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April's free video games: Conquer wastelands and battlefields

SALT LAKE CITY — Get ready to explore a few different takes on dystopian worlds. This month's free video games feature Conan the Barbarian, robotic overlords, Tom Clancy and a classic "Star Wars" title.

Xbox owners get four games across Xbox One and Xbox 360 through the Games With Gold Program and PlayStation gamers get two titles for PlayStation 4. Amazon and Twitch also offer four free PC games and a ton of random goodies for Prime subscribers.

Here's a look at this month's offerings, including a description, critical score, ESRB rating for each game and important information for parents on mature titles.

PlayStation Plus

PS Plus games are made available on the first Tuesday of every month and can be downloaded for free until the first Tuesday of the following month. Anything obtained through PS Plus will become inaccessible if your membership expires, but each game will stay credited to player accounts in case they subscribe again.

'Conan Exiles'

A player-controlled warrior oversees construction in the Exiled Lands in


A player-controlled warrior oversees construction in the Exiled Lands in "Conan Exiles."

Metacritic score: 68

Description: "Conan Exiles" drops players into a barbaric, hostile world as an exiled survivor and tasks them with surviving — think "Minecraft," but with dragons, zombies and the titular pulp fiction hero. Some features include resource gathering and management, character creation and melee combat.

ESRB rating: M for blood and gore, intense violence, language, nudity and use of alcohol.

What parents should know: "Conan Exiles" casts players as a warrior banished to the aptly named Exiled Lands and features the need to manage resources while fighting monsters and rival human factions. The game features a stylized art style and first- or third-person melee combat, which leads to a lot of bloodshed, viscera and grisly situations — including disembowelment and crucifixions.

Player character avatars are also initially depicted in a loincloth and character creation options include variable private coverings. Many female characters are topless, and it's possible to run around the game nude. Some light swearing is also present.

Finally, players can choose to worship unkind gods that require sacrifice or cannibalism, and one element of the game involves enslaving nonplayable characters as thralls, which could be troubling for younger players and parents. It's also important to note that almost everything — including violence, nudity, worship and slavery — is completely optional and can be avoided without affecting the experience.

'The Surge'

A rampaging robot attacks an exosuit-wearing survivor in

Focus Home Interactive, Deck13

A rampaging robot attacks an exosuit-wearing survivor in "The Surge."

Metacritic score: 73

Description: After a catastrophic event, players wake up inside an evil robot-infested facility grafted to an exoskeleton suit. Drawing inspiration from the Dark Souls series, the game features intense, difficult combat with robots, insane augmented enemies and colossal boss monsters. Players can also target and damage specific enemy limbs to loot exoskeleton upgrades.

ESRB rating: M for strong language, intense violence and blood and gore.

What parents should know: "The Surge" is a combat-oriented action game featuring dozens of weapons and enemies. The game requires a heavy focus on dismembering robots and the occasional human enemy. While most encounters are clean and bloodless, the player character and other enemies will bleed heavily when damaged. Swear words, including the F-word, are infrequently used.

Xbox Games With Gold

Xbox's free games are usually divided across both consoles, with two titles featured for Xbox One, and an additional two for Xbox 360. Xbox One owners can also download the Xbox 360 titles using backward compatibility, and Xbox One X owners will occasionally see 4K enhancements for some of these games.

Any Xbox 360 games downloaded as an Xbox Live Gold subscriber will stay in gamers' digital libraries, even if their subscription lapses. Xbox One games require an active subscription to play, though.

"Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2" for Xbox One will also be free to download until April 15.

'The Technomancer'

A team of explorers stand over ancient ruins on Mars in

Spiders, Focus Home Interactive

A team of explorers stand over ancient ruins on Mars in "The Technomancer."

Platform: Xbox One

Date available: April 1-30

Metacritic score: 68

Description: "The Technomancer" is an action RPG set on Mars featuring weapon crafting, conversation choices and dynamic decisions. As a powerful technomancer, players can wield magic to battle others as they explore forgotten ruins across the red planet's landscape.

ESRB rating: M for blood, drug reference, sexual themes, strong language and violence.

