Connect with us

News

Here are your free Epic Games Store games for today (Jan 1)

The Epic Games Store is moving away from its usual weekly freebies to a “12 days of Christmas” vibe.

Published

on

Epic Games Store 12 games of Christmas
Epic Games

The Epic Games Store is moving away from its usual weekly freebies to a “12 days of Christmas” vibe.

Epic, in order to promote and ingratiate its store, has been giving away free games all year. People have literally received hundreds of dollars of video games and paid nothing for it.

(And if you really do all hate the Epic Games Store as you suggest, then surely the best tactic is to log on every week and claim the free game? It costs Epic more money, video game sales go up, developers and publishers get paid, and it took about 30 seconds of your time. Just saying.)

Now, as we accelerate on the icy footpath towards Christmas, Epic is ramping up its free game activities. The Epic Games Store is switching to a “12 days of Christmas” vibe, with a different game available for free each day. It kicks off today and will run through until January 1, 2020. (And it’s not to be confused with the other 12 days of free stuff being given away in Fortnite Winterfest 2019.)

Be sure to check back to this page every day for the latest game – we’ll keep updating this post as we go along.

Epic Games Store 12 Days of Free Games

Day 1, December 19-20 – Into the Breach

This pocket-sized strategy game from the makers of FTL: Faster Than Light was a real hit last year. It even made it onto our game of the year list. It’s basically a modern strategy take on fan favourite Advance Wars, with buckets of heart and adorable little mechs.

Day 2, December 20-21 –Towerfall Ascension

Towerfall Ascension is a retro-inspired archery game that’s best enjoyed in local co-op (but also a lot of fun/guaranteed to cause arguments in versus mode). Ascension is the definitive version of the game, with all of Towerfall’s content and expansions thrown in.

Day 3, December 21-22 – Superhot

Today’s free game is the brilliant Superhot, a game that combines Matrix-like bullet time with the strategy of chess. The idea is simple – time only moves when you do – but the execution is fiendish, and far from feeling stilted, Superhot looks and feels sublime in motion.

Day 4, December 22-23 – Little Inferno

Little Inferno is a little hard to explain. It’s a game about setting fire to all sorts of things? Yes, the kind of thing that gets a kid moved into additional supervision at school. But it’s daft, fun, and brought to you by the developer of Human Resource Machine and World of Goo; if that’s not a good indicator of what to expect, then we don’t know what is.

Day 5, December 23-24 – Ape Out

Come back to Thumbsticks tomorrow for our games of the year 2019 list, and you’ll see Ape Out front and centre. It’s a procedural primate power fantasy, but what really makes it stand out is the procedural audio system, that generates its blistering jazz drumming soundtrack on the fly, based on how you play the game. Scintillating stuff.

Day 6, December 24-25 – Celeste

Today’s freebie is a game Epic has already given away this year as part of its weekly offerings. So we’re assuming most of you already have it. But if you don’t, then know this: Celeste is diamond-hard and oft-frustrating, but at its heart is a rewarding tale of self-improvement and overcoming adversity. And strawberries.

Day 7, December 25-26 – Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Nothing says Christmas cheer like a few dozen googly-eyed simpletons beating the tar out of one another. It may be silly, and there may be precious little point to it all, but Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is an absolute riot. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

Day 8, December 26-27 – FTL: Faster Than Light

It might sound like we’re trying to shoe-horn some Christmas cheer into this one, but there’s more than a touch of Driving Home for Christmas about roguelite space simulation FTL: Faster Than Light. (In spaaaaaaace!)

Day 9, December 27-28 – Hyper Light Drifter

If you’re one of the dozen or so people who hasn’t played Hyper Light Drifter, then this is your chance to own one of the finest indie games of the generation. It’s a stylish, neon-slicked Zelda-like adventure, with a surprisingly poignant, wordless story.

Day 10, December 28-29 – Shadow Tactics

Shadow Tactics – or Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, if you’re its mother and it’s in trouble – is the latest Epic Games Store festive freebie. It’s a stealth-oriented tactical game set in feudal Japan; think somewhere between Commandos and Tenchu.

