With the adorable Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout now free-to-play on all platforms, we thought it was high time we gave kudos to a few of the best FTP titles out there.
While publishers' different approaches to monetising these experiences often leave much to be desired, there's something satisfying about getting into a game without paying upfront, and the best don't make feel like you need to pay at all to enjoy it.
What game keeps you coming back for more? Let us know in the comments.
Pokémon Go | James Parry
While the barriers to the game being free grow every year, Pokémon Go is still the free-to-play game I dip into now and then fairly consistently, with updates and seasonal events highlighting new friends.
Recently we had the debut of Tyrunt, to cannily coincide with the dino-fever as a result of Jurassic Park: Dominion at the cinema, and there are constant special events and community days, which spotlight a favourite pokémon and even give you a chance to catch a “shiny” colour-changed version.
It also connects you with trainers across the world. Sure the friend code system is a little awkward, but once you’re connected you can exchange gifts, pokémon or even pit your team against there’s in a battle.
While it might not have the immediate action and chaos of free-to-play stablemate Pokémon Unite, it certainly has a lot of pokémon featured – over 700 of the nearly 900 that currently exist in fact – and a huge number of team options as a result.
Even now you can team up with others across the world to compete in remote raids, or even join them in person, and the satisfaction of catching a legendary remains to this day.
Of course, Sea of Thieves' upcoming updates may see it come back into my rotation once again, and Rocket League is also a near-constant feature in my recently played. Perhaps I need to broaden my FTP horizons?
Warframe | Chris Brand
There are a good handful of free-to-play games which aren't too aggressive when it comes to monetisation and Warframe, for me, sits at the top. You can buy almost anything with Platinum, the game's premium currency, but everything you could need to become the deadliest of space ninjas is available in game, though some of it may require a significant time investment. If you don't like spending money and want to skip the grind, there's also the option of trading, as most items can be traded between players, including Platinum.
At first, it may seem like a generic first-person shooter but once you've progressed enough and have a few Warframes and a decent collection of gear, it becomes so much more. Each 'frame has its own set of abilities and, as such, is best suited to certain missions. Stealthy types will fare better on Spy missions, for example, but it's not mandatory to bring a specific loadout to a mission, it merely adds a slight strategy element.
One of Warframe's greatest strengths is the wealth of content. There are hundreds of pieces of gear to be bought and crafted and new stuff is released regularly. Some of the bigger updates will even add new mission types, enemies and quests.
All of this can be overwhelming for newer players, especially as a lot of the mechanics aren't explained very well and in game information isn't always easy to find. Not to mention the endless stream of balancing patches and reworks that are common in multiplayer titles.
If you haven't touched Warframe since the early days, you may be surprised at how much it's changed. It's not the same game it was upon release. And if you've yet to try it out, now is as good a time as any.