Up to eight people can play Human: Fall Flat together online, and only two can play it locally, but it’s better to play it locally anyway. The intentionally kludgy controls for the Schmoo-like main dude, and the constant obstacles he faces, create slapstick humor better enjoyed with a friend. Also: You might need a second brain to solve the harder puzzles.
Available on: Windows, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5
Game Maker Studio 2 is the most advanced piece of software on our list, and may intimidate total newcomers. However, it is by far the easiest professional-level game engine to learn, and has been used by many indie developers to create games like Hyper Light Drifter, Momodora, Katana Zero, and more.
The key to Game Maker Studio 2’s accessibility is its streamlined, object-based scripting. Instead of coding your games from scratch, the built-in editor lets you program character behaviors and gameplay systems with simple drop-down menus based on Game Maker Studio’s unique scripting language. There are tons of tutorials available that teach you the basics of the engine, as well as sample projects to get you started and community-made assets you can use if you’re not yet up to making your own.
The only downside is that the skills you learn making games with Game Maker Studio 2 won’t necessarily translate to other engines like Godot, Unity, and Unreal, since those use common coding languages like C#, which allow for more complexity. However, since Game Maker Studio 2 supports 2D and 3D games, you could easily make all your games in Game Maker Studio 2 for as long as it suits your needs.
Game Maker Studio is free to download and use, but you will have to pay to unlock certain features and to publish your games. You can buy a 1-year license for $39 that lets you publish to Windows and Mac, or a permanent license for $99 that adds iOS, Android, Amazon Fire devices, Ubuntu, HTML 5, and Universal Windows Program publishing support. Game Maker Studio 2 also has publishing tools for PS4/PS5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One/Xbox Series X/S, but each one requires a license that costs a whopping $700 per year—or you can bundle them for $1,500 per year. That’s pretty steep, though comparable to the console publishing costs you’ll see with other professional-level software.
Players fell in love with Skyrim’s vast landscapes almost ten years ago and many never left—there’s just so much to do and see. It’s also a great introduction to the series and open-world RPGs in general.
While the game’s main quest is good—you’ll slay dragons, travel to the lands of the dead, and get caught up in a brutal civil war—you’re free to play in whatever way you want. There’s just so much to do in this massive open-world RPG: unique landmarks to discover, countless side quests to take on, and ancient artifacts to acquire.
Players create their own unique characters then slowly specialize their abilities as they progress. You can be a lithe Wood Elf assassin, a magic-wielding humanoid cat, or even a nordic cheese collector. You can strike out into the cold mountains in search of vampires, build your own home and virtual family, join the ranks of prestigious guilds, and so much more. That might sound like too much freedom for inexperienced gamers, but don’t let Skyrim’s openness scare you away; it’s actually quite forgiving.
While some old-school RPG fans look askance at Skyrim’s streamlined gameplay systems, they’re perfect for new players: Skills, equipment, and other menus are snappy and easy to use; a quest log tracks your progress; and an onscreen compass highlights objectives and points of interest. There’s also a combat difficulty slider that lets you fine-tune the challenge level and options for playing in first- or third-person perspective.
Available on: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam, Microsoft Store), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S. (Original version also available on Xbox 360 and PS3)
This PC-only ship-based fantasy combat game isn’t non-violent exactly, but it’s just sailing ships shooting at each other, so it isn’t as personal and visceral as people mowing other people down face-to-face.
In Maelstrom, up to 16 players take to the seas and fire volleys of cannonballs at each other, battle vicious sea monsters, and collect loot until only one schooner remains. It’s a fairly involved game, so it’s not good for smaller kids, but if you’re looking for a unique take on the “one vs. many” genre, and you dream of being a buccaneer on the briny deep, this is the game for you.
Valheim players worried about all the time they’re spending outside of World of Warcraft can now kill two birds with one stone. Thanks to a new—free—mod, you can explore the beloved realms of Azeroth from within everyone’s favorite Viking survival game.
The free mod, called Valheim of Warcraft, doesn’t change anything about Valheim’s core gameplay, but adds the majority of World of Warcraft’s zones to Valheim as playable landmasses. This includes Kalimdor, the Eastern Kingdoms, Quel’Thalas, Northrend, Pandaria, and lots more.
Note that this import isn’t a one-to-one recreation. The mod’s creator, who goes by “Kromek” on the Nexus Mod website, says each landmass has been shrunk by about 20% to make the map fit in Valheim, and the cosmic realms like Argus, Draenor, Outlands, and the Shadowlands are not yet included. The Maelstrom is also technically there, but without its iconic whirling vortex.