Day 11, December 29-30 – The Talos Principle

Do you like quirky, first-person puzzle games like Portal, QUBE, and The Witness? Then you’re sure to enjoy The Talos Principle, from developer Croteam and the writer behind FTL: Faster Than Light.

Day 12, December 30-31 – Check back tomorrow!

Today’s freebie is Hello Neighbor, the home invasion sneak ’em up with Pixar-like visuals where the nasty neighbour learns from the way you play.

Day 13, December 31-January 1 – Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossibly Lair, the follow-up to authentic-to-a-fault Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor, Yooka-Laylee, is the penultimate freebie from Epic this Christmas. This 2.5D sequel actually feels better than its predecessor for having aped Rare’s actual best platform game, Donkey Kong Country, and is well worth a look.

Day 14, January 1-2 – Steep, Darksiders, Darksiders 2

The festivities are over, which means we’re back into the regular rotation of weekly freebies on the Epic Games Store. That means you don’t get a game every day, but they’re available for a full week, and there’s often (not always) more than one. This week – and for the final day of the festive giveaway, depending on how you look at it – the free games are Darksiders, Darksiders 2, and the brilliant Steep.


And don’t forget, you can follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard to keep track of all the latest gaming news, discounts, and free stuff.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

News

A delightful indie game is free on the Epic Games Store

Pikuniku, a pleasantly daft indie adventure, is free on the Epic Games Store.

Published

on

Pikuniku ghost
Devolver Digital

Pikuniku, a pleasantly daft indie adventure, is free on the Epic Games Store.

Be sure to grab Sectordub and Devolver Digital’s brightly coloured delight, Pikuniku, before it’s too late. The deal is good, no strings attached, through next Thursday.

Our own Tom Baines loved it, writing in his review: “The dialogue in Pikuniku switches from casual, off-hand, inane chatter – delivered in all lower-case, with little punctuation – to statements shouted and all in caps, with multiple exclamation points and the text literally jumping up and down for dramatic effect. It’s a use of language and delivery that is born of Twitter, wholesome memes, and a degree of internet and media-savvy that most self-proclaimed ‘comedy’ games can only dream of. It’s genuinely very funny.”

In addition to its brilliant little main story, Pikuniku also features a fun co-operative mode, where two players get to play as the titular Piku and Niku. Some of the co-op levels feature little cars, and something really neat happens if you beep the horn to the right rhythm.

And I know I said there are no strings attached, but there is one string. You’ll need an Epic account. (You can sort that out here.)

Once you do, you’re all set to grab Pikuniku. And, now that Pikuniku is free, Epic has unveiled next week’s pair of freebies. Abzu and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam will be up for grabs on October 8.


You love free stuff, right? You could always bookmark our dedicated free games landing page – or follow us on Twitter or Facebook – to get the latest updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading

News

Four new Minecraft fighters announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The shock reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s new Minecraft characters coincided with a Twitter outage as delight poured in.

Published

on

Minecraft Steve Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Nintendo / Microsoft

The shock reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s new Minecraft characters coincided with a Twitter outage as delight poured in.

Nintendo announced on stream that Minecraft’s Steve, Alex, Zombie and Enderman will all be joining as playable fighters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Once this second Fighters Pass is through, the total roster will number an impressive 86.

The announcement coincided with widespread Twitter downtime, leading to many users (half-) joking that the announcement had “broken Twitter“.

Nintendo confirmed that Steve and Alex will either be available to players who purchase the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass Vol. 2 for £26.99 or Challenger Pack 7, which can be bought separately for £5.39. This challenger pack includes the two fighters as well as a new stage and seven music tracks. 

The Fighters Pass Vol. 2 currently boasts only Min Min from ARMS, but four more characters/challenger packs are yet to be announced.

A full live-stream presentation on the Steve & Alex fighters is due October 3rd, which you can watch on the Nintendo UK YouTube channel. Expect a release date during that stream.

Minecraft seems a natural fit for the mega-franchise, given smashing is among Steve’s main activities. As for building, I’m not holding my breath that we’ll see a redstone calulator in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate anytime soon.


Follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily video game news updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading

News

Nintendo: Remember to charge your Switch at least every six months

Nintendo Support tweets out a warning to all those letting their console gather dust – it might not be the same when you return.

