PlayStation’s new tiered PlayStation Plus subscription service is finally here, and while its future as a worthy competitor to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass is still up for debate, the massive catalog of games available through the service is undeniable. From recent AAA titles to forgotten gems from previous consoles, there are a lot of directions you may be pulled in when you boot up your upgraded PlayStation Plus to pick something to play.
With over 700 titles, some truly sterling experiences risk being obscured by the sheer volume of titles on offer. We’ve waded through the expansive catalog and found 10 titles that may have flown under their radar when they were initially released, or have fallen into obscurity in recent years, yet still deserve your time and attention, from across all of the different console generations and subscription levels. We’ll also note which level of PlayStation Plus each game is available on, so you know what you can get with your subscription level. Pitting hidden gems against each other runs the risk of diminishing some on the lower level, so this isn’t exactly a ranked list – any and all of these titles are quality stuff. Here’s ten PlayStation Plus hidden gems you should give a chance.
1. Astebreed – PS Plus Extra
Developer: Edelweiss Publisher: Playism
Astebreed is an arcade style, lightning-fast bullet hell title that was originally released in 2015.
As you pilot your mech behind enemy lines in a futuristic war, you’ll mow through wave after wave of enemies swarming at you from all sides. That may sound like the most basic definition of a bullet hell game, but Astebreed sets itself apart with inventive enemy encounters and an emphasis on using homing weapons to chain together massive combos for as long as possible. Your position and the layouts of your enemies are always important in bullet hell games, but Astebreed finds a new way to approach the classic formula and shift how you think about your encounters.
Astebreed is also a short game, clocking in at anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour and half, depending on your skill level and hustle. Higher difficulties and a mission-based scoring system present reasons to replay, but if you only want to take one flight through Astebreed you’ll still get your time and money’s worth. It’s a white-knuckle, all-killer-no-filler mecha story that never lets up on the action.
2. Child Of Light – PS Plus Extra
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft
Child of Light a platforming/RPG hybrid that takes visual and narrative inspiration from classic fairy tales. Don’t let the storybook vibes fool you though – the game can be devilishly challenging. Players control the lost princess Aurora and her friends as she travels through a strange new land to return to her own world.
The turn-based combat is built around a timeline on the bottom of the screen, and players and enemies have the ability to interrupt their opponents turns, slow down the frequency with which enemies act, or speed up their own turns. This added level of complexity makes each battle a bit of a puzzle, as you must balance your damage with the frequency of your attacks. The soundtrack, by Coeur de Pirate, is also beautifully spellbinding stuff.
If you like deceptively complex RPGs with a dark fantasy edge, Child of Light is certainly worth your time.
3. Gravity Rush Remastered – PS Plus Premium
Developer: Team Gravity Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
One of the unsung heroes of the underloved PS Vita, Gravity Rush was lucky enough to receive a life raft onto the PS4 in the form of this remaster in 2016.
You control Kay, an amnesiac girl with a mysterious power over gravity, allowing her to fling herself and others into the air. Playing like an open world Super Mario Galaxy, Gravity Rush takes a mind-bending premise (fly anywhere in the space, walk on anything, at any angle) and crafts a memorable action platformer that never stops finding new wrinkles to its central gravity-shifting mechanic.
Beyond just being a nifty gameplay gimmick, Gravity Rush is also a confident, stylish new story that pulls generously from superhero stories and magical girl anime, set in a city that feels alive and teeming with lived-in detail. The main missions are all exciting and clever, but so much fun from Gravity Rush just comes from shotputting yourself at maximum velocity through its immaculately-detailed setting.
Gravity Rush is a delightfully inventive game that deserved to reach a wider audience, and actually got the chance to do so, unlike many of its PS Vita brethren (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, we’re not going to forget you). If you play Gravity Rush via PS Plus and really like it, there’s extra good news – its 2017 sequel, Gravity Rush 2, is available on the PS Plus Extra Tier.
4. Indivisible – PS Plus Extra
Developer: Lab Zero Games Publisher: 505 Games
The most recent title on this list, 2020’s Indivisible is a unique mix of JRPG and fighting game.
You control Ajna, an impetuous young warrior who houses a strange and dark power inside her, on her mission to stop an evil empire intent on destroying the world (typical JRPG business so far). Indivisible finds its own voice with a memorable cast of supporting characters/ team members, including a pair of football-playing ghosts, a pirate with cannons for shoulders, and a pyromaniac witch who fights by shooting a ghost of a tiger at enemies.
Indivisible was developed by the now-defunct Lab Zero Games, who also made the hit fighting game Skullgirls (the PS3 version of Skullgirls, Skullgirls:Encore, is also available on PS Plus Premium). The team’s experience making distinct characters with unique fighting mechanics carries over into Indivisible, as every party member has different attacks depending on directional inputs, which leads to endless player experimentation of stringing together combos with multiple party members able to trade attacks and even attack simultaneously.
Combine the mechanical depth with a lavish, vivid cartoon art style and a story steeped in Indian lore and mythology, and you have a game that looks, plays, and sounds like nothing else out there right now. It got a bit lost in the shuffle of all the other things happening in March/April 2020, but it most definitely deserves more time and attention.
5. Jumping Flash – PS Plus Premium
Developer: Exact, Ultra Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Among the remasters and recent games available in the PS Plus collection, a small selection of games from yesteryear’s consoles became available for download as well. One of them is the 1995 first-person platformer Jumping Flash.