The custom map starts players off in a recreated version of the Timeless Isle that includes active portals to World of Warcraft’s various starting zones. From there, each zone has its own progression path and boss battles to play through, with further portals that ferry you around the land in place of World of Warcraft’s ship and zeppelin routes.
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That said, you won’t find major cities, dungeons, or other structures to explore, though Kromek plans to add optional prebuilt structures and flesh the map out with “burial chambers, sunken crypts, and goblin villages”where they would believably appear. But since Valheim lets players build their own towns, you and your friends could challenge yourselves to recreate Orgrimmar, Stormwind, and the rest on your own right now.
To add Valheim of Warcraft map to your game:
Go to Users/[Your User Name]/AppData/LocalLow/IronGate/Valheim on your PC.
Back up the “Worlds” and “Characters” folders to a safe, easily accessible location so you can recover your game data if something goes wrong.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make video games, but have no idea where to start? StackSocial has you covered. You can currently grab a premium Unity game developer certification bundle for $45. To put things into perspective, this is a $3,400 value. You’re getting it 98% off here, so it’s as close to a steal as you’re going to get. The bundle features 17 courses hat cover everything from an intro to mobile game development to how to make low poly 3D environments. You’ll get access to well over 100 hours of content, including lectures and lessons. This is your chance to make your dream game, so hop on it while you can.
The latest Xbox Insider program update nixes the Xbox Live Gold requirement for free-to-play (F2P) Xbox games for users in the Xbox Insider Alpha & Alpha Skip Ahead rings. The change will roll out to other Xbox Insider levels in the coming weeks, and, hopefully, everyone else soon after.
This will be a huge benefit for players—after all, a game isn’t really free if you have to pay a subscription fee to play it online. It will also bring Microsoft up to date with Nintendo and Sony, which allow players to access multiplayer modes in F2P games without subscribing to their respective online services.
To help you prepare for this change, we made a list of 10 great F2P games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. We focus on games that are purely free to download—stuff that you can play all (or most) of without having to pay for large chunks of content. We left out games that are “free to start,” or require you pay to unlock most of the game—which why you won’t see Destiny 2 or Killer Instinct on this list.
That said, while all the games on our list are free to download and play, most feature some form of in-game monetization, such as bonus characters, “Battle Passes” that unlock new cosmetic items as you level up, or—in some cases—loot boxes that include randomized rewards. However, these purchases are optional and not essential to playing the games.
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Apex Legends is a squad-based battle royale FPS set in the Titanfall universe. While most games in the Battle Royale genre start players on even footing, Apex Legends includes a selection of unique heroes with special abilities, giving each player slightly different capabilities in battle. The game also popularized the “ping” system, where your in-game character communicates important information to your squad mates—like weapon locations or incoming enemies—making it easier to play without voice chat.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Another multiplayer battle royale game, this time based on the wildly popular Call of Duty franchise. Unlike other Call of Duty games, Warzone features 150-player matches in a massive map that includes elements of multiplayer arenas from previous Call of Duty titles. Players compete to be the last combatant standing, utilizing the weapons and tactical gear Call of Duty is known for.
Dauntless is all about taking on massive beasts, known as “behemoths,” slaying them, and turning them into armor and weapons that will help you take on bigger behemoths… rinse off the blood and repeat. It’s a simple concept, but the loop can be highly addictive (as evidenced by the wildly popular Monster Hunter series, which Dauntless cribs from).
We’ve covered a few free-to-play battle royale games so far, but none are as popular as Fortnite. The third-person shooter’s competitive modes are the most popular, but there are also creative and co-op modes to try out… And digital concerts to watch. Film studios have even been known to debut new movie trailers in-game before anywhere else. Honestly, Fortnite is more of a platform than a game at this point, and you can try it out for free if you somehow haven’t already.
Neverwinter is an MMORPG based on the Neverwinter Dungeons & Dragons setting (go figure). All in-game content is free; you can roll a new character and level up to the end game without spending a penny. Players pick between eight classes and thirteen races—all pulled directly from the D&D tabletop game. Drows, Tieflings, Dragonborns are all here, and more. Fans of big, modern MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV, The Elder Scrolls Online or World of Warcraft, and long-time D&D players will find plenty to enjoy.
Path of Exile
Path of Exile is an action-RPG brimming with choice. There are 19 specialized character classes to play, over 1,325 passive skills to unlock, and heaps of unique weapons and armor to collect and customize. You can play the game’s storyline and explore its world online with friends or by yourself, and there are recurring special events and challenges to keep you busy while you build the perfect character.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Microsoft helped Sega finally bring Phantasy Star Online 2 to western audiences in 2020—almost 8 years after it originally launched in Japan. Like the original PSO, PSO 2 is an online action RPG that’s all about collecting loot and slaying hordes of monsters with your friends. While it shows its age in places, Phantasy Star Online 2 is fun to play and has over eight years worth of content to enjoy. Some progress will even carry over to the next game in the series, Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis, releasing later in 2021.
