Half-Life: Alyx (opens in new tab), finally unveiled today by Valve, will be free for everyone who owns the Index VR headset. But what if you don't own an Index VR headset? For the next seven days, you can get Bad North: Jotunn Edition (opens in new tab) for free from the Epic Games Store instead.
Bad North is a stylish "real-time tactics roguelike" about an island kingdom (actually a whole bunch of islands) being invaded by Vikings. Your job is to hold them off while your people evacuate, a process complicated by the different designs and layouts of each island. Strategy is obviously at the heart of the matter but there's a strong element of puzzle game to it too, and as we said in our 78/100 review (opens in new tab), it's harsh but fair:
"Moving troops feels like playing with a small box of toys. The soft wind and waves make each island feel like a lovely little haven, the cottages dotting the islands adding to the wholesomeness. It's all so simple and evocative. Sure, some ominous music plays and there's some blood stains after a battle, but it barely registers when the rest of what's on screen is so nice."
The Jotunn Edition includes the July expansion of the same name that adds new items to find, Commander traits, a new enemy type, "checkpoint islands," and more. It's free for the taking until November 28, at which point the 2013 platformer Rayman Legends will take its place.
For the record, Index non-owners also have the option of purchasing Half-Life: Alyx for $60, but I thought it would be nice to give everyone a tastes of the "free game" excitement. You're welcome.