Players control an adorable robot rabbit (named, of course, Robbit) who jumps around various colorful levels to stop an insane scientist from pulling huge chunks of land out of the earth to sell as private resorts. It’s a goofy plot for a goofy, cartoony game, which sets the light, silly tone for all the action.
Jumping Flash is something of a unique artifact of early 3D gaming – there weren’t many other 3D platformers to compare it to, let alone games that involve navigating platforms in first-person perspective. Robbit can jump three times in the air, making for extremely inventive level design, and while the tank controls take some getting used to, it’s still remarkable how much of Jumping Flash still holds up.
Games may have changed a lot since 1995, but Jumping Flash exemplifies the power of strong fundamentals.
6. Matterfall – PS Plus Extra
Developer: Housemarque Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Matterfall is an arcade-style shooter from Housemarque, the developers who recently won acclaim with the PS5 console exclusive Returnal. You shoot, slide, and glide your way across futuristic cityscapes beset by monstrous alien machinery called “smart matter.” You can phase through walls and even construct platforms and barriers for yourself at times to make the areas more advantageous for you.
Matterfall’s combat is fast and frenetic, and the constant pulsing neon lights that fill your screen are like audiovisual pop rocks to the nervous system. The levels are challenging in the Arcade sensibility of just throwing as much as they can at you, but never feeling unfair or insurmountable, and generous checkpoints alleviate the stress of more challenging segments.
For fans of quarter-munching shooters or Returnal players who want to understand Housemarque’s history, Matterfall will scratch a distinctly satisfying itch.
7. Sundered: Eldritch Edition – PS Plus Extra
Developer: Thunder Lotus Games Publisher: Thunder Lotus Games
You control a mysterious woman who has journeyed into a dangerous underground facility and made a pact with an ominous, omni-powerful being called “The Shining Trapezohedron” in order to battle the strange creatures lurking beneath her. As you can probably surmise by the expanded version being called “Eldritch,” things are not as they seem and there are many terrifying dark forces at work.
Sundered is a beautiful game, full of stylishly detailed environments, enemies, and abilities, with some truly sensory-feasting set pieces and boss fights. It’s not an easy time, but the experience is worth a player’s time for the lightning-fast combat, gorgeous visuals, and expansive abilities and customization options for you to make your version of the character your own.
8. Thomas Was Alone – PS Plus Extra
Developer: Mike Bithell Publisher: Mike Bithell
By far the most emotionally arresting game about rectangles, Thomas Was Alone is a puzzle platformer about Thomas, a rectangular object living in a computer program. What this “living” means, and what it means for a rectangle on a screen to have some level of self-awareness are crucial questions at the core of this 2012 game, which has the whimsy and pathos of a top tier Pixar film.
In addition to Thomas, there are a host of other four-sided shapes that have unique abilities, from double-jumping to floating in water. Players will often be able to juggle controlling multiple shapes at once to solve puzzles, and each shape has its own emergent personality and identity. Some are kind, some are mostly just confused with suddenly experiencing the world, and some are honest-to-gosh antagonistic squares. The squares themselves can’t talk, and all story info comes from a narrator played by Danny Wallace, which always strikes a wonderful balance between humor and emotion.
Thomas Was Alone is also not a huge time commitment, marrying thoughtful narrative with clever platforming. Even a decade later, it sticks out as a unique, one-of-a-kind gaming experience.
9. Tokyo Jungle – PS Plus Premium
Developer: Crispy’s!, Japan Studio Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Tokyo Jungle, a survival action game about animals living in Tokyo after all of humanity mysteriously disappears, is one of the jewels in the crown of PS Plus Premium’s streaming PS3 library.
You control various animals living in the post-human urban wasteland, including hyenas, lions, and delightfully goofy pomeranians. There are multiple short story paths to follow as you hunt to survive, stealthily sneak around predators, and breed to continue your species’ survival.
Tokyo Jungle feels like a pristine relic of a bygone era of major game development, when weirder, smaller games could flourish in major studios and share the space with the larger franchise titles. The premise feels refreshingly high-concept and distinct from the types of stories games were telling when it was initially released in 2012, and it still stands out as a game that marries a unique spin on the post-apocalyptic genre with novel game mechanics of controlling various post-human beasties.
10. Wild Arms 3 – PS Plus Premium
Developer: Media.Vision Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
The Wild Arms franchise, which blends standard fantasy JRPG tropes with some added Wild West flavor, arguably hit its stride with Wild Arms 3, originally released for the PS2 in 2002. Players will follow multiple main characters, separately then together, as they wield the titular Wild Arms, magical weapons for protecting the world. The turn-based combat is varied and complex enough to keep you on your toes without becoming fully inscrutable.
What’s especially notable about Wild Arms 3 is how it, like other games in the series, doesn’t hold your hand about where to go for the next story beat. Players have to ask around and discover information about the world, or else just wander around the wasteland until they stumble on the next city or dungeon. While that may sound needlessly challenging or opaque, in practice it’s actually an exciting way to make the world feel more immersive (and the maps aren’t so large that you can’t just wander around and eventually get where you’re going).
Wild Arms 3 also has a vibrant, semi-cel shaded art style that felt unique upon release and, in the modern era, still looks wholly its own, borrowing the cartoony approachability of Dragon Quest and putting it in a cool ten-gallon hat and Clint Eastwood poncho. While Wild Arms 3 had a tepid critical reception when it was first released, time has been kind to this installment in particular and shown it to be a diamond in the PS2 rough. The original Wild Arms, released on the first PlayStation in 1996, is also available in the Premium collection.
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