Thursday, January 5, 2023

Counting Chickens: January's Free Games With Amazon Prime

I think I'm finally getting to grips with Prime Gaming's' opaque marketing strategy. The monthly stipend of games seems to start exactly when the last tranche expires, a date that varies month by month. Sometimes it can be as early as the first flip of the calendar page; sometimes it takes several days before anything happens.

This time around, nothing changed on either the app or the website until yesterday, which inconveniently happened to be the one day I was working this week. Consequently, here I am, a day late and a post short.

Happy to say, the delay has been worth it. There are seven full games on offer this month and at least two of them could have been chosen specifically with my particular predilections in mind.

I'll start with the also-rans. I'll also skip the usual mithering over which games Amazon is promoting on the app and which are only visible on the website. It's clear to me now that there's no point bothering with the app at all. It's just a subset of the full offer. Go directly to the website. Save yourself the angst.

Let's also get the in-game offers out of the way at the beginning. There seem to be more of them evey month and they also come and go on their own arcane schedules, so trying to link them to a monthly cycle is doomed to failure from the start. 

Today's snapshot shows offers for fifty-nine different games, expiring any time from today to almost a year from now. The only ones I grabbed were for Guild Wars 2 (A really tacky-looking cloak with Auren on it.) and Blade and Soul (A couple of costumes straight out of a touring company production of Two Gentlemen of Verona.) Both those offers expire today so don't wait to read the rest of this post before you go grab them.

On to the games, then. First up...

 Lawn Mowing Simulator

The official description of this one reads so much like parody I don't feel there's much I can usefully add: "Experience the beauty and detail of mowing the Great British countryside in Lawn Mowing Simulator, the only simulator that allows you to ride an authentic and expansive roster of real-world licensed lawn mowers from prestigious manufacturers; Toro, SCAG and STIGA as you manage your business."

I mean, where would you even start?  That's the premise for a comedy sketch not the outline of a game anyone would actually play. Isn't it? I guess not because it has more than thirteen hundred reviews on Steam, where it sells for £15.99 (50% off in the Winter Sale if you hurry!) and has a "Mostly Positive" rating. 

Even less believably, there's a range of DLC, including Ancient Britain and Dino Safari. Sometimes I think the world's gone crazy but only in the most boring way possible. The hardest of hard passes. 


 Faraway 2: Jungle Escape

"Escape all new temples in Faraway 2: Jungle Escape that are full of new challenges and mysterious puzzles. This room escape game will surely challenge your puzzle escaping ability. Sequel to one of the best escape games ever with over a million players! A room escape puzzle game that will completely challenge your mind, captivate you & offer hours of amazing mobile gaming entertainment."

Hmm. A conversion of a mobile game that looks stultifyingly dulll even in the promotional video. Someone hold me back! This one retails for a whopping £4.29 on Steam, where it's currently enjoying a less-than-generous 10% sale discount and no rating at all from the grand total of three reviews (Two of which, granted, are very positive.)

To cut the snark, this is probably a decent time-waster for puzzle fans. I neither have time to waste nor much of an affinity for puzzling so I'll let them have it and pass. 



"Survive in open space! Together with your immortal chicken, discover the truth behind your sudden spaceship crash. Craft tools, pilot vehicles, and even control space stations to survive and explore the wreckage."

Excuse me? "Your immortal chicken"? You want to run that by me again? No? Alright then...

This one does look moderately interesting. It costs $19.99 on Steam (Half off in the sale.) and more than eleven thousand reviews have given it a Very Positive rating. 

Even so, the video makes it seem a bit undercooked (The game, not the chicken.). The graphics aren't all that special and the score is really trying to do some heavy lifting to make up for it. Still, there's enough going on to pique my interest. I suspect I'll never get around to playing it but what the hell...


The Evil Within 2

"Detective Sebastian Castellanos has lost everything, including his daughter, Lily. To save her, he must descend into the nightmarish world of STEM. Horrifying threats emerge from every corner, and he must rely on his wits to survive. For his one chance at redemption, the only way out is in."

Geez. No thank-you. That looks nightmarish and not in a good way. I'm getting that this is a well-known franchise on console, although it's not one I've heard of before. I'd as soon have kept it that way.

£24.99 on Steam but with a massive 80% discount in the Winter Sale, this game came out in 2017 and has a Very Positive rating from over 14,000 satisified customers. I will not be joining them.


Dishonored 2

"Reprise your role as a supernatural assassin in Dishonored 2" There's a bunch more stuff in the description but it's all just bragging about the awards the first game won. I'm not going to encourage that kind of behavior.

