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The Legend of Korra, for those that are unaware, is a western animation produced by Nickelodeon, and is the follow up series to the massively popular Avatar: The Last Airbender (or The Legend of Aang depending on where you live). It follows a young woman named Korra, the Avatar, who is able to wield all four elements within the world this series is set in (Fire, Water, Earth, and Air). Earlier this year, it was announced that Platinum Games, the same people behind such games as Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengance, and Wonderful 101, would be making a tie in game for The Legend of Korra. Said game came out earlier this month, and I was able to finally get my hands on a copy.

Presentation

This game, at least on PC which I played, looks amazing. The style is reminiscent of the show, with brand new animated sections made specifically for this game in between chapters. The music is mostly what you would hear on the show, and really helped to drive the fact that this is a Korra game home for me. The effects on the different bending styles look visually stunning and the impact of the hits feel right. While it isn’t nearly as impressive looking as previous Platinum games, it still has that Platinum feel to the design that any fan of their games would be sure to enjoy.

Gameplay

The Legend of Korra is an action beat-em-up, of the style that many are used to from Platinum by now. You play as Korra, fighting through waves of bad guys by utilizing the four elements, each style with their own strengths and weaknesses, and fighting a typically challenging boss at the end of each level. This game does kind of fall into the same problem that I generally always have with beat-em-ups, which is that the gameplay does get repetitive after awhile. Being able to switch between bending styles is neat at first, but I found that I would only use one or two of the elements through a majority of the game, only switching when it was necessary. Bosses were typically dispatched by avoiding their attack pattern until you get the one opening to damage them via quick-time event, which has always been something of a pet peeve of mine with this genre of games over the last decade or so. Even so, the game is fun for the time it takes to beat it.

This game is extremely short, with my personal run of the game clocking out at about 4 hours. It does encourage multiple playthroughs, with unlockable costumes, items, and various difficulty settings. Much like any Platinum game, there are a number of medals per level that grade your performance, with an overall medal awarded at the end of the level. Going back and improving these medal scores is always a fun challenge. There is also a small bit of exploration in the game, though I would have preferred a bit more. This usually takes form of a small diverging path where you can get a special trinket for bonus points at the end of the level, though this usually also means an extra-hard encounter to earn your points.

If there was one thing I absolutely despised about this game, it’s the Naga run sections. Naga is the giant polar bear dog (all the animals in Avatar are combinations of two animals) that is the animal companion to Korra, which she can ride. While these sections aren’t difficult, all it takes is a single slip up to have to start over again, and I feel like the game would have been better with their exclusion.

Finally, after beating the game once, you unlock Pro-Bending mode, a fictional sport within the Avatar universe. Once again you play as Korra, teaming up with two AI allies, in the form of her companions Mako and Bolin, to take on other teams of three and attempt to knock them off the stage. This is a fun little mode and a nice bonus at the end of the game, though it would have been nice to have played as someone else.

Story

Since this is a new game I won’t go into too much detail about the story here, but I will warn you right now that if you haven’t seen any of The Legend of Korra the show, then you would do best to steer clear of this game until you have.

This game has it’s own storyline, set after the end of Season Two and before Season Three. After making a miraculous comeback in a Pro-Bending match right at the beginning, Korra is lead into a trap by a group of Chi-Blockers, remnants of the Equalists, an anti-bender group from the first season. Korra gets stripped of her bending through unknown means, and spends the first level completely without any bending. As the game and story progresses, she discovers that a malevolent spirit known as Hun-Dun, who had conflict with the Avatar in a past life thousands of years ago. As the game goes on, Korra will re-awaken her bending with the help of Jinora, a young Air Bending prodigy who is able to project her spirit and assist Korra. While the story isn’t anything particularly special, it was a breath of fresh air to see a licensed game that doesn’t just re-tread the same plot-lines as it’s source material, and instead served to give us an entirely new story and experience.

Overall, for a budget title being sold for a mere $15, this is a great game that could have only been better if it had been given the triple-A treatment, especially from such a reputable company like Platinum. If you are a fan of the series, then I think this is worth your time, and if you’re a fan of beat-em-ups or the work that Platinum does and don’t mind some spoilers, the game is a nice fun romp. I would definitely recommend this game, especially to those who are a fan of the series, and if you haven’t seen the series itself, then I would also recommend that as well.

