January 2022 Games with Gold | News

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While the pandemic has played havoc with video games over the last 12 months, delaying game releases and limiting components for consoles, there has been one steadfast companion throughout all the calendar reshuffling: each month’s treasure trove of free content, courtesy of Games with Gold. Available from January 1 in the brand-spanking new Year of Our Lord 2022, are the below, distinctly indie-flavoured titles that are free to download with your Xbox Network or Game Pass subscription:  

NeuroVoider

NeuroVoider is a retro-themed, cyberpunk twin-stick shooter RPG with psychedelic disco flair and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. Become a squishy human brain encased in a robotic body built for destruction and lay waste to the ever-vigilant robot foes in your way as your carve a bloody (oily?) path to a bullet hell showdown with the master neurovoider. Featuring procedurally generated levels and weapons to maximise playability, Neurovoider also supports local co-op for up to 4 players. 

Available from January 1 to 31

 

Radiant Silvergun

Our first spin in the miraculous backwards-compatibility engine this month is courtesy of Radiant Silvergun, a late 90’s game previously unreleased in the West until it appeared as an Xbox Live Arcade title on the 360. Created by much-loved Japanese developer, Treasure (they of Gunstar Heroes and Guardian Heroes fame), Radiant Silvergun harkens back to the simpler days of top-down, vertically scrolling bullet hell shooters that tested the reflexes of many a joystick jockey in the early days of arcade gaming. As one of a squadron of Silvergun pilots, players are charged with saving the Earth from waves of enemies summoned by an otherworldly crystal using an arsenal of shot types that can be combined to create powerful custom weapons (similar to the weapon system in Gunstar Heroes).

Complete with a skill-based scoring system that can augment weapon strength, local or online co-op and a hidden mode that harkens to its spiritual sequel Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun is a celebration of the golden age of shmups and widely considered to be one of the best examples of the genre.

Available from January 1 to 15

 

Aground

Fresh from Microsoft’s indie-friendly stable [email protected], Aground is an ambitious 2D pixel art crafting RPG adventure that challenges players to set up shop in the stone age and evolve their character to the present day and beyond. As you master the art of survival, new technologies and NPCs will be unlocked to further your progress. Gather the resources to hand and use your ingenuity to refine your tool set, increasing efficiency and mastery of technology over the myriad years to come. Don’t be fooled by its cutesy visuals, Aground is a surprisingly deep and nuanced arcade civilisation simulator.  

Available January 16 to February 15

 

Space Invaders Infinity Gene

From Radiant Silvergun celebrating the yesteryear thrills of arcade shoot ’em ups, we finish up January’s free games with the grand daddy that birthed the entire genre: Space Invaders. Infinity Gene takes the original formula that queued out arcades in the 80’s and literally evolves it as you play, starting from the monochrome, limited movement original and, through the introduction of gene power ups that are earned, adding new movement, weapon and life mechanics that revitalise the legendary game. 

With a staggering 143 stages on offer through the combined ‘normal’ and challenge’ modes, new life is breathed into the arcade classic by adding rogue-lite stage generation, real-time scoreboards for hardcore players and even stages that are generated by the music on your console storage. Space Invaders Infinity Gene offers up an alternative take on the stripped-down, twitch shooting glory of one of the games that founded the industry.  

Available January 16 to 31

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