Each month, Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus members receive a selection of free games alongside online multiplayer access. Each platform usually offers its users a completely different crop of games for $59.99 a year per program.
Xbox owners can expect to receive up to four games for Xbox One and Xbox 360 through the Games With Gold Program, and PlayStation fans are offered up to six titles for PlayStation 3, 4, Vita and VR.
Amazon and the popular streaming platform Twitch have recently thrown their hats into the ring, offering free PC games for Twitch Prime subscribers. Since Twitch Prime is a branch of Amazon Prime, anyone with an Amazon subscription can download these titles.
Sony, Microsoft and Twitch have recently announced this month's free games. Here's a quick look at the description, critical score and ESRB rating of each title, as well as the average critical score and value of both free game programs.
PS Plus games are made available on the first Tuesday of every month and can be downloaded for free throughout the month. Unlike Xbox's free games, anything obtained through PS Plus will become inaccessible if your membership expires. Thankfully, your free games will be waiting for you if you subscribe again.
T for blood and cartoon violence
Players can build their own unique creature and go on a monster mash, causing as much damage to a city as possible. By devouring the city's inhabitants, players can upgrade their monster to cause even more havoc.
According to the PlayStation Store, players will "Lead the Furmins through over 100 ingeniously designed and visually stunning levels. 'Furmins' provides hours of brain-twisting fun for fans of physics-based puzzle games."
PS Vita, PS4, PS3
E10+ for fantasy violence
Play as King Oddball, a floating orb with a sticky tongue out to destroy the world. Featuring simple, addictive gameplay, players can rack up high scores over 120 levels using a single button.
E10+ for comic mischief and cartoon violence
Run, jump and fight your way through armies of mythical monsters to save the Glade of Dreams. After a 100-year nap, Rayman and friends must defend their home from the nightmares and save the Teensies. From edible deserts to fairy-tale forests, "Rayman Legends" features several gorgeous hand-drawn locations and dozens of unique platforming challenges.
M for sexual themes, violence, strong language, blood, drug reference and use of alcohol
"Risen 3" is a dark fantasy action role-playing game featuring a dead pirate captain in search of his soul. Many enemies are depicted as frightening monsters or violent humans and can be killed using swords and other weapons.
The game features moderate use of the F-word and other swear words. Female characters are often scantily clad but are generally only found in towns. Additionally, players can use drugs and alcohol in-game with little effect.
According to the PlayStation Store, players can "step into a classic hand-crafted role-playing world full of rugged charm, colorful characters and demonic dangers. From quaint medieval-style towns to delving deep into the dank dark of mines to the supernatural shadow world, there is a wealth of possibilities waiting to be explored."
M for strong language, sexual content, blood, use of drugs and alcohol and intense violence
"Beyond: Two Souls" deals with mature topics like death, loss and grief and includes depictions of war violence and frightening supernatural monsters. The main character, Jodie, can control a ghost named Aiden, who occasionally causes dramatic outbursts using his powers.
The game also features moderate use of the F-word, as well as other minor swear words and insults. Jodie is shown showering, but only her upper back and shoulders are seen. In another scene, she's depicted in her underwear briefly while she dresses. Depending on player choices, two characters will begin to kiss passionately before the camera cuts away, implying sex.
Featuring performances from Ellen Page ("X-Men") and Willem Dafoe ("The Florida Project"), "Beyond: Two Souls" is a supernatural action thriller following Page's character, Jodie Holmes, who is linked to a ghostly entity. Players will make decisions that directly affect Jodie's interactions with her world as she discovers who — or what — she is.
Xbox's free games are usually divided across both of Microsoft's consoles, with two titles featured for Xbox One and an additional two for Xbox 360. It's important to note Xbox One owners can also download the Xbox 360 titles, thanks to backward compatibility. Additionally, any games downloaded as an Xbox Live Gold subscriber will stay in your digital library even if your subscription lapses.
May 16-June 15
M for blood and gore, intense violence, sexual themes and strong language
"Metal Gear Solid V" is the conclusion of the long-running Metal Gear story and involves Snake, the leader of a private military corporation in the 1980s as he seeks revenge for the destruction of his former home, Mother Base. The game tackles subjects of loss, revenge and finding a place in a difficult world. It also emphasizes family relationships and friendship, as well as ideas of loyalty.