Super Smash Brothers has been a long standing favourite for many of us. The idea of gathering all of Nintendo’s mascots (and some guest fighters) was a novel idea back in the N64 days, and it has only grown in popularity since. With a new generation of Nintendo consoles comes a new Smash game, and for the first time since it’s conception, the series goes handheld for the 3DS. With a WiiU version coming in the next month, is it worth your time to buy Super Smash Brothers for your 3DS or 2DS?

Characters

The most important thing for any fighting game is of course it’s character roster. Boasting the largest roster of the series to this point with an astounding 51 characters, there is no shortage of variety. There are 14 brand new characters in this iteration of the series, including of course Megaman, which came as a surprise to many back when the games were first announced. While there are some notable names missing from the roster, particularly fan-favourite Ice Climbers, the new additions to the roster more than makes up for these exclusions. Much like it’s older counterparts it has a number of “clone” characters, characters that play exactly the same as more conventional counterparts, but this game has the fewest since their introduction, which allows for an extremely diverse cast.

Another notable thing about this iteration is the inclusion of the Mii Fighters, which acts as this game’s create-a-character mode. Using Miis that you have created, you can choose between one of three fighting styles; Brawler, Swordfighter, or Gunner. Each one comes with a number of customizable moves so that you can change your character to your own liking. In addition to this, the remainder of the cast possess customizable move sets, allowing you to make them to your liking, which I feel is a great addition to the series.

Gameplay/Story

I’m including these in the same category for one simple reason. There is no story. Outside of the usual Classic mode, which serves as a sort of arcade mode, you will not be finding much in the way of plot in this version of the game. Whether or not the WiiU version will have an adventure mode or something like Brawl’s Subspace Emissary, only time will tell. However, there is still quite a bit the 3DS version of the game can offer.

In terms of mechanics, there is a little getting used to when it comes to the control scheme. I personally own a 2DS, and find that the size of that particular console is comfortable on the hands, however I know there have been some complaints of the game being uncomfortable to play on the regular sized 3DS consoles, so do be sure to keep that in mind if you are planning on picking this game up.

Beginning with Classic mode, this mode has gotten a massive overhaul. Before starting your run, you get to set your difficulty from 1 to 9. Higher difficulties require you to use coins, the in-game currency you gain for playing the game, to buy in, but the rewards often out-weigh price of admission. Once you set your difficulty, you begin the game. You are set on a path that branches into 2-3 different options, which is great as it gives you some sense of freedom, at least as far as an arcade mode can be concerned. These paths are of varying difficulty, and have you doing all sorts of challenges. From fighting another combatant in single combat, fighting a giant version with 1-2 AI allies to assist you, or fighting against a horde of Mii Fighters (which will randomly generate based on your own personal pool of Miis), you are on a quest to fight the final boss, which of course is the always present Master Hand. At higher difficulties he can also be joined by his counterpart, Crazy Hand, and you have to fight them in tandem. However, since they can’t just leave it at that, there is a secret boss for you to fight if you fulfill certain conditions within the Master/Crazy Hand battle, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself.

Outside of Classic Mode, there is the ever-popular All-Star mode, a challenge mode where you fight have to fight every character in the game on a single life. In this version you fight them in chronological order of their debut, from the classics like Game & Watch and Pacman, all through the decades until you reach the current era of Nintendo games. After every few characters, you are given a brief rest, before being thrown right back into the mix. Also returning this version is the Stadium, which hosts a number of mini games for quick and fun challenges. There is the Homerun Contest, a fun mode where you get to beat up a punching bag before sending it flying with a baseball bat, with the goal of seeing how far you can make it fly. The Multi-Man Smash mode returns as well, a mode where you have to fight wave after wave of opponents, in this case Mii Fighters, under set conditions. These conditions include 10 or 100 Man Smash, where you have to defeat however many opponents the conditions state, with every 10 or so Miis you kill spawning another character from the game. There is also 3-Minute Smash, which is the same as above except that you have a time limit to kill as many as you possibly can. A new version they introduced is called Rival Smash, where you play against an AI opponent to see which of you can defeat more enemies. And of course, there is Cruel Smash, where you fight against a horde of other characters, all of which are extremely difficult and will probably mess you up something fierce.

