After experiencing enormous success on PCs and smartphones, free-to-play games are quickly making their way onto consoles as well. While we’ve all done our fair share of groaning about the nickel-and-diming that’s so common on the App Store and Google Play, there’s a lot to like about the free-to-play model when handled properly. So today, let’s jump in and explore what the free-to-play model has to offer the average Xbox One owner.
Made by Cryptic Studios (the developer that brought us City of Heroes and Star Trek Online), this action-based MMORPG is set in the city of Neverwinter. By combining the popular Forgotten Realms backdrop, Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition rules, and the free-to-play model, the description alone is enough to get a certain subset of fantasy enthusiasts frothing.
Aimed at tackling the World of Warcraft market and the Elder Scrolls market at the same time, this free-to-play MMO has you teaming up with up to four other people to explore a beloved setting. All of the main content is available completely free of charge, but you can buy in-game currency for real money — anywhere from $ 5 to $ 200 at a shot. And in some ways, the game actually reminds me of another licensed free-to-play MMO over on the PS4.
ULTRA COMBO! This classic fighting franchise has finally returned to the limelight, and this time it’s a free-to-play release exclusive to the Xbox One. Originally developed by Double Helix, its acquisition by Amazon left the dev team unable to offer continued support. Instead, the folks at Iron Galaxy stepped in, and now season two of Killer Instinct is available.
Without dropping one red cent, you get to play as a rotating cast of free fighters, and you can slowly unlock more content from playing the game. Alternatively, you can buy in-game currency with real money to speed up the unlocking process, or simply buy an entire season worth of content for 40 bucks. It’s a pretty solid deal — especially compared with the traditional Capcom-style pricing model that fighting games have been burdened with in the past.
If fighting games and fantasy RPGs are a bit too serious for your tastes, consider downloading Happy Wars instead. This colorful and cartoony multiplayer game allows for both co-op and competitive gameplay both online and off. Sit down with your family, and enjoy four-player split-screen mode as you work your way through this goofy and joyous world.
Of course, the game is happy to take your money if you want quick access to “happy cards,” support items, and parts for character customization. The in-game currency is sold in packs ranging from $ 2 to $ 40, but beware. Since this game is clearly aimed at kids, you need to lock down your purchase settings before handing over the controller. The last thing you want is a bunch of unintended purchases showing up on your bill.
If you like pinball, Zen Studios has a treat for you. With Pinball FX2, you can play dozens of tables featuring some of your favorite franchises. From South Park to Star Wars to The Walking Dead, Pinball FX2 sports an incredible amount of variety, and rewards skilled play with a superb leaderboard system. And if you know other pinball enthusiasts, you can compete asynchronously against each other for the top spot.
When you download the core client, you automatically get access to the Sorcerer’s Lair table for free. If you only have a passing interest in pinball, this table is more than enough to satiate your desires. If you’re a hardcore pinball fanatic, you can choose to buy single tables or combo packs à la carte. For example, The Walking Dead table is $ 3, and the Avengers Chronicles four-pack is just $ 10. Now that everything is delivered digitally, collecting pinball tables is actually an incredibly affordable hobby these days.
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