The game involves stealth action and infiltration of enemy camps. Players can use dozens of lethal and nonlethal weapons to neutralize enemies. Several story sequences depict intense action and violence. Stylized blood splatter and gore are occasionally present, and frightening acts of war are depicted, including mass shootings and child soldiers.
Some enemies are depicted as zombie-like monsters encased in fog and can be frightening. A major enemy is depicted as a flaming man, while another is disfigured and can be frightening to look at.
One female character is depicted in a bikini for story reasons but is seen sparingly. The game features one use of the F-word, with moderate use of other swear words. Snake is often shown smoking a cigar or drinking for both story and gameplay reasons.
According to Xbox, "Ushering in a new era for the franchise with cutting-edge technology powered by the Fox Engine, 'MGSV: The Phantom Pain' will give players a first-rate gaming experience as they are offered tactical freedom to carry out open-world missions, allowing them to find their own unique way to achieve victory. Traverse the world with jeeps, tanks, horseback and even on foot! Stay alert and don't forget to call on AI companions when needed!"
According to the press release, "The critically acclaimed Super Mega Baseball series is back with gorgeous new visuals, deep team and league customization, and long-awaited online multiplayer modes. Fancy yourself as either a rookie or baseball purist, 'SMB2' packs a mode for everyone. Compete in ranked matchmaking, dominate friends in arranged matches, or take on the AI — all kept fair by the dynamic difficulty system known as Ego."
E10+ for suggestive themes and violence
According to Xbox, "Join Axel, Blaze, and company as they battle the evil Mr. X across all three Streets of Rage games.Originally released for the Sega Genesis, the classic brawler series has now been updated for release on Xbox Live Arcade! Earn all new achievements, take on challenging new game trials, compete with other players across Xbox Live Leaderboards, and clean up the streets with a friend in two-player local and online co-op!"
M for blood and gore, intense violence and strong language
"Vanquish" is a third-person action game with shooting mechanics, and features a lot of violence. Enemies will spray blood when attacked and scream in pain as they're defeated. Some story sequences feature acts of widespread violence, including a heat ray being used to decimate a city. A character is shot in the head, which splatters a car window with blood.
The F-word and other swear words are used frequently. Additionally, the main character is often depicted smoking cigarettes and can use them to distract unaware enemies.
According to the press release, "This is a sci-fi shooter of epic proportions with a fast, fluid and frantic combat system. You play as Sam Gideon, a DARPA agent armed with the Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS) that gives him extraordinary combat powers to help evade attacks and take down enemies. Take too much damage and the ARS allows Sam the ability to slow down time, helping to give him the edge in battle."
Just like PlayStation and Xbox, streaming platform Twitch now offers five free PC games on the first of the month for Amazon/Twitch Prime subscribers. While the free games aren't offered for Mac, Windows users can access their monthly free games through the free Twitch Desktop App.
Jump between out-of-control trucks in this challenging, reflex-based platforming adventure.
M for sexual themes, drug reference and strong language
"Gone Home" tells the story of a teenage girl falling in love with her female friend and often discusses LGBT relationships. Some minor swear words are used, including the S-word. Alcohol and cigarettes can be found throughout the game but cannot be consumed. Additionally, a few pinup magazines can be found, depicting women in revealing outfits on the covers.
The game relies on a tense atmosphere similar to a horror movie to keep players on edge but never actually scares the player. Themes of friendship, love and responsibility are discussed in the game.
"Gone Home" is an interactive exploration simulator featuring detailed writing and environments. Set inside the player's Oregon family home in 1995, players can investigate everything to discover the whereabouts of their missing family members.
"High Hell" is a hyper-fast first-person shooter perfect for speed running and score-chasing as players blast everything in sight.
"I, Hope" is an emotionally cathartic 3D adventure game about a young girl and how cancer has changed her life forever. Players can use unique abilities to solve puzzles, defeat enemies and learn how one disease can affect everything around us.
T for cartoon violence, crude humor and language
According to Twitch, "Psychonauts" is an adventure game where players utilize psychic powers to enter the minds of other characters in an effort to save the day from a mysterious villain.
T for fantasy violence, blood and drug reference
Armed with a single arrow, players must strategize to take down massive titans in dozens of boss fights. Every shot is a kill, so players need to make sure their shot count.