The Best PS Plus Games To Devour In A Weekend

The Best PS Plus Games To Devour In A Weekend
Image: Maddy Thorson / Sony / Annapurna / Kotaku

Following a June revamp, Sony’s PS Plus service now has a games-on-demand library (well, provided you pay for the $US15 ($21) “PS Plus Extra” tier). The on-demand catalogue comprises hundreds of games, with the obvious main draws being massive tent-poles like Ghost of Tsushima, Demon’s Souls, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and other games that take 75 years to finish.

But summer doesn’t always allow the free time for such a commitment, and sometimes you want a bit…less from your games. If you’re seeking a game you can download tonight and delete by Monday morning — we’re talking 10 hours or less to hit the credits, per the eternally helpful HowLongToBeat.com — here’s where to start.

Stray

Screenshot: Annapurna InteractiveScreenshot: Annapurna Interactive

Here’s the elevator pitch for Stray: You are a cat, and you explore a cyberpunk city, acting like a cat the whole time. What this means, in practice, is that you solve environmental puzzles in dense, meticulously designed levels, and occasionally sprint away from rodent-like enemies. While the challenge factor isn’t exactly through the roof, the delight of living out feline behaviour — right down to the presence of a dedicated “meow” button — remains enjoyable from tip to tail.

Playtime: 4 hours

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Screenshot: Sony / KotakuScreenshot: Sony / Kotaku

Marvel’s Spider-Man was a massive open-world action game. Its immediate follow-up, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, is far more manageable, closer in scale to the size of a standalone expansion. Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes all of what made the original so great (namely, swinging down Fifth Avenue with superpowered webs) and shaves off all the cruft (namely, repetitive side-quests). You play as Peter Parker protogé Miles Morales, and are accompanied by the best sidekick in history: a cat in a backpack.

Playtime: 7 hours for the main story (though you could spend way more dabbling with optional objectives)

Celeste

Screenshot: Maddy ThorsonScreenshot: Maddy Thorson

On its face, Celeste is a relentlessly difficult platformer. Your goal is to scale the peak of a mountain by jumping and dashing your way through side-scrolling stages. You’ll die a lot, which would be frustrating were it not for nigh-on instantaneous respawns. (You’ll also never feel cheated, because the developers put an incredible amount of care into the platforming physics.) But beyond the gauntlet, Celeste is most of all a heartfelt story about yearning and personal discovery, a tour de force in a deliciously stylised pixel-art package.

Playtime: 8 hours

Observation

Screenshot: No CodeScreenshot: No Code

Observation takes place entirely on a derelict space station, out of commission and trapped in low Earth orbit. An astronaut is trapped on there, but you play as an artificial intelligence program named SAM. Most of Observation is spent hopping between cameras and manipulating technology (think: the hacking from Watch Dogs), in an effort to help this astronaut figure out why the station is busted — and why they’re trapped there. Like the best hard sci-fi, the story wraps with an explanation that’s as mind-blowing as it is totally, logically sensical.

Playtime: 6 hours

Uncharted: Lost Legacy

Screenshot: SonyScreenshot: Sony

Nathan Drake has had enough time in the spotlight. Uncharted: Lost Legacy puts the focus on two fan-favourite characters: Uncharted 2 protagonist Chloe Frazer and Uncharted 4 antagonist Nadine Ross, who’ve teamed up to find a treasure in the Western Ghats region of India. A shorter runtime gives the game a brisk pace, but it doesn’t sacrifice any of the cinematic shooting and climbing that makes the mainline entries so thrilling. Lost Legacy also features the series’ first open-world-ish area (note: it’s optional), and the narrative culminates in perhaps the most memorably setpiece in the series — a dizzyingly chaotic level that, frankly, is worth playing through the entire game just to experience.

Playtime: 7 hours

Last Stop

Screenshot: AnnapurnaScreenshot: Annapurna

Last Stop could’ve easily been prestige television, but is instead an artfully designed narrative adventure game split between three protagonists. In one, you follow a single father, who’s body-swapped with his younger, wealthier neighbour. Another focuses on a high-school teenager whose friends inadvertently knock out and kidnap a man with enigmatic magical powers. Finally, in the third story, you follow a secret agent. (Yes, Last Stop is very British.) The three tales are all riveting in their own right, but nothing tops the final act, when all three plots converge in a jaw-dropping conclusion.

Playtime: 6 hours

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Screenshot: 505 GamesScreenshot: 505 Games

Sweden-based Hazelight has gained acclaim for producing multi-genre co-op games A Way Out (two men try to escape prison) and It Takes Two (a married couple tries to navigate divorce). But studio head Josef Fares came to prominence before that, with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It’s a third-person adventure game with puzzle elements. The older brother has more heft, and can move objects and such. The younger brother, meanwhile, can fit into tight spaces. A non-conventional control scheme demands you control both at the same time, which, while confusing, also makes Brothers one of the rare games that makes you reconsider how games can work.

Playtime: 3 hours

My Friend Pedro

Screenshot: Devolver DigitalScreenshot: Devolver Digital

My Friend Pedro is what you’d get if Zack Snyder directed a side-scrolling action game. In other words: There’s a ton of slow motion. You can perform ridiculous parkour and other action-sports stunts, including some shootouts that take place while you’re literally riding a skateboard. My Friend Pedro doesn’t offer anything terribly novel, nor does it really have an engaging plot, but the execution is smooth throughout. Plus, it’s fun as hell.

Playtime: 4 hours

Matterfall

Screenshot: HousemarqueScreenshot: Housemarque

Yes, Housemarque’s moody roguelike Returnal is part of the PS Plus library, and is well worth checking out (if you have a PS5). But don’t sleep on Matterfall, a side-scrolling shooter with the same torrential waves of bullet hell that made Returnal such a standout. It’s just as punishing and high-intensity as that more sumptuous, more modern game, but with a twin-strick control scheme. Also, you can manifest platforms out of thin air, which never gets old. Housemarque’s formula works, no matter the perspective.

Playtime: 4 hours

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