Halo Wars: Definitive Edition heads up a handful of Steam free weekends
It's a wonder we even pay for games sometimes
It's the weekend for a lot of you already, so here's a little something free for the next few days. Four somethings, even. Five, if you've got a VR setup. There's probably a few more lurking around that I've missed, but there's a bundle of free weekends running concurrently on Steam right now: RTS spinoff Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, baseball fighter Lethal League, physics puzzler Crazy Machines 3, co-op hack n' slasher Eden Rising: Supremacy and for VR gunslingers, Hover Junkers, all accompanied by steep discounts.
Halo Wars is an odd duck. Developed by Age Of Empires studio Ensemble, it's a fairly light and accessible RTS that plays decently enough with a gamepad. What made it noteworthy for me is in how much it feels like Halo, right down to plasma grenades being terrifying and the Warthog mega-jeeps being best used as a battering ram, power-sliding through vulnerable enemy infantry. Even the single-player campaign structure feels Halo-like. Good in multiplayer too, although the PC version isn't especially well populated. Grab it here.
For a far more accessible bit of fun with friends, I recommend Lethal League, a single-screen game (though playable online) of assault and baseball battery. Four players bash an increasingly speedy ball around the screen. If you're the last player to tag the ball, you're safe. Anyone hit by the ball takes damage. Simple, but compelling and with a toe-tapping soundtrack. Plus, if you like it there's a very swish looking sequel due out just next week - Lethal League Blaze, this time with a full single-player story mode. Batter up.
If you want something a little more solo and cerebral, Crazy Machines 3 is a good one to shut yourself away with, mug of cocoa in hand. Heavily inspired by the Incredible Machine series of puzzlers, you've got a handful of components to complete a broken Rube Goldberg machine with an intended final result. There's a lot of meat on its bones to begin with, plus a well stocked Steam Workshop full of user-made puzzles, plus a collection of user-made devices using its powerful toolkit. Boffins go here.
Eden Rising: Supremacy is the odd one out here for me - I know very little about it, but judging by the trailers, it's a bit like FPS tower-defender Sanctum, but open-world and with more focus on melee combat. Up to eight players defend bases against waves of weird alien critters. The game is still in early access and has been for a few months. Developers Nvizzio plan on launching it by the end of the year, and now seems like as good a time as any to see if it's any good. Builders, look here.
Lastly, requiring a controller-tracking VR setup (something which I hope to own next year, but can't justify quite yet) there's Hover Junkers. A multiplayer game, so friends required, I'd been following its development on and off for a while. Players scoot around a sci-fi wild west aboard little hover-barges, scooping up loot, using junk to reinforce their craft and provide armour plating, and then diving behind those plates for cover when the bullets start flying. The gunfights look like fun, despite its niche appeal. Gunslingers, take a few paces this'a-way.
All five of these free weekends are live now, and all five games are 40-80% discounted for the duration. If you spot any other notable free weekends or giveaways, give us a shout.