By Trevor Walker
This Month on PSN
Not a bad month for Playstation Plus members this time around, with a couple indie titles coming our way, a couple head-scratchers, and an exciting reboot to make for a pretty decent load of free stuff. Discounts aplenty also line the digital shelves, with up to 50% off of some great titles and add-ons.
Available On: PS3, PS4, PS Vita
CounterSpy is the first game ever released from indie developer Dynamighty. It’s not surprising that CounterSpy is so awesome, considering quite a few members of the Dynamighty development team worked with LucasArts and LucasLabs before the studios bit the dust. CounterSpy is a side-scrolling stealth/action game, which doesn’t sound like an operable formula on paper, but comes to life on console. You play as a spy that is tasked with preventing a political race to detonate the moon by stealing intel from either the North American ‘Imperialists’ or the Russian ‘Socialists’. You get to choose, on every level, which side of the conflict you wish to infiltrate. There is always a distinct advantage to each side, offering more valuable intel to sell for upgrades, or maybe more nuclear missile blueprints to move you towards preventing the nuclear holocaust. The game keeps you hooked with various upgrades to skills that will assist in infiltration and combat, as well as unlockable higher difficulties that really make the game a challenge. There’s a lot of gameplay here for free, guys. Playstation Plus members can’t miss this unique addition to Sony’s instant game collection.
Olli Olli 2: Welcome to Olliwood
Available On: PS4, PS Vita
Skateboarding games used to be a pretty big niche. Tony Hawk games were pretty big releases, the kind of games that everybody was always waiting for. Olli Olli 2 is incomparable to any skateboarding game that I know of. It plays out more like a browser-based flash game than a console release, but it’s still a pretty fun little title. It’s tough to get down how to control your skateboarder at first in this side-scroller, but once you get it down, it’s a race to get the highest score before you slam onto the ground. It pretty much comes down to right analog stick movement to perform tricks, left stick flicks to jump, and TIMING. Olli Olli is a good little time waster, with a healthy amount of career levels to burn through and a pretty big ‘tricktionary’ to learn. A nifty little addition to our instant game collection.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments
Available On: PS3
Sherlock Holmes, the great and legendary detective. Every case he’s ever solved has been told and retold many times over. Now, 6 of these famous mysteries are ready for you to relive. Play in either first- or third-person to solve mysteries with the assistance of your faithful assistant Dr. Watson. The six cases are entirely separate, but they are all pretty lengthy and definitely make you think like a detective. Research clues and retrace footsteps to find the answers, all while trying your best to think like Holmes himself. It’s no Heavy Rain, but it’s a comparable and enjoyable little romp through the experiences of the most skilled detective that ever lived. Check it out.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War
Available On: PS4
Valiant Hearts is the kind of game that aims more to evoke emotion than to offer targets to shoot at. Inspired by letters written during World War I, Valiant Hearts won the 2014 Game Award for best narrative and the ‘Game For Change’ 2014 Game Award for its innovative approach to gaming, as well as positive critical reception across the board. Valiant Hearts is a mix between a puzzler and adventure game, but the gameplay isn’t what keeps you hooked. The game narrative is a rich, touching story of desperation, helplessness, and revenge, detailing a small family’s role in the events leading up to the Great War. The story pulls no punches, trying hard to tug on the heartstrings of its audience, especially when the historical accuracy of the game’s events is considered. Valiant Hearts doesn’t offer a massive amount of gameplay, but what is there is golden. This award-winning experience is not to be missed.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty
Available On: PS4
With a pretty big cult following, it’s always exciting to see anything involving Oddworld on the airwaves. New ‘n’ Tasty is a complete graphical redesign of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. Excluding graphical issues, Abe’s Oddysee was ahead of its time as far as platformers go, presenting a genuinely unusual puzzle/platforming experience. This wonderfully-crafted rebuild of the game modernizes a timeless classic game to look and play beautifully on HD screens (Which is good, because the graphics on the Playstation for this particular game were nightmarish). If you didn’t already know the story, Abe and the Mudokons have been slaves their whole lives, and finally grow tired of being subservient, so they bust out and fight for their freedom. The strangeness that ensues on their quest for freedom is what makes this game really worth playing, offering a mix of unusual and creepy that comes together very well, accompanied with a few ‘DID THAT JUST REALLY HAPPEN’ moments. Fanboys/fangirls rejoice, it’s free for the whole month.
Here’s the discounts available for PS Plus members this March.
Fuster Cluck (PS4) – 50% off
HELLDIVERS: Limited Edition (PS3, PS4, PS Vita) – 10% off
PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate (PS4, PS Vita) – 20% off
Q*Bert Rebooted (PS3, PS4, PS Vita) – 30% off
Switch Galaxy Ultra (PS4, PS Vita) – 10% off
The Last Tinker: City of Colors (PS4) – 25% off
Zombie Army Trilogy (PS4) – 20% off
Frozen Synapse Prime (PS3, PS Vita) – 20% off
Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds Complete Collection (PS3) – 20% off
Draw Slasher (PS Vita) – 75% off
PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate HD (PS Vita) – 20% off
ALL My Singing Monsters in-game purchases (PS Vita) – 50% off
Good on you, Sony, making every month a little bit better for us. Check back at the beginning of April for your update on what’s new in the Playstation Store for members, and look no further than /Skill for any updates worth mentioning. ‘Til next time.