PS Plus IGC September
As is often the case, September's Instant Game Collection gives us a game or two that has just been released to Sony platforms. In July it was Rocket League, and now this month we have 3, yes that's right 3!, new games.
This month was a landmark one for PS Plus because it featured the result of the first ever Vote To Play poll. In case you missed it, Sony gave gamers the chance to vote on one of three possible PS Plus games, all of which were new releases. We got the chance to vote between Grow Home, Zombie Vikings or Armello, the winner of which was part of the September IGC, the others would be discounted. Read on to find out what the 6 games were this month and which won the Vote To Play contest!
Grow Home (PS4)
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And the winner was Grow Home! The quirky adventure platformer from Ubisoft was the most voted for game by PlayStation owners. Grow Home was developed by Ubisoft Reflections, the studio that made Driver, Stuntman and the Just Dance series, and follows the adventure of B.U.D, a little robot who must grow a giant plant as high as possible to reach his ship and go home to M.O.M.
B.U.D runs awkwardly (a little like Octodad), climbs one limb at a time (like I Am Bread), and uses flowers, leaves and a jetpack to move from branch to branch. It's a fun game in which you have to be careful not to fall down the tree and continue to grow the branches upward, all while exploring the very charming world. Grow Home isn't the best game you'll play this year but it is a fun and very relaxing one that challenges your sense of vertigo.
Super Time Force Ultra (PS4/ PS Vita)
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Super Time Force Ultra, or S.T.F.U, is a fast paced, gun-toting action platformer that aims to melt your eyes and mind with awesomeness! You take control of some wacky characters, including President of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida, and try to master their unique abilities.
Super Time Force has been on Xbox for a while but now the definitive version comes to PlayStation devices with some new content. However the game retains its insane action that is challenging but rarely rage-inducing. Throw in tons of replay value and some great pixel art, and you have a game definitely worth playing (especially on Vita).
Teslagrad (PS4/ PS3)
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Next up we have Teslagrad, a 2D platformer that uses creative electromagnetic powers to traverse levels. Not only is the game pretty smart with its platforming but it's also very pretty and charming. Teslagrad doesn't have any dialogue or even text, it shows the story and does so to good effect.
The magnets involved with the platforming make it a unique challenge, and it can be a challenge, but ultimately it's a rewarding game that is both smart and pretty.
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Twisted Metal made it's long-awaited return on the PS3 in 2012. As one of the PS1's most beloved series', Twisted Metal was very eagerly anticipated for the PS3 and (mostly) lived up to the hype.
Once again you play as Calypso, as well as others, and compete in uber violent vehicular combat. The sheer destruction is consistently enjoyable and addictive, although it lacks the memorable characters of the original, Twisted Metal is still a heck of a lot of fun, particularly if you have a few friends to play with.
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Xeodrifter is a 2D action platformer that pays a lot of homage to classic 8-bit games like Mega Man, Super Metroid and even Super Mario. The game is fairly simple; you play as an astronaut who must travel to 4 different planets, ala Mass Effect, and find supplies to repair your ship.
Of course you meet obstacles on each planet as you jump, shoot, and swim your way to fixing the ship. The game has some really interesting ways of interacting with the environment, including jumping between foreground and background. It can be pretty hard at times but the diverse planets, enemies and upgrade systems make this a retro game well worth checking out.
La Mulana Ex
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And finally we have La Mulana Ex, another Metroidvania 2D platformer that is, for all intents and purposes, a remaster of a 2005 PC game. In the game you traverse ancient ruins in an attempt to find treasure and uncover "the secret to life itself"....deep stuff. Simply put La Mulana Ex is like an 8-bit Indiana Jones.
La Mulana Ex introduced a lot of new features, including an boss bestiary, so that you can see all of the enemies you've faced and learn more about them, and, more importantly, the entire game is open from the get go. So, like Rogue Legacy, you can go as far as your skills will get you. Which probably isn't very far because La Mulana Ex can be an unforgiving test of your wits and skills.
Verdict - 7/10
A pretty good month for PS Plus. We got a number of really good, to great, platformers on both PS4 and PS Vita. However it's also this repetition of visually similar 2D platformers that ultimately drag down the overall score. Gone are the days when we got a huge variety of games, like August 2013 when we got Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Mafia II, Spec Ops: The Line, Lego Lord of the Rings, and When Vikings Attack!.
Nowadays we get a lot of 2D platformers, which I don't mind but a bit more variety would be greatly appreciated. Maybe within the next year the PS4 library will be vast enough that Sony and publishers feel confident giving away some AAA titles. Until then we can play a lot of indie games that we otherwise would overlook and remember, we're getting amazing value for money!
Total Value of the IGC - $84.94/£57.56