It's Friday, which means the weekend, which means a few extra hours to be wrung of all their gaming worth (unless you have other plans, but that's totally okay too). However, should you find yourself inexplicably game-less as all that additional play time stretches ahead of you like an endless road 'neath a moonlight sky, you might like to know that Torchlight is currently free on the Epic Games Store, while Age of Wonders 3 is free on Steam.
Torchlight is, of course, the first entry in (sadly now defunct) developer Runic Games' two-strong series of superb fantasy-themed action RPGs. Given that Runic was established by Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer, founders of Blizzard North, and Mythos designer Travis Baldree, it's not a huge surprise that Torchlight wears its Diablo influences proudly on its sleeve.
But its a wonderful example of the genre (and its sequel is even better, should you be interested), with Alec Meer's Eurogamer review saying, "it's the best Diablo-like since Diablo II, and a very real rival to the upcoming Diablo III. Even though there is nothing new or truly unique about Torchlight, nothing at all, that it so confidently and prettily takes the fight to Blizzard is an enormous compliment about how well put-together this is."
Torchlight will be free on the Epic Games Store from now until 18th July. And if you happen to keep a diary of these sorts of things, you might also want to leave yourself a reminder that developer Playdead's atmospheric puzzle platformer Limbo ("Austere but richly imaginative", said Eurogamer) will be free on Epic from 18th July until 25th July.
And now over to Steam, where Age of Wonders 3 is currently free until 15th July - in celebration of the imminent release of developer Triumph Studios' upcoming Age of Wonders: Planetfall.
It's a fantasy themed 4X turn-based strategy game, tasking players with expanding their burgeoning kingdom through exploration, diplomacy, and the occasional bloody conflict. Mixing things up a bit is an RPG-style class system, offering leader roles, each with their own unique skills, including Rogue, Sorcerer, and Warlord.
There's a solo story campaign, eight-player online multiplayer, and a random map generator for some added replay. And if you're wondering how it fares, Eurogamer contributor Stace Harman liked Age of Wonders 3 to the tune of 7/10 in his 2014 review, calling it "a solid, enjoyable and rewarding addition to its genre".
"Despite some familiar trappings and a shortage of genuine wonders, Age of Wonders 3 delivers a more tightly focused experience than Firaxis' behemoth Civilization series, to which it initially appears to owe so much," said Stace. "In doing so, it proves that even after a decade away the Age of Wonders series can still stand proud beside its modern-day contemporaries."