Published

on

Nintendo Switch Battery Charge
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

Nintendo Support tweets out a warning to all those letting their console gather dust – it might not be the same when you return.

Lithium batteries are a pain as much as they’re a convenience. Whilst we’d love them to be magic items we can imbue with power, instead the darn things are subject to real-world physics and require good maintenance practice. Typical.

Nintendo Support took to Twitter to push this message home for the Switch, saying:

“The battery built into the game console may become unchargeable if it has not been charged or used for too long. Please charge it once every six months.”

I’d go further and recommend you cut that to every month. Keep your batteries at room temperature and aim for partial discharges over full ones (around 50% is the sweet spot). Since batteries are under the most strain when they’re fully charged or completely empty, neither overcharging nor completely draining is ideal.

A few months ago PSPs were similarly suffering from underuse, leading to battery swelling and even bursting.

Who are these Switch-owning monsters who leave their consoles so unloved for half a year at a time? Have they not seen that Super Mario 3D All-Stars is out? That said, I know I’ve been guilty of leaving my own console discharged for perhaps two months at a time. Don’t look at me.

Whether it’s the battery of your Switch, your phone, (or for god’s sake check that PSP now!), we could all probably do better to look after the future explosives we sleep next to at night.


Follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily video game news updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading

News

Super Mario Bros. 35 is out now on Nintendo Switch

The new Super Mario battle-royale game is out now for Nintendo Switch Online members.

Published

on

Super Mario Bros. 35 - Nintendo Switch
Nintendo

The new Super Mario battle-royale game is out now for Nintendo Switch Online members.

The Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary celebrations continue apace with the release today of Super Mario Bros. 35 on Nintendo Switch. The game is based on the 1985 NES classic but adds a battle-royale gameplay twist similar in format to Tetris 99.

The game sees 35 players compete online across classic Mario courses, beginning with the iconic World 1-1. The platforming gameplay comes as naturally as breathing, but this time, defeated Koopa Troopers and Goombas are sent over to other players’ courses to disrupt their progress. You’re also up against the clock which counts down from 35 seconds and has to be topped up by stomping on enemies. The fun continues until there’s one Mario left standing.

It’s a simple concept, and in our brief time with the game, a well-executed one. Matches are chaotic and pleasingly clumsy with familiar levels made significantly more challenging. The game is also exquisitely produced with a user interface that echoes Super Mario Maker.

Here’s the launch trailer.

Super Mario Bros 35 is free to download and play for Nintendo Switch Online members at no additional cost. Weirdly – and just like the recently released Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection – the game is only available until March 31, 2021. To get it, navigate to the Nintendo Switch Online section of the Switch eShop.


Get updates on the latest Xbox One, Switch, and PlayStation 4 video games via our new releases page. And follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily news updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading

News

October’s PlayStation Plus games are fast and frightening

Sony has confirmed the two PlayStation 4 games coming to PlayStation Plus in October 2020.

Published

on

PlayStation Plus
Sony / Thumbsticks

Sony has confirmed the two PlayStation 4 games coming to PlayStation Plus in October 2020.

First on the starting grid is EA’s Need for Speed Payback. Which Need for Speed is that you ask? It’s the 2017 effort from Ghost Games. The racing isn’t actually that bad, but the game is dragged down by creaky storytelling and aggressive microtransactions. It’s worth a quick spin.

Next up is Vampyr, Dontnod’s 2018 tale of bloodlust and revenge set in Edwardian London. It’s a distinctly AA game but not without merit for fans of gothic fiction and Hippocratic hokum. In our review, we said that a “vivid sense of time and place, and a fantastic central idea, soon turn pale with repetitive combat and a forest of conversation trees.” It certainly doesn’t suck.

Both of next month’s free PlayStation Plus games are available to download from October 6, 2020.

PlayStation Plus free games – October 2020

  • Need for Speed Payback
  • Vampyr

September’s PlayStation Plus games – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Street Fighter V – are available to download until next week. And if you’re playing on Xbox One, Microsoft has also confirmed the four titles coming to Games with Gold in October.


Take a look at our new releases page for regular updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 games. You should also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading