Justin Calvert recommends five different betas that you can play for free, and offers up over 45,000 codes to get you into them.
One of the great things about beta tests is that they're free, which makes them eligible for this weekly round-up of free stuff even if the finished games are going to be full price. One of the less great things about beta tests is that they can be difficult to get into if you're not willing to preorder games beforehand, enter strange online contests, or risk carpal tunnel trying to be the fastest Twitter user to cut-and-paste codes distributed by folks (myself included) using them as a relatively easy way to gain a few new followers.
When I decided to write a Free Play Friday about beta tests this week, I also decided that I couldn't do that unless I had some codes to get you into those beta tests alongside me. Fortunately, the game companies involved both agreed and obliged. Apologies in advance if the code wells for any of the below games have run dry by the time you read this. Come to think of it, why are you reading this at all? Shouldn't you be busy claiming codes already?
LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3) Beta
Invites for the LittleBigPlanet Karting beta were sent out recently and, presumably because I'm a PlayStation Plus member, I was fortunate enough to receive one. For as long as I can remember I've been a fan of games that incorporate level editors and such; I spent more hours than I care to disclose working on my Lunar Explorer level in LittleBigPlanet 2, and I really wanted to like ModNation Racers when it was released a couple of years back. That game didn't grab me at all, though, so I've been eager to see what developer United Front Games does differently now that they're working alongside Media Molecule on LBP Karting.
I downloaded the LBP Karting beta a couple of days ago and, after quickly checking out a couple of the included Story mode races, I dived right into the community area. Even with the limited creation tools that are available in the beta, folks have already created some great tracks. Predictably, I've now made it my mission to do the same.
The creation tools work in much the same way as those in previous LittleBigPlanet games, so it didn't take long for me to create a track that's at least somewhat reminiscent of the Yoshi Falls circuit from the superb Mario Kart DS. I haven't published it yet, but do keep an eye out for it if you decide to claim one of the 10,000 beta codes that we're giving away right now. Oh, did I forget to mention that?
If you're not already in the LittleBigPlanet Karting beta, you're in North America, and assuming we still have some left, you can grab yourself a code using the following link:
The Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan (PC) Beta
The last time I played The Lord of the Rings Online (originally released back in 2007) I had to pay a subscription fee for the privilege. Turbine's Tolkien-inspired MMO has been free-to-play for a couple of years at this point, though, and has already benefitted from the release of a third expansion pack titled Rise of Isengard since making that jump. The game's fourth expansion pack, Riders of Rohan, is currently scheduled for release in September, and will be open to beta testers this weekend and at various times through the end of August.
Are you in the mood for mounted combat this weekend? Grab yourself a beta code and get instructions on how to redeem it via the following link:
Offensive Combat (Browser) Beta
I first saw the multiplayer first-person shooter Offensive Combat at a press event last month, and was subsequently invited to the closed beta. As I mentioned in the preview that I wrote after the event, Offensive Combat evokes memories of TimeSplitters for me, particularly with its aesthetic, which pits robots against yetis against anthropomorphic lizards in locales that are every bit as varied as the combatants. Depending on the map and mode that you play, the game can be reminiscent of classic Quake in one match and a modern military shooter in the next. I've played a handful of matches since getting into the beta and, other than being unable to shake the feeling that shotguns are overpowered (I definitely recommend including one in your loadout), I'm having a lot of fun with it.
At the time of writing, the Offensive Combat beta boasts four gameplay modes (Free For All, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Capture Point), playable on five very different maps. The beta is scheduled to run through the end of July and, because the game plays in your browser, there's only a small Unity download to deal with before you can start playing.
You can claim an Offensive Combat beta code using the following link:
Awesomenauts (PC) Beta
Awesomenauts is one of those XBLA/PSN games that I keep going back to anytime I want to play something competitive without the extraordinary hassle of getting up off the couch to swap out game discs. It's a MOBA through and through, but unlike most games in the genre (League of Legends, Dota 2, Heroes of Newerth), Awesomenauts more closely resembles a 2D action-platformer than an action RPG. It's an interesting and accessible take on the genre, and one that doesn't charge for additional characters and such--at least not yet. Awesomenauts launched on consoles with six playable heroes, and earlier this month developer Ronimo Games confirmed that the first two additional characters will soon be available free of charge.
No release date for the Steam version of Awesomenauts has been announced yet, but we're told that it should be arriving sometime in the next three to four weeks. You don't want to wait that long to check the game out though, do you?
Didn't think so. Grab yourself a beta code and you could be playing the game today! I need you to promise that you won't be one of those guys who calls everyone else a noob on launch day because you were in the beta though. Deal?
Claim a beta code for Awesomenauts using the following link:
If the codes are already gone, or you're in need of some new music, might I also recommend you download the Awesomenauts extended theme song, here:
RaiderZ (PC) Beta
I normally only include games in Free Play Friday that I can recommend you play this weekend, but I can't do that for RaiderZ. Not only have I never played it personally, but the closed beta doesn't start til early next month. I've already redeemed a code myself and, come August 8, I'm going to need some folks to play with. That's where you come in!
We're giving away no fewer than 15,000 codes for the RaiderZ closed beta right now, and in addition to beta access, they're good for a number of in-game items that are exclusive to GameSpot users. How much would you be willing pay for the featherwood guitar pictured below, for example? $10? $250? What if I told you that it's not only a musical instrument for entertaining fellow hunters but also a weapon that you can hit giant monsters with? I know, you'd be willing to pay whatever it cost. Right? No need. It's free!
Claim your featherwood guitar (plus access to the upcoming RaiderZ beta) using the following link:
Previous Free Play Fridays
July 13, 2012 - Star Wars, Soccer, League of Legends!
July 6, 2012 - Cave Exploration, Turn-Based Strategy, and Tanks!
June 29, 2012 - F1, Battlefield, Magic, and Space!