I think I already claimed the first in this series, didn't I? Let me check... hmm... no, apparently not. Oh, well... I imagine there's a "Previously On..." to catch us all up.

I get quite confused about all these open-world stealth titles, none of which I've ever played but most of which someone I follow will have blogged about at one time or another. I think this one has a good reputation but I might be thinking of something else entirely. 

Full price on Steam is £24.99 but again it's currently marked down to just £4.99. Rated "Very Positive" from more than thirty thousand reviews. Can't really argue with that. Another I'll almost certainly never play but what the hell...


And so to the good ones. Maybe I should have led with these after all...

Beat Cop

"A retro, pixel art style adventure in New York, inspired by ’80s cop shows. You are Jack Kelly and you’ve been framed for murder. Now as a regular beat cop you have to find out, who did that. Expect thick crime story, a lot of black humour and all the other things you can find on the streets of Brooklyn."

That's a lot of my buttons you're pressing there, fella! New York locale, TV cops, '80s setting, black humor... I'm even coming round to the pixel aesthetic these days. Weirdly, I watched two trailers for Beat Cop - the one above from the official website and the one below from YouTube and they almost seem like two entirely different games. I guess I'll have to play the thing to find out how the pieces fit together.

Beat Cop usually goes for £11.49 on Steam , although once again it's heavily discounted in the sale right now at 85% off. Rated Very Positive from three thousand reviews, too.

When I got my first DVD player, the first DVDs I bought for it were seventies and eighties cop shows - Kojak, Starsky and Hutch, Hill Street Blues, Homicide: Life on the Streets... Naturally, I haven't watched most of them but that's hardly the point. I'm looking forward to playing this one. If the writing's anywhere close to the standard of the awesome Beastie Boys pastiche on that second video it's going to be a blast.


And finally, leaving the best 'til last...

Chicken Police - Paint it RED! 

"A wild tale of love, death, chickens, and redemption! Chicken Police is a buddy-cop noir adventure with a carefully crafted world, a gritty story, and absurd humor. The game mixes classic adventure games with visual novel-style storytelling, presented in a beak-droppingly unique art style.

If Beat Cops pressed some of my buttons, this one presses pretty much all of them. Anthropomorphic animals, noir, detection, point-and-click adventure, unashamedly pretentious metatextuality, "Have you ever been with a predator before?"... On the downside, I mean, come on! Chickens again?

This one has the highest Steam  rating of  all of this month's freebies - Overwhelmingly Positive from just over a thousand reviews. Full price, it'll set you back £17.99 but it's half that until the sale ends. 

I haven't been so keen to play a free Amazon game since Kathy Rain. Let's hope it lives up to expectations.

And that's it for another month. We reconvene at the start of February. Exact date to be advised.


  1. I haven't been so keen to play a free Amazon game since Kathy Rain. Let's hope it lives up to expectations.

    That's high praise right there.

    1. Before I made that claim, I actually looked back through all the games I've added to Prime and Kathy Rain was the first I came to that I clearly remembered looking forward to palying. There have been several since that I enjoyed as much but those came as more of a surprise.

  2. As someone who has played Lawn Mower Simulator, I would say it appeals to the same kind of player that enjoys other precision vehicle games: Euro Truck Simulator, Farm Simulator, stuff like that. You earn $$ based on how well and how quickly you mow a yard which means you have to figure out the most efficient route around obstacles and so forth. Then you spend your earnings to buy better/bigger mowers...I think. I never got that far because the pace was just too danged slow.

    At least when I play American Truck Simulator I can tune into some actual FM country station and pretend I'm really on a boring drive listening to ads for Burger King and stuff.

    1. I totally get the appeal of the driving simulators. Virtual travel across realistic landscapes to a musical soundtrack would seem to fulfill a number of well-known, real-lfe fantasies. Mowing lawns, though, is something I associate only with unpleasant chores that have to be done (Being made to mow the lawn is a cliche punishment for adolescents in fiction) and ride-on lawnmowers I particularly associate with the most boorish, crass, right-wing bores, the kind of people - actually always men - that turn up as hate figures in left-leaning comedy-drama.

      Or maybe I'm reading too much into all this...

    2. Ah, see over here in the US all the professional landscape crews use ride-on lawnmowers so to me they don't have the same connotation that they do for you. Ride-on mowers and gas-powered leaf blowers. Which makes me wonder when Leaf Blower Simulator is coming out! :)


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