The Sims Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Free Birthday Hot Tub

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The Sims may not enjoy the incredible popularity it once held, but it’s still comfortably in the top ten best-selling video game series of all time. This year EA is celebrating The Sims’ 20th anniversary with an update that adds a free in-game item for The Sims 4.

The special item is the Birthday Hot Tub, and it’s free to anyone who logs into The Sims 4 on any platform. It’s located under Outdoor Activities, and allows Sims to chat, skinny dip, and even engage in some romance, er, WooHoo.

Here’s what EA has to say about the storied franchise:

From the beginning, The Sims has been about playing with life, creating and designing a world in which anything can happen. Even back then, The Sims put a lot of emphasis on inclusion and the freedom to play as you like with the capability to romance any Sim, pick any career path, or spend all of your time in Build/Buy mode. It’s changed a lot in the past twenty years, though, as our understanding of those ideas has evolved. More than just reflecting life as it is, The Sims opens up new possibilities and does away with limits. It gives you a space to push boundaries, explore new ideas, and challenge the status quo.

We have so much more in store for you in this new decade, and we can’t wait to share the journey with you. Thank you for all of your creativity, your passion, and your hilarity. You are the best players in the world.

The birthday celebration also includes a fun infographic featuring various Sims stats, like 75+ expansion packs, over 1.6 billion Sims, and 825 million downloads from the Gallery.

If you really want to show off your Sims love, there’s a new 20th Anniversary Birthday Collection for Sims-branded clothing on Threadless.

The Sims 4 originally released in 2014 on Windows PC (Origin), 2015 on Mac, and in 2017 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s rated T for Teen.

the toybox yooka-laylee

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Free Demo Out Now

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If you’ve been on the fence about the Yooka-Laylee sequel, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, now’s your chance. Team17 and Playtonic Games have released a free demo of the game on the digital stores for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC (Steam), and Xbox One.

The demo includes the first five levels of the full game, as well as the titular lair and a Pageie Challenge. There’s no time limit on the demo. Any progress you make will carry over to the full game should you decide to purchase it.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair features 40 levels of 2D platforming, along with a 3D interactive overworld map. Players can find game-modifying tonics that alter the gameplay through new graphic filters, difficulty modifiers, or just different character skins.

The story takes place after the events of the original 2017 game, Yooka-Laylee. The chameleon and bat journey to Queen Pheobee’s kingdom to free the captured Beettalion, while gearing up to take on Capital B’s ultimate challenge, the Impossible Lair.

The original game was designed as a throwback 3D platformer and spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series. It was met with mixed reviews. The 2019 sequel changed direction, creating a 2D platformer in the vein of the Donkey Kong Country series, and was much better received.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC (Steam), and Xbox One. It’s rated E for Everyone.

For the Horde! Warcraft 3: Reforged Out Now on PC

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Blizzard Entertainment has released the HD remaster of seminal real-time strategy game Warcraft 3, Warcraft 3: Reforged. It’s available now through the official Blizzard shop (and playable on Battle.net) on PC for $29.99.

“Warcraft III is one of our proudest achievements as a company, and we’re honored that so many players around the world still hold it up as a paragon of the RTS genre,” said J. Allen Brack, president, Blizzard Entertainment. “With Warcraft III: Reforgedour biggest goal was to modernize the game while retaining everything that players have loved about it, and we hope everyone agrees that we’ve done it justice.”

The remaster includes both the original 2002 Reign of Chaos and the 2o03 expansion, The Frozen Throne. The single-player story spans seven campaigns with over 60 missions and four factions, including Orcs, Humans, Night Elves, and the Undead. Every unit, building, and environment has been given a graphical upgrade, as well as remastered audio and improved voice-overs.

The World Editor, which famously gave rise to the entire MOBA genre with the original Defense of the Ancients mod, has also been given a robust upgrade with added tools, and more enhancements planned in the future. Warcraft 3: Reforged is also fully integrated with Battle.net’s multiplayer suite, including voice chat and auto-patching. And in case anyone is still playing the nearly two-decades old original, you’ll be able to play with them online using Reforged.

In addition to the Standard Edition, Warcraft 3: Reforged also has a Spoils of War Edition for $39.99. This special edition features new skins for heroes like Arthas and Jaina, as well as several digital bonuses for other Blizzard games, such as a card back for Hearthstone and a pet for Diablo 3.

Warcraft 3: Reforged is available now on PC (Battle.net). It’s rated T for Teen.

Torchlight Frontiers Launching as Torchlight 3 this Summer

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In an interesting change of heart, Perfect World Entertainment and Echtra Games have announced that the free-to-play Torchlight Frontiers will become a pay-to-play sequel, officially renaming it Torchlight 3. Torchlight 3 will release this summer on PC (Steam), with closed alpha testing beginning this week.

“When we started developing Torchlight Frontiers, we were focused on creating a shared-world experience,” said Max Schaefer, CEO, Echtra Games.“During development, you often discover what type of product a game was meant to be and we found Torchlight Frontiers was meant to be a true successor to Torchlight 1 and 2. Based on this and extensive feedback from our Alpha testers, we decided it was time to take the game back to its roots and model it after the classic Torchlight games that ARPG fans have come to love. We’d like to thank our dedicated player base for supporting us and providing such insightful feedback during early development.”

Due to player feedback, Echtra Games is promising to create a sequel that returns the Torchlight series back to its roots as a Diablo-like action-RPG with a traditional campaign. Torchlight 3 will be playable offline and online and will no longer feature an in-game store. Offline characters will not be able to participate in online mode, however.

Torchlight 3 features four unique character classes, including the robotic Forged and magical Dusk Mage. Fan-favorite pets also return, and pets can equip gear and add new skills. Players also have access to their own personalized fort where they can upgrade gear, build monuments, and show off their hard-earned loot to friends.

Torchlight 3 is due to launch this summer on Steam.

steam

Save on PC Games During the Steam Lunar New Year Sale

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In case you missed the Steam Holiday Sale (and the Autumn Sale, and the Halloween sale…) get ready for the first big PC game sale of 2020: The Steam Lunar New Year Sale. As opposed to previous sales, this one only lasts the weekend, ending Monday, Jan. 27 at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern.

In addition to a nearly endless parade of discounts, the Lunar New Year Sale also features tokens you can earn and spend in the Lunar Night Market. Every $1 you spend during the sale nets you 100 tokens. You can also earn 100 free tokens every day by logging onto steam and clicking on the gift envelopes on the store page.

The tokens can be redeemed for rewards similar to the Holiday Sale: new Steam profile designs, emoticons, stickers, and a $5 off coupon (for 5,000 tokens).

Here’s some notable deals:

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – $47.99 (20% off)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – $47.99 (20% off)
  • Resident Evil 2 – $19.79 (67% off)
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – $23.99 (60% off)
  • Hollow Knight – $7.49 (50% off)
  • Disco Elysium – $31.99 (20% off)
  • Sekiro: Shadows Dice Twice – $38.99 (35% off)
  • Frostpunk – $11.99 (60% off)
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 – $14.99 (75% off), DLC 33% – 50% off

Since it’s the Year of the Rat, many of the Lunar Night Market rewards are rat-themed. The Year of the Rat also extends to highlighting several rat-themed (or rat-adjacent) discounted games, such as Moss, Tooth and Tail, Armello, and Warhammer: Vermintide 2.

The Steam Lunar New Year Sale ends Jan. 27.