Brand new and exclusive (as far as I’m aware) to the 3DS version of this game is a mode called Smash Run. In this mode you and 3 other people, whether friends or AI, are put into a rather large dungeon, and given 5 minutes to explore. There are a number of enemies for you to defeat, which drop upgrades to your various stats, which also slowly rise as you use various abilities. For example, every time you jump, you’ll gain points in your jump stat, whenever you attack you’ll gain points in attack, and so on. There are also challenge areas and random chests that will drop power ups and loot for you, so you are really encouraged to explore as much as you can in the time given to you. Once the time is up, all your stats will be tallied up and compared to your opponents, after which you will be pitted in one final battle. This battle can be something as simple as a free-for-all against the other enemies, or you could be paired up into teams, or even have to complete some sort of challenge faster than the others. This is a good game mode for unlocking customizable moves for your fighters as well as getting coins, however there is one glaring issue with it, which is the fact that it doesn’t have any sort of online capability. If you want to play with friends, then you better hope you know some other people locally that have the game.

Speaking of online, this game has online functionality. There are two modes, called For Fun and For Glory. For Fun mode allows you to play against anyone else online, with all the stages save for Final Destination, and all items turned on. For Glory mode puts you on Final Destination only, with no items, and the option to fight one on one. Both modes are fairly fun, though I personally find myself playing more in For Glory. You can also spectate random matches happening online, which has a feature that allows you to bet your coins on who you think is going to win the match, a neat little thing if you’re feeling bold and need some coins. Matchmaking is fairly quick, however since you can’t choose regions or anything, it’s not uncommon for you to face off against people from great distances. Functionally the game isn’t too bad online, at the very least being a massive improvement from Brawl. So long as both member’s internet connection is good, the game runs mostly smooth, however since you are forced to play wirelessly that will cause the usual issues that come with that. Overall I’ve enjoyed playing the game online, whenever I can find a stable connection to play on.

Presentation

This game looks downright gorgeous. The characters are all very well defined and detailed, and the backgrounds on the stages look amazing and really add to the atmosphere of the fights. I was quite impressed by the level of detail on many of the stages, particularly the stages with dynamic backgrounds such as the Prism Tower stage and the Living Room. Every stage comes with an Omega mode as well, which turns them into a stylized version of Final Destination based on that stage, all of which look great as well.

Musically, this game is everything you’ve come to expect from Smash Bros. at this point. Most of the music are either remixes or just straight ports of original classic tunes, with each stage usually having a small selection of songs that it cycles through, once you unlock them. Particularly I enjoyed the number of medleys throughout the game, notably on Dr. Wily’s Castle, the stage for Megaman. Whether you’re an old fan or new, you will surely enjoy the large variety of music this game has to offer as you fight against other people.

Overall Super Smash Brothers for the 3DS is a fun little title with a ton to offer despite it’s lack of story mode. Though the controls can be a bit cramped at first, once you get used to them there shouldn’t be very much issue at all. At a modest price of $40, if you want a fun game to play while on the go, the this game is for you. However with the WiiU version only a month away, with all new stages and undoubtedly more game modes, if you’re not interested in the portability that the 3DS version offers you, then it might be in your best interest to hold off until that version comes out.

Hello and welcome back to Free Games Friday, your source of all things free. It’s been quite awhile since I posted one of these, so I’m coming back with a vengeance with 9 brand spankin’ new games for you to enjoy.

 

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So I was going to do a halloween themed week, but little known fact about me (or possibly a well known fact) is that I’m not very good with horror games. So that didn’t happen. I did decide to give you guys at least one horrorish game, which is this very well done 3D remake of a classic title: Yume Nikki. This game falls firmly into the “surreal” category, as you wander through the dreams of a young girl, collecting various effects and exploring the world within. While not a true horror game, the combination of the music and visuals serve very well at giving off an uneasy feeling, and you’ll keep going, wonder what awaits you around the next corner. This game can be downloaded by following the link here.

