarities in 10 Second Ninja, especially when it comes to the escalation of difficulty and the swiftness of vaulting around the levels themselves. There’s a silly story taping it all together involving Robot Hitler, but the time-attack trials throughout a hundred different levels are the reason to hunt this one down.
Curses ‘n Chaos
In Curses ‘n Chaos, two bounty hunters quest after the Elixir of Life in order to lift the curse placed upon them, which draws waves of monsters and other hostile creatures to their location. 8-bit style graphics and distinctly retro music enliven this 2D beat-‘em-up, a blend of fighting-game level layout and mild inventory usage with a few quirky mechanics thrust in there for good measure. Its charms and challenges make for a rewarding experience in either single-player or with an online buddy, though critics have cited that the endurance of said charms will vary depending on the player.