One of my favorite things about video games is how unique an experience they can provide as well as accessibility. Below are five free to start playing games that stood out to me as a great experience in one way or another. Also they represent different genres and can be a great entry to a genre. If you’re considering jumping into a new realm of gaming or know what styles of games you like and want to immerse yourself with more options, check out these hot takes.
#1.) Project AM2R – Genre: Metroidvania*
*= Action-adventure 2d platformer
Games it resembles: Metroid series, Castlevania
Project AM2R is a fan-made game looking to pay homage to a classic series. It is unofficial, with a DMCA order resulting in it being taken down by Nintendo. Good luck trying to find a copy. If you manage to do so, this game is a fantastic entry to a style of gaming known for offering difficult puzzles, tough enemies, unforgiving terrain, and not holding your hand much at all.
#2.) Duelyst – Genre: CCG Strategy
Games it (somewhat) resembles: Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Magic the Gathering, Faeria
Duelyst is a gorgeous “card” game that has the player summon their minions on a board to do combat. Each player has a general that must be defeated. Between the game’s gorgeous visuals, plethora of game modes and unique card abilities, in-game puzzles, and quite affordable model makes Duelyst a great first for many players (especially compared to the rest of the ridiculously priced strategy genre). Players coming from card collection games like Hearthstone or tile strategy games like Fire Emblem will both find familiar mechanics as well as a plethora of new experiences. Since this FTP model is actually quite good at the FTP level, I highly recommend it for players looking to get it to the genre (I’ll probably make another blogpost someday complaining about how expensive strategy games are in general).
#3.) Guild Wars 2 – Genre: MMORPG
Games it resembles: World of Warcraft, EverQuest, GW1
GW2 used to cost money to get started but the base is now fully able to be played for free. This low barrier of entry is great for new players to the scene. For those new to MMOs, things like PvE, a pleasant community, and an accessible world are all important features. Guild Wars 2 does all of these things significantly above average. One standout from my experience has to be the community. Of all the MMOs I’ve ever played, GW2 has one of the friendliest. This is helpful for trying to understand the world the gamer is submerged into. Simply exploring the world gunning for map completion has been a satisfying enough experience for me to recommend it those interested in those experiences. Another huge plus to GW2 is that it doesn’t go by a monthly subscription model. If the player wishes to get more content when they are ready, it would be an approachable one time payment.
#4.) Beastie Bay – Genre: Sim RPG
Games it resembles: Pokémon, Sims, Civilization (when played with just yourself)
Beastie Bay is a unique mobile experience that combines the Pokémon experience of adding new allies in the form of beasts and exploration with the Civilization style resource system with workers and buildings. Those who never got into Pokémon could dip there toes into this game. As far as free mobile games go, this one is very easy on the freemium hassle. I have a low tolerance for freemium B.S. and I will say I had minimal problems with the ads and waiting.
#5.) Paladins – Genre: FPS
Game it resembles: Overwatch (Obsessively so)
I was a little bothered by how Overwatch couldn’t play on my Mac so I spent some time searching for an alternative than could be played on it and stumbled on Paladins. Paladins is essentially a free knock-off of Overwatch with the League of Legends model of rotating free champions that you can purchase with in-game currency to permanently unlock. According to the fan sites, Paladins wasn’t always so similar to Overwatch, but after the release and success of Blizzard’s own, Paladins sort of caved in with some of the character concepts. Regardless, Paladins manages to offer fresh experiences. “Healers” can actually dish out some clutch damage and in game leveling offers unique builds. I had a blast playing this game so far so I’d say it is worth a shot.