 

The Scorpion Box

This next game is a fun and somewhat random point and click game called The Scorpion Box. In this game, you have a turtle in a little box, and inside the box is a scorpion. Your goal is to retrieve the turtle and find a way to dispose of the scorpion without getting killed. With multiple endings and solutions, this one is sure to keep you guessing. You can play this game here.

 

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Next up is a puzzle game known as Flying Kick. The goal of this game is to make it to the door at the end of every level. Your only method of travel is by… well, flying kicks. You have to use your limited movement options to make your way to the door, usually by stacking items and avoiding traps. This game can be played here.

 

sharecart1000

Finally, The next set of games are kind of interesting. These games all utilize the same save file, under the program known as SHARECART1000, a game designing program that allows you to make some fun and fairly interesting games. I’ve only tried a couple of the games from these so far, but what I have played is really fun, and they are certain to add more games as time goes by. Do be warned though, due to all games using the same save file, you are require to have all your games in the same place. So just remember that when you extract the games, to put them all in the same folder. You can see all of the games that are currently out here, and they are sure to add more as the days go by.

 

 

That’s all there is for this week, hope you come back another time for some more free games.

We all have our favourite games. We all like different games for many different reasons. Whether it’s for the amazing story, the awesome characters, the super tight controls, or just because it entertained you, each game you have played has impacted you and the way you choose which games to play. This is my list of my top 10 favourite games of all time, for now. This list will use the traditional top 10 format, only games I’ve played (duh) and only one game per franchise.

 

I would put the honourable mentions here, but doing so would give away parts of the list ahead of time, so I’m going to put them at the end.

 

10) The Legend of Dragoon

Starting off the list is a cult RPG classic from the PS1 era, The Legend of Dragoon. I was introduced to this game on two separate occasions, but it wasn’t until the second time that the game really stuck with me. The first time I saw this game in action was when I was visiting my cousin, and he was playing the game. The second time was through a very good friend of mine, and it was this time that I played through the game myself. Legend of Dragoon was nothing like any RPG I had played up to that point. With it’s unique combat system, interesting characters, and engaging story, this game had my attention right from the opening cutscene. It had it’s cheeseball moments here and there, mainly in the cutscenes, and in some of the voice acting, but the overall package was enough for me to overlook those. A classic title that is deserving of my number 10 spot.

 

9) Bayonetta

This spot was a tough decision. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to put Bayonetta or Devil May Cry 3 here, as they are both extremely fun games with an intuitive combat system and interesting characters. I eventually decided on Bayonetta for one reason: it’s over the topness. Bayonetta took the DMC formula and ran with it, and kept running. Each level manages to out do the previous level in terms of scale, with the bosses spread out through the game being absolutely gigantic. Most of them don’t even fit on the screen most of the time! On top of all that, add in the title character and her cast of supporting characters, all of which have various complexities and nuances to them, and you have a fun game that isn’t afraid to venture into the absurd, and my spot for my 9th favourite game.

 

8) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

 

And here is the obligatory Zelda mention. This game is fairly low on the list because it hasn’t aged quite how I hoped it would have, but it also had to be on this list because this was the first game I ever beat on my own.  I don’t feel like I really need to say much here, everyone more or less knows this game, everyone knows why it’s good, and anything I would say here has already been said a million times.

 

7) Terranigma

 

This game on the other hand, I could talk about forever. This entry is a bit of a sentimental one. I stumbled across this game when I was about 13 years old, which was an extremely difficult time of my life. I managed to find some solace in this game, and to this day I can still remember most of the details despite only ever playing through it fully one time. The characters are very unique and interesting, the story is very complex and compelling, and will keep you invested all the way through. Also the main character uses a spear as their main weapon, which was a fresh departure from the usual heroes wielding swords cliche that is present in many RPGs. You would only be doing yourself a favour in playing this game.

 

6) X-Men Legends

 

Continuing the trend of RPG games on this list, this game is here purely for the fun factor. Being able to build your favourite four person team from a diverse X-Men cast, each with their own uses and abilities, was extremely fun. The story wasn’t anything to write home about, but the combat system and the sheer variety of characters made this game notable enough for me to remember it years after playing it. It also had a great deal of replayability thanks to it’s wide cast, as well as the fact that many characters had alternate outfits you could unlock. A fun experience all the way through, this game doesn’t quite make the top 5.

