The Playstation 4 has been out for nearly 8 years. The PS5 is here and the PS4 will soon be on the way out. What is likely to continue, though, is Sony’s Playstation Plus online membership. With it will be the inclusion of a few free games to download and keep each month (so long as you continue to maintain an active PS Plus subscription). Shortly after the release of the PS4, Playstation users started to see free games show up on their shiny new console. Within just a few months it was common to see games each month pop up for free, and after a few years, Playstation owners built up quite the library of impressive software they could play just by subscribing.
I wanted to take a look back on what free games PS Plus had to offer, Specifically, the games that were worth your time. The games that my friends and I played for weeks and weeks. And of course, the games that came out of nowhere and were the games I wanted to play before I even knew what they were! In chronological release on PS Plus order, here are my (and my friend groups!) favorite free PS Plus games for the Playstation 4.
One of the PS4’s earliest downloadable games came to the PS Plus monthly games early on in the systems lifetime. The beautiful and smooth visuals paired well with the sound and music to create a shooter action game barely equaled on the system nearly 8 years later!
The one-time Ouya exclusive game made it’s way to more traditional platforms in 2013, including the Playstation 4. Four players battling it out for 8-bit supremacy is as addictive as it is rewarding. Jumping from the top of the screen, to pop out the bottom of the screen, to shoot an arrow at an unsuspecting victim never gets old. The addition of co-op modes and teams made this a go-to game for many a game night.
The game that got me into roguelites! It was an amazing concept to me at the time: Taking the battle and leveling mechanics seen in Metroidvania’s and combining it with the random dungeon generation I’ve seen in games like The Binding of Isaac, but leaving just enough permanent progression to keep me coming back for me! No matter which way I sliced it, this game was a blast, and I cannot wait for the sequel!
Easily the most played and recognizable PS Plus free game (at least to me)! Rocket League was something else. Sure it’s car soccer when you get right down to is, but it was just so damn fun. The advanced mechanics we tried to learn but never mastered. The “Just one more game” feel at 1am with a group of friends. The joys of a well earned victory. Unlocking the next fun antennae topper, the list can go on. It was a smart move to give this one out for free to PS Plus members, as it grew the fan and player base, and cemented the game’s legacy.
A very quirky and odd game, Grow Home tells the tale of a tiny robot trying to grow a massive plant to revive a planet. I booted up the game to just see what it was like, and was hooked by the game’s somewhat difficult gameplay. You controlled the Robot’s left hand with one button, and the right hand with another. They can move freely from one another, and when combined with the game’s climbing and exploration, it made for a rewarding and satisfying journey.
A lot of the games on this list are games I likely wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, but having them for free we really enjoyed playing with our friends. Magicka 2 takes all the wacky spell casting and accidentally death dealing of the first game and makes it even more chaotic. The game allows you and up to three friends play together, combining spells and defeating foes. However, friendly fire is always on, and is part of the experience (whether you like it or not).
Made by the same team that created the Magicka series, Helldivers is kind of like that original game, but replacing the spells and medieval setting for guns and outer space. A fun level up mechanic kept my friends and I coming back for more, but a brutal difficulty kept of from reaching the end of this game. We still quote this game to this day.
Tetris with physics. That’s the best way to describe this game. For a quick puzzle game to play in a group setting, Tricky Towers delivers. Enough variety and game modes to keep things interesting for repeated rounds, this game is equally rewarding and frustrating. If you like puzzle games and want to try something new, this one is for you!
Hahaha, this game! Starwhal is an ridiculous competitive multiplayer game that has you playing as one of four space narwhals (e.g. Starwhal) trying to eliminate the other Starwhals by piercing their exposed heart with your pointy tusk. The game uses purposefully loose and awkward controls to create a chaotic gameplay experience unlike anything else you’ve played. Good for many a laugh at your next game night.
