We’re entering that magical time when the holiday spirit is starting to set in, but the full stress of the month hasn’t quite peaked.

You can almost smell the hot chocolate, holly, and peppermint on the air. And, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to lock your doors and close your curtains this weekend in order to enjoy a final, fleeting moment of sanity before the chaos begins.

Of course, that means gaming. Lots of sweet, sweet gaming. Halo Infinite just came out and Call of Duty: Vanguard is still pumping. But some of us might be looking for a more cerebral experience.

To that end, may I suggest you download and install the Epic Games app on your PC?

If you do, you can get Godfall and Prison Architect for free until December 16th.

Disclaimer: No, Epic isn’t paying us for this. I wish we could get some of that sweet Fortnite advertising money (email us if you’re down, Epic). We’re just big fans of free games.

And, approximately every two weeks, you can get a couple of free games on the Epic platform. The best part is, you don’t have to download them right away. You can claim them now and then play them later.

Prison Architect

First things first, I’ve never played Godfall. I’m sure it’s a great game, but I’m looking for a more… strategic experience this coming weekend. So I’ll check that out later. For now, I’ll be playing the excellent Prison Architect.

I’ll also be rocking some Hearts of Iron IV and Stellaris, but more on that later.

Prison Architect is the best prison building simulation game available. It’s one of the deepest “tycoon” style games we’ve ever seen and, once you toss in all the expansions, it’s probably the most robust design-and-build game there is. Period.

The game has layers inside of layers that are filled with more layers. What starts off as a “draw a box and build a jail cell” kind of game turns into a “gleefully manage more systems than you can shake a mouse pointer at” experience that leaves you feeling like more of a Prison Artist than a Prison Architect.

Here’s my challenge to you: get Prison Architect for free on the Epic Games Store and play it for exactly 60 minutes. If you don’t want to keep playing it after that, your purchase is… uh… still free.

And more

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Paradox Publishing here at Love is a Fetish. I’ve written thousands of words on how playing video games that feature extreme levels of depth and customization can be beneficial to your mental health.

There’s a lot to be said for feeding the pleasure centers of your brain with fancy graphics and level-ups, but the experience of pwning fools in CoD is not the same as mastering one of Paradox Publishing’s complex strategy games.

Games such as Stellaris and Hearts of Iron IV tend to stick in your craw long after you’ve played them. Sometimes you have to work really hard to get into them… to break on through to the other side of understanding.

But, when you do, the rewards are far greater. That’s the way we see it, at least.

I bring up those specific titles because those are the ones I’m going to be playing this weekend alongside Prison Architect.

Note: neither of these are available on Epic Games just yet. But, you can buy both on Steam or play them as part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

Hearts of Iron IV just got a new DLC that promises to completely revamp the armor and supply systems, and I can’t wait to check it out.

And Stellaris finally went where no space game has gone before: underwater. I can’t wait to dive in and find out what it’s like to be an ocean-dwelling, space-faring problem for the entire cosmos.

The galaxy will learn to fear the fin. Oh yes, it will.

Let us know what you’ll be playing this weekend on Twitter (@mrgreene1977 and @loveisafetish).

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