 

All of the top 5 are in my list mainly for one or two moments in the game that had an extremely big impact on me as a gamer, so from here on out there may be some spoilers. This is your one and only warning.

 

5) Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

 

Taking the number five spot is the story of Big Boss, in the prequel to the original Metal Gear Solid game, which has since developed it’s own franchise basically. While I enjoyed MGS 2, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting as a follow up to the classic that was the original MGS. Making the third game a prequel was a smart move on the part of the developers, and they sure as hell delivered. There was three moments in this game that I can still remember to this day, which is why this game is in this spot. The first one was the boss fight against The End, an ancient and legendary sniper who more or less (in the world of MGS) pioneered the art of sniping. In your battle with The End, it’s just you, him, and a wide expanse of forest. Using your wits and your own trusty sniper rifle, you are pitted one on one against one of the most memorable bosses in the entire franchise. I spent a good 3 hours on this fight the first time I played through the game, and I even went so far as to make a separate save file just so I could fight him any time I wanted.

 

The second moment was the “fight” with The Sorrow, the ghost of a spirit medium who passed away prior to the events of the game. He shows up at various parts in the game, usually as a sort of guide, but the moment that sticks out the most for me, and I’m sure many other people who played this game, was the scene in the river where he brings back the spirits of every single person you killed in the game up to that point. It was an extremely unsettling and eerie scene, and one that I wasn’t expecting at all. It really made you think on your actions, and gave some send of responsibility for the countless guards you may or may not have needlessly slaughtered on the way.

 

The final scene that stuck out was the final battle against The Boss, your mentor who you believe betrayed you. I won’t go into too much detail on this one on the off chance that there is someone out there that doesn’t know the details behind this battle, but those of you who have played the game know exactly why I mention it. And if you don’t this scene alone is worth playing through the game.

 

4) Shadow Of The Colossus

 

There is precisely one moment that hooked me on this game. After sitting through a 15 or so minute cutscene, you get on your horse, and begin to travel the expansive, beautiful, empty landscape. You go towards where the guiding light of your sword points you, and come across a sheer cliff. Having no other direction to go, you begin climbing it, serving as a little tutorial as you climb. Then, as you reach the top, you hear those thunderous footsteps, followed shortly afterwards by your very first sighting of one of the many Colossi you will face throughout the game. And that was the exact moment that I still remember the most vividly to this day. That one moment, of seeing that first Colossi, and figuring out how to take it down, is the biggest reason why this game rests so high on this list. Because if it wasn’t for that single moment, I wouldn’t have continued the game, and I wouldn’t have gone on to experience one of the greatest games that I had ever played.

 

3) Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core

 

Apparently I just really like prequels. In this prequel to the classic RPG Final Fantasy VII, you play as Zack Fair, the mentor and friend of fan favourite (or unfavourite, depending on where you are on the scale) Cloud Strife. Anyone who has played the original game will know how Crisis Core ends. And it is precisely for that very ending that this game is my 3rd favourite game of all time. I enjoy when a game can make me feel emotional. When a game can tell it’s story so amazingly well that it causes me to tear up, I will instantly appreciate that game. The ending of Crisis Core achieved that in spades, and it did so in such an amazingly heartwrenching way, that it didn’t even matter that I knew how the game was going to end before I even went into it. I don’t want to go into too much detail, as you really need the entire experience of the game to understand the impact, but anyone who hasn’t played this game and was a fan of FFVII, you owe it to yourself to play this game.

 

2) Okami

 

Taking the runner up spot is another cult classic title, though it’s probably a bit more popular now thanks to the inclusion of the lead character Amaterasu in Marvel vs.. Capcom 3. I really wasn’t sure what to expect out of this game when I first picked it up. I was a little late to the party on this one, as I didn’t play the game until some time after the game was released. This entire game was memorable to me, and it all culminated in it’s final boss. In the marathon of a final boss that was Yami, everything you have done in the game up to that point is driven home in the climax. The final battle starts with you losing all of the powers you have accumulated to that point, and you have to slowly earn them back. As you regain access to your powers, the battle becomes more and more engaging and frantic, until you reach the final form, when you regain the first ability you had in the game, the ability to make the sun rise, and engage in one of the most epic boss fights in video game history, set to one of the most triumphant video game themes ever composed. Once again, if you haven’t played this game, you are only doing yourself a service in doing so.

