Words: Mahin Kesore
Calling all bargain hunters: it's time for your weekly roundup of free video games. You don't need to fork out hundreds of pounds for a new PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or PC to get your fix of modern gaming, as there's so much out there in terms of on-the-house fun to be having - and this column will collect some of the best games of each and every week, that you can start playing for free right away or very, very soon (sometimes subject to existing subscriptions, but there's a good chance you'll have those already). After all, a game is always much more fun when it's free, or even 'free'. So, let's get into it.
Available on iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
One of the biggest Pokémon games to come out this year has finally made it to mobile, freshly released onto app stores for both Apple and Android devices. For those of you living under a Geodude, Pokémon Unite is a MOBA game similar to League of Legends or Dota, but in my experience is a lot easier to get to grips with. If you love Pokémon or looking to get into MOBAs then this is a great game for you - and if you're unsure of how to get started, we've even got a guide for you.
Pre-registering for the game currently gives you 2,000 Aeos Tickets, which you can spend on item enhancers, held items or trainer clothes (again, check out our guide, if you need to). You also unlock Pikachu, as well as their Festival Style Holowear, so get onto this game quick before all these freebies are gone by October 31. As with a lot of MOBAs, this one's free with in-app purchases aplenty but it is free, and you really don't have to spend any money on it at all. The game's been downloaded over nine million times on Switch, so its popularity certainly isn't in doubt. You might as well give it a peek... achu.
Available on Xbox Game Pass for PC and console
First announced at E3 2018 and seen again at 2021's Summer Games Fest with a dazzling new trailer accompanied by the brilliant Japanese Breakfast, Sable is an emotionally charged, beautiful, graphic novel come to life. It's set in a desert-like world akin to something from an apocalyptic Mars and is a story-centric affair with no combat. Instead, it's more puzzle-based and ethereal in its combination of art, gaming and music - with the soundtrack being composed by Japanese Breakfast (she didn't just do that amazing trailer music).
I haven't even mentioned the best part yet! Not only did this game come out this week (and we reviewed it - find our words here), but it's free to Xbox Game Pass members. At £7.99 a month and with a heap of new titles appearing on the service day one, like Sable, Game Pass remains one of the better subscription deals out there right now. Keep an eye out for special offers too, as there's a free trial available and deals to get the service for as little as a pound a month.
LEGO STAR WARS BATTLES
Available on Apple Arcade
Relive childhood memories of making toys fight and LEGO legions go to war in the newly released tower defense game, LEGO Star Wars Battles. In this nostalgia-inducing Apple Arcade exclusive title you can create armies from characters taken from across the history of Star Wars, and battle in PvP multiplayer modes in locations from the movies such as Naboo, Hoth and Geonosis.
This game is available now via Apple Arcade - which is £4.99 a month but offers a free trial for new users. Other games in the subscription which may pique your interest include Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, which came out last week, and Tetris Beat. They're exclusives too, so Apple Arcade is another service offering some really brilliant experiences for a relatively low price - and if you're not a console or PC user is probably the best way to keep up with mobile games that are, y'know, actually good.
Find LEGO Star Wars Battles on the App Store.
STORY OF SEASONS: PIONEERS OF OLIVE TOWN
Available on Nintendo Switch
This game wasn't only included on this list because of its relatively amusing initials - SoS:PoOT, you have to laugh - but because I believe in second chances, and when this game was first released in March 2021 it didn't have the greatest reviews. NPCs were lifeless, crafting was a bore, and loading times and glitches were getting too much. But now that there's been some time and patches have come out, as well as DLC, is now the time to try PoOT?
Well, I'm here to tell you: yes. Now this is a sneaky one as it involves having a North American Switch account, but as the Switch isn't region locked you can go on and make yourself a North American account and get access to the Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town trial, which started on September 22 and will continue until September 28. However, a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online is also needed for this one, so bear that in mind before you set up that second account.
Find Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town on the North American eShop.
And to round up the best of the rest... For the PC players amongst you it's always worth a look at what's free on the Epic Games Store - and right now, that's The Escapists, an excellent strategy title about breaking out of prison which is totally free until September 30. Humble Choice has the brilliant Heaven's Vault, Röki (our review, here) and Narita Boy (and here) free to subscribers right now. If you're a Prime Gaming subscriber your free titles include the colourful battle royale Knockout City (until September 30), and the classic graphic adventure Sam and Max Hit the Road (until October 1). Football fans can play a 10-hour trial of FIFA 22 right now - and you can trick your way to double that time, if you know how.
And that rounds up the best free games this week - but next week sees the start of a new month, and with a new month comes new free games. It'll mark the beginning of Steam's Next Fest, which promises loads of free content, and there are even rumours of a possible Elden Ring demo according to a tweet by FromSoftware's own Yasuhiro Kitao. So come back this way seven days from now for all the latest free games that money can't buy.
Featured Image Credit: The Pokémon Company, Warner Bros. Games
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