Roblox is less of a game and more a game creation platform. Players can create their own video games using the tools and assets available in Roblox, and share their creations online. The range of available content is huge—virtually every popular genre of video game has been recreated in Roblox.
In Rocket League, two teams try to score goals by ramming, flipping, and skidding their RC car-like vehicles into a giant soccer ball. Yes, it’s as awesome and chaotic as it sounds. Even better, the game supports cross-play, so Xbox players can team up or challenge friends on PlayStation 4 or 5, Switch, and PC.
Warframe is another free-to-play action MMO, but it stands out from the competition thanks to its striking sci-fi theme, highly acrobatic gameplay, and a large variety of content. There are dozens of unique Warframes to unlock and customize, numerous planets to explore, multiple factions to interact with, and several storylines to experience—some of which are truly mind-bending. The game also receives regular free updates that often add entirely new gameplay elements. It’s a dense game, but Digital Extremes has several guides for new players looking to try the game out.
Fortnite’s next big in-game concert features Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Kaskade, who will perform his new Reset EP in full multiple times between Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27.The shows will happen live in Fortnite’s PartyRoyale game mode.
Kaskade’s concert is part of Fortnite’s upcoming “Llama-Rama” event, running March 25 – April 9. During those weeks, players can complete limited-time challenges and purchase limited-time gear from Fortnite’s shop, much of which is cross-over items from the popular vehicle-based soccer game Rocket League (Kaskade also provided music for Rocket League’s Season 2 update).
One of the promo items is a special emote that gives your Fortnite character a tiny Rocket League car to ride on. You’ll find all the challenges and special rewards in Epic’s official Llama-Rama announcement.
You can also expect Rocket League-themed elements to show up in Kaskade’s performances. Prior to showtime, the artist’s in-game avatar will ride around the map on Rocket League vehicles, and players can also catch a preview trailer for Rocket League Season 3 immediately following each performance.
How to watch Kaskade’s Fornite concert
Kaskade is holding three performances throughout the weekend, so you have multiple opportunities to watch:
Friday, March 26, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 27, at 6 a.m. PT/9 a.m. ET
Saturday, March 27, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET
Epic is also offering players multiple viewing options. Fortnite players can watch:
At the Main Stage area in Fortnite’s Party Royale mode. (Here’s a guide on how to find your way to the stage if you’re new to Party Royale.)
Use the Picture-in-Picture (PIP)modewhile playingstandard Battle Royale matches, that way you can catch Kaskade’s show and get those Victory Royale.
I don’t know about you, but I still collect physical games. Yeah, they’re obsolete and it makes sense to go all digital. But I love being able to lend a game to a friend when I’m done with it. That’s ethics! If you’re in the same camp, Amazon is currently running a buy 2, get 1 free sale on lots of different media and that includes video games. Not only that, it includes some recent hits. You can grab games like Hitman 3, Spider-Man Miles Morales, and Little Nightmares 2. As you can imagine, there’s lots more in there too (like the Criterion Collection edition of Eraserhead), so poke your head in and see if you can build your entire spring gaming backlog in one go.
If you’re a PlayStation gamer, set a calendar reminder for March 25 at 8 p.m. (PT) and April 19 at 8 p.m. (PT), because great free games are coming your way.
March 25 marks the official kick-off of Sony’s new Play at Home 2021 program, which gives you access to free PlayStation 4 and PS VR games with no strings attached. You don’t have to be a PlayStation Plus member to take advantage of the giveaway; you just have to “buy” the free titles. That’s it.
My advice? Grab ‘em all, even if you’re not sure if you’re that interested in them. You never know when you might feel an itch to try out a random title you’ve never played before. And I can confidently say that quite a few games on this list are actually really good; these aren’t just bargain-bin titles. You have until April 22 at 8 p.m. (PT) to grab them. After that, you’ll have to pay real money for them once again.
The full list of free games you can get starting March 25 includes:
Enter the Gungeon
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition
As for April 19, you’re only getting one free game that day, but it’s a doozy: The much-loved Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition. The catch? You only have a limited time to grab it—from April 19 to May 14 at 8 p.m. PT. That’s a pretty healthy window, but don’t dawdle—this game is absolutely incredible. So much so that I’d happily play it again right now, were I not already facing a pretty big backlog of titles I need to check out.