 

1) Chrono Trigger

 

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time saw this one coming, but for those of you who don’t know me, Chrono Trigger is my favourite game of all time. I have beaten this game more times than any other game I have every played, and I have owned it on every single console it has been released on. This game is single-handedly responsible for me becoming as much of a gamer as I am today. Before this game, I played video games, but I didn’t really think about them all that much. After playing Chrono Trigger, I was a different person. I know that is kind of clichéd to say but whatever. The characters, the music, the story, the bosses, the numerous endings (both serious and silly), the time travel, everything that this game did was excellently executed. It went at a nice, unfrustrating pace with little filler, to the point where even the side quests were actually relevant to the overall scheme of the plot. If I was told I had to chose one game for the rest of my life and only be able to play that game, I would choose this game without hesitation. To sum up, the one moment in this game that made me love it and warrant putting it on my top ten favourite games of all time, is the entire game. From the moment I picked my lead character’s name, right down to the final line of the credits, there was not a single moment in this game that I do not love.

 

HONOURABLE MENTION: My honourable mention for this list is Radical Dreamers, the first sort of sequel to Chrono Trigger, which also became the foundation for what would become Chrono Cross. If not for the one per franchise rule, this game would have been right between Crisis Core and Shadow of the Colossus. While it was never released in North America, there are ways to get a translated version of this text based adventure, and playing this game gave me a better appreciation for the franchise as a whole.

 

That’s my list, I hope you enjoyed it. I apologize for disappearing for a couple of weeks, I hope that this will make up for it and I’ll be back next week with a super super sized edition of Free Games Friday.

Free Games Friday

Duckie —  18/10/2013 — 2 Comments

Welcome to Free Games Friday, your source for free games. I missed last week and I have no reason or excuse for it. However, to make up for this, I will be giving you four games to play, two of them are download only, and two of them you can play right on your browser.

 

The first game is a cute little puzzle game that’s part Bomberman, part block puzzle. In Explod (which I couldn’t find or make a decent image of, sorry), your goal is to get to the exit, signified by the big black door. However, there are walls in your way that prevent you from just walking straight to them. Thankfully, you have some bombs around you, which are more than enough to take care of those pesky walls. Lighting a bomb will start a brief visual countdown, which only moves when you do. The bomb will explode once the fuse reaches the bomb, destroying any walls it’s touching, or lighting another bomb if it gets caught in it’s explosion. You have to navigate your way through the levels, getting to the entrance while avoiding the bombs yourself, or else you’ll be killed. You can find this game here.

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Game number two is called Baron’s Gate. This one is a sidescrolling Shooter/RPG/Platformer type of deal, where you play as a soldier with a bow. As you progress through the levels, you will find new equipment to use, which have a variety of abilities and the like, from poison arrows to ice arrows. At the end of many of the levels you will fight a boss, which provide a greater challenge and test your skills and equipment up to this point. Be warned though, this game is tough. If you’re looking for a challenge, then you can find this game to play here.

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Third up today is a Japanese title, known as Metal Shinobi Assassin. In this Contra/Metal Slug clone, you play as a… well, metal shinobi assassin. Armed with weaponry way advanced for the era, you plow your way through various enemies, dodging bullets and killing to your hearts content. Much like it’s inspirations, this game is fairly unforgiving, but it’s all good fun. This game can be downloaded here (just click the big blue link).

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And finally, my personal favourite game from this week’s list of game, Null Divide Plus. In this top down shooter, you play as a spaceship pilot who is running low on supplies, and comes across a seemingly abandoned space station, which you scout out for fuel and other supplies. You are given a free range of motion within each level, where you have to find various upgrades as well as 3 colour coordinated keys, which allow you to access other areas of the level, and you can only face the boss if you have all three. With fun puzzles and a challenging difficulty curve, this game is sure to keep you entertained. You can download the game here.

 

And that’s all folks, see you next time for more Free Games Friday.