The premise of TorqueL is simple: you are moving toward the goal in a giant cube which can have one of it’s four sides extend by holding a button. Doing so can allow you to reach new spaces and avoid obstacles. It’s a physics puzzler at it’s core. However, and I think this is not meant to be the case seeing as the game frequently crashes when doing so, you can have four players control the same cube all at once. This lead to our friend group literally crying from laughing so much as what was supposed to be a simple puzzle experience has devolved into a ridiculous romp.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
I am a big fan of side scrolling shooters, but my friend group… not so much. But with Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, we can all play together on one massive ship! You and up to four friends control a large space ship navigating through dangerous zones, defeating enemies and bosses. Along the way you can collect powerups which can alter and add new weapons and modifications to your ship, which you and your crewmates must physically move to in order to use. Light RPG elements and a great challenge, give this one a shot if you’re looking for something cooperative with your group.
Tales From the Borderlands
We’ve had a lot of smaller and Indie games featured so far. As the Playstation 4 grew older, we started to see more triple A first party games come to the free PS Plush program, and one of the early ones I remember playing and loving was Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands. Taking the gameplay and storytelling from The Walking Dead and infusing it with the colorful world of Borderlands gave us a riveting adventure featuring completely new characters to the Borderlands universe (that went on to become canon!).
A post apocalyptic game based on the post apocalyptic world of the movies, Mad Max was a wonderful surprise. The huge open world you could explore and discover was fully realized and featured tons of interesting locations you could explore. A great vehicle and car combat system, combined with solid open world RPG mechanics made this game a winner. Too bad I do not think many played it!
I’m cheating a bit here, because my friend group purchased and played through all of Overcooked! before the game was free on PS Plus, but it’s too good to pass up. Pick up the ingredients, prepare said ingredients, and send them out for order. The premise of this cooperative cooking game seems simple enough, but before you know it you’re yelling at your friends to get more onions ready while the kitchen that’s literally inside an active volcano tries not to catch flame. It’s great!
The last great Sonic game wasn’t even made by the Sonic Team. Instead, a few fans of the series made this excellent entry into the traditional Sonic series, and PS Plus users were given it for free to love and enjoy. Taking everything, and I mean everything, you enjoyed about the first three Sonic games on the Genesis, and combining them with totally new music, stages, and mechanics, Sonic Mania was more than a Sonic game. It is a love letter to the series’ fans.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Though the buzz has very much worn off, there was a time Fall Guys was THE game to play on Playstation 4. And it was free! Essentially a battle royale version of the TV series Wipeout, Fall Guys took 60 players down to just one in a variety of minigames and challenges. Though some were not as fun as others the variety of games mixed with a handful of content updates made this game a great addition to any PS4 owners library.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Releasing just one year after it’s initial release as a free PS Plus game, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake was one of the program’s highest profile releases. I was honestly shocked with this game came out as that months freebie, because the game was still full price $50 on the shelf. A truly wonderful RPG and remake, this game is a great reason why one should subscribe to the program.
Remnant: From the Ashes
Playing this with my buddy Patrick online was a real pleasure. I didn’t know anything about this series prior to install, but instantly fell in love with the atmosphere, gameplay, and variety of enemies. I loved being a super powerful sniper, but still very fragile up close. The roguelike randomness kept multiple playthroughs fresh, and a good amount of unique boss encounters kept the challenge very high. A definite play if you like RPGs, shooters, or co-op games!
Star Wars: Squadrons
Another very high profile release for free, this shooter sim was only out for 8 months before coming to PS Plus as a free game. The included PSVR mode can immerse you even further into the cockpit of an X-Wing, however a more traditional viewpoint is usable as well. Dogfights and Fleet battles make the multiplayer experience a real treat, but I was more into the game’s story-based single player mode.
Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown
Currently the newest free game, I have admittedly yet to play this one. However, I am including it on this list because I think it’s a wonderful feature we’ve sometimes seen with games on PS Plush: This one was released as a PS Plus free game the day it came out. Likely it’s due to the game being incredibly old already (originally coming out in 2012), but I still have to respect full-on free games upon release. If we got more games like this on the PS Plus program, I don’t think I’d complain.