What parents should know: "The Technomancer" focuses on exploration and conversation, but that doesn't mean players can be pacifists. The game includes frequent combat against human enemies, who bleed when injured. Prostitutes can also be seen in some areas, but can't be interacted with. Some cutscenes also depict passionate kissing between fully clothed characters. The F-word is also used infrequently.

'Outcast: Second Contact'

Appeal, Bigben Interactive

"Outcast: Second Contact" tasks players with exploring a dangerous alien planet to save humanity.

Platform: Xbox One

Date available: April 16-May 15

Metacritic score: 67

Description: "Outcast: Second Contact" is a remake of "Outcast," a classic action game that claims to be the first open-world game ever made. As Cutter Slade, players explore a mystical, futuristic world and fight aliens across a 50-hour adventure.

ESRB rating: T for language, violence and mild blood.

'Star Wars Battlefront II'

Mace Windu fights against Darth Maul on Coruscant in

Pandemic Studios, LucasArts

Mace Windu fights against Darth Maul on Coruscant in "Star Wars Battlefront II."

Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One

Date available: April 1-15

Metacritic score: 66

Description: Get ready to fight across the "Star Wars" galaxy in "Battlefront II" — not the newer, troubled multiplayer game but the original fan-favorite action game. Players can step into multiple soldier classes across Clone Trooper, Droid, Imperial and Renegade armies and fight to take control of the battlefield. The game features over 16 land and space locations and several game modes as well as powerful playable characters from the films. Xbox One X owners will also see 4K enhancements, while all Xbox One owners will be able to play against each other online.

ESRB rating: T

'Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2'

A Special Forces soldier stands watch as a teammate revives an ally in


A Special Forces soldier stands watch as a teammate revives an ally in "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2."

Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One

Date available: April 16-30

Metacritic score: 90

Description: As the leader of an advanced special forces unit, players can use futuristic technology and advanced military tactics to take control of the battlefield. Set in 2014, "GRAW 2" features a fictional conflict between the Ghost Recon forces and a dangerous South American despot on the U.S.-Mexico border.

ESRB rating: T for blood, language and violence.

Twitch Prime

Twitch is currently offering four games for PC gamers with an Amazon Prime subscription. While the free games aren't available on Mac, Windows users can access their games through the free Twitch Desktop App. To redeem the free games, log into Twitch, click on the crown in the top right corner, and claim the free game offer. Twitch also allows subscribers to send one friend a copy of each free game every month.

Besides the usual monthly offerings, Twitch Prime members also have access to a few more surprises, including free content for "Apex Legends," "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4," "Starcraft II" and "League of Legends." A 12-month subscription to Nintendo Switch Online is also up for grabs and gamers have until May 3 to redeem a free version of "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn."

'Her Story'

Sam Barlow

"Her Story" tasks players with investigating a police database to solve a murder mystery from 1994.

Metacritic score: 86

Description: "Her Story" is an interactive murder mystery composed of live-action video footage. Players are given access to a British police database covering seven interviews from 1994. The interviews feature a woman whose husband is missing, and players must search the database to discover the truth behind the disappearance.

ESRB rating: N/A


A spacecraft flies through the Inverse in

PolyKnight Games, Aspyr

A spacecraft flies through the Inverse in "InnerSpace."

Metacritic score: 65

Description: "InnerSpace is an exploration flying game set in the Inverse, a pocket dimension where gravity pulls outward. As a pilot, players help an archaeologist recover the Inverse's history before it collapses on itself.

ESRB rating: E


Two colorful astronauts jump towards a giant monster in

Space Mace, Graffiti Games

Two colorful astronauts jump towards a giant monster in "Joggernauts."

Metacritic score: 70

Description: "Joggernauts" is an autorunning platformer starring a team of colorful cartoon astronauts. Up to four players control the astronauts and switch places in line to land on color-coded platforms and dodge through obstacles.

ESRB rating: E

'Keep in Mind: Remastered'

Akupara Games, Little Moth Games

"Keep in Mind" tasks players with guiding Jonas out of a monster-infested world to his home.

Metacritic score: N/A

Description: "Keep in Mind" is an adventure game starring Jonas, a man struggling with addiction and depression. Players guide Jonas through a shadowy world infested with monsters. Jonas must face the monsters in and around him to return home.

ESRB rating: N/A