With a new month comes a new round of games for Sony's Instant Game Collection, the free game service for PlayStation Plus subscribers. While January's offerings were dominated by big-name downloadable titles, February's free game selection is a little more diverse, with a handful of indie games (including two brand new titles) as well as two older AAA-titles.
The biggest game on the PlayStation 4 is Transistor, the sophomore title from Bastion developer Supergiant games. Transistor focuses on Red, a lounge singer from the city of Cloudbank, who must keep a giant talking broadsword out of enemy hands. The game's a jazzy, cyberpunk-themed RPG that mixes real-time combat with a turn-based strategy planning phase. It's a unique and stylish game; while the combat system isn't for everyone, Transistor received fairly positive reviews, and should be worth checking out.
PlayStation 4 owners also get Apotheon, a brand new 2D action-platformer that's styled after the black-figure artwork on ancient Greek pottery. In Apotheon, gamers take on the role of a dead soldier who must climb Olympus and steal the powers of various Greek gods. The graphics, which look deceptively simple, are the real draw, but Alientrap Games also promises that Apotheon will have a deep, tactical combat system. No button-mashing here.
On the PlayStation 3, Sony's giving away a pair of big-budget games that are a little past their prime. Thief, which came out last year, was widely considered a disappointment. The original Thief game, Thief: The Dark Project, pioneered the stealth genre alongside Metal Gear Solid, with a first-person viewpoint and a sound-based stealth system that was revolutionary back in 1998. The modern revival, however, didn't live up to the franchise's lofty reputation, with both the level design and the dour main character drawing the bulk of the criticism.
On the other hand, Yakuza 4 is the very definition of an "oldie but goodie." The game originally came out in 2009 in Japan; while the graphics look a little creaky by today's standards, the gameplay holds up. Yakuza's an open-world action-RPG hybrid, with a plot that involves four separate characters, somewhat reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto V. The story isn't considered as strong as the one in its predecessor, Yakuza 3, and some critics complained about the game's repetitive structure. Still, with a main campaign that lasts about 25 hours and tons of side-quests, Yakuza 4 is great value - especially when it's free.
This month's sole Vita-exclusive title is Kick & Fennick is a platforming-adventure game starring a young boy and his pet robot. All three platforms are also getting Rogue Legacy, an indie platformer that originally came out in 2013. In Rogue Legacy, players guide adventurers through a randomly generated dungeon. When the characters die, their gold and items are passed on to one of their heirs, who can also inherit specific traits like color blindness, ADHD, and dwarfism.
As always, the Instant Game Collection titles are free for all PlayStation Plus subscribers for as long as their subscriptions remain active. Just make sure you download this month's batch of games before the end of February; it's the shortest month, after all, and it'd be a shame